Few #firstworldproblems are as costly, annoying or deflating as car maintenance and repair. Most mechanics will tell you that a simple yet important preventative maintenance measure is to rotate your tires, yet this particular chore often eludes me. I’m aware that I could be rolling along, oblivious to the imbalance or misalignment that leads to larger problems. But, you know, life happens. You get caught up at work, or home...or you spend hours a day arguing with complete strangers on social media apps. The usual.
On a recent trip to the tire shop, my mechanic told me that I needed to replace one of my tires. My alignment was off, which created uneven wear and "blah blah blah, something something something, $300 to fix." Of course, you can't just replace one tire, you have to replace two. A simple problem that could've been easily spotted with semi-regular tire rotations, will now cost much more in the long run. Not all of the tires were damaged goods, but one problem led to multiple problems and to fix them, a lot had to be replaced. Sound familiar?
Washington's Sunday shellacking was less tire maintenance and more tire fire. The 24-point differential was far closer than the actual contest. At no point after the kickoff were the Giants in any danger of losing to a team that had already lost their locker room, fan base and self-respect. So, who deserves shade and who deserves shine? No one on the shine, right? Regardless, we must grind through the thirteenth of sixteen #SundaySlices. This is your favorite columnist's favorite column, where we cut up the game to assign fame and blame, based on the outcome, into delicious pie chart form. Try not to make a mess.
(These are the players/coaches/etc. who are not in the pie, because they did not contribute to the loss).
Cooley: “Everyone on the team & from top to bottom in the organization was to blame for this loss, except for Tress Way.”— Redskins Realm (@SkinsRealm) December 10, 2018
-Tress Way. Perhaps the most surprising statistic from Sunday was that Way only punted eight times. It felt like 80.
The Josh Johnson Revolution will not be televised!— Chris Williams (@slimceeVA) December 9, 2018
(Because FOX already flexed out to a more competitive game in your market)
-Josh Johnson. Down 40, facing many of New York's second team on defense, playing prevent in the third quarter, Johnson was able to break the shutout. For his troubles, he has the honor of piloting this Hindenburg home for the final three weeks. Godspeed.
-The Fans. On November 11th, Washington was 6-3 and had just beaten the lowly Tampa Bay Bucs. For reasons unknown, team captain, D.J. Swearinger decided to "challenge" the FedEx faithful to come out and support his team. His team has lost every game since, including three straight division games. Interesting motivation technique.
The Offensive Line: 1%
It's hard to give a lot of flak to a unit as banged-up as this one, but when Adrian Peterson only receives 10 carries for 16 yards, someone needs to be held accountable and I dare you to say to AP's face that it should be him. Trent Williams has been as sharp as an RG3 shape-up lately, which is problematic, but also infuriating and costly is:
Allergies to Discipline: 2%
It is impossible to win with that type of blatant disregard for the rules and a severe allergy toward adhering to them. Morgan Moses has a flag collection this season that would rival those that encircle the Washington Monument. Additionally, the defense continues to scoop up penalties on third down. You would think they'd want the game over sooner, not drawn out longer.
Just because our POS owner used to own Six Flags does not mean that should be the goal to receive them every drive.— Chris Williams (@slimceeVA) December 9, 2018
Mark Sanchez: 2%
Sanchez pick 6 - another RPO, read tells him to pull and throw. Giants FS does an excellent job being aggressive and breaking on it before ball is thrown. deflection makes it an easy pick-6, but the FS might have jumped it anyway. #Redskins pic.twitter.com/1yl2enr3FO— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) December 11, 2018
A two percent worth of slices for two interceptions in two quarters. The Mark Sanchez Experience was as brief as it was forgettable.
I guess "tackling each other constantly on rub routes at the goal line" fits well with the general disinterest and malaise Washington demonstrated with tackling on Sunday. Yes, Saquon Barkley is a beast, but he was going untouched for 20-yard chunks and everyone wearing burgundy tops seemed content to let him. Many people, myself included, lauded this defense as "much improved" earlier in the season, but something has definitely gone wrong. A tire has gone flat, if you will. Upon further inspection, the mechanic may not need to simply fix one tire, but replace many parts, including...
Jay Michael Gruden: 90%
(To this day, when my mother uses my middle name, boy is she serious)
This is the 29th #SundaySlices column I have penned for this amazing content machine known as Fifty Gut. In nearly all of them, even the toughest of losses, I have extolled the virtues of the longest-tenured coach of my lifetime not named Joe Gibbs. I have engaged in countless tweet spats (notably with fellow Fifty Gut contributor, @RedskinsRant), arguing for more time and patience before deciding the fate of the more famous Gruden's kid brother. Welp, time has expired. It's over. The tire analogy may not even be enough anymore. We have to gut the entire vehicle and sell the parts. Because THIS CANNOT HAPPEN:
Remember earlier when I wondered whether the defense really felt like tackling or playing at all?
LB Zach Brown, when asked if he had a feel for what's different from six weeks ago: "I don't know. They changed stuff. But if it's not broke, don't change it."— John Keim (@john_keim) December 10, 2018
"They changed stuff." They. Could that mean defensive coordinator, Greg Manusky? Sure, it could. But, does the DC make final calls on personnel? He does not. Jay does. If your best linebacker, the one you paid a lot of money for to extend in the offseason is unhappy, it behooves you to dissect why and come to an understanding. Because odds are, he's not the only who feels that way and recent results are proof. Oh yeah, Brown was benched to start the game.
Greg Manusky is terrible at his job. But that’s on Jay Gruden. Instead of hiring someone of quality he’s continued to choose guys who no one else would ever hire as a DC. He doesn’t deserve a chance to choose a 4th. No one is taking that job under him now anyway. #Redskins #HTTR— Bryan Manning (@BryanDManning) December 9, 2018
THIS. It is glaringly clear that despite his many laudable attributes, Jay just can't get out of his own way in the hiring department, specifically for the defense. The NFL is such a zero-sum league. Nuance about injuries and scheduling and schemes are all discussed, but ultimately winning is all that matters. Do or do not. There is no try. Gruden is not the only one who should be replaced, but sadly he will be near the front of the (unemployment) line.
Change the owner. Change the name. Change the front office. Change the stadium. Change it all. Then burn what’s left to the ground..and change that.— Chris Williams (@slimceeVA) December 9, 2018
AFTER HOURS SLICE
New segment alert!
Occasionally I will be adding some additional info; a little something extra, if you will. This week’s addition
Wooooo buddy, there's a lot to unpack here. The screengrab above is a conversation between a fan(?) and starting inside linebacker, Mason Foster. Yup, the one with the captain's "C" on his jersey. Foster has been the scrutiny of the team's Twitter zealots for years, to the point he deleted his account. Saying "eff the fans?" Whatever. That's a non-story to me. These guys get crushed all the time by crazies; a little bitterness is completely understandable. "Eff the team," though? Yikes. Perhaps he means the coaches? Or Bruce Allen? Or Snyder? Whomever he's addressing, my guess is they won't be pleased to read it. Stay tuned.
#SundaySlices will return following Sunday’s inevitable snoozefest against the equally crappy, Jacksonville Jaguars. If you have any slice suggestions, critiques, complaints or questions send them to @slimceeVA on Twitter. Should you feel the need to add snarky commentary about pop culture, sports or politics into your life, you can also follow @slimceeVA—and you should.