The Redskins worst-case scenario is currently unfolding with an 0-2 start to the season, and more importantly, 0-2 within the division. As the team prepares for a Monday night showdown against the Chicago Bears, the team is on the brink of a “code red” situation. The performance this past week against the Dallas Cowboys was even more alarming than the performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in week one. The same mistakes offensively killed drives while the same mistakes on defense sustained Dallas drives. The good, the bad, and ugly - here is what we learned from the week two loss against the Dallas Cowboys.
The best aspect of the Redskins offense is that with two games into the season, you can sense there are no politics involved with the passing game. Each of the younger players is getting playing time - from Kelvin Harmon, Terry McLaurin, Trey Quinn, and Steven Sims Jr. This type of trust is suitable; each player continues to grow and develop on the field and is not hindered in any way due to “priority” players in a sense. Terry McLaurin is proving himself to be a playmaker and a go-to target, and it will be essential moving forward that Jay Gruden and his offensive staff begin to gameplay around Terry to ensure he gets as many targets as possible.
Special teams, specifically Tress Way, are doing their best to pin the opposition deep. To this point, the special teams have done an excellent job. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the Redskins defense. As long as the special teams continue playing at a reasonable level, it will be on the Redskins other two units to capitalize on the field position battle that is currently going in the Redskins favor.
The offensive line has been poor and is becoming a significant concern. The concern has been driven due to the ineptitude of the right side, which was the most-experienced side. Veteran lineman Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses has been on this Redskins team since 2014 and 2015 respectively and had the same offensive line coach for that same period. What is going on with them during games, like drive-killing penalties or allowed pressures, has been the least expected thing to happen this season. Newcomers Donald Penn and Ereck Flowers have been quiet for the most part on the left side of the line, which is good. However, as a whole, the poor play (along with play-calling) is affecting the run game too. If the Redskins cannot establish a run game immediately, they will be forced to leave the games in the hands of quarterback Case Keenum. With a total of 75 rushing yards after the first two games, Case needs as much help as possible to move the ball offensively - the offensive line and his coach must give him that assistance.
Washington has been outscored 42-21 in the second-half of football games this year, and their defense has given up touchdowns in five of seven drives. The other two in which they did not give up touchdowns, they allowed field goal attempts. This defense has been awful, and there is no other way around it. What Greg Manusky is calling on defense has his players lost with the amount of visual confusion viewers see throughout each defensive drive. In addition to Manusky, the players are making fundamental mistakes that are costing the team stops on defense or minimizing gains. The so-called “strength” of the team heading into the season, ranks 30th in the NFL right now. It is a disaster that must be fixed yesterday.
There is a developing story-line right now between head coach Jay Gruden and running back Adrian Peterson, and that is concerning The Redskins have no room for drama, yet it exists, and a head coach on the hot seat like Gruden must find a way to keep everything in-house. Unfortunately, he has failed to do so right now. In addition to the Peterson story-line, the pressure mounting on the organization to make changes at the staff level will continue to grow if the team 1.) continues to lose and 2.) the defense continues to play at a 30th-ranked pace. The schedule does not get easy from this point out, and if Gruden wants to ensure he at least makes it to the end of the season, there must be change (on the field) for the better, now.
What are your takeaways from the week two loss against Dallas?