Monday, October 3, 2016

Redskins Raise More Concerns Despite Win

The Washington Redskins' win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday certainly wasn't pretty.

After jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and looking like the playoff contenders they were a year ago, the mighty Browns came roaring back to tie things at the half 17-17.

And then the third quarter wasn't much better than the second. In fact, it was almost worse. The Redskins couldn't tackle. The offense couldn't stay on the field. The Browns were in control and taking it to the defending conference champions all while doing it eight hours away from their home town.

But the Redskins weren't done. Not Sunday. Not against the Cleveland Browns. Behind 14 fourth quarter points and turnovers on three consecutive drives by Cleveland, the Redskins stormed back to take the 'W'. It will most certainly be a signature win of the first-half of the season...

Honestly, I am not sure what to make of this team. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, they were an embarrassment. And the only thing Kirk Cousins was able to do was prove that Scot McCloughan and his brain trust were smart in not inking him to the lucrative deal the quarterback craved.

However, Washington then played scrappy football on the road against the New York Giants. Neither team played well, but the Redskins hung in there while the Giants got off to a quick start. Jay Gruden's team battled and outlasted their division rivals.

Then they came home and put together an embarrassing performance against a mediocre football team. Luckily, it was the Browns, who can't seem to get out of their own way. If teams were ranked based on how well they can throw a game away, Cleveland would be No. 1 and I doubt Washington would be far behind.

Couple a dismal performance against an awful team with the injuries that Joe Barry's defense has suffered in the past two weeks and I don't see how anybody can be optimistic about this squad going forward. D'Angelo Hall is gone, Bashaud Breeland and Ryan Kerrigan are day-to-day while David Bruton Jr. and Su'a Cravens have entered the NFL's concussion protocol.

You can count them, but that's five starters whose statuses for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens is in doubt. If you've got Joe Flacco on your fantasy team, you shouldn't have to be told that starting him is a good idea.

If there's one thing that Redskins fans can fall back on it's history. In 2015, Washington started off the year 2-2 before entering the Week 7 bye 3-4. Then, the Burgundy and Gold rolled through the second-half of their schedule with plenty of flare to win the division and make the playoffs.

If you have followed the team closely for the past decade, then this type of play and this type of start shouldn't come as a surprise. However, while history says the Redskins can turn it around like they did a year ago, the trend says they won't.

The defense needs to stay healthy for them to buck that trend, though, and the offense will need to be one of the most prolific in the NFL. On paper, that shouldn't be a problem, and the Redskins currently rank 8th in the NFL in yards-per-game. But can they play consistent offense durning a game like a top-10 unit should?

I guess we'll find out, but so far they have not.