Thoughts and Observations: Redskins vs Buccaneers
1. Boy I’m glad we had a bye to be ready for this game:
-Look this game shouldn’t have been considered a guaranteed win despite the Buccaneers record coming in. Yes the Redskins were at home and coming off a bye, but they weren’t exactly a good team themselves and the Bucs had played a number of average or worse teams tough this year. So while the Redskins losing this game stings given the situation, it’s not completely unexpected. What is unexpected and frankly unacceptable is the fact that they didn’t even show up in this game. The Redskins failed in just about every facet of this game, and that just can’t happen coming out of a bye, especially at home. This was the type of game that you expect to have happen when you are coming off a short week, dealing with a number of major injuries. That’s the exact opposite of what the situation was. The Redskins were the healthiest they’ve been since week 1, and had the most time to prepare since then as well.
2. There are serious questions surrounding the future of RGIII:
-I will delve more in to RGIII later, but this was a bad game by Griffin. He really couldn’t do anything right and struggled in pretty much every facet of this game. While the first interception isn’t all on Griffin, some of it definitely is as he threw a awful pass to Paul. It maybe was bad luck that it turned into an INT, but it was started with a poorly thrown ball. If you want to not fully hold Griffin accountable for the INT (which is fair), you also can’t give him a lot of credit for the TD or yards in this game. The Redskins lone TD was a screen to Helu and the Bucs were basically in prevent mode. Griffin didn’t do anything good on that pass (or that entire drive) that is really worthy of praise. The majority of Griffin’s yardage was gained in YAC throughout the game. If guys like Jackson, Helu and Morris didn’t turn short passes/screens into good gains, Griffin wouldn’t have cracked 100 yards passing. And it’s not a situation where Griffin threw a ball with anticipation and helped lead his receiver to get some big gains. These were simple passes that really any QB could throw. Griffin really didn’t do anything beyond 10 yards in this game and he definitely missed some open receivers that he didn’t even attempt to throw the ball to.
If Griffin’s passing wasn’t the only issue in this game, as his pocket awareness was horrible. Yes the offensive line deserves some major blame (see below), but Griffin could have avoided multiple sacks and multiple pressures. Considering how many passes were quick dump-offs/screens and quick hitters it is shocking that Griffin had so much pressure. A lot of that falls on him as he didn’t read the defense correctly and get the ball out of there.
From a long term perspective the Redskins have to be concerned in Griffin’s future. In now 31 starts (not counting the Jags game since he left on the 2nd drive), Griffin is just 12-19 and really hasn’t played all that well since the ACL injury. While injuries are definitely part of the reason why Griffin hasn’t developed faster, injuries don’t help your case going forward. The Redskins still have a ways to go in their decision process with Griffin, but its very fair to suggest that there is a major concern here at QB for their future.
3. The offensive line is just atrocious:
-Look the offensive line was bad going in and we knew it would be worse when Trent Williams went down early with multiple leg injuries (though Morgan Moses didn’t play bad), but this is getting laughable. Tom Compton nearly did the unthinkable for Redskins fans as he made them wish Tyler Polumbus was playing right tackle. Shawn Lauvao and Chris Chester appeared to be having a contest to see who could miss the most blocks in this game (for those scoring at home Lauvao came out the “winner” despite having to leave the game early due to injury). Even Kory Lichtensteiger who has been the Redskins most consistent blocker of the year, struggled some in pass blocking (he did make a great block on the screen pass that went for a TD though). While much of the ineptitude was in the pass blocking, the run blocking wasn’t much better. Multiple times Alfred Morris had to deal with defenders meeting him in the backfield and luckily some of those times he was still able to make plays.
The Redskins were facing one elite defender in Gerald McCoy, but the rest of the Bucs DL is considered below average as a group (not counting McCoy). Though McCoy definitely gave the Redskins headaches, they couldn’t stop anyone in this game. This was just a pathetic performance from this unit.
4. Where was the pressure on defense?:
-The Buccaneers offensive line had given up a lot of sacks and pressures throughout the season and Josh McCown was hardly a guy known for limiting pressure. A week ago the Atlanta Falcons, who aren’t exactly known for getting a lot of pressure on the QB, gave McCown all sorts of pressure throughout the game. The Redskins pressure was non-existent. They managed just 2 sacks (one of which McCown gave himself up instead of throwing it away) and 5 QB hits, despite the fact that the defense got the Buccaneers in a number of 2nd and 3rd and long situations, and brought extra rushers. When the Redskins blitzed, Josh McCown acted like he was Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers and stepped up or avoided the pressure and took advantage of 1-on-1 match-ups in the secondary. Rarely did he really seem rushed in his throws and the pressure was simply not effective in this game. This is supposed to be the area where the Redskins were still strong on defense, even after the loss of Brian Orakpo, yet it completely let them down.
5. Special teams miscues continue to haunt this team:
-The last couple weeks the Special teams really hadn’t hurt the Redskins, but that ended on Sunday. They had muffed returns and returns that were short of the 20. Two missed FG’s, poor punting and penalties. This was just a bad special teams game all-around and they were even gifted a muffed punt by the Bucs.
6. Why was Perry Riley assigned to cover Mike Evans 1-on-1 with no help?
-I’m seriously asking this question. Did Jim Haslett have Mike Evans in fantasy football this week? What other reason would there be to put Perry Riley on Evans 1-on-1? Perry Riley has been awful in coverage throughout his career, and that is just trying to cover backs and tight ends. There isn’t a logical reason to think he could cover the 6’4″ stud rookie receiver who was making plays on your corners and safeties. What’s the game plan for next week, Barry Cofield covering Michael Crabtree? I understand that the play relies on the blitz to get to the QB and force the ball to come out quickly, but the problem is if it doesn’t it is basically a guaranteed big play. If you want to bring an extra rusher why not bring Riley who has shown himself to be a capable blitzer in his career. The same result may have happened if Meriweather was on Evans, but at least there was a chance that Meriweather could cover Evans (not a great one mind you, but it would be there).
7. Final Thoughts:
-I would shut down Trent Williams for the rest of the year regardless of what the MRI says. His play hasn’t been as good of late to begin with b/c he’s already dealing with injuries, and now it would likely be even worse coming back at the end of the year from these injuries. Also if his MCL is injured, even when he’s healthy enough to come back it would increase the likelihood of a more serious injury. It’s just not worth the risk in a season like this.
-In Trent Williams place, Morgan Moses played pretty well at LT. It will be interesting to see if they move Moses to RT going forward since that figures to be his long term position, or if they let him play out this year on the left side.
-The Redskins shouldn’t bench RGIII regardless of what happens the rest of this season. They have some tough decisions to make this offseason about his future, and they need these last 6 weeks to evaluate that fully. It may mean more performances like this, but playing Colt McCoy or Kirk Cousins isn’t going to give you the picture that you need.
-A game like this brings up serious questions throughout this organization. From the players on the field, the coaching and the personnel decisions, everyone is being called into question. There needs to be strong accountability after this season to fix these issues, up-and-down the organization.
-Can the Redskins really point to any true “winnable” games throughout the rest of their schedule? 49ers and Colts are going to be very tough on the road. The Rams have just beaten the Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos in 3 of their last 5 games and are clearly playing better. The Giants are struggling some, but they exploited the Redskins once this season and will be at home. The Redskins nearly beat the Eagles and upset the Cowboys on the road, but does this team really look like they are capable of sweeping either of those teams? It’s likely the Redskins get a win or two, but it is tough to see any more than that.