Redskins' Season is Slipping
By Ryan Lazo
Sep 16, 2013, 08:20
Just over a month ago, everything seemed right in Washington. Robert Griffin III’s rehab had no setbacks, the defense returned major players and the Redskins had confidence entering the season.
Even the normally reserved head coach Mike Shanahan boasted about his team being built to win a Super Bowl.
Weren’t those the days?
Because after two weeks of the NFL season, the optimism has been replaced with panic after two consecutive defeats — a death-blow in the 16-game season.
Over the past four seasons, 30 teams have begun the season with two consecutive losses and a grand total of zero have recovered to make the playoffs, putting Washington in a precarious position.
“We’re 0-2 and I think everyone knows the percentages just like everyone knew the percentages last year when we were 3-6,” Shanahan said after the game. “What we have to do is get back to the basics on the things we have done well and get ready for Detroit.”
But it’s not even the fact the Redskins have faltered during the first two games, it’s how they have lost. It’s almost as if there is a lack of effort coming out of the gates and the hole is too big to climb out of.
Over the first two games, fans have seen two different teams on the field for Washington. In the first half over the course of two games, Washington has been outscored by a 50-to-7 margin while the second half tally is a dominating 40-to-21 margin in favor of the Redskins.
“This was a different first half than last week’s first half,” Griffin said. “Last week we hurt ourselves with turnovers....Talking to the guys in the locker room, we can’t put a finger on what it is and that’s the frustrating part.”
And it’s also the most dangerous aspect of the situation.
Washington needs to identify why they are struggling from the opening whistle, change it and gain their first victory next week against Detroit. However, the Redskins did have some bright moments in the second half, giving hope they can turn it around.
Griffin struggled in last week’s Monday night game, barely showing any kind of chemistry with his receivers — a sure sign of rust following a preseason with no game time logged. This week, he showed some signs of being the passer Washington fans grew accustomed to seeing last year.
The franchise-quarterback threw for 320 yards, his fifth career 300-yard passing game and second in a row, to go along with three touchdowns and just one interception.
In addition, last year’s 1,600-yard rusher Alfred Morris regained his footing with 107-yard rushing game on only 13 carries, showing the speed and big-play ability which makes him a dangerous weapon.
“We know this isn’t who we are as a team, and we’re going to work to figure this out,” Griffin said of his team’s struggles.
And he’s right.
While Washington may not be the clear-cut favorite in the NFC East — there may not even be a favorite — they are capable of playing at a higher level as they proved during last season’s 10-game winning streak.
Also, tilting in the Redskins’ favor is the NFC East division winner will likely have just a 9-7 record as all teams have shown they can vie for the title. No one will run away with the division, leaving the door open for Washington to make a move.
“You can’t overreact, but you realize there is a sense of urgency to get our business done,” Shanahan said.
And they can.
For the Redskins to nab the 9-7 record and reap its benefits, Washington has to go 7-5 the rest of the way. That’s just two games over .500 for a team which had an impressive streak just last season.
Plus, Washington has shown the mental ability to right themselves and not stay down when they have struggled — like they have the past two weeks.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re getting better,” Shanahan reiterated on Sunday.
If Washington can figure out their first half woes, they will find themselves back in the hunt with a victory next week. If not, those percentages become more ominous by the day.