Keeler: New year, same Redskins

As a Dallas Cowboys fan, I don’t enjoy writing this. OK, maybe just a little. I know it’s only been one game, but do the Washington Redskins under new head coach Jay Gruden look a little like the Redskins of last year?

The defense really didn’t seem that bad, granted I don’t think the Houston Texans are going to be an offensive powerhouse this season.

However, the Washington offense was simply downright offensive to Redskin fans everywhere. The Texans may have a good defense this season, but that’s no excuse for how bad quarterback Robert Griffin III and Co. looked on Sunday.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Redskins needing to change their nickname, but let’s be honest this franchise has a lot more problems than that to deal with.

To me the biggest problem is with the quarterback. Everything starts with RG3, not that it’s all his fault. It’s more the way the team continues to use him.

I don’t think this is a big newsflash, but RG3 is not a pocket passer. That’s not where his strengths are.

Two years ago, RG3 took the NFL by storm as a rookie when he shredded defenses with his ability to make plays with his feet and run with the ball. I understand that he took some shots and because of it was injured. There’s no question he needs to learn how to slide better, and do that when he needs to. The Redskins have gone too far the other way with their protection of RG3. He ran only three times on Sunday for a mere two yards — that won’t get it done for Washington this season. The other big question with RG3 may be is he comfortable running with the ball anymore? If not, then his time in the NFL may be limited.

RG3 is not effective when he stands in the pocket and throws. If the Redskins want a pocket passer, then they should use Kirk Cousins. Give him a shot, and personally, I think Cousins’ time is coming.

It seems the Redskins really want a pocket passer, and that’s fine. They just need to realize Cousins is their man and not RG3, and trade him somewhere he will be utilized better.

I don’t think it’s RG3’s fault that the Redskins’ offense is so anemic, it’s the organization’s. If they allow RG3 to move around more and make things happen, I truly believe it would open up the Redskins’ offense. He could buy a little more time, and let’s be honest with that offensive line he needs it, and find some wide open receivers such as DeSean Jackson. Remember that guy?

Jackson is a great receiver and should be able to make plenty of big plays for the Redskins this season. When the Redskins landed Jackson, I thought to myself that the Redskins should be pretty good this year, but not if the rest of the season goes like the first game.

If the first game is any indication, it won’t be long before Jackson starts to complain and then the Redskins will have a new set of problems.

That’s why I think it’s important for Gruden to figure things out quickly before one loss becomes two losses, becomes three losses, and so on and so on.

The Redskins have Jacksonville this weekend at home, and that won’t be as easy as some might think. The Jaguars, sadly one of my favorite teams, looked pretty good for a while last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Jags even held a 17-0 lead, before the Eagles came back. The Jags’ defense is pretty solid, and caused several turnovers early which helped give them the lead.

If the Redskins play the way they are capable on offense they should win, but I’m just not so sure they will do that. They didn’t look very good in the preseason and it certainly carried over into the first game. The longer it goes on, the louder the fans will yell to bring in Cousins. In fact, if they lose to the Jags this week, I’m betting you’ll hear quite a few fans start to call for a change.

I still think RG3 has the ability to play in the NFL, no matter what team it’s for. He needs to be allowed to be the old RG3, the one who would run around and make plays with his feet, or at least use his feet to make plays with his arm. There’s no question in my mind the Redskins need that guy, and the sooner the better.

Otherwise, the Redskins will battling it out with the Cowboys and the New York Giants for the NFC East cellar, a battle that figures to be closer than the one for first place.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd

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