Four games into the season, it looked like the Washington Redskins were going to contend for an NFC East title. It was shocking, considering that Rex Grossman was the starting quarterback.
Now, after two straight losses, those playoff hopes seem much more dim.
However, they are only one game behind the 4-2 New York Giants, so an NFC East title isn't out of the question.
If the Redskins want to get there, they need to address these four pressing issues.
In four games, the Redskins have been held scoreless in the first quarter. They have only scored one first-quarter touchdown the entire season.
In the first quarter, Washington QBs have accumulated a 53.5 passer rating, around 20 points lower than the other three quarters.
This slow start isn't limited to the QBs.
The defense only has one turnover and two sacks in the first quarter.
The 'Skins need to get off to quicker starts if they want to win games.
The Redskins do not have great quarterbacks, so it's a wonder as to why they pass the ball so much.
Mike Shanahan has a great history with running backs, and he has two talented runners in Ryan Torain and Roy Helu.
It's time to start using them more and passing less.
In an ideal world, John Beck throws fewer than 30 passes a game.
Penalties have been a problem for the Redskins defense.
They have given up 445 yards on penalties—second in the NFL—on 54 penalties. That's an average of 8.24 yards per penalty.
In comparison, the well-disciplined Dallas Cowboys defense has given up a league-low 186 yards on penalties.
Emotions are part of the game, but they can bring stupid mistakes.
The Washington defense needs to stay cool and stop committing stupid penalties.
The Washington Redskins have only eight takeaways on the season. On the other side of the ball, they've turned it over 14 times.
The 'Skins are second in the league in forced fumbles (15) but have only recovered three of them. Meanwhile, they've lost four fumbles.
Obviously, teams who don't win the turnover battle typically don't win games.
The Redskins have to be smarter with the ball and convert the forced fumbles into turnovers, which will then turn into points.