Week 4 of the NFL season has come to a conclusion and Washington Redskins have firmly established themselves as one the NFL’s cellar dwellers. This past week they faced the winless Oakland Raiders on the road. Fortunately for fans, the Redskinswere able to eke out a win against Matt Flynn and company. After this win the question looms: Does the Redskin’s victory over the Raiders give Washington fans hope for the rest of the season going into the bye week?
The first reason that I am not confident in the Skin’s chances is the anemic way they start their games. The Redskins have been less than spectacular in the beginning of games this season. This past week was no exception as they went down 14-0 to the Raiders in the first quarter. Even more troubling is the fashion in which they did it. The Skin’s gave up a punt block for a touchdown early. As far as I know the Redskins are the only team to give up a punt block this season. The Redskin’s special teams have been indicative of their overall game. In fact, since Washington lost special teams coordinator Danny Smith to Pittsburgh, they have been decidedly not “special.” The Redskins questionably decided to keep fourth running back Chris Thompson, in hope that he would provide a spark in the return game, and he has yet to produce.
The second big deficiency that reared its ugly head in Week 4 for the Redskins is their porous defense. Yes the Skins were able to get to Matt Flynn but that does not make me feel any better going forward. Why? Because Flynn held on to the ball too long. Washington is not going to face any quarterbacks as slow as Flynn going forward. Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers, and Matthew Stafford all had “career days” versus the Skin’s in weeks 1, 2, and 3. Tony Romo, who will be facing the Redskins after the bye week, has one of the quickest releases in the game. Sure, the Washington secondary played better against the Raider’s receivers, but they still left a lot to be desired, especially in the tackling department. Even though starting corners DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson played moderately better in Week 4, there are still a lot of question marks regarding the defense. Namely, who will be the Redskin’s starting free safety? It doesn’t matter who starts for the Redskins if they can’t tackle anyone. The Redskins made Raider’s virtually unknown running back Rashad Jennings look like a viable fantasy option in Week 5.
The “elephant in the room” for the Redskins is the health of their star quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin was supposedly “all in” for week 1, but so far he has not proven it. What exactly is wrong with Griffin is not clear, and he did little to quell Washington fans’ worries in Week 4. Yes, the Redskins offense was able to score against the Raiders (the keyword in this sentence being the “Raiders,”) but the Redskins still have no viable scoring threat in the passing attack. With their tight ends Davis, Reed, and Paulson, all being dinged up, it is hard to tell if they will have any production from this position in the near future. Garcon is playing fairly well, but the reality is that the high powered Redskin’s offense of last year is nowhere to be found. The Skin’s offense is barely scoring points and Griffin III is turning the ball over. So is there any hope for Redskins’ fans going forward? The answer is very little.
-Matt Thompson, @MattThomposon83