Washington Redskins Must Get Back To Basics

By Greg Bradshaw
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins 0-3 start threatens to return them to the woebegone status NFL fans have grown used to the franchise having.

The Redskins have enough talent on offense and defense to form the nucleus of a solid team. Quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris showed their mettle as rookies last season. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon can be a game-changing receiver when he’s healthy. Tight end Fred Davis is an efficient receiver over the middle that can get deep as well.

On defense, linebackers London Fletcher, Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo provide efficiency. Fletcher is a tackling machine who’s still playing at a high level despite slowing down a little at age 38. Kerrigan and Orakpo are great bookend linebackers that provide an excellent pass rush. Finally, cornerback DeAngelo Hall showed some flashes of his former Pro Bowl form, scoring two defensive touchdowns in Washington’s first three games.

Despite the Redskins’ talent, they’re not playing up to their capabilities. Without the benefit of a preseason, Griffin has not been the accurate passer he was last season, tossing four interceptions this season after throwing five all of last season. He also lost a key fumble in Washington’s Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions that shifted the momentum to Detroit.

In addition, the Redskins’ defense has been horrific, missing tackles and coverage assignments. Factor in untimely penalties by the offensive line, and it’s easy to see why Washington is winless so far.

The Redskins are simply not good enough to overcome such issues. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett need to stress the importance of his defenders having their heads up, shoulders squared, and wrapping up ball carriers while making tackles. Strong safety Brandon Meriweather too often goes for the big hit instead of making a solid tackle.

In addition, head coach Mike Shanahan needs to stress the importance of ball control to his offense. Considering that the Redskins’ defense is beyond horrible, Washington will have to score at least 30 points per game to be competitive. If the offense keeps turning the ball over, there’s no way they’ll get anywhere near 30 points.

Redskins fans hope their team addresses their numerous issues in Week 4 against the Oakland Raiders, a team that isn’t considered elite despite their improved play in recent weeks. Simply put, the Raiders are an opponent that Washington should be able to beat on paper.

However, paper doesn’t play or win games. If Washington can’t address their turnover, defensive and concentration issues, an 0-4 record is a real possibility en route to another lost season in Washington.

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