Preseason injuries are never ideal, but when they turn into season-ending injuries, such as the torn ACL injury suffered by Derrius Guice in the Washington Redskins first preseason game, it becomes an even more bitter pill to swallow. That being said, not a single regular season game has been played for 2018, so should Washington’s expectations on their season change at all?
The answer to this question depends on who you ask. If you ask head coach Jay Gruden, he has been adamant that their prospects of winning the NFC East have not changed, but this a political answer. If you ask team owner Daniel Snyder, he would be fuming thinking that his team is calling the 2018 campaign a “lost cause” just because their promising second-round draft pick went down. However, if you would ask the fans who are fairly knowledgeable in the DC area, you would get a surprisingly similar answer: This season has lost promise.
#Redskins coach Jay Gruden, on if they’ll add a back with Derrius Guice’s season-ending injury: “We have guys here that can play. We drafted Derrius because he was the best player we thought at the time of the draft… not because we weren’t satisfied with the backs we have.”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 11, 2018
In my 2018 Redskins preview, I mentioned this plethora of running backs available at Jay Gruden’s disposal. From Chris Thompson to Samaje Perine, Washington still has at the position, but the “wealth” at running back is in the eye of the beholder. Established franchises such as the New England Patriots have been able to find a great deal of success in a “running back by committee” approach, but I’m not sure if I trust what Washington has outside of Thompson and Perine.
“Small thing to a giant” – @Fatrob32
“We got you 29” – @ChrisThompson_4
— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) August 10, 2018
As shown, this running back unit is a tight-knit group, but that only gets you so far if the production doesn’t match the passion for the game. Instead of looking at just the running game, the Redskins must continue to take a balanced approach to their offense led by Alex Smith and hope that wide receivers such as Josh Doctson resemble a #1 WR.
Even if the wide receivers are not as “great” as they hope to be, there are still many facets to the game of football. The defense, which improved from a year ago, may be able to create more turnovers this season, where they finished at a -4 ratio in 2017. If we play devil’s advocate and assume the defense ends up in the top half of the rankings in the NFL, then the pressure is lifted from a offense that is just starting to gel.
DARON. PAYNE. SACK.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) August 17, 2018
Unfortunately, there are always two sides to every story. Whether the offense can’t find ways to move the ball downfield, or the defense can’t make the necessary stops or turnovers, it could be an arduous season. My preseason prediction of the Redskins going 10-6 may still be a reasonable look, but based on their schedule and questions on offense, a record of 8-8 may be a more practical.
Photo Credit: Washington Post