The Washington Redskins owned one of the top offenses in the NFL in 2016. Though it is only the preseason, Washington is having trouble moving the ball against opposing teams’ starters. High expectations have been set for Kirk Cousins and though his play in the preseason has been underwhelming, he is hardly the main reason for the offensive struggles. It is okay to struggle now but will it carry over into the regular season?
Offensive Line Now A Concern?
The Redskins currently ranked last in the NFL in rushing yards the past two preseason games, with a 51.5 yard average. There has to be more push and physicality up front. It does not matter how good Rob Kelley or Samaje Perine are if the offensive line can’t make any lanes for them to run through. In addition to the run blocking struggles, the pass protection hasn’t been that much better. Though the four sacks allowed may seem low, the quarterback pressures allowed up Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, and Nate Sudfeld are high. Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses are the top offensive linemen on the team. They have to stay healthy but they also have to play better that their slow start to the preseason.
Kirk Cousins Playing Like A Rookie
The Redskins preseason debut against the Baltimore Ravens was hard to watch. Cousins led a three-and-out drive, composed of miscommunication by him and his surrounding cast. He made some improvements in the second preseason game facing the Green Bay Packers. He completed a perfect 43-yard pass to Vernon Davis and threw a four yard touchdown to Jamison Crowder. Unfortunately all of his success occurred in the second quarter against second-string players. He has not performed well when facing first-string starters in the Redskins first two preseason games.
Effect Of Pierre Garcon And DeSean Jackson Departures On Display
Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson are the projected starters at wide receivers and are counted on to be the replacements for Garcon and Jackson. So far, the Cousins to Pryor and Doctson connections are a work in progress. Both receivers have a combined total of 23 yards on two receptions. If the receivers can’t step up, the go-to targets will be the tight ends. Jordan Reed will slowly work back into the starting lineup but expect Vernon Davis to be the deep threat and go-to target for Cousins this season.
Jay Gruden Put To The Test But Success Has Not Followed So Far
Through the first two preseason games, the Redskins are averaging 10 points and 236.5 yards per game. Stats in the preseason don’t matter much but when the first-string starters struggle, it can translate into the regular season. Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals struggled in the 2016 preseason and it continued into the regular season. Struggles cannot be ignored. The Redskins need to show more signs of life with the first-team starters or another disappointing season could be upon them. Under Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, Kirk Cousins and the offense looked phenomenal. Right now, Gruden looks to be driving a once promising ship into a waste land.
The Detroit Lions had a perfect preseason record in 2008 just to finish the regular season with an 0-16 record. Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals struggled in the 2016 preseason, throwing zero touchdowns and three interceptions. His struggles persisted into the regular season and the Cardinals missed the playoffs. Maybe the Washington Redskins current struggles mean nothing but it is very possible for their growing concerns to continue into the regular season. The sky is the limit for this offense if the offensive line is playing at its best.