By CHRIS MARKHAM
Fans of the Washington Redskins have grown accustomed to entering NFL seasons with low expectations for their team. The mantra of the past few seem to follow Murphy’s infamous law: “what can go wrong will go wrong.”
An offseason that was loaded with quarterback controversy, ultimately sending Robert Griffin III to the bench, gave little for Redskins fans to hope for in an impressive season.
Even their highest profile free agent addition, Junior Galette, suffered a torn ACL and is out of the year. With RGIII’s future in Washington seriously in question, the elephant in the room dominates the attention of the players and the media, ultimately hindering their performance on the field.
Unsurprisingly, the season opener last Sunday was quite indicative of what Redskins fans are accustomed to. The players give you hope for a portion of the game, make self-made errors to shoot themselves in the foot and ultimately lose a game that seemed just within reach. Their 17-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins left Redskins fans with a feeling that they are far too used to: disappointment.
However, it does not seem that one can pin the loss on one player in particular. Kirk Cousins, who many were opposed to having being named the starter, played well enough to keep his team in the game and limited his mistakes. Additionally, considering the pressure he felt from that daunting Dolphins line, consisting of Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh, he performed adequately. On the other side of the ball, the defense also did their job. Limiting your opponent to 17 points will win you the ball game more often than not, but not for the Redskins.
The most telling statistic of the game was the 11 penalties the Redskins committed for 88 yards. Four of these penalties were holding calls, caused by the pressure enforced by Wake and Suh. These penalties plagued Washington and kept them from gaining any offensive momentum.
It does not get any easier for the ‘Skins now, as they get ready to play the St. Louis Rams, who pose one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses and a surprisingly effective offense.
The Rams, who just took down the defending NFC champion Seahawks 34-31 in overtime, mirror the Dolphins in their stingy defense and solid offense, yet are better on both sides. If the Redskins could not pull off the win over the Dolphins, they will have an even harder time with the Rams.
The two burning questions that remain in Washington are these: a year from now, who will be vying for the 2016 Presidency and who will be under center for the Redskins. RGIII seems to be on his way out, unless and already destroyed relationship his healed between him and Jay Gruden. Kirk Cousins is solid, but ‘solid’ does not win you Super Bowls. Lastly, Colt McCoy is, well, Colt McCoy.
So, with the NFL season well under way, Redskins fans are left with even less optimism than normal and a waning patience.