For Redskins fans, the depression has set in earlier than expected this season. Just a few weeks ago we were all toasting to new beginnings, celebrating the dawn of a new regime and counting off all of the sure wins on the schedule.
Okay, maybe deep down inside we knew that the Washington Redskins weren’t a playoff team, but you have to admit that with a healthy star quarterback, a bruiser at running back and a wide receiver tandem that could be touted as one of the best in the league, things had to be better than last year, right?
Well, after a 1-3 start, Washington is once again facing an uphill battle early on in the season. It seems as though there has been no progression from last year, with Robert Griffin III sidelined and the defense failing to realize that it’s not okay to celebrate Christmas in September and give away big plays to nearly every opponent.
The special teams have been less than stellar, incapable of giving newcomer Andre Roberts a decent chance at making a return.
The not-so-special unit also gives up game-changing plays by allowing punts and extra points to be blocked as well as kick returns to be returned for touchdowns.
On top of all that, we still have to look at Daniel Snyder’s smug face and be bombarded by the “Redskins Facts” page on Twitter that constantly reminds us that racism is cool.
In short, the Redskins are a failure on multiple levels.
But perhaps the thing that ticks me off the most is how fair weather the fans can be. It seems like only yesterday that RGIII was the talk of the town. He helped lead the Redskins to an NFC East title and won Rookie of the Year honors as well.
He was being touted as the franchise’s savior and people were convinced that the 1,000 picks the Redskins had handed over to St. Louis for the second overall slot were well worth it.
But oh, how times have changed.
You know the story, Griffin III is sidelined by a vicious injury, falls in and out of love with the Shanahans—who eventually are booted out of town—while the Kirk Cousins hype machine begins building steam.
During the preseason, under new head coach Jay Gruden, Griffin III didn’t look like the player we all latched on to during his first season. In fact, it wasn’t until the beginning of the Jacksonsville game that Griffin III started to click with the offense.
But alas, RGIII was injured early on against the Jaguars, paving the way for Cousins to shine once again. And shine he did–for all of two games. The man that ornery fans had been calling for since before the first game of the season lit up the Jaguars and the Philadelphia Eagles in back-to-back games.
Based on those two performances, I received a bunch of “I told you so!” and “Where’s your boy RGIII?” text messages.
The masses—it seemed—had jumped ship.
That is until last Thursday when the New York Giants came to town and beat the living daylights out of the Redskins.
Cousins played the worst game of his professional career–throwing three crucial interceptions in the 3rd quarter–and all of the sudden people were sewing the tags back on their Cousins jerseys to be able to return them on Friday.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Cousins is a phenomenal player and he has all the makings of a star—even if I wasn’t sold on drafting him the same year we got RGIII. But I also believe that RGIII is a star and that he deserves the opportunity to show that he can be dynamic once again.
It seems to me that Gruden’s offense does not play to RGIII’s strengths, so it may take some time to come together with Griffin III at the helm. RGIII may not be 100 percent comfortable in Gruden’s offense at this point in time, but it’s obvious that Gruden is not 100 percent sure how to use him either.
Should Gruden run him or not? Definitely not as much as the Shanny’s ran the read option, but you have to keep the opposing defense honest and let that athleticism loose.
Cousins may be more Andy Dalton than Griffin III is and that’s okay, but when RGIII gets back, Gruden must be ready to call the proper plays.
In the meanwhile, it would be nice if Redskins fans weren’t so quick to bury a player from game to game. Cousins still has a bright future as does Griffin III. We should be happy–as fans–that we have two guys capable of leading this team in the right direction on offense.
Besides, if you haven’t noticed, it doesn’t matter who is playing quarterback these days. Without improvement to the offensive line, specials teams and defense, the Redskins will continue to be, well, the Redskins.
Header photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images