1) So....Robert Griffin III and that quarterback situation has been really weird this season. Is Griffin still the team's franchise quarterback? Are the fans behind Griffin?
When Robert Griffin III went down in week 2 the team kept rolling with Kirk Cousins and was dominating...the Jaguars. Cousins can play, and could go to a team as a low end starter but he flamed out under the pressure here. If Cousins and the Redskins won a few of the games that he started, the turnovers wouldn't have cost him his starting job. But that didn't happen and the only win Cousins got as a starter was a game that he didn't finish. Colt McCoy led the team on a game winning drive vs the Titans, and then followed that up with an overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
There were definitely fans who were calling for Cousins to be the starter before Griff's injury, after Griff's injury, and while he was playing. A lot of those fans shifted their allegiance onto the Colt McCoy wagon when he came in and won two games. Robert Griffin III will always be a polarizing figure in Washington due to the amount the team gave up to get him, and then his injury history in his first 3 years. Some people just don't like him as the QB and are ready to move on, but that is a minority of the fanbase.
Cousins and McCoy played well in spurts, but neither of them is the QB of the future here. Griffin has a lot of things that he needs to work on, and improve upon, but he is the most talented QB on the roster. The Redskins will give him every opportunity to succeed here. Jay Gruden has only had Griffin under center for 9 quarters of football, and their relationship is very fresh. Gruden will guide Griffin, and adapt the offense to the skillsets of the players. Griffin will still run to loosen up the defenses and open up the running game for Alfred Morris. The key is running smarter and not putting your body at risk for one extra yard. You can see improvements in his game every time he plays, and he will be the QB as along as he's healthy.
2) How has Jay Gruden done so far? Is the fanbase happy with their head coach?
I was fine with the hire, but I was looking at coaches with a background in defense during the coaching search. I liked the idea of a Head Coach with a defensive-minded with a strong Offensive Coordinator to work with Griffin. Instead we got an offensive-minded, former QB at head coach, and retained Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett, not the ideal start. As far as Gruden as a coach, I like his style and the way he handles the media. He can be too honest at times, but that will get beaten out of him soon enough.
The season started off poorly, and injuries and losses started adding up to a poor opinion of Gruden within the fanbase. One of the big issues has been the struggles in the running game, which has been a staple of Washington Redskins football. Gruden has admitted that he has gone away from the run after games, and regretted it, but he is working to improve that. The Redskins have a lot of receiving weapons, but the instability at QB should have meant healthy doses of Alfred Morris, but it will get fixed. Griffin's return should also help the run. Gruden's only in his first year, and still needs to fix the offensive line and other areas, but he will be a good coach here going forward. I'll never understand fans that want to fire a coach after one season.
3) How has Raheem Morris done as your defensive backs coach for the past four years? Are you happy with E.J. Biggers?
Serious question? I'm not really a fan of either of them, and expected both of them to be somewhere else this year. I expected Morris to be let go with Haslett, but both of them were kept around to take the fall if the defense failed this year. Morris hasn't been given much to work with at safety, with a series of backups and other people's trash. One of the big problems in the secondary has been communication issues. We have a rookie, a 2nd year DB, and Biggers at corner right now and there have been some miscues. Ryan Clark was brought in to be the veteran leader in the backfield, and he has been, but there needs to be better coaching. E.J. Biggers was used at safety last year to disastrous results, and he is marginally better as a slot corner this season. He'll make a good play, and then be completely burned on the next down.
4) Are there any young, unknown players we should watch for in Sunday's game?
Bashaud Breeland and Trent Murphy are the only two draft picks from this year who will see much playing time on Sunday. Breeland got his opportunity to start when DeAngelo Hall was lost for the season with an Achilles injury in Week 3. He was getting some playing time in the slot along with Biggers, but now starts alongside David Amerson to make the youngest starting CB duo in the league. Breeland had his big time introduction on Monday Night Football vs Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys a few weeks ago. He effectively shut Dez Bryant down and made several drive saving plays. Breeland is young, and both he and Amerson will make mistakes, but he is the player that Redskins fans are most excited about right now.
The player that really doesn't get talked about and isn't known by other teams is our rookie punter Tress Way. He currently leads all punters in the Pro Bowl voting, and has been one of the best, unheralded pickups of the season. The punting position and special teams in general have been a disaster recently, and Way has been booming punts all year.
5) Bruce Allen was a bit of a disaster as the Bucs' general manager. How has he done in Washington?
I was fine with Bruce being elevated to Team President and handling that role, but I wanted(and still want) the team to hire a new GM when Mike Shanahan was fired last year. I wanted a clean sweep with a new GM who could bring in his coach, and change the culture of the college and pro scouting department. I don't trust Allen in the role of GM, and he has his defenders who will point out that Mike Shanahan had personnel control while he was here and Allen was a GM in title only.
The Redskins have a long history of draft misses, and bad, overpriced free agent signings. That has not changed this year. While it's too early to tell on this year's draft class, there were some head scratching picks. Making Shawn Lauvao a priority free agent signing, and "blowing the doors" off with a large contract offer to Jason Hatcher were questionable moves too. As much as fans want change, Allen is tight with Dan Snyder, so the best we can hope for is an assistant GM being brought in to help with personnel decisions. I'm not holding my breath though.
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