Archives for posts with tag: Colt McCoy

Welcome back!  Who’s ready for another season of Skinsanity?  The only team that plays games in one state, practices in another commonwealth and takes its name from a different district is back for more fun and games!  Will the sixth year of the Jay Gruden regime result in the second double-digit win season this century?  Or will this be the fourth straight third place finish for the Burgundy and Gold?  Say what you will about Gruden; he’s the first coach since Steve Spurrier (a pair of thirds) not to have multiple last-place finishes on his resume.  No matter what happens, the Skins will provide theater from Labor Day to New Year’s on a weekly basis (minus the bye week November 10).

Hot Topics in Richmond- the Redskins close the books on another summer in the commonwealth’s capital.  Entering training camp there were questions about the status of left tackle Trent Williams, the quarterback competition and of course which color pants the team would wear.  For the record, I wish they’d stick with gold pants at home with burgundy jerseys and red pants with white tops on the road.

The first preseason game (don’t you dare call it an exhibition) saw a few answers in the 30-10 defeat at Cleveland.  First, the Skins are wearing white pants with the burgundy jerseys-I’m just thankful they don’t have the team name on their pants like the Browns do. 

Second, Case Keenum emerges as the leading quarterback candidate after completing 4 of 9 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown.  The oft-injured Colt McCoy did not play (twisted ankle suffered in practice a few days before) while first round pick Dwayne Haskins completed 8 of 14 passes for 117 yards but was intercepted twice.  Fourth stringer Josh Woodrum?  Already on Injured Reserve with a torn pec.

Lastly, Trent Williams did not practice one snap at Training Camp as the veteran continues his holdout. Reports are that Williams never wants to play another down for the Burgundy and Gold, and even though things can turn on a dime in the NFL this impasse feels Grand Canyonesque.  His absence won’t just affect the left tackle spot, but likely will bleed over into the center of the offensive line.  Prepare for a drawn out finish that will make nobody happy.

Banner Season- last August was the first Preseason in nine years where the Redskins finished with a losing record. If there’s one thing we’ve become accustomed to this decade, it’s dominating the dress rehearsals: now 24-13 (12-9 under Gruden) with a 14-4 (7-3 under Gruden) home mark.  We’ll take last Thursday as an aberration…

Award Season- while the Redskins hopes for an August championship may be dimmed, there is the annual excitement surrounding the “Babe Laufenberg Trophy”- named after the former quarterback who shined in the Preseason during three stints yet never actually appeared in a game for the Skins.  Previous winners under the Gruden regime:

2018- running back Kapri Bibbs: 106 yards rushing plus 119 receiving.  Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton finished a close second with 26 tackles.

2017- linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons: 15 tackles plus an interception returned for a TD.

2016- running back Mack Brown: 39 carries for 227 yards and a touchdown.

2015- wide receiver Rashad Ross: 25 catches for 266 yards and four touchdowns, although LB Jackson Jeffcoat notched 4 sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception.

2014- quarterback Colt McCoy: 73% completion rate for 496 yards and 4 TD (111.6 rating). McCoy came close to winning the first two-time winner of the award in 2017.

This year’s early candidates include cornerback Jimmy Moreland (a team-high six tackles), linebacker Cassanova McKinzy (a fumble recovery and one sweet name) plus wide receivers Darvin Kidsy (5 catches for 86 yards) and Robert Davis (a 46-yard TD reception for the team’s lone score).  Best of luck, gentlemen…

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Sometimes an NFL season can turn on a dime.  In the span of four days last week, the Redskins lost their starting quarterback for the season and fell out of sole possession of first place of the NFC East.  Instead of 8-3 with a three game lead in the division, the Burgundy and Gold are fighting for their playoff lives with a backup quarterback that hasn’t seen regular action in four years.  The 23-21 loss to Houston and 31-23 defeat at Dallas don’t have this team on the ropes, but they’re not in great shape for 2018–or beyond.

Broken Leg, Busted Dreams- the season-ending injury of Alex Smith came on the 33rd anniversary of Joe Theismann’s career-ending compound fracture against the New York Giants.  Before the injury, Smith had thrown interceptions on back to back first half possessions.  He also had his lowest completion percentage and yards per attempt of the season and was sacked three times for the third straight week.  Now the veteran stares into the face of an 8 to 10 month rehabilitation.  Will he be able to come back after this?  And if not, how does this team handle the salary cap albatross?

Colt at the Controls- while McCoy threw a touchdown pass on his first drive off the bench, he tossed three interceptions against the Cowboys.  The new starter has a 73.9 passer rating, but now has a full week of practice reps with the first string for the first time since 2014.  So there’s that.  And didn’t he have his best moment in a Monday night on the road that year?

Third and New- under McCoy, the Skins converted 5 of 15 third downs.  The lone running play saw Adrian Peterson gain four yards on third and one.  Colt completed 3 of 9 passes with each of his completions resulting in a conversion while getting sacked twice and scrambling twice (moving the chains once).  His top target:  Jordan Reed (two catches/conversions in four passes thrown to).

Flying Flags- six penalties for 43 yards against Houston and four infractions for 25 yards at Dallas, giving the team 64 penalties (14th most in the league) for 692 yards (5th highest).  Four on offense (three false starts and a hold), five on defense (three holds, an illegal use of the hands, and a roughing the passer) and a hold on special teams.  For the season, offensive holding (23) and false starts (17) are the biggest offenders.  Morgan Moses has the most accepted penalties (8) while Fabian Moreau (6) is gaining ground; the safety’s hold in the fourth quarter against Dallas allowed the Cowboys to hold the ball for three more minutes and help kill the clock.

Dissecting the Division- the loss drops the Skins to second place in the NFC East, as Dallas owns the division record tiebreaker.  While the Cowboys own the fourth seed in the NFC, the Redskins are sixth-taking the second wildcard thanks to a conference  record tiebreaker against Seattle and a head-to-head tiebreaker against Carolina.  Philadelphia’s rally past the New York Giants keeps the Eagles’ season from hitting the skids…the third place team is ninth overall in the conference.  The New York Giants had a chance to escape the cellar but instead stay in the basement and are 14th in the NFC.

If the playoffs began today- the NFC matchups would have the Redskins visiting Chicago and Dallas hosting Minnesota; with top seed New Orleans playing the Cowboys, Vikings or Skins and the Los Angeles Rams meeting the Bears, Dallas or the Vikes.  The AFC would have Pittsburgh hosting the Los Angeles Chargers and Baltimore at Houston, with top seed Kansas City drawing the Steelers, Chargers or Ravens and New England preparing for the Texans, Pittsburgh or LA.

Competing Quartets, and the Conference Contest- the NFC East is 20-24…tied for sixth best (or worst, depending on your perspective) with the AFC East and NFC West.  The NFC South and AFC West are the tied for first at 24-20.  The AFC currently owns a 24-23 edge over the NFC.

 

 

 

The Burgundy and Gold Glass is overflowing…despite what you may think you are seeing and hearing.  The Redskins’ 23-17 preseason win over Cincinnati proved that this team is even better than they were last year when they tied the Bengals in midseason.  The 0-2 preseason start?  Meant nothing, because we all know that the third preseason game is what matters.  The sluggish start by the offense in all three games?  Merely a mirage as they finished their last two first halves with flourishes.  Don’t even look at the bad from Thursday’s game in Tampa Bay–none of the starters are expected to see time on the field against the Buccaneers.  Quarterback Kirk Cousins says we won’t even see the real team on opening day, as teams don’t “really come together” until October.  So no matter how bad things may get, remember:  this team is much better than their record, statistics or quality of play would lead you to believe.

Captain Kirk–the face of the franchise was less than awesome, completing 10 of 19 passes for 109 yards and an interception.  The INT? Run back for a score.  Unfortunately, slow starts were the rule instead of the exception:  they lost 14 yards on 9 plays from scrimmage in the first quarter against the Bengals.  Over three preseason games the first team offense ran 28 plays from scrimmage, netting just 4 yards.  Once again, Cousins and the offense did come alive late in the first half to produce 10 points on their last two drives–so there’s that.

He’s a backup, not a doctor–Colt McCoy may not win the BABE LAUFENBERG TROPHY like he did last year but he did direct the Skins to a pair of fourth quarter scoring drives.  He does have a better passer rating than Kirk Cousins this month.  And he does look like he could still run a high school paper route.

Running in Place– the team gained a preseason-high 96 yards on 25 carries, with Rob Kelley leading the way by tallying 57 yards on 10 tries.  Even though the Skins still average a tick over three yards per attempt, there’s always going to be the mantra “It’s Only August”.

Better to Receive– is anyone surprised that Matt Hazel is tied for the team lead in receptions this month?  I know– I’m used to seeing Ryan Grant rip it up in August before going into hibernation once the regular season starts.  Josh Doctson remains semi-ready and Terrelle Pryor is still getting used to Kirk Cousins as his quarterback instead of the squadron of Browns QB’s chucking him the ball last fall.  Can we put the bubble wrap back on Jordan Reed until opening day?

Third Down and Dismal– the Skins were 4 for 13 at moving the chains…bringing them to 12 of 43 (27.9%) on the preseason.  Kirk Cousins was 2 for 7 this week…and Colt McCoy was 2 for 6.  The top target?  Our man Matt Hazel (2 second half catches that resulted in first downs).  The top concerns?  Sacks (three plus one intentional grounding penalty), penalties (two moved the chains back) and turnovers (the pick-six and a fumble).  Yardae breakdown: 1-2 on third and short, 1-5 on third and medium (4-6 yards needed), 2-6 on third and long.

In Defense of the Defense– the D coughed up a touchdown to the Bengals on their first drive of the day, just like they allowed a TD to Green Bay the previous week in the first quarter.  Both drives were of 15 plays and 70+ yards.  Bad news for a defense that ranked 28th last season…and worse when another starter is done for 2017 in the form of Phil Taylor.  The veteran nose tackle wasn’t supposed to tear things up this year, but his absence will be apparent on a front seven that already is missing Trent Murphy.  Martrell Spraight (9 tackles) and Will Compton (7 stops) both had solid outings.  Will those translate to regular season production in September?

Special Situations– Dustin Hopkins nailed all three of his field goal attempts, including a 51-yarder.  Tress way averaged over 52 yards per punt.  I think we have our two candidates for the LAUFENBERG TROPHY.

The beauty of the NFL preseason is that despite the fact that the league severely frowns on people calling them “exhibitions”, the wins and losses accumulated during August have no bearing on the rest of the year (unlike baseball’s All Star Game).  Teams can rest players for legitimate or imagined reasons as they’re “finding their rhythm” and then if they don’t produce in August those same teams can hide behind the “rust” excuse.

When I learned last week that the Redskins were giving Kirk Cousins the week off I decided to give the Redskins Rehash the week off as well.  I was getting good typing practice reps this summer anyways.  And It’s not as thogh there is any caryover when you’re getting back into the season grind?  I enjayed

the weak off and have compleat confidense  thaksltsksdf I’ll be ready to go with rakjsdfular season rec&ps when the Skinz host Pitsburg one week from Munday.

 

That said, the 21-16 win over Buffalo means the Skins are now 9-2 in the Preseason under coach Jay Gruden and 20-7 in “don’t call them exhibition games” since Bruce Allen returned to Ashburn.  They can still take the August NFC East with a victory over Tampa Bay plus two Philadelphia losses.  August Banners Baby!

Captain Kirk– the face of the franchise struggled early against the Bills before throwing three touchdown passes in the second quarter.  First four possessions against players who for the most part were starters:  4-12 for 36 yards and an INT.  Last three drives against opponents who might not be with the Bills come September:  8-11 for 145 yards and 3 scores.  Perhaps he could have played last week. 

I’m a Backup, not a Savior– Colt McCoy had another solid week in relief, completing 7-10 passes for 59 yards in the second half.  So he failed to generate any points.  We’ll call it the Laufenberg hangover as last year’s Babe Laufenberg Award winner couldn’t hope to equal 2015’s mercurial numbers.  The only question is will the Skins keep Nate Sudfeld as a third QB on the roster or try to practice squad the rookie.

The Shadow Empire–  much like King James II and his descendents that remained pretenders to the throne of England in the 18th century, it will be a while before Robert III’s followers in the DC Metro area will move on completely.  Therefore every pass, sack taken, handoff executed and snap bobbled by the former Face of the Franchise will be pored over by the Burgundy and Gold faithful.  Friday against Tampa Bay (fans could say they were watching RG3 just to get a take on the Skins’ next foe) Griffin completed 8-14 passes for 119 yards and a TD.  He also was sacked five times.  His August numbers as Cleveland’s #1 QB: 18-30 (60%) for 282 yards and 3 TD’s with 1 INT, 5 carries for 40 yards (with one fumble) and 6 sacks taken.  I’m hoping for split-screen coverage when the Skins and Browns are playing at the same time this fall…

Runningback Roulette– Matt Jones is done for the preseason and Chris Thompson was on the shelf last night…meaning Robert Kelley led the Skins in rushing for the second time in three weeks.  The rookie rambled for 51 yards on 12 carries (making him the #1 candidate for the Laufenberg Trophy) while Mack Brown (not coaching at Texas has freed him up) managed 43 yards on 11 tries.  Not a good night for Keith Marshall– who got injured after one three yard carry.  The preseason finale could become a showdown for a spot in the depth chart and a place on the 53-man roster between these three.

Everybody gets a Catch!– another joy of the preseason is that teams can generate gameplans against vanilla defenses (we’ll give a nod to Buffalo being near Canada and call the Bills French vanilla) that can make sure everybody gets fed.  DeSean Jackson?  You get 4 catches!  Vernon Davis?  Three receptions for you!  Laufenberg candidate Ryan Grant?  A 38 yard TD grab!  Pierre Garcon, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen & Jordan Reed?  Two catches, 2 catches, 2 catches and 2 more catches!  Rashad Ross?  Sorry, bro.  Just a 5-yard reception for you.  How this will translate September 12th against Pittsburgh is beyond me…although I’m envisioning a 3-tight end set just for giggles.

Third and Week 3 of the Preseason– the Skins converted 4 of 13 third downs…while moving the chains on two penalties.  Cousins was 3-5 with 2 assists from the officials while McCoy was 1-6 at staying on the field.  Five of the 7 third downs Cousins was on the field for were passes…6 of McCoy’s 7 third down plays were passes.  Five of the 13 third downs faced were from 1 to 3 yards (Skins converted 3-5), while 2 were from 4-6 yards and 6 were from 7 yards out or longer.

D earns another good grade– yes, these are the Buffalo Bills.  There’s no way that poor quarterbacking has contributed to the fact that they haven’t reached the playoffs this century.  And the fact that Rex Ryan provides a metaphorical anvil to each quarterback he gets his hands on.  They held the Bills to barely over 50% completion rate and under 10 yards per catch while tallying two takeaways.  The fumble recovery by Greg Toler set up their final touchdown of the night and Virginia Tech product Kendall Fuller’s (BEAMER BALL!) interception in the endzone preserved the victory.  Overall, this August the unit that took a lot of lumps last year has played fairly well.  It doesn’t hurt that they have a defensive lineman named Ziggy Hood (one sack).  Cool nicknames always distract one from the actual results. 

Flying Flags– thank goodness they have the preseason to work things out. Ten more penalties for 87 yards…and nine on the offense.  Five holds…and three on Kory Lichtensteiger (when does Bryan Stork arrive in Ashburn?).  Three false starts.  An illegal use of the hands and a false start on Ty Nsekhe…not good news for the 30-year old fresh from playing for the Arena League’s LA Kiss.  Just remember, Gene & Paul had no qualms about cutting Ace & Peter loose in the early 80’s.

Special Situations– Dustin Hopkins missed a 55-yard field goal while nailing all 3 of his extra point attempts.  Tress Way averaged 53 yards on his 6 punts.  No major disasters.

August means many things:  I had better be finishing my summer reading (the Neil Armstrong bio won’t read itself) and the Redskins are back and better than ever!  And I mean better than ever!  Since 2010 they’ve made August their little fiefdom, going 18-6 entering last night’s preseason (don’t you dare call it an exhibition) game in Atlanta.  Thursday’s 23-17 was the team’s second consecutive defeat in “games that do not count towards playoff contention”.

Time for the return of the weekly look back at the game that was…with mind-numbing research, dubious conclusions and snarky thoughts.  First there is some offseason housecleaning as several features that were prominent in previous years no longer fit:

RG3VER- the former face of the franchise is now in Cleveland.  Last year’s best one-liner was that the Skins QB carousel resembled “Star Trek”: Kirk, McCoy and a guy in a red shirt who’s gone by the first commercial.  Good luck with the Browns…

Saved by the Ball- no more Mr. Morris to make the running game bell ding anymore.  One hopes that Matt Jones can at least go to the Max protect, or there will be multiple screeches in the backfield.

Cobra Kai Forbath- we got WAY too much mileage out of this one, from comparing the Skins kicker to everyone’s favorite movie bully.  We ranked the culpability of the other Cobra Kai during Mr. Miyagi’s famed “takedown of the skeletons”.  One likes think that after the disappointment of losing Ali (with an I) to Daniel LaRusso and coming in second during the Valley Tournament, Johnny turned things around (just like he said he was going to at the beach scene) and made us proud.  Dr. John Lawrence has been practicing thoracic surgery with the best of them and is celebrating his 50th birthday this month with his wife and four kids.  Daniel LaRusso still lives in his mother’s basement.  No mercy, indeed…

 

On to 2016–

The preseason loss to Atlanta?  Doesn’t matter!  The first dress rehearsal tells coaches and fans a few things but the regular season won’t begin for another month.  Please get off the ledge and worry about other things, like the Washington Kastles perilous playoff chances.

Captain Kirk-  beam this guy up after a 5-5 for 39 yard performance.  Number 8 converted 1 of 2 third down opportunities and looked solid in his lone drive with the team.  In his limited time on the field he was able to get passes out to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.  Best thing-unlike previous first string QB’s there were no injuries or massive miscommunications.

The Real McCoy- he’s a backup, not a miracle worker!  After leading the Skins to a field goal on his first possession, Colt directed three drives that gained 26 yards on 12 plays.  He converted 2 of 6 third down chances, but four of the six were 3rd & 10+.  He likely won’t win a second straight Babe Laufenberg Trophy (his 72% completion and 115.2 passer rating still boggle the mind), but he was able to get some good work in…

The New Guy- do we even have to learn Nate Sudfeld’s name and number?  How did he get #7- was Joe Theismann properly approached?  The rookie from Indiana (where previous preseason hero Babe Laufenberg went as well) completed 10-15 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.  His 8.9 yards per completion is right in line with Cousins & McCoy.  The three sacks are less than ideal, but for his first NFL game-like experience this was not bad.

Runningback Rotation- Matt Jones gained 1 yard on 2 carries and had a third attempt (12 yard gain) wiped out with a holding penalty.  Will he be the guy this fall?  There are those who are Robert Kelley fans…and he definitely didn’t disappoint with 40 yards and a touchdown rushing plus two receptions.

The Stars of August- receivers Rashad Ross (4 catches for 49 yards) and Ryan Grant (3 grabs for 31 yards) made their impact against Atlanta…setting up the stage for when they’ll be special teamers who get limited looks on offense during the regular season.

Third and…hey, it’s August- the Skins converted 5-15 third downs…with 8 of those 15 attempts coming from 10 yards or more.  Every one of their 15 plays (even the 4 from third and 3 or fewer) was a called pass.  No turnovers and just one sack.  Again, it’s only August.

Grading the D- last year’s unit was ranked in the lower half of the league and many were saying, “once we get Junior Galette back-we’ll be set”.  As many learned in July, Galette’s not coming back thanks to another Achilles injury.  The defense held Atlanta to under 3 yards per carry and under 50% completion percentage…while also getting off the field on 8 of 10 third downs.  But they failed to notch a sack and allowed backbreaking completions of 48 and 68 yards.  It’s August and one thinks they’ll get it all figured out…but the seeds of confidence and concern both show up here.

Flying Flags- 14 penalties for 123 yards!  I give you Exhibit A for why the preseason lasts 4 games.  One looks with a little more concern towards Morgan Moses’ hold in the first half (turned what would have been a 1st & 10 at the 47 into a 1st & 20 at the 25) as well as Preston Smith’s offsides (turned a 4th & goal from the 11 into a 3rd & goal from the 6) at this time…but there’s a lot to be cleaned up in week one of the preseason.  Atlanta had 11 penalties.  And that’s why we watched the Olympics…

 

 

So the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train?  Somehow the Burgundy and Gold have re-entered the NFC’s middle class orbit with a 20-17 overtime win at Dallas on Monday Night Football.  Colt McCoy is a hero.  And the Cowboys come up short in the national spotlight.  Will this turn out to be simply an isolated incident or part of a larger trend?

McCoy is the Doctor who cures all ills– well, maybe not all ills, but completing 25 of 30 passes (for a team record 83.3%) for 299 yards can go a long way towards masking issues.  Colt used his wheels as well–scoring on a quarterback draw in the third quarter and securing a first down on a bootleg.  All while looking like he’s an extra from Summer Catch (you tell me he doesn’t look 15 years old).  There was an interception in the first half–but for the most part #16 made the necessary plays and also didn’t make any costly ones.  Does this mean playoffs?  “Damnit Jim, I’m a doctor–not a miracle worker”.

Alfred the Upgraded– Mr. Morris ran 18 times for 73 yards in the win…including a 5 yard TD that gave the Skins a 10-7 lead in the third quarter.  The 73 yards are the most he’s gained since week three against Philadelphia–so that’s a start.  The Redskins ran the ball 31 times while passing 30 times (not including 3 sacks)…giving the team the offensive balance it so clearly needs with Colt McCoy at the controls. 

DeSean Dominates…and Disrupts– Jackson tallied 6 catches for 136 yards while continuing to provide the downfield threat that will in theory open things up for the running game.  Still, #11 can’t stay away from jawing with opposing defensive backs–this time drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty that bogged down a 2nd quarter drive.  We get it that he likes to “get into it”–but if he could just focus on blocking for the run game instead of trying to show up the opposition, we might have something.

Third and Getting Better– the team converted 6 of 14 third downs—6 of 10 after halftime.  McCoy completed 8 of 10 passes  (4 conversions) while getting sacked twice, while scoring on a QB draw and moving the chains on the previously mentioned bootleg.  The top target?  Jordan Reed (5 catches, 2 conversions). Yardage breakdown:  3 for 5 on third and short (1 to 3 yards needed), 1 for 2 on third and 4 to 6 yards and 2 for 7 on third and long (7+ yards).

D grades well–  they contained the Cowboys for a big part of the game–only allowing 7 points to Tony Romo (the other 10 came when backup Brandon Weeden was in the game).  Five sacks placed plenty of pressure on Romo and Weeden.  Fumble recoveries by Trent Murphy and Brandon Merriweather set the early tone.  Keenan Robinson led the team in tackles again (10 stops) while also notching a sack.  Bashaud Breeland stepped up with 6 tackles and 4 passes defensed…providing more than a few key plays.  Could the secondary be growing up in front of our eyes?

Flying Flags— the laundry list involves six penalties for 45 yards.  Five offensive (two delays of game on McCoy, a false start on Tom Compton, a hold on Niles Paul plus an unnecessary roughness against DeSean Jackson and an unsportsmanlike conduct against Logan Paulsen) and just one on defense (Brandon Merriweather’s illegal contact).  While Jackson’s unnecessary roughness helped stall a late first half drive, Paulsen’s unsportsmanlike conduct effectively put the team out of field goal range.

Cobra Kai– Mr. Forbath connected on both of his attempts (from 40 and 44 yards)…providing the winning margin for the second straight week.  The Johnny Lawrence of kickers is now 13 of 14–and remember, he didn’t miss after week eight last year.  Sweep the leg, indeed.

Dissecting the Division– Dallas despite the defeat owns a half game lead over Philadelphia for first place in the NFC East;  the Cowboys drop to 3rd place in the conference while the Eagles remain in the 5th spot.  The NY Giants after their bye week are 10th in the NFC…and the Redskins after the win improve to 13th–with games against Minnesota (12th) and Tampa Bay (16th) coming up next (so you’re saying there’s hope?).  The NFC East owns the second best record in the league at 17-13…trailing just the AFC North (18-11-1, all four teams have winning records).  Two divisions have flown south for the winter…the AFC South is 12-20 while the NFC South is 9-20-1.