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Washington Redskins Postgame Thoughts Week 16

December 24, 2012 in Washington Redskins Post Game Recap

By Staff Writer John Manuel:

My postgame thoughts on Washington Redskins must-win over the Eagles:

1- My first thought after the game was that was too close of a win against a bad Eagles team.

But then I thought about it and a win is a win and that makes six in a row.  Now the Redskins have a week to get ready for the Dallas Cowboys and a chance to win the NFC East.  I didn't expect the Eagles to lay down especially in Andy Reid's last home game.  It wasn't spectacular on either offense or defense like we have seen in recent weeks but it was a win and that is what Washington needed.

2- Robert Griffin's return was solid as expected.  By the stats he put up another 100+ QB rating which is what he does every week.

The early one run to the right didn't look like the RG3 we are used to seeing but everyone knows by now that RG3 is a complete quarterback.  We love that he can take off and go for 20, 30, 40 or more at a time but he can also stand in the pocket and make all the throws.  Griffin moved the ball down the field all game and especially in the first half before Alfred Morris got going.  I would expect RG3 to be ready for next Sunday and put on another show.

One coaching call I didn't like.  I think that Shanahan or Shanatan according to Rob Riggle, should have gone 4th and 1 late in the game.  Morris could have gotten that yard.

3- Everyone knows what Pierre Garcon has brought to this team since his return by now Josh Morgan is making a difference also.

Unlike Garcon, Morgan is not putting up bigger numbers but he is becoming a threat to get into the endzone.  A receiving core that looked very shaky after Fred Davis went down has stepped up during the winning streak.  Passes are being caught and I would not put the Griffin interception on Morgan.

I love what Leonard Hankerson is adding in the blocking game.  Actually I like what a lot of the receivers are doing in the blocking game.  And it would be wrong to not mention Santana Moss and what he has done.  I have lost track on how many big touchdowns he has pulled in.

4- I wasn't thrilled with what the defense did today.

The return of Lesean McCoy made it a much tougher day for Haslett's crew.  Madieu Williams always seems to be a second late, especially in the red zone.  We are seeing that way too much and probably why DeAngelo was playing a lot of deep safety today.

Big ups to Ryan Kerrigan today.  Kerrigan has been good, but not great all season, which he needs to be with the injuries.  Today he was great getting after Foles and hopefully he can do the same versus Dallas.  I love the effort by Barry Cofield getting to the outside in stopping screens and quick passes.  I wish the last two drives the Redskins went after Foles like they did earlier in the game.

5- Finally, an easy one.  IT's freakin' DALLAS WEEK!!!

 

 

Washington Redskins Offseason Additions Coming Up Short:

October 10, 2012 in NFL, Uncategorized

The Washington Redskins broke camp this year with a 53 man roster that had 18 new players that they either signed or drafted that weren't with the team in 2011 (either on the 53 man roster or practice squad).Of those new players, many were thought to play significant if not starting roles on this team. Yet with the exception of a few key players, the Washington Redskins haven't gotten positive early returns from these new additions, and haven't come close to seeing these guys meet their expectations.

Three rookies have been the only ones so far to buck the trend and actually produce as expected. The good news for the Redskins is one of those rookies, QB Robert Griffin III, was their first round pick, the bad news for the Washington Redskins is that the other two rookies are 6th round rookie Alfred Morris, and 7th rounder Richard Crawford. Luckily both Griffin and Morris have had a major impact on the Washington Redskins, and are a big reason why Washington has been in every game. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the majority of the Redskins draft picks or their major free agent signings.

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Pierre Garcon:

-Garcon signed a 5 year $42.5 million deal with the Washington Redskins this offseason. His average value of $8.5 million is the 7th highest average annual value among all wide receivers on multi-year deals, and near the value of a franchise tag. Garcon started out the year on fire, with a four catch game against the New Orleans Saints, where he had 109 yards and a TD before leaving the game with injury early in the first quarter. Garcon then missed the next two games with injury before playing in the last two weeks. Over the last two weeks, Garcon has just 4 receptions in 8 targets (with two drops) these past two weeks. He was also flagged for two costly penalties against the Buccaneers. Garcon has been a big addition in downfield blocking, though other receivers have stepped up in this area. Between the injury and his play the last two weeks, Pierre Garcon hasn't come close to showing that he was worth the big investment this offseason. Going forward, Garcon has to eliminate the drops and penalties which are just killers for wide receivers. At the same time he needs to show he is capable of more big plays. After 99 yards after the catch on those first four receptions, he's had just 17 in the four since.

Josh Morgan:

-Morgan signed with the Washington Redskins on a 2 year $12 million deal, and was expected to team up with Pierre Garcon to form a much improved receiving corps. .So far this season Morgan has just 16 targets (4th on the team), 13 receptions, and 159 yards. His 12.2 YPC is the lowest among wide receivers on the team (Fred Davis is above him as well), and he has yet to see the end zone. Like Garcon, Morgan has been very effective as a blocker, and he's been an effective underneath target (eight of his 13 receptions have gone for first downs), but that doesn't come close to justify spending the money they did for him. He's on pace for just 509 receiving yards this year, and that number could be inflated given that Pierre Garcon hasn't played in 11 of the 20 quarters the Redskins have played this season. Morgan also cost the Washington Redskins a chance to tie their game in St. Louis, when he threw the football at an opposing player at the end of the game. Taking the Redskins from a 4th and 1/47 yard field goal attempt to a 4th and 16/62 yard field goal attempt.

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Brandon Meriweather:

-Meriweather is a naturally talented safety, who has had issues with his previous two employers (Patriots and Bears) due to his inability to learn and play within their system. The Washington Redskins took a shot on him, giving him a 2 year $6 million contract. Since then Meriweather's Redskins career has consisted of three injuries, one injured teammate and one DUI, while playing in zero games. Meriweather might not be a major upgrade to this secondary, but he couldn't hurt them at this point, yet the Redskins still don't know when he will see the field. Coach Shanahan has already confirmed that he will miss at least the next month as he recovers from his latest knee injury and his season very much could be in jeopardy.

Josh LeRibeus:

-Josh LeRibeus was the Washington Redskins 2nd draft pick this past April (3rd round, 71st overall), and was considered by many to be a reach pick and a project. Most thought the SMU product, was more of a 5th-7th round pick, and not too close to being NFL ready (especially given that he missed his entire Junior year to an academic suspension). Those concerns may have been proven valid, when despite starting LG Kory Lichtensteiger missing all of the preseason due to injury and starting RG Chris Chester missing the first two preseason weeks, LeRibeus still worked with the 2nd team offense. In the five games this season LeRibeus has been inactive for four of them, and didn't see the field in the 5th game. Despite Lichtensteiger's struggles this year, LeRibeus doesn't appear to be a threat to unseat the impending free agent, and claim a job for the future. Though he could still develop and have a productive career, the fact that he's buried on the roster of a team with little depth speaks volumes. Few other top 75 picks have had as little impact as LeRibeus this season, and plenty of guys drafted after him have played key roles for teams.

Keenan Robinson:

-Robinson was the Washington Redskins 2nd of two 4th round picks, and was drafted 119th overall. Though he came in with pretty solid expectations, he's yet to really show himself in preseason or limited regular season work. On Special teams he hasn't really established himself, and has just 7 defensive snaps to his name so far. What's troubling with that is the fact that the linebackers have struggled so much this season in coverage, which is an area where Robinson excels at. Though he is being groomed as the future replacement for London Fletcher, the early returns are a bit disappointing. What's even more troubling is that more pressing needs were ignored despite the fact that there were quality prospects still on the board.

Kirk Cousins:

-Cousins was the Redskins first 4th round pick, drafted 102 overall. Though considered a steal in terms of value, Cousins was a bit of a questionable pick given the massive trade to acquire Robert Griffin the III. This meant that the Redskins essentially spent their 1st, 2nd and 4th round picks on Quarterbacks (to say nothing of two future first rounders). That is quite a bit, given all the holes the Redskins are looking at, and how many good players were still on the board. Though Cousins has shown that he has quite a bit of upside, unlike Robinson and LeRibeus he likely won't be in a position to ever showcase that with the Redskins.

Tanard Jackson:

-Jackson unlike the other names on this list, actually didn't make the 53 man roster, but still remains a cautionary tale as to the Washington Redskins moves this offseason. Jackson has had dynamic playmaking ability, but injuries, suspensions, work ethic and holes in his game have kept him from being considered a good starter. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut ties with their young safety and the Redskins were only too happy to pick him up. If he could get on the field, Jackson was familiar with new secondary coach Raheem Morris, and could hopefully provide at least a solid level of production. Unfortunately getting on the field was harder than it looked as both minor injuries and other "personal" concerns had him missing time in training camp. Those personal concerns turned out to be another failed drug test, and Jackson going through the appeals process. Given his prior offenses, Jackson was automatically suspended for a year (at least). Luckily the Redskins didn't invest much money in Jackson, but they did invest time which can hurt equally as bad. Having Jackson in the mix could be one of the reasons why the Redskins chose not to address the safety position until the 7th round. What's most concerning though is the fact that despite knowing that this suspension was looming over Jackson, and even if it were to be reduced he'd miss at least 8 games, the Redskins gave so much of their preseason and training camp work to Jackson. Was it that important for him to beso game ready given the chances of him ever suiting up were so small?

Cedric Griffin:

-Griffin signed a one year $2.5 million deal to add depth and be the Redskins nickel corner this year. Despite coming off some down years of late it seemed like a fair deal given, how productive he once was and the fact that he appeared to be fully healthy. Unfortunately Griffin's level of play has slipped. He's been a liability in coverage and has basically been outplayed by 7th round rookie Richard Crawford. Griffin has now missed nearly the entire last three games (playing just 2 snaps against the Bengals) due to a hamstring injury, and it is unknown when he will return. It doesn't look promising that the Redskins will see a return on their investment in Griffin this season.

Conclusion:

-It is definitely early enough that some of these guys can change their impact on the season, but it is troubling that so many of these guys that the Redskins used key resources on aren't producing. Garcon can't afford many more dud weeks like these last two if he wants to come close to proving his value this year. Josh Morgan is solid, but looks to be no better than the 4th or 5th best target in this offense, one that ranks 26th in the league in attempts this season. It will be very hard for him to come close to proving his value. The Redskins spent $5 million on Meriweather and Griffin to help their secondary and aren't likely to see any results. Though the long term book is wide open for the Redskins 3rd and 4th round picks, it is troubling that there is zero immediate return, and it doesn't appear to be a situation that will change this season. For a team with a number of holes and limited resources given both the cap penalty and the trading away of draft picks, the Redskins could ill afford to miss on even a couple of these players, and right now it is looking like they missed on the majority of them (at least for the short term). Not only does that hurt their chances to contend this year, but it puts them in a hole for next year if some of these guys don't turn it around.

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Quick Thoughts On the Washington Redskins Week Two Game

September 17, 2012 in NFL

I'll have more detailed analysis after I can go back and watch the game, here are my initial thoughts of the Washington Redskins 31-28 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

1. Don't Blame the Officiating:

-There is no doubt the replacement refs in this game were just awful, but that is not why the Washington Redskins lost this game. The officials blew calls for both teams that were clear as day. Sure it is easy to say it affected the Redskins more since they lost, but neither team was happy with the calls, and nor should they have been. Missing the defenseless receiver call when Fred Davis got hit was awful, but so was missing the block in the back by Richard Crawfordthe play before on the punt return. Do those two plays necessarily even out? No probably not, but it goes to show just how bad the calls were.

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2. There is no excuse for Josh Morgan, but he's also not the scapegoat:

-I understand that some fans want to defend Josh Morgan, and many others want to solely blame him for the loss, both lines of thinking are wrong though.  As for the penalty, there is zero excuse for that. Sure Courtland Finnegan is a dirty player and he was landing cheap shots all game, but the little shove he gave Morgan after the catch happens on just about every single play. For Morgan to overreact to that is ridiculous, and was 100x worse given the game situation. That being said to blame this loss on Josh Morgan is ridiculous. Sure he cost them a 47 yard field goal attempt that would have tied the game, but there is no guarantee that Cundiff makes that kick, even in a dome. And even if the kick is made you have to hope you can stop the Rams, something that the defense hadn't really done well. Morgan's penalty was costly, but he is not the reason the Redskins lost. There were far too many failures throughout the 59 minutes before Morgan's penalty, to say it is his fault.

3. Attempting the field goal was a mistake:

-Billy Cundiff has a strong leg that get a lot of touchbacks, what he doesn't have is an accurate leg. Going into the game he had a career FG% of 77% and was just 5-19 from beyond 50 yards. Of those 5 made kicks all but one of them (56 yards) were from 51 or 52 yards, and four of them were made in 2005 or earlier. Cundiff has made just one of his last 10 50 yard kicks going into the game. He's hardly the guy I'd call on in a situation to kick it from 60+.

Now going for it on 4th and 15 isn't obviously a high percentage play in and of itself, but it has to be better than relying on a guy who is 1 for his last 10, and hasn't come close to the 60 yard mark. In addition to the Redskins chances of actually converting the play, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense where if some receiver beats his man, perhaps you pick-up a pass interference call or defensive holding, which would have given you an automatic first down. Given that there was still a minute on the clock, the Redskins could have used the whole field, which greatly increased their chances. While it is true that the FG attempt if successful would have tied the game, it was also the absolute best outcome. If the Redskins go for it, either on that 4th down play or any subsequent plays if they made it, winning was still on the table for the Redskins. Was it likely? No of course not, but it just takes one broken coverage, or tremendous play by a receiver for it to happen, and should have been weighed in the decision.

4. Special Teams Cost The Redskins:

-Look it is only one part of the puzzle, but another key miscue by the Washington Redskins punting unit, led to 7 points for the Rams. That really changed the game with that punt block, and took away any momentum the Redskins may have still had. Also, while not as big of an issue as the punt blocks, but the return game has been woefully underwhelming. Brandon Banks is on this team, and on the active roster to make plays when he touches the football. Though he may see a few offensive snaps that is primarily going to be as a returner. Fumbling one return, and averaging 17 yards per KO return and getting -3 on a punt return isn't getting the job done. The Redskins have too many other holes to justify a roster spot for a one dimensional guy, who isn't that good.

5. Players not coaches need to be held accountable on defense:

-I know everyone wants to blame Jim Haslett for "sticking with" his zone scheme, but that is far too simplistic to say it was his fault. On the few plays where the Washington Redskins did try to man up, they still got beat, at least one of those times for a pretty big game. Whether the Redskins were in zone or man, the same two problems occurred. One the coverage was very soft, even in a zone you probably shouldn't be allowing that much of a cushion and when you see a receiver catching the ball it is customary to then tackle him, something the Redskins weren't doing very well. Secondly the pressure was very non-existent. Yes they got to Bradford a couple of times, but overall he had enough time to find his (wide)open receivers. Regardless of the coverage you have to be able to generate pressure on the quarterback. That is a staple of this defense, and something they failed to do. It's easy to say that maybe the Redskins should have been more aggressive blitzing but the times they did try to blitz they were fairly ineffective.

In addition the defense allowed well over 5 yards per carry against the Rams running backs, and were mainly unable to stop a rookie 7th round running back, after Steven Jackson was benched/injured. What's even worse is that the Rams offensive line, which is poor to begin with, was banged up and kept winning at the point of attack. If the Redskins can't stop the Rams running game, it's going to be a long season because the backs (with Jackson out) and the lines are much better the rest of the way.

What's perhaps most sad is the defense actually came through with some big plays that kept this game with in reach. Josh Wilson's fumble return gave the Skins 7 points and London Fletcher's interception saved another 7 points. In the end though those couple big plays couldn't make up for the numerous small plays where the defense failed.

6. Offense was good, but far from great:

-I thought Robert Griffin had a good 2nd game, and he did a lot of nice things with taking what the defense would give him, but it wasn't a great game for him. Sure his completion percentage was high, but a lot of that was on short quick passes that went for no gain or short yardage. And on at least four third and longs, Griffin completed the ball short of the 1st down marker. Now the final one of those to Morgan at the end of the game isn't as bad because had he gone inside he had a very good chance at a first down, and if not for the penalty the pass at least put the Skins in FG range. It does though help boost him completion percentage when the yards really weren't there. Despite getting 68 yards on the big pass to Leonard Hankerson, Griffin ended up with just 206 total passing yards on 29 attempts (for a pretty average 7.1 yards per attempt).

Now that isn't all on Griffin as obviously the game plan called for many of those short passes, and the offensive line allowed quite a bit of pressure when the Redskins didn't opt for the quick passes. Also while he did have some errant passes, one of which that ended up in the Rams hands, it was wise by Griffin to not force the ball on those third downs into coverage down field. Though this mean the Redskins offense was ineffective at picking up 1st down's, he stayed away from making some potential big mistakes which kept the Redskins in the game.

Griffin also did a really nice job running the football and adding that element to the Redskins offense. This made the Redskins far more deadly inside the red zone as teams will now have to respect his scrambling ability far more that close to the end zone. Which should help open things up for him passing wise. I'm not sure if the Redskins will want to continue to see Robert Griffin with 10+ carries in the box score, given the extra hits that means to him, but it does help the offense.

Check back tomorrow for a more indepth break-down!  .