Remember all the way back to week one when the Redskins looked surprisingly good in beating the Giants. Ryan Kerrigan scored a touchdown in his first game as an NFL player, and Rex Grossman looked like a competent quarterback. It might feel like it was a long time ago or happened in a different universe. It did happen this season and it caused a bit of a stir to the Giants world. They felt like they should roll over the Redskins and if that game were played 100 times they would win 99 of them.
The Redskins and Giants don’t play 100 times in a season, but the Giants will get another crack at the Redskins. One of the excuses the Giants used was that they were injured. They are no less injured no. They are still missing players on the defense. The real difference in the Giants from week one ’til now is the play of Eli Manning.
Manning wasn’t bad in week one throwing for 268 yards on 18 completions out of 32 passes attempted with one touchdown and the one interception that Kerrigan returned for a touchdown. Manning also added a two yard rushing touchdown, but was ultimately outplayed by Rex Grossman, and that is something no quarterback wants on their resume.
For the season Manning’s numbers look more like Peyton numbers than Eli numbers. He has thrown for 4105 yards, 25 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, a completion percentage of 62.0%, and has averaged 315.8 yards a game. If the Redskins hope to stop Eli Manning they are going to have to do the same thing they have had to do all season to stop the pass.
The Redskins weakness in the secondary causes them to rely on their pass rush more than any team in the NFL. Orakpo, Kerrigan, Riley, Fletcher, Cofield, and Bowen have all played very well this season and look like a unit that could be even better as they develop chemistry and continue to play together. As a unit the Redskins pass rush has brought down the quarterback 34 times which is 12th best in the NFL.
The issue with the Redskins pass defense is the lack of a shutdown corner and recently exposed lack of depth at the safety position. If a quarterback gets time against the Redskins pass rush there will be an open receiver. The Redskins defensive unit is built around the pass rush and in order to be successful the quarterback has to feel pressure and not have time to read his progressions.
All the hope for this season has long since evaporated for Redskins fans, but the hope for the future can still exist. It has been a joy in recent weeks to watch the growth of Roy Helu and Perry Riley. The Redskins have found a couple of exciting players that could be a part of the future. Neither Helu or Riley look like stars, but they look like solid NFL players, and the Redskins have already seen the difference that made to the pass rush when they added Bowen and Cofield to the front three.
Don’t watch these last few games hoping for a Redskins victory, and don’t watch hoping for them to tank and get a better draft pick. Watch hoping to see the continued development of young players into solid NFL contributors. The future is an unknown and worrying about it or trying to rush it does no one any good. Under Dan Snyder the Redskins have tried to rush the future on more than one occasion. Now is the time for patience. This is a deep draft for quarterbacks and a lot of the teams with bad records this season have a quarterback. The Redskins will be able to get one in the draft whether they are picking fifth or tenth.
This game against the Giants doesn’t matter for the Redskins, and the Giants record of 7-6 has them tied with the Cowboys for the division lead. The Giants need this game for this season while the Redskins need it only to evaluate talent for the future. That doesn’t make it an automatic Giants victory. The fact that the Redskins are not a good team might do that, but the future is unknown and the Redskins beat the Giants as soon as fifteen weeks ago.