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Thoughts and Observations: Redskins vs Jaguars

September 15, 2014 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

Note: I will talk about Robert Griffin III's injury plenty in the coming days, but will just talk about it in general terms here

1. Injuries are piling up:

-It's extremely impressive that the Redskins were able to put up 41 points in this game and their defense was able to dominate as they did. Sure the Jaguars aren't exactly a great team, but the Redskins were dealing with a number of injuries on both sides of the ball, and that can lead to your team having some bad games. The Redskins though responded to the injuries and played their most complete game in years. They won in ever facet of the game and just flat out controlled this game from start to finish.

This game did cost the Redskins though as they saw 5 key offensive players go down with some sort of injury. Third down back Roy Helu Jr. suffered a quad strain, starting LG Shawn Lauvao suffered a mild knee sprain, and fullback Darrel Young suffered a back sprain. All three injuries right now appear to be minor and if they do force the players to miss any time it will be pretty brief. The two more significant injuries were WR DeSean Jackson who suffered an AC joint sprain and QB Robert Griffin III who suffered a dislocated ankle. Those two injuries both are far more serious, not only because the players are more talented, but because they could both miss significant time. Jackson is very likely to miss this next game versus Philly and it's possible that it could be a 2-4 week type of injury, even if it is a lower grade sprain. RGIII's injury is even worse and at the bare minimum looks to be a 6-8 week issue, and at the worse could have Griffin out until next summer. This will be clarified today, but we are talking about an injury that is going to play a significant role on Griffin's future. Even if he can come back this year, his mobility will likely be compromised.

Unfortunately those aren't the only injuries the Redskins are dealing with as they already have starting TE Jordan Reed, starting NT Barry Cofield, 3rd corner Tracy Porter, back-up DE Kedric Golston and back-up LB Akeem Jordan all on the injury report. Some of those players may be back soon (possibly this week), but Cofield won't be able to return until after the bye. The Redskins were a relatively healthy team last year, particularly in the first half of the season, but right now their depth is being seriously tested.

2. The Pass Rush could be very good this year:

-Yes it was against the Jaguars offensive line, which is young, unproven and without a lot of really high ceiling guys, but the Redskins pass rush just dominated the game against the Jaguars. Brian Orakpo, Jason Hatcher, and Ryan Kerrigan all played extremely well and were living in the Jaguars backfield. If they weren't getting the sack they were putting pressure on Chad Henne and forcing some really bad throws. It wasn't just the big three pass rushers that got into the mix, as the Redskins were bringing pressure from everywhere and completely disrupting the Jacksonville game plan.

3. Better offensive and defensive game plan this week:

-Speaking of game plans, the Redskins game plans were close to perfect. On defense Jim Haslett was doing a great job stopping the run early and getting penetration in the backfield on most plays. This led to a number of 2nd and 3rd and long situations that allowed him to dial up blitzes and unleash the hounds on the Jaguars offense. The Redskins Defense dictated the game when they were on the field and it led to them having more sacks (10) than the Jaguars had first downs (8). That also led to the offense having just fantastic field position all game.

The offensive game plan was also much better than it was a week ago. Last week with the run game dominating the Redskins ignored it and tried to throw short passes all game. This week the Redskins were committed to the run early, but when Jacksonville started bottling it up some, it opened up some things down the field that the Redskins were able to take advantage of. After a week where the Redskins more or less avoided challenging down the field and using any read option, it was clear that both of those were in the game plan at the start of the game (though the read option changed significantly with Griffin out). They had the Jaguars on their heels all game, with their offensive game plan, and when Jacksonville stopped one thing the Redskins responded by beating them elsewhere.

4. Redskins depth stepping up:

-Kirk Cousins, Andre Roberts, Niles Paul and Ryan Grant all stepped up in a big way on offense. Cousins came in and was just brilliant for the rest of the first half, and led the Redskins to jump out to a big lead. His play wasn't as good in the 2nd half, but he still played good football and didn't make any costly mistakes. What Cousins did was pick the Jaguars apart by throwing to three somewhat unheralded players. Andre Roberts is the Redskins slot receiver so he's not exactly an unknown, but after the Redskins signed DeSean Jackson this offseason, it appeared that Roberts would be somewhat of an afterthought in this offense, and well behind Pierre Garcon, Reed and Jackson. Roberts came up big though for the Redskins making 4 catches for 57 yards and adding an end around for another 19 yards. Rookie Ryan Grant stepped up as well and added 57 yards on a couple pretty impressive catches. The big unsung hero was TE Niles Paul. After fumbling a week ago inside the 10 yard line, Paul made up for it with an eight catch 99 yard and 1 TD performance. In a game where DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon combined for just 2 catches, the Redskins offense didn't miss a beat because of these guys.

5. Questions in coverage?:

-Overall the defense played great, but there were some question marks on the backend of the defense. The Jaguars lone TD came on a blown coverage from safety Bacarri Rambo, but he wasn't the only defensive back who made some mistakes. On the Jaguars first drive they could have had a TD if rookie Allen Hurns doesn't drop the ball after blowing past DeAngelo Hall. Hall was victimized a couple other times in the game as well. Overall it didn't matter much given how well the rest of the Redskins looked, but this could be an issue to watch going forward. What happens when the Redskins are facing more top end QB's and better receiver corps? Those types of mistakes can be exploited big time, so the coverage really needs to tighten up.

6. Offensive line still a work in progress:

-The biggest concern on the offense (outside of the injuries) was the play of the offensive line. Both Tyler Polumbus and Shawn Lauvao were pushed around and victimized for much of the game. The Redskins again gave up 3 sacks in this game, and saw more penetration in the backfield than they'd like to see. Penalties were also an issue for the offensive line as they committed a combined 5 penalties. This week those things didn't cost the Redskins, but in other games that might not be the case.

7. Penalties an issue:

-The offensive line was a big part of the problem with penalties, but they weren't the only ones at fault. Overall the Redskins committed a combined 12 penalties (3 were either offset or declined), including 5 on offense, 2 on defense and 5 on special teams. That is a really bad number and something that will come back to bite you in closer games. The special teams penalties were perhaps the most troubling, given just how few special teams plays there were to commit so many fouls. Special teams penalties were a big issue last year and it bears watching to see if this becomes a trend.

8. Final Thoughts:

-This was a great game to watch or be at as a Redskins fan as we saw this team come together and dominate from start to finish. That hasn't happened too often in recent years so this was a fun game overall, but obviously the injury issues loom large over this game and the rest of the season. Also for as great as this team looked yesterday, there is still the matter of sample size and the strength of the opponent. There are definitely reasons to temper overall expectations, but this game did show the potential of this team when they get everything clicking.

Redskins Review After Week 7

October 22, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

By Guest Writer Scott Eastment:


Filing out of FedEx Field Sunday afternoon, Washington Redskins fans had to feel like they had a new lease on life after their football team edged out a gritty 45-41 win over the Chicago Bears. The big win yesterday meant that the Redskins held their heads above water in a lukewarm NFC East in which only division leader Dallas (4-3) possesses a record at or above .500.  While the statement ‘a win is a win in the NFL’ rings true, outside of the fact that Robert Griffin III appears to be becoming his old self, the Skins still make fans such as myself extremely nervous. This coinciding sense of demise that goes along with the new lease on life is a feeling that is all too familiar to Redskins fans, and DC sports fans in general, as there is always something dampening the mood around the nation’s capital. Keep in mind while reading this that I am a diehard Skins fan who bleeds burgundy and gold, however I find it necessary at points to just put it all out there on the table and not gloss over the rough stuff; it’s simply the right thing to do and we are just lying to ourselves in Skins Nation otherwise.

Yes, RG III looked like his spry old self yesterday, evading tacklers and re-establishing his legs as weapons on the way to an 84 yard rushing, 298 yard passing day. By proving to the league that he can once again hurt teams with his legs, Griffin opened up aspects of the offense that we had not yet seen since this season. Alfred Morris saw more consistent touches and bigger holes while racking up 95 yards on the ground, and rookie standout tight end Jordan Reed was the beneficiary of clear passing lanes created by the threat of the run, as he caught 9 balls for 134 yards and a touchdown. Roy Helu finally got his season rolling, scoring 3 red-zone touchdowns against a bewildered Bears Defense. Finally, DeAngelo Hall appeared to continue his domination over big-time receivers, blanketing Brandon Marshall all day long. So now that you are all giddy, let me snap you back to the reality of the Redskins situation.

Yes, the offense was thrilling to watch and brought back memories of the unit that led the Redskins to the 2012 NFC East title, however I think I have a few things to turn that smile upside down. What the Skins offense did yesterday was great, but keep in mind a lot of it was done without the opposition of Chicago’s All-Pro’s Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman. The defensive secondary appeared porous as it always does, missed tackles were once again an issue, and the pass rush seemed relatively non-existent for long stretches during the game. On a final defensive note, the play of safety Brandon Merriweather needs to be called into question again as he continued to target defenseless receivers downfield. While I refuse to argue against Merriweather’s style of play and personally love his intensity, the issue here is that he could very easily be suspended for next week’s game against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, leaving rookie Baccari Rambo as the starter against a future Hall of Famer. Add in the fact that Reed Doughty may be out because of the concussion he received yesterday, and next week has some scary implications.

Let’s also keep in mind that both wins this season for the Skins have come against backup quarterbacks. Granted, Josh McCown looked pretty damn good, better than Jay Cutler in fact, but it still needed to be said. And of course, we cannot forget the special teams, who allowed another return for a touchdown yesterday. Not only are the punt and kick coverage units struggling mightily, the return teams for the Redskins rarely if ever give the team favorable starting field position, which will be key down the stretch in divisional match-ups.

Well, there it is people; it’s all out on the table: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the special teams. At 2-4 headed into Week 8, the Redskins are surprisingly in a decent position within the NFC East and have begun to show signs of life reminiscent of last season. There is a long way to go, but in football things must be taken one week at a time, and Sunday’s must-win game was all-in-all a success. Now let’s see what Peyton has in store for us…..

Balancing the Positives & Negatives from Sunday's Loss to the Cowboys

October 15, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

By Guest Writer Scott Eastment:

Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys

After Sunday night’s 31-16 loss to the despised Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Redskins have put themselves in a situation where there are far more questions than answers coming out of Landover, Maryland. At 1-4, the team is now 2.5 games out of first place in the sub-par NFC East, and has an extremely daunting schedule upcoming. For the truest of Skins fans, last night was a confluence of emotions: flashes of brilliance combined with periods of recognizable ineptitude.

It has not been a secret that Robert Griffin III is not 100%, however last night football fans got a glimpse of the agile, explosive Heisman Trophy winner we remember from last season. The defense, which has struggled all season, played rather admirably last night all things considered. Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett and his troops allowed only 18 completions and 170 yards to Tony Romo, who torched the undefeated Broncos last week for over 500 yards and 5 touchdowns. Down field coverage was rather impressive, but once again the tackling was sub-par and the red-zone defense did not come through.

Outside of those examples, it’s pretty tough to point out any positives for the Redskins last night. Once again, the Skins were unable to really get their running game going, as Alfred Morris was held to 36 yards on 15 carries outside of his 45 yard touchdown run (where Chris Chester actually picked up a second level block). On that note, the offensive line brought up more question marks then it had at any point last year, allowing a defensive line full of guys off the street to pressure RG III early and often. The interior linemen (especially the guards) were consistently being pushed off the ball and into the backfield on stretch plays, effectively eliminating the Shanahan’s main game plan.

When there were definitive passing situations, the team struggled mightily as RG III was unable to handle the pressure, step up in the pocket and throw crisp, accurate passes down the middle of the field.  On the other hand, the Cowboys offensive line was able to hold off the vaunted outside pass rush of edge rushers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. This allowed Tony Romo to systematically work his way down the field when necessary and keep the Cowboys an arm’s length away from the Skins at all times.

None of these things really mattered when you consider the effect special teams had on the game. Going into Sunday night, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said that he truly believed his team had a definitive advantage on special teams, and boy did it show. Cowboys return man Dwayne Harris might as well have won the game by himself, scoring on a punt return and putting the Cowboys at the Redskins 15 yard line on a kick return. These Redskins miscues only magnified other parts of their game that were struggling.

While there are some positives to be taken from this game, the struggles of the offensive line and special teams should be of serious concern for Redskins fans. Without a consistent running game, Kyle Shanahan’s offense is not going to be able to work the ball down field like it did last year. Mr. Griffin III has turned a corner physically, but his in-pocket passing is extremely suspect at this time. Combine this with a sub-par defense and pathetic special teams and it is extremely difficult to see the Skins winning more than 5 games this year. Stay tuned later this week for my next article regarding whether or not the season is already in the books.



Silver Linings Playbook: 2013 Redskins Edition

September 23, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

By Guest Writer Megan Shoup:


Ok, the name may make you sick because if you watched the movie Silver Linings Playbook, you know the characters were Eagles fans. But this edition of Silver Linings is brought to you by a Redskins fan that thinks there is still hope after the worst start we could have imagined.

My brother does an amazing job of Redskins analysis by breaking down what the Redskins should do, could do and will do. He can tell you what on earth the Redskins can do, changes they should make, questions they should ask and personnel they should change to right this ship. I'm not capable of that analysis, but I am capable of seeing the glass half full even in dark times as a Redskins fan. I'm not trying to get you to drink koolaid and say the Redskins are great, because they are far from that now. And how can you drink the koolaid at 0-3?!


I simply think there is hope after this ugly start, based on some facts mixed with strong opinions, and here is why:

-The NFC East is awful this year. This is the worst division in the NFL in 2013. Its the only division with two 0-3 teams, so I don't think you can debate this and most analysts would strongly agree.

-With that said, at just 3 games into the season, I think its clear there will not be a wildcard coming from the NFC East this season. There are just too many good teams in the NFC.

-So the Redskins would have to win the NFC to make playoffs this year. Feel free to enter the "PLAYOFFS?! comment here. So what will it take to win the NFC East this year? Given how bad the division is, probably 9-7 tops and maybe even just 8-8.

-Are the Cowboys our only competition for the NFC East crown? At the beginning of the season I would have said no way, but 3 games into the season, I think they obviously are the team to beat. The Giants are a bigger mess than us if that is possible. And I personally think the Eagles have too many things to figure out.

-Our Redskins have a very winnable game next week in Oakland and then a bye before the all important must-win game against the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday night, Oct. 13.

-Isn't it better to play our best football late in the season than early in the season? I'm not saying or think they can pull of another 7 game winning streak, but I do think we can win a lot of those games in November & December.



Bottom line, they have to go 5-1 again in the NFC East and win the rest of the NFC East games. Then they probably need just 3 or 4 other wins to take the East. IF the Redskins win all their MUST WIN NFC East games, I can get you to 8 or 9 wins with wins against:

-@ Oakland – big must win this Sunday out West. We can't take the Raiders lightly, but if they control Pryor, they should win this game.

-Chargers at home Nov. 3 – Rivers & co. have to come East for a 1 p.m. game. I know they did it against Philly, but I think this will be our first home win!

-@ Vikings – we just have to focus on stopping Adrian Peterson. Christian Ponder doesn't scare me, even against our poor secondary.

-Chiefs at home Dec. 8 – yes the Chiefs are 3-0 and much improved this year, but I could see them coming down more to reality by December. I think they are good, but I think if we're playing our best football by December, then we can beat them at home.


So that means the rest of the schedule would look like this:



September 29


Oakland Raiders




Bye Week



October 13


Dallas Cowboys



October 20


Chicago Bears



October 27


Denver Broncos



November 3


San Diego Chargers



November 7


Minnesota Vikings



November 17


Philadelphia Eagles



November 25


San Francisco 49ers



December 1


New York Giants



December 8


Kansas City Chiefs



December 15


Atlanta Falcons



December 22


Dallas Cowboys



December 29


New York Giants


9-7 Record (5-1 in the NFC East)


What do you think? Even on the blackest of Mondays, can you get here?  Let's forget the first 3 games and focus on getting a big, convincing win in Oakland! Now if they lose in Oakland, scratch everything I just said…this season is OVER! But I have reason to believe we will be a lot happier next Monday.



Redskins Recap: 5 Takeaways from Redskins Loss to Lions

September 23, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

Here are my top 5 takeaways from another ugly Redskins loss at home on Sunday against the Lions:


1.  This game was horrible, and like many of you I have plenty to destroy the 0-3 Redskins about.  Not only was it a bad loss at home but the way they lost makes it worse.      griffinnew

The stupidity of this team kills me.  First, Griffin changed the game with a huge fumble when he dove forward instead of sliding.  I am happy he went down but to fumble was inexcusable.

I don't know why Joshua Morgan was put in to return kickoffs and it cost them by returning a kickoff that was 8 yards deep.  Why?  Finally, the other game changer was the overturned touchdown drop by Aldrick Robinson.  Washington finally did go deep but Robinson dropped a sure TD.  At least he was able to get his dance on.

And what was with that Hail Mary?  Griffin threw it to the side he had Garcon and like 5 Lions?  Perfect ending to a horrible game.


2.  When are we going to stop talking penalties with this team?

It happens week after week and now the Lions are even laughing at us!  Crucial penalties at crucial times which either derail the offense or keep the defense on the field.

Even London Fletcher is getting them, even though that call was debatable.  And the game was pretty much ended on Niles Paul getting a penalty for grabbing the onside kick nowhere near 10 yards.  Not sure what can be done, but Shanny needs to find out what can be.


3. Once again the opposing offense had its way most of the day with the Redskins Defense.  dhall

Stafford, Bell and Megatron put up big numbers much like the past two weeks.  And for all the  talk of ‘wait until Brandon Meriweather and Brian Orakpo comes back it will all be different’, is far from the truth.  If Meriweather isn't torpedoing the opponent of his teammates head first, he is missing tackles.  The tackling is as awful as the Washington safety play in 2013.

That being said Ryan Kerrigan has been maybe the lone star on this defense.  Maybe Orakpo's return has helped, but Orakpo needs to be more of a force he thinks that he is.  Or this defense is doomed. Even though Calvin Johnson had a big game I do think DeAngelo Hall had a good game including his second touchdown.


4. As for the offense I was happy to see them attempt a deep ball to Robinson.

It was a great call, great throw but Robinson couldn't bring it in.  Finally it was something that reminded me of last season.  Morris was very good once again even though they need to get in situations where he can carry more.

Griffin's fumble when the ground tackled him was bad, but his interception may have been worse.  What made Griffin special as a rookie and the Skins a playoff team last season was that he didn't turn it over.  Suddenly, now we have Mike Vick without the explosiveness.


5.  Is the season over?

Not yet, but at this time next week it could be.  Even though the team was 3-6 a year ago and responded. Can you expect a turnaround like that two years in a row? But this was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule and it has been a nightmare so far.

And Oakland has been much better than we thought. Washington needs to go there and win big next week.  Or maybe Mike Shanahan starts to feel the hot seat.  And a fourth poor defensive effort could be the beginning of the end for Jim Haslett.

And remember for those out there who think it’s time to tank the season, we do not have a 2014 1st rounder.  Nothing is going right these days.



Monday Night Postgame Recap

September 10, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

Here are my top 5 takeaways & thoughts from last night's disappointing loss to Eagles:


1.  The game overall.  It was bad from the Redskins perspective even though it was nice not to see them give up down 33-7.

But still the first thirty two minutes was a complete domination by the Philadelphia Eagles on both sides of the ball.  Washington was horrible and lost on defense and horrible and lost on offense.  At least the defense showed something at times during the first half unlike the offense which was pathetic.

We talked about the uncertainty of what to expect from Chip Kelly in his first real game and if you’re an Eagles fan you must be thrilled.  Much like the Skins fans after the New Orleans game about Griffin a year ago.  It will be interesting to see what happens with this Eagle offense throughout the year but they must keep Michael Vick on the field.  Or he must keep himself upright I should say.  He missed a few throws but he had the Redskins Defense on the ropes all night.


Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI

2.  As for the return of Robert Griffin III.  It obviously didn't go like last season’s opener, especially the first half.

And I am one who believed he could come in without any preseason snaps and be fine.  I was way off as it took 3 quarters to get him going.  Griffin just didn't look right until mid-second half and that could be just because they were forced into passing situations.  He was rusty, really rusty unlike what he said.  Throws were late and not with the force we saw last season and that is if he went to the right receiver.

That being said he started to open it up in the second half and looked better with his throws.  But still did not look like Griffin pre-injury.  Hope is that this game was his preseason work and that next week in Green Bay he can ramp it up like the RG3 we know.  He did take a couple hits and eventually ran a few times but the read option was not there at all especially in the first half.  It will need to be very quickly or we could be in trouble offensively going forward.


3.  We've talked a lot about Kelly's offense but the Redskin's defense did not do much to stop them.

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI

LeSean McCoy is one of the best in league and the spread quick paced offense seems to be a perfect fit.  Much like the Seattle game the Washington D got scorched by the run all night.  I won't even mention how many rushing yards they gave up.  At times they did pressure Vick and were able to get off the field but far from enough to be effective.

One Redskin who seemed to struggle was rookie Bacarri Rambo.  Rambo is making a name for himself on highlights for being juked by runners in the open field.  I am surprised Washington didn't go with Reed Doughty more in the game since against Seattle he was the only one who stopped the run.  Not having a healthy Brandon Meriweather out there hurts but can we ever plan on counting on him being out there?  So Haslett went with a surprise of EJ Biggers at deep safety and it did not work.  This is a spot that Washington has to still find someone long term.  You know Vinny would have already given up 3 draft picks for an injured Jarius Byrd by now.  Barry Cofield had a solid squash on McCoy but that ridiculous sized club has to prevent his effectiveness and they need him bad.


4. The penalties are still a big problem.

I think the frustration of the game can be summed up at the end of the first half when Washington got 2 penalties forcing 10 second run offs and ending any chance that the Redskins can get points to end the half.  I think this was huge because they were receiving the second half kick and went in with 0 momentum.  And we know how the second half started.

And what's a bad loss without a horrible fifteen yard personal foul from DeAngelo Hall? Just a stupid actual double penalty for bringing Jackson down by a horse collar way out of bounds.  Some guys never learn and lose their heads too easy still like Hall.  Washington is not only getting way too many penalties but at horrible times like the 4th and 10 false start when they did have some momentum.  Last season at least we didn't have to discuss bad turnovers but so far this season it has to be concern.  Too bad fumbles and two interceptions inside on our half of the field were devastating.


5. Worst part of the loss is losing a home division game to start the season.

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Even Dallas defended their turf on Sunday night.  Since most had this game marked as a win and week two as a loss in Green Bay the Redskins must bounce back to avoid 0-2.  It will be tough especially if Ryan Kerrigan cannot go due to a possible concussion.  And will be interesting to see if Mike McCarthy takes a page from Kelly and speeds it up with Aaron Rodgers.

As for the Skins.  The offense has to be better or we could see another disaster like Monday's first half.  Green Bay gave up a lot of passing yards to the Niners and Kaepernick but Washington still needs to be all-around better on offense to stick with Rodgers and the Pack.  Is this season over?  How much cap room do we have in 2014?  Just joking, its one loss.  A tough one, but only one.



Redskins Preseason Recap – 5 Thoughts from Saturday's Win Over Bills

August 26, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

My biggest impressions from Redskins Preseason win over Bills on Saturday:

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1.  First we have to look at the game's major injury.

Even though Richard Crawford was battling for the 4th or 5th corner spot he was valuable in other ways.  The Redskins lost the guy who looked to be the favorite as the teams punt returner,  although his two returns before the injury were bad.

Now the Skins have to decide if they want to go with Chase Minniefield on the 53 or will they pursue a veteran corner for depth.

2.  Crawford's injury also opened up a true competition for the punt returner spot.         thompsonreed

Skye Dawson had been taking most returns after Crawford, but can they afford to keep him over other receivers?

Crawford's injury now may have opened up hope for rookie runner Chris Thompson.  Thompson's second fumble Saturday looked to end his chances but then he stepped it up and also looked decent on returns.  The preseason finale will be huge for Thompson especially if he can break a return.

3.  The penalties are still a huge concern after three weeks.

Washington should have pitched a shutout versus Buffalo Saturday.  On the Bills lone scoring drive the Skins D had them stopped but a 15 yard facemask gave the Bills a first down.

Washington also had two long pass interference calls go against them as Josh Wilson and David Amerson were beat.  It had to bring back concerns of last season where the defense gave up way too many big plays.  Maybe penalties are better than giving up long touchdowns?  I would rather see neither.

4. One veteran who has stood out in preseason has been Darryl Tapp.

Once again Tapp came to play versus the Bills.  The outside linebackers look to be the teams 2nd strongest position next to the quarterbacks.  It is good to see Tapp perform well being a local guy and a fan of the Redskins growing up.

Two months ago depth at that spot was not looking good after the suspension of Rob Jackson and the injury return of Orakpo.   But both Tapp and Brandon Jenkins have impressed now solidifying the outside rush backer position.

5. While  Jenkins has impressed as a rookie we had seen very little of Jordan Reed until Saturday.

Reed looked pretty good in his first extensive playing time.  I was kind of surprised by Reed's size and have to change my tune of a few weeks ago when I questioned if Reed was heading to a redshirt season.

Reed looks like he should contribute this season due to his size and ability.  His only problem may be that there are three tight ends ahead of him that have also looked ready to go.  But the more talent the better, unlike the Zorn or Ceratto days.



5 Observations from Redskins Week 1 Preseason Game

August 9, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

1.  The Redskins have to feel pretty confident in Kirk Cousins going into the season.

Especially with the uncertainty of Robert Griffin being ready for the Eagles week one.  Cousins looked sharp moving the team down the field owning the Titans Defense using play action.  Cousins knew what he wanted to do and got the ball sharply to his receivers.  I really liked the first third down conversion to Santana Moss in a tight fit.

Two to three years down the line someone is going to get a solid starting quarterback, just hope it’s an AFC team.  Also, I am confused why Griffin decided to go full uniform last night?  Is it his way of telling Shanahan he thinks he should be playing?  I hope not, I think they need to continue to move with patience.


2. As for Redskins quarterbacks the biggest post game debate is who should be the third quarterback, Grossman or White?    NFL: AUG 27 Preseason - Redskins at Jets

I did like what I saw from Pat White last night down the stretch but I am far from saying he should be the #3 going into week one.  Grossman struggled early and then finally took the team down for a scoring drive.

Before we bury Grossman for White I think there is one major issue you must look at.  Come week one and Griffin is not active who do you really want as your #2 behind Cousins?  Grossman or White?  You can't run the risk of having to play Pat White in a real NFL game right now.  More importantly I cannot see the Shanahans envisioning this situation as they seem to be Grossman guys.  Best case for Pat White is that RG3 gets back in time to start the season, Cousins backs up and then he could be on the roster as the #3 over Grossman.


3. As for the defense I am worried that the Titans ran all over the early Redskins Defense but for now going to chalk that up as it’s a preseason game and hopefully it's different once the season starts.

Although last time we saw the defense the Seahawks ran it down their throats for 3 quarters.  I really liked the early third down formation with Kerrigan as a down lineman and both Orakpo and Jenkins up to get pressure.  It worked and I think this being used regularly.

Orakpo was kind of wild out there in his return but I expect him to be fine come September.  A lot is going to made of Baccari Rambo's first start and how struggled.  I am going to be patient and see what he does the rest of the preseason since we expect him to get plenty of action.


4. As for the rookie defensive backs David Amerson came ready to go from the start.

He should have picked Jake Locker on his first throw but we should be happy to see how quick he was able to recover after it looked like Kenny Britt had a step on him.  The Redskins took Amerson because he could make plays like these even though there were major concerns of him getting lost and getting beat but so far it seems like the coaches have gotten through to him.  Washington needs Amerson to contribute more than expected with the defensive line and safety concerns.

As for the corners, even though the Redskins don't send Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes out there we are going to see a solid battle between Richard Crawford and Chase Minniefield to make the roster.  Maybe both guys find a way on, but for once the bottom of the roster will be talented.  Guys will be cut that other teams can use and may allow the Redskins to possibly acquire a future draft pick before releasing.


5. Finally something pretty meaningless since it is preseason.  I hope the Redskins stick with the gold pants this season.

And also with the white jerseys and gold pants combo.  I am guessing we can thank Bruce Allen for bringing this uniform selection back from his father’s days.  It looks cool.



Redskins Post-Game and Post-Season Recap

January 7, 2013 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

By Staff Writer John Manuel:

After the playoff loss to Seattle Seahawks, here's the top five postgame observations for Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin and their future:

1. I will get to the "should he have been taken out or not", but first the game itself.

Seattle dominated the Redskins after the first quarter and deserved to win Sunday.  They did to us what we did to Dallas the week before and ran Marshawn Lynch to control the game.  Add to that Russell Wilson's ability to be unfazed and make plays.

It is crazy to think that the Redskins somehow still had a lead in the 4th quarter and an obvious chance to win.  After the first two drives by Washington, the Seattle defense came together and limited what the Redskins could do.  Add to that starting twice inside the 10 in the second half and the Redskins were doomed.

Seattle has a very good chance now to go to Atlanta and knock off the Falcons next.  The Seattle team that the Redskins faced was much different than the Cowboys, Eagles or Browns wins during the streak although we all should be thrilled to win 7 in a row and to be NFC East Champs.

2- Now to the big debate.  Mike Shanahan is getting killed since the game ended Sunday in leaving Robert Griffin III in the game.

What's your feelings on Shanahan's decision to keep RG3 in the game?

What's your feelings on Shanahan's decision to keep RG3 in the game?

I think it’s a lot easier to criticize Shanahan knowing now the Redskins lost the game and RG3 is most likely hurt worse than when the game started.  But during the game he had to go with who he thought could win him the game.  Griffin has electrified DC all season and even at 60/70/80% if Shanahan felt he was the one to win the game, he should be out there.  Big Ben does this all the time and he has 2 rings.

Is it Shanny's or Griffin's fault that Hankerson short armed what would be a huge play?  That Will Montgomery suddenly started to struggle in shotgun and pistol snaps?  It is easy to say Kirk Cousins should have been in there since now we know the Redskins lost.  But I think Griffin seeing all types of defenses all season compared to Cousins was the better option versus a team like Seattle.

If RG3 has a torn ACL (and that may be the case by the time this is up) it is a very tough pill to swallow.  But he will be back and he will be Robert Griffin III still.

3- I think the biggest play of the game was the play when Brandon Browner got called for illegal contact versus Pierre Garcon.

It was 14-3 and Garcon got by Browner causing Browner to foul him and actually fall to the ground.  But as Garcon was going free, Griffin was unable to get the deep ball off because Seattle had pushed the o-line back into Griffin.  An easy touchdown turned into a five yard penalty and the game was never the same.

The other game changer was the two missed turnovers in the first half.  One was when Doug Baldwin was able to break up a would-be interception from Reed Doughty.  Doughty was great Sunday at making plays at the line of scrimmage but really needed to pull that one in.  The other was the mis-hand off between Wilson and Lynch.  The ball went free and Madieu Williams as we have seen all season was a second late in getting to the ball allowing Lynch to get to it eventually and run with it.  Two tough misses for a team that strived the past two months getting turnovers in key spots.

I also should add the huge 3rd down conversion in the first quarter down 14-0 when Wilson was able to avoid pressure and get the ball to Zach Miller who made a nice catch and run to convert.  Would have given the Skins a good chance to grab solid field position with a Crawford return.

4- My player of the game is simple.

Other than Barry Cofield's head knocking the ball out of Lynch's grasp at the goal line, no one protected the lead like Sav Rocca yesterday.  Rocca had his best day of the season and was able with two huge punts keep the Skins in the lead until midway through the fourth.  If Washington pulled this game out, Rocca would be a hero.

I also continue to be impressed with Niles Paul's ability to get down on punt coverage all day.  Leon Washington was someone I was very concerned with and the special teams did a great job controlling him on kickoffs and punts.  I still love what Alfred Morris brought especially in the first half.  And I feel Reed Doughty and London Fletcher came to play.  Other than that unfortunately not many others stood out Sunday.

5- Although losing a home playoff game is tough (crazy thing is I was at the last one versus the Bears in 1984) this success has to be looked at as a success.

No one predicted the team to win the NFC East and that is what they did.  I think the Redskins now are a year ahead of schedule but a lot will obvious hang on the health of their star quarterback.  But we do have a younger nucleus to go with into 2013 and that hasn't happened in years.  Griffin's rise to stardom should be a huge factor in Washington's ability to attract better talent to Washington in the coming seasons.

We also must not forget that this team was unfairly crushed with a huge cap penalty hours before free agency and that the battle over that is not over.

Finally, I hope that London Fletcher has not played his last game and that he will return next season.  Although he hasn't had the winning success of Redskins of the past, he should be up there with the Riggins, Monk, Theismann and Greens’ of Redskins history.



Washington Redskins Postgame Review & Celebration

December 31, 2012 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

By Staff Writer John Manuel:

Postgame thoughts on Victory Monday, NFC Champs edition:

1. I have to look at the season as a whole first.

No one had the Washington Redskins winning the NFC East last summer and that is what just happened.  Not only winning it, but winning it by winning 7 straight games, including a 5-0 run in the division.

They were supposed to be at least a year away from contention but Mike Shanahan and his staff was able to get this team from 3-6 to 10-6, and I am as shocked as anyone that it happened.  Shanahan deserves a lot of credit for the turnaround but having a young leader in Robert Griffin and a true veteran leader in London Fletcher cannot be overlooked.

2.  As for the game, the story was Alfred Morris.

Morris will end his rookie regular season only behind the great Adrian Peterson in rushing yards and as the Redskins single season record holder.  And he saved his best performance for last night.  Morris gashed the Cowboys Defense for four quarters and three touchdowns.  He probably stole some offensive rookie of the year votes from RG3 but who cares about that now.

The offensive line took care of a depleted Dallas front seven.  What was a concern back in August, the Skins o-line has been very productive all season and an obvious bright spot giving the Skins their best team rushing season in team history.  Staying a mostly healthy intact unit cannot be overlooked.

3.  As for the defense on Sunday night there were many stars on the field and one major one on the sidelines.

Jim Haslett was once a goner in DC and now deserves much credit for the d's turnaround.  His unit saved its best performance for last night in the biggest game.

And the struggling secondary led the way.  DeAngelo Hall (yes, D Hall) and Josh Wilson were all over the Dallas receivers all night making it tough for Tony Romo.  The defense was able to get pressure on Romo and force him into three huge picks including the 4th quarter game changer by Rob Jackson.

Finally, once again London Fletcher was London Fletcher.  Forgot the Pro Bowl snub talk after every season, it is time to discuss Fletcher as a Hall of Fame candidate once his great career is over.  Hopefully after a bunch more playoff games.

4. We can talk big plays from Griffin or Morris, Shanahan, the defense but what made this team NFC East champs is the turnover margin the Redskins had.

Once again Robert Griffin didn't turn the ball over while the defense forced three picks from Tony Romo.  Romo will be feeling the heat in Dallas today so they can have fun with that.  Our QB is a big game quarterback and no rookie QB has protected the ball like RG3 has in 2012.  No one could have predicted that before the season.  We knew it was going to be a key going into the Dallas game and it was.

5. Now the NFC East Champs have to get ready for the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.

The two hottest teams in the NFC face off and should be a big game.  Two solid rookie quarterbacks, two beast running backs and two Adderall suspension returners as well.  Today is a day of celebration and we will look more into the Seattle game later in the week.