It’s an early forecast, but here goes: we have all the necessary conditions for a major December Redskins shitstorm forming over Ashburn, VA. Doesn’t mean it will materialize, but the long range models are all looking rather ominous.
You have the stagnant air of the Kirk Cousins Contract Standoff settling in over the coming off-season. You have the explosive energy of a potential high pick in a draft that will be chock full QB prospects with first round grades. You have the building moisture of a head coach who looks exhausted and flummoxed with every press conference.
All that’s needed now, is a sudden drop in the barometric pressure of 5 straight losses to end the season…. and kaboom. The shitstorm will be on.
Plenty of things just haven’t worked out this year for the Redskins. The main ones are these, in my opinion.
A Credible Running Game Never Materialized
Jay Gruden has always had a rep as a pass-first, pass-second, and run-when-you-can offensive guru. His passing schemes have been described as elegant and flawless in their design. Some will say that almost all of Kirk Cousins’ success has been due to learning how to paint by Jay’s numbers. But even in today’s league, you gotta run the ball. Run it when it gets sloppy and cold. Run it when you are choking out a late lead. Run it on 3rd and 4th and short to keep the ball, and move the chains. Jay expressed over-the-top faith in Fat Rob. The fan base was in love with Samaje Perine and his absurd college production from the minute he arrived in camp. Neither guy is very good. Chris Thompson carried us as part of a TE-RB screen-heavy team, until he and everyone else got hurt.
The Offensive Line Got Destroyed by Injury
There’s no way to plan for this kind of devastation. None.
The WR Plan To Replace Garcon and Jackson Flopped Like The Movie Gigli
On paper, it was entirely defensible. In fact, I may have even voiced my support for it (minus letting Garcon go, although paying WR’s significant 3rd contracts is generally a losing NFL wager). I too, penciled Pryor in for a big season. Whoops. He ran poor routes, and had worse hands when healthy. Then he got hurt, and it was over. (But hey, we’ll always have the Instagram catches!) As for Doctson, I think he’s a bust. Many people get angry when I say that. Sorry. He’s got 29 catches through two years. And yeah, he was hurt last year. Pity. But this is a production league. That he was a slow starter this season following an injury the Skins medical staff had trouble even finding last season, does not inspire confidence. To my eye, Doctson is a slow-loping, high-leaping, one-trick pony. He doesn’t seem fierce or explosive on the ground, and his hands are… underwhelming. For a first round pick, that’s a bust – even with 5 TDs this year. First rounders need to give you at least 4 solid years of production right out of the gate. They are not “stash and develop players.” You are justified in being impatient with them! Now, I’m not advocating we cut him. And he may yet make a Nelson Agholor comeback from the brink. But I’m leaving the pumpkin patch on this one. There are plenty of Skins fans who bombarded me on Twitter that will gladly wait for the “Great Pumpkin” to arrive on this kid.
The Defense Inexplicably Sunk Back To The Bottom of the NFL Lake
We had such high hopes after the first month. Then Jon Allen got hurt, along with every decent inside linebacker we had. The secondary still has plenty of very attractive parts, which is frustrating. We have an expensive blue chipper in Josh Norman who has played like a lost puppy as of late. Bashaud Breeland went from being our best cover corner last month, to being benched for some reason on Sunday. Kendall Fuller is a wonderful young slot corner, and DJ Swearinger has been a very good free agent purchase. So what gives? Maybe the blame goes to Greg Manusky, but I’m not that smart. All I know is that nobody is making any plays on defense. Nobody. Six of our last 8 opponents have scored 30+ on us. We’re back to square one.
Jay Gruden Is Indeed, Regressing
Hey, he admitted as much after the loss to the Chargers. So I’ll go with that thought, and elaborate. As good as Jay seemingly was to get his team prepared for games like Seattle – where they had no business winning, with all of those injuries, and I’ll include New Orleans where they had the Saints DEAD to rights (99% win probability in the 4th quarter) – he still doesn’t know how to squeeze out close wins with tactics and guile. His grasp of using timeouts is horrific. He won’t press his case to the refs with any zeal like a Sean Payton or Pete Carroll, even though working the refs in the NFL is absolutely effective in certain situations. He admits to maybe not knowing the rules. And “give up” decisions like not going for two on Sunday (farfetched as any comeback might have been) because he was worried about incurring more injuries (huh?) went over like a fart in an elevator. Jay has the friendly tone of an upper-midwest meat butcher, chatting you up as he wraps your sirloin at the local “Shop ‘n Save.” I’m not saying being an asshole would make the team play better. But I AM a believer in tone. And when Jay’s horky-dork tone is the soundtrack of repeated pulseless efforts when the season is on the line (last year Panthers and Giants, this year Cowboys and Chargers) it’s hard for me to think there’s ZERO correlation between the two. I’m not saying fire him, but what was a promising year in his career arc as coach, is quickly evaporating.
Injuries are always ready as an excuse, but it’s the teams that use them as such who can usually be found at the bottom of the league table. I’ll never forget when Bill Belichick sent home several high profile players who were 10 minutes late to practice – the day after a 2 foot blizzard!
Oh, it snowed? That’s your excuse? Fuck you. Time to practice.
We now head into a dangerous stretch. There are three demonstrably bad teams coming up, with two bad QBs under center (and Eli!) two games at home where another dud effort will be met with derisive boos from a half-full and mostly drunk FedEx Field fanbase. I’ll go out on a small limb and say they MUST win one of the home games before shoving off for New York to finish the season. If they don’t…. buckle up.
At that point, an oh-by-the-way win to make them 6-10 would have no effect on the dismal vibe heading into January. Cousins will be due another massive guarantee of $28 million at worst. An already bitterly divided fanbase on Kirk’s worth, will grow even more hostile. Another year of “Rent-A-Kirk” is utterly untenable, even if the league granted the Redskins a ZERO cap hit to do it. Kirk and his agent know this inherently, and as such will just stare at any pen on a long term contract Bruce pushes in front of them like it’s coated in anthrax.
All of the conditions are present for another crazy, ugly January in Redskin-land. Winning will be perhaps the only way to stop it. I said back in August that “ain’t nobody leaving an 11 win party!” That was true, even if it didn’t happen. The corollary theory, which I didn’t even bother to contemplate is similar: “Ain’t nobody STAYING for an 11-loss police raid.”
two games at home where another dud effort will be met with derisive boos from a half-full and mostly drunk FedEx Field fanbase.
I’m off Sunday…..if you paid me $1000 per ticket and picked up parking I wouldn’t take my family of 4.
Yes, these next few games will be big in terms of direction forward. Over the last three weeks it seems the whole organization has run out of gas. Afraid to say it, but total collapse is possible this off-season–no QB, starting over at head coach, etc. Management seems more concerned with intra-office politics and “winning” the off-season perception / marketing game than it does about winning on the field.
Think you nailed it with this rant.
I think the Redskins need to hire players with better moral character, stronger work ethics, and hire coaches who aren’t Peter Principle promotions (Bill Callahan, Rex Ryan, Jack Del Rio).
Thinking you can draft a guy who can run faster or throw better than the opposition is called NCAA or Intramurals brutha! The NFL is chess and asking for a rook that can jump over pieces is fantasy. Get some brains on the sidelines and execute plays that work.
Exactly what Pk said. It is the N. F. freaking L. Everyone is an elite athlete – the absolute best of the best. The game is played above the neck, and if you do not have the gray matter to sustain your athleticism; you’re not long for this league. The smartest of players continue to hone their craft; and find that angle, or edge that sets them apart. The “athletes” are a mere flash-in-the-pan.
So does this mean we get more “Car Talk” from you and the boys on the Stede Zabin Show in the next couple of weeks to help lighten our dispirited, Christmas, non-playoff spirits?
How about you trade Doctson for Vikings ‘16 first rounder Lawson Treadwell? One catch last year and 17 this year. Career total yardage=119.
Spot on evaluation Steve. Also, what’s up with our special teams? We’re regressing (going from “meh” to worse) in that department too: we can’t field punts (or at least hold onto the ball) and we can’t cover punts, but at least we have a kicker with a good head of hair. We’re springing leaks like a spaghetti colander leaving us with a mile-long “needs” list.
The bizzarro thing is that our one working part: Cousins, K., is the one piece the office doesn’t like. The guy is a star and right now the criticism of him is he isn’t Tom Brady. Or Roethelisburterger. So?
This is like in the last Lord of the Rings movie where where all the balls are in motion outside mordor but the only thing that really matters is Frodo getting the ring into the lava. Kurt is the ring and the lava is a contract that makes him ours….all ours. mwah hahahaha. All the skirmishes between orcs/trolls and gondor, our injuries, odd personnel decisions, etc don’t matter at all. Kirk is beyond good enough. If there’s a spare brady lying around in the 6th round in next year’s draft, then cool beans, but there isn’t.
Give the guy some FFFFF——– weapons. How many balls have to hit our skill players in the hands? You know what? Most QB’s fumble the ball when sacked and hit because of a porous line. If EVERY FIRST DOWN PLAY IS A RUN then the defense may get wise.
Finally, one gripe from the game is apparently our dudes suck so bad, they don’t get PI calls now.
I hate to say it, do we blame Duece G for the injuries?
I think his name is Keith. Pretty disrespectful of you to not remember his name. Anyway, I read an article yesterday that said that Antonio Brown has dropped exactly two passes all year, in approximately five billion targets. Each of our 2017 receivers drop two passes basically every single drive. Can’t win with these guys, and I agree with Stege Czaban that Doc is a bust. The only one I trust even a little after this is Ryan Grant. Ryan Grant! The same guy I viewed as a roster stuffer at best just last year.
Damage done as far as I’m concerned. QB on his way out and already out mentally, coach looks like he’s aged 10 years since August and doesn’t want to be there anymore, fan base sliding into familiar apathy, players mailing it in and being passive-aggressive when criticized for it etc. If this team beats ANYONE right now, I will be extremely surprised.
Sheehan and Cooley did the contrived defense speech for Allen today. But no one is convincing me that the present malaise isn’t somehow connected to Allen’s girlish handling of Scot McCloughan last year. A lot of these players absolutely love Scot and largely came here because of him. Except for Sheehan and Cooley I don’t know anyone who loves Bruce Allen. Every action has ramifications here. Slandering Scot McCloughan on the way out the door might have been an extremely poor decision. And we don’t even know if he actually was drinking or whether that was just a convenient smear to cover their asses. It was all just a classic Redskins move, leading me to look for Vinny hiding just off camera. This is why the team always loses. They are amateurs. Allen is an amateur. How is our team supposed to look like it’s a professional organization when it is being led by a petty amateur like that?
As a Miami native, transplanted to Maryland, who now roots for Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, and the Patriots… I find it delicious that we sit here now with 6 games left in the season pretty much exactly where I expected we would be in the preseason as you were prattling on about “ain’t nobody leaving an 11 win party!!!”, and my oh my how delusional the Dolphins are, why don’t they just understand that they are terrible and go out there and suck this season instead of bringing in Jay Cutler to “try to have a season”…
Here we are, the Dolphins are an ugly 6-7, while your vaunted Redskins, who look down their noses at the Dolphins and their assortment of backup and retread QB’s,… well those 11 win party, let’s have ourselves a season Redskins are… 5-8.
Glad to see homerism and delusion have not lost their home of homes right here in the DelMarVa.
And great call, by the way, on the “crimes against humanity” call about the Dolphins and their modern uniforms. Those are the exact same words I used texting with my buddy Monday night watching the game. It’s a true atrocity that they’ve tossed that classic look in the dumpster and lit a match in favor of this new crap we’re forced to bear witness to.