One Man Blame

Sep 10, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden looks up to the scoreboard during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field. Philadelphia Eagles defeated Washington Redskins 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As week 1 winds down, as a Redskins fan, you have to ask yourself, “Where did the Redskins go wrong in this first game?” Several possible factors resulted in yet another season opener loss.

If you go back and watch film, you can pinpoint several mistakes the Redskins made on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. You can argue that the Redskins offensive line had blown blocks. You can argue that Terrelle Pryor failed to catch crucial throws from Kirk Cousins. You could even argue that the turning point of the game was when Kirk Cousins threw a devastating interception off of his back foot.

Some fans are failing to see where the real problem exists. Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden is the reason why the Redskins lost this game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins are 0-4 in season openers with Jay Gruden at the helm. It is very evident that proper preparation is not a strong suit of this coach.

On the offensive side of the ball, anyone who watched this game could see that the first team offense had a lack of reps together during preseason. Here’s an interesting statistic: 36.5% of the Redskins 53-man roster have never lined up together in the regular season as a Washington Redskin. This translated to poor play in a game that actually counts.

Why was Jordan Reed who had 5 receptions for 36 yards deficient in this offense when clearly he was the number one target last season? Why was Terrelle Pryor dropping accurate passes from Kirk Cousins? Sure, 6 receptions for 66 yards isn’t an awful stat for a wide receiver playing his first year as a Redskin. But crucial dropped passes from your number one wide receiver is concerning. You can even argue that Kirk Cousins’ poor decision to throw which resulted in an interception in our end zone was the turning point of the game. What happened to the running game? Robert Kelley’s 10 touches for 30 yards and Chris Thompson’s 3 touches for 4 yards prove that the Eagles were strong against the run. You cannot expect to win a ball game when the running game is limited to only 13 touches.

On the defensive side of the ball, we saw major bright spots. Ryan Kerrigan was aggressive enough to intercept Carson Wentz and run it in for a touchdown. Offseason additions Zach Brown and Terrell McClain were great against the run. Bashaud Breeland, Josh Norman and DJ Swearinger were aggressive against the pass. Mason Foster even had a good individual game as well. However, three problems need to be addressed: (1) third down conversions, (2) defensive line rush must not allow the QB to get away after collapsing the pocket, and (3) players looked confused on positioning themselves before the snap. DJ Swearinger should not have to tell players where to lineup on a specific defensive play call. Not surprising though, when 42% of the defense has not played a regular season game together.

When you take everything I listed above, pour it into a pot and stir it all together, you get a big disgusting bowl of Jay Gruden porridge. Lack of preparation, impatience with the game plan and poor play calling resulted in a loss against the Eagles who seemed to be just as unprepared as the Redskins. To quote the great former Redskin Brian Mitchell, “October football is much different than September football.” As Redskins fans, we should hope this is true. Looking at the September Redskins football schedule says the next three games (Rams, Raiders, Chiefs) aren’t going to be forgiving to that rule of thumb.

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  • Keith Brown

    Is Jay Gruden’s play calling a problem ? Damn Skippy!
    Running a successful NFL offense, especially when you play in the NFL EAST, means you MUST incorporate the run. Running the ball effectively minimum 25 times a game will open up the Arena League offense Gruden likes to run. It also minimizes the pass rush on your QB.

    Running the ball is even more a priority when you have a defense that “can’t get off the field on 3rd downs, ” which leads to the defense being on the field for 10 to 15 plays at a time.

    The last thing a defense like that needs is a pass happy offense that goes 3 and out while using 1 minute of the game clock in the process.

    So Jay, “Do your defensive coordinator a favor.” Run the ball and the clock a little more often.
    Run the clock in the process, and keep your defense on the sideline a little longer.

    Your Arena League game plan is not that effective in the NFL.

    • Keith Gray

      Amen! Should’ve written this but I was busy citing stats. You, sir hit the nail on the head! Thank you for your comment!