If the Redskins have been consistent at one thing this season, it has been their ability to be inconsistent.
With only five wins on the season, the Redskins have only managed a winning streak of two games just once and will ride their third two-game losing streak with a loss to the Giants..
It looked as though the Redskins had possibly redeemed themselves by winning a close and difficult AFC game on the road following a blowout loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. But now, after losing to an underachieving Minnesota Vikings team, Washington has to face the motivated New York Giants, who lost consecutive NFC East games in Week 10 and Week 11.
The loss to the Vikings proved to be a big blow to the Redskins’ playoff chances this season, especially considering Minnesota was 3-7 heading into the game and it was played at FedEx Field. The Redskins are 2-4 at home this season, which is a discouraging statistic considering the stadium is supposed to provide a home field advantage. Why is there a lack of success at home?
“I have no clue,” Redskins linebacker Andre Carter said. “We need to win at home and our success rate has been low. It’s our home, our turf so there should be no excuses. I really don’t have any explanation.”
Earlier this week, cornerback Carlos Rogers made some controversial comments by saying the criticism from the fans behind the team’s own bench has been excessive and that the team does better on the road because they hear less criticism from fans when they travel. Carter says that the fans and players feed off of each other, so he understands where both sides are coming from.
“On the Mike Wise Show I had mentioned that fans and players go hand-in-hand when it comes to emotional support. When we are doing well, they are loud, and when we are unsuccessful, the stadium can be quiet. It’s always contingent on our success. That’s the reality. I understand that from a fan perspective. Now as a player, a man who loves the game, I would like crowd noise from the beginning to the end of the game through good or bad. We know that we have support 24/7. I think people don’t understand how the crowd itself can change the momentum of the game.” Carter said.
Part of the reason for fan criticism at home is the team’s inability to take advantage of big opportunities that arise and also their lack of discipline on the field.
One of those opportunities came after star running back Adrian Peterson left the game with an ankle injury in the second quarter, leaving rookie Toby Gerhart to replace him. Gerhart filled in well, taking the bulk of the carries throughout the rest of the game. Carter says that the defense’s inability to execute the basics is what led to Gerhart’s success on the ground.
“Gap control and poor tackling were our issues on certain plays and those particular plays hurt us in the end,” he said.
The Redskins also had a chance to take advantage of a turnover-prone Brett Favre, who had thrown a league-leading 17 interceptions heading into the game. The Vikings offensive turnover ratio was also at the bottom of the NFL while the Redskins defense was in the top 10 in that category. On top of that, the Vikings offense was very underwhelming statistically in the game but for just the second time this season, the Redskins defense was not able to force a turnover.
“It was unfortunate we didn’t create turnovers,” Carter said. “We stress it in meetings, practice, and have created big plays in games. We were unsuccessful in that area last Sunday. The three areas that hurt us the most were the two opening drives in the first and second half as well as the final drive to end the game.”
“Bret and the Vikings had a great game plan against us,” he continued. “The run game was an issue. Our goal was to put the Vikings offense in second and seven+ (situations), however they ended up being in second and four/five, so in the passing game he threw a lot of quick hitches. Bret was hardly in a seven-step drop.”
Unfortunately for the Redskins, who have beaten top-quality opponents like the Packers, Eagles and Bears, they also have a propensity for losing to teams that they should easily beat like the Lions, Vikings and Rams. If the Redskins want to have any chance at the postseason, they must establish consistency and the ability to regularly beat top-tier opponents down the stretch. That stretch starts this Sunday against the 7-4 Giants, who have beaten the Redskins eight of the last 10 times they have played.
“We have the talent. We have the capability to play at a high level against all odds. We prepare ourselves mentally and physically in meetings and practice. The issue is not the battle against our opponent but the battle within ourselves. We often play at our opponent’s level rather than playing to our potential. There are moments when we are amazing but we need to do it on a consistent basis,” Carter said.
If it’s any consolation, the last two times the Redskins have beaten the Giants were in December and in playoff seasons (2005 and 2007) so if they were to win on Sunday, fans can grasp at the hope of the postseason yet again based off of that trend.
New York is fresh off a comeback win at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars but lately have been hot and cold as a unit. Just like in years past, the Giants can either look like the most dominant NFL team or they can look horrible and make a lot of mistakes. Carter is prepared to face the former.
“The Giants have always been a threat. They have had our number unfortunately. The Giants can really make a mockery out of any team if you are not prepared. They know how to come back from a [deficit] as well as maintain a lead,” he said.
“They will come out and try to humiliate us. It’s going to be a dog fight. It always has been,” he added.
Just like the Redskins, the Giants are battling key injuries, especially at wide receiver with Hakeem Nicks out and Steve Smith doubtful to play. That doesn’t make Carter any less wary of their offense.
“Despite Hakeem Nicks not playing, Eli Manning still has other targets. The Giants’ tight ends are playing real well and they have a great receiving corps,” he said.
Speaking of receivers, the Giants may have a familiar face line up for them on Sunday. The team claimed former Redskin Devin Thomas off of waivers from the Carolina Panthers last week before the Jaguars game. The Giants had an urgent need to add depth at receiver but this move could also be used to gain intel on the Redskins considering both teams meet twice in the final five weeks. But how useful could Devin really be to the Giants in that regard?
“I’m sure the scouts and Giants know just about everything about our scheme and vice versa. It’s only a matter of when those plays will be executed and how. I’m sure Devin, and similar to most players who have been released and join another organization, can tell coaches what the offensive or defensive philosophy is. Coaches and players will receive all the information they need in order to have an edge on an opponent,” Carter said.
For Carter, his biggest concern on Sunday will be less about enemy intel and more about the Giants physical running game.
“The Giants have always been known for the run game. They have downhill and powerful runners as well as big offensive linemen, who create holes in their ground game. [Eli] Manning is playing at a high level despite injuries on the offensive front and receivers,” he said.
Deadskins: Andre, I’m sure it is as frustrating for the players as it is for the fans when the refs call such a one-sided game. Why do you think this seems to happen to the Skins so much?
AC: It’s funny you mention that because it is really unfortunate. Is it frustrating… yes. However, we have placed ourselves in those close games due to improper technique, poor tackling, etc. We are playing well but it’s the small detail that we need in order to play great.
skinpride1: Would you love to play for Gregg Williams again, Mr. Carter?
AC: Of course. Gregg is old school and there is nothing like an old school cursing in the morning to keep you motivated. I consider that my morning coffee. Great coach and a great man.
Redskin In Canada: Will you be here next year?
AC: I have no clue what the future holds. Regardless of what happens, it’s been a blessing playing for a wonderful organization. Lord willing, we can make this run and add more memories.
PAPDOG67: Andre, even though you both are starters, I’m sure you have went against Trent Williams in practice occasionally. How do you feel he is coming along as a rookie LT in this league? Could you see him eventually becoming a Pro-Bowler in the future?
AC: Trent Williams is by far one of the best tackles I have seen. His athleticism is similar to Walter Jones. He has the talent and ability to be a premier tackle in the league.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Jake Russell