Another tough loss for the Redskins and many fans are in panic mode. The O-line is banged up, the defense is near the bottom of the league, they still can’t win at home, etc, etc. Yes, the team is 1-2 and yes this could be a long season, but imagine what the talk would be like if yesterday’s news had gone more like this:
Last second heroics are now the norm in Washington. For the second week in a row, Robert Griffin III led his team back from the brink of defeat to an overtime win and the once-lowly Redskins, while bruised and battered, stand among the unbeaten at 3-0.
A stretch? Yes. But this is how close this team is to winning. Despite injuries to several key players, despite an uneven performance against St. Louis, and despite an abomination of a first half against Cincinnati, the Redskins could easily be 2-1 or even 3-0 right now, and the Kool-aid-fueled playoff-bound bandwagon from Week One could still be rolling merrily along.
But I’m glad they’re not, because this team has serious, glaring weaknesses, and pretending they don’t exist won’t make them go away. Injuries have laid bare the profound lack of depth on both the O-line and in the secondary. These positions need to be addressed between the draft and free agency next year, and with the lack of a first round pick and a $18 salary cap penalty, the front office can’t afford to make mistakes.
Until then, the coaches need to do what they can to get the best out of the personnel on the field and the trainers need to do a better job of keeping people healthy. Starting with “the franchise”: Robert Griffin III.
The O-line needs to find a way to help him stay upright and let him roll out when he wants to and not just when he’s running for his life. The defense needs to stop an opposing offense once in a while so that the offense isn’t playing from behind for the entire game. And the special teams? A week without a blocked punt is a big step in the right direction. A week without a fumbled return would be nice too. At some point, we’re going to lose one of those.
But there’s no need to panic. The team’s basically doing as expected under the circumstances. The offense is greatly improved, but the line is shaky. The front seven of the defense is struggling with key injuries, and the secondary is toast. The only surprises have been good ones: RGIII’s progress, Alfred Morris’ running, a group of productive receivers, and a deep linebacking corps. All the bad stuff we could see coming. And it will get better. Maybe not this season, but it will.