September 19, 2016
Sports Insider Weekly
Two weeks into the season and the Redskins are already coming apart at the seams. One week after their embarrassing performance on Monday Night Football, the Redskins hosted the Cowboys in their second straight home game. Fresh off a one-point loss to the New York Giants, Washington’s most-hated rival was hungry for a win. The Redskins, disappointed with the outcome of their season opener, were also eager to pick up their first win of the year. But Dallas was better prepared, and it showed on Sunday in Washington’s 27-23 loss.
Most of the criticism centered on Kirk Cousins, who failed to find open receivers and capitalize on opportunities in both losses. Cousins, who led his team to the playoffs last year and is playing under a $20 million franchise tag this year, completed just 28 of his 48 passes for one touchdown and a costly, ill-timed interception.
After the loss, reports immediately began to surface about locker room disparity. The franchise dealt with it in recent years as anonymous sources spoke about players unhappy with their then-quarter Robert Griffin III. This time, offensive are supposedly unsatisfied with Cousins, who they find to be erratic, indecisive and confused.
Through the first two weeks Cousins has three interceptions to go with just one touchdown. His fourth quarter red zone pick on Sunday, which ended the Redskins’ last-game rally, combined with his poor 75.8 passer rating, has led to his teammates questioning his poise, readiness, and ability to be their starting quarterback.
Despite the reports, Washington coach Jay Gruden reiterated his faith in his quarterback. And at a Monday press conference he said the rest of the locker room felt the same way.
“They have to,” he said. “They have to go out there and do their job, and everything else will take care of itself. Kirk’s game will take care of itself. We have total faith that Kirk will get it done. And he will get it done. He has proven that he can be a successful quarterback in this league. He can make all the throws, without a doubt.”
Gruden, who supported Cousins taking over the team from Griffin through the high and low points, believes that his team needs to get better as a unit for things to improve.
“We have all the makings to be a great offense. But right now, we’re not great,” the coach admitted. “But we’ll continue to push them and get better and I think the guys will have faith that Kirk will get it turned around, that our offense will get it turned around as long as everybody does their job.”
The Redskins head on the road to face the division leading New York Giants (2-0) next Sunday in the hopes of turning their season around. But history isn’t on their side; last year, 6 of their 9 season wins came at home. While Gruden may be right, and the team has just had a rough start, perhaps if they fall to 0-3 he will begin to question if the locker room rumblings might be right.