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Patriots 2019 Opponents, First Impressions of the Redskins

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
2 years ago at 6:37 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

Patriots 2019 Opponents, First Impressions of the RedskinsPaul Rutherford - USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins have dropped a long way from the glory years of Joe Gibbs, the Hogs, Riggo, and the Fun Bunch. Gibbs won three Super Bowls with three different QBs. But they’ve gone through a slew of QBs and head coaches and even brought Gibbs back about 10 years ago, all to no avail.

Washington finally got a new stadium in Landover, MD but has yet to field a team that is remotely close to competing for a Super Bowl. The fans in the D.C. area have always been rabid football fans, dating back to their 1937 beginnings. But the fan base is beginning to turn off from the constant losing and the hiring of coaches that can’t turn the fortunes of the team around. 

This year’s team has been beset by injuries galore but the 0-4 start isn’t expected to get much better this week as the Patriots are 16 point road favorites this.

So, here are our first impressions of the Redskins of 2019:

Who is the Quarterback for the Skins on Sunday? Gruden Mum on It:

Washington brought in Alex Smith last year after Kirk Cousins got his big-money contract with the Vikings. Smith suffered a gruesome injury in 2018 and is still out. Case Keenum started the season but after drafting Dwayne Haskins this spring, head coach Jay Gruden was feeling the heat to play the rookie. Gruden made it clear that he wouldn’t put him until he was ready. 

But after an 0-3 start and a listless first half against the Giants, Gruden bowed to pressure and put Haskins in the second quarter. As expected, Haskins showed he wasn’t ready yet and the Redskins scored just three points. So with the Patriots coming into town, Gruden made it clear again, that just for the simple fact that they’re facing New England his decision wouldn’t be affected by their opponent. 

But now he faces a dilemma. Keenum has been ineffective, but with the different looks and packages that the Patriots have been throwing at QBs thus far, it could be very detrimental to the confidence of a young QB like Haskins. So what do they do? The answer may be Colt McCoy, the veteran QB who is finally getting healthy. Whatever he decides, Gruden isn’t saying anything, playing the “keep New England guessing” game. 

Injuries Have Been Tearing the Depth Apart: 

The Redskins have been decimated by injuries. We mentioned above that Smith was hurt last year, but this epidemic they’re suffering has really taken a toll. Already minus All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams who wants out of town, the excellent TE Jordan Reed, young speedster WR Terry McClaurin has missed time with a hamstring. Center Chase Rollier as well as 4x Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherf has missed time recently. 

With a team that was already going to be hard-pressed to compete in a very competitive NFC East division, this injury bug has been the equivalent of pouring gas on a fire. 

It isn’t known if the speedy McLaurin will be ready to go this week, if he is, it will be a huge boost for an offense that is struggling to score points [16.5 avg, 29th in the NFL]. Having backup offensive linemen in against the Patriots defense that has been playing really great football, could also be a recipe for disaster. Even worse is that TE Vernon Davis is in the concussion protocol and may not play this week.

The Running Game [Offense and Defense] Has Been a Sore Spot:

The Redskins running game, even with Adrian Peterson has been abysmal. If you think the Patriots have had issues running the ball, Washington is averaging just 2.9 yards per rushing attempt as a team. And they are gaining an average of 49.7 yards per game, which is 31st in the league. Peterson is the leading ground gainer with 90 yards on 33 carries for an average of just 2.7 yards per rush.

And, like New England, part of the issue can be attributed to the massive influx of new bodies along the offensive line. Coupled with uncertainty at QB and subpar QB play, the offense has struggled. But as bad as the offense has been against the run, the defense may just be worse. 

The Redskins defense has been getting gashed by the run and is allowing an average of 4.7 yards per carry and 147.5 yards per game with is 29th in the league.  That is a big reason why the defense is allowing 29.5 points per game, 31st in the league. With the Patriots also struggling to run the ball this year, this may be a good week to try to reverse that trend. I expect the coaching staff will be poring over film study this week. 

Cornerback Quinton Dunbar Has Been a Lone Bright Spot: 

Despite the Redskins paying big money for CB Josh Norman, he is having a very forgettable year as are all of the Redskins corners not named Quinton Dunbar. Dunbar has been a true bright spot in the secondary for Washington thus far in 2019. 

Opposing wide receivers are averaging 1.1 yards per snap while Dunbar is in coverage. When targeting him, opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of just 29.9. He intercepted Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones on consecutive passes his way in the second quarter of Sunday’s game. 

In contrast, opposing QBs targeting Fabian Moreau have a passer rating of 112.0, Josh Norman has an unenviable 121.7 opposing QB rating when he’s targeted while Jimmy Moreland has a 131.5 opposing passer rating when targeted. Redskins opposing QB rating for the team is 111.4 and the Redskins are allowing 63 percent of opposition third-down attempts. 

Snyder is Losing His Fan Base: 

Daniel Snyder is in danger of losing his fans. Years of constant poor teams and even worse mismanagement is beginning to take a toll on one of the more successful franchises in the NFL. 

Washington fans are hardly fickle when it comes to the Redskins. They drew really well all the way back to their first year in 1937.  Through tough times in the 1950s and 60s, fans loved their Redskins icons, Sonny Jurgensen, Charley Taylor, and Sam Huff. George Allen got the city super excited for an all-too-brief time in the 70s which included a Super Bowl appearance. 

Joe Gibbs came along and built a Super Bowl winner in the early 80s and a Skins ticket became the hottest item in town. But those days are long gone and the fans are no longer buying the “we’ll get ‘em next year” mentality. According to 106.7 The Fans’ Rick Snider, season ticket sales are down to about 20,000. 

Snider added that opposing fans have outnumbered Skins fans for the first two home games of 2019. This weekend it is expected to be a Patriots crowd in Landover, something that was unbelievable in the Gibbs era. Snyder needs to get the fans’ loyalty back or he’s in danger of losing his team. Maybe that is what Redskins fans are waiting for. 

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news.

 


Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: Adrian Peterson Case Keenum Dwayne Haskins Jay Gruden Jordan Reed Josh Norman New England Patriots Quinton Dunbar Terry McLaurin Trent Williams Vernon Davis Washington Redskins


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