This was supposed to be the most talented roster in Jay Gruden’s tenure. The defense was younger, faster, stronger. The offense had a running game set-up to succeed and a Quarterback who has proven playoff experience. Then the games started to get played. Like most of Redskins seasons past, the bottom fell out and everything went sideways.
Defense Couldn’t Keep It Up
The Washington Redskins defense was off to an overall hot start in 2018. There were marring’s against the top seeded Saints and the Colts who cross routed them to death. But, for the most part, they were able to get to the Quarterback and force turnovers. Once the back half off the season began, this wasn’t the defense fans were used to seeing. Whether it was lack of preparation during practice or Greg Manusky trying to get too cute with coverage schemes, the turnover opportunities were not there. The Redskins were even able to get away with allowing 500+ yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and keep their season alive. The defense continued to get hammered by opposing team’s passing game. The continuous bombardment put a Redskins offense into a hole that it was ill-equipped to deal with due to all their injuries.
Offense Catches Injury Bug
It was not bad enough that star rookie Running Back Derrius Guice and projected starting Left Guard went down with season ending injuries in the preseason. More dominos fell when the Redskins lost both starting Guards, Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao, to the IR against the Falcons. The biggest hit the offense took was against the Houston Texans when Alex Smith went down with what some are speculating to be a career ending broken right leg. And then, and then, and then. Finally, the Redskins were on their fourth Quarterback and fifth guards while putting a team record 27 players on injured reserve by the time the “home” season finale began. A team can handle injuries, but when the only opening day offensive line man to play every down is Center Chase Roullier, you are in for a long season.
Something to Look Forward To
At his end of the year press conference, Gruden said he expected there to be change. Whether that is Manusky being fired or changes to the training staff is yet to be determined. However, the Redskins cannot afford to go through another season like last two years with the youth movement they have started on defense. The Redskins may be too good of a team to go 2-14 next year to secure a top three pick. It may have to be a draft where the Redskins mortgage their future again for the potential of a young, unproven quarterback commodity to avoid the talent gap they had at such a key position.