September 18, 2014

Washington Redskins 2014 Season Preview Part III: Wide Receivers

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.

Monday, Neal Dalal took a look at the Quarterback position.
Tuesday, Eric Hobeck examined the situation at running back.

This is the preview of the wide receiver corps.

[Read more...]

Washington Redskins training camp notebook 7/28/2014

Here is what you missed from the Washington Redskins fifth day at training camp:

The fifth day of training camp gave us the first fully padded Redskins practice of the 2014 season. With full pads, the intensity was turned up significantly, and there were plenty of hitting drills including a few special teams drills that featured contact. There was also some extracurricular physicality today as tempers flared in Richmond. It is normal to have a few scuffles around this time, it’s hot, it’s the first time they have gotten to really go at each other, and the Redskins are well aware that the stakes are high to get a roster spot on the 53-man roster.

We’ll start with what everyone wants to read about, Robert Griffin III. Griffin has looked much sharper than he did at the beginning of camp, and it is clear that Griffin is putting in the effort to develop chemistry with newly acquired targets DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts. Griffin and Roberts clicked early, and Jackson and Griffin’s deep ball connection is getting better by the day. Griffin showed a flash of the electric player we saw in his rookie campaign, in an 11 on 11 drill Griffin saw a seam up the middle and burst through the defense for an easy 20 yard gain untouched. This is the type of running (not by design but by opportunity) you can expect more from Griffin in 2014. Even in the first few days of camp, Griffin has taken off less and less each day, in favor of progressing through his reads. Too often Griffin uses his athletic ability to get out of trouble and he may “panic” and go to his legs too early, staying calm in the pocket and progressing through his reads will be huge for Griffin.

Pierre Garcon tweaked his hamstring in this mornings practice. Garcon didn’t seem overly concerned about the injury, saying that he felt fine but he wasn’t going to push it at this time in the off-season. This injury should have no effect on Garcon’s regular season play.

Chris Thompson has continued to impress and has emerged as the favorite to land the third running back job. Griffin was quoted saying “We want him (Thompson) to be our Darren Sproles”. Thompson has the skill set to be this type of player, but the biggest question mark with Thompson is his durability. Thompson has a lot of potential, and is a player to watch throughout camp.

Number 51 wasn’t vacant for long, Brandon Jenkins was cut yesterday, and Everette Brown was signed today and was sporting Jenkins former number in practice today. Brown worked with Skins outside linebacker coach Brian Baker who coached Brown at Carolina in 2009-2010.

That’s all for now! Have a Redskins question? Tweet me @Justin_Byram, or email me at

Washington Redskins Traning Camp Notebook 7/26/2014

Today the pads went on, which means full contact, resulting in the first scuffle of training camp. The small scuffle broke out (and was quickly separated) between Tom Compton and Darryl Sharpton.

There are a couple of Redskins coming back from injuries that look very good thus far in camp, Chris Thompson, Keenan Robinson, Tracy Porter, and Richard Crawford all seem to have successfully made a full recovery from whatever injury hampered their 2013 seasons.

Josh LeRibeus has continued to look good as well. LeRibeus reported to camp out of shape last season, and never got a chance to get going. However, LeRibeus reported in good shape this year and seems to be hitting the ground running.

It will take time for RG3 to develop chemistry with his new weapons, and he did hit DeSean Jackson on a nice deep pass off the boot-leg. However, Griffin and Andre Roberts seem to be making an early connection making quite a few plays today.

Trent Williams rolled his ankle, but after sitting out a few plays returned to action and insisted he was fine.

David Amerson has done a nice job covering some of the Redskins best receivers including a few times against Pierre Garcon today. Coach Gruden said that Amerson is playing with a lot of “Swag” out there and that he likes what he sees from the second year corner. Amerson has gotten much better at using his long frame and arms to jam receivers and put himself in a favorable position from the beginning. I like Amerson’s chances of taking the next step in his development and becoming a more solid, consistent starting corner.

That’s all for now, have a Redskins question? Leave a comment! Or tweet me @Justin_Byram, or email me at

Trent Williams named to Pro Bowl

Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams was selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl, his second in a row, the league announced Friday.

Williams, 25, is in his third season as an offensive captain for the Redskins. He has remained among the league’s top offensive tackles in his first four full season since being selected No. 4 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.

WR Pierre Garcon, CB DeAngelo Hall, RB Alfred Morris and LB Brian Orakpo were named as alternatives.

This season, the actual rosters for the Pro Bowl will be selected “draft style” by winners of a fantasy football contest instead of the traditional AFC-NFC matchup.

Washington Redskins Game 14 Review: Last second two-point conversion fails, Skins fall in Atlanta by one

After a confusing and contentious week off the field, the Washington Redskins actually had to play a football game, traveling to Atlanta to face the Falcons, who like the Skins have played to a disappointing 3-10 record this season.

The Redskins scored a touchdown with 18 second remaining on the clock to bring the score within one point, but coach Mike Shanahan decided to go for two. Like much of the rest of the Redskins season, though, the two-point attempt came up short, and the Falcons escaped with a 27-26 win.

Kirk Cousins, starting for the first time this season with Robert Griffin III shut down for the rest of the season, had a banner day, going 29 of 45 for 381 yards and three touchdowns, though he did throw two costly  interceptions.

The Falcons broke out quickly, scoring twice in the first quarter. Atlanta took the opening kickoff for a 14-play, 83-yard drive, culminated in a Steven Jackson 3-yard plunge.  After Cousins fumbled — off a sack by Osi Umenyiora — set up the Falcons at the Skins 36, Matt Ryan found Tony Gonzalez open for a 13-yard scoring strike.

On the ensuing drive, Alfred Morris busted a 37-yard run immediately preceding Cousin’s 23-yard touchdown pass to forgotten man Fred Davis, in the lineup again while Jordan Reed recovers from concussion symptoms.

The Skins held Atlanta on their next drive, but Santana Moss muffed the punt when E.J. Biggers blocked an Falcons defender into him while Moss was trying to fair catch. The turnover gave Atlanta the ball at the Skins 14. Atlanta couldn’t punch it in, so they settled for a 20-yard Matt Bryant field goal.

On the next series, Moss fumbled after a short completion but the defense forced a 3-and-out and Washington took over on their own 41 after the punt. Three plays later, Cousins hit Pierre Garcon in stride down the left sideline for a 53-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown — the Skins longest touchdown of the season.

The Skins’ D held again and the offense drove 51 yards on 10 plays to set up Kai Forbath for a 33-yard field goal to tie the game at 17 with 54 seconds left in the half.

Though they started at their own 10 yard line, Atlanta tried to make something happen before intermission, ut Ryan’s long pass was intercepted by Jose Gumbs at the Falcons’ 38. The Skins moved to Atlanta’s 19 yard line, but ran out of time and had to settle for a Forbath 37-yard field goal as time expired to give the Skins a 20-17 halftime lead.

On the Falcons’ first possession of the second half, they marched 57 yards on 10 plays to the Skins’ 1-yard line. Washington held on fourth-and-one, with Perry Riley, Jr. tackling Steven Jackson short of the goal line. Unfortunately, on the next play Cousins was picked off by Willliam Moore at the 16 and he took it down to the two, where Jackson immediately punched it in to put Atlanta up 24-20.

The Redskins took their first drive of the fourth quarter down to Atlanta’s 13-yard line, using completions of 16 yards to Moss and 14 and 11-yard catches by Garcon. But Morris’ second fumble of the day — the Skins sixth turnover — killed the drive.

Washington got the ball back after another defensive stop with 5:45 left in the game, but on the first play Cousins’ long pass intended for Garcon was picked off by Desmond Trufant at the Skins’ 39-yard line.

The Falcons gained five yards and Bryant drilled a 51-yard field goal to put Atlanta up seven with 3:31 left in the game.

Cousins drove the Skins down the field systematically, including an 11-yard pass to Aldrick Robinson on a third and six at their own 44. Cousins hit Robinson again for three yards to set up second-and-goal from the 3-yard line with 22 seconds left on the clock. Cousins then found Moss on a quick out route to bring the score to 27-26.

Cousins rolled right on the two-point conversion attempt, but his pass for Logan Paulsen was tipped harmlessly out of the end zone.

Washington Redskins Game 12 Review: Skins eliminated from postseason with 24-17 loss to Giants

The Washington Redskins took a 14-point lead over division rival New York Giants, but allowed that lead to evaporate while frittering away opportunities all evening, eventually falling to the Giants 24-17 as Pierre Garcon was stripped after making a catch on fourth down with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

The Redskins fall to 3-9 on the season and were officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Giants, at 5-7, remain mathematically eligible for now.

Robert Griffin III completed his first 12 passes on the Skins first two drives of the game as they built a 14-0 lead, and finished 24 of 32 for 207 yards and a touchdown. But after those first two drives, Griffin was harassed all game and Justin Tuck abused right tackle Tyler Polumbus for four sacks on the day.

The Skins took the opening drive right down the field, going 71 yards in 14 plays, culminating with Alfred Morris’ 1-yard touchdown plunge. It was a systematic attack, with the longest play a 16-yard strike to Pierre Garcon for 16 yards.

New Yorkwent on a pair of three-and-outs and Washington took over on their own 41 late in the first quarter. Another picture-perfect drive went 54 yards in eight plays, as Griffin found Logan Paulsen wide open in the seam for a 19-yard touchdown. Griffin had completed 12 straight passes on the Skins first two possessions.

The Giants bowed their backs on their next drive. After a couple of Eli Manning (22 of 28, 235 yards, 1 TD) completions, Peyton Hillis gashed the Skins defense for runs of eight and 27-yards on consecutive carries, bowling over linebacker London Fletcher and safety Brandon Meriweather on the second carry. Andre Brown then carried for seven yards to set up his 23-yard touchdown run.

The Skins then couldn’t pick up a first down on two possessions, and the Giants took over on their own 19 after a 53-yard Sav Rocca punt. Manning led the G-Men on a 9-play, 81-yard drive, going 6-for-6 on the drive, including a 22-yard scoring pass to tight end Brandon Myers, his third catch of the game at that point.

The first half ended with the Skins bypassing a 57-yard field goal attempt, but a 3-man Giants rush disrupted Griffin and he ran around left end for 20 yards instead of heaving one into the end zone.

Neither team could do much with their first drives of the second half. On the Giants second possession, Manning tried to force a ball to his tight end, which was tipped right to Meriweather, who returned it to the Giants 19-yard line. But the Skins stalled, and settled for a 33-yard Kai Forbath field goal, to put the Skins up 17-14.

On the next series, Washington was forced to punt from their own 38. Long-snapper Kyle Nelson, who replaced Nick Sundberg when he went on the I.R. with a knee injury, flubbed the snap, forcing Rocca to quick-kick. The punt traveled just 18 yards, and a holding call on Nelson exacerbated the matter, giving the Giants the ball at the Skins 46.

It took the Giants just four plays to put the ball in the end zone, as Andre Brown’s 1-yard plunge gave the Giants a 21-17 lead. The play was reviewed, as it appeared Brown’s knee might have touched down before the ball crossed the line, but replays proved inconclusive.

Two more fruitless Redskins possessions later, the Giants went 40 yards on eight plays to set up Josh Brown’s 39-yard field goal to make it a 7-point game with 2:32 remaining.

The Skins last drive was filled with dropped passes, and on their final play, a reception that would have kept the drive alive on fourth down, Pierre Garcon was stripped by defensive back Will Hill to ice the game for the Giants. That play came immediately after the referees screwed up the downs, originally giving the Redskins a first down, then revoking it and forcing them into fourth down.

Regardless, the Skins would have had a first down if Garcon held onto the ball.

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.

Washington Redskins Game 8 Review: Young’s 3rd TD beats Chargers in OT

The Washington Redskins were able to establish themselves within the red zone on both sides of the ball Sunday afternoon in a 30-24 OT victory over the San Diego Chargers. Three touchdowns from fullback Darrel Young, along with a key goal line stand by the Redskins defense late in the fourth quarter, paved the way to the win.

Washington’s offense struggled in the passing game early on, which resulted in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan placing the ball in the hands of Alfred Morris and Darrel Young. Young only had 12 yards on five carries, but three of those carries resulted in touchdowns, the last of which won the game. Morris carried the water most of the day and finished with 25 carries for 121 yards and one touchdown, his first 20-plus carry and 100-yard games of the season. [Read more...]

Washington Redskins Game 6 Review: Skins beat Bears in shootout 45-41

So far this season, fans, media and the team itself have been waiting for Robert Griffin III to truly look like the dynamic playmaker they saw last season. Sunday, against the injury-depleted Chicago Bears, Griffin looked his best yet, leading the Washington Redskins to a huge 45-41 win over the Bears, to raise their record to 2-4 before heading off to a showdown with the Broncos in Denver next weekend.

Griffin threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-29 passing, but he looked his best all season running with the ball, carrying 11 times for 84 yards, much from the read-option formation. On the second play from scrimmage, Griffin called his own number and burst around right end for 23 yards and continued to run the keeper all day long. That first drive ended up with a 38-yard Kai Forbath field goal, but it set the precedent for what the Skins offense would do all afternoon.

The Bears took advantage of a short field after a 37-yard Sav Rocca punt and answered with 47-yard field goal by Robbie Gould. On the ensuing possession, Griffin made on of his few mistakes on the day, lobbing a pass toward Leonard Hankerson on the right sideline that was picked off by Charles Tillman and returned to the Skins 10-yard line. It took the Bears just two plays to score, with Matt Forte scoring the first of his three touchdowns of the day on a two-yard plunge.

But the Redskins took the kickoff and marched down the field, going 80 yards on 13 plays, capped by Roy Helu, Jr.’s 14-yard scoring run from off-tackle right, which was exquisitely blocked up front to make it 10-10 just after the start of the second quarter.

On the next play from scrimmage, Reed Doughty broke up a Jay Cutler pass intended for Alshon Jeffery, and the ball hung up for Brian Orakpo to gather in and rumble 29 yards for the first pick-six of his career.

Two possessions later, Bears QB Jay Cutler was sacked by Chris Baker — first of Baker’s NFL career — and came up lame. He was helped off the field and into the Bears locker, where it was announced that he sustained a groin injury and would not return. Josh McCown replaced Cutler and created difficulty right off the bat with his mobility, as his first play was an 11-yard scramble.

Later in the quarter, another special teams breakdown led to a Bears touchdown. Rocca punted to the left sideline to pen return specialist Devin Hester in. Unfortunately, Hester broke back to the other side of the field, broke containment, and sprinted up the right sideline untouched for an 81-yard TD to tie the game at 17.

As was the theme of the day though, the Skins offense went right back to work, this time going 74 yards on 11 plays, culminated by Griffin’s three-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Reed in the right corner of the end zone on a fade pattern. Reed had a 15-yard catch earlier in the drive and ended up with 9 catches for 134 for the day, both career highs. The Skins held a 24-17 halftime lead, but things got even crazier in the second half.

The Bears first drive resulted in a missed field goal, but on their second possession Forte burst through the line and went 50 yards for a touchdown to tie it back up. But Griffin led the Skins right back, driving 83 yards on eight plays, including a 30-yard completion to Aldrick Robinson, before Helu carried three yards to put the Skins back up 31-24.

Chicago used a 28-yard completion from McCown to Jeffery, then a 15-yard personal foul on Brandon Meriweather, to get in position for Forte to carry six yards for his third TD of the day to tie it at 31.

This time, the Redskins used a quick strike. On second-and-nine, Griffin had Josh Morgan streaking wipe open on a 20-yard crossing route, but instead heaved it 45 yards to Robinson, who made the catch between Tillman and safety Chris Conte, who fell after bumping Robinson trying to get into position. Regardless, the longest pass of the season resulted in a Redskins touchdown and 38-31 lead.

The Bears next drive stalled at the Washington 31, after Orakpo and David Amerson harassed McCown on second and third downs respectively and the Bears settled for a 49-yard Gould field goal. Following a Skins three-and-out, Chicago went back to work. McCown hit Brandon Marshall for the receiver’s biggest gain of the day, a 44-yard catch and run off a slant route, and after a touchdown pass was nullified by an illegal formation penalty, the Bears made the next one stick, as McCown connected with tight end Marcellus Bennett for a seven-yard score, giving the Bears their first lead since the first quarter.

The Redskins took over with 3:57 to play at their own 20-yard line. Griffin found Reed for 26 yards on the first play of the drive. Later, he connected three times with Pierre Garcon for gains of seven, nine and six yards. On third-and-4 from Chicago’s 13, Griffin hit Reed for a 10-yard completion and on first down, Helu broke it up inside for his third touchdown strike of the day, to provide the 45-41 margin of victory.

Washington Redskins Open Locker Room Audio: Moss, Hall, Garçon & Many More!

ASHBURN, VA–The Washington Redskins held their final open locker room of the season today as they conclude their 2013 season.  There was a lot of optimism in the locker room after their surprising finish, but nobody is quite sure yet on the health of Robert Griffin III following yesterday’s loss.

“You feel like you have something you can build on,”  Redskins free agent linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said.  “You feel good about the group of guys we have here. I think this is probably one of the closest team’s we’ve had from top-to-bottom…hopefully I can be apart of it next year as we move forward.”

Redskins starting guard Kory Lichtensteiger is also a free agent and he hopes to return as well.

“The best case scenario for me is I get a new deal here. At the same time, you’ve got to explore all the options.”

So is Redskins starting tackle Tyler Polumbus.

“I have no idea what the future’s going to hold. I know I want to be back here.”

Redskins starting cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who has a pretty big contract, is also hoping to return.

“Whatever I gotta do to be here, I’m gonna try to get it done.”

Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan also addressed the media Monday and gave an update on Robert Griffin III’s knee injury, plus tons more as it’s the final time he’ll speak until the NFL Draft in April.

Listen here to what Santana Moss, DeAngelo Hall, Pierre Garçon, Lorenzo Alexander, Ryan Kerrigan, Tyler Polumbus, Kory Lichtensteiger, Reed Doughty & Kai Forbath had to say during open locker room today.

Santana Moss Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Santana Moss Open Locker Room RAW

DeAngelo Hall Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 DeAngelo Hall Open Locker Room RAW

Pierre Garçon Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Pierre Garcon Open Locker Room RAW

Lorenzo Alexander Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Lorenzo Alexander Open Locker Room RAW

Ryan Kerrigan Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Ryan Kerrigan Open Locker Room RAW

Tyler Polumbus Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Tyler Polumbus Open Locker Room RAW

Kory Lichtensteiger Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Kory Lichtensteiger Open Locker Room RAW

Reed Doughty Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Reed Doughty Open Locker Room RAW

Kai Forbath Open Locker Room Audio

01-07-13 Kai Forbath Open Locker Room RAW

%d bloggers like this: