October 22, 2019

Washington Redskins: Analysis of Preseason Home Opener Win over Lions

GRIFFIN CONCUSSED AFTER HIT REPEATEDLY BEHIND WEAK LINE

Another costly preseason victory for the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III left the game on his fourth series with a concussion and right shoulder stinger, though head coach Jay Gruden said RG3’s shoulder is “okay”. Griffin had no time all night as he was hit on six of eight drop backs, the result of using inconsistent  Willie Smith at left tackle and Brandon Scherff still just being a rookie in this league. You can see all the vicious blows Griffin took last night as well as the play he got hurt on below.

Besides Robert Griffin III, who could be out for upwards of a week and possibly not ready for Week 1 of the regular season, the Redskins also lost another special teams stud. Adam Hayward went down on kickoff coverage with a knee injury that many are reporting is a torn ACL, which would place him on the IR for the second straight year (tibia fracture). Having already lost Niles Paul last week to a dislocated and fractured ankle, the Redskins will put a premium on special teams play to round out their 53 man roster.

The quarterback play was similar to last week against the Browns. There is simply too small of a sample size to evaluate Griffin, who now may be out for the foreseeable future. The small part did he did play looks awful much in part to the fact he was hit on six out of eight drop backs with only one, in which he got hurt, being his fault. For those who will bash Griffin, they will get their chance to see Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy battle it out on the practice field while RG3 is out. Both backup quarterbacks played well last night; however it all must be taken with a grain of salt as they were playing against a backup secondary who were giving up open soft spots left and right.

The running backs were one of the lone bright spot for the Washington Redskins. After only providing 24 yards of support on seven carries for Griffin, also possibly the result of a weaker offensive line, we saw explosive runs behind the backup line. Rookie Matt Jones got things started with a 24 yard rumble up the middle with a good cut to make a defender miss mid way through. Chris Thompson also had a nice run around the right side and similarly to Jones made a defender go for a slip and slide ride with a smooth cut. Finally, the speedster Trey Williams put his track like ability on display with a 38 yard run down the right sideline. Although the Redskins combined for a whopping 179 yards on the ground on 40 carries, 81 of them came from these big plays.

Again the starting defense was shaky coming out of the gates. Yes they were missing the likes of DeAngelo HallBaushad BreelandRyan Kerrigan, and Junior Galette, but fundamentally they were not getting the job done. Throughout the game the Redskins could not sustain tackles and bring the ball carrier to the ground individually. From the starters, Keenan RobinsonDavid Amerson, and Chris Culliver were all guilty of that. The nice part however was the rest of the defense’s swarming to the football to make the additional yardage gain minimal through gang tackling.

The up and down nature of the starting defense continued with the coverage in the passing game. At times Matthew Stafford, without arguably the best receiver in the game Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, was simply dissecting the gaps in the defense (similarly to how Cousins and McCoy would return the favor). The Lions quarterback had four passes, out of his eight, for double digit yard gains. In the end the Redskins defense did a decent job preventing the Lions from entering the red zone. Both drives stalled for the Lions and they settled for a 49 yard Matt Prater field goal over the course of their two drives. Jason Hatcher was a key pass rusher in stalling both drives as he twice hurried Stafford into not converting on third down.

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 Saturday, September 5th.

  • UP: Tackle Tom Compton. With all the problems on the offensive line yesterday, Compton who was used multiple times as a blocking tight end (trying to fill the void of Logan Paulsen), did an effective job. The backup lineman has the mobility to sustain blocks down field which allowed Alfred Morris to gain a 10 yard clip on the opening possession. With Brandon Scherff moving to guard, opening an extra roster spot at tackle, Compton is all but a lock for the final roster.
  • DOWN: Tackle Willie Smith. For Gruden to say Smith played “pretty good” is laughable. The tackle was playing in place of Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams who could have gone it it were a regular season game. Smith was beat repeatedly. Three times Lions defenders got clean shots on Griffin around the outside. Smith was bailed out the fourth time from the fact that Scherff got blown up quicker than he did. If Ty Nsekhe shows he is the least bit competent in being a backup tackle, the journey man Willie Smith will continue his journey right out the door.
  • UP: Punter Tress Way. Arguably the Redskins most worthy player of a Pro Bowl of All-Pro selection might just be their dynamite punter. In a special teams that has been horrendous over the years, the Redskins might have found their changer in field position for the next five years. Way led the league in gross punting average at 47.5 yards. Last night Way averaged 51 yards on four punts and helped his coverage team with directional punts that helped limit punt return yardage to a total of 13 yards.
  • DOWN: Guard Brandon Scherff. Yes he is a rookie and yes he was not the only problem on the offensive line, but the 5th overall pick was absolutely bull rushed straight back into Griffin on a drop back. If Scherff is going to worth the value of his draft pick, he MUST at least develop into a above average guard where he supposedly more suited to start his development. Scherff also had a somewhat tough time on running plays as the Redskins got no substantial runs running to the right where he anchors the line with Morgan Moses. Scherff would say postgame that the play of the offensive line is “unacceptable” and says he needs to work on “everything”.

Everything moving forward will depend on the recovery timetable set for Griffin who has to pass the league’s strict concussion protocol before being able to do any work in practice. Head coach Jay Gruden has already come out and said he imagines Griffin to still be the starter. This might be frustrating for some who want to see Cousins or maybe even McCoy to get another shot at the starting job, but to me you cannot give up on Robert yet even though this is his third straight year with an injury.

Important Dates:

  • Face the Baltimore Ravens for the third preseason game (“dress rehearsal”) in 8 days on 8/29 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 15 days by 9/5.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 23 days.

 

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 19 Observations

On the official last day of training camp (closed to the public), the Washington Redskins went through a light walkthrough before returning to a newly renovated Redskins Park in Ashburn. The day started with President Bruce Allen speaking to the media about camp in Richmond, new stadium talks, and what went into the signing of Junior Galette.

In a quick evaluation of what was accomplished in training camp, head coach Jay Gruden thinks a lot was accomplished and liked that the players came together as a team. Much of that coming together could have a lot to do with teammates sticking up for each other in their scrums with the Houston Texans. Despite tensions broiling over in Day 3 of the joint practices, Gruden reiterated that he will not hesitate to schedule them in the future as the pros greatly outweigh the cons that transpired this year.

The Redskins have struggled in the special teams phase of the game for years now. A lot of that has to do with the lack of an explosive return presence. Last year Andre Roberts was “consistent” as Gruden put it but far from electrifying or providing a spark for the offense. Today Gruden noted that before Jamison Crowder got hurt, he was about to outright win the return man job from Roberts, which is indeed an open competition. The Redskins will continue to experiment with the position while Crowder is sidelined with Chris Thompson, Trey Williams, and Rashad Ross in addition to the incumbent Roberts.

Additional Need to Knows:

  • Gruden said his lone regret of training camp was the injuries throughout the secondary, which prevented the defensive backs like Baushad Breeland and David Amerson from developing chemistry with the new safeties DaShon Goldson and Jeron Johnson.
  • TE D.J. Williams has played in similar offenses to the Redskins’ in the past so Jay Gruden believes the transition will be a little bit smoother, relatively to Ernst Brun who was also signed yesterday to fill the gaping depth issues.
  • When asked about if Robert Griffin III will begin to ascend as a quarterback the way his draft classmates of Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have, Gruden responded with “that is the goal”. The head coach also made it clear that the team has to keep him healthy and playing to begin with, which can be correlated to his recent struggles.

Injury Updates:

  • Jamison Crowder (hamstring) “will probably be out” for Thursday’s preseason game vs. the Lions.
  • DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is out as expected this week though Gruden provided the positive news that the deep threat has regained full range of motion.
  • After hurting exiting yesterday’s practice early with a toe injury, DeAngelo Hall sat out of today’s walkthroughs though an x-ray on the area was negative. Gruden is listing him as day to day giving him a chance to go against the Lions. Hall commented the injury occurred when he jammed his toe but is hopeful that the swelling and pain go down so that he can play Thursday because he “needs the reps”.

Important Dates:

  • Host the Detroit Lions for the second preseason game in 3 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 19 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 28 days.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 17 Observations

After a costly 20-17 win in the preseason opener in Cleveland, the Washington Redskins regrouped to take part in a Saturday afternoon practice on Fan Appreciation Day. Today marks the penultimate practice of training camp as the Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins approaches in less than a month.

With the loss of two tight ends from the projected 53 man roster in the span of days, head coach Jay Gruden said the team will work out additional options “shortly”. In the meantime, Chase Dixon, Je’Ron Hamm, and Devin Mahina will have to pick up the slack. In limited playing time as a blocking tight end last year, tackle Tom Compton will also be considered as an option in running and max protect situations according to the second year head coach. Compton did lineup at the tight end position during a few plays during practice today. With Gruden not confirming the Redskins will bring in another running back behind Trey Williams and Mack Brown it is possible they can use that opening to bring in another tight end option.

Gruden thought that both Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses did a nice job on the right side of the offensive line. On Moses, Gruden thinks that he is “just becoming more comfortable on the right side” after playing left tackle in college. Gruden also said that even though Scherff is a lot better at right guard, he could play at right tackle but it is simply that Moses has progressed enough to earn a starting role. It comes down to the Redskins rather having Moses in the starting lineup than Spencer Long.

Other news on the offensive line comes from the backup center position where Josh LeRibeus was somewhat underwhelming at in the preseason opener against the Browns. Gruden discussed the idea that both Ty Larson (UDFA) and Spencer Long are both getting acclimated with the position. If the Redskins chose to hold only 9 offensive lineman on the 53 man roster, it is likely that Long will be the primary backup center and LeRibeus will be let go. Seventh round pick Austin Reiter could be the backup center of the future for the Redskins, which could earn him a spot on the Redskins practice squad. According to CSN’s Rich Tandler, Reiter was seen today already calling out audibles at the line of scrimmage, an important part of any center’s game.

On a quick evaluation of Robert Griffin III‘s performance against the Browns, Gruden noted that he had a dropped 61-yard touchdown that Pierre Garcon catches “99%” of the time. Moreover, Gruden liked the third down conversion that Griffin ran for but noted the flaws on the fade route thrown out of bounds, possibly to due “adrenaline”, and the missed third down conversion where Evan Spencer might have ran to short of a route.

Gruden also mentioned that he liked that physical runs and cuts that Matt Jones put on display last Thursday night. The head coach did however critique Jones on his developing pass protection skills, which he complimented third string running back Chris Thompson on. Thompson’s spot may be all but secured, barring injury, as Trey Williams looks to be more practice squad material.

Practice Notes and Evaluations

  • Willie Smith and UDFA Takoby Cofield took snaps with the first team at left tackle as Trent Williams was held out (for precautionary reasons with a nagging knee injury). It has been assumed that Compton would easily have a roster spot on the team, but the reps that he is getting overlooked for may be concerning. To me I see it as the coaching staff trying to determine if Smith or Cofield deserve a roster or practice squad spot, while the production of Compton is a known.
  • Halfway through practice, the players were allowed to take off their full padded equipment. When asked about the surprise, Gruden said that it was a combination of things like the heat, injuries, and the team already having completed the sets they wanted to complete with pads on. It is also possible that Gruden wanted to give some of the fans who came out for fan appreciation day an opportunity to see some more exciting and better executed sets.
  • The Redskins did a pretty good job of putting on a show for their fans and it started with Griffin. The quarterback showed of his cannon of an arm with bombs to receivers Rashad Ross, Tony Jones, and Pierre Garcon during 7-on-7 drills. Obviously Griffin was not facing any pressure but execution in all sets is a positive.
  • We have seen Kirk Cousins score in key situations, against Baltimore on a crucial two point conversion in 2012 and most recently last Thursday on a read option take for a score. Quite frankly, no one expects for Cousins to run with the ball very much. Griffin on the other hand he is a true running threat. The former Heisman award winner has not done as much running lately but today in practice he scored on a red zone set on a designed quarterback draw.
  • Colt McCoy seems to be solidifying his on destiny as the third string quarterback after a luck luster preseason showing and then throwing two interceptions during practice today.
  • After seemingly getting back on track with a strong showing in practice leading up to another solid output against the Browns, Kai Forbath took as tep back from the consistency. The projected starting place kicker was a miserable 1/4 on kicks today, making a 33 yarder but missing from 35, 40, and 43 yards out. None the less, Forbath is still much better than NT Chris Baker who had a miserable attempt today (see below).

Injury Updates:

  • Gruden confirmed that RB Silas Redd (torn ACL/MCL) and TE Logan Paulsen (turf toe), adding to TE Niles Paul, will be out for the year. Paulsen will have surgery Monday.
  • TE Jordan Reed (hamstring), WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring), MLB Will Compton (head), MLB Perry Riley (wrist), CB Baushad Breeland (MCL), WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), LT Trent Williams (right knee), and DE Frank Kearse (shoulder) all sat out of practice today. Riley, Williams, and Kearse are new to the injury report but are to be considered day-to-day.
  • Gruden said both Crowder and Jackson are close to returning and the hope is that they will be ready to go fully by the Ravens preseason game.
  • Reed told CSN’s Tarik El-Bashir, that he did some running today on his sore hamstring and hopes to return to practice on Monday.
  • OLB Junior Galette (pec) took part in his first full practice with the team today and though he may have a shot at going against the Lions, the third preseason game against the Ravens is more realistic. Galette later confirmed Gruden’s projection of playing against the Ravens.
  • CB David Amerson (shoulder), SS Jeron Johnson (hamstring), and SS Duke Ihenacho (right arm contusion) were back at practice today.

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 5 days on 8/20 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 21 days by 9/4.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 30 days.

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 Running Back Play in Preseason Opener Win

To the running backs who were getting their first taste of game speed contact behind the power running game of offensive line coach Bill Callahan and against the tough “Dawg Pound” run stoppers. Alfred Morris had an ok night running the football finishing with 8 carries for 42 yards. The 5.3 yard per carry average might look great but if you take out a 18 yard run to convert on 4th and 1, Morris could not pass the 3.5 yards per carry clip.

Matt Jones gave Redskins fans something to savor about. The former Gator bruiser finished with 5 caries for 38 yards including two impressive runs within a span of three plays. The first started with a counter play over the right side and after a spin move, the jets, and lowering the shoulder, Matt Jones had a 23 yard gain (see play below). Jones would come back with another 12 yard run which would be his last run of the game after he came out with a possible concussion. Jones was cleared to return back to the game if wanted, but Gruden made the wise choice to rest his third round pick instead of risking possible further injury.

Chris Thompson preformed decently with with 5 carries for 28 yards including a 14 yard burst. Thompson also solidified his spot on the roster with a 32 yard kickoff return, given the opportunity after Andre Roberts was stripped on a punt return. With Silas Redd going down with a gruesome injury, Trey Williams stepped in to rush for 15 yards on 7 carries and score a touchdown. The speedster has his worked cut out for him if he is going to try and push Thompson for the third string running back spot but had a nice play on pass protection that allowed Kirk Cousins to get off a completion to Reggie Bell near the end zone.

The hope is for both Morris and Jones to continue getting better acclimated with the system of Bill Callahan and to grow as the offensive line unit also continues to grow chemistry. Thompson will likely be the true change of pace back for the Redskins and could get extended snaps in screen play situations. Like the quarterbacks, the running backs have three more preseason games to show the coaches what they got heading into Week 1.

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- Running Backs

Alfred Morris was the best draft pick by the Washington Redskins in a long time. The Florida Atlantic product was taken in the sixth round and was known for not being able to hold on to the football. So what does he do? Rushes for 3,962 yards on 4.5 yards per carry, 28 touchdowns, and just 11 fumbles in his young three year career. How is Morris rewarded by new general manager Scot McCloughan? The drafting of a big and physical runner by the name of Matt Jones in the third round.

Unlike what many may think, Matt Jones is not here to take away Morris’s job, at least for now. Beyond this season may be a different story as Morris will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, both head coach Jay Gruden and McCloughan have openly stated that they would love to have Alfred back and possibly as a career long Redskin.

A big factor for Morris’s future will be how he can adjust and perform in the power blocking scheme of offensive line coach Bill Callahan, as opposed to the zone running scheme he used to run under Mike and Kyle Shanahan. Some have faulted Morris’s drop in yards per carry from 4.73 in his first two seasons to 4.05 last year to his reliance on athletic quarterback Robert Griffin III drawing extra defenders and/or the toll of 876 carries in a short career taking effect. In essence it might just be a make or break year for Morris this season as it is with many players held over from the pre-McCloughan regime. Regardless, Morris will be given every opportunity, like Griffin, to return to 2012 form in an attempt to revive a franchise.

That said, Matt Jones will see lots of playing time and not just as a third down back. As a physical runner, Jones is well suited for Callahan’s power run game. Just look at what he did to Texans CB Kevin Johnson that is believed to have started brawls the next day. Jones will probably be heavily evaluated during the preseason, assuming he gets over his tweaked knee injury, which Gruden said is not too much to worry about. From their, Jones could develop into simply the back that gives Morris a breather to splitting carries with the Redskins’ work horse. Time will tell but whatever it is, Jones is likely to have a significant impact on the Redskins offense this year.

The Redskins have traditionally only utilized two running backs at a time although always keeping a third available on the active roster. Matt Jones took the backup spot relinquished by Roy Helu Jr. who opted to sign with the Oakland Raiders this off season, but the third string running back spot is still up in the air.

Chris Thompson has had injuries hamper a possibly promising career with the Redskins. The speedster out of Florida State made the team as a fifth round pick his rookie year but later lost his return specialist role to Josh Morgan for ineffectiveness. Thompson would later have his season cut short due to a torn left labrum injury. Last year, Thompson was also dealing with nagging injuries during the offseason which seemed to keep him from performing at his potential. He lost the third-string running back position to rookie Silas Redd but wound up on the team’s practice squad.

Things seem to be different this year as Thompson is healthy and ready to go. Gruden has already given the 24 year old high praise.

“I think Chris Thompson is really starting to emerge as a third-down back, if we can obviously keep him healthy. He’s done an excellent both in the running game and the passing game and he’s done an excellent job in protection so far.”

There is still a lot of time before the cuts to a 53 man roster have to be made including four preseason encounters, but Thompson has put himself firmly in control of his own destiny. Thompson was also listed third on the team’s first official depth chart behind Morris and Jones, but ahead of his competition in Redd and another speedster Trey Williams.

Silas Redd is an overall good running back, but lacks the excellence in any particular area as a running back to take his game to the next level. Williams on the other hand is lightning quick and could leave Thompson in his dust; however at 5′ 7” and 175 pounds, it is possible that Williams’s body would not be able to withstand repeated punishing hits of NFL defenders. With Thompson also listed as the third string kick returner behind WRs Andre Roberts and Jamison Crowder, the FSU product is all but ensured a roster spot (barring injury *knock on wood*). All of this conversation about a third string running back might be mostly irrelevant during the season as Morris and Jones are guaranteed to carry the load. Thompson however, provides the change of pace speed that the Redskins will do without in the loss of Helu.

It should be noted that although not discussed as a back, FB Darrel Young will continue in his role as a primary blocker and short yardage carrier on dive plays.

Projected Week 1 Depth Chart: Alfred Morris, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson, Darrel Young

Come back and visit District Sports Page for the next position outlook on receivers tomorrow.

Washington Redskins: 2015 Training Camp Day 5 Observations

With tomorrow being the first off day in the training camp schedule, it made sense that the coaches pushed their players to the limit in order to whip them into shape as the season fast approaches. Although we have seen the players in pads as early as Saturday, today the roster was technically practicing in full pads.

DeSean Jackson took questions from the media and made it clear he is willing to make the commitment to turn this football team around. The elite deep threat was criticized earlier in the off season for skipping out on voluntary OTAs and taking time to film a BET reality television show. Jackson responded by stating “I’m here now, I’m ready to work and focus on the season”. As an injury update of what was reported to be a dislocated finger for Jackson, the wide receiver said “just popped it back in place. I’ll be alright” with little concern of missing any prolonged practice time.

Jackson also provided his own perspective on the talent of some of his teammates. First of his quarterback, Robert Griffin III, Jackson said “I’ve definitely seen progression” and that the more practice reps they can get together, the better. The former Eagle also noted that rookie Jamison Crowder was thrown into the fire a bit but has actually come out with some “great results”. Jackson also complimented his counterpart across the field in CB Chris Culliver by ranking him as a “great cover corner in this league”.

The subject of Griffin’s performance returned to the mainstay of today’s press conference with Jay Gruden. The head coach said, “He’s been doing fine…Overall, I think he’s handled everything extremely well.” Moving onto one of Griffin’s weapons, Gruden has extremely high praise for WR DeSean Jackson. “DeSean has been great since we got him here and …when the balls come to him, make the play like he always does” on having to share the ball especially when Jackson is double covered. Gruden also had kind words for the oft-injured but explosive TE Jordan Reed. Beyond Reed’s normal ability to be a dynamic option in the passing game, Gruden said he has most noticed his improvement in pass protection and the running game in part due to his improved strength and technique.

To continue the beat, Gruden was also complementary of both Morgan Moses and Josh LeRibeus in their performances with the first team offense yesterday, in place of LT Trent Williams and C Kory Lichtensteiger who were given the day off. It would be hard to see Moses getting any significant playing time at tackle in the future, assuming Trent Williams’ contract is extended. The guard position for Moses and the center position for LeRibeus are both adjustments that would take time beyond this season to become starting options.

Practice Notes and Evaluations

  • Rookie CB Tevin Mitchel, who was expected to make the 53 man roster, will have surgery on his left labrum (he had surgery on his right in college) and will likely miss the entirety of his first year.
  • Rookie RB Matt Jones, who did not finish yesterday’s practice with a right knee injury, did not participate today but is listed as day to day. The hope is that the rookie bruiser will be back in full participation on Wednesday after tomorrow’s day off.
  • CB David Amerson did a nice job covering DeSean Jackson on a deep ball that traveled 50+ yards in the air. Unfortunately, the ball hawk corner fell to the ground and looked to have injured his shoulder and would leave practice. The Redskins have already lost Baushad Breeland to a 4-6 week MCL injury and 1 game suspension as well as Tevin Mitchel for the season. Beyond Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall, it is the likes of Justin Rodgers and Kyshoen Jarrett (who would have to convert from safety) to step up during training camp and possibly beyond. UPDATE: Amerson suffered an ac joint sprain and could be back at practice Wednesday if the swelling comes down.
  • OLB Junior Galette continues to work on side fields with trainers to continue practicing an ever evolving craft of pass rushing. Gruden noted that Galette was going to be held out a few more days meaning he could miss out on some if not all of the joint practices with the Houston Texans, which takes place Thursday through Saturday (8/6-8). You can see a clip of what Galette has been up to the past few days below.
  • After second round pick Preston Smith struggled yesterday, the pass rusher responded with a better output today. Smith used both power and quickness on two separate occasions to make T Takoby Cofield look like a rag doll. The Ole Miss product also had his moments as a run stopper, making life difficult for Silas Redd who saw time with the second unit as Jones was sidelined.
  • The battle for a third string running back will be an interesting battle to keep track of throughout training camp. Silas Redd has the most recent experience in the offense but does not necessarily excel in one particular area. Chris Thompson, though speedy, has failed to shake the injury bug in the past and has pass protection to work on after Keenan Robinson made him look bad in his opportunity with the first unit. Dark horse Trey Williams has track level speed but at 5-7/195, there is a big question of whether his body could take a continuous beating.
  • Arguably the most impressive performance of Griffin since his rookie year came today. Yes it is simply training camp, yes he cannot be roughed up, but his quick decision making ability in the two minute drill can translate to the regular season. Griffin was 8/8 and sharply finished the drive for a touchdown while diversifying his receiving targets.

Gruden noted that the off day should be used for a reboot for both the coaches and players, to simply get away from the game a bit.

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 10 days.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 41 days.

Washington Redskins Minicamp, Day 2 Practice Observations

For the last time in a while, the Redskins completed offseason practice on a gloomy day in Ashburn, VA. Minicamp was originally suppose to last three days, but it was decided to wrap it up earlier after just two days, joining the trend of calling minicamp. With the upcoming six-week gap before training camp, much of what follows will be the last taste we have of the Redskins for an extended period of time before the season eventually sneaks up on us.

Although many fans might be hesitant to think that the team is improving after much promise over the past decades, Jay Gruden stated that he is starting to see results with the team. Not so much with the on field performance, but Gruden stated that the Redskins are “physically in better condition”. He thinks, as well as the rest of the DMV hopes, that will have a positive counter impact on game day. The head coach singled out Trent Murphy and Jason Hatcher for proactively getting their bodies in better shapes. [Read more…]

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