November 13, 2019

Five takeaways from Washington Redskins Game 15 win over Philadelphia Eagles

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 27-24 win to the Philadelphia Eagles, improving their record to 4-11:

1. Robert Griffin III does enough to get the victory.

With Colt McCoy being placed on season ending IR this past week, Robert Griffin was given another opportunity to show why he should be back as the starting quarterback going into training camp next season. Although Griffin didn’t fill up the stat line, throwing for a somewhat mediocre 220 yards on 25 drop backs, he had his best game of the season in terms of executing a game plan. Griffin took three shots to DeSean Jackson deep resulting in two 50+ yard completions and one interception.

Both of the completions ended in Redskins touchdowns. Moreover, the threat of Griffin tucking the ball and taking off not only led Alfred Morris to average four yards per rush, but late in the game it forced the Eagles’ linebackers to creep forward. Griffin took advantage of an open middle of the field by hitting Pierre Garcon on a classic 2012 play that eventually led to the game winning field goal. [Read more…]

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Game 12 loss to Indianapolis Colts

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 49-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts:

1. Jay Gruden’s decision to start Colt McCoy looks questionable to start, but then shows potential.

More than midway through the second quarter, the Redskins had negative three net passing and only one first down via an Alfred Morris rush. Gruden’s decision to bench Robert Griffin III who put up relatively better numbers against a much better defense was coming into some serious heat. Then similarly to Griffin last week, McCoy generated a scoring drive right before the half. In my opinion this saved McCoy from being benched at halftime similarly to Griffin’s predicament last week as he did not take advantage of great field position.

Coming out of the half, McCoy drove his team down the field once again and capped off the drive with amazing elusiveness to avoid three potential sack attempts before dumping the ball off to Logan Paulsen for a score. On the next offensive possession, McCoy could not find a receiver on fourth and a yard and was subsequently stripped of the football which was then returned for a score. McCoy came back and led a drive that finished in a DeSean Jackson deep touchdown pass after Jackson readjusted to the usual underthrown ball. McCoy finished the game moving the ball but unable to finish off drives with touchdowns. All in all, McCoy played a good latter two and a half quarters, which has assured him of a start next week.

2. Undermanned Redskins defense get obliterated after being opportunistic.

As well as McCoy was able to move the ball after the beginning of the game, he had no chance to lead his team to a comeback as the defense was getting beat every which way for big plays on busted coverages. After producing back to back turnovers to start the game, Andrew Luck settled down and started dissecting the Redskins secondary which was without E.J. Biggers and Brandon Merriweather.

First, Luck hit a wide open Coby Fleener on a seam route along the sidelines where David Amerson was supposed to pick him up after a Trent Murphy jam. To the start the second half, the defense let Daniel Herron gash the defense for a 49-yard touchdown after multiple poor angles were taken on potential tackles. Following a three and out by the offense, Luck methodically marched his team down the field for another touchdown score.

In the second half it was more of the same. The Redskins defense gave up three more long touchdowns. The two to Donte Moncrief were again huge busted coverages by the secondary that caused the final separation. In between those two was a missed tackling clinic on Coby Fleener who avoided at least three potential tacklers. This defense could not get a stop for their lives and as the season wears on the limited depth in the defense will continue to haunt this team.

3. Fundamentals still the biggest problem of this team.

The offensive line still is not protecting McCoy enough as he was harassed constantly and took six sacks on the game, which is not much better than the indecisive Griffin in the last few weeks. Moreover, the offense could not cash in on the amazing field position given to them by the turnovers caused by the defense but similarly to last week they only mustered up three points off of those three turnovers.

Defensively, coverage assignments and tackling are still a struggle for this team and it leads to big plays for the other team week in and week out. Without these fundamentals that are taught in Pee-Wee football, this team will not be able to have success anytime in the near future.

4. More injury concerns.

Ryan Kerrigan, Will Compton, and Keenan Robinson all got banged up in the game and missed a limited amount of plays. The more major concern is for Brandon Merriweather (toe), Chase Minnifield (concussion), and DeSean Jackson (fibula contusion and other leg injury) had to leave the game after getting injured.

Although the x-rays came back negative on Jackson, the injury did not look good as he was again trying to readjust to an underthrown McCoy deep ball. It would be a big blow to this offense if there lone deep threat were to be out for the rest of the year; however, the long term options of Jackson must be taken into account first.

5. Next week against a St. Louis Rams team coming off a perfect game.

The undermanned Washington Redskins will travel to St. Louis who beat the Oakland Raiders 52-0 after a superb all-around performance by their team. Colt McCoy has been informally named the starting quarterback for next week after getting the offense moving through the latter stages of the game. However, he may have to lean on Jordan Reed once again if DeSean Jackson is forced to miss any time. Additionally, Alfred Morris had a significant reduction in production relative to the game with Griffin under center which could play a role in making the offense one-dimensional with McCoy under center.

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Game 8 win against the Dallas Cowboys

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 20-17 win to the Dallas Cowboys:

1. Colt McCoy takes possibly his last opportunity to start and shines.

There are many nitpicky issues that can be found in McCoy’s game from not turning turnovers into points and underthrowing Desean Jackson, but this kid went out and played a great game. Having just a mere week of practice with the starting weapons McCoy settled into the system and executed the game plan.

The Texas product returning home completed over 80% of his passes for a grand total of 299 yards. McCoy was able to get the ball to DeSean Jackson deep multiple times and the completion was the most important part. Additionally, McCoy bounced back after halftime when trailing by leading an impressive touchdown drive overcoming usual drive derailing penalties. Then after Dallas ties it back up he takes his squad right back down the field, puts his body on the line on third down to get the score on a quarterback draw.

Then after struggling to get a score at the end of the game he came out in overtime firing and marched his team into field goal position where Kai Forbath ended up having the game winning points. McCoy had a heck of a game and maybe has given his career some kind of a jolt, just probably not in Washington though.

2. Defense plays great when Romo is in, a good thing he comes back in.

How well the defense played without Brian Orakpo and DeAngelo Hall is not describable in words. Even when the ball was moved against them early in the game they were able to get stops or cause turnovers to end Dallas drives. The wheels began to come off when Brandon Weeden came into the game as missed tackles and blown coverages led to 10 points for the Cowboys.

However, as Jerry Jones wanted his prized possession in Tony Romo returned to the game, a great sign for the Redskins defense. The Redskins were able to harass Romo all game especially in key moments in the game on third downs. Not only at the end of regulation, but the defense stopped the Cowboys from getting TWO yards on three plays to end the game in overtime. The Redskins got five sacks on Romo as well as two turnovers when they could have had many more. All in all the defense did their part in picking up their best win of the year.

3. Redskins coaching staff is the unsung hero.

Not only did Jay Gruden provide a good game plan for Colt McCoy to succeed. Although several runs on first down did not amount to much on the ground, it set up deep play action bombs to DeSean Jackson. Even gutsier was his decision to go for a fourth down and one by throwing to Darrel Young in the flat. However, I think the best play calling came from defensive coordinator Jim Haslett who was able to unleash imaginative stunts and blitzes that came through in the clutch against Dallas.

Haslett used Brandon Merriweather strength as an aggressor as well as Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson to end Dallas drives with sacks instead of getting beat down the field. This attests to Haslett’s trust in his young 22 year old corners of David Amerson and Baushad Breeland who played their best games of their young career.

4. The Redskins continue to get their money’s worth out of DeSean Jackson.

Desean Jackson was NOT a big money bust under Dan Snyder thus far as he game in and game out has an impact on the game with his speed. On seven targets, Jackson had six completions for a whopping 136 yards, which could have been more if McCoy had a stronger arm. If the Redskins are to go on any kind of a run to try and make the playoffs, then Jackson will clearly play a big role in that. Moreover, Jackson will be able to contribute to this potentially high octane offense for the next couple year as well.

5. Robert Griffin III’s return has been delayed.

Many are glad that Griffin was not rushed back this season as he clearly was to start last season. Additionally, because he was inactive for this game many think he will not come back until after the bye. I think that has turned into a clear wait as McCoy has shown himself to be more than capable to play in the NFL. As a result, I expect him to start against a lesser opponent in the Minnesota Vikings last year. However, as much as the fans will give their good graces to McCoy right now, Griffin will be back under center at home against Tampa Bay barring a tragedy.

Washington Redskins Week 5 Analysis: Defensive Notes

The Washington Redskins defense had an up-and-down night against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks Monday Night in the Redskins’ 27-17 loss at home. At times, they looked absolutely porous, allowing the Seahawks offense to move the ball at will, while at other times showing flashes of dominance.

The Redskins were certainly aided by a total of 13 penalties for 90 yards against the Seahawks (the majority of which on the offense), but I don’t quite buy into the notion that this is what kept the Redskins in the game.

More than likely, you’ve heard by now that the Seahawks were ‘robbed of three touchdowns’ negated by penalties. But if you actually examine each instance, you’ll see that two of those cancelled touchdowns occurred on the same drive which ultimately resulted in a successful field goal. The third occurred on a drive where they went on to score a touchdown anyways. So in essence, all in all, instead of scoring a possible 14 points on those two drives, they ended up scoring 10 points. A four-point difference is a lot different than ‘three touchdowns’.

Additionally, penalties are always an issue for the Seahawks. In their Super Bowl winning season last year, they had the most penalties in football.  To imply that if Seattle limited its penalties, Washington would’ve been blown out is an exercise in futility because it ignores reality. It’s part of who they are.

Sorry, rant over. Let’s get to the notes:

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Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Week Four loss to the New York Giants

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 45-14 loss to the New York Giants:

  1. The turnovers came early and often.

It all started when Tyler Polumbus got beat around the edge by a speed rush from Mathias Kiwanuka. Kirk Cousins’s clock did not go off in his head, he never saw the rusher, did not step up in the pocket, but got blasted, lost the football, and gave the Giants a short field. Then while still in the game and poised to score, Logan Paulson gets stood up and stripped after a small dump off pass. As if this was not bad enough to have given up ten points off of turnovers and missing a scoring opportunity, the second half was a disaster. On a play that Pierre Garcon came out for and Ryan Grant was matched up against Prince Amukamara, Cousins throws it right between the two and the zero. Only problem is Grant’s number is 14 and Amukamara’s is 20, whether this was Grant’s fault or not is up in the air but it was the first domino to fall in the demise of the Redskins. After getting the ball back, Cousins gives it right back to the Giants by lofting up a deep ball that the center fielder Quintin Demps easily picks off. To pile on more, Cousins throws a ball right to Trumaine McBride who he must not have seen undercut Andre Robert’s route. The misery came to an end when Cousins was picked off on an underthrown deep ball by Antre Rolle where he had no room to step up in the pocket.

  1. Kirk Cousins reaffirms that “this is Roberts’s team”.

After playing nearly out of his mind just four short days ago in Philadelphia, Cousins played worse than a rookie. He threw four interceptions in the span of eight pass attempts and for most of the second half had more completions to the Giants defenders than his own receivers. Not seeing the defender is simply not excuse at this level. That’s now 15 interceptions, 3 lost fumbles and 14 touchdown passes in 11 career games for Cousins. Unlike last week, Cousins was not able to get his best two playmakers in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson involved in the game giving the Giants secondary a night off. On balls intended to wide receivers, Cousins was a lousy 4-for-17 with four interceptions, proving that dumping the ball off to running backs and tight ends will not cut it in the NFL. Cousins will probably have another four weeks to showcase himself, but seeing as how the next two weeks are against the great defenses of Seattle and Arizona I do not see him continuing to start once Robert Griffin is healthy.

  1. Defense gets torched, but not completely their fault.

To say the defense got burned by the Giants’ mediocre core of tight ends is an understatement. They gave up three touchdowns to unheard of Larry Donnell in a span of 20 minutes and had everyone rushing to their fantasy teams. They also gave up another touchdown to the Giants backup tight end Daniel Fells, which ended the game momentum wise. The defense did do a bad job again, but when being so thin at all position, without DeAngelo Hall and having Brian Orakpo and Jason Hatcher not playing 100%, it is tough to defend an NFL offense on a short week. To make matters worse that offense could not sustain drives and turned the ball over often making them stay on the field for over 37 minutes of the game while getting little rest in between.

  1. More bad injury news.

After one of the best throws by Kirk Cousins in the game where he dropped it right into the bucket of Niles Paul, Paul was nearly decapitated with two vicious hits from the Giant’s defensive backs. Paul was motionless for some time in which he had his arms extended forward and for sure either unconscious or dazed. He was diagnosed with a concussion and will have to go through the NFL’s protocol before returning to action. More bad news came when Trent Williams came up hobbling after one of Cousin’s interceptions. He has officially been ruled as having a strained right knee and will get an MRI tomorrow to figure out the scope of the injury. The preliminary word is no ligament damage, possibly a dislocated knee cap that he thinks might have popped back in, but currently in a lot of pain. Defensively, Jarvis Jenkins has bruised, but no broken, ribs that were aggravated on the second goal line stand.

  1. The future looks bleaker than the present, seriously.

In 11 days the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks will be coming to town with their eyes on having a feast on a down team. The Giants are not a good football team, but the Seahawks are and it could be déjà vu all over again next game if serious changes are not made. Fans can hold onto hope by a thread if they believe that the time to get healthy will make a difference, but if it doesn’t things could be ugly again on national television.

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Week Three loss to the Philadelphia Eagles

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 37-34 division opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles: [Read more…]

Five Takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 17-6 loss to the Houston Texans

In a largely underwhelming performance, the Washington Redskins lost their season opener at the Houston Texans on Sunday, 17-6. Here are five takeaways from the game:

  1. Robert Griffin III is still developing, to put it one way. Of course, it’s not ideal for your franchise quarterback that you gave up four valuable draft picks for to still be figuring out his game at the start of his third season. At times, Griffin looked out of place and incredibly indecisive, either not throwing the ball away or tossing it for a very short gain. There were also flashes of brilliance on display, like the long pass to Niles Paul that put the Redskins deep in the red zone before Paul fumbled. You cam probably chalk up some of the performance to an offensive line that didn’t give him much time or space to work with, but Griffin’s game was less than encouraging.
  2. The special teams still look to be suffering from Keith Burns Syndrome. The blocked extra point was just a sign of things to come, as a blocked punt later turned into the Texans’ second score of the afternoon. The return game was strong, save for Darrel Young trying to tackle Andre Roberts on an early punt return. Otherwise, the group looked like they picked up where they left off last year.
  3. The team misses Brandon Meriweather. This may seem like it would have been obvious heading into the game, but on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 76-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins in the second quarter, Bacarri Rambo misplayed Hopkins badly. Rambo had his eyes on Fitzpatrick has Hopkins caught the ball a yard or two in front of him, side-stepped Rambo and scored. Although the Redskins’ secondary isn’t exactly the Legion of Boom without him, Week 3 against the Eagles can’t come soon enough for that unit.
  4. Alfred Morris was strong again, helping the Redskins on their sole scoring drive with two huge runs. The third-year back had 91 yards on just 14 carries and was one of the bright spots in the loss.
  5. Overall, the performance was discouraging but all is not lost. From a pure numbers standpoint, the Redskins performed well – 20 first downs to the Texans’ 16, 372 yards to Houston’s 316 and barely winning the possession battle, holding the ball for 30:54. The majority of the mistakes were mental, and there was probably some rust to shake off (as evidenced by four straight punts to start the game). Capitalizing on opportunities against the Jaguars, and ultimately winning, will be pivotal to keeping the locker room from going sour so early. That, and winning the turnover battle – the two fumbles cost Washington dearly today.

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden comments on Brandon Meriweather’s suspension

The Washington Redskins have their final preseason game of 2014 on Thursday at Raymond James Stadium against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Redskins are coming off of a 23-17 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens last Saturday. Washington is 2-1 this preseason and the Buccaneers are 1-2 after beating the Buffalo Bills 27-14 on the road on Saturday.

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BREAKING: Washington Redskins Safety Brandon Meriweather Suspended

Per Randal Liu, NFL’s Director of NFC Football Communications, Washington Redskins Safety Brandon Meriweather has been suspended for the first two games of the season due to his helmet-to-helmet hit on Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith in the Redskins preseason loss on Saturday.

This will be the second time in as many seasons that Meriweather has received a suspension due to violations of the league’s safety guidelines regarding helmet-to-helmet hits.  Last season, he was forced out of game action for two games due to repeated similar hits, which was later reduced to one game after appeal.

This is also Meriweather’s sixth fine/suspension due to malicious hits since 2010.

This will certainly put the defense in a tough spot as the Redskins will be looking for a fast start to the 2014 season.  Sophomore safety Bacarri Rambo has impressed in preseason so far and perhaps will look to take on a significant role in at least the first two weeks of the season.  There has been no official announcement from the team at this time.

NFL announces two-game suspension for Meriweather

“I think the job of a safety is to instill fear. And I think you can’t do that with, you know, pulling off,” Brandon Meriweather Monday, before the league handed him a two-game suspension for two illegal hits against the Bears.

Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather received a two-game suspension from the NFL Monday for “repeat violations this season of NFL safety rules prohibiting hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players.” In addition to the on-field suspension, Meriweather will forfeit $141,176 in game checks.

Meriweather was penalized for unnecessary roughness in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against Chicago for a forcible helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver and again in the fourth quarter for a forcible hit to the head and neck area of a defenseless receiver.

In Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers, Meriweather delivered an illegal hit with the top/crown of the helmet to a runner who was outside the tackle box.  He was fined $42,000 for that violation.

On the first penalty on Sunday, it appeared that Meriweather led more with his shoulder and that the helmets made contact as a result of proximity. But on the second hit, the veteran safety definitely led with his helmet and forearm.

After the game Sunday, Meriweather was defiant in defending his play. “I feel like every hit that I took was a legit hit,” Meriweather said Sunday in the locker room at FedEx Field. “I wasn’t trying to be dirty. I wasn’t trying to hurt nobody. I didn’t launch with my head. I used my shoulder like they told me to do.”

On Monday from Redskins Park, Meriweather had become more diplomatic, but still defended his actions and history. Asked if the thought the first hit was a penalty, he offered a reasoned response.

“To be honest, I don’t know. I think that’s a rule based on who’s watching. One ref said it was good, another said it was bad. I think it’s gonna be just like that with the NFL. I think one person will look at it in slow motion and say ‘He could have did this, he could have did that,’ and one person would be like, ‘Going full speed you wouldn’t have time to think about that,’ and it’s a good hit. I think it all depends on who’s watching.”

But considering his history, would he try to change his game?

“The last two-three weeks I’ve tried everything possible,” Meriweather said. “I’ve lowered my target, I stopped using my head. I’m using my shoulder. No matter what I do, honestly, I feel like I’m gonna be in the wrong. If I hit you with my shoulder and I slide up, they’re still gonna say it’s head-to-head.”

So, is the league then specifically watching his actions?

“Am I being targeted? No, I don’t wanna say that. I would hope not. My play depends on how much money I make, so I hope I’m not getting targeted. They’re trying to be safe, and the only way to be safe is to do what they’re doing. At the same time, this is tackle football. I think the job of a safety is to instill fear. And I think you can’t do that with, you know, pulling off.”

Meriweather has long had a reputation for headhunting, and that likely played into the league’s decision to suspend him two games. With the league crackdown on illegal hits to the head — and the negative publicity to the league following the concussion lawsuit and “League of Denial” expose on head trauma in the NFL, it’s not surprising Meriweather earned his two-week time out.

In his Monday morning press conference, Mike Shanahan stated he didn’t think Meriweather would be suspended, but made comments about Meriweather’s “style.”

“Well, I think he knows exactly what he has to do and sometimes there’s no intent there,” Shanahan said, “Sometimes you hit a guy a little bit higher than anticipated. Even on the last one, he came to the sideline and said, ‘Hey, the one guy told me it was a good hit and the other official told me that he saw it differently.’ There are a lot of different interpretations of it. At the end of the day, we’ll find out.”

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