The Washington Redskins won the NFC East last season. They certainly won’t win it again (at least not this season). Their playoff hopes took a beating – as did they – on Monday night as part of their 26-15 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
One touchdown. Four field goals. A leaky defense. And a quarterback whose numbers shine but whose errors in the red zone completely block that light. Back to the drawing board.
The Redskins (7-6-1) haven’t made the playoffs in consecutive years since 1990-92. Their last playoff victory followed the 2005 season.
The quarterback, Kirk Cousins, set passing records last year but the club would not commit to a long-term contract. Looks like a wise move. His gaudy numbers are completely offset by a tendency to turn the ball over when the team is on the verge of scoring, as he did against the Panthers, or when energy should be on the Redskins’ side.
A sack-strip on the first play of the second half sent the Panthers marching toward the end zone again for a 20-9 lead and this balloon was out of air.
Quarterbacks can be deceiving. Ryan Fitzpatrick set passing records for the New York Jets last season but they would not do a long-term deal and he has been benched this season. Derek Anderson had a fine season for the Cleveland Browns, parlayed it into a big contract, and now backs up Cam Newton for the Panthers. Sure, these players are subject to the lineup around them, but their decision-making is theirs. There’s a Brian Hoyer or a Matt Cassel or other one-shot wonder hanging out their somewhere. Is Cousins one of them?
The NFC East was awful in 2015. The four teams combined for 26 victory; the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants have already accumulated 22 by themselves. The division got better and the Redskins more or less stayed the same.
They’ve got to be better defensively. They must fix their secondary. And the quarterback drama will continue. In Washington, that’s been a given since the 1970s.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman