#3. What is the Redskins’ biggest strength? And what is their biggest weakness?
IC: Because the team’s injuries are an inherent weakness, I’ll avoid dwelling on those for this question. In a vacuum, this team’s biggest strength is Kirk Cousins. Now, this is a subjective opinion, I’ll admit. But Cousins gels the offense together, and he has the playmaking ability to lead them to wins.
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When the rest of the team was playing sloppy against the 49ers, Cousins led them to a win, and led them away from an embarrassing loss. He’s shown more comfort with the offense this year, and even without any help from his receivers, he’s on pace to once again meet his career highs. He can make plays with his arm, he can get first downs with his legs, and he is the lifeblood of this offense.
The team’s biggest weakness, in my mind, is the position of safety. That’s been a recurring theme over the years, ever since the death of Sean Taylor. Don’t get me wrong. The Redskins’ safeties this year are better than they have been in a while. But still, the position is thin, and the safeties have been inconsistent with their play.
From Montae Nicholson, that kind of play has been expected. A fourth-round rookie, Nicholson was thrust into the starting role after an injury to Deshazor Everett in Week 2. He had a great game against the Raiders, and he’s continued to flash. He has a fairly good grade thus far on PFF, registering as a solid 76.0.
Nicholson’s counterpart, however, hasn’t been so great. D.J. Swearinger is a very valuable leader for the team. He’s able to hype the team up, and cultivate a winner’s mentality with his words. But with his play, he isn’t so impactful. He’s been bad this year, giving up big plays in almost every game so far.
The absence of Josh Norman has hurt, but Swearinger has been the cause for a lot of defensive lapses, simply because he hasn’t been in position, and if the Cowboys are going to get shock plays on Sunday, it’ll likely be Jason Witten against Swearinger on more than one occasion.