By Jake Russell
A changing of the guard occurred during the Washington Redskins’ 19-17 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday when third string quarterback Colt McCoy took over for Kirk Cousins after halftime.
Cousins isn’t progressing the way the team would like and head coach Jay Gruden announced on Monday that McCoy will be the team’s starter heading into next Monday night’s showdown against the 6-1 Dallas Cowboys unless Robert Griffin III is 100 percent healthy and ready to go.
- Tinkering with the offense
While not ideal, the move to Colt McCoy was necessary. Cousins just wasn’t getting it done at this point. He fumbled (his sixth in 14 career game appearances) and lost the ball inside the red zone in the first quarter and tossed his ninth interception of the season toward the end of the second quarter. Both turnovers led to Titans scores. McCoy’s first pass as a Redskin was to Pierre Garcon, who took it 70 yards for a touchdown. McCoy finished the game 11 of 12 for 128 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions for a 138.9 quarterback rating.
The team also tried to relieve the quarterback pressure coming from the right side by replacing tackle Tyler Polumbus with third-year tackle Tom Compton, who played 24 snaps against Tennessee. Gruden said that Compton could start Monday night against Dallas. A change at right tackle has been due for a while but it’s not clear if Compton or rookie Morgan Moses are much of an upgrade over Polumbus at this point.
- Yes, Pierre Garcon is still on the roster
In case anyone forgot, Pierre Garcon is still on the team and is still as fast as ever. Running a short curl route during the Redskins’ second play of the second half, Garcon caught a seven-yard pass, turned around, activated his rocket boosters and sprinted upfield for a 70-yard score. It was his longest touchdown since his first game as a Redskin against the New Orleans Saints in 2012. He led the team in catches and yards for the first time since Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Struggling against a bad team
The positive side of things is that the Redskins managed a win when they could have easily lost to a 2-4 Titans squad that had just squeaked by the winless Jacksonville Jaguars a week before. But that’s also a negative. The Redskins proved that they have a long way to go to even be a mediocre team. A quality team would have put the Titans away early and not given up the lead with 7:49 remaining.
The offense was only three of 11 on third downs and relied on Kai Forbath for four field goals when they were inside Tennessee’s 13-yard line, including the game-winner as time expired.
Washington’s red zone offense needs to find a killer instinct and the offensive mistakes must be cut down in order to develop a winning atmosphere week in and week out.
- Lack of Alf
Yes it’s true. Alfred Morris, the third-year back out of Florida Atlantic who ran for 2,888 yards in his first two seasons as a Redskin, has now gone 14 straight games without running for 100 yards. The team is 2-12 in that span. That stat is alarming and can be attributed to a number of factors.
Gruden favors the passing game and more agile running backs, a la Giovani Bernard. Morris is not known as a pass-catching running back and that has led to Roy Helu Jr. getting many looks and running for big chunks of yardage after the catch. The offensive line has also left a lot to be desired. Typically the offense goes as Morris goes. The team is 6-4 when he rushes for 100 yards or more in a game. This year, things haven’t gone swimmingly despite having the NFL’s fifth-ranked offense.