What They Should Be Thinking Today: Washington Redskins

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistSeptember 17, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 16:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins walks off the field after the Redskins were defeated by the St Louis Rams 31-28 in the game against the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome on September 16, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

In an attempt to get inside the heads of NFC East teams, we occasionally take a step back by looking at what each squad should be thinking at any given point. In light of Sunday's tough loss to the St. Louis Rams, here is what should be going through the Washington Redskins' heads.


We're Keeping in Mind That We Didn't Have Pierre Garcon and Brian Orakpo

The defense was torched by a subpar offense that was without its top player, but that goes to show how vulnerable we are without Brian Orakpo. If Orakpo's injury isn't serious and he's able to return soon, the point here is that we have a bit of an excuse for what happened defensively against the Rams. 

But if Orakpo does have to miss an extended period of time, we're in trouble. He isn't replaceable and Ryan Kerrigan can't carry this pass rush on his own. There are very few players on this roster who we can less afford to lose than him.

As for the offensive performance, we're taking solace in the fact we still put up 28 points on an underrated defense despite the absence of Garcon, who is clearly Robert Griffin III's favorite target.

Griffin still managed to compete nearly 70 percent of his passes and was a deep threat again. He was also more of a running threat against St. Louis. He changes this team completely, and he's only going to get better, especially when Garcon is back to 100 percent.

We're not making excuses, but this team is a lot better with those two healthy.

UPDATE: Orakpo is out for the season, along with defensive end Adam Carriker. We'll have more on that this afternoon.


We Might Need to Consider a Midseason Special Teams Overhaul

Considering that we had five field goals blocked last season, it's almost hard to believe that we've now opened the season with two blocked punts. The first one nearly cost us a game in New Orleans, and this last one was likely the difference in St. Louis.

It's a misconception that special teams is one third of the game, but special teams mistakes are absolute killers.

We also struggled Sunday to find room on returns and let Danny Amendola break free on a punt return. 

Maybe these special teams problems speak to a lack of quality depth, but there's only so much we can do about that right now. If the miscues continue, we can say goodbye to special teams coach Danny Smith and bring in somebody who can focus solely on solving these issues.


The Pieces Are All in Place, and We've Yet to Play a Home Game

Starting 1-1 on the road ain't bad for a young team like this. We have to have a short memory and forget about the miscues Sunday. Either that, or just let that performance serve as a lesson and a reminder of what we have to avoid. 

We return home now, and it's become obvious these first two weeks that Griffin is the man to lead this franchise going forward. It also became extremely obvious Sunday that we finally have a franchise-caliber back in Alfred Morris, who had 89 yards on 16 carries. 

Morris is giving us a chance to have a balanced attack. We had a 29-29 pass-run ratio against the Rams, which is making life a lot easier for RG3. 

We've had a lot of ups and downs in only two weeks. Our Week 3 home opener against Cincinnati could set the tone for the remainder of the season.