On Monday night, The Washington Redskins opened their 2016 season with a colossal thud. Under the bright lights and on a big stage, this football team did what it always does: throw up all over itself when the national spotlight shines on the nation’s capital. The Redskins, who are 1-15 in their last 16 nationally televised Monday night home games, failed in the three basic components of winning football. They couldn’t run the football, they couldn’t pressure the quarterback and they couldn’t stop the run.
Running back Matt Jones, who entered the season with more unanswered questions than Hillary Clinton’s health or Donald Trump's taxes, finished the night with 24 yards on seven carries. You cannot place all the blame on Jones’ shoulders; offensive coordinator and play caller, Sean McVay, called one of the worst games of his young career. The 30-year-old McVay called for a run on 11 of his 55 plays. He dumped the running game faster than Huma dumped Weiner. While I wouldn’t be surprised if the 'Skins brought in Pierre Thomas, why bother if they are going to throw 80 percent of the time? The Leaning Tower of Pisa is more balanced than the Redskins' play calling.
On the defensive side of the ball, an offseason of ignoring the defensive line is costing Joe Barry’s crew. The Pittsburgh Steelers rushed for 147 yards with DeAngelo Williams getting every tough yard they needed without much of a fight. Just think if Le’Veon Bell was active; the Steelers may have rushed for more than 200 yards.
In addition to failing against the run, the Redskins' D-line struggled to put any pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben had enough time in the pocket to take a selfie with Matthew McConaughey before throwing another seed to Antonio Brown, who treated cornerback Bashaud Breeland worse than Gilbert Arenas treats a teammate’s sneakers.
While this game was a disaster on many levels, we are far from the end of the season. The last three times the Redskins have made the playoffs, it’s been due to a late-season run. They still play in the very weak NFC East and have their first divisional game this Sunday against young quarterback Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. With a win over Dallas, this opener will become a distant memory. However, a second consecutive home loss with one coming against your bitter rival, and the fan base will begin believing that last year’s division title was just a mirage.
Chuck Sapienza is the executive producer of the Naval Academy radio network and the former VP of Programming for ESPN980. He was also a part of the Washington Redskins Radio Network from 2009 to 2015, serving as the network's executive producer. He can be reached at SapienzaChuck@gmail.com
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