Here are five things we learned about the Redskins during their 34-20 loss to the Jets.
—He still has as many as 10 games to get himself right but Kirk Cousins is clearly trending in the wrong direction in his effort to establish himself as a viable, long-term starting quarterback for the Redskins—or for any other team for that matter. Even setting aside the interceptions, his accuracy has been off and he’s not being asked to throw particularly challenging passes. Even though Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III are flawed alternatives, if Cousins keeps playing like he has the last two weeks it’s inevitable that a change will be made to provide “a spark”. And that would be the beginning of the end for Cousins as the Redskins QB.
—Jay Gruden is 22 games into his NFL head-coaching career and he is unable to find some credible middle ground between ripping his quarterback for a bad performance and making excuses for him. We have gone from Gruden hammering Griffin after his performance against the Bucs to him using injuries and the wind to explain away a bad day for Cousins. There is something in between being a hater and being an apologist and Gruden needs to find it on the podium.
—Despite some flaws, Bashaud Breeland is the best player on the Redskins’ defense. He certainly is having the most impact. In the last two games he has two interceptions, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries (one force and a recovery came on the same play when he wrestled the ball away from Brandon Marshall). The takeaways set up 16 points for the Redskins, much needed on a team that is struggling to find some rhythm on offense. Marshall did beat Breeland for a touchdown later in the game so he got some revenge but he beats a lot of cornerbacks. Once Breeland polishes his game he could be a Pro Bowl caliber player.
—Look, I know that Alfred Morris never really got warmed up against the Jets with just 11 carries. But that’s still no reason for gaining just 41 yards on 22 carries over the last two weeks. Morris never used to let the first defender who made contact bring him down. For at least the last two weeks that has not been the case. He seems to run into the pile and go down. The blocking hasn’t been great but there are bad OL’s all around the league and you won’t find many former 1,000-yard backs averaging less that two yards per carry.
—I like Ryan Grant, I think he works hard. But at this point in his career he has no business starting NFL games. In five games as a starter in place of the injured DeSean Jackson Grant has caught just 13 passes for 125 yards. You can’t live with that kind of production, especially the last few weeks with the rushing game struggling. I’m not sure if the Redskins have a better alternative on the roster—Rashad Ross doesn’t know Grant’s position and Andre Roberts is not playing well in his opportunities either—but it’s something they will need to address in the offseason.