Can The Redskins go 6-2 In Their 8 Remaining Games?

In short the answer to this question is absolutely, BUT they would need to improve quickly. In their final 9 games the Redskins only face 3 teams with a winning record in the Chiefs, Cowboys and 49ers. The other 5 games are against the Eagles (4-5), Vikings (1-7), Falcons (2-6) and the Giants twice (2-6).  While it is nowhere near a sure thing, it is realistic to expect the Redskins win 7 games in that schedule. With the exception of the Chargers game the way the Redskins have played so far does not inspire much confidence, but I like to be optimistic in times of despair. So, how exactly will the Redskins pull off this turnaround

Week 10&11 at Vikings/at Eagles

The Vikings are just awful. Their defense is terrible and has shown very little life all season and their quarterback situation is a mess. Christian Ponder is completely inept at getting the ball to his receivers and if Josh Freeman is playing it won’t be much better. Adrian Peterson is a beast but he can’t do it alone. This game should be a win even if the Redskins don’t play their best game.
The Eagles are a bit of a wild card. They did blow out the Redskins in week one but both teams have changed drastically. The Redskins defense is playing much better and Griffin is much more mobile and has shown flashes of improvement in the passing game. As for the Eagles, their quarterback situation is confusing. Vick has been banged up and even if he is back it’s unlikely he will be the week 1 version of himself. Yes, Nick Foles threw for 7 TDs against the Raiders and looked great but when pressured he falters. Foles is not as good as he seems right now.  Like Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy is a fantastic running back but force Foles to beat you and you should have some success. The defensive side of the ball has been pretty miserable all season and if the Redskins can play like they did during the second half of the chargers game they should be able to put up points. Not to mention the Eagles have lost their last 10 home games including all 4 this season.
Prediction: 2 Ws
Week 12 vs 49ers
To be honest I don’t see any possible way the Redskins win this game. I love the idea of any given Sunday but unless the Redskins play a perfect game I just can’t see it. Colin Kaepernick isn’t the “greatest quarterback of all time” but he can still make some electrifying plays. Frank Gore is a monster and Vernon Davis is on a roll. The defense has been playing great and is loaded with talent. It would be a HUGE upset if the Redskins could somehow win… I wouldn’t get my hopes up.
Prediction: L
Week 13&17 vs/at Giants
The Giants have won 2 games in a row but it hasn’t been against the toughest competition. Their first win was against an absolutely terrible Vikings team. The second win was over an Eagles team led by Matt Barkley. They weren’t even all that impressive in the Eagles game. The Giants couldn’t score a touchdown and won the game with 5 field goals. Eli Manning still isn’t playing very well and their running game is non-existent. The Redskins have also had a lot of success against Eli in the past and I would expect the defense to have good games. It is a divisional matchup so there is no way to know what madness could happen but these are two games the Redskins can and probably should win.
Prediction: 2 Ws
Week 14 vs Chiefs
The Chiefs defense has been outstanding this season, which doesn’t bode well for a struggling offense. RGIII has been turning the ball over a lot more and the offensive line has been miserable in pass protection. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have a +12 turnover ratio and 36 sacks in the first 8 games. On offense, Jamaal Charles is one of the best running backs in the NFL and is going to cause some issues. Despite all of this the Redskins have a chance. The Chiefs will be coming off 3 straight divisional games playing the Broncos twice and the Chargers. It is very possible that the Chiefs will be worn out and banged up coming into this game. Furthermore, the Chiefs don’t have the most explosive offense, which could help keep this game close going into the 4th quarter. If the Redskins can avoid turning the ball over there is no reason they can’t win this game. They might be undefeated but a lot of their wins have been less than dominant.
Prediction: L
Week 15 at Falcons
 In this is a game that I have no idea what to expect. The Falcons key players (Roddy White and Steven Jackson) have been struggling with injuries all year long. If those guys are 100% healthy this game looks a lot tougher but for now it is unclear if either will be at their best. The Falcons defense and offensive line have been pretty awful. To fully grasp their struggles on the O-Line just look at Jeremy Trueblood. You know, the guy who wasn’t good enough to play on the Redskins. I’m also curious about Gonzalez’s mindset. He came back to compete for a Super Bowl yet the Falcons are unlikely to even make the playoffs. It will be interesting if he is still the fully dedicated to the sport that late in the season. The X-factor in all of this is Matt Ryan. He is still one of the better quarterbacks in the league and is capable of taking over a game. Overall, this game is a bit of a question mark but the Redskins could definitely win it.
Prediction: W
Week 16 vs Cowboys
The first time the Redskins faced the Cowboys this season it was a mess. The defense didn’t let Romo do much but the offense struggled and special teams was horrid. The Redskins defense usually plays pretty well against Romo so I wouldn’t expect that to change but a healthy Murray could cause problems. On the other hand it is unlikely the Redskins special teams could have as awful of a performance as they did last time these two teams met. This could be a game that decides or helps decide who will win the division. If that is the case the crowd should be loud and the team should be fired up. Not to mention the Cowboys have been unimpressive even in winning efforts. Most importantly, I can’t STAND the thought of being swept by Romo and the Cowboys.
Prediction: W
Summing it up

It’s going to be tough but the Redskins have a realistic chance of ending the season with a 9-7 or even 10-6 record. The problem is that there is no room for error. The Redskins can’t lose to teams they should beat and might have to pull off an upset in a non division matchup.

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Final Say On The Redskins Name Change Debate

Let me preface this by stating I am a Redskins fan. I have no Native America

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.

There has been a recent surge in the movement to change the Redskins name. For the first time in the history of the franchise there seems to be a legitimate threat of a name change. Respected sports writer Peter King has refused to use the name at all on his website and the Oneida tribe has started add campaigns to increase awareness. Even President Obama shared his thoughts during an Associated Press interview. I originally expected the issue to die down once the season started but every time I think I have heard the last of it a new story comes out. It is clear that there is a vocal group that is

intent on making a change.

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Dan Snyder has publicly stated that he will “never” change the name. He has maintained his stance and most recently sent out a letter to the fans reassuring them that the name will not change. Ultimately, it appears that both sides are going to stand firm and have no intention of giving in. So, with no end to this controversy in sight I’ve decided to share my opinion on the issue and my thoughts on how to solve it.
The most popular argument against the Redskins name, at least in the beginning, was that the term “redskin” originated or was used when referring to the scalps of Native Americans. The biggest issue with this argument is that it is completely inaccurate. As far as I have found the term “redskin” has absolutely no connection to scalping. According to Ives Goddard of the Smithsonian it actually originated from Native Americans. With this information I find it hard to understand those who still maintain that the word is offensive on the basis that because there is a perceived relationship with scalping. However, that group is now a minority.
The second issue I take with those calling for a name change is that many have said the problem with the name Redskins is the use of the word “red.” By this logic there are many more changes that need to be made in the US. For example, the word Oklahoma loosely means “red people.” If using the word “red” is the problem then the state of Oklahoma should change its name. Again, this argument is not used as often anymore or at least not among the more respected critics of the Redskins name.
One of the more legitimate arguments that have been made is that “redskin” has been used as a racial slur in the past. If you look it up in any dictionary it will say that it is offensive or derogatory. This is a completely understandable concern but it is important to understand that the term wasn’t originally negative or meant as an insult. The word later became a slur and for a time was on the same level as the “N-word.” My question to those who take this stance is that because “redskin” had the ability to change from harmless to insulting is it not possible for the reverse to happen as well? I admit that I have had very little interaction with the Native American community but I have not met anyone who ever calling someone a “redskin” as an insult. I realize that just because I have never experienced this doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur but I am willing to bet it is not often used as an insult in modern day America. It seems reasonable to assume that most Americans hear the term Redskins and instantly think of the football franchise.. I see no real reason for the word to be considered offensive at this point just because it once was. That logic doesn’t seem sound especially when the Washington Redskins have never belittled or mocked Native Americans as far as I can tell and have in fact worn the name with pride and respect. It seems to me that the Redskins have taken a once negative word and changed it into a word that is now meant to show pride, even if unintentionally.
The hard part about this is that there are those who find offense in the name and that is cause to at least discuss the issue. I reject the premise that if one person is offended then that makes it offensive but I do accept that a vocal population of Native Americans is not just one person. The problem I have, though, is that there are also many Native Americans who support the name. There are even schools with a majority population of Native Americans that use the name themselves. It is ridiculous that because the offended are more vocal than the supporters their opinion some how weighs more. Those Native Americans who support the name should get just as much say in the name change as those who want to change it.

Ultimately, I do not think the name HAS to change. At this point I think it makes more sense to work on the real problems going on in the Native American community and the US as a whole than to focus this much energy on the Redskins name. However, I also feel there is a very simple solution to keep all parties happy. If the Redskins were to change their name to the Braves they would be able to keep their color scheme and their logo. The name also has historical significance for the franchise. “Braves” doesn’t have the same negative connotation attached to it. It would appease Native Americans who oppose “Redskins” while maintaining a Native American inspiration. It seems like a good way to just keep everyone reasonably happy and avoid the name being changed to something absurd (ie. Redtails).  

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Explaining the Redskins Struggles

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.

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What to Watch: Redskins vs Cowboys

So far this season the Redskins have been unimpressive at best. 1-3 was not the way most envisioned the Redskins starting and it has left the fans calling for quarterback changes and coordinator firings. This week the Redskins must travel to Dallas to face their bitter rivals the Cowboys who just put up 48 points and over 500 yards of offense on the Broncos. Fortunately, the Redskins had an early bye week to regroup and hopefully work on the basics. If this team wants to make the playoffs it must improve drastically on its poor start and what better atmosphere to do so then in Dallas on primetime Sunday Night Football.

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.

2. The Return – Jarvis Jenkins and Rob Jackson will be able to play for the first time this year after serving their 4 game suspensions. Jackson isn’t a starter but he was impressive last season when asked to fill in for an injured Orakpo and should provide valuable depth. Look for Jackson to get some solid playing time as he has shown the ability to be a good pass rusher and strong coverage skills. Jenkins on the other hand is a starter and should quickly upgrade the defensive end position. He hasn’t been as explosive of a pass rusher as the Redskins originally expected but he is a good run defender and should really bolster the Redskins run D. It will be interesting to see how big of an impact the return of these two guys can have on the defense as a whole. 
3. RGIII’s improvement – Robert Griffin III has been a hot topic recently because of his injury and subsequent slow start to the season. For those have been watching it has been clear that he has slowly improved each week and looked closer to form week 4 against a solid Raiders defense. Now with a week off the expectations for RGIII are sky high and if he can’t perform well there will only be more questions about if Bob Griffin can ever be RGIII again. Of course most of this is overblown and this game shouldn’t determine how people view RGIII’s future but when you are playing a rival in a nationally televised game the media and fans tend to put more meaning in one game than they should. 
4. DeMarco Murray vs Barry Cofield – Cofield is only one piece of the Redskins run defense but he is probably the most important one. He started off the season a little slow because of an injury that required him to wear a club around his hand but in the last two game he has been fantastic. Stopping the run is always important and Cofield will need to have a big game for the Redskins to succeed this week.

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

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5 Things: What The Redskins Must Do To Win In Dallas

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.

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From 6th Round Draft Picks to NFL Studs

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?

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Redskins vs Raiders Notes

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)

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Redskins vs Lions Notes: Defense

The defense played better in this one but really hurt themselves with missed tackles and penalties.

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.

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Redskins vs Lions Notes:Offense

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. 

1. RGIII did look better. He made a lot of good throws including a completion to Garçon on the left sideline in the 2nd half. Griffin doesn’t look as explosive as last year but did run the ball a few times and made some good plays out of the pocket. The offense as a whole was much more impressive and was able to move the ball for a lot of the game. I also really liked two pre snap reads that Griffin made on two third downs. However, his two turnovers were killers. His interception was just an awful decision and he should have thrown it away or even taken the sack at that point. The receiver was covered and he basically chucked it blindly down the sideline. The fumble was also a poor decision by Griffin. He needs to learn to slide and can’t dive head and then let the ball come out like that. The real problem with both turnovers is that the Redskins were moving the ball well at the time. On the interception the Redskins had just entered the red zone and the fumble occurred right outside of it. Both drives would have likely ended in at least 3 points. He also missed a few plays on third downs including throwing a ball behind Hankerson (who still should have caught it) and not seeing a wide open Jordan Reed who would have had the 1st down. 
2. Aldrick Robinson has become a liability. He is fast but that is about it. He can’t block and failed to catch a touchdown pass that would have given the Redskins their first lead off of an offensive score this season. The ball was a bomb and while Robinson had to slow down to grab it he still should have held on. 
3. Alfred Morris ran well in the first half but the Lions really focused in on him in after that. He is a great running back and any doubts people had about his long term success should be erased by now. His touchdown run was fantastic. Garçon is the other star on this offense. He continues to get open and make plays like a catch on third down where he had to break 2 tackled to get the first down. With the emergence of Jordan Reed this offense actually has a ton of talent. Hankerson has continued to improve and has looked good at times as well. 
4. Not all the offenses failures are on Griffin. In fact a lot of them aren’t. The offensive line was pretty awful at times against the lions. Will Montgomery got blown up by Suh which led to a big sack and Trent Williams didn’t have his best game especially with run blocking. One play that stood out was when he was completely manhandled by Ziggy Ansah. 
5. The Redskins 2nd series of the game was a three and out because a running play where the entire offensive line tripped over one another causing the Lions to stop Morris quickly. The next play was a screen that was covered by the Lions and RGIII was forced to throw it away while avoiding a sack. Then another screen was called on 3rd down to Moss who did his best but was well short of the 1st. Play calling was questionable there.
6. Really confused why Helu doesn’t get more of a chance to play. He made a fantastic play toward the end of the game juking defenders and getting out of bounds. Morris is a monster but I would think giving Helu more opportunities would help open holes for Morris later. Also would just be a nice change of pace. 

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The Redskins 0-2 Start isn’t as Bad as You Think

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.

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