October 16, 2019

Washington Redskins: Week Six Monday Recap following another third quarter let down to Jets

Kirk Cousins takes over as Washington Redskins starting quarterback. (photo by Brian Murphy)

(Photo by Brian Murphy)

It turns out that the Washington Redskins comeback victory against the Philadelphia Eagles gave everyone a sense of false hope that they would not again be the cellar dweller of the NFC East. Now after yet another collapse after halftime against the New York Jets, we are all back to reality that the Redskins are still years away from contention. Hopefully Scot McCloughan can continue to work his magic in player assessments and that rebound will be coming within the next three seasons, not a decade. Today head coach Jay Gruden, you have to start to wonder maybe how much longer, reflected on yesterday afternoon’s loss.

As is expected with inconsistent quarterback play, many of the questions addressed concerned the state of Kirk Cousins as the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins. As Gruden explained yesterday, he is behind the “young” Michigan State product because “he’s getting better and he will play better”. Coach Gruden honestly believes he is “not trying to make excuses for or baby anybody”, but he has yet to find the right balance of defending his players and holding them accountable for game-changing mistakes.

When asked point blank if he has given any consideration to making a quarterback change, Gruden responded “no, no” and moreover that he is “not looking to make any drastic changes right now”. Gruden still believes Cousins continues to give the Redskins the best chance to win “at this time”. Many believed the Redskins would not give 2012 rookie of the year winner Robert Griffin III another chance in 2015 because of the injury-related clause in his fifth-year option where the franchise is obligated to pay Griffin $16 million should he be unable to pass a physical in the offseason. When referred to the risk of injury as an “obstacle”, Gruden said that it is “not an obstacle for me” on potentially playing Griffin in a game. Gruden made it sound like that the sole reason why Griffin is not playing is because he is not someone that the coaches “think are starters”.

Through six consecutive games for Cousins, it seems that Gruden is still not ready to assess “a quarterback’s ability” because he hopes “that’ll be answered here in the next few weeks, in the next five, six, seven, eight games”. With just ten games last in the year it looks like unless there is an injury or extremely dramatic dropoff in execution from the already mediocre level, Cousins will remain the starter for the rest of 2015.

Gruden is correct to believe that the struggles in the running game can be correlated to Cousins poor play over the past two weeks. He attributed it to the run blocking, recognition, and ability to break tackles have not been good enough. Last week’s mediocre 34 yards on the ground could be partially attributed to the loss of Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, and Kory Lichtensteiger, but Gruden is preaching that they have “got to stick with the plan”.

On one note not related to the Redskins sputtering offense, the defense’s ability to stop opponents run game has been questionable for the second week in a row. Gruden attributed one reason to be “a linebacker losing the gap”, which was the case for Perry Riley all too often yesterday and over his career too. The hope is that that with the continuous coaching of “gap security, getting off blocks, and pursuing to the football” the defense will respond.

Gruden’s main point was that moving forward the team has “got to do a better job all together as a football team and as a [coaching] staff to make everybody better”.

As a few injury updates, Trenton Robinson (ankle sprain), Chris Thompson (low-back contusion), Bashaud Breeland (knee contusion), and Ty Nsekhe (plantar fasciitis) are all day to day. In a surprise injury that was severe enough to keep him out, Stephen Paea was unable to play due to his back injury that had him questionable going into the Jets game. Luckily, it does not look like any more than the six starters that missed the Jets game are in jeopardy of missing this week’s upcoming bout against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to punishment endured yesterday (fingers crossed).

With regards to some of those six starters that did miss yesterday’s game, Gruden would not commit to DeSean Jackson‘s promise to be ready this week against Tampa Bay because “that was before he tweaked his hamstring on Thursday”, which Jackson admitted did “scare” him. Gruden said he would know more about the rest of the other five starters on Wednesday.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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