LANDOVER, MD — The Redskins have been here before.
The NFC East banner that hangs at FedEx Field obscures the predicament Washington faced last fall when it was 2-4, 3-5, 4-6 and 5-7 before rallying to win its final four games and make the playoffs.
After a frustrating 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at FedEx Field left them at 0-2, there is cause for alarm, not full-blown panic. But the Redskins also can’t wait any longer to solve their problems. Urgency is upon them.
“You don’t want to get to the point where everything is ‘Okay, okay, it’s cool, it’s cool.’ It’s not,” wide receiver DeSean Jackson said. “You got to fix it. I felt it’s been enough of that. ‘Everything’s cool. We’ll figure it out. Just stay calm. Be cool.’ But, you know, there’s a lot of veterans in this locker room, there’s a lot of guys that want to win. I wish I had an answer for you. Hopefully we can correct it, fix it.”
There was plenty of blame to go around on Sunday. Quarterback Kirk Cousins again missed throws that he routinely made the second half of last season. Running back Matt Jones had his moments, including a 14-yard touchdown run in the first half. But the Redskins managed just 81 rushing yards and again struggled to finish drives in the red zone.
The defense struggled to get off the field in the first quarter and Dallas took a 10-0 lead. And even when the Redskins went up 17-13 lead on the first drive of the second half, Dallas marched right back down the field for a touchdown of its own to go back in front. Washington was better than it showed against Pittsburgh in a 38-16 season-opening loss. That still wasn’t enough.
“You’re gonna learn real quick the stuff you can’t do against playoff teams each and every week,” defensive end Ricky Jean Francois said. “With our schedule? You’re gonna find out every other week what you can do and what you can’t do.”
There’s the rub. The Redskins have a backloaded schedule with games against NFC contenders Minnesota, Green Bay, Arizona and Carolina in November and December. There is the game against Cincinnati, another 2015 playoff team, in London in late October.
It gets late early, as the old saying goes. None of the teams they beat to end last year – Chicago, Buffalo, Philadelphia, New York Giants – made the playoffs or even had winning records. That luxury isn’t there in 2016. A slow start is a major concern.
“We know the season isn’t over, but we do have to pick it up,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “We have to get some tempo. We can’t just sit around and expect the light to just turn on. We have to force the issue.”
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