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Awful loss or strong effort? Redskins have to fight the status quo

Awful loss or strong effort? Redskins have to fight the status quo

In the last week, the Redskins won their first game of the season in Miami and held an undefeated San Francisco team to just nine points in a tough loss. 

If you want to believe those are good results and the first steps toward redemption in an otherwise lost season, then stop reading. 

The reality is far uglier than those numbers.

Washington barely beat a terrible Dolphins team in a game that came down to literally the last second and a dropped two-point conversion. A win is a win in the NFL, but in the ranks of wins, it wasn't worth significant celebration. 

Then came Sunday's game against San Francisco. In the first half, the Redskins defense impressed, holding Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo to just 10 yards passing. 10 yards! The game looked quite winnable at the half, and really into the third quarter. Eventually, however, the Redskins fell apart. San Fran figured out a way to move the ball, Adrian Peterson had an incredibly poorly timed fumble, and the Washington offense proved completely inept of any chunk yardage plays through the air. 

If the Redskins beat San Francisco, things would be different. They didn't.

An intense rainstorm that hovered over FedEx Field during the game was Washington's biggest advantage. The weather hurt both offenses, but rendered the Redskins pass game completely inept. Quarterback Case Keenum finished the game with fewer than 80 yards passing, and while Garoppolo wasn't impressive, he still nearly doubled that total.

Keenum isn't the Redskins only problem, but he is a problem. And the bigger issue is the team's reluctance to go to rookie QB Dwayne Haskins.

The 15th overall pick from Ohio State might not be a completely developed prospect, but he also seems capable of hitting the numbers Keenum has in the last two games. In those two contests, Keenum has 243 passing yards, good for an average of 121.5 pass yards-per-game.

If Haskins can't deliver that level of performance then the Redskins have a big problem. If the team is committed to giving Haskins the full year on the bench for development, then come out and say it. Lay out a specific plan for the rookie, but don't just make vague statements about his readiness level and decide to stick with Keenum. 

"Dwayne’s still learning. I think he’d be the first one to tell you that," Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan said after the 49ers game.

"We still have faith, total faith, in Case and his ability to manage this offense and run this offense and execute everything within it. We’re moving forward with Case at this juncture," Callahan said.

The weather absolutely limited Keenum's ability to make plays in the pass game against San Francisco, but Garoppolo played in the same weather. The Patriots have total faith in Tom Brady. The Texans have total faith in Deshaun Watson. The Redskins have total faith in Case Keenum?

The idea here isn't to make things completely about the quarterback position. The Redskins issues are bigger than that, and it'd be naive to pretend differently.

A major issue for the organization comes from complacency, a comfort with the status quo. Obviously the team made a major change two weeks ago to fire Jay Gruden. Booting a head coach in season, after five weeks, is a major decision, but in Washington it did not bring major change. 

Gruden wasn't great, but he was a cog in a machine that churned out mediocre football. This season the machine went from mediocre to bad. Firing Gruden might not fix that machine. 

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Redskins vs. Jets Week 11: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Redskins vs. Jets Week 11: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

At 1-8, the Redskins have several changes to make if they hope to end the season on a high note. That has started by making a change at quarterback, as interim head coach Bill Callahan has named rookie Dwayne Haskins the team's starting QB for the rest of the season.

Haskins will make his first home start this Sunday, as the Redskins host the 2-7 Jets. The rookie will hope to end a 13-quarter touchdown drought the Burgundy and Gold are currently in, as Washington has not punched it in the end zone since their Week 6 victory in Miami.

Second-year running back Derrius Guice, who hasn't played since Week 1, returns on Sunday. The LSU product should help the Redskins in multiple ways, taking some of the load of veteran Adrian Peterson and also in the passing game as well.

New York is coming off their second victory of the season, defeating their cross-town rival, the Giants, 34-27.

The Redskins lead the Jets in the all-time series, 8-3, but New York has won the past two contests. Here's everything you need to know.

REDSKINS vs. JETS WEEK 11

Who: Washington Redskins (1-8) vs. New York Jets (2-7)

What: Week 11 of the 2019 NFL regular season

When: Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, 1 p.m. ET

Where: FedExField, Landover, Maryland

TV Channel: FOX

Live Stream: Stream on FuboTV, Pregame and postgame coverage streaming on NBCSportsWashington.com

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Spread: Redskins, -1.5

Over/Under: 38.5

Weather:  43 degrees, cloudy

REDSKINS vs. JETS TV SCHEDULE:

8:30 a.m.: Pro Football Weekly

9:00 a.m.: Redskins Talk: Week 11

10:00 a.m.: Inside the Redskins

11:00 a.m.: Redskins Coaches Show

11:30 a.m.: Redskins Nation

12:00 p.m.: Redskins Kickoff Live

4:00 p.m.: Redskins Postgame Live 

REDSKINS 2019 SEASON SCHEDULE:

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 8, Redskins at Eagles (L, 32-27)

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 15, Cowboys at Redskins, (L, 31-21)

Week 3: Monday, Sept. 23, Bears at Redskins, (L, 31-15)

Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 29, Redskins at Giants, (L, 24-3)

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 6, Patriots at Redskins, (L, 33-7)

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 13, Redskins at Dolphins, (W, 17-16)

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 20, 49ers at Redskins, 1 p.m. (L, 9-0)

Week 8: Thursday, Oct. 24, Redskins at Vikings, 8:20 p.m. (L, 19-9)

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 3, Redskins at Bills, 1 p.m. (L, 24-9)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 17, Jets at Redskins, 1 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 24, Lions at Redskins, 1 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 1, Redskins at Panthers, 1 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 8, Redskins at Packers, 1 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 15, Eagles at Redskins, 1 p.m.

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 22, Giants at Redskins, 1 p.m.

Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 29, Redskins at Cowboys, 1 p.m.

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The Redskins chose not to pay Jamison Crowder, and their offense is now paying for that

The Redskins chose not to pay Jamison Crowder, and their offense is now paying for that

Jamison Crowder's final season with the Redskins was injury-shortened and disappointing, so when the team ultimately let him leave and sign a three-year, $28.5 million contract with the Jets, there wasn't much pushback.

When Crowder takes the field this Sunday for the Washington-New York matchup, however, plenty of people on the home side will likely wish the receiver was doing so in Burgundy and Gold as opposed to Gotham Green.

The fifth-year pro has 48 catches in 2019 so far, which is 16 more than the Redskins' top target, Terry McLaurin, has hauled in. And if you want to compare Crowder to Trey Quinn, the guy who mans the slot now that Crowder's gone, Crowder has twice as many catches and nearly 300 more yards (486 to 189) than his replacement.

"Anytime we need a big play, he comes up with it," Jets coach Adam Gase said this week. "He's been very quarterback friendly."

Crowder will never be someone who generates a ton of game-changing plays — his yards-per-catch this year is 10.1 and his career average is 11.6 — but quarterback friendly is a perfect way to describe his game and it's a valuable quality, too.

His catch rate, for example, is 73.8-percent, a number that reflects how well he gets open and how much trust his signal callers have in him.

For an offense like Washington's, a unit that hasn't found the end zone in a month, one that is incapable of sustaining drives and one that's devoid of any dangerous wideouts beyond McLaurin, Crowder would make an enormous difference.

"Jamison, when he was here, was productive, outstanding," Bill Callahan told reporters on Thursday. 

Of course, the Redskins didn't just carelessly allow Crowder to depart without having a plan in place to fill in for him. They didn't want to compensate him at that price level and instead hoped a younger draft pick would mitigate the loss, which is what organizations do all the time.

Their plan, unfortunately, just hasn't succeeded.

Jay Gruden and Ike Hilliard were supremely optimistic in Quinn's ability to step up in his second campaign and become a legit threat, and while Callahan praised Quinn's versatility and dependability on Thursday, he just hasn't emerged as any kind of difference maker.

Quinn is far from the only pass catcher who's faltering for the Redskins, sure, but his catch rate is just 58.5-percent despite the fact that he's not running many deep routes. Coaches love his reliable hands, yet those hands aren't translating into enough completions.

Crowder likely won't have that issue in his return to FedEx Field in Week 11, by the way. Greg Manusky's defense allows an NFL-high 78.9-percent completion rate to slot receivers, and No. 82 is coming in off of two strong efforts.

That means you can expect Crowder to stand out versus his old teammates, while also reminding the franchise as a whole of a very simple truth: You get what you pay for. Washington chose not to pay for Crowder, and now, their slogging offense is largely paying for that choice.

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