Thoughts On The Redskin Win Yesterday
1. Rex Grossman- No one gave Grossman any credit, and his own line didn’t give him any time, but it didn’t matter as ‘Sexy Rexy’ as he is affectionately called went 21-34 for 305 yards and two touchdowns. The best part is he didn’t throw a single interception (he did have a fumble though), and came up big when the Redskins needed him most. These weren’t junk yards collected at the end of the halves against prevent defenses, or picking up big chunks on screens or runs after the catch. No, this was Rex Grossman picking apart the Giants defense, and leading the team effectively. Considering the fact that the ground game wasn’t too effective and he faced a lot of pressure, Grossman’s performance was really impressive.
2. New Additions Carry Team To Victory: There were so many key offseason acquisitions that contributed that I’m going to break it down by player or position-
Tim Hightower- The numbers weren’t too impressive in the ground game, but don’t blame Tim Hightower. The Giants defensive line was living in the backfield, and Hightower came up with some big runs despite getting little help in the blocking department. Him getting to the edge for the TD run is something we haven’t seen from a Skins back in about 3 years. He also got a crucial 1st down late in the 4th quarter that all but sealed the Giants defeat. His YPC might have been ugly, but we saw enough timely runs that his impact was pretty evident. Hightower also did a lot of nice things in the passing game. He was a solid pass blocker, that helped Rex Grossman buy time on numerous occasions. And he also caught three balls, that helped keep the Redskins offense moving.
Jabar Gaffney- Early on Gaffney struggled to the point where he was a liability, by dropping an easy 1st down. But the veteran came on and came up with some big catches. His 39 yard grab before the end of the first half set up the Redskins 2nd TD which tied the game and helped even out the momentum battle. And his TD catch late in the game, sealed the deal. Gaffney looks to be a far better receiving option than Joey Galloway or Roydell Williams, and makes the Redskins offense that much more potent.
Josh Wilson and O.J. Atogwe- With Phillip Buchanon suspended and LaRon Landry out, our secondary was pretty thin, but both Wilson and Atogwe had good quality games that ensured that the Redskins contained Eli Manning. Neither did anything incredible, but they were both good in coverage and run support, and that was enough.
Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield- What a difference a year makes, last year our defensive line was among the worst in the league, but with the addition of these two, it looks to be a pretty quality unit. Both Bowen and Cofield, got in the Giants backfield quite a bit and wrecked havoc with both their passing and running game.
Ryan Kerrigan- Kerrigan had a good all-around game I thought. In addition to the huge play were the tipped the ball to himself and took it in for the go ahead touchdown, Kerrigan had a good all-around game, getting some pressures, some stops against the run and decent pass coverage. Kerrigan showed great hustle and never was completely out of the play. I thought it was a good game and shows that the Skins made the right call trading back last year.
Chris Neild- In about 12 snaps Chris Neild made more of an impact than our starting NT did all last season. Neild got good penetration and finished with a pair of sacks (you can give him a half sack for that one, but he did all the dirty work) and a couple additional pressures. It was a really good game for the late 7th round pick, and gives the Redskins some hope along their defensive line.
3. Defense: Not to take away anything from Rex Grossman, but the defense won this game. They gave up a couple big plays, but for the most part they stopped the Giants offense. When is the last time the Giants averaged under 4 yards a carry against the Skins or had less than 100 yards rushing? When was the last time that Eli Manning and the Giants receivers didn’t have a field day against the Redskins pass rush and secondary? The Redskins made the Giants fight for their points, and when early on it looked as though the Giants were pulling away the defense stepped up and ensured that New York wasn’t going to dominate. On top of all of that was the key play where Kerrigan returned it for a TD that put the Redskins ahead for the first time all game.
1. The Offensive Line- The Redskins offensive line has been their Achilles heel these past few years, and unfortunately that doesn’t seem to change anytime soon. The Redskins managed just 2.8 yards per carry, against what was essentially the Giants 2nd string defense. Giants defenders were constantly in the backfield and on many occasions Hightower had to make moves or break tackles just to get back to the line of scrimmage. The pass blocking was even worst as Rex Grossman spent most of the game with a defender in his face or bringing him to the ground. The performance was bad enough, the fact that it was against mainly backups is down right scary. Every member of the unit was at fault, so they all need to improve if the Redskins are going to keep winning.
2. Jamaal Brown- Jamaal Brown stood out yesterday among the offensive linemen, and that’s not a good thing considering just how bad they were as a group. Brown was by far the worst offensive lineman yesterday, as he couldn’t do anything right. He was getting beat off the ball on nearly every play, which was troubling since he was going up against the Giants Dave Tollefson, who is average at best. Brown gave up a ton of pressures, that had they been from the blind side probably would have resulted in a few more sacks. His run blocking wasn’t much better as he routinely let defenders into the backfield , and held on a play that negated a 13 yard run from Hightower. His play was just bad, and if he doesn’t show any improvement, the team has to go with someone else.
3. Defensive Line Depth- The Starting defensive line looked good, but it also showed how much Jarvis Jenkins is being missed. Adam Carriker played much of the game in his place and he just wasn’t the same. He got handled on a number of plays in one-on-one blocking early on, and he showed little penetration as a defensive end. He got a sack late in the game when he was playing inside, but overall it was a pretty mediocre game for him. He’d be much better suited as a rotational DE. Now Kedric Golston comes in as a depth player and he just looks lost. There is a big drop off in production when the Redskins need to bring him in. The Redskins simply have to get better production from their backups here since they will see a fair number of snaps a game. Washington won the time of possession battle, which kept the starters fresher and allowed them to play a higher percentage of snaps, but that won’t be the case each week. Now Chris Neild did look very good and he could see a few more snaps a week, but remember he is still a rookie project and you can’t rely on him too much.
4. Graham Gano– Gano has a fantastic leg, and showed good accuracy throughout the preseason, yet when it mattered yesterday he couldn’t connect on a 39 yarder that was pretty much centered perfectly. If it had been 10-15 yards longer I would have been disappointed but understood, but missing a 39 yarder is unacceptable. You have to be automatic from 40 yards in, when there are perfect conditions and should be nearly automatic from 45 yards or closer. The Redskins are going to need Gano to step up if they are going to hope to continue to win games.