Here is something to consider when people talk about the Redskins getting better at the quarterback position. Alex Smith was drafted in 2005 and struggled early on as the 49ers QB, but this season he has completed 63.2% of his passes for 1267 yards and has thrown 9 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. In order for the Redskins to be a good football team they are going to have to get better at multiple positions including the quarterback, but this is no quick fix. Simply getting a top pick and using it on a quarterback is only the first step. The Redskins have to be willing to give the player the time to development and not rush to judgment.
The 49ers are the toughest team the Redskins have played in awhile. Unlike the Bills, Panthers, and Eagles the 49ers are not an unbalanced team. In fact the 49ers defense is tops in the NFL having allowed only 15.3 points a game. They do rank 21st against the pass having allowed 255.7 yards a game, but John Beck and the Redskins receiving core pose a threat to no one.
In the past three weeks the Redskins faced defenses that were giving up 140 yards or more a game at the time those games were played. The 49ers are giving up 73.4 yards a game. If the Redskins struggled to establish the running game against poor run stopping defenses then it shouldn’t be pretty this week against the 49ers.
From the looks of the 49ers defense it appears that the Redskins don’t have much chance in this game. Looking at the 49ers offense makes that perception even worse. The Redskins defense has struggled against the run this season and the 49ers are a run heavy team. They are last in the NFL in passing attempts with only 185 on the season, but have run the ball 214 times for 963 yards or 137.6 yards a game, sixth in the NFL.
The 49ers have one of the best offenses in the league ranking sixth having averaged 26.7 points a game and one the best defense having allowed only 15.3 points a game. On paper this does not look like a good match-up for the Redskins and a game that shouldn’t even be close, but the Redskins defense has managed to put up respectable numbers themselves holding opponents to 19.9 points a game. The problem is the Redskins offense cannot move the ball effectively enough to help out their defense.
The Redskins are a football team that needs to win games by holding onto the football and milking the clock. In recent weeks the offense has gone three and out or turned the ball over too many times. The defense has spent too much of the game on the field and not enough on the sidelines. A tired defense is a sloppy defense and Redskins opponents have taken advantage of this. Frank Gore is a powerful runner that can lean on and wear down a defense. If the Redskins offense continues to struggle with moving the ball then this game could get out of hand quickly.
The only advantage that the Redskins have is that they are the home team, but with the disillusionment of the Redskins fan base any advantage that provides might quickly evaporate. The people in FedEx Field this week are going to be ready to boo John Beck, Kyle Shanahan, and anyone else that has offended their football watching sensibilities. Redskins fans have watched the team go on the road and get beat badly twice after dropping their last home game against the Eagles. This angst has been building for awhile, and it isn’t just from this season.
It has been 20 years since the Redskins last won a Super Bowl, and most of those 20 years haven’t been pleasant, but the Redskins front office and fan base need to look at Alex Smith and the 49ers and realize a simple fact. A rebuild needs to be committed to, and for the first few seasons it is going to hurt. It might even take a quarterback six seasons to be anything more than average. It isn’t easy to win in the NFL, and the Redskins have just started their own rebuilding process.
Don’t watch this game expecting the Redskins to have much of a showing. Watch it to appreciate a team that has reached the end of the process the Redskins are just beginning, and hope that in a few reasons the Redskins are shocking the world in the way the 49ers are.