There’s a cloud over the Washington Redskins. That’s been true most seasons since Daniel Snyder bought the team, and it seems especially accurate this season.
Injuries and disappointing losses. Disappointing losses and more injuries. The Redskins will go into the offseason wondering how their team could have had so many good pieces and their record could have turned out so bad. Against a reeling Dallas Cowboys team on Thursday night, the Redskins looked sloppy and unprepared, took on more injuries (of course) and got blasted 38-14.
There’s no way to explain the injuries Washington has taken on this season. Offensive tackle Morgan Moses left Thursday’s game with an ankle injury. Receiver Maurice Harris suffered a concussion. Linebacker Zach Brown, offensive tackle Trent Williams and running back Samaje Perine missed a few plays with injuries. That has been the theme of the Redskins’ season.
This was a Washington team that was good enough to win at the Los Angeles Rams and at the Seattle Seahawks before the Seahawks started taking on a bunch of injuries. All Washington has to show for it now is a 5-7 record.
The bright spot for the Redskins on Thursday night was unquestionably quarterback Kirk Cousins, but here comes that cloud again. Cousins was fantastic in less-than-ideal circumstances. Of course, every big pass he makes is a reminder that Washington has bungled his contract situation so bad, it seems like he’ll become a free agent this offseason. Or it’ll have to pay nearly $35 million on another franchise tag.
Cousins was the only real positive for Washington on Thursday night. He threw a great pass to Josh Doctson early on, and Doctson dropped it. Cousins had a nice throw to Jamison Crowder in the red zone that Crowder let go through his hands and it was intercepted. Crowder had a big fumble on a punt return later. Washington’s defense cratered against a Cowboys offense that has been struggling mightily without Ezekiel Elliott. Washington’s banged-up offensive line couldn’t block for more than a second on many plays, but Cousins stood in under pressure and tried to keep his team in the game.
Cousins’ future is the real downer on this Washington season. The reality is, they’ve alienated their quarterback by refusing to pay him what he’s worth, and they have no good options anymore. Even Cousins’ biggest critics should admit that if he moves on, it’ll be hard for Washington to find another quarterback as good as him next offseason — and maybe for many seasons to come. Plenty of franchises have chased answers at quarterbacks for many years. Quarterbacks of Cousins’ talent level aren’t available very often, typically because competent franchises don’t allow their quarterbacks to leave. And given the way Cousins has been treated and the suitors he is guaranteed to have, it would be understandable if Cousins has no interest in signing a long-term deal with the Redskins anymore.
A bad, unlucky season hit a low point on Thursday night. Against their longtime rival, the Redskins were blown out. They looked terrible in the process. They’re not mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture but their season is realistically over. And the offseason might become an even bigger mess.
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