December 9, 2019

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Game 9 loss against the Minnesota Vikings

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 29-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings:

1. The Return of Robert Griffin III: not bad, but certainly not good either.

Robert Griffin finished the game completing about 65% of his passes for 251 yards, but threw a game changing interception and took five sacks. Griffin also added 24 on the ground, while allowing Morris to rush for 4.8 yards a pop, a full yard improvement over rushes with Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy under center.

As expected there were some bad decisions by Griffin which in the end came back to cost the Redskins the game even though he was not the only reason why. That being said, with a few better plays here or there he could have won this game for his team.

Before the half, Griffin threw an off-balanced flutter ball intended for Andre Roberts but it was picked off, though the review replay couldn’t conclusively say if it hit the ground or not. This led the momentum to change as the Vikings marched through and over the Redskins defense. Griffin also was guilty of holding the ball way too long throughout the game especially when he has an extremely weak offensive line protection him. This led to getting behind in the down and distance constantly and during the last drive costing scoring opportunities.

Finally, on Griffin’s last throw before the failed Hail Mary, he felt rushed even though no one was around him, did not have his feet set, and delivered a fastball in the dirt and feet of Pierre Garcon, effectively ending the game.

2. Defense struggles in all phases against untalented offense.

The defense played well for the first 29 minutes of the game, and then the wheels came off. After Griffin’s interception late in the first half, the defense could not erase the miscue and then the bleeding did not stop. After escaping blown coverages by Teddy Bridgewater misfires earlier, the defense gave up two 20+ yard passes to receivers without a defender in sight.

In the second half, miscues mounted with a roughing the passer penalty called against Keenan Robinson for spearing Bridgewater to the ground. Then the physical domination by a weak Minnesota offensive line started as there was no pass rush and red zone rushing touchdowns became child’s play. Although Griffin had the opportunity to extend and win the game, the defense is the biggest culprit for this loss.

3. Special teams being special, but only one phase of the team playing well does not win games.

After the air was taken out of the Redskins sidelines when they were in the hole 14-10 early in the third quarter, the special teams delivered. Andre Roberts fielded the ensuing kickoff one yard deep in the end zone and returned it for 45 yards giving the Redskins great field position and a boost. The Redskins turned this into a touchdown drive and recapturing the lead.

Then on the ensuing kickoff again Kai Forbath was able to boot the ball deep in the end zone but the over anxious Cordarrelle Patterson unwisely decides to bring it out from seven yards deep just to get tattooed by Adam Hayward at the 10 yard line. Unfortunately they did not have any other opportunities to make an impact with a possible game tying field goal awaiting.

4. I will continue to say it as long as it is true: Desean Jackson for MVP! But then, the dagger.

Desean Jackson continues to leave his mark on games whether it be with the 45-yard catch early in the game to set up the Redskins first touchdown, his own 13-yard touchdown grab, or a 56-yard catch and run on a seam pattern up the sidelines. All of this is great and exactly what we expected from him this season.

However, the play that many are not talking about the offensive pass interference call against Jackson that played a major role in stalling their penultimate drive. The foul was completely unnecessary as the defender’s own momentum would have done the job instead of the extension of the arm. It set up a first down and 20 yards to go which proved to be too much for the Redskins to pick up in the biggest stage of the game.

All in all, Jackson continues to be this team’s best player and hopefully will continue his output for the rest of his time in Washington.

5. Developments into the bye week.

Although this is a disappointing loss and should sit poorly with the team and fans for the next two weeks, there is hope that Griffin will return to the electrifying RG3 after getting more experience in this system. Additionally, players that will see their roles increase include Leonard Hankerson, who may be activated off of the PUP list, Barry Cofield who may be activated off the short term IR list, and Phillip Thomas who has returned to the team after showing promise at the safety position pre-injury.

Moreover, it will be interesting to see if Jay Gruden decides to make any changes to the starting lineup specifically with Josh LeRibeus, Spencer Long, and/or Morgan Moses somewhere on the offensive line, which is currently much maligned.

This team has the slightest sliver of hope that Griffin will continue to grow. Additionally, they were in the same position after nine weeks in 2012, maybe Gruden will “pretend” to throw in the towel too.

Washington Redskins may depend upon help from younger players on D-line

With the injury to Barry Cofield landing him on IR and Kedric Golston listed as doubtful, Frank Kearse may be activated for his first game against Jacksonville.

Washington head coach Jay Gruden said, “There’s a lot of teams that dress five defensive linemen. We happened to dress six last week, lost two in the course of the game, but I think five is a good number for us still. We still have the four linebackers, we have five safeties, so we have a good number of guys that will dress. I think they might have to play a little bit more than they’re used to, but I think they’re in good shape – Jarvis [Jenkins], [Chris] Baker, [Jason] Hatcher – I think all those guys can be ready to roll, [Frank] Kearse has got a chance to be active. We have the able bodies, it’s just a matter of going out and playing and staying hydrated and still working a good rotation.”

On Kearse, Gruden said, “He’s done well. He came in, he’s one of the young guys that you didn’t really expect to emerge like he has so far. Now it’s just a matter of going out on a game day, if he’s chosen to do so, and going out and producing. In the preseason games, he made his mark – he made his presence known – and that’s what you have to do when you’re a rookie trying to make a team or a second-year guy trying to make a team, as a free agent type guy, take advantage of your reps and make your presence known, and he did that and that’s why he’s here. We have confidence in Frank, and hopefully he’s ready to roll.”

Gruden also earmarked Marvin McNutt as a potential contributor down the road who is currently stashed on the practice squad. Gruden said, “We’re going to look at him, and practice squad guys, I make it known that they’re being judged every day. You come out here and you make your mark on the practice squad.

There’s a lot of guys that I was with in Cincinnati that made their mark on the practice squad, and we brought them up very quickly. Marvin is a good looking kid – big kid, strong kid – and he’s one of the receivers you would like to look at as a young guy and want to see him develop, and as he picks up the system, he could be a factor towards the end of the season. There will be a handful of practice squad players on our team right now that will make an impact on our team sooner than later.”

Recap of Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden’s Monday Press Conference

Washington Redskins head coach was available to the media on Monday after losing his coaching debut at the Houston Texans on Sunday, 17-6. Gruden spoke on injuries and strategy, and also looked back on the loss to the Texans.

Gruden talked about Barry Cofield and Jordan Reed’s respective injuries as the Sunday game against the Jacksonville Jaguars quickly approaches:

Cofield has a high ankle sprain. He’s getting checked out today, but it looks like he could miss some time. Then Jordan Reed has a mild hamstring strain and that’s another one. He was very sore after the game, so that could be some time also … we did the MRIs on both of them. So, we’ll see how it goes. We have the trainer and  it’ll probably be a week or two or three. We’ll see.

It’s very difficult [having Reed out]. You have a lot of formations and part of your game plan designed around him, playing him outside, in the slot and all that. When he goes out after the seventh play of offense, it hurts you a little bit. But, luckily we had other things we could do. We didn’t do them very well, but we were able to do some other things. But he was a major part of the game plan, especially in the red zone. But, it didn’t work out that way and now we’ve just got to get him well as soon as we can and keep moving.

Chris Russell reported on Tuesday afternoon that that the Redskins will use a short-term IR designation on Cofield.

Gruden is trying to take a positive outlook on the mental mistakes that had a significant impact on the team’s loss to Houston:

Well, you try to be the positive one – and you look at [the fact that] there are very correctable mistakes that we made. The one thing I did like was our defense was flying around to the ball – there’s a lot of good things on tape, but we had some monumental mistakes that can’t happen in pro football. You can’t fumble the ball in the red zone, you can’t give up big plays, and you can’t let a guy rush inside of a wing guy on a punt protection.

There are some things that are very correctable obviously, but there are some things that we did well, but we just didn’t play good enough all the way around. There is a good thing – offense, defense, and special teams – they all had their hands in this loss. It wasn’t like it was just the offense, just the defense, just the special teams – I think everybody can really take a long look at themselves in a mirror and realize that everybody could’ve done something better, and hopefully they will and move forward to next week.

Robert Griffin III went 29-for-37 for 267 yards against Houston, but had no touchdowns and looked ineffective in the pocket, often not throwing the ball away under pressure. Gruden talked about his quarterback’s play, saying that he did well:

It was pretty good. He did some good things, obviously, and  there are some plays there that I’m sure he wishes he had back obviously as everybody does in that game. We took a sack at the 34-yard line when we’re in field goal range – didn’t have much protection, but we’ve got to throw it away. We took a sack on a screen pass in a two-minute drill that we can’t have happen, but he did complete I think 75 or 80 percent of his passes, which were good, but really to score six points on offense – not quite good enough.

Finally, the rookie head coach also critiqued his own performance. Gruden said that from a play-calling standpoint, there are things he could have done better:

Yeah, we could have done better in the first half. First half we were poor, I was poor in the first half and we could have had a nice lead. However, we didn’t execute and I took some shots with play-actions that failed miserably, and didn’t quite work out, but you’re right. Defensively we’ve got to do a better job of getting off the field on third down.

If you look at the stats, if you’re a stat person, third downs were a major issue for us on offense and on defense. They were 50 percent, I think we were 25 percent and that’s a huge issue. Third-and-six, they get a first down, they gain seven. Now that not only obviously gives them better field position, it eats up another minute and a half of the clock. Hats off to Houston playing good ball control offense and keeping the offense off the field, but you’re right, we have got to do a better job defensively getting off the field and stopping them on third down.

Washington Redskins Week 1 Recap: Frustrating season-opening loss to Houston Texans

The Washington Redskins lost their season opener against the Houston Texans, 17-6, with an extremely frustrating performance with several missed opportunities. Despite new coach Jay Gruden calling the shots, things looked exactly the same as Mike Shanahan’s team in 2013, when the special teams were atrocious, the offense turned the ball over, and Robert Griffin ended up on his back every other play.

The defense played well against a mediocre Texans offense early, but whether they got tired or lost focus, they could not get the critical stops at the end of the game. The Redskins lost their edge on the defensive side of the ball when Bacarri Rambo got turned around in coverage allowing DeAndre Hopkins to score on a 76-yard catch-and-run. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins 2014 Season Preview Part VI: Defensive Line

All this week leading up to the Washington Redskins 2014 season opener against the Houston Texans on Sept. 7, District Sports Page is taking an in-depth look at the players that will make up the 53-man roster to start the season in a position-by-position breakdown.

In Part I, Neil Dalal took a look at the Quarterback position.
In Part II, Eric Hobeck examined the situation at running back.
In Part III, Joe Mercer previewed the wide receiver corps.
In Part IV, Joe Ziegengeist evaluated the offensive line.
In Part V, Joe Mercer reviewed Jordan Reed and the tight ends.

Here is our preview of the defensive line. [Read more…]

Redskins beat Steelers in injury-filled second preseason game

COUSINS SPRAINS FOOT; COFIELD BREAKS BONE IN HAND

The last thing any NFL coach wants is for critical players to get injured in meaningless preseason games. The Washington Redskins probably missed out on any big injuries, but watching backup QB Kirk Cousins limp off after spraining his right foot had to cause some anxious moments on the Skins sidelines.

Cousins went 2-for-3 for 19 yards before he hurt his foot at the end of a run. After the game, District Sports Page contributor Sky Kerstein of 106.7 The Fan tweeted from FedEx Field that Cousins’ injury was a “mild sprain” and that x-rays were negative, though the team would perform an MRI after the swelling went down out of an abundance of caution.

Barry Cofield, who will be counted on to anchor the Redskins defensive line from the nose tackle position, suffered a broken bone in his right hand, but all indications are that surgery doesn’t seem necessary and Cofield will play through the injury with his hand in a cast.

The Skins also saw injuries to wide receivers Aldrick Robinson (left thigh) and Leonard Hankerson (right knee), but neither appear serious.

As for the actual game, Washington beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-13, though once again the team held out several starters. One of the starters that did play, however, was defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, and he opened the scoring in the first quarter with a  22-yard interception return for a touchdown. Kerrigan also added two tackles and a sack for a nice night’s work.

The Skins scored again in the second quarter, with Hankerson hauling in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Rex Grossman. Kai Forbath added a 38-yard field goal as time expired on the half to give the Skins a 17-6 lead.

Pittsburgh capped an eight play, 76 yard drive early in the fourth quarter with a Derek Moye 10-yard TD catch from Landry Jones, but the Skins answered with 3:21 remaining as Roy Helu, Jr. busted up the middle for a 30-yard touchdown run — his only carry of the night — that completed a seven play, 74 yard drive of their own.

Grossman went 10-for-16 for 133 yards, with one touchdown and one interception in relief of Cousins. Pat White finished things up and went 3-for-6 for 22 yards and a pick.

Keiland Williams led Washington in rushing, carrying eight times for 39 yards. Alfred Morris started and rushed four times for 12 yard before being given the rest of the night off.

Robert Griffin III took the field for warm-ups, as he did for the first preseason game last week. According to reports, he’s been cleared by Dr. James Andrews for play, but the Skins expect to continue to hold him out during the preseason.

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