September 1, 2015

OPINION: New season, same problems for the Skins

“It’s Kirk’s team.” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, tying his fate
to that of a career backup QB

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The Washington Redskins, with confusion centering around an injury to their starting quarterback, changed in midstream to a new player while questions linger about the “franchise” player’s relationships with the head coach and owner’s box.

It would be funny if it weren’t true. For the second time.

On Monday, Skins head coach Jay Gruden named Kirk Cousins his “starter for 2015 moving forward.” He went so far as to say, “It’s Kirk’s team.”

“When it’s all said and done, after all the film that we’ve gone through, after all the offseason activity, all of training camp footage, we feel like at this time Kirk Cousins gives us the best chance to win. That’s where we’re going.”

This leaves, once again, nothing but questions surrounding the guy that Cousins jumped over on the depth chart.

Robert Griffin III, in a relatively short chronological time, has gone from savior to martyr — and back again. He’s been hailed and pilloried. He’s said some laughable and cringe-worthy things while giving the appearance of caring more about his self-promotion rather than getting better as a player. But most of all, he’s been beaten senseless behind an offensively inadequate offensive line.

Battered, injured, disabled — reduced now to mere spectator while his latest injury diagnosis is debated and contradicted by those within and without the Redskins organization as his job is taken away from him.

Make no mistake, Griffin’s injury only gives Gruden the opportunity to make this call, one the head coach surely wished he could have done from the first day he took the job. He’s been champing at the bit to tab Cousins “his guy.” Gruden much prefers Cousins’ “field manager” ability over the raw talent of Griffin. Well, what’s left of Griffin’s talent after having his knee shred two season ago, which seems like a lifetime, really.

Cousins is no Pro Bowler. He’s interception prone and weak-armed, barely capable of making the necessary throws at this level. But he knows the offense and is capable at times of moving the football. NFL head coaches prefer quarterbacks they can label and manage, and Griffin isn’t — I should say, wasn’t — that player.

So once again, Griffin languishes while a lesser-talented player takes over. It’ll be a while before Griffin is cleared to play, and when he’s able to return, it’ll most likely be at third string behind Colt McCoy — the people’s champion — who will play the entire game in Thursday night’s preseason finale.

There are those that lament Griffin’s plight, calling for the team to trade or release him so that the player might move on elsewhere to try to resurrect his stalled career. Even when he does return from the concussion that sidelines him, it’s hard to imagine Griffin having any serious trade value. There are reports the team has been shopping him with mild-to-no interest from other teams.

Why surrender any asset when Griffin could simply become available as a free agent soon enough? I’m sure there are those that cringe thinking of Griffin in a Cowboys or Eagles uniform coming back to haunt the Redskins.

But Griffin is shell of what he was when he was the NFL’s 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year. The injuries he’s accumulated in such a short amount of time, coupled with an almost incomprehensible lack of pocket presence, have reduced Griffin’s capabilities and potential so drastically it’s difficult to image him having success elsewhere.

But the player deserves that chance.

He’s known nothing but controversy, duplicity and scandal since midway through his rookie year when he suffered his first injury as a pro — that concussion against the Ravens. Ever since, a dark cloud has hung over his once happy head. He’s become an afterthought — a bad joke in poor taste.

And the team continues to look bad in handling every thing about him. They’ve bungled his injury news — and treatment, for that matter — every single step of the way. It’s time for both parties to come to an amicable separation and get on with their respective lives.

It does no one any good keeping Griffin as the Redskins third quarterback, holding clipboards and headsets on Sundays, being a constant distraction to his teammates who will invariably be asked every week at every media stop about his participation and involvement.

It’s hard to cut bait on a player that cost three first round picks and a second. That’s a hefty investment.

But it’s time to move on. For everyone’s sake.

Washington Redskins: Kirk Cousins Officially Named Starting QB for Week 1 and Beyond

ROBERT GRIFFIN III ERA COMING TO CLOSE, KIRK COUSINS NAMED STARTER AGAINST DOLPHINS

Since being named the starter early in the offseason, drama surrounding Robert Griffin III has been mounting after two unimpressive preseason starts to start the year. After sustaining a concussion in the preseason home opener against the Lions, it seems that the Washington Redskins, mainly general manager Scot McCloughan and head coach Jay Gruden, are ready to move on in order to “change the culture”.

Griffin was unacceptably on poor behavior during his Thursday press conference last week when he said “I just work here” while thinking he would make the start in the dress rehearsal the following Saturday versus the Ravens. Little did he know that not only was did the neurologist go back on his verbal diagnosis, but today Gruden told the media that Kirk Cousins would have seen first team reps against Baltimore even if Griffin was cleared for action. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins: Analysis of Preseason Dress Rehearsal Win over Ravens

We could write pages of the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins. Was Robert Griffin III benched? Does he and did he ever have a concussion? Who will start behind center Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins? It is too early to tell all of that regardless of the several reports saying one thing or another.

All we know for sure is what we can see on the field when former Michigan State Spartan, Kirk Cousins received the opportunity of his career to play with the first unit offense in the dress rehearsal for the regular season. What did he do with that opportunity? Lets discuss that along with the rest of important things learned about the Redskins. [Read more…]

Washington Redskins: OLB Junior Galette Suffers Torn Achilles, Out for Season

After two consecutive practices of first unit players getting back on the field, the Washington Redskins sustained a significant blow to their pass rush today as recently signed OLB Junior Galette tore his Achilles tendon.

Few seemed to have seen the injury where Galette went down and news of the possible severity did not break until head coach Jay Gruden told reporters that there is a good chance Galette would miss the third preseason game after being on track to see time yesterday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the news that the injury could be as serious as a torn Achilles injury.

Although nothing is certain yet, teammates as well as a team official or not very optimistic. Galette will see a doctor later this afternoon to start getting a firm idea.

Assuming the worse that Galette is not able to take a single snap all year after signing a one-year deal with the Redskins, it will be up to the likes of Trent Murphy and rookie Preston Smith to pick up the slack opposite Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan. Although this would be huge blow to the Redskins pass rush, they do have two young edge rushers that could soften the blow.

Stay tuned for the latest on Junior Galette’s injury here at District Sports Page.

Washington Redskins: Injury Updates Prior to Dress Rehearsal against Ravens

The Washington Redskins continued to get some good news on the injury front which began on Sunday. For the second straight practice since sustaining a concussion, Robert Griffin III participated fully in practice as he is able to partake in non-contact activities. Griffin will see a neurologist on Thursday who will determine if he is able to play on Saturday against the Baltimore Ravens. If cleared, the former rookie of the year will remain the starter although there is now a renewed quarterback controversy by fans who are somewhat quick to pull the trigger after two quarters of tape.

Besides Griffin, Jordan Reed (hamstring), DeAngelo Hall (toe), and Trent Murphy (hip) all returned to full practice. Trent Williams (foot) says that he is good to go for Saturday’s game, which is music to Griffin’s ears after the beating he took as a direct result of backup tackle Willie Smith.

DeSean Jackson (shoulder) was for the second straight practice not in pads during practice and head coach Jay Gruden said that although the team was hoping the deep threat could go this week, there is only a slim chance he suits up against the Ravens. Despite missing Jackson, the team is hopeful that fourth round selection Jamison Crowder (hamstring) can make his Redskins debut on Saturday.

Speaking of Redskins debuts, OLB Junior Galette (pectoral) seems fired up to get some playing time even if it is just the preseason. The ex-Saint would be on a snap count if he is allowed to play, but it will be exciting for everyone to see the bookends of Galette and Ryan Kerrigan develop into what many expected with Brian Orakpo. After sitting out the first two preseason games for precautionary reasons after having his knee scoped, Kerrigan is expected to suit up.

Safety Akeem Davis (grade two hamstring) and DE Frank Kearse (shoulder) have already been ruled out for the third preseason game by Gruden.

Important Dates:

  • Face the Baltimore Ravens for the third preseason game (“dress rehearsal”) in 4 days on 8/29 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 11 days by 9/5.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 19 days.

Washington Redskins Get Good Injury News on Fan Appreciation Day #2 at Redskins Park

The Washington Redskins were limping into their second preseason game against the Detroit Lions last Thursday. Things did not get better when Robert Griffin III left the game early with a concussion and later when special team’s captain Adam Hayward suffered a non-contact ACL injury. Less than three days removed from the horror, the Redskins started to get healthier on all fronts starting with QB1 RG3.

Robert Griffin III was in full pads today in practice and although it is believed he could only go through individual drills due to the concussion protocol, head coach Jay Gruden later explained that the quarterback was cleared for “non-contact” activity today.

“He’ll be checked by a neurosurgeon later this week to determine whether he’ll be cleared for the game [at Ravens on Saturday]. But, so far, so good. He didn’t have any headaches or anything of that nature. He did a good job of executing the offense today.”

Griffin looks to be on a somewhat accelerated timetable to return to game action as he took part in throwing drills today which is thought of as the 4th step of the five step concussion protocol. Gruden discussed the how the concussion protocol was taking shape:

“He just went through the necessary steps with the doctors and the concussion tests that is all implemented by our training staff. And so far, he has taken the necessary steps. You know, it’s been two full days and today is Sunday afternoon so he has had some time to recover and go through the necessary steps. He hasn’t been totally cleared yet. Like I said, he’s got to still go to a neurosurgeon. But, we’ll wait and see.”

Griffin will likely speak to the media later this week and will start against the Ravens on Saturday if he is completely cleared by the aforementioned neurologist. Gruden thinks that Griffin will have a good chance to get in the necessary reps on Saturday as he has already started to take the “necessary steps” in clearing the protocol. Although Gruden said the first team offense is “moving forward” there is still a lot of work to be done, which is why these opportunities to get better before things start to count is essential.

Practice Notes and Evaluations:

  • TE Derek Carrier, acquired from San Francisco for a 2016 5th round pick, is wearing #41 not the previously reported #47 previously donned by Chris Cooley (still do not expect anything). Gruden described the Beloit College product as being “very good” and likes that he “competes in the running game” after putting on weight from his wide receiver days.
  • In limited work today, DeSean Jackson fielded some punts today and could probably be used in rare occasions when the team is in a big need of a spark. Jackson is easily the most explosive player on the team.
  • Kirk Cousins went 5/5 for 80 yards during 7-on-7 drills including a 50 yard run and catch to Rashad Ross.
  • Although it surprised many that Griffin was already taking part in non-contact team drills, the former rookie of the year looked fine in individual drills in his footwork to roll out and throwing on the move. Griffin later exploded through a crease during live play for a 30 yard rushing touchdown where he used his track speed to break away from trailing defenders.

Injury Updates:

  • Jamison Crowder (hamstring), Will Compton (groin), Trent Williams (foot), and Baushad Breeland (MCL) with a knee brace all returned to practice in full pads. Breeland took part in team drills as the first unit nickelback. All are making very good progress from their injuries.
  • DeSean Jackson (shoulder), DeAngelo Hall (toe), and Jordan Reed did NOT participate in a full padded practice with the rest of the team. Jackson and Hall were in practice jerseys without pads and took part in individual drills, Jackson hopes to practice fully at some point this week. Gruden believes Jackson and Reed are both close to returning to 100%.
  • In a couple of new injuries, Kai Forbath (sore quad) and Trent Murphy (aggravated hip) were held out of practice though they are just day-to-day and Gruden did not seem too concerned about either injuries.

Important Dates:

  • Face the Baltimore Ravens for the third preseason game (“dress rehearsal”) in 6 days on 8/29 at 7:30 PM.
  • The final cuts to a 53 man roster will take place over the next 13 days by 9/5.
  • Season and home opener against Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 13 in 21 days.

Washington Redskins: Updated Unofficial Depth Chart prior to Preseason Bout with Ravens

The Washington Redskins have made some changes to their unofficial depth chart heading into the “dress rehearsal” preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday. You can see the full depth chart below as the cuts to the 53 man roster have to be finalized by September 5th. In bold we have denoted those who are locks to make the roster, while those names that are italicized are individuals who we expect to round out the 53 man roster.

With 46 locks, we predict that Rashad Ross (WR6), Ty Nsekhe (RT2), Je’Ron Hamm (TE3), Kedric Golston (DE4), Frank Kearse (DE5), Houston Bates (OLB5), Martrell Spaight (MLB4), and Justin Rodgers (CB5*) to be on the 53 man roster starting week 1. Although there are 8 players listed to possible make the team leading to 53 man players, CB Baushad Breeland will not count towards the Week 1 53 man roster while serving his one game suspension. It is possible that Justin Rodgers could be gone come Week 2 when Breeland returns unless he can convince the coaching staff to keep him on the roster at the expense of someone else.

Need to Know Changes from Previous Depth Chart:

  • With the season ending injuries to Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen, the Washington Redskins acquired TE Derek Carrier from the San Francisco 49ers for a 5th round draft pick in 2016. Je’Ron Hamm currently seems to be slightly ahead of Chase Dixon and Devin Mahina in the competition for the third tight end roster spot. Ernst Brun and D.J. Williams who were recently signed seem to be long shots to make the team.
  • After the Redskins lost another special teams standout in Adam Hayward, it was Terrance Plummer and not 5th round draft pick Martrell Spaight given the MLB4 spot on the depth chart. Though it is still expected for Spaight to make the team, fully expect that all borderline competitions to possible be determined by the impact said individuals can make on special teams.
  • Chris Thompson, who is expected to make the team as the third string running back, has now leapfrogged Andre Roberts into the starting kickoff return role. There have been only one chance for the Redskins to return a kickoff during the preseason due to touchbacks, so this position is not set in stone.

Surprising Non-Changes to Depth Chart:

  • After being absolutely destroyed on multiple occasions when starting at left tackle for an injured Trent Williams, inconsistent lineman Willie Smith is still listed as backing up the Silverback. Tom Compton has continued to be listed as the third string right tackle, but his newly found role as a blocking tight end makes us consider him a lock to make the roster.
  • Houston Bates has not made up any ground on Jackson Jeffcoat according to the new depth chart, but it is possible that the flashy pass rusher is making a case for a roster spot with three sacks in the first two preseason games. With the injury to Hayward, a linebacker spot opens up for the taking. Expect Bates to be required to also make a difference on special teams in order to make the team.
  • Similarly to Bates, talented OLB Junior Galette has still been listed as the third string WLB although he could possibly start Week 1 against the Dolphins barring a lack of chemistry with the team in his recent arrival and/or a possible suspension for off the field issues.

Do not take any of these rankings too seriously as much can still change up to and beyond the start of the regular season. District Sports Page will keep you updated on the latest changes in position battles that could come down to the wire.

Position First String Second String Third String Other
WR1 DeSean Jackson Ryan Grant Jamison Crowder Rashad Ross
LT Trent Williams Willie Smith Takoby Cofield
LG Shawn Lauvao Arie Kouandjio Bryce Quigley
C Kory Lichtensteiger Josh LeRibeus Austin Reiter
RG Brandon Scherff Spencer Long Tyler Larsen
RT Morgan Moses Ty Nsekhe Tom Compton
TE Jordan Reed Derek Carrier Je’Ron Hamm Chase Dixon, Devin Mahina
WR2 Pierre Garçon Andre Roberts Evan Spencer Colin Lockett, Tony Jones, Reggie Bell
QB Robert Griffin III Kirk Cousins Colt McCoy
FB Darrel Young Jordan Campbell
RB Alfred Morris Matt Jones Chris Thompson Trey Williams, Mack Brown
LDE Stephen Paea Kedric Golston Corey Crawford
NT Terrance Knighton Chris Baker Jerrell Powe Travian Robertson
RDE Jason Hatcher Ricky Jean Francois Frank Kearse Robert Thomas
SLB Trent Murphy Jackson Jeffcoat Houston Bates Dyshawn Davis
MLB Keenan Robinson Will Compton Martrell Spaight
MLB Perry Riley Jr. Terrance Plummer Alonzo Highsmith
WLB Ryan Kerrigan Preston Smith Junior Galette Sage Harold
CB DeAngelo Hall Bashaud Breeland Justin Rogers Trey Wolfe, Qunton Dunbar
CB Chris Culliver David Amerson Deshazor Everett Tajh Hasson, Bryan McCann, DreQuan Hoseky
SS Duke Ihenacho Jeron Johnson Akeem Davis DaMon Cromartie-Smith
FS Dashon Goldson Trenton Robinson Kyshoen Jarrett
P Tress Way
K Kai Forbath Ty Long
H Tress Way
LS Nick Sundberg
KR Chris Thompson Andre Roberts Jamison Crowder
PR Andre Roberts Jamison Crowder Rashad Ross

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: Preseason Week 2 vs. Lions What to Watch For

If you think you can make generalizations about the Washington Redskins outlook for the regular season from last weeks play, you are probably wrong. The sample size is simply too small. The starters played roughly a quarter and were not 100% healthy. Robert Griffin III only threw the ball a grand total of eight times, and saying that Kirk Cousins‘s stellar play against backups and soon to be unemployed players is worthy of a starting job is preposterous.

Unfortunately we are not going to see too much more from the starters this week when they host the Lions either. Head coach Jay Gruden said the first units will likely go at least a quarter and possibly a little beyond that based on how many snaps each side gets. In short, it will be tough to evaluate the play of the starters again. Starting with the third preseason game against the Ravens, where the starters could play upwards of three quarters, we might be able to make small generalizations.

But just because there is a limited sample size to evaluate from the starters from does not mean that the second preseason game is not worth watching. Like last week, it will be a great opportunity for those further down the depth chart to showcase why they think they should be on the 53 man roster.

  • Colt McCoy orchestrating the backup offense. With all the talk that Cousins should be the starter over RG3 last week, many forgot that there is currently an open competition for the backup quarterback spot. This week it will be McCoy’s chance to light it up against backups after taking a game managing role last week to close out the win over the Browns. Cousins seems to have put himself ahead in the race and a bad showing by the Texas product could seal his fate as the third string QB.
  • The running attack as the power run scheme of Bill Callahan continues to develop. Last week we saw Alfred Morris and Matt Jones combine for three explosive runs. We saw the physicality level increase and we shall watch for more of the same. It will not show in preseason, but during the regular season that will result in the wearing down of the defensive line. We should also look for Chris Thompson to continue providing a change of pace option for the Redskins in his search to secure his third string running back spot after Silas Redd tore his ACL/MCL last week. NOTE: Redd did clear waivers and was placed on the Redskins injured reserve list joining the likes of Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen.
  • The right side of the offensive line with the combination of Brandon Scherff at guard and Morgan Moses at tackle. Last week the young duo was never put in too many tough positions and held their own against a talented Browns front seven. The more time they get together the more comfortable they should become. This week and the rest of preseason will be used to continue their development in hopes of producing an upgrade from last year.
  • Although there a handful of injuries to notable defenders for the Redskins, the starters are more or less penciled in. It will be nice to see a couple of three and outs with a turnover from the improved unit, but they will have their hands full with Calvin Johnson. It will be interesting to watch who takes on the assignment of the 6′ 5” Megatron as Chris Culliver is more of a slot corner, while DeAngelo Hall might not be able to go with a toe injury. From the front seven, the degree of pressure and effectiveness in stopping the run will be worth observing.
  • The dreaded special teams, can we see improvement? Kicker Kai Forbath has been inconsistent in practice thus far but if he continues his strong play in game time situations all will be set. The former Lou Groza award winner however HAS to try and get his kickoffs deeper in the end zone because the return coverage is still exposed constantly. For the Redskins own return options, watch of Andre Roberts, Chris Thompson, and possibly Rashad Ross get a crack at the duties while rookie Jamison Crowder is likely to sit with a hamstring injury.

Although there are key pieces of the game to watch for as detailed above, there will be little support for wild speculation even if the team executes perfectly or not at all.

Check back on Friday morning for a full analysis of the Redskins hosting of the Detroit Lions after doing battle Thursday Night with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 PM.

2015 Washington Redskins Position Preview: Secondary

One of the major issues for the Washington Redskins in recent years has been the struggle of their defensive secondary unit to hold opponent’s aerial attacks at bay. With that being said, DSP finishes our preview of this year’s defense with a look at this group that has great potential to improve this season.

[Read more…]

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