The Redskins are 0-2 to start the year, and have played two of the most uninspiring performances you will ever see. They got beat in all three phases of the game, and a lot of it was self inflicted, with poor play, stupid penalties and failing in the fundamentals. Head Coach Mike Shanahan has to do something quick before this season gets away from him. One thing that he can do is start sending a message to his team and tie playing time with performance, particularly among repeat offenders.
Now some might point to this as an overreaction for these first two weeks, but the Redskins have to do something and this is something that can shake up the team. Shanahan needs to make it clear to players that repeatedly failing to do your job and/or committing penalties won’t be tolerated and there will be consequences. This should be something that is applied across the board and not just to a few select players. All players whether they are a veteran on a multi-year contract to a league minimum player should be held accountable (in fact the veterans and higher drafted players should be held to a higher standard).
Now the Redskins can’t bench every single player (as tempting as that might be), but they can start to make some bigger decisions in an effort to mix things up and hope this team responds. And any argument for continuity should be a non-starter since this is basically the same team that won the NFC East last year, and that continuity doesn’t seem to be helping at all. Promoting a couple players isn’t going to destroy the familiarity that this roster has with one another, and if continuity is so important they should start making these moves now so the roster can build begin building that, rather than waiting another 6-10 weeks to make a move.
While the rookies should definitely be included, if the Redskins look to make moves here it should be more in a platoon sense, rather than outright benching them. That way they can still get some developmental time, but they aren’t getting a free pass from being held accountable. Now if the problems still persist even in a limited role then perhaps you sit them completely, but hopefully reducing their role will be enough to send a message.
Now what exactly am I proposing here? Am I suggesting that a single penalty or missed assignment warrants benching? No, not even close. This is for players who are continuing to struggle and perform below the expected standards at the position. One missed tackle, and a poor pursuit angle to the ball carrier, doing it multiple times a game and failing to make corrections is. These are professional football players and they should be able to learn on the fly and improve week to week. For those players who aren’t doing that the Redskins need to look to replace as much as possible. It might not put the Redskins back on track to win the division overnight, but it should go a long way to helping prevent the embarrassing losses each week.