Redskins: The Strongest Will

Aug 26, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Bruce Ellington (12) runs for additional yardage against the New Orleans Saints during the first half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder (80) makes a reception past Philadelphia Eagles free safety Rodney McLeod (23) and cornerback Jalen Mills (31) during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Redskins fans, I’m at a point where the post-game interviews, player comments, and mid-week reports are all sounding bogus. Week in and week out we hear how well this Redskins team performs during practice. You’ve heard it all just as I have. According to the stories, Kirk Cousins and his receivers Jamison Crowder, Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson, all are supposedly on the same page, having developed chemistry. My question remains, is this only in practice, when the team is playing against the air? I see no chemistry or cohesion or continuity. The team plays with no will, especially when it matters most. We see quick and positive starts with dull and lackluster finishes. All of this falls on coaching. Several times we saw the Eagles line up on defense for the all-out blitz and neither Cousins nor Gruden made any adjustments. That really bothers me. Wide receivers didn’t cut off routes or at least look back to bail there QB out of bad situations. The moment we realized that the blitz was on, it was Cousins’ job to put his team in a position to succeed. That hasn’t happened all season. Why is that? Are these guys watching film and designing plays that’ll relieve some of the pressure or hits on Cousins? We are too far into this 2017 campaign to still have these types of issues.

Head Coach Jay Gruden has shown us exactly who he is. Why would you allow your defensive unit to be dragged up and down the field toward the half, at the end of the second quarter? Gruden once again took three unused timeouts into the locker room at the half. That was a mistake, especially once the Eagles decided to run their version of the hurry-up offense. It was very hard for me as a fan to watch the Eagles just have their way with our defense. A timeout in that situation not only stops the hurry-up, but it also gives your defense a chance to gather themselves. This happens too often with this Redskins team under the leadership of Gruden. With the defensive injuries coming in and during the game, one would think every opportunity to give your defense a breather would be taken advantage of. Funny thing is, when the Redskins started to gain momentum, the Eagles quickly called timeouts. In my book, that’s what kept the Eagles “fresh,” in the words of Monday Night Football commentator Jon Gruden.

I’m also done with the Terrelle Pryor experiment. This guy could be an asset to any team, if he could only catch the ball. Ask yourself, are the Redskins really a team that can afford a developing player, or do they need someone who’s polished and seasoned in the WR position? Opportunities to make big plays were being missed. As an example, the 3rd down play on the Redskins second possession in the 1st quarter. First, why call a play that doesn’t take the receiver past the yards needed; and second, where was Ryan Grant’s fight for the yardage needed to gain the 1st down? Ryan simply stepped out 1 yard short, leaving the Redskins to try a field goal. These are plays that push a team forward. You’ll either gain momentum or lose it. The Redskins had ample opportunities to seize the momentum and failed on every one, except in the 1st quarter. I would love to ask Cousins or Gruden if they use audibles at all. Sad part is, we all watched Eagles QB Carson Wentz (a 2-year player) analyze and dissect our defense, play after play.

The Redskins started the game rushing and passing at will. Once the Eagles made their necessary adjustments, the Redskins seemed to have no counter. Again, not to beat a dead horse, but that falls on the coaches more so than the players. I need to understand why Cousins in his 4th year as a starter looks worse than 2-year starter Wentz. What’s happening in our film study, on the practice field and in team meetings isn’t translating to the field of play. Fans watching the game Monday night recognized or identified exactly when the Eagles were blitzing, while the Redskins did not.

The Redskins defense also let the team down on too many momentum-seizing opportunities – a missed sack, dropped interception, missed tackles in the back field, blown coverages. Once again we saw the Redskins defensive unit come out on fire and watched them slowly fizzle out. I understand the defense practically limped into this game, but injuries were present on both teams. When Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Jason Peters was carted off the field, I thought the Redskins D-linemen would take advantage of the situation. Instead, we watched Peters’ replacement step in and step up. Wentz played a big part in his success by moving around and feeling the pressure before it actually arrived. These are the types of drive-sustaining plays that a starting QB is expected to make. I really don’t like to get into the whole ‘who does and doesn’t deserve what’ argument when it comes to a player’s salary, but we saw a $200 million dollar QB play Monday night and he wasn’t wearing a Redskins uniform.

If I had to grade this Redskins performance or lack thereof, their grade would be a D-. Everything the Eagles did was the same as the first game, and the Redskins simply looked unprepared. This grade reflects the team as a whole – coaches, players and all. What will it take for the Redskins to play at a high level for the whole game, not just the 1st quarter or 1st half? We now find ourselves 3rd in the division, looking up at the Cowboys. Two losses in the division is a hard place to crawl from, but I’ve seen it work out before. So yes Redskins fans, it can be done. There’s still a bunch of football left to be played. If these mistakes aren’t addressed and corrected, we’ll see more frustrating Redskins losses the rest of this 2017 season. Let’s hope our Redskins use these teachable moments to pull it together while we fans continue to HAIL!

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