Now or never for Alex Smith and Redskins offense?

Ben Krimmel
October 27, 2018 - 11:52 am
Redskins_Quarterback_Smith

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

After six games, Redskins fans are still waiting for Alex Smith and the offense to come to life. 

Smith has been adequate for Washington, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt and 230.5 yards per game, but hardly electric. Nobody would confuse his ho-hum performances this season for anything that makes fans say, "Holy Cow!" It has been the other big offseason acquisition, running back Adrian Peterson, with the lion's share of exciting plays. 

However, with a 4-2 record and first place in the NFC East, Smith has done enough to keep the Redskins in the mix. The question now: Will this be the week Smith and the Redskins passing game starts to shine?

The next three games are a great barometer for Washington's passing offense because they'll face three of the worst defenses against the pass in the NFL. Simply, if Smith and company can't shine against these opponents, will they ever?

Sunday in New York, the Redskins face a Giants pass defense that is ranked 27th by Football Outsiders. New York, who traded corner Eli Apple Tuesday, ranks in the bottom half in opponent QB rating, passing yards per attempt allowed, and in points per game allowed.

It gets better for a Washington offense looking to breakout in Week 9 when they face an Atlanta pass defense (the fourth worst per Football Outsiders) who are allowing 306.7 yards over the air per game, third highest in the league. 

In three weeks, it gets even easier, as Washington travels to Tampa Bay to play the worst pass defense in all of football. The Buccaneers are last in opponent passing yards per game, last in average passer rating allowed, and 2nd bottom in yards per pass attempt allowed. The Bucs are also leading the NFL in points allowed at 32.7 per game. 

While Jay Gruden's offense has struggled to find consistent play from the quarterback, scoring points after halftime has also been an area of concern. The Redskins rank 30th in football with just 6.2 points per second half.

Luckily, this is another area in which their next three opponents have struggled. The Giants are allowing 12.9 points per second half (21st in the NFL), the Falcons 17.1 points (29th), and the Buccaneers 11.8 points allowed after the interval (17th).

These next few weeks, the Redskins have a huge opportunity to put some of the concerns about their offense – and the quarterback leading them – to bed.

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