October 24, 2014

Washington Redskins Game 7 Review: McCoy and Forbath lift Redskins to first win in five weeks

“I just told the guys, I looked them in the eyes and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to do my job, you do yours and we’re going to win this game.'” –Third-string QB Colt McCoy

Jay Gruden saw enough of Kirk Cousins’ latest effort and decided it was time for Colt McCoy to take the reins of the Washington Redskins offense.

McCoy relieved Cousins at halftime and threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon in his first attempt of the game, and Kai Forbath completed the comeback with a 22-yard field goal as time expired to lift Washington to its second win of the year, beating the Tennessee Titans 19-17 on Sunday at FedEx Field.

Cousins had a bad interception and fumble in the first half, prompting Gruden to make the switch at intermission.

“I just through Colt has earned the right to get an opportunity if Kirk struggled in the first half [and] turned the ball over,” Gruden explained. “That’s the basic reason. Had I not thought Colt would’ve been ready, I would’ve stuck with Kirk, but I just thought Colt was ready to go. I know he felt ready. He’s been chomping at the bit to play, but he’s always been a supportive backup. And this time, when his number was called, he produced.”

Life of a third-string quarterback in the NFL can be tough, but McCoy showed preparedness when called upon. “All I know is my responsibility on this team is to always be ready to play,” McCoy said. “I was just thankful for the opportunity and I just wanted to go out there and play to the best of my ability and lead my team – this team – to a victory and we were able to accomplish that.”

In a first half that shared the entertainment value of grass growing, the Redskins (2-5) turned the ball over on two of their six first half drives — Cousins fumbled with 5:20 to go in the first quarter and was intercepted by Wesley Woodyard with less than three minutes to go in the second.

A half-ending intentional grounding by Cousins sent the Redskins off the field to a mild chorus of boos — jeers that might have been greater in number and volume if those in attendance hadn’t grown so accustomed to that degree of ineptitude.

Two Forbath field goals were the Redskins’ first half tallies, while Kendall Wright’s touchdown catch from Charlie Whitehurst helped provide the Titans’ 10-6 advantage.

The long touchdown from McCoy to Garcon early in the second half sparked life into both the Redskins’ players and fans. Garcon stayed in bounds by only a couple of inches sprinting down the left sideline, gathering a short hook pattern, shaking a defender, then outracing two Titans defensive backs on the way to the end zone.

“That was a great play by Pierre and I would love to get him some more touches,” Gruden said. “He is a good receiver, tough guy after the catch. Just hasn’t happened for some reason. We have to do a better job of game planning and getting him some balls where he can get more involved in the game because he is really good after the catch.”

The play even surprised the man that threw the ball. “Yeah, I didn’t know Pierre [Garçon] was that fast, first of all,” McCoy said. “I told him that in the locker room, too. But Pierre is such a good, easy target to throw it to. He has great body control. I threw a little back shoulder hitch to him and he made the play to put us up, so hats off to him.”

Forbath kicked another field goal early in the fourth quarter to make it 16-10, but Derek Hagan made just his third catch of the season, for a touchdown, with 7:41 to play. Forbath’s game-winning kick came after a 10-play, 76-yard drive — including a key pass interference penalty drawn by wide-out Desean Jackson — that gave Gruden a chance to display his clock management skills, and Tennessee’s attempt to ice Forbath was unsuccessful.

Gruden liked how McCoy directed the two-minute offense to get into field goal range.

“Colt had some freedom to check out and we called something in the huddle for us. Overall, we were trying to get some looks that Colt would understand, plays that we want to get to, being very specific with him and he did a very good job.”

McCoy finished the day 11-for-12 with 128 yards and no interceptions.

Asked if he’d made any decisions about next week’s starter against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football, Gruden replied, “No, not yet. No, but it’s a good sign the way that Colt finished the game, ran the offense – very smart and very efficient, did some good things.”

Five takeaways from Washington Redskins Game 7 win against the Tennessee Titans

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 19-17 win to the Tennessee Titans:

1. Kirk Cousins struggles to inconceivable levels.

 Kirk Cousins has taken a lot of heat this week leading up the game and many thought he would have a chance at redemption against a weak Tennessee Titans team. After an amazing lofted pass with air underneath to Niles Paul for a big 50 yard gain, things took a turn for the worse. The drive stalled in the red zone and the offense had to settle for a field goal.

On the next drive, Cousins held the ball way to long and the pressure stripped him of the ball giving Tennessee great field position. Again Cousins was able to move the ball down the field and again fall short in the red zone by settling for another field goal. The last straw was after the defense came up with an interception where Cousins returned the favor right back by throwing the ball right at Wesley Woodyard in the middle of the field.

2. Colt McCoy takes over at the half, provides a spark immediately.

The move was needed and somewhat obvious. On McCoy’s first pass attempt to start the second half he hit Pierre Garcon on a seven yard curl route. Garcon did the rest by making the initial defensive back miss and speeding away from the safety for a 70 yard house call.

On the next drive McCoy was again able to march the team down the field on an eight minute drive, but again the drive stalled for the team in the red zone. After a three and out, McCoy came back and orchestrated a nearly flawless game winning drive. He was quick and strong on his decisions against heavy blitzing pressure from the Titans, he took what he was given and moved the team down the field for the eventual game winning field goal.

3. Defense and special teams play better than we are accustomed to, but still make mistakes.

There were mistakes made by the defense and special teams by extending the Titans drives but there was only one major lapse in coverage and not many missed tackles that lead to yards after contact. The one blown coverage can be credited to by E.J. Biggers who let Derek Hagan get behind him and Charlie Whitehurst did make him pay by delivering a strike for a touchdown. On the only other touchdown given up by the defense, they were clearly fatigued. They had forced a punt and gotten an interception but after a penalty by special teams and interception by Cousins, the Titans were able to eventually score on their third try.

As a whole the defensive unit played quite well by making solid tackles and breaking up some passes at the same time; however even though they created some pressure they need to start completing the play with a sack. Special teams played well today by turning a poor Tress Way punt into a recovered muff to set up the Redskins’ player of the game Kai Forbath. Forbath was perfect on four field goal attempts including the game winner, he was also better on kickoffs.

4. Penalties galore.

The Redskins had seven penalties for 50 yards, many of which came at key moments of the game to extend drives for the Titans. Trent Murphy offside on punt to give the Titans a first down. Ryan Kerrigan’s sack negated by illegal contact on Baushad Breeland. Jason Hatcher sack’s negated by illegal contact on Will Compton. Tom Compton illegal hands to the face negates Desean Jackson’s potential second amazing catch of the game.

However, in playing an equal bad franchise in the Titans they did their part by returning the favor in bad penalties. Tennessee racked up 96 penalty yards on 11 infractions. The most key foul was a pass interference call against Jason McCourty who grabbed a hold of Desean Jackson’s arm on a deep ball that set up Kai Forbath’s eventual game winning chip shot.

5. We now turn the page onto Dallas week.

The only major injury going into next Monday is to Brian Orakpo who has a possible torn right pectoral muscle, not the same side as in 2011 and 2012. He will receive a MRI tomorrow to figure out the true injury.

Gruden and the coaching staff will now turn their attention to the ever hot Dallas Cowboys. The defense will have to try and contain Demarco Murray who is having a career year thus far. The quarterback situation seems to shape up as if Griffin looks sharp during practice on Wednesday he could get the start; otherwise McCoy has the edge over Cousins.

Washington Redskins Game 6 Review: Cardinals dump Redskins in desert

Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions, including one which was returned for a touchdown with 29 seconds left in the game, and the Washington Redskins lost to the Arizona Cardinals 30-20 on Sunday.

The Redskins (1-5) committed four turnovers, all in the fourth quarter.

It was the Redskins’ fourth straight loss and 13th in 14 games.

[Read more...]

Five takeaways from the Washington Redskins Week Five loss to the Seattle Seahawks

Here are the five biggest takeaways from the Washington Redskins’ 27-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks:

1. That great mobile quarterback, just not ours.
Russell Wilson is the epitome of what all Redskins fans hope Robert Griffin III will become again. He burned the Redskins defense early when contain was not maintained, gashing them for big play runs on the first drive that ended in a touchdown. The read option always had the defense questioning their positioning. Wilson ran for 122 yards, a Monday Night Football record, where many yards were after contact and missed tackles. The Redskins at time did a great job with their base defense but having to account for a quarterback that can extend plays was too tough. [Read more...]

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.

Washington Redskins Game 3 Review: In barnburner, Redskins fall short in Philly

Despite a career day by Kirk Cousins, including 437 yards and three touchdowns, the Washington Redskins breakdowns on special teams cost them, as they fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 37-34 on Sunday.

The Redskins had a kickoff returned against them for a touchdown and Kai Forbath — after hitting from 49- and 44-yards — missed a 33-yarder in the second half that turned out to be the margin of victory for Philly.

In addition to the loss in the standings, Washington also lost cornerback DeAngelo Hall to a possible Achilles tear. Veteran guard Shawn Lauvao and safety Duke Ihenacho were both injured and did not return. Also, NT Chris Baker was ejected for a late hit on quarterback Nick Foles, which led to a brawl along the Redskins sidelines. Eagles tackle Jason Peters was ejected as well.

Cousins was mostly terrific, completing 30 of 48 for 427 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception against. But on the last drive, trailing by three and time running out, he missed an open Pierre Garcon on fourth-and-10 that sealed the Eagles win.

Garcon had 11 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown and Desean Jackson, who was listed as questionable with the shoulder injury he sustained last week, caught five balls for 117 yards and an 81-yard scoring strike from Cousins.

 The Redskins came out blazing. An 11-play, 82-yard opening drive ended in Darrel Young’s third touchdown of the season. Unfortunately, Chris Polk returned the ensuing kickoff 102 yards to tie.

Another long drive, 82 yards in 12 plays, resulted in Garcon’s 4-yard touchdown catch on the next possession.

Kai Forbath kicked field goals of 49-and 44-yard in the second quarter but the Eagles scored TDs instead, with Jordan Matthews catching a pair of 11-yard scores from Nick Foles, who finished the day 28 of 42 for 325 yards.

In the third, it was the Eagles that settled for field goals, with Cody Parker hitting from 38- and 33-yards while Jackson’s long bomb tied it at 27 at the end of the frame.

The fourth quarter was just as wild. Jeremy Maclin beat Brandon Meriweather clean for a 27-yard touchdown and Parkey made good from 51-yards after a Cousins interception, which looked to seal the win.

But the Redskins scored with 4:16 left, on a Roy Helu 1-yard carry, which was set up by a 55-yard screen pass-and-run by Helu down the left sidelines.

The Redskins held the Eagles to three-and-out and got the ball back, but a couple of short attempts fell incomplete and Cousins missed Garcon on the final play to end it.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Baushaud Breeland appeared to have intercepted a Foles pass. He returned it and was tackled, but Baker leveled Foles right at the end of the play, starting a fracas. Eagles tackle Jason Peters defended his QB along the Redskins sidelines and both players were ejected for fighting.

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 jwbyram@email.msmary.edu

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 jwbyram@email.msmary.edu

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.

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