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Can Alex Smith Improve the Washington Redskins in 2018?

The Washington Redskins have ended the Kirk Cousins era and they have a new one to start in 2018; this one will be under former Kansas City Chief quarterback Alex Smith. Smith may not the best quarterback in the league, but he is solid enough to build on. Smith was quietly effective for the Chiefs, and there is no reason to think he can’t do the same for the Redskins. Washington are hoping what will help Smith is a solid triumvirate of running backs.

Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine form an exciting trio and, on their day, they are as good as most running back committees in the league. They have the ability to gain important yards, make themselves available for catches from the backfield and score touchdowns.

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Categories Posted In News | Washington Commanders

How Do The Washington Redskins Bounce Back Next Season?

There’s no sugar coating it, a 7-9 season and a second consecutive failure to make the playoffs is not good enough for the Washington faithful. Add to that, the final effort of the campaign was a tame 18-10 loss to the woeful Giants. Yes, the season was over, but a good performance in that game would have been a much better way to sign off.

Injury Factors

If you were looking for mitigating factors, you could point to the injuries. Perhaps the biggest of them all was in the game against New Orleans when Chris Thompson broke his leg in the third quarter. With Thompson in the team, the Redskins averaged 359.4 yards and 23.1 points per game. Without him, those figures dropped to 267.5 and 17.3 respectively. You can’t pin the whole season on one injury. But if the Redskins were going to pick one player they could least afford to do without, it would have been Thompson.

The injury count was horrific. The squad ended the season with 20 players on the injury reserve list. Other notable injury problems were the nagging complaints that limited the effectiveness of Trent Williams and Jordan Reed. The loss of Jonathan Allen after week five, seriously weakened the defensive line.

The fact that the Redskins ended up using more than 26 different offensive-line combinations tells its own story.

Mistakes At Key Times

Still, it wasn’t all about the injuries. The Redskins ended up with a middle-of-the-road record, and that’s how they played. They went 1-5 against division winners but were 5-1 against teams that had a losing record going into the final week. They could have won some key road games – at New Orleans and Kansas – but they blew both of them, and key players made mistakes at key times – not least quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw three interceptions.

Defensive Problems

Defense continued to be a huge problem. The Redskins have ranked 17th or lower in points allowed for nine consecutive seasons now, and 16th or worse in yards allowed per game for the last six years. It doesn’t matter how powerful your offense is. If you’re giving up that much territory on defense, it’s next to impossible for the team to move forward.

Quarterback Change

Despite the obvious need for a shake-up, Cousins’ departure was something of a surprise. Largely because Alex Smith isn’t that much different, and not the kind of player considered able to carry an offense.

Betting Man

Certainly, the betting markets have not been impressed by the move. The Redskins remain low down in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl odds, but while the latter may prove beyond them, it’s actually not impossible to imagine things coming together for an inexperienced group. The focus on young talent will bear fruit at some point, and they could be a decent outside bet for the Division title, assuming they stay injury free.

For one thing, while Smith is not an exciting replacement for Cousins, he could be a good fit.

He’s more consistent and consistency will give the offense a little more confidence next time around. He’s a good fit with the passing game that Jay Gruden has developed. He has more mobility than Cousins, and throws fewer interceptions. Smith could turn out to be a positive acquisition.

By resolving the quarterback issue at this relatively early stage, the Redskins are now free to address the squad overhaul that will be needed to get this group ready for next season.

Squad Overhaul?

The focus on developing young talent is the key to future success in the long term. The team clearly needs strengthening in some areas, most notably at cornerback. They lost Kendall Fuller – one of their top three corners – in the Smith / Cousins dea. they also need help at wide receiver, where they look in need of a strong and reliable playmaker. The defensive line improved in terms of yards allowed last season, but they were still below average. A top defensive lineman should be a priority.

If they can address those issues and add another dynamic, game-changing running back to compliment Thompson, and if they can stay clear of the injury problems that blighted the 2017 campaign, then next season’s projected steady improvement could be upgraded into something altogether more spectacular.

Categories Posted In Washington Commanders

Samaje Perine Emerging to Keep Redskins in Playoff Hunt

FedEx Stadium Washington Redskins” by Kevin Coles (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Washington Redskins are keeping their playoff hopes alive as we enter the final few weeks of the regular season. They have a current record of 5-6, and they still have work to do but they are sticking in there, and showing encouraging fighting qualities, despite the odds being against them.

The Redskins have been hit hard by injuries at the running back position recently, with Rob Kelley going on injury reserve and then emerging star Chris Thompson suffering a horrific break of his fibula and ending up in the same place. The departure of these two has left a huge hole in the Redskins backfield, and that has put more pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins to throw the ball. However, he has started getting some help in the form of a rookie, Samaje Perine. Read More

Categories Posted In Washington Commanders

Wallpaper Wednesday: Chris Thompson – Breakout Performer

It was heartbreaking to see Chris Thompson carted off the field this weekend. He has become such a valuable weapon for this struggling offense, and he has already overcome a multitude of significant sports injuries.

But when the dust settles from a ridiculously tough loss to the Saints, Redskins fans that seem to have a propensity for disagreeing – would all agree that losing Thompson, and in such a grandiose fashion, was probably the most bitter taste left in their mouth.

Thompson had an incredible 10 games for the Redskins in 2017 – so incredible in fact, that the opposition’s game plan had become to simply come in and shut down the elusive scat back. And while more teams were scheming for him, they were still having trouble shutting him down.

Thompson led the Redskins in BOTH rushing (64 carries, 294 yards) and receiving (39 receptions, 510 yards) – an incredible feat, and testament to how tough the running back has been to bring down after a catch.

His play defines the word “breakout” and was the inspiration for this week’s Wallpaper Wednesday.

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Categories Posted In Wallpapers | Washington Commanders

The Redskins Must Show Consistency To Maintain A Good Run

On Sunday night, the Redskins put on a dominant performance against one of 2017’s most revered teams in the NFL. The Washington Redskins made the Oakland Raiders look overrated if nothing else; and a game many people unexpected to be a one-sided affair in Oakland’s favour, actually turned into a very lopsided 27-10 Redskins victory. Washington’s schedule doesn’t get any easier either, as this week they draw the undefeated Chiefs. Did last week’s improvement and performance translate in the online odds for the next Redskins game?

The win has forced many pundits to start re-examining the Redskins potential. They have shown tremendous improvement over the first three games and have shown that they can play with even the stiffest of competition. Washington stunned a prime time audience by limiting the “mighty” Raiders offense to just 128 total yards. They managed exactly zero third down conversions – 0 for 11.

The Redskins offense also spanked the Raiders – tallying up 472 yards – that’s a 344 yard difference in net offenses. Not only that, Washington crushed Oakland in time of possession – holding the ball for 38 minutes, compared to just 22. Read More

Categories Posted In Washington Commanders

By The Numbers: Redskins Dominate Raiders on NFL Sunday Prime Time

The numbers and statistics from the Redskins 27-10 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday were gobsmacking. Sometimes you can’t get a feel for a game just by looking at the numbers. Sometimes, you can tell everything you could possibly hope to know.

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Categories Posted In Washington Commanders

Redskins Offensive Line Powers Running Game Against Rams

The Washington Redskins were held to 64 total rushing yards in their season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles; it was one of the key reasons the team lost 30-17. A week after the embarrassing loss, the Redskins turned to their running game to lead them past the Los Angeles Rams, 27-20.

This week, NFL betting sites have the Redskins as underdogs against the Oakland Raiders, but the Redskins believe they have what it takes to get the win.

During the offseason, Washington coach Jay Gruden emphasized that he wanted to have a more balanced offense, after relying heavily on quarterback Kirk Cousins last year. It was difficult to get their run game going against the Eagles in their season opener because they fell behind quickly.

Against the Rams, the Redskins could run the ball more since because they didn’t have to deal with a big deficit, and they finished the game with a healthy 229 net rushing yards. Washington should be able to get some yards on the ground this week because the Raiders allowed the Jets to rush for 126 yards last week, and have been shaky on defense this season. They’re averaging 4.8 yards per carry (against) in the first two games, and will have to do better than that against the Redskins. Read More

Categories Posted In Washington Commanders

Observations from Redskins at Buccaneers

Keeping in mind that this blog is in the context of analyzing reserves in the fourth preseason game, there was plenty to take away from Washington’s 30-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Read More

Categories Posted In Washington Commanders

Observations from Redskins vs. Bills

The Redskins improved to 3-0 in the preseason with their well-rounded 30-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills Saturday afternoon. Although scores and records don’t matter in the preseason, performance does. Here’s what I took away from yesterday’s game:

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Categories Posted In Washington Commanders