November 7, 2013 Leave a comment
Redskins News & Analysis
November 7, 2013 Leave a comment
October 25, 2013 Leave a comment
n ancestry that I know of. I also understand that I cannot possibly fully grasp how it feels to be persecuted because of my race.
October 16, 2013 Leave a comment
There will be and already has been an outcry for coaching changes in Washington. Some have said Keith Burns (the special team coach) needs to go. Others have called for Haslett’s job and even Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s jobs. The reasons vary from the mishandling of RGIII to the obvious step back this team has taken this year. However, none of these are the real answer to the problem. With the exception of Keith Burns I see no reason to fire any of the current staff. Even firing Burns may be the wrong move. What’s the real problem with the Redskins this year? and why did they take such a huge step back?
A complete lack of talent throughout the roster. The Redskins most reliable corner is DeAngelo Hall who quite frankly is one of the worst starting corners in the NFL. On defense, their safeties are Brandon, Meriweather who is constantly injured and inconsistent, and now Reed Doughty who really is a career backup and special teams player. The depth at inside linebacker is nonexistent and Fletcher’s age has started to show. While the defensive line is decent and at times can be dominate, the Redskins defensive ends are not good enough to cover up the defenses other deficiencies.
As for the offense they have an offensive line that consists of small linemen who aren’t built to pass protect as much as they have needed to this year. Last season the Redskins weren’t getting blown out in the first half so run blocking was more important. Not to mention that they line as a whole has regressed in the run game as well. Then at the wide receiver position the Redskins don’t have a true #1 threat. Garçon was great last year and has been great at times this year but he is more of a high end #2 receiver than he is a #1. Behind Garçon the Redskins have a bunch of #3 receivers in Hankerson, Moss, and Morgan. Teams this year just aren’t afraid of the Redskins receiving core so they can just focus in on the run. Yes, I realize this is almost exactly the team that went on a game winning 7 straight games and the NFC East title. So, what is the reason for the regression? If this team has so little talent now how did they succeed last year?
The simple answer is that the Redskins overachieved last year. Will Montgomery played like a prow bowler last year and Trent Williams played had a career season. The defense was still terrible but players like Rob Jackson and London Fletcher made big plays late in the year. For the most part scheme was able to cover up a lot of the problems with the Redskins defense. This year players aren’t making the same type of plays on defense and the offensive struggles have only hurt the defense even more. Perhaps most importantly the Redskins were unable to improve on last year because of the cap penalty and lack of a 1st round draft pick. The Redskins were lucky to be able to resign the majority of their team but they couldn’t make many roster improvements through free agency like many teams around the league did. With no 1st round draft pick the Redskins have been forced to treat 2nd round pick David Amerson as if he was a 1st rounder and fans expect that level of production out of him.
The bright side is that the future is still very promising for this team. The cap penalties are over and the Redskins should be able to make some moves in free agency that they haven’t been able to make the past two years. Even more importantly the team is filled with young talent at key positions. RGIII will continue to improve as a pocket passer and with the return of his mobility he is still one of the most exciting and promising young quarterbacks in the game. Alfred Morris is a strong and decisive runner who will continue to be the work horse in the Redskins backfield. Add in Roy Helu and the Redskins have talented running backs for the future. Garçon may not be a true #1 wide receiver but he has been very reliable and is an important piece in the building of this team. Jordan Reed is an athletic freak at tight end who is already creating matchup problems for defenses and has been surprisingly solid when blocking. Trent Williams is still one of the better tackles in the league and has the skills to shut down elite pass rushers. The defense is the bigger issue but Barry Cofield is a great nose tackle who is still only 29. David Amerson has been inconsistent but has shown flashes that make me believe he can become a good corner in this league. Phillip Thomas was lost for the season but he was one of my favorite draft picks from this years draft and I continue to have high hopes for him once he returns.
The pieces aren’t all there for the Redskins to succeed this year but the core talent at key positions like nose tackle, quarterback, left tackle and running back will help this team to grow. I understand Redskins fans are restless after two decades of suffering. I feel that pain and know that after last season expectations were sky high. But firing Jim Haslett or Mike Shanahan would be a move that the old Redskins would make. Consistency is extremely important in football and firing these coaches would in all likely hood stunt the growth of RGIII and Kirk Cousins. I am not the biggest supporter of the current staff but am willing to give them until the end of their contract. The immediate future isn’t going to be fun for Skins fans and this season will be devastating to watch. But after waiting over 20 years for the Redskins to turn it around I think we can wait just a little bit longer.
October 10, 2013 Leave a comment
1. Dez Bryant vs DeAngleo Hall – I’m not a huge fan of Hall and was one of those fans who was slightly disappointed at his resigning. However, Hall can also be extremely entertaining and this week will be no exception. Bryant is a big powerful wide receiver at 6’2″and 222 lbs to Hall’s 5’10” and 193 lbs. Frankly, Hall at a huge disadvantage in this matchup. The bright side is that despite all of his limitations Hall at times steps up and has his best games when facing a big time receiver. This should be a fun matchup to watch.
5. Jordan Reed – Reed had a fast start this season and really continued to improve in his blocking and as a receiver. He was hurt and missed the week 4 game against the Raiders but will be back Sunday. His momentum got a little derailed by the injury but he should be able to get back into it quickly. I really like Reed and think he has the potential to exploit a Cowboys defense that has let two tight ends go over a 100 yards in consecutive weeks.
Week 6 Prediction: Tony Romo is playing at a high level right now and has tons of weapons with Dez Bryant, Witten, Murray and rookie Terrance Williams. It’s an offense that has the ability to really exploit the Redskins defense. Fortunately, the Redskins know Romo well and should be able to come up with a game plan that should limit him. However, that plan will only work if RGIII and the Redskins offense can stay on the field and create some long drives. The game being in Dallas and on primetime means it will be loud and rowdy so Alfred Morris and the rushing attack is key to taking the crowd out of the game. The more I think about it the more I lean towards the Cowboys winning this game but my guy says that a Sunday Night game in Dallas is the perfect setting for RGIII to make a statement. Cowboys 34, Redskins 38
October 7, 2013 Leave a comment
The Redskins biggest game of the season is this weekend against the Cowboys. Obviously any game against the Cowboys is an important one but this time around it is even bigger. The Redskins sit at 1-3 and yet are only 1 game behind 1st place. The Eagles
hold the tiebreaker over the Skins but a win against the Cowboys on Sunday night would be a huge step toward taking control of the division. Here are the keys to the game.
1. Run the ball effectively. RGIII has improved but he is still not where he was last year and even if he was it would still be the game plan to run the ball early and often. The Cowboys offense is filled with talent and if the Redskins want to win on the road the will need to shorten the game and take the crowd out of it. Alfred Morris needs to be the heart of the offense in this game. It may not be pretty but the Ravens win over the Dolphins is a good blueprint of what the Skins should do. Feed Morris the ball.
2. Convert on 3rd down. During the first two games of the season a big problem for the Redskins was keeping drives moving and they only converted five 3rd downs. The best way to solve this problem is to either never get to 3rd down or to make sure they don’t have to convert a 3rd and long.
3. Start fast on offense. If you watched the Cowboys vs Broncos game then you know the Cowboys have the ability to put up some points. The Redskins have the advantage of knowing the Cowboys and Tony Romo much better than the Broncos do but that won’t be enough to win. RGIII can not allow this offense to start like it has so far this season. Essentially the Redskins need to do what the Cowboys did against Denver. Have a long 7 minute drive down the field and put up some points even if it’s not a touchdown. While the execution will be important Kyle and Mike Shanahan need to make sure they script the first few plays with some creativity.
4. Stop DeMarco Murray. Dez Bryant and Tony Romo will get a lot attention from fans and media after Sunday’s performance but Murray is the real key. Dez is the best WR in the NFC East and the Skins will need to plan for him. However, if the Redskins can slow Murray it will put more pressure on Romo which often leads to him making mistakes. How do you slow Murray down? Well fortunately the Redskins will have Jenkins back on the defensive line and Cofield has emerged as one of the best nose tackles in the game. However, the real key is for the linebackers and the secondary to make plays in the run game. Missed tackles can’t continue to plague this team.
5. Win the turnover battle. This is kind of a cop out because this can be said about any game. But in this one it seems even more important. If RGIII can protect the ball and avoid a turnover the Redskins should win this game. The Redskins defense will likely be able to cause a couple turnovers so RGIII can’t give the ball back. The Cowboys defense is not much better than the Skins’ so it’s likely RGIII and co. will be able to move the ball for much of the game but turnovers could kill this team like they did against the Lions.
October 4, 2013 Leave a comment
The Redskins are a team that, despite a week 4 win against the Raiders, are still struggling on both sides of the ball. The defense is ranked 25th in pass defense 31st in rush defense and 31st in total yards allowed. RGIII and the offense have only put up 10 points in the first half this year and have seemed out of sync and just not very explosive. However, there have been a few players who continue to produce. Most notably, on offense, Alfred Morris and Pierre Garçon.
Morris is on pace for over 1,100 yards and that is while averaging only 14 carries a game instead of the 20 he averaged last season. While his stats may appear to be down much of that is caused by the Redskins going behind early in games and not being able to run the ball as much. He actually has a higher yards per carry than he did a year ago. Not to mention he already has 3 carries for 20 yards are more when he only had 9 all of last year.
For Garçon it seems likely he will have a career year as he is on pace for over 1300 yards and 8 touchdowns. His career best to this point is 947 yards and 6 touchdowns. In contrast to Morris’s situation Garçon has benefited from the Redskins falling behind and having to throw the ball to catch up. Not to mention he is RGIII’s favorite receiver as his 44 targets were 5th in the NFL heading into week 5.
Now, as the title suggests both Garçon and Morris are former 6th round draft picks. Garçon was drafted by the Colts in 2008 with the 205th pick overall and Morris was drafted in 2012 by the Redskins with the 173 pick overall. Digging deeper their stories have some similarities.
Both of grew up in florida and both attended colleges that aren’t even close to being considered football power houses. Alfred Morris played at Florida Atlantic (a team that only won 1 game his senior year) while Garçon played division III football at Norwich University and then Mount Union College.
Garçon and Morris have proven scouts and talent evaluators wrong so far in their careers and only continue to improve and surprise. Morris has shown that speed isn’t everything and Garçon has shown he can be more than just a track athlete playing football. It is impossible to give only one reason for their success obvious on the field that both of them play as though they have something to prove. Just look at them on the field. Garçon is often described as “playing angry” while Morris is rarely taken down by the first defender.
The Redskins sit at 1-3 going into their bye and will need to fight their way up through a tough schedule if they want to make the playoffs. But who better to lead them than two 6th round picks from small colleges who have beat the odds before?
September 30, 2013 Leave a comment
Well, the Redskins won a game. It was a game they were supposed to win and at times it wasn’t pretty. The Raiders were without their starting QB and their star running back was injured early on but a win is a win. And to be honest it isn’t something to scoff at. It’s important to remember that the Raiders backup QB might not be much worse than their starter, though Flynn doesn’t have the athletic ability of Pryor. The Redskins went down 14-0 with 7 of those points coming off of a blocked punt. Yet, they came back and won the game not allowing another score from the Raiders for the rest of the game. Players who have been struggling lately had big games (Orakpo, Amerson, Meriweather). It is a big win and the Redskins can lift their heads going into the bye week.
1. The defense still had some tackling problems but the secondary played much better against a mediocre Raiders receiving core. Amerson came up with a big interception which he took for a touchdown and only rally had 2 bad plays the whole game. Orakpo also looked much better in coverage and almost had a pick of his own.
2. It seems as though Flynn was being sacked on every other play. Orakpo, Kerrigan and Cofield all came up with 2 sacks. Cofield is playing lights out since getting the club off his hand and has been a top defensive player for the Redskins the past two weeks.
3. Some big tackles were missed and the one who I saw making the most mistakes was London Fletcher. It seems to me that age has really caught up to him at this point.
4. Alfred Morris was injured but before he had to come out of the game he looked good. At times there wasn’t much of a hole but he consistently got extra yards with his power and quick cuts. He has great balance and is just an impressive running back.
5. RGIII was inaccurate early and had a few balls sail on him but he looked better later on and had one nice play where he escaped pressure like RGIII of old. He escaped the pocket and seemed to move much better than he was the first 2 weeks. It was a game where he seemed to show sparks of great play and then really struggle at other times. However, I’m still confused as to how he didn’t see Woodson coming on the blitz on a 4th down play.
6. Offensive line play wasn’t impressive to me. Didn’t give Morris too many holes in the run game and RGIII came under pressure too quickly too often.
7. Roy Helu had a solid game when asked to come in for an injured Morris though I wouldn’t feel good about him as a long term starter or work load back.
8. Garçon is absolutely a bright spot for a still struggling offense. He is simply fantastic with his speed and open field elusiveness. His touchdown was a great throw by RGIII with lots of power and accuracy. The play was also a good call something I saw a lot of in this game. Kyle Shanahan seemed to design some very impressive plays that worked extremely well in this game. Hankerson also had a good game though I feel like the absence of Jordan Reed hurt the offense more than people realize.
9. Overall, the performance wasn’t flawless or even all that great but the Redskins deserve credit for only allowing 7 points to the Raiders offense and playing very well at times against a solid to good Raiders defense. For what it is worth this defense is the only one who held the Broncos to under 40 points so far this season.
10. It looks like the Redskins will actually have a chance to play the Cowboys for first place in the division after the bye. However, the schedule as a whole is not favorable as after the Cowboys game the Redskins have to games vs Bears, at the Broncos, vs Chargers and @ the Vikings in consecutive games. All of those look like extremely tough games and the Redskins will need to win a few that they aren’t supposed to. 1-3 isn’t ideal but in a very weak division it also isn’t bad enough to knock the Redskins out of the division race. (Giants 0-4, Eagles 1-3, Cowboys 2-2)
September 23, 2013 Leave a comment
1. The defense really did make some plays and stopped the Lions on their first drive then got a pick 6 on the second.
2. Hall played with a lot of heart against the best receiver in the game in Calvin Johnson. To his credit Hall forced Johnson off his route on the interception play which threw off the timing and led to the pick. He also made a nice play on a pass that would have been a touchdown. But Johnson got the better of Hall and the rest of the Redskins defense often. Johnson seemed to make plays whenever the Lions really needed one.
3. Just too many missed tackles. The problem is it’s not just one player missing tackles it’s the whole team. On Bell’s td there were three or four missed tackles. Orakpo specifically really needs to improve in this area. There were multiple times when he was in position to stop a play for a loss or no gain and ended up giving up 5 or more yards. Even on the touchdown to Calvin Johnson late in the game Brandon Meriweather went high on Johnson going for the ball but in that situation the tackle was more important and the better play to make.
4. Early in the first half the Redskins made a stop on 3rd down which should have led to a field goal but instead there was a penalty and the Lions ended up scoring on the drive. Just too many unforced errors for this unit.
5. Amerson had a much better game and broke up two passes. He made a couple tackles and for the most part was solid in coverage. He made some mistakes as well but that is to be expected from a rookie getting the kind of playing time he has. He took a big risk going for a pick or pass defense on one play but missed which led to a big gain for the Lions. Overall, I’m really impressed with him and think he has a lot of potential moving forward.
6. I still love Ryan Kerrigan he seems to be the most consistent player on defense with Perry Riley second. Nick Barnett showed why Fletcher needs to be on the field more than not. Barnett was really unimpressive in the plays I saw him involved in. I actually think the defense deserves some credit for having a solid game but it still gives up too many yards and big plays.
September 23, 2013 Leave a comment
The Redskins are in big trouble at this point. They are now 0-3 and will have a tough time making the playoffs. I realize it is only 3 games out of 16 but the schedule is not an easy one. The first two losses were tough because of how awful the team looked as a whole but this one might have been harder because the Redskins lost this game more than the Lions won it.
September 21, 2013 Leave a comment
Yes, the Redskins have been absolutely embarrassing to watch so far this season and yes, this next game is very close to a must win game. However, it could be much worse and it really isn’t as bad as it seems. I can almost promise you that the Redskins will turn this around. It may or may not happen this tomorrow against the Lions but It will happen.
First, lets talk about the two losses. Out of the two games the Redskins have played only one of them was really expected to be a win. The Eagles are not a great team and I think almost every Redskins fan and most others expected to win. But realistically expecting to win that game easily as many (including myself) expected was foolish. Then week 2 came along and the Redskins had to travel to Green Bay to play a Packers team that had just lost to the 49ers. There was absolutely no point last year where the Redskins would have been favored or even expected to go into Green Bay and pull off a win. In most people’s predictions of how the Redskins season would go they had them losing to the Packers. Even most who predicted that the Redskins would repeat as NFC East champions didn’t expect them to win that game. So, realistically the Redskins are only one game behind where they were expected to be. Throughout any NFL season teams win games they aren’t expected to and lose games they should have won so this isn’t anything new. Of course, the difference is the Redskins looked absolutely horrible in their two losses which is the real reason for the panic but looking at it from a record standpoint the Redskins aren’t far behind their expected start.
Fortunately, the Redskins 0-2 start has only put them one game behind 1st place. The NFC East is one of the worst divisions in the NFL and has only one 2 games both of which were against other NFC East opponents. The Giants are 0-2, Cowboys 1-1, and the Eagles are now 1-2. To make it even better the Eagles have fallen back to earth after their hot start and Michael Vick was back to his inconsistent ways against the Chiefs. If the Redskins can pull off a win tomorrow they will be at worst tied for second place and at best tied for first. Not to mention the Giants play a tough Panthers defense in carolina this week which is also desperate for a win. The Cowboys don’t have an easy game against a Rams team led by an improved Sam Bradford and solid defense. Oh and in case you haven’t heard the Redskins have never lost to the Lions at home. That doesn’t mean they will win but it is a fun fact that makes the game seem slightly less daunting.
Now lets look ahead to week 4. Let’s say the Redskins, Cowboys, and Giants all win their games. The Redskins, Eagles, and Giants would all be at 1-2 with the Cowboys at 2-1. Week 4 the Redskins travel to a Raiders team that has very little chance of exploiting a weak Redskins secondary with Terrelle Pryor at the helm. The Giants have to travel to Kansas City to face a very talented Chiefs, who are now 3-0. The Cowboys have play the Chargers with a resurgent Phillip Rivers in San Diego. Meanwhile the Eagles have the toughest Challenge of playing the Broncos in Denver. The Redskins clearly have the easiest game in week 4 and are probably the only ones who will be favored to win. Now this is obviously a big if because the NFL is unpredictable but it is very possible that heading into their bye the Redskins could be tied with the Cowboys for first place in the division at 2-2.
All of this means nothing though if the Redskins don’t improve dramatically and quickly. The Lions will not be an easy team to beat and so far the Redskin have looked just pathetic. Why should anyone believe that will change anytime soon? Well, to put it simply the Redskins will get better because of RGIII. Griffin has looked less than spectacular in the first two games with his only real success coming well after the game is out of hand. I could list all the reasons why he has looked bad and speculate what his “problem” is but there has been more than enough coverage on that. The fact is he has not played to his potential. However, it is important to remember that there was significant improvement in his timing and accuracy in week 2. Because of this we can assume that he will continue to get better. Most experts agree, and by experts I mean players who have had similar injuries and doctors, that it takes time to come back from a serious injuries even once fully healthy. Take a look at Derrick Rose or Tom Brady in 2009 when he started off relatively slowly before really getting back to himself. Even Adrian Peterson wasn’t running all over teams until 5 or 6 games into the season. So, let us accept that RGIII will improve and eventually be back to or at least close to his 2012 self. With RGIII back the Redskins offense will immediately improve. Morris will have bigger holes to run through and the offensive line deficiencies will be masked.
Critics will attack the Redskins defense and how horrible it has been and I will fully admit that the performance by the Redskins D has been truly terrible. The problems with the unit are not easily fixed and most likely won’t be this season. However, once the offense returns to being at least close to the 2012 version the defense will be on the field for significantly less time. Last year the Redskins won the time of possession and held the ball an average of 31 minutes a game. After two games this season they have only averaged 27 minutes. That 27 number is also generous considering that their opponents have generally stopped playing in the second half of games. While the Redskins defense will struggle throughout the year the resurrection of the offense will allow the defense to get some rest. Not to mention when the defense makes stops, like they did against the Packers early on, they will be more meaningful because the other team won’t simply get the ball back 3 plays later.
Now I fully realize that this logic is full of speculation and assumptions but they are fairly calculated ones. Even ignoring the arguments about where the Redskins will be in 2 weeks it is still a fact that the Redskins are currently just one game behind first place in a very weak division. I know it is unfair to put so much on one player but if you look at this team a lot of its problems can be covered by better play by RGIII. This team is made up of almost all of the same starters as last year and actually has more talent on defense than it did a year ago with the return of Orakpo. RGIII is the key to a Redskins turn around.