What Is Motivating The Redskins?

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Dec 4, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis (85) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Redskins 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Redskins fans, the playoffs are no longer in sight for this 2017 Redskins team. This is another disappointing end to what was once a hopeful season. We had high expectations for this team, given all the upgrades on the defensive and special teams side of the ball, the offensive acquisitions Terrelle Pryor, Brian Quick and the emergence of Josh Doctson. There’s no sugar coating the disappointment this offense has been. Some of the finishes in certain offensive categories fell far below expectations. At times, the Redskins played merely to stay in games, rather than take games over and win convincingly. There were times the offensive players weren’t on the same page. As a result, the third down percentages have been taken to an embarrassing low, not to mention wearing the defensive unit down. This season is a bust. The lack of motivation and belief in the system really hurt this Redskins team. QB Kirk Cousins may have been forced to follow the script of Head Coach Jay Gruden, instead of being given the freedom to see things and make on-the-field adjustments when necessary. There’s good and bad that comes from making your QB play this way, unfortunately the bad was what we saw. This season was Cousins’ 3rd year as a starter. Usually by this point QB’s are allowed to make changes or call audibles at the line of scrimmage. Was this an option for Cousins or was he made to follow the Head Coach’s script to a tee? We won’t know the answer to that question, only what we see – which is not good.

The Redskins host the Arizona Cardinals next at FedEx Field. What is their motivation? I believe most players have checked out for the season. My conclusions are not just by sight, but by players’ comments and attitudes. This team is lost and has no clue how to get back. Infighting and undisclosed sources are starting to come forward, which is never a good thing. Players are feeling they’ve let down not only themselves but the team, fan base, and franchise as a whole.  This is an important time for the Redskins. These last three games will determine who wants to play the game they love and who’s in it for the wrong reasons. There’s nothing like having nothing to play for that shines a light on the pretenders. This will determine who’s here for the 2018 campaign. This week I’m expecting the Redskins defensive linemen to find their pass rush rhythm. The Cardinals are about the only team in the league that has suffered losses along the offensive line like the Redskins have. This should give the advantage to the Redskins defensive front in this matchup. On paper, the advantage belongs to the Redskins.

The Redskins made a statement two weeks ago, that they were evaluating Cousins, studying his pros and cons. Cousins has been here long enough for the Redskins to already know what they have in him. Cousins is a system guy, and system guys can’t be held totally accountable for all that happens on the field of play. The real question is who has the desire needed to win? We fans put blame all over the place – the players, the coaches, the training staff and the nutritionist(s). At this point, we have to look at the players. Who’s complacent versus who’s giving maximum effort? One important fact that players have to consider is that everything they do is placed on their video resume for the other 31 NFL teams to review. No one likes a player who quits on his team. What is their motivation?

The Redskins offense should find success in their play. The Cardinals have allowed 294 total opponent points this season, with a 22.6 average per contest. The Cardinals rush defense has allowed 1,259 total rushing yards with a 96.8 clip per game, and 2,909 passing yards with 223.8 yards per contest, landing Arizona at 8th in the NFL Power Rankings. These are areas where the Redskins can show and prove that it was more about injuries than lack of motivation and discipline this 2017 season. Good teams beat who they are expected to beat, no matter who’s playing. These last three games are crucial to the development of next season’s team. Players will be playing for their Washington Redskins life, and what they put on tape will go a long way in determining their future with this Redskins team. We fans want our glory days back, but will always appreciate effort and determination.

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