Washington is perched the highest in the NFC East. This win on home soil over the Dallas Cowboys now sets up a real opportunity to be a post season play off team. Christian Burt goes 3 & out on the 4-2 Redskins
Beefing up the Line through the Draft
In 2017 and 2018, the Washington Redskins went big (literally) across the interior Defensive Line. By picking Crimson Tide studs Jon Allen and Daron Payne in consecutive drafts, Washington decided to meet a long term weakness head on and added youth and size to stall the opposition rush.
And if you needed any further evidence of the run stuffing capabilities of The Alabama Wall, look to Sunday and Zeke Elliot’s season low 33 yards off 15 carries. If these guys stay healthy and continue to be complimented with the improving edge rush of Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith, the DL will keep the Redskins fully competitive for the ten remaining regular season games and many a season thereafter.
It’s also a timely reminder for any franchise to not give up high picks for flashy cap extinguishing players. Weekend talk materialised of Raiders WR Amari Cooper being on the trade block for a first rounder.
Washington should continue to stick with the build through the draft philosophy that was reignited by Scot McCloughlan. Develop your own guys and build the trenches with high picks across the line on both sides of the ball.
If you need to make a splash, do so with absolutely legitimate elite dudes, but only then when you’ve paid your own guys first. Cooper is unquestionably talented – but he isn’t full blown elite and I’d be loath to create unnecessary future cap problems until the likes of Brandon Scherff and Preston can be tied down to post-rookie deal contracts.
All Day, Peterson: Off Day, Smith
Adrian Peterson, man.
So far in 2018, when Peterson is pounding the football, the Washington Redskins come away with the victory. In contrast to Elliott, AP had a day yet again with 95 yards and carried the offensive side of the team and the football as Alex Smith was firmly in the average to below average category on Sunday.
It would be harsh to state the Redskins won in spite of Smith.
But it is fair to suggest that Washington will require their well-paid quarterback and receiving core to get on the same page as soon as possible if the Redskins are to maintain the top spot in the NFC East.
There were, of course, legitimate reasons for the sluggish QB play. Three key Redskins targets –Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson and Chris Thompson – were ruled out and we must also remember this is only the sixth time in a regular season that Alex has suited up in burgundy & gold.
This doesn’t excuse brain freezing moments like going out of bounds to preserve a Dallas timeout or missing an open wide Jeremy Sprinkle in the Redzone. The flip, however, and a cause for optimism, is that Smith has been a consistent performer in the NFL for over a decade.
Alex can game manage, he can scramble and he is capable of extending plays out of the pocket. He is a proven commodity in the NFL and you won’t hear alarm bells ringing here in the U.K just yet over the QB position in Washington.
Potential for a new era in Washington
There’s a fresher feeling in D.C and it’s not exclusively along that interior DL. The Redskins have to make history as well as justifiably refer to it.
Pregame, Washington seemed to get the tone right in terms of balancing the storied history of the Franchise & Dallas rivalry. The admittance that there was an overdue need to reach out to the potential huge fan base in the Capitol was cemented with the appointment of the respected Brian Lafemina.
The team president of business operations and chief operating officer was a very smart hire in May this year and is immediately making his mark.
The sight of Chris Cooley out in D.C and handing out free shirts and engaging with potential Redskins fans was welcome this week, as is the obvious link up with the unrivalled passion of guys like the Hog Farmers. If the team on the field can match this investment, then we might well see the days again of a bouncing RFK atmosphere in the more sterile FedEx.
And this felt like another thrilling chapter in the history of these two old foes. The crisp doink of the upright was music to both those farming hogs and to new fans as well as Dallas kicker Brett Maher failed to take the game into OT.
Game Balls and Bowls of Gravy
The play of Ryan Kerrigan has perhaps, unfairly, come under scrutiny after a slow start in 2018.
Kerrigan’s strip and sack of Prescott that led to fellow OLB Preston Smith scooping up the loose football for the six points will quell that criticism for some time.
It was his second sack of the game, and if Preston and Kerrigan can start to really heat up the sack count for these remaining ten games, then anything is possible post season. I’m throwing Kerrigan the Game Ball, with Peterson and the Alabama boys also in the mix.
Next up is another divisional match up, this time on the road in New York. The Giants are facing down the elimination barrel at 1-5, but still have offensive weapons to throw the form book into the fire. It’ll be closer than the two records suggest.