Didn't think to ask Jay Gruden about this, but I'm wondering if another pass after Kirk Cousins' interception vs. Tennessee, in which he stared down where he was throwing against zone coverage, contributed to his decision to bench him.
Anyway, the Redskins want to see Cousins respond well to bad plays by making better decisions. However, on the ensuing drive after his interception, Cousins rolled left and threw back to the middle of the field. That's a no-no for almost every quarterback and especially one who has a penchant for missing high on such throws. This (high) pass was tipped and the Redskins are lucky it landed safely.
Cousins makes some excellent throws but the above plays make him difficult to trust. His pass to tight end Niles Paul in the first quarter (the 50-yard catch-and-run) was terrific. It was a good call against man coverage and Cousins, under duress, led Paul upfield. Later, after the above failed pass to the middle, Cousins threw a deep out to receiver Andre Roberts, just over the head of a linebacker. It was a good ball that Roberts dropped. Another time Cousins threw to Reed on a third-and-5 in which the ball was delivered before he cut -- three steps, plant and throw -- and made the difference in a 7-yard completion vs. tight coverage.
Still, the turnovers. On the fumble, he simply was careless with the ball and there was a look of panic. He had the ball too low so when he raised it to throw, it gave the -- a chance to knock it away.
Right tackle Tyler Polumbus had played well enough last season to think he could at least duplicate that effort while rookie Morgan Moses was groomed to take over in 2015. But that hasn't happened, which is why Polumbus is in a fight to keep his job. Sunday, he did not knock his man off-stride in the pass game. Polumbus allowed pressure on the fumble and gave up the sack. Derrick Morgan did a good job rushing against him all game, too often getting his hands into Polumbus' chest and driving him back. There's a reason the coaches are contemplating a change.
Backup right tackle Tom Compton moves his feet well; when we saw him this summer he struggled with power against starters. That's an area of the game he's worked at since arriving in Washington. Sunday, Compton was OK. Showed some good footwork, but missed a couple backside blocks too.
The Redskins were good in the past at creating hesitancy in the defense in the ground game. Not seeing that happen now -- and that's not just about the zone read. It's about finding ways to slow the backside end, whether on more boots (they do still call them, clearly) or sending a receiver around in motion, as if there's a possible end around. They did send Jackson on a fake end around one time, though he hardly sold the action and few Titans bought it. That was another problem: Not sure they're selling the fakes well enough.
More miscommunication issues up front in the run game. On the first run of the third quarter, against an eight-man box, guard Chris Chester and Compton doubled the end; as they did so the outside linebacker on that side looped around to the middle -- and cutback area. Tight end Logan Paulsen, who was aligned on the right side and who started to pull toward the hole, then turned and blocked a backside defender. Not sure who messed up on this play, but it was a botched one and it led to a 1-yard stop.
Titans corner Jason McCourty does not play the run particularly well. So it was a good matchup for Jackson to "block" him. The Redskins did not use Jackson as a blocker in the screen game.
Liked Darrel Young's footwork on his 14-yard run. A defender had shot inside left tackle Trent Williams. On a quick hitter, that's trouble. But Young was able to quickly stop and change directions; not many fullbacks could have made that move.
Of the Redskins' 100 yards rushing, 66 came on five carries. That, of course, means the other 21 carries gained 34 yards. There is not a simple solution here. At times I wondered if the Titans had a good read on what was coming, or they just guessed right with some run blitzes. This is not a group, from the line on out, that can rely on just being dominant blockers to open holes for Alfred Morris, who is not creating the sort of lanes for himself that he did in the past. It affects every facet, from third-down success to the red zone.