The month of December is pretty important for the Redskins, just not how many had hoped.
The Redskins enter December as a longshot to make the post-season, so that leaves Washington in a position where they are trying to head into the off-season on a high note. Numerous times throughout the year, Washington was given its fair share of chances to change the outcome of their season; instead, they left the opportunities on the field. The Redskins now play a meaningless month of football for the first time in four seasons.
The fans of Washington want a great football team, one that is reminiscent of the Redskins glory days. Unfortunately, this season is like the majority of the past 25 seasons, ending in despair. There are numerous on-field issues as to why the Redskins failed yet again to miss the postseason, and outside of the Philadelphia Eagles, none of them have to do with the opposing team. The Washington Redskins have displayed their inability to win a football game when the chances are there. In all four phases of the game, coaching being the fourth, the Redskins have had vital mistakes that were significant contributors to the reason behind a loss in a particular week. Yes, the injuries that piled up were something many have never seen before, but although the difference in talent was on display at times, Washington was in nearly every game to date on the year.
So, what to expect in the last quarter of the Redskins season?
The Redskins will continue to compete, like every professional NFL team not expected to make the playoffs. The off-season storylines will now ramp up quicker than expected, the main one being what Kirk Cousins is worth to the team and whether he should be paid top dollar as a Redskin. Josh Doctson and the rest of the young receiving group has been inconsistent throughout the season, but can we continue to see Doctson grow as a professional wideout? What can he improve upon this last month of the season? The easy passes must be caught, even if he makes the tougher ones. Samaje Perine will continue to get the bulk of the carries – his value is being defined every week, and continues to look better since his start against the New Orleans Saints. Jonathan Allen is eligible to return to injured reserve, but will coaches activate him? He is not an elite veteran, which in turn creates a rationale to bring him back from IR if deemed healthy enough. Allen and Ioannidis had a significant impact the defensive line early in the year when the Redskins were a top ten rush defense.
With expectations and questions surrounding Washington this December, the most prominent item remains the coaching staff and Jay Gruden. After the deflating and embarrassing loss in a primetime spotlight against the Dallas Cowboys, how do Gruden players respond to him with four games left in the season? They have shown every week they play for their coach, but how does a massive loss like that affect his players for the remainder of the season? We’ll find out over the next month.