As a fanbase, we’re traumatized. This acceptance, precedes any analysis of yet another opening day loss in the Jay Gruden Era (now 0-4 out of the gate).
We’re traumatized by the litany of stupid moments engineered by our team on the field, and off, over the last 18 years. And like any traumatized soul, we tend to catastrophize things like Sunday’s loss to the Eagles.
In short: it wasn’t that bad. Hardly. Go ask the Bengals. Or the Colts. Or the Giants. Or Texans. Now those guys had BAD days. Our guys just played a shit game, and got beat. Rightly so.
It didn’t mean there wasn’t some genuinely remote-smashing moments. Nor that there aren’t troubling signs already, of season long weaknesses to come. There were, and there are.
But if you ask me: a 19-17 game with 6:43 to play, plus the football – especially after being down 13-0 to start, and with 3 turnovers already and just 30 yards rushing out of your backfield – is no catastrophe. It’s a frustrating loss.
Of course, Kirk Cousins threw a bad INT off his back foot, in the red zone with 12 minutes left in the game. Indefensible. Yet, if I dare point out to the professional Kirk-haters in our fanbase that the game would not have ended right there with 12 minutes to go, had Kirk hit Crowder in stride for the TD, I will be labelled an apologist.
It’s gonna be a long year on that front. Grant me strength. Let’s just see the whole 16-game movie, how ’bout, then we’ll have all winter to fine tune exactly how many million a year Kirk is “worth?” Sound good? Because right now, some of us are trying to have a season. And for this season, Kirk is our guy. Period. We’ve already paid for him.
Let’s tally up the good, not-so-good, and the downright frightening.
Josh Norman: Incredible competitiveness, and nose for the football. Expensive. Worth every penny.
Zach Brown: already has me thinking he’s like that last FA LB we took off Buffalo’s hands. Erased plays all day, left and right. Fletcher 2.0.
Chris Thompson: Not only with that pinball TD catch and scamper, but did a good job on blitz pickup all day.
Ryan Grant: Hell, yeah give it up for ol’ Ryan. Maybe Jay’s gonna be proven right on this one after all.
Pass Rush: Had some moments. Had Wentz dead to rights too often. Didn’t put him on the ground enough. Too many long developing plays, where Wentz had plenty of time.
Crowder’s “Jump-Catch-Fumble” on the punt return. What, the, fuck? Bro.
Ryan Anderson’s neutral-zone infraction (seriously is it that hard to line up on-sides?) wiped out a Junior Galette sack he so richly deserved. Amazed and slightly shocked Galette is finally out there playing. What a road he’s travelled.
Kirk. Tentative at times with his new WR’s. But it’s still on him. You’re the man, dude, make it work.
O-line protection for Kirk. Both Moses and Trent got banged up wheels at some point in this game, but still, they were abused at times. Lavau continues to be a weak link.
Running game. Sure we can blame the o-line here too, but I stand firm in saying Rob Kelly is just a bad idea as RB1. While I don’t think college “pedigree” means everything in the NFL, we have to constantly remind ourselves this guy was an UDFA who never had a single 100 yard rushing game in college. Very few NFL RB1’s from that mold. Whatever Jay sees in Rob – and he’s professed his LOVE for Kelly – I don’t from my couch. He’s a below replacement level NFL starting RB.
Terrell Pryor’s hands. Oh holy shit were they bad on Sunday. And Browns fans will say: “Yup, while the rest of the world was just watching his highlights last year, we watched the games. And he dropped more balls than you can imagine.” I don’t want to imagine him as Andre Roberts, or Rod Gardner 2.o, but he’s gotta tighten that up. This isn’t Instagram, where you can delete your drops.
Josh Doctson. Still. Can’t. Get. On. The. Field. He played SOME on Sunday, but had no impact. And this is after a summer of coddling, coaxing, hyping, and hoping. I have zero expectations of him ever being an impact WR. Sorry.
More than a few people asked me why once again FedEx Field looks so bad already. Kinda brownish, and clumpy. Look, it is, what it is. We’re in the worst zone to try to grow real grass for football. Athletic bermuda has stopped growing already. And playing college games on the surface doesn’t help. Unless you want to spend a pile of money on it like Lambeau to make it half-bionic, fed with grow-lights through the winter, we’ll just have to hope the new stadium’s turf is better.
Instant replay was great again, huh? I’m not even mad. I’ve seen this over and over and over. I made my objections loud and clear. And I lost. The mob has spoken. They think it’s a good thing. Well, there was your good thing, ready to save the game from being decided by a wrong call. And yet….
Why in the bloody hell is Bashaud Breeland returning kickoffs? Why? This is a zilch play, that rarely nets a return past the 30 if you even get returnable kicks. Staff that position with an expendable redshirt and be done with it. Our starting OCB? The fuck you crazy, Jay? Breeland got blasted right on his knees at least 3 times on returns by my count. Insane. Hey Brian Quick: if it’s in the endzone, catch it and kneel. If not, run like hell, and don’t fumble.
I hate when coaches trade a :40 time coupon, just to avoid a 5 yard penalty. Gruden did on 3rd and 9 with time left in the 3rd quarter. It was of no use. They kicked a FG anyway. Had Kirk’s incompletion been called correctly, that timeout would have been worth it’s weight in gold.