Quite simply, the Washington Redskins didn’t look like a good team in the season opener Monday night against the Eagles. Philadelphia’s blitzkrieg pace left the Redskins’ defense in the dust and the much-anticipated return of
Robert Griffin III fizzled, at least for the first half.
The good news? It was just one game, and the team’s confidence hasn’t wavered.
“We feel good about our football team,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “Obviously, we had a setback.”
The bad news? The Redskins have an even tougher assignment this week, traveling to Green Bay to face the Packers and elite quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Washington could be staring at an 0-2 start to the season, potentially a major blow to the team’s playoff aspirations. Since 1990, only 22 NFL teams (11.5 percent) have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-2.
“It’s a game that we need to win,” defensive lineman Kedric Golston said. “Percentages don’t mean that much to me. I can’t get caught up in that. All that talk is so far down the road that it’s absurd to even be thinking about it in the second game of the year.”
In the rough-and-tumble NFC, falling two games off the pace is cause for alarm.
The Redskins’ defense, which missed 14 tackles against the Eagles, will be tested by the Packers’ passing attack.
“Rodgers is one of the best in the game,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “We’re going to be prepared for another great challenge.”
Offensively, all eyes were on Griffin last week. While the quarterback finished with respectable numbers (30-for-49, 329 yards,
two touchdowns), he didn’t appear to be at full strength, failing to step into a couple of throws and lacking the breakaway speed that made him so dangerous last year.
“The game didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to turn out,” Griffin said. “You want to get that win, you want to have that first win at home, you want to protect your home field, and we didn’t do that. It was disappointing, but it doesn’t ruin your season and you move on to the next week.”
The Redskins will have to get their ground game going in order to take pressure off the defense. Alfred Morris had an uncharacteristically poor effort in the opener, and Washington didn’t go to the read option, closing off a large part of its offense.
“We don’t want to start 0-2 at all,” fullback Darrel Young said. “Our goal is to be 1-1.”