Washington fell to 0–2 after they lost to Dallas 31–21 at FedEx Field in another disappointing outing for Greg Manusky’s defense, who couldn’t stop the tandem of Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott. After some thought, here are what I believe to be the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of the Redskins’ performance on Sunday.
Adrian Peterson reaches a career milestone:
There were not a lot of positives in the running game for the Redskins on Sunday, who as a team only rushed for 47 yards, but it wasn’t a day Adrian Peterson will forget. Peterson’s one-yard score in the first quarter was his 107th career rushing touchdown. He passed Jim Brown for fifth in the category in NFL history. He may have only had 25 yards rushing on the day, but to see Peterson continue to cement his legacy as one of the best backs the league has ever seen is a cool sight to see.
Terry McLaurin’s encore performance:
This is the second week McLaurin has made it onto the “good” category of this list, and though he wasn’t nearly as effective against Dallas as he was in Week 1 against Philadelphia, he still showed exactly why he’s the team’s X receiver as a rookie. It took McLaurin a bit to adjust to Byron Jones’ coverage, but he came on in the second half, displaying strong route running across the middle and nice hands in tight coverage on the flat route in the red zone that led to his second career touchdown. Not a lot has gone right for Washington in the passing game, but they have at least found their top receiver for the foreseeable future in Terry McLaurin.
The pass rush (or lack thereof):
Another disappointing week for the Redskins’ pass rush, who managed just a single sack on Prescott, and really didn’t generate much pressure beyond it. Ryan Kerrigan and Daron Payne certainly had some strong plays over the course of the game, but really it just wasn’t enough. The most disappointing player on the line has to be rookie Montez Sweat. The expectations have been high, and rightfully so, for the first-round selection, but he has yet to make much of an impact at all on the field so far. There’s no reason to sound any alarms on this unit just yet, but it’s still not good to see them make such little impact against two strong division rivals.
Last week I said one loss shouldn’t decide the fates of head coach Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, but maybe two loses should. To start the season on this poor a note has to be demoralizing to the team, and it’s getting even harder for me to think that either coach makes it out of this season with a job. I still don’t see Gruden being fired during the season, but Manusky’s time may be limited. The play-calling on the offensive end was once again lackluster, we even got the trademark abandonment of the run game again (they ran just four times in the second half), and the defense was even worse throughout the entire game. The coaching has to improve for the team’s primetime matchup with Chicago next Monday.
Josh Norman’s performance:
I’ve always been a supporter of Norman since he signed with the Redskins. He’s been a strong zone cornerback the last few years, and a vocal leader on the defense. He has really struggled this season though, and it appears to be more of a trend than just a bad two-game stretch. Norman’s never had elite speed, but he has gotten burned on the deep ball badly this season. The first against Desean Jackson was an understandable loss to one of the best deep-threat, but the next blown coverage on Devin Smith, an injury prone depth receiver, was just inexcusable. Even worse was the stare down and eventual stiff arm Norman received courtesy of Prescott on his 42-yard run. It was embarrassing to watch considering Norman’s comments directed at Prescott earlier in the week. If this keeps up, we might be seeing the last of the 32-year-old in a Redskins uniform very soon.