Three embarrassing losses.
Last Monday, the Redskins suffered another prime time 31-15 beat down at the hands of the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field in front of a majority Bears crowd. Today, the Redskins have yet another opportunity to get into the win column against a beatable, but confident, New York Giants team. The Giants come in 1-2 with momentum after rookie quarterback Daniel Jones led them to a come-from-behind victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Giants running back Saquon Barkley is out 4 – 8 weeks with a high ankle sprain, so the Redskins will have one less weapon offensively to defend today.
The Giants have their sights set on making it two wins in a row putting them at 2-2 and right back in the middle of the NFC East division battle. The Redskins just need a win. This Redskin team has too much talent on both sides of the football to be getting defeated as soundly as they have these first three weeks. Defensively, they look to be unable to stop anyone. They can’t stop the run or pass, they can't cause enough turnovers, they can’t generate pressure on the quarterback, and they can’t get off the field on third downs. Offensively, they have not been able to establish a running game which has put them behind the eight ball schematically.
If the Redskins offense is not able to establish consistent success running the football today, they will once again find themselves playing catch up. If Case Keenum has to throw 40 times a game, and the Redskins are put in a position offensively where they have to play one-dimensional football, you can expect them to leave Metlife 0-4. In the first three games of this season, the Redskins run/pass ratio was 21/43 against the Bears, 17/37 versus the Cowboys, and 13/44 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins need to recognize they are not the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints or the Green Bay Packers. All those teams have “franchise” quarterbacks who are legitimately paid to win football games. Case Keenum has essentially been paid not to lose them and be a game manager. It’s hard to manage a football game when your offensive play callers send you out and pretty much say “put this team on your back and win one for the Gipper”, by asking you to throw two to three times more than you pass because you are consistently playing from behind. Head coach Jay Gruden and his offensive staff have got to find a way to help their quarterback and help themselves but getting into second down and short situations.
I’m not a big analytics guy, but I would bet that in the first half of these games, the majority of the run plays being called are on first down. This creates what is called a “tendency”, and opposing defensive coordinators are watching film to capitalize on those types of tendencies to turn them into big plays for their defense. The way the Redskins can neutralize that is to use some more creativity and not be so bland in their offensive schematics. They never look to be trying to score a touchdown. It looks more like they just don’t want to punt if that makes any sense. There’s no variety in the running attack, which makes it easy to defend. Teams are loading the defensive box and saying “we are going to dictate to you what you can do and that’s pass”. Expect more of the same from the Giants defense as they know the Redskins will completely abandon the running game at some point. If the Redskins can establish an offensive rhythm early and create momentum, that may bode well for them. They need to score early and put pressure on Daniel Jones to make plays in front of an anxious Giants crowd who does not want to see their team be the first ones to lose to the Redskins.
The Redskin defense has been putrid these first three games. Outside of the first half of the Eagles’ game, the Redskins have shown minimal resistance from all facets. As stated earlier, they have not been able to generate any pressure on the quarterback consistently and have not caused enough turnovers to help their offense acquire additional possessions. I try not to point fingers at players because there are a lot of components to having a great defense, but at what point does defensive coordinator Greg Manusky stop putting cornerback Josh Norman in single coverage situations without sending substantial pressure to at least cause the quarterback to release the football faster? Norman is continually beat like a dusty throw and no noticeable adjustments are made. When does Manusky say “this guy just can’t get it done”, or even say “Josh, let’s try you in another technique?” Anything but what they are currently doing because it ain’t workin.
The defensive line came into this season with a lot of hype and promise. I haven’t seen that promise transfer onto the field the way I believe it should. Rookie outside linebacker Montez Sweat had a sack last week when he absolutely shot off the corner and ran down Mitchell Trubisky from behind. That’s who he is. That’s what he does. Put him in the game in those situations where he can utilize that skill set and do what he is comfortable doing until he grows more into being a first and second down player. You want a talent like that to play freely and not have to think about anything because it will impede his progress and slow him down. The Redskins will need to play aggressively against the Giants this Sunday and hit Daniel Jones early and often. Make him think about every drop back pass he has to throw. Make him get rid of the football before he wants to and make him uncomfortable. It’s up to Manusky to figure out how to make that happen. If you let any NFL quarterback sit back and pick where they want to throw the ball, you won’t win many games with that strategy. Without offensive weapon Saquon Barkley, the Redskins defense should capitalize on that given the Giants generally run their offense through him.
This is a must win football game for so many reasons. If the Redskins lose, they will fall to 0-4 and 0-3 in the division, with the Patriots coming to DC next week. There could be jobs on the line this Sunday in New York. If you are a fan of the current management and coaching regime, you are hoping the Redskins get a win Sunday and get back on track, but if you are not, you might be hoping the Redskins get railroaded forcing owner Daniel Snyder to make some form of a change somewhere. You have to ask yourself as a fan, “what is in the best interest of this franchise in the grand scheme of things”. It’s not a ridiculous question. All that said, Redskins finally get a win in a tough game 27-24. As you were...
Photo Credit: Washington Redskins