HOFFMAN: Inept offense, porous defense the constant for winless Redskins

Craig Hoffman
October 06, 2019 - 6:16 pm
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LANDOVER – The Redskins started well. In fact, the Patriots faced their first deficit of the year when Steven Sims scampered 65 yards for a touchdown. They didn’t score again. The Patriots did. A lot. The Redskins are 0-5.

It was merely 12-7 at halftime before the Patriots (5-0) turned it on and started playing at a level the Redskins couldn’t match. Outside of Sims 65-yard rush, the Redskins averaged less than three yards per play. 

Colt McCoy was the obvious choice to start today, but that doesn’t mean it was ever going to go well. McCoy has played in just six games since 2015. This was his third start. He has had just four practices. It came without any real weapons not named rookie Terry McLaurin, down two starting offensive linemen (three counting Trent Williams) and against the best defense the NFL has seen in recent memory. 

"They showed a lot of exotic stuff on film,” running back Adrain Peterson said after the game. “But against us, they didn’t really. You know? It was like, hey, we’ll sit back here and see what you guys do, allow you guys to mess up."

Mess up they did. McCoy finished 18/27 for 119 yards and an interception as the Redskins failed again to get the run game going. Peterson has yet to break 40 yards in a game this season. Sims' 65 yards are the highest for any single player for Washington this season, and they all came on one carry and he is a wide receiver.

The defense played well in the first half. They sacked Tom Brady four times. They still had no chance. The Washington defense ultimately surrendered 348 yards passing to future Hall of Famer before he exited the game with just over six minutes to go. Over one hundred of those yards went to Julian Edelman, who beat seemingly every Redskins defensive back as he dominated the middle of the field.

The Patriots also pushed over 100 yards rushing, with much of it coming from Sony Michele in a 3rd quarter where the Patriots pulled away. “We came out and they went touchdown, touchdown, touchdown,” head coach Jay Gruden said before lamenting his team’s lackluster “second half mentality.”

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There is no in-depth analysis here: This is what we thought would happen. The Patriots are an excellent football team. The Redskins are the opposite of that.

They are better in every way. They have better players. They are significantly better coached. They have better food in the press box. They literally do everything better as an organization.

That is why the last twenty years of Patriots football includes six Super Bowl victories and the Redskins don’t even have that many playoff appearances. In fact, they’ll have had that many starting quarterbacks since the start of last year when Dwayne Haskins eventually takes the reigns.

That time should be now, but Haskins is so far behind the learning curve, I’m not sure it’s possible. He struggled to call plays against New York, nevertheless run them. However, it might just be time to live with those mistakes, as unbearable as they may be, to figure out if he can play in this league or if the very high draft pick the Redskins will have in April should be used on another quarterback.

Players learn in different ways. If Haskins learning style is to learn by doing, he needs to do. He needs to get reps. That can’t happen unless he’s the starter. 

That’s the dilemma with the future, but the other biggest questions are who will be a part of the Redskins past. For now, Gruden is safe. The Redskins coach said after the game that no one in the organization has spoken to him about his job status. He also said no staff changes are planned.

What’s stunning is the resiliency of the locker room. “It’s going to fall into place man,” tackle Donald Penn said. “I just wish it would fall into place sooner before we were 0-5.”

“We’re going to band together,” corner Josh Norman said. “That’s all we got. We got nobody else. That’s for sure. Dig ourselves out of the hole we put ourselves into.”

For all the more than valid criticism of Gruden, Greg Manusky and the entire organization, they deserve some credit for not quitting. They haven’t quit on the season. They haven’t quit on each other.

“I feel like the coaches are putting us in position, we just gotta get it done,” running back Chris Thompson said, before eventually breaking down into tears talking about what Gruden has meant to his career. “That’s the name of the game.” 

Norman, Jon Allen, and Ryan Kerrigan echoed similar sentiments. “We’re professionals,” Kerrigan said alluding to the fact that they have 11 more games no matter the record now. 

Next week brings the Miami Dolphins, a fellow winless team. It is an opportunity to feel good in the short term, but the long term issues with this team and this organization remain. 

Quote of the day: “If the key works Monday I'll keep working." – Jay Gruden

Stat of the day: Thanks to the six sacks for -44 yards, the Redskins netted 75 yards passing on the day. They outrushed the Patriots 145-130, though 44 percent of that came on the Sims touchdown run.

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