"On paper, Washington looks good at almost every position, but it will all come down to the health and on the field performance that Griffin demonstrates during this critical season."
-CKG, From the Sidelines. September 20, 2014.
|Photo Courtesy of The Washington Post.|
|Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.|
Photo Courtesy of USA Today.
He has not been able to transition into being a pocket passer and in recent weeks has struggled to step into his throws and read different defensive coverages. In addition, he has reportedly been unwilling to run more read option style plays that allowed him to flourish during his spectacular rookie season. Although to be fair, he hasn't been able to regain the speed that made him one of the most powerful offensive weapons in 2012.
It appears that first year head coach Jay Gruden has also given up on trying to transform Griffin into a pocket passer and has turned his attention to backup quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. However, that plan hasn't worked out either. Cousins lost each of his five starts this season and has thrown an alarmingly high nine interceptions in those games, most occurring in the second half of games. Add in two additional fumbles and he's been a turnover machine. McCoy led the Redskins to two of their three wins this season, but his numbers haven't been consisted. He most recently struggled in Washington's 24-0 loss to the St. Louis Rams where McCoy threw for just 199 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
|Redskins offensive tackle Trent WIlliams|
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Offensive guards Shawn Lauvao and Chris Chester were last minute free agent signings this past offseason that don't look like they could start on any other team in the NFL. Offensive linemen Tyler Polumbus and Tom Compton are consistently beat by opposing defensive ends, and rookie lineman Morgan Moses and Spencer Long have failed to break past their roles as unproductive backups.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson has been a rare offensive threat for the Washington Redskins this season, but has failed to provide any support in blocking opposing defensive backs. Pierre Garcon rarely gets balls thrown his way any more and, along with Jackson, have expressed frustration at the quarterbacks. Tight end Jordan Reed has experienced similar problems to Jackson where he excels as a pass catcher, but struggles mightily in blocking schemes.
|Redskins safety Ryan Clark|
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.
|Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett|
Photo Courtesy of Zimbio.com.
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett came into the season proclaiming that he was free from the proverbial shackles that former head coach Mike Shanahan placed on him and his defensive schemes. He was now free to call as many blitzes as he wanted to call. The front seven for Washington is decent at blitzing, but the linebackers have struggled mightily in dropping back in coverage to cover wide receivers and tight ends, and the defensive line doesn't create enough pressure to disrupt the opposing team's quarterback in the pocket.
Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan has posted 11.5 sacks this season and linebacker Keenan Robinson leads the Redskins with a team high 99 tackles. Outside of those two players, there has been little other production on defense. Linebacker Perry Riley and nose tackle Jarvis Jenkins have been big disappointments this season and players such as, Brian Orakpo, Jason Hatcher, Barry Cofield, and Stephen Bowen, have suffered from too many injuries to make a positive impact on the football field.
|Redskins punter Tress Way.|
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.
However, there have been some bright spots from the special teams this year and they include kicker Kai Forbath and rookie punter Tress Way. Even though Forbath can't send a kickoff to the opposing teams' endzone, which guarantees the opposing team a solid return, he has converted 19 of 22 field goals this season and 25 of 26 extra point attempts. Meanwhile, Way might actually be one of the best punters in the entire NFL. His punts have averaged out at over 48 yards and with the Redskins offense looking anemic this season, he has gotten 64 chances the punt the football and has made the most out of his chances.
|Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.|
Photo Courtesy of The Washington Times.
After a loss to the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Griffin told reporters that he wanted every player on the team, including himself, to take a look in the mirror and be better. He also told reporters that even the great quarterbacks in the NFL, like Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, can't be great if their teammates aren't playing great as well.
In the NFL culture, the unspoken rule has always been that if you're the quarterback and you're not playing well, you take all of the blame. If you are playing well, you don't take the credit and instead pass it to the other players on the team. That sparked controversy as Jackson put up a picture on Instagram with the caption, "You can't do epic s---, with basic people." New leaks have come out in the media stating that Gruden has never believed in Griffin as his quarterback.
|Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen|
Photo Courtesy of CSNWashington.com.
During the Redskins run to the playoffs in 2012, reports came out that Snyder exclusively hosted Griffin and his family to dinners at his private mansion. This continued into 2013 where Griffin's family was allowed into the locker room after games. Understandably so, this created friction amongst the other players on the team who openly questioned why Griffin was getting special treatment. And Snyder has done this with other star players during his tenure as the team owner.
|Redskins owner Daniel Snyder|
Photo Courtesy of Forbes.
|Redskins rookie linebacker Trent Murphy.|
Photo Courtesy of sfgate.com.
Breeland, a fourth round pick, shows potential, but has not been consistent enough throughout the entire season to warrant a starting role going into next year. And finally, the only other player that was drafted and made the team was wide receiver Ryan Grant, drafted in the fifth round. Grant has posted five receptions for 57 yards this season.
Snyder, Allen, Shanahan, Gruden and the entire scouting offices and player development offices for the Washington Redskins deserve a HUGE amount of criticism for this mess. There is a track record of missing, more often than not, on draft selections. And even worse, not seeing the draft selections develop into players that can start in the organization.
(Probably having reported 'Taco Tuesdays' during Training Camp isn't the best nutritional method to develop the best professional athletes for your team and your organization).
With three games left, there seems to be an absence of hope in the Washington Redskins organization and worse among the Washington Redskins fan base. The team's last Super Bowl title was now over 23 years ago, back in 1991. Since Snyder became the team owner in 1999, the Redskins have made the playoffs just four times and have only made it out of the first round of those playoffs twice. Recently retired former Washington linebacker London Fletcher has publicly called out Haslett for being a terrible defensive coordinator back when he was playing for the Redskins. There are even rumors of Gruden trying to find a way out of his current contract so that he can go coach at the University of Michigan in 2015. There appears to be a new rumor or grumbling about the organization every single day.
The Washington Redskins appear to be on their way to another last place finish in the NFC East. Sure, they might not be the WORST team in the NFL. But they certainly are the most embarrassing team. And with an organization that is filled with such rich history and proud moments, the last 15 to 20 years are beginning to kick the team's glory days further and further away.
|Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy.|
Photo Courtesy of Bleacherreport.
There are things that this team can do to turn their fortunes around, even if it's more in the long term than the short term. But that would take another post. So until free agency, I suggest this. Start supporting the Washington Wizards. They are 16-6, have some of the most exciting young players in the NBA John Wall and Bradley Beal, and are officially the best sports team in Washington D.C.
Any thoughts on the current state of the Washington Redskins? Leave a comment below or tweet me your comment on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.