The talk this week is going to be about how far away the Redskins are from being a good football team. The Redskins do have a lot of holes, mostly on the offense, but last season they had even more holes and that included a lot on the defense. This past off-season the Redskins fixed a number of problem areas, but didn’t or couldn’t address others. In 2010 the Redskins defense was the second worst in the NFL. So far into the 2011 season the defense has improved to 14th in yards a game, and seventh in points a game. The big problem is as much as the defense has improved the offense might have taken steps backwards.
If the Redskins want to understand how a team is built look at the team that just beat them. Driving into work I heard from the radio that it would take five first round picks to find a running back, quarterback, wide receiver, and corner back to make the Redskins a complete team. Look at the Bills. Their quarterback is a seventh round pick that was cast-off by the Rams, and their running back is an undrafted free agent. Most of the players on their team were overlooked. Good teams can find overlooked talent in late rounds in the draft and in free agency. Players don’t have to be first round picks or big money free agents to be good. It just takes an organization that has an eye for talent.
The offense of the Redskins played so poorly in this game that it isn’t even certain that the Bills defense needed to take the field. The offensive line looked more interested in pointing the way to John Beck and Ryan Torain than trying to block anyone. It is hard to judge an offense when a play doesn’t even get a chance to start, and when Beck wasn’t being sacked his receivers weren’t getting open or were pulling up on routes. It is hard to judge a quarterback who doesn’t have enough time to throw the ball and when he does there is no one to throw it to.
The injuries to Santana Moss and Trent Williams were more than apparent in this game as was John Beck’s inexperience. He made many of the same mistakes that Rex Grossman was making when he got benched as Beck often times would throw to the man deepest down field despite the fact he was well covered. There are not enough words in the English language to describe just how flawed the Redskins offense is, or at least how they looked in this game. I would call them a work in progress, but that would be like calling a hunk of granite still attached to a mountain a counter-top. The Redskins spent the entire 2010 off-season fixing the defense, and the process to fix the offense hasn’t even begun.
In order for the Redskins to win football games the offense needs to give the defense an opportunity to catch their breath, and to limit the number of plays the opposing offense gets. The Bills held a 34:51 to 25:09 advantage in time of possession and ran 15 more plays than the Redskins. This is only a recipe for defeat. It is tough for a tired defense to stop anyone, and giving an offense as good as the Bills more plays is never a good thing.
Coming into this game the Bills had struggled to stop opposing offenses, but were able to shutdown the Redskins. The Bills more than doubled their number of sacks on the season, and made the Redskins offense look feeble and inept. Words that before this game were used to describe a Bills defense that was unable to stop the run or the pass.
The Redskins lost to a better team and showed no fight at all. It is that lack of fight that is disturbing more than the fact that they lost. The Redskins early in the game recovered a fumble deep in Bills territory, but went nowhere. They got one first down and then penalties drove them backwards until they had to go for a field goal from where they started and that was blocked. That was the big momentum shift that let the Bills know they had this game. That while there was a team on the field that called themselves the Redskins, no team had shown up to play against them. From that moment on the Bills subjugated the Redskins to their will.
A 3-4 records shouldn’t make it feel like the season is over. The expectations for the Redskins weren’t high, and through the first seven games nothing new has been revealed. The defense still looks improved, and the offense still looks awful. All in all the Redskins are playing the way they were expected to. The 3-1 start might have raised expectations, but it shouldn’t have. Three wins are three wins whether they come early in the season or late they still count the same.