September 16, 2019

Washington Redskins: Week Five Monday Recap after Heartbreaking loss to Falcons

The Washington Redskins fought back yesterday on two separate occasions before eventually falling to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. Usually we would have been accustomed to losing as soon as Atlanta took a 13-12 lead and surely after the Falcons took a 19-16 lead with just 24 seconds left in the game; however, in the end the loss was even more painful at the end.

As Jay Gruden stated yesterday, “Ryan Grant just slipped and fell, it’s unfortunate” on the pick-six that ended the game. Today Gruden avoided explicitly blaming one individual for the end result as he understood that Kirk Cousins “had to get rid of the ball quickly” because “you don’t want to take a sack there in a big situation”. It was summed up best as “an unfortunate play” that kept the Redskins from maintaining their lead in the struggling NFC East. According to Gruden, Ryan Grant was running a stop route indicating that it was not an out and Cousins’ pass attempt was far too wide even if Grant does not stumble. Gruden called Grant a “developing football player” that “got a turf monster at the wrong time”.

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Washington Redskins give up walk off Pick-6 to Falcons after coming back to force OT

Although the Washington Redskins were just 2-2 on the season, they were tied for first place of the weakened NFC East and looking to keep pace when they traveled to the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. With the defense playing their hearts out while the offense gave them little to work with, it looked like it would be a classic Washington blown lead. After losing the lead twice, quarterback Kirk Cousins orchestrated two drives to regain the lead and then tie the game to force overtime. On the ensuing series, bad luck haunted the Redskins as a slip and early throw resulted in a walk off pick-6 touchdown, dropping Washington to 2-3 with a 25-19 loss.

Penalties have been an Achilles heel of the team throughout the season so far. The flags reared their ugly head again as the Redskins went three-and-out on the opening possession following a holding penalty on left tackle Trent Williams. Right when things were looking bad for a beat up secondary, Washington was bailed out by a drop and overthrow to Julio Jones. The latter resulted in the Redskins first interception of the year by Trenton Robinson who was stepping up to make a possible tackle.

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Washington Redskins avoid another disappointing blown lead with late comeback over Eagles

COUSINS, GARCON, MORRIS LEADS 90-YARD TOUCHDOWN DRIVE TO WIN THE GAME

In just the fourth game of the regular season, the Washington Redskins were already in a must-win situation if they wished to stay relevant in the weakened NFC East. With their second straight divisional opponent in the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington knew the magnitude of the game.

The Redskins got off to another hot start in the first half, before having a let down in the third quarter possibly due to injuries to Chris Culliver and Ryan Kerrigan. Before it was too late, the Redskins did something they rarely have done lately: they came back to win the football game after losing all momentum. Washington is 2-2 and looking for a possibility to be tied for first place in the NFC East after a 23-20 victory over the Eagles.

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Washington Redskins: Week 2 Wednesday Press Conference Wrap Up

Yesterday, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and starting quarterback Kirk Cousins spoke to the media about evaluations from last week and a preview of this weeks game against the St. Louis Rams. Here is what you need to know.

Trenton Robinson, who played nearly every snap after Duke Ihenacho suffered his season ending wrist fracture, was named the starting strong safety over ex-Seahawk Jeron Johnson. Gruden said that besides Johnson’s hamstring injury during training camp, Robinson’s speed also helps separate himself from the free agent acquisition.

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Washington Redskins: Monday Wrap Up after 17-10 Loss to Dolphins

So what did we expect? Things looked good when the Washington Redskins were up 10-0 although all fans had to be thinking they should have been up even more. Then when the punt coverage team gave up a house call that Tress Way blamed himself for not getting enough hang time, fans had watched this same story unfold multiple times before. The Redskins hoped that playing winning football would quite all of the off the field drama surrounding the franchise, but instead they are the same team from years past that choked away a lead.

Today things were shaken up quite a bit at Redskins Park as signings and waiving took place along with the loss of key starters.

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Washington Redskins: When it comes to football, Skins choke against Dolphins

Today marked the first time the Washington Redskins were able to let their work on the field talk for them in an effort to get out from under the past few weeks of constant drama. All the players knew that they had to block out the noise and hope they could put everything behind them with a win. Unfortunately, after cruising early the Redskins were unable to finish off the Miami Dolphins and fell 17-10.

As surprising as it might be, the Redskins actually dominated Miami for the first 28 minutes of this game. Kirk Cousins was helped out early with 35 yards from Alfred Morris on the team’s first drive where they marched down the field on 12 plays to get the early 3-0 lead. After a three-and-out from the defense, Cousins orchestrated another drive double-digit play drive but was rewarded with a missed field goal. The Redskins hoped that missed opportunities would not haunt them later in the game.

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Washington Redskins: Analysis of Preseason Opener Win over Browns

The Washington Redskins came back to defeat the Cleveland Browns in the preseason opener 20-17. Although it might be nice to win, the meaningless victory came at a steep price due to injuries. Both tight end Niles Paul and running back Silas Redd had to be carted off the field with ankle and knee injuries, respectively.

Head coach Jay Gruden has said disclosed that Paul is OUT for the remainder of the season due to a fractured/dislocated ankle, see . Last year Griffin had a similar injury but avoided the fracture as his ligaments were still in place. This is not only devastating news to Paul who was penciled in as the starting tight end, but for the team as well because of the possible season ending toe injury for blocking tight end Logan Paulsen.

With the injury prone Jordan Reed already nursing a sore hamstring that kept him out of last nights game, expect the team to add another tight end to the roster. Chase Dixon is one of the last tight ends standing for the team and had one nice catch and run in the game. And although it seemed preposterous before, the chances of former Redskin and ESPN980 commentator Chris Cooley getting a call have gone up slightly.

As for Redd, we are still waiting on the official MRI results but the team is seriously worried about possible ligament tears to the ACL and/or MCL. Unfortunately for last year’s third string running back, Redd will likely not even be able to earn a practice squad spot though the team may waive injury him in order to place him on injured reserve.

Now to the game. Things could have gone better for the starters but things were certainly not terrible. After the quarter, where the 15 minutes were played primarily by projected Week 1 starters, the Redskins were outscored 7-3. Things could have easily been different if Pierre Garcon makes the play on a catchable deep ball that would have resulted in a touchdown. Defensively, Chris Culliver was incorrectly penalized for pass interference, could have easily been called offensive, that resulted in a 35 yard penalty and eventually a Browns touchdown.

Now lets get to the quarterbacks. Robert Griffin III played ok, Kirk Cousins played great (take it with a grain of salt as he was playing a backup defense), and Colt McCoy played the role of a game manager to close out the victory. For a full analysis of the all three quarterbacks performance click here.

For the running backs, who are probably still getting acclimated with the power running game of of offensive line coach Bill Callahan showed out well by gaining 133 yards in the game. Alfred Morris did his usual thing always picking up positive yardage and converted a 4th and 1. Matt Jones had a couple of highlight runs before not re-entering the game after passing the concussion protocol. Trey Williams had his moments including a touchdown run, but did not do much to overtake Chris Thompson‘s current third string running back spot. You can find a full analysis of the Redskins backfield performance here.

Overall the defense did a fairly good job considering the Browns started in Redskins territory three times (twice off fumbles, once after long kickoff return) and also had a pass interference go against Culliver early on. The defense as a unit throughout the game gave up 170 yards and no points when not put in a tough position. The increase in pressure on the quarterback, with blitzing, was evident as the team notched five sacks and many more hurries that were alluded by the scrambling of Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel. The unit also totaled 7 pass deflections and one turnover on a nice last second reaction by safety Akeem Davis on a pass the went through the intended receivers hands.

Now lets take a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling as the Redskins continue their evaluation process to cut their roster to 53 players by Friday, September 4th.

  • UP: WR Rashad Ross. Arguably the fastest player on the team behind maybe DeSean Jackson, the Arizona State product showed he wants to be the sixth wide receiver on this roster. Ross finished with 5 receptions, on 7 targets, for 68 yards. Behind the likes of Jackson, Garcon, Andre RobertsJamison Crowder, and Ryan Grant, there is likely just one wide receiver position remaining on the roster. Many have penciled in sixth round pick Evan Spencer out of Ohio State in the role, but Ross looks to change that and will if he keeps up this performance.
  • DOWN: WR Andre Roberts. Although the former Cardinal led the way with a game high 71 yards receiving on four receptions, a mighty miscue in the return game is what lands him on this list. The Redskins were highly criticized for not only their special teams coverage but also returns last year as they ranked near the bottom in the league in the field position battle. Roberts played the primary role has both the kickoff and punt returner. Last night, Roberts did a little too much dancing east and west and was stripped from behind giving the Browns a short field. Roberts will make the roster simply because he signed a 4 year $16 million deal last offseason, but the miscues have to be corrected for consistent playing time.
  • UP: K Kai Forbath. After having a rough start to training camp that Gruden called “puzzling”, the former Lou Groza award winner is returning to his accurate nature as his confidence continues to mount. After making a 33-yard field goal, not the same distance as an extra point, Forbath also nailed a 52 yard attempt just before halftime. This drew a double arm pump into the air from Gruden who was definitely excited for his kicker. Now if only he could get more distance on his kickoffs.
  • DOWN: G Arie Kouandjio. The rookie fourth round pick out of Alabama was reported early on to possibly push Spencer Long for the starting position at right guard. Everything changed once Brandon Scherff was kicked inside making Kouandjio the backup right guard in last nights game. Twice Kouandjio was slow to get outside on screen passes which meant his man had a free shot at Chris Thompson resulting in a total net of -12 yards. Kouandjio will likely make the team with Long as the backup guards because he is not being pushed too hard by Josh LeRibeus, but improvements will surely be addressed in practice.

There is a lot for the coaches to look at from this game and make improvements on in practice to see development in the rest of the preseason. Excluding the terrible injuries to both Paul and Redd, there were pleasant bright spots for the Redskins to take away.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Host the Detroit Lions for the second preseason game in 6 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 22 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 31 days.

Washington Redskins: Analysis of Quarterback Play in Preseason Opener Win

This was the highly anticipated 2015 debut for Robert Griffin III as fans wanted to see if he has actually been improving from a dreadful 2014 campaign. Griffin played well at times although things were not perfect. Kirk Cousins played well in a backup role facing off against inferior talents so he picked them apart as he should have. Colt McCoy came in with a lead and kept it that way by chewing up clock in the 4th quarter.

On Griffin’s first drive, the Redskins starter converted his first third down attempt with a nice throw on an out route to Ryan Grant, who was starting in place of the injured DeSean Jackson. Two plays later on a decently executed play action fake that resulted in the safety being frozen, Pierre Garcon got behind the defense and was wide open. Although Garcon got turned around by the throw, it is a pass that was well located and caught by all NFL receivers 9 out of 10 times. You can see the play of Garcon’s drop, which resulted in the drive to stall, below.

On the next, and last offensive drive for the offense, Griffin again converted his first third down of the series by making a decisive decision to run up the middle after seeing his first two reads covered. It is encouraging to see that RG3 did not just take off immediately or scramble in the pocket after not having anyone open. He saw the void in the middle of the field and used his athleticism to extend the drive as he should have. Later in the drive, on a boot leg that drew three defenders in heavy pursuit of Griffin, the Redskins quarterback hung in there and made a throw to Ryan Grant for a big gainer while fading to his left. After converting a 4th and 1, the drive would stall after Griffin was unable to execute a fade route in the red zone and the team would settle for a field goal.

Kirk Cousins did Kirk Cousins stuff, he came in and took advantage of the mismatches he had on the field. Particularly with Andre Roberts, who after fumbling a punt return attempt, came back to have a decent receiver performance. On Cousins’ first drive, he utilized his own athleticism by completing three passes off of scramble drills and another on a nice catch by Roberts down the sidelines. The drive was capped off by nothing other than a Cousins read option touchdown from four yards out that no one ever expects.

On Cousins’ second drive, he got help from his running game which opened things up for his quick read completions on short routes. The drive would then stall after Cousins took a bad sack because of not getting rid of the ball quick enough the team again settled for three. Coming back out for the second half, Cousins got on a roll with his backup wide receivers. The possessions was capped up with a Trey Williams rushing touchdown which would be the last score of the game.

Colt McCoy came in just before the start of the fourth quarter and played fine. After coming in backed up to his own three yard line, McCoy put together a nice drive to flip field position before turning the ball over on downs on a 4th and 2 attempt outside of field goal range. The Redskins would go three and out on the next two possessions, but that is not entirely McCoy’s fault has reserve running back Mack Brown carried the ball five out of six times for just 8 yards. McCoy would take one final knee that would run the clock out and give the Redskins a victory.

Final Stat Lines:

  • Griffin: 4/8 for 36 yards, No TDs, No INTs, No sacks, 1 rush for 3 yards, 62.5 QBR (144.2 if Garcon catches potential 61 yard touchdown)
  • Cousins: 12/14 for 154 yard, No TDs, No INTs, 1 sack, 1 rush for 4 yard TD, 112.5 QBR
  • McCoy: 4/6 for 33 yards, No TDs, No INTS, No sacks, 3 rushes for 14 yards, 80.6 QBR

Overall, all three quarterbacks did their jobs. Cousins’ performance against backups is not nearly close enough to take away Griffin’s starting job as he did throw deep into double coverage a couple times which could have resulted in his patented interceptions against starters. Cousins did however better solidify his role as the second string quarterback ahead of veteran McCoy. In the end there are still three preseason games to still determine the improvements made by Griffin and the pecking order behind him.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Host the Detroit Lions for the second preseason game in 6 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 22 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 31 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Season Position Outlooks- Receivers

After playing second fiddle to Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon signed a 5 year deal with the Washington Redskins for $42.5 million. Garcon is the only top five receiver from the Redskins 2012 roster that is still on the team. Santana Moss (FA), Leonard Hankerson (Atlanta), Josh Morgan (New Orleans), and Fred Davis (FA) are no longer with the team.

To supplement the loss of role players in the receiving game, the Redskins signed Andre Roberts, who similarly to Garcon was tired of backing up Larry Fitzgerald and Malcolm Floyd, to a 4 year $16 million deal. Little did the Redskins know that DeSean Jackson would be released by the Eagles allowing Washington to swoop in and sign an elite deep threat to a 4 year $24 million deal.

The Redskins return these three core wide receivers to the roster in 2015 and have also added the likes of fourth round pick Jamison Crowder from Duke University and sixth round pick Evan Spencer out of Ohio State. The Redskins also have last year’s fifth round pick Ryan Grant on the roster to likely round out the team’s wide receiver unit.

At tight end, the Redskins had spent a 2013 third round pick on the dynamic receiving threat in Jordan Reed, converted their 2011 fifth round pick Niles Paul from WR to TE, and have the lumberjack blocking tight end Logan Paulsen who is primarily used in the run game. Although Paul is currently listed as the starting tight end on the first official depth chart, it is much more likely that Reed will be more frequently utilized when it comes to the receiving aspects of the job title.

When healthy and playing at the top of their game, Garcon and Jackson are both threats to gain over 1,000 yards through the air each. The same could possibly be said for Reed as well but his inability to stay healthy throughout the course of a 16 game season has deprived us of seeing the former Gator take advantage of constant mismatches. Niles Paul has shown the ability last season to fill in when necessary, but does not have the same natural ability that Reed possesses.

For Roberts and Crowder, most of their playing time will come out of the slot position in three wide receiver sets. After a poor season last year where Roberts did not catch 50% of the balls he was intended for (36 of 73), the ex-Cardinal could be pushed for playing time. Crowder has lit it up in training camp thus far with his quickness. It is likely that Roberts will continue to be the first option out of the slot, but Crowder will see the playing time he has already earned.

Whether it is Roberts or Crowder, the double team that Jackson and at times Garcon demands results in opportunities for others. When facing single coverage against nickle corners the Redskins have to hope to take advantage of underneath routes when the deep patterns are taken away. Quick easy reads could also assist in the continued development of Robert Griffin III. As mentioned in the position outlook on quarterbacks, it will be up to Griffin to utilize the talented receiving weapons around him in order to return the offense to an effective form.

Projected Week 1 Depth Chart:

  • WR1: DeSean Jackson, Ryant Grant
  • WR2: Pierre Garcon, Evan Spencer
  • Slot WR: Andre Roberts, Jamison Crowder
  • TE: Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen

Come back and visit District Sports Page for the next position outlook on the much improved offensive line tomorrow.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 4 Observations

On the fourth day of training camp it was much of the same for the team as they went through a relaxed morning walk through before another full padded practice in sweltering 90 degree heat though cloud cover helped. The Redskins are fast approaching there three day joint practice with the Houston Texans on Friday, August 7th that will prepare them for their first preseason action on Thursday, August 13th against the Cleveland Browns.

Free agent pickup Chris Culliver spoke to the media about his evolving role as a Washington Redskin and the new defensive culture the team is trying to create. Culliver optimistically stated that “overall the defense is coming along good”. The ex-49er also mentioned that DeAngelo Hall is looking good on the field and they are building chemistry together by giving one another pointers. When asked point-blank why Scot McCloughan decided to give him a chance with his own off the field issues, Culliver mentioned that the Redskins GM trusted him. That same might be said for the case of Junior Galette. A big grin grew on Culliver’s face when the possibility of a dominant pass rush was brought up, he clearly feels the same way when sincerely stating that “the talent here is special”. In a secondary that could see three new faces getting significant playing time, it is good to see Culliver already reiterating that they are all here to get better together.

When GM McCloughan came to talked to the media, he was bombarded by questions about the Redskins group decision to sign Junior Galette. McCloughan, President Bruce Allen, and head coach Jay Gruden all met with Galette for “hours” as they did “thorough, thorough research…talked to over 20 people” that began as soon as they heard the OLB may be released. McCloughan made sure he knew Galette as a person and saw that he was honestly sincere. The head personnel man also went into that the Redskins figured out the truth and that what the media has reported is not always that. McCloughan did acknowledge the chance that Galette will be suspended by the league offense but put his foot down by saying “I will not bring a bad guy in here”. The latter events of Galette’s stay in Richmond culminated with emotions being let out through tears, which McCloughan described as how badly he wanted to be a Redskin.

McCloughan said he would not address Bashaud Breeland’s suspension incident because it was something that he was not on staff for, but did talk positively of the second year corner as well. “He has a chance to be a really good player” which McCloughan seemed to insinuate as all-pro if not better caliber.

After answering “non-football” related questions that irritated McCloughan, the general manager was able to shed some light on the current season at hand. First, McCloughan vehemently explained that they hope Alfred Morris is a career Redskin despite all of the hype of using a third round pick on rookie RB Matt Jones. Gruden also spoke highly of starting running back Alfred Morris who he says has improved his receiving out of the backfield and is one of the few in the league who does not complain about getting the ball. That and his previous three year track record with the Redskins compelled Gruden to agree with what McCloughan stated just minutes before that they want Alfred to be here “for a while”.

When asked about how many wins would define a successful season in his mind, McCloughan smartly avoided setting a standard quantitatively. However, McCloughan did optimistically imply that the Redskins will no longer be the laughing stock of the NFC East because “when you play the Redskins this year you are going to feel it”. Gruden also ended his press conference by saying, we are “building a team such that they [opponents] have to worry about us more than we have to worry about them”.

As expected, McCloughan stated that although he has final say on all transactions including the cuts to get the team to the needed 53 man roster, everyone is involved from the coaching staff to his own personnel team.

Gruden brought up a few surprises went asked if any rookies will not get playing time because of their lack of experience, which he instantly refuted. As expected first round pick Brandon Scherff will receive any and all playing time as the 5th overall pick. However, Gruden also brought up fourth round pick Arie Kouandjio as possibly pushing veteran Shaun Lauvao for playing time at left guard. Gruden also discussed fellow fourth rounder WR Jamison Crowder and sixth rounder S Kyshoen Jarrett as possibly earning additional practice/playing time with the first team.

Practice Notes and Evaluations

  • Tevin Mitchel (right shoulder) will receive further tests, Jeron Johnson (tweaked hamstring) is going to try and give it a go, and Willie Smith (achilles) will be out 2-3 days.
  • Like DeAngelo Hall yesterday, veteran left tackle Trent Williams, center Kory Lichtensteiger, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, defensive end Jason Hatcher, and safety DaShon Goldson received scheduled days off.
  • RB Matt Jones was sidelined for part of practice to ice his leg while standing and watching. He later walked with trainers back to the facilities with a wrap on his right knee.
  • WR DeSean Jackson did not practice today because of an injured finger that is believed to be dislocated though still being evaluated.
  • Newly signed OLB Junior Galette continues to work on a side field to enhance his own personal craft (hand placement) before joining the team practices. We could see Galette practice with the team as early as Wednesday.
  • With Williams and Lichtensteiger sitting out, Morgan Moses and Josh LeRibeus both got the nod to work with the starting unit today.
  • Colt McCoy saw opportunities with the second team unit today and looked better than previous lesser outings.
  • Preston Smith struggled against both Moses as well as third string tackle Takoby Cofield in one-on-one passing drills.
  • Robert Griffin III continues to be fairly sharp during training camp and had looked to improve his deep ball, which was a let down last year for the team whether it be under or overthrown balls. In one particular play today he hit Ryan Grant 40 yards down the field in stride does the sidelines.

For more updates about Redskins training camp come back and visit District Sports Page.

Important Dates:

  • Training camps is officially ongoing and will last until Sunday, August 16th. See a full schedule of the Redskins training camp practices here.
  • Travel to Cleveland for first preseason matchup against the Browns on Thursday, August 13 (at 8 PM) in 11 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 42 days.
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