Skin Deep – Washington’s season is done

The Washington Redskins have now officially been ruled out of playoff contention after they were rolled over by the LA Chargers on Sunday. It’s been a disappointing year but Christian Burt is already looking to the future…

Football is glory isn’t it?

The guys out on the field, perhaps more than any other sport, want the honours – the Divisional Championships and those famous Superbowl rings.

When you have an NFL team that is in contention the blood pumps: across the fan base and across the roster. There is, however, nothing pumping in Washington; a district hospital specialising in transfusion science couldn’t inject a life force into this team.

In essence this team was done in that astonishing loss vs New Orleans. You know, the 99% winning prediction game that had the Saints fans marching out, only for a Redskins defence that suddenly went soft, and have continued to be so since.

Of course, the injury situation reached Armageddon levels in 2017 – alarm bells are now ringing for Jordan Reed, an elite Tight End who has now missed the last six. Will the #1 pass catcher on the Redskins offense EVER be healthy for the rigours of NFL?

Jonathan Allen was a great pick in the 2017 Draft; just the kind of tough guy needed along the DL. But, although he too fell to injury, how can the loss of a rookie equate to such an alarmingly savage dip in yards conceded since he went to the side lines?

Maybe for a roster around the middle of the pack, in the toughest sport on this planet, injuries (and absolutely vital guys too throughout this season have been placed on IR or missed big games where big moments are required) will ALWAYS be a fatal blow.

But boy is Washington now cooking up an absolute egg of bad egg seasons. For the majority of 2017, despite all the aforementioned woes, the burgundy & gold have looked a together kind of group. And led by the affable Jay Gruden, the Redskins were heroically competing against the odds. Think back to the Seahawks road trip – Washington went into Seattle without OL stars Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff and won.

Greg Manusky and Jim Tomsula turned out a fully prepped defensive side of the ball in Seattle – this has flipped so dramatically that even the most optimistic Skins fan can’t help but feel we are into glass quarter empty territory. Were those guys blitzed out and too simplistic?

So, what happens next?

It would be very Dan Snyder to go into dramatic mode; handing out P45s (or whatever the US equivalent to getting your marching orders is) across the coaching staff. Or even further, rolling the dice yet again on a rookie QB and pocketing the Kirk deal saved $$$ across the roster with FAs; an unwise move unless Cousins forces the hand instead and the franchise are left with little choice.

Personally, if I was Jay; use everything you have left at your disposal and put on IR the guys who have been pretty much playing through insane pain barriers (see Trent Williams as Example A).

The locker room outpouring is par for the course when an NFL team is eliminated; so within reason ignore it. They’ll be some rallying cries to rid of the heavy $$$ contracts of Josh Norman, Kirk, Reed etc. but that route leads to rebuild #523 of the Snyder era; so ignore those too.

Of course there’ll be some savings to be had; and if there was a good player to walk – but in my mind with not an excessive blowback on the Redskins – I’d be saying adios to Bashaud Breeland. In fact, I don’t think he will make the $10 million dollar yearly contracts being touted as an unrestricted FA. Throw in the obvious bust in WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. and you’ve got some dollar for the cap (or rather the Cousins contract and remaining cap).

Draft 2018 quick takes

The Draft for Washington in 2018 will be interesting and if they tank out for the last three; will be a top 10 pick for the burgundy & gold. I would not be that surprised if the Skins go OLB if a clear BPA akin to the Allen pick.

The consistent pass rush of Ryan Kerrigan is probably about peaking, Preston Smith can dazzle and frazzle in equal measure and Junior Galette will likely get more snaps and more pay elsewhere in 2018. I’d forgotten about Trent Murphy who had a breakout in 2016 but tore his ACL first game out this season.

An OLB legitimate pick in Round One is never a bad choice; Ryan Anderson hasn’t looked NFL calibre in 2017 after being selected in Round Two – but shouldn’t be totally ruled out – although I’d expect no more than a Murphy level career as to me he is a bit smaller and slower than required.

Samaje Perine has shown flashes running the ball in 2017 and you’d hope for a continued upward curve from the big shouldered back. But again, Samaje is probably a good to potentially very good #2 running back and Washington only need to look to NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys to see the impact that a bonafide elite RB can bring to offensive play calling.

Five to roll back the tide

So then, in the final analysis, what can bring the Skins back from the depths of disillusionment?

I’ll avoid the too obvious sacking of Bruce Allen and go for:

1)      Get back to winning ways with 2 out of 3 wins of the games left to ease some OTT reactions

2)      Don’t go burning the house down and fire the Head Coach

3)      Sign Kirk Cousins to just about the best deal possible in the off season

4)      Draft an elite RB to hit the ground running (literally) or an elite OLB to hit the QB (my preference is the RB)

5)      Move on with confidence from Breeland and Pryor Sr. and start to think of hungry FAs, not pay check FAs

Christian Burt

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Christian Burt
Washington Redskins Writer
Writing from the UK Capital about the Nation's Capital team.
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