Redskins

Redskins

FEDEX FIELD -- For the first time in the 2019 season, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was able to play the quarterback he would've liked to start all season long.

On Friday, Gruden named veteran Colt McCoy the Redskins starting quarterback vs. New England, moving on from Case Keenum and continuing to stay away from rookie Dwayne Haskins.

McCoy was the guy many felt Gruden wanted to start all along, due to the time he's spent in the system and an understanding of the head coach's offense. McCoy likely would have been the team's Week 1 starter (was No. 1 on the team's depth chart prior to the setback), had he not suffered a setback in training camp when recovering from a previously broken right leg.

While Gruden got his wish, McCoy did very little to reward him in the Redskins blowout loss to the Patriots. In his first start of the season, the veteran finished 18-27 for 119 yards, no touchdowns, and one very bad interception. Additionally, the Patriots sacked McCoy six times.

"Tough day. I don't want to paint any other picture," McCoy said on the offensive struggles. "We want to score more than seven points."

Sure, there are excuses that can be made for the Redskins' poor offensive play. Right guard Brandon Scherff, the team's best offensive lineman not named Trent Williams, could not play due to an ankle injury. Starting center Chase Roullier was active, but Tony Bergstrom handled the center duties, as Roullier is still suffering from a knee injury.

 

Washington's opponent was also one of the NFL's best on both sides of the ball. But New England's defense is especially stellar. Through the Patriots' first four games of the season, they had allowed just one offensive touchdown.

But the Redskins offense has to be better. It's as simple as that.

Washington finished with just 220 net yards on offense -- an abysmal 4.2 average gain per offensive play. In the first quarter, a Steven Sims' 65-yard touchdown run gave Washington an early 7-0 lead. On the other 52 plays the Redskins ran in the game, they totaled just 155 yards of total offense. Washington converted just one third down in 11 tries, a nine (!!) percent success rate. 

Following Sims' touchdown, the Redskins had 12 meaningful drives (not including a kneel down to end the first half). They went as follows: punt, punt, punt, fumble, punt, interception, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, end of game. That's not winning football.

Gruden said it would be an "unfair evaluation" of McCoy's play, due to injuries and the play from others around him.

"We have to do a better job around him," Gruden said. "For him, or any quarterback in this offense or any offense to succeed, we have got to have strong performances by others."

But unlike his head coach, the quarterback would not make any excuses for his poor play.

"I don't want to make any excuses for me," McCoy said. "We're playing in the National Football League, and I know my job and responsibility. We were missing some guys and we're doing our best and there's no excuse for what we put out there today."

The ship is sinking quickly for the Redskins. They're 0-5 for the first time since 2001, and have an average margin of defeat by 15.6 points. That's greater than a two-touchdown spread.

When looking at the Redskins schedule, the first five games (Eagles, Cowboys, Bears, Giants, Patriots) we're expected to be tough, as the team was facing four playoff teams from a year ago. But Washington was unable to escape the gauntlet with just one win, as their season is now practically over with 11 games still left to play.

"I've been provided ample opportunities to succeed around here," Gruden said when asked about his job security. "I've got good players, I've got a good staff. We just haven't produced on Sundays or Mondays. We [have to] do better." 

Next week, Washington travels to Miami for a battle for arguably the worst team in the NFL. Things with the Burgundy and Gold sure feel like rock bottom now, but a loss to the Dolphins would be the lowest fall of them all.

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