Top 5 takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ season so far

At the midpoint of the 2017 NFL season, the Washington Redskins find themselves with a 3-4 record. Washington has lost their last two games within the NFC East to the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. With an 0-3 divisional record, the Redskins can forget about winning their division in an effort to reach the playoffs. While there’s nine games left for Washington, they’ll need to embark on a winning streak soon for postseason play to become even a remote consideration. With that said, here are five takeaways from the Redskins’ season so far:

1. It’s still unclear if Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins is worth a long term extension

Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins has been the franchise’s most prolific passer the last two years. He has signed franchise tag tenders the past two seasons totaling almost $43 million. This season, Cousins has thrown 13 touchdown passes and four interceptions, while losing three fumbles. While Cousins isn’t totally to blame for Washington’s struggles this year, his seven total turnovers in as many games reflect his overall inconsistency. Hopefully Cousins can keep turnovers to a bare minimum while the Redskins look to rebound from their current losing streak.

2. Chris Thompson might be worth his own extension

While Cousins’ contract situation has gotten all the headlines in Washington, the team quietly signed running back Chris Thompson to a two year contract extension. Thompson has rewarded the Redskins’ loyalty by leading the team in rushing and receiving yards despite being in a reserve role. Thompson has become the offense’s most reliable player, considering his five total touchdowns. He’s the perfect example of taking advantage of presented opportunities.

3. The wide receiver experiment was a mistake

Thompson’s role as a receiver expanded because of the inefficiency of wide receivers Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson. Washington decided not to tender contract extensions to wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, each of whom recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards last year for the Redskins. Management figured Pryor and Doctson could surpass or equal Garcon and Jackson’s total. Both have struggled to catch routine passes, resulting in Pryor’s demotion to fourth string receiver. The offense will continue to struggle unless Pryor and Doctson develop more consistency.

4. The defense has improved greatly

Last season the Washington defense ranked 28th in total yards allowed. This season the unit has faced great adversity, losing defensive ends Trent Murphy and Jonathan Allen to season ending injuries. The Redskins also lost linebacker Mason Foster for the season to a shoulder injury. Murphy, Allen, and Foster are key starters expected to contribute greatly to the defense in 2017. Ironically, the defense has played well under the direction of first year defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Currently, Washington’s defense is ranked eighth in total yards allowed. As long as this unit continues to improve, the Redskins will always have a chance to win.

5. Vernon Davis has discovered the fountain of youth at tight end

Davis, a Washington, D.C. native, signed with the Redskins last season to serve as a reserve to All Pro tight end Jordan Reed. Unfortunately, Reed’s six-year tenure with the Redskins has been filled with a myriad of injuries. Reed’s sporadic absences have resulted in increased playing time for 33-year-old Davis. He has been up for the challenge, recording 17 receptions for 312 yards and a touchdown. Davis’ 17.8 yards per reception leads all NFL tight ends. While the 27 year old Reed will be given every opportunity to regain his starting position, Davis has more than proven to be a reliable substitute.

The article was produced by Greg Bradshaw.