WASHINGTON -- These quotes came in the aftermath of the Redskins' 23-17 loss in Baltimore Saturday night:
"It's going to be very necessary for us to play great defense early on in the season, most likely." -- Jay Gruden
"Let's stop beating around the bush. Kirk Cousins has played much better at the quarterback position than Robert Griffin III has. Now, Robert is learning to work out of a pocket. He doesn't look as smooth or as comfortable throwing the football. I mean, your eyes will tell you everything you need to know.
"It's going to be a decision that Jay Gruden is going to have to make, Right now, Robert Griffin III is his quarterback. Now, if there was a quarterback competition, it wouldn't be a competition. Kirk Cousins would be the man I believe he would have to go to." -- Joe Theismann
Folks, this isn't just overreaction to the Skins losing their first preseason game since 2012. Because, you know, that doesn't mean anything.
What's got Redskins Nation in a tizzy is the fact that the starting offense has tallied just 6 points in 9 possessions. Robert Griffin III wraps up his preseason without a touchdown. What he has done, however, it throw a pair of awful interceptions that would leave even Rex "The Human Turnover" Grossman scratching his head.
Let's be clear here: there is no quarterback controversy. I don't care what Joey Sunshine has to say. Or any assortment of talking heads on ESPN, NFL Network, or local sports talk radio. Kirk Cousins is playing well against second team defenses. Furthermore, Cousins had a great chance at making this a legit QB controversy by starting the last three games of 2013 against lower tier defenses. He played like crap. Thus, the 'Skins are all in on RG3 -- which they should be, given the level of investment.
But even the most optimistic Redskins fan has to be worried about what this might mean when the games start to count on September 7 in Houston.
If Gruden is right and the 'Skins actually have to lean on their defense to win games...well, that's a problem. The pass rush looks pretty good with Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo on the edges and Jason Hatcher making an impact for the defensive line in his Redskins debut on Saturday. However, the secondary leaves much to be desired and Keenan Robinson's presumed start Week 1 will be his first.
There are plenty of reasons for optimism surrounding this team. But any scenario involving a Redskins resurgence can't include the offense struggling to find its legs in the first month of the season. Growing pains are to be expected for a team with a new head coach and several new starters, but the talent level on offense mandates a minimum of 20-24 points per game no matter what.
We heard a lot of hype surrounding this unit this offseason, and they're running out of time to live up to it. If Jordan Reed really is Jimmy Graham 2.0, and the combination of Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, and Andre Roberts is going to remind us of The Posse, they need to do more than just rack up yards. They need to find the end zone. A lot.
Whether it's in Tampa Thursday or Week 1 in Houston, they'd better find it plenty. Or else a quarterback controversy will replace the nickname debate as the primary narrative surrounding the Redskins.
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