If what Billy Joel said is true, and "only the good die young," then the 2017 Skins will outlive us all. Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers of Carson, California was less a NFL game, and more a snuff film on grass. So, in honor of the team dialing it in and clearly showing just enough effort to pass as professional, while also not really giving a f*ck, I've decided this week's #SundaySlices will be delivered in kind. Welcome to the thirteenth of sixteen #SundaySlices recaps, 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)
-Ryan Kerrigan. #91 did not record a sack, but he was constantly pressuring Rivers, was held constantly (only one was flagged; shocking, I know) and was the lone semi-bright spot of the overmatched front 7.
-Josh Doctson. Find him more targets, preferably ones that have a chance to be caught.
-Bashaud Breeland. In what was likely his fouth-to-last game for Washington, Bree provided a pick-six and the longest kick return of the season! (It was a 35-yard return. The speciaLOL teams marches on).
Josh Norman, who counts for $20 million against Washington's cap this year, was in man coverage on Williams there. Trailing him as he caught the long ball.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) December 10, 2017
Grant Paulsen: 1%
The leader of the #KirkHive gets a slice for his blatant cynicism and lack of ability to critique the ENTIRE team as opposed to 52 of 53 players. The tone deafness of him and others (won't name names, but it rhymes with "Vurgundy Vlog") make Skins Twitter a mine field on game days and throughout the season.
The Washington Training Staff: 4%
Probably unfair to blame them for injuries in the most-barbaric sport in America, but remember, I'm mailing it in. They get a slice. Logic and reason be damned.
Preston Smith: 5%
Smith didn't do anything wrong on Sunday. He didn't do anything at all.
D.J. Swearinger and Deshazor Everett: 10%
The last lines of defense for the defense were downright offensive. If you look in the sky right this moment you may see another pass over their heads.
Josh Norman: 15%
Norman was very vocal in the postgame Sunday about his desire to "win a championship" above else in his career. That's admirable. But, at some point, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of a 5-8 team with one of the worst defenses in the league.
Greg Manusky: 15%
Speaking of one of the worst defenses in the league...
Look, is it Greg's fault that Mason Foster, Montae Nicholson and Jonathan Allen are out? No, that's the training staff's fault and we already blamed them (kidding)! But, Manusky was brought in with the task of revamping and reworking a horrific 2016 unit. Outside of the Raiders game, which seems more and more like an abject outlier, the defense has been trash far more than it has been treasure.
Kirk Cousins and Jay Gruden: 50%
In the offseason, Kirk Cousins will seek to become the highest-paid player in the history of the NFL. He will almost assuredly receive his wishes. The Washington offense scored 14 in a must-win versus a terrible Dallas defense in week 13 and scored exactly once versus a legit Los Angeles D in week 14. For those keeping count at home: the quarterback of a 5-8 team that scored 10 points/game in the last two weeks of "must win" games wants to get the biggest contract the sport has ever seen...and some fans WANT that.
A few weeks ago, after the pelvis-kick loss to New Orleans, I would have never dreamed that Jay Gruden's seat would be warm this season. Fast forward three weeks, and what was once a tepid heat is now nearing flames. Fair or not, when you watch a team not just be overmatched, but completely outplayed from whistle to whistle, the ax will seek the head.
For better (2015 for six games) or worse (entire 2017), these two are intrinsically tied to the fate of the franchise. If one goes, might they both be gone? Stay tuned for another episode of As The Skins World Turns in the coming weeks.
#SundaySlices will return following Sunday's completely meaningless matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. If you have any slice suggestions, send them to @slimceeVA on Twitter.