Thoughts and Observations from the Redskins vs Cardinals

Redskins Personnel Washington Commanders

1. The Redskins are a bad football team:

-If the 1-5 record with the only win against a hapless Jaguars team wasn’t proof enough. Watching the Redskins week-in-week-out it is very clear that this team just lacks talent and their coaching staff isn’t getting the most out of the talent that they do have. The Redskins on offense have serious questions at QB (and that does include RGIII), 4 positions along the OL, RB (see below), and TE (can Reed stay healthy). On defense there are question marks surrounding just about every player with the possible exceptions of Ryan Kerrigan and Keenan Robinson. Now that is not to say that there isn’t talent at some of these positions. Guys like Alfred Morris, Brian Orakpo and Jason Hatcher have talent, they just aren’t producing like they should. Other positions have been weakened by injuries, but even then some of those positions still weren’t going to be that strong. The Redskins once again were beaten in every phase of the game versus the Cardinals and nothing looks like it is going to improve anytime soon. The scary thought is things could get worse before they get better. The Redskins are naturally talent deficient, have numerous players underperforming, appear to be getting out-coached/schemed, and are dealing with a number of injuries. This is a recipe for a disaster and if they don’t turn it around in the next three weeks it could get really ugly.

2. Kirk Cousins struggles when the pressure is on:

-For three quarters Kirk Cousins did a nice job taking what the Cardinals gave him and making some really good throws. He was off target on some throws and maybe missed a couple open receivers, but typically those were on plays where the defense got some pressure and they were more excusable. You wouldn’t have said it was a great day for Cousins, but he was doing his job and making good throws. Unfortunately there is a 4th quarter for football and that is where the wheels came off the wagon. Cousins just started making really questionable decisions in the 4th quarter and was forcing throws at a time when he really didn’t have to. The Cardinals were up 10 points, before Cousins first INT, but the Redskins still had 10 minutes left to overcome that deficit or at least play for overtime. In the end it might not have mattered as the Cardinals may have still won the game, but the first two Cousins interceptions were just back breakers (the 3rd was from a fantasy football perspective), for a team trying to stay competitive in a game and find positive things to build upon for the future.

3. Where has Alfred Morris gone:

Alfred Morris was a stud for the Redskins his first two years, and looked to be a top 5 pure rusher in the league (his lack of skills in the passing game have held him back), but this season he has all but disappeared. Morris has yet to break 100 yards this year (though it wasn’t his fault versus the Texans), and has rushed for an average of less than 4.0 yards per carry in 4 of the 6 games this season. Now part of his issue can be attributed to a lack of carries, particularly the past three weeks where he’s seen just a total of 38 carries, but that isn’t the only reason for his running woes. Morris just hasn’t been as productive when running the football as he was the past two years. While Jay Gruden needs to find ways of using Morris more often (and effectively), some of it is on Morris as well. If Morris is only getting 1-3 yards on a first down carry, it’s tough to go back to the run on 2nd down. Now it isn’t all on Morris as of course the run blocking has been somewhat ineffective this year, and in this game in particularly not having Darrel Young fully healthy was going to limit his rushing ability. Morris these past two years did a better job of breaking tackles and making yards after initial contact. That isn’t happening as much this year and it’s been a noticeable difference.

4. Lack of a pass rush is extremely troubling:

-The Redskins were facing off versus a weaker offensive line yesterday and a quarterback who isn’t exactly known for his mobility. The end result was the Redskins got one sack on a play where there was a bad snap that Carson Palmer tried to pick-up and didn’t immediately throw it away. The Redskins were able to manage some decent pressure and generated a few holding calls, but it wasn’t good enough in a pretty favorable match-up. They have to find a way to get sacks and even more pressure on the QB in general and that has to happen given how bad/injured this secondary is. Schematically the Redskins need to do more as a defense to get their guys home, but the individual effort needs to be more as well. The Redskins have a number of picks and contracts invested in these guys, and they need to expect more out of them.

5. Where do the Redskins go from here?

-It’s sad to say but in the 2nd week of October the Redskins season is all but over right now. We are 6 games into the season (10 teams have only played 5 games), after tonight’s MNF game and the Redskins sit tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the worst record in the NFC at 1-5 (even if the Rams lose tonight they will be only 1-4). The Buccaneers haven’t looked great overall, but they’ve arguably played better than the Redskins. Both teams are pretty bad, but the Buccaneers did get their win on the road against a Steelers team that is definitely better than the Jaguars. So through nearly 40% of our season the Redskins are possibly the worst team in our conference. The chances of the Redskins righting this ship are slim-to-none at this point as, there isn’t much the Redskins can look at as a success this season.

With the Eagles and Cowboys both sitting at 5-1 it would be nearly impossible to beat out both of them for the division at this point and the wild card race isn’t any more promising. With their playoff window basically closed, the Redskins need to start figuring out who can play for next year, and try to build something to prevent this losing from continuing.

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