Point-Counterpoint: How close are the Redskins?

Point-Counterpoint: How close are the Redskins?
September 27, 2013, 11:45 am
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Tyler Polumbus lays out the formula for a Redskins win

Tandler - Tarik

By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler

Robert Griffin III was asked just how close he thinks the Redskins are to turning the corner and becoming the team that they were at the end of last year. “I think we’re real close," he said.

Not that Griffin doesn’t have a valid and informed opinion about such things, but he isn’t necessarily right. Are the Redskins just a slight improvement here and a key play there away from being the contender we all thought they would be at the start of the season? Or is Griffin’s assessment overly optimistic? Is the reality that the Redskins have a long way to go before they can be called a quality team? Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler debate the question in this week’s edition of Point-Counterpoint.

Tandler: The Redskins lost to the Lions because Aldrick Robinson couldn’t quite hold on to what would have been a game changing touchdown pass. The ball just barely rolled on the ground but it was enough to create the Redskins’ margin of defeat. Even given that, if Griffin can hold on to the ball when he fell to the ground after a 21-yard run into Lions’ territory in the fourth quarter, the Redskins have a better chance of winning. You get the picture. They didn’t make the plays but they were in a position to win. That tells me that they are close to getting a win. 

El-Bashir: They may be close to getting a win. Might happen Sunday in Oakland, in fact. But I’m not convinced they’re all that close to turning around the ship. The defense is a disaster right now. The unit has combined to miss 43 tackles, according to ProFootballFocus.com. It’s allowed a league-worst 605 yards after the catch, according to STATS.com. It has yielded 1,464 yards of total offense, the most in the Super Bowl era through three games. It's also on pace to allow the second most points in NFL history. Can Jim Haslett fix that? Perhaps. He did miraculous work in the second half of 2012. But it’s not something he’s going to fix in a week.   

Tandler: The defense isn’t going to be the strength of the team. If the defense can merely improve to the lower end of mediocre the offense will be able to win games once Griffin rounds back into his 2012 form. And he is very close to that. The read option game is rounding into form, his passes have more zip and accuracy and he and his targets are working their way onto the same page. When that happens—and I expect it to happen as soon as Griffin takes a snap on Sunday—the Redskins will be back on track and back into the fight for “supremacy” in the weak NFC East. 

El-Bashir:  RG3 isn’t all the way back. But he’s close. I’ll agree with you there, Rich. But I still remain skeptical about the Redskins’ chances of overcoming their 0-3 start. And here’s why: the remaining 13 games on their schedule. In addition to five division games, they’ve got to play the Bears, Broncos, Vikings, 49ers and Falcons. All of them won 10 games a year ago. Three were division champs. Not to mention the Chiefs, who are off to a 3-0 start and have shown no sign of slowing down. When I looked at the Skins’ schedule prior to the season, I penciled in ‘Ws’ next the Philly and Detroit. Those are now ‘Ls’. It’s still possible for Redskins to rally? Of course. They did it last year. But the level of difficulty is awfully high.