The Washington Redskins were coming off a season where they went 8-7-1 including a tie against the Cincinnati Bengals when they played in London. It was the team’s first back-to-back winning seasons in almost two decades. The missed the playoffs by one game after losing to the New York Giants in the season finale. Jay Gruden was coming off his third season as Head Coach, and they still didn’t know what they wanted to do with Kirk Cousins. After having played 2016 with the franchise tag, they decided to do it again in 2017. The offseason included signing some pieces for the defensive side of the ball including tackles Stacy McGee, Terrell McClain, and Ziggy Hood, plus safety D.J. Swearinger. Their draft was a bit unremarkable, taking defensive end Jonathan Allen in the first round and linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second. There weren’t any real big changes for fans to get excited about in 2017.
Their rookie class didn’t fare very well, with Allen going on injured reserve after six games. The only player to stand out was fourth round running back Samaje Perine, who rushed for 603 yards and a touchdown plus another through the air. Cousins regressed, showing his worst stats in every category since taking over as full-time starter three seasons before, except in rushing the ball — which is not where you’d want the improvement. They started out 3-2, but then lost seven of their next 11 to end the season with a 7-9 record and third place in their division. They also lost all but one game to divisional opponents, splitting with the New York Giants. The team was coming off a mediocre season and thing got just a little bit worse.
The Redskins may finally be done with Cousins. They traded away one of their best defenders, Kendell Fuller, to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for quarterback Alex Smith. The move is interesting in that it allows the team to let Cousins go… if they want to. Or they could franchise tag him and then trade. But it gives them a dependable signal caller — but one that is 33 years old and played solid in Kansas City, but couldn’t keep his job in San Francisco. Which begs the questions: is Smith a good quarterback or a system quarterback that worked well with Andy Reid?
The team doesn’t appear to have a general manager after firing Scott McCloughan last year, and they don’t seem to be looking for one. Instead they have former quarterback Doug Williams in as Senior VP of player personnel overseeing the front office. Williams will need to find some key pieces in the draft and free agency to put around Smith if they have any hope of getting their record back on the winning side in 2018. And if that doesn’t happen, then expect to see Gruden’s seat getting very warm in his fifth season. Owner Daniel Snyder has already shown more patience than he has in any other time of owning the team.