The New England Patriots score an average of over 35 points per game. The Redskin scored 31 points against the Bucs the last time they played, their highest-scoring game of the season. They are averaging about 22 points per game. Obviously they will need to get some additional production out of the offense if the Patriots have even an average game offensively.
So should they try to add in some new wrinkles to the offense to get things rolling? Maybe, said Jay Gruden, but they have to be careful of throwing too much at quarterback Kirk Cousins.
“I think every game plan is a little different but we have to try to keep doing what Kirk's comfortable with,” said Gruden. “There's always going to be some new things that you apply to the game plan every week. But you don't want to overwhelm your quarterback and change totally who you are because of who you're playing. You're playing based on the front and covers the most part . . . There is some merit to adjusting to a team as high scoring as New England.”
You hate to hear talk of needing to keep a player “comfortable”; the culture of the game says that pushing a player out of his comfort zone is the way you get the best out of him. But the exception is inexperienced quarterbacks.
Cousins has now started 16 games, one season’s worth. Forcing him to do too much in an effort to beat the team quarterbacked by Tom Brady, who will be starting his 244th game, including the 29 he has started in the playoffs, likely would be self-defeating.
If you think having Cousins play within himself seems to be the path to at best a respectable loss, you’re probably right. But rolling the dice and having Cousins push the envelope could lead to disaster.
Maybe one day the Redskins will have a quarterback who has more than a few years in a system and can bring some different wrinkles while staying in his comfort zone. Until then, they’ll just have to do what they do and hope it turns out OK.