It's one of those Monday mornings when you ask yourself, "Why in the world did I stay up for such a game?" But in the end, it makes you a stronger fan. It builds your team spirit and soul. Tell yourself things like that in order to make it through the day—and the rest of the Washington Redskins' season.
To no one's surprise, the Redskins were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention Sunday night, dropping to 3-9 on the year after losing to a bad New York Giants team in front of a lifeless crowd at a seemingly deserted FedEx Field.
Here's my six-pack of notes and reactions on an ever-so-typical morbid Monday morning after.
Contrary to what seems to be a majority of fans, I thought Robert Griffin III was just OK in Sunday night’s loss to the New York Giants. But the improvement from what we've seen for most of the year deserves some praise, I suppose.
Early in the game and through most of the first half, Griffin looked comfortable in the pocket and was delivering better passes than we’ve seen in recent weeks. He had live feet with some bounce in his step and a noticeable sense of confidence.
To my observation, all of that was a collective result of the Redskins' turbo offense.
Overall, I still didn’t think Griffin was anywhere near as accurate or as great a decision-maker as his final stat line would implicate.
Griffin’s best throw of the night was his touchdown to Logan Paulsen, and not just because it was worth six points. Griffin saw through a defense, anticipated and put the ball on a spot. It was the type of throw we haven’t seen a lot from Griffin this season.
Over the course of the next four weeks, the magnifying glass should remain over Griffin and his play. Progression with things like passing touch, decision-making and route reads will hopefully encourage fans and coaches in what’s otherwise a dismally disappointing season.
Speaking of Griffin’s success in the first half of Sunday night’s loss, it was the Redskins' turbo offense that helped Griffin and the offense along.
Why did Griffin look so much better/different in the first half (specifically the Redskins' first drive) than he did throughout the rest of the game? Because he was more confident. Why? Because his offensive line was sustaining blocks. Why else? Because Griffin was completing throws and gaining momentum. Why? Because the Giants defense was kept off-balance and on its toes.
The Redskins have seen great success stem from their uptempo and fast-paced offense this season. So why is it that we always see the team get away from it, even after witnessing it work just two quarters prior?
3. Offensive line
As mentioned before, when the Redskins are running their turbo offense, the line benefits from going against a defense that is gassed and off-balance. Outside of that, however, this offensive line has been dismal all season.
No one likes harping on the same issue. But simply put, the Redskins don’t have four starting-caliber offensive linemen. It's more like one-and-a-half.
4. Defensive intensity
The more I want to question the Redskins' intensity on defense, the more it appears that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was simply trying to prevent the home run via Hakeem Nicks and (more likely) Victor Cruz on Sunday night.
Aside from the second quarter, the Redskins played pretty well against the run. But in coverage, it always seemed as if defenders were 10 yards off their receivers, making it a particularly easy night for Eli Manning to play pitch-and-catch with his targets.
Think back to last year, though, when Cruz torched Madieu Williams (no longer with the team) and the Redskins secondary with less than two minutes to go in the game and you immediately understand the nightmares Haslett was having prior to Sunday night’s kickoff.
Oh, shoot. We all know. It’s no secret. This Redskins defense is awful. And given what we’ve seen in past games this season when the defense has been gashed wide open, perhaps Sunday night was instead just a better execution of damage control.
5. It’s time to see fresh faces
No, we’re not talking about benching Robert Griffin III. Everyone stop with that nonsense.
But in terms of other positions, I’d like to see some of the young guys get a crack at things. The Redskins are 3-9 and eliminated from playoff contention (as if that wave really ever had any push), and there’s no reason not to see what other guys (who are normally pretty hungry) have to offer for the offseason and perhaps next season.
At the end of the season, is five wins (which you may be able to muster with your normal starters) that much better than the three wins you already have (and could possibly end up with by playing inexperienced guys)?
Gimme me some Lance Lewis, Adam Gettis, Tom Compton and any other draft pick by this regime that we clearly haven’t seen enough of. That goes for more David Amerson, too.
6. Another losing season
While one side of me says Mike Shanahan deserves more time, the other side of me preaches the importance of a record. And in the NFL, you’re only as good as your record says. Err, something like that.
2013 has been yet another down season, only this one was injected with more disappointment and sadness than seasons past.
The future of Mike Shanahan in Washington isn’t a one-sided issue. Some want him to stay; others want to behead him. But regardless of side, the head coach and his staff need to be seriously evaluated.