April 19, 2021

Washington Redskins Game 5 Preview: at Atlanta Falcons

The Washington Redskins face maybe their biggest test yet this season at the Georgia Dome vs. the first-place Atlanta Falcons. The Redskins look to build momentum off of their biggest win of the season, a 23-20 victory over division foe Philadelphia. The Falcons look to remain undefeated on the year and repeat the performance they had vs. the Houston Texans, which they won handily, 48-21.

The Falcons are one of the NFL’s biggest surprises thus far, carrying a 4-0 record behind a potent offensive attack. The Falcons’ offense is led by QB Matt Ryan, WR Julio Jones, and RB Devonta Freeman. Jones and Freeman have combined for 11 TDs in the first 4 games, and the Falcons are 5th in the league in total offense, averaging 403 yards per game. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that former Redskins’ Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan, now with Atlanta, will draw up a great game plan vs. his former team. [Read more…]

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 report to camp with injury updates

by Justin Byram

The Washington Redskins have now reported for training camp, but not everyone is quite ready to participate yet. Defensive ends Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen will both open training camp on the PUP list (Physically Unable to Pperform); joining them on the PUP list will be Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson.

All three players are recovering from knee injuries, however, each is in different stages of their recovery.

Jason Hatcher is probably the closest to returning to action, but the Washington Redskins aren’t taking any chances on their biggest defensive addition, and he will return when he is 100% ready. Head coach Jay Gruden was optimistic Hatcher would play at some point during camp. “He’s being monitored closely by Larry [Hess], our trainer, and as soon as they see fit, he’ll be ready to go. But we want to make sure he’s obviously ready to go.”

Hankerson suffered a nasty ACL injury in 2013, and with the receiver depth the team has there is no reason to rush Hankerson back before he’s fully ready. However, Hankerson was seen doing conditioning workouts, running and cutting, so it seems that Hankerson is recovering well.

Stephen Bowen is the most interesting situation. Bowen underwent microfacture surgery this off-season and is fighting to prove that he can still be effective and worth his high cap number (he is the fifth highest paid player on the roster). The longer Bowen is out of camp, the less likely he is to make the team. Bowen is in the most danger of losing his job/roster spot, so he will be the player to watch closest throughout camp.

The cornerback position will be at full strength to start training camp with Tracy Porter and Richard Crawford Jr. being cleared for all football activities. Porter was expected to be fully recovered from an off-season shoulder surgery, however Crawford is a bigger surprise to be fully ready to go this early in camp.

Crawford suffered a nasty knee injury, tearing just about every ligament in his knee last pre-season. Crawford was playing his best football before going down, and if he can return to form he will be an asset to the Redskins not only in coverage but in the return game.

It is also worth noting that although he didn’t come out and say it, Jay Gruden implied that Bowen and Hankerson are far behind Hatcher. Gruden confirmed that he expected Hatcher to return to action sooner than later, but when asked about Bowen and Hankerson he wouldn’t commit saying: “I never like to try to make predictions on when guys are going to come back”.

OPINION: Redskins flat second half on the coaching staff

The Washington Redskins had this one in the bag. A 24-14 halftime lead became a 27-14 mid-third quarter lead. They dominated the line of scrimmage on offense, punishing the Minnesota Vikings defensive line all evening. Alfred Morris looked like the second coming of John Riggins… well, maybe Gerald Riggs. Anyway, Morris was running roughshod through the Vikings undersized and overmatched D-line.

So how did they allow 20 unanswered second half points to fall to ignominious defeat to a team that had won just once all season?

Easy. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan decided to get “cute”. Instead of sticking with what was working all too well, Shanahan felt that with the luxury of a 13-point lead, he could throw caution to the wind and start flinging the ball all over the field. It’s the complete opposite thinking that was required here. With a big lead, you pound the ball at every occasion. Even if you go three-and-out, you’re guaranteed to run 1:30 off the clock in an effort to get the game over a quickly as possible.

But that’s not good enough for Kyle. He wants to show folks just how smart and creative a coach he is. His offense is particularly adept at getting receivers open and in position for big gains. We saw it continuously in the first half. Building off Morris’ punishing runs, Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson and Jordan Reed were wide open, making catches in space and running after the catch for even more yardage. It was a well-oiled offense running at just about maximum efficiency.

The first possession of the third quarter was the same. The Skins marched down the field, going 59 yards in 12 plays, chewing up 5:38 in the process, inching closer to what should have been an inevitable win. Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III lugged the ball on the ground, while Hankerson and Garcon made catches in space because of the success of the run game.

After the Vikings went 74 yards in nine plays for a touchdown, the Skins got the ball back at their own 28 yard line. A five-yard Morris carry set up second-and-five. Run the ball! Chew up the clock!

Nope. Kyle called for a short pass (two-yard gain) to Garcon, then an incomplete pass. On the ensuing punt effort, the Skins called for a fake, which would have worked to perfection save for two things: Jerome Murphy did not set on the offensive line, for a false start penalty, and gunner Niles Paul didn’t hear the fake call anyway, and Sav Rocca’s pass fell harmlessly to the ground since Paul never turned to look for it.

The Redskins were never the same.

A roughness penalty on the punt return (Darrel Young) gave the Vikings terrific field position, and the comeback was on. It took Minnesota just four plays to reach the end zone.

When the Skins got the ball back, Kyle acted as if they were down by two touchdowns. Griffin ran a keeper on a zone-read, but it was brought back for holding. They then ran five straight snaps from the shotgun, and the Vikings pinned their ears back and came after Griffin, sacking him the last two plays of the possession.

The Vikes needed just seven plays and 30 yards to set up Blair Walsh’s 39-yard field goal.

Three-and-out, including another sack of Griffin, ensued, and the Skins gave the ball right back to Minnesota, who walked right down the field for another field goal.

In the NFL, if something is working, especially against a team that is already out of the playoff picture, you stick with it. The Redskins failure to stick with what was working Thursday night now has them squarely out of the playoff picture, with only a series of improbable circumstances now able to rectify that situation.

When you dominate in yardage and time of possession like the Redskins did Thursday night, against a one-win team, you have to win. Plain and simple. The Redskins coaches took the Skins out, not the Vikings.

Of course, it would have helped if the defense did their job. But that’s another rant entirely.

Redskins open 2013 preseason with win over Titans


More notable for players that didn’t play than did, the Washington Redskins — at least those in camp trying to win positions or make the roster — opened their preseason play with a 22-21 win over the Tennessee Titans at LP Field in Nashville.

The Skins held most of their starters on the sidelines, including rehabbing QB Robert Griffin III and second-year RB Alfred Morris. The ones that suited up, though, gave head coach Mike Shanahan an irrelevant preseason win to kick off the four-game campaign before things get going for real — a Sept. 9 Monday night regular season opener against division rival Philadelphia Eagles.

Backup and second-year QB Kirk Cousins performed admirably in his two series of play, finishing the night 6-for-7 for 52 yards with a three-yard touchdown to TE Fred Davis, returning from his Achilles injury of last season. On the play, Cousins faked a pitch to RB Roy Helu, Jr. to the left, then rolled right and found Davis in front of the goal post for the relatively easy score.

The touchdown capped the second drive of the game for the Skins. Cousins went 4-for-4 on the drive with 36 yards The TD pass ended Cousins’ performance for the evening, but the young signal caller got good work in with the offense and looked comfortable leading the Skins while he was under center.

Davis, playing in his first game since surgery to repair the Achilles injury, caught two balls for 14 yards with the first team offense.

Helu, looking to make an impact as a third down back and capable backup to Morris, ran for 57 yards on 13 carries behind a somewhat make-shift line that did not include LT Trent Williams, just one of eight Skins starters that were held out of the preseason opener.

Veteran backup QB Rex Grossman took over for Cousins and had a mixed bag of success (10-for-21, 119 yds, 1 TD, 0 Int.), but did hit Leonard Hankerson for an eight-yard touchdown strike that tied the game at 14 just before the end of the first half. Hankerson, still trying to establish himself as a reliable target in the offense, made four catches for 38 yards.

Ten Skins receivers in all made receptions on the evening.

Third string QB Pat White made the best of a late-game opportunity, leading the Skins on a 12-play, 80-yard drive, culminating in White’s nine-yard touchdown run and subsequent two-point conversion to reserve TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi to provide the difference in the final score.

Defensive leader Brian Orakpo returned to the field after missing much of 2012 with a torn pectoral injury, and the veteran looked like he hadn’t missed a day at all. He put pressure on Titans QB Jake Locker on several occasions, including registering a sack on Tennessee’s third possession of the game, sprinting past Titans’ LT Michael Roos and catching up with Locker on a strong outside rush.

Because of multiple injuries to veteran defensive backs, three rookie draft picks — Safties Baccari Rambo and Phillip Thomas and CB David Amerson — started for the Skins to mixed results. Amerson almost had an interception and recorded three tackles, but Rambo was juked by Titans RB Chris Johnson en route to a 58-yard touchdown run, was similarly faked by Titans backup RB Shonn Green for a 19-yard score, and pushed Green after the run to draw a 15-yard penalty.

Thomas, a fourth-round pick from Fresno state, left the game in the first quarter after suffering a right shoulder and left foot injury on the same play. Replays showed Thomas’ foot got caught underneath the ball carrier on the tackle and the team announced he was held from the rest of the game due to the foot injury.

NOTES: In addition to Griffin, Morris and Williams, the Skins also played without WR Pierre Garcon, DBs DeAngelo Hall, Brandon Merriweather and Josh Wilson, and NT Barry Cofield.

Washington Redskins Game 14 Review: Led by Cousins, Redskins Enter Tie for First with 38-21 Win over Browns

Filling in for an injured Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins led the Washington Redskins (8-6) to their fifth straight win and a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East after stunning the Cleveland Browns (5-9) 38-21.

Cousins finished 26-for-37 for 329 yards, two touchdowns and only one turnover on the night.

It wasn’t smooth sailing from start to finish for the fourth-round rookie quarterback, though. On the first drive of the game, the Redskins managed a false start and on third and 5, Cousins botched an easy pass to Evan Royster.

On their next possession, Cousins threw an incomplete pass to Pierre Garcon, pitched to Alfred Morris for no gain and then lobbed a huge interception to T.J. Ward. Ward scrambled 37 yards to bring it to Washington’s six-yard line and, on the next play, Trent Richardson ran the ball for the touchdown to put the Browns on the board 7-0.

The Redskins’ offense showed no signs of revival on the next two drives – the first of which resulted in a net loss of five yards, and the second of which produced no gain.

However, with one long toss, Cousins changed the momentum of the game.

From Washington’s own 46-yard line, Cousins fired downfield to Leonard Hankerson for a 54-yard touchdown to tie things up.

In the second quarter, Cousins showed his speed with a 17-yard run to help set up a 44-yard field goal for Kai Forbath who extended his perfect streak to make it 10-7 Redskins.

However, it took the Browns little time to answer. On their next drive, they chipped away at the Redskins’ defense. On third and 5, Lorenzo Alexander went down with an injury to his shoulder. Brandon Weeden then connected with Greg Little for a 30-yard pass before Richardson managed his second touchdown to make it 14-10 Browns.

The Redskins hit the ground running in the second half, this time on the celebratory side of an interception. Looking to connect with Little, Weeden’s pass instead landed in the arms of Rob Jackson. Then, Cousins tossed to Josh Morgan for 12 yards before pitching to Alfred Morris for the three-yard touchdown to allow the Redskins to retake the lead, 17-14.

The Cousins-Hankerson dynamic duo held its own on the Redskins’ next possession as Washington tacked on another seven points to give the Redskins a 24-14 cushion.

The Redskins may have had another shot to pile on more points right away had it not been for a hapless taunting penalty issued to none other than Pierre Garcon. After Cousins found Garcon for a 17-yard toss, Garcon carried out his traditional football spin maneuver, only to earn the Redskins a 15-yard penalty.

In the end, it didn’t matter much. Cousins tossed to Evan Royster for a four-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter up 31-14.

Weeden launched a 69-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin on the Browns’ next drive, but yet again, Kirk Cousins provided an immediate answer in the form of a touchdown pass to Alfred Morris.

With five minutes left, the Browns showed no ability to threaten and the Redskins solidified their 38-21 win.

By day’s end, Leonard Hankerson had two receptions for two touchdowns and 56 yards, and Alfred Morris added another two touchdowns and 87 rushing yards over 27 carries.

Forbath extended his perfect streak to 15 consecutive field goals. Should Forbath complete his next field goal attempt, he will tie the NFL record for a career start.

%d bloggers like this: