Redskins' Most Disappointing Players Through Week 5
Much has gone wrong in Washington's first three losses, but with all the negative comes plenty of positive. The Redskins are very much still in the hunt for the NFC East title with the Eagles and Giants just a game ahead. With 11 games left on the schedule, anything can happen.
Here's some players who need to turn things around for Washington to be successful.
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I actually really like the way Jarvis Jenkins played against Atlanta. He seemed to do a good job closing gaps in the run game and got some pressure up front.
But since this list is collective for the season, Jenkins finds himself here.
I think Jenkins has the physical tools to be a dominant force in this league. He's athletic, works hard and has good instincts. But missing a year because of injury was a major setback in his development. He's still working to get back to the speed of the NFL.
Before Atlanta, Jenkins had trouble getting any kind of push on offensive linemen. Too often he would get wiped out of a play by a single blocker. That can't happen in this defense.
If he can break through the next level and start figuring it out, things will get much easier for the pass rushers on this team. More pressure up front means less time the DB's have to cover, which means less opportunities for big plays. The defense needs Jenkins to be better.
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Pierre Garcon's biggest problem is that he just can't get healthy.
He's good enough to play, but even Garcon said he doesn't feel 100% yet, and it shows on the field. He was held to just four catches for 64 yards in the past two games. As the favorite target for Robert Griffin III in one of the most explosive offenses in the league, those stats aren't going to get it done.
When Garcon is healthy, this offense will be that much more dangerous. Right now, the biggest problem the Redskins face is converting third downs. They rank last in the NFL in third down conversion percentage. Having a receiver with plenty of experience like Garcon will help convert some of those plays that have been going to first or second year guys.
The screen game was a huge factor against New Orleans, largely because of Garcon. That allowed Griffin to develop a rhythm and keep the Saints defense off balance. Without Garcon the offense became more reliant on the zone-read with Griffin and Alfred Morris. While effective, it exposed Griffin to far too many big shots.
The offense needs Garcon to get back to where he was. Fred Davis, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss all don't have the game-changing ability that Garcon has. Without him this offense is a fraction of what it could be. And the Redskins still have one of the top scoring offenses in the league.
Imagine what they could do at full strength.
Dejon Gomes/Reed Doughty
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Whoever the Redskins stick in at strong safety seems to struggle. Granted, Reed Doughty is a special teams stud who has always been a backup at best on defense and Dejon Gomes was a fifth-round draft pick, but someone has to step up in the absence of Brandon Meriweather.
Gomes actually played very well against New Orleans, even recording a critical interception late in the game, but since then his play has dropped off dramatically and he's been replaced by Doughty.
Doughty has always done well against the run while struggling in coverage. Josh Wilson implied that Doughty was responsible for the Julio Jones touchdown last week against Atlanta, and he wasn't very happy about it.
Meriweather is out for at least another four weeks, so the Redskins have to find a way to get it together. One of these two has to step up and make plays if they want to win. We'll see if that happens.
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Madieu Williams is a hard case to solve. On some plays he makes great reads and easily makes the play, on others he looks lost and gets torched. As a veteran in the league you can't afford to be that inconsistent if you want a starting job.
Williams was never supposed to be the answer at starting free safety. The coaching staff was largely counting on Tanard Jackson to step in and flourish under his former coach Raheem Morris. Jackson ended up suspended for at least the year, so Williams went from depth guy to starter.
The back end of this defense is by far the biggest weakness on the team. Even the offensive line has gelled together and played good enough so far. The coverage against Atlanta was about as good as you'll ever see from this group, largely due to the phenomenal play of the corners.
For this defense to be truly successful two things need to happen. First, the pass rush needs to limit the time quarterbacks have in the pocket. Second, the defensive backs need to keep everything in front of them and stop the big play.
Some of the most flawed defenses have been successful by adopting the bend, but don't break mentality. The Redskins can give up all the yards they want on defense and still win games if they keep teams out of the end zone. That's what Washington needs from this defense and what they need from this secondary.
And it all starts with Williams.
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Billy the Kid is no longer a Washington Redskin, but his play was bad enough that it warrants a spot on this list.
Cundiff was brought in chiefly to send every kickoff through the end zone for a touchback. While he performed well in that aspect, there was an assumption that he could make a 31-yard chip shot like every other kicker in the league.
He can't, and now he's unemployed.
It would be one thing if Cundiff accepted that he played poorly and moved on, but he consistently deflected blame for his shortcomings. The Washington Times reported this gem from Cundiff after the Atlanta loss.
“You look at the final score, and obviously even if I would’ve made that field goal, we still would’ve needed four more points,” Cundiff said. “So it’s one of those things that you obviously would’ve needed two more field goal attempts beyond that."
After missing the field goal against the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, Cundiff blamed the scoreboard at Gilette Stadium for the miss. Each time he did admit that it was his fault, but then came back with an excuse for why he shouldn't be blamed.
Yes, this is a bit harsh for a Pro Bowl kicker who has done a lot of good in the league, but you can't miss easy field goals at crucial points in the game if you're getting paid that much to do it.
Kai Forbath is your new Redskins kicker. He has yet to have a regular season field goal attempt in the NFL, but he was electric at UCLA. We'll see how he fares on Sunday.