Let’s be honest. The 2016 Washington Redskins opened the season like a six win team. Maybe. 55 yards rushing. No passing touchdowns and two interceptions with that group of receivers some were calling the best in the league. Nine penalties. 30% 3rd down conversion rate. Zero for two on 4th down conversion attempts. Minus 5 minutes in time of possession.
This week’s opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, opened the season with a division game against the New York Giants. With a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back against a revamped Giants defensive line some were calling the best in the league, Dallas ran for 100+ yards, threw for 200+ yards with no interceptions, did not allow a sack, did not turn the ball over, committed six penalties, converted 10 of 17 third down attempts, well over 50%, and were plus 13 minutes in time of possession.
To say that Dallas outperformed Washington in week one is a gross understatement. Yes, Pittsburgh is probably a tougher opponent than New York but a team can only win the games it plays. Fortunately for the Redskins, or perhaps unfortunately as the Giants are considered the primary competition for the division title, Dallas lost their opener. The difference is they were in theirs with a chance to win right up until the end. The Redskins were in no such position.
|Net Pass Yards||290||329|
|Third Down Conv.||9-14||3-10|
|Fourth Down Conv.||2-2||0-2|
|Time of Possession||33:18||26:42|
|Net Pass Yards||203||227|
|Third Down Conv.||5-10||10-17|
|Fourth Down Conv.||0-0||0-0|
|Time of Possession||23:17||36:43|
Keys to victory, you ask? Don’t play like the dog’s unwashed bollocks. Everything has to be markedly better this week. If Jones can’t find openings on his first few carries, either give him more carries than the seven he got last week or get Robert Kelley in the game. If Cousins can’t get the ball to the midget patrol in the end zone, get the taller receivers and tight ends in the game and get Josh Doctson in the game. What the hell did you draft him for if you’re not going to use him in those situations? Scoring 16 points with this offense is a steaming pile of horse dung. It’s absolutely inexcusable, regardless of the opponent. If the team can’t post at least 24 points offensively they will lose more games than they will win. That falls on $20MM man Kirk Cousins. You gambled on yourself. You’re no longer playing with house money, Sporto.
Defensively, the Redskins obviously have to stop the run more often than never. Part of that blame can be given to the offense that couldn’t keep the defense off the field but even so, stop someone before they get into the secondary. Also, Deangelo Hall seems to be confused as to where he should be. He’s a step late virtually every play. I realize he’s learning the position on the fly but he’d better learn it quickly. Dez Bryant had a bad week last week and he’s undoubtedly looking to make up for it this week. Complicating issues, Sua Cravens reportedly has a hip flexor and may not play this week. Expect Duke Ihenacho to be active. Also, expect Jason Witten to have a field day with someone less mobile than Cravens shadowing him.
If I were to pull some numbers out of thin air, I would venture the following would result in a Redskins victory:
250+ yards passing with 0 interceptions. 300+ is a reasonable expectation against a weak Dallas secondary.
100+ yards rushing. That’s almost double last week’s output.
Control time of possession. Keep the defense fresh.
Allow under 100 yards rushing.
Cover Jason Witten on 3rd downs.
Be error free on special teams.