Redskins fans, the bye week is over and it’s time to continue on our path to be an elite Redskins football team. So what, if anything, can be taken from the first four games that our beloved Washington Redskins have played? 1. This team doesn’t have a quit or give up mentality; 2. Our collection of players is growing together as a team; 3. The right coach makes all the difference in the world; 4. Head Coach Jay Gruden is actually being a man of his word and running the ball, which is as it should be; 5. This Redskins defensive unit is relentless; 6. Special teams still needs a little adjusting, but nothing major; 7. They are proving their doubters wrong, especially all the preseason predictions; and 8. The Redskins are giving us fans a reason to walk with pride.
Let’s take a closer look at what this Redskins team has accomplished thus far and how they’ve been able to do it. In terms of the offense, from the start of the offseason, the Redskins made various moves to improve. We saw the front office and Coach Gruden’s main points of interest and primary focus. Getting better on 3rd downs and improving inside the red zone was their ultimate goal. With the small sample showing thus far, I’d say there are still a few kinks to work out, but I also can see where they are playing better. The run game, with the emergence of young RB Samaje Perine combined with the speed and elusiveness of Chris Thompson and the powerful display from “Fat Rob” Kelley, this run game leaves it all on the field with every attempt. WR’s Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and the unexpected production from Ryan Grant have all been a welcome addition to the Redskins offensive unit. They’re still working and figuring things out, but we can actually see growth with each game played and opportunities given. The offensive line’s play has been exceptional. This was a unit that I’ve personally been tough on, because I believe the game is won or lost at the line of scrimmage. This O-line has dominated thus far and not only given Cousins time in the pocket, but they’re opening wholes for the Redskins RB’s. Think of it this way: it takes a QB at least 3 seconds to allow the deep ball play to develop. Not only have we seen that deep ball play attempted but this Redskins offense has been successful more times than not. The Redskins offense averages 100+ yards of rushing in all 4 previously played games. That’s an O-line plowing their way through the defensive unit it’s matched up against. I can’t say enough about the wonderful job they’re doing, not to mention Cousins is one of the least sacked or pressured QB’s in the league.
I can sum up this 2017 Redskins defensive unit in one word: WOW! No one saw them coming out and handling their business as well as they have thus far. They have gotten interceptions, they’ve forced fumbles and recovered them as well as getting off the field on third downs. The defense is creating constant havoc in the offensive backfields, stopping the run or disrupting the QB’s timing, even getting sacks – which we all love to see! During the preseason, the question was asked how this collection of veterans, free agents and rookie draft picks would work together. Well, in my opinion, they’re working great together. There seems to always be a group of defenders near or at the ball at all times, ready to pounce or gang tackle anyone with the ball. The D-line has improved by leaps and bounds. Gone are the days of running up the middle for a large gain or first downs. Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky has come in and infused some naked aggression into this Redskins defense. Relentless is the manner in which they carry out their assignments this season thus far. They play with passion and determination to accomplish their tasks. It’s been a long time since Greg Williams’ days that we’ve seen this type of energy and imposing their will from the Redskins defense. Timely blitzing and plays being made on the back end of the blitz, these are all things to appreciate, especially since in previous seasons teams used to call the Redskins defense “the stats unit,” because they were able to boost their individual stats against the Redskins. Now opposing teams simply plan to try and out-scheme this defense.
The Redskins haven’t been terrible on special teams, but they also haven’t been great. They haven’t allowed any punt returns or kickoffs for touchdowns, but they have given up good starting field position to the opposing offenses. At this point, kicker Dustin Hopkins still has not shaken off whatever has him in undependable mode. Not to worry though. With the 12 remaining games, things should get better and hopefully Hopkins will return to Pro Bowl form. Punter Tress Way has been clutch at pinning opposing offenses deep in their own territory. We can count on him week in and week out.
Redskins fans, put your seatbelts on and get your popcorn ready! These upcoming 12 weeks of Redskins football should be “must see TV.” The way these guys are playing, we’ll beat ourselves more than other teams will beat us. The Redskins just have to play smart football with no dumb, team hurting penalties, especially in the big moments of the game. The Redskins defense gave the Chiefs five 1st downs by jumping offsides before the snap. They committed hands to the face, holding and illegal blocks in the back. The defense must avoid doing anything that will set the team back or put the other team at an advantage. Coach Gruden has to control and manage the clock a little better than he did in the first four games. Running the ball is a great step in the right direction. If the Redskins continue that, all should be well. Enjoy the remaining 12 games diehard fans!
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