Archives for posts with tag: The Redskins

So much for the descent into disaster.  The Redskins never trailed in their 27-20 win at the Los Angeles Rams…and for a while it was cool to see the George Allen-era Skins uniforms go against the George Allen-era Rams uniforms.  Now we have to wonder if week one was the aberration or week two was the mirage.

Captain Kirk- the Franchise Tagged One completed 18 of 27 passes for 179 yards and a touchdown…the game-winner to Ryan Grant.  While less than ten yards per completion is less than ideal, Cousins was turnover free this time out and was much better on third down.  Star Trek Episode Equivalent: “The Tholian Web”, where Kirk is trapped aboard the USS Defiant as it phases into another dimension.  Perhaps the Skins’ offense is phasing into a different dimension of its own.

Running Wild- I couldn’t see too well without my glasses…was that USC’s old “Student Body Right” on display at the Coliseum?  The Skins ran for 229 yards…their highest total since last October’s win over Philadelphia (ironically also a 27-20 score).  Robert Kelley provided the thunder (until he hurt his ribs) while Chris Thompson added the lightning (106 total yards on six touches) and rookie Samaje Perine provided the rain (67 yards on a team-high 21 carries).  Nobody expects “Hogs 2.0” to sustain a ground attack that regularly surpasses 200 yards, but consistently reaching 100 would help Cousins and the air game hit their stride.

Better to Receive- at least this time Terrelle Pryor didn’t have eleven targets.  Jordan Reed led the way with six catches for 48 yards while Ryan Grant acted like it was August all over again with his 11-yard TD grab.  Jamison Crowder notched three of his four catches on third down.

Third and Something- the Skins converted 5 of 13 attempts, with Kirk Cousins completing 7 of 12 passes (5 conversions) and Perine getting stopped for no gain on their lone run.  His top target?  Chris Thompson (4 targets, 1 catch and conversion) followed by Crowder (3, 3 and 2).  Eight of the 13 passes were thrown to the short right…while three more tossed to the short middle and the touchdown came on a pass to the short left.  Distance breakdown:  2 for 2 on short-yardage, 2 for 7 on medium range (4 to 6 yards needed) and 1 for 4 in long-yardage situations.  Nine of 13 third downs are medium range or better?  I’ll take that.

Case for the Defense- I’m this close to going back to “Saved by the Bell” references as Zach Brown is producing like a powerhouse preppie.  With 10 tackles, the free agent pickup leads the team in stops for the second straight week.  Linebacker Preston Smith added a sack and two quarterback hits.  Cornerback Josh Norman forced another fumble with his well-placed punch.  Two more takeaways by the team give the Skins four on the season…tying the D for third in the NFL.

Third Down and Lockdown- even though the Rams moved the chains on 5 of 12 attempts, at least the defense didn’t get embarrassed on third and long–holding Jared Goff and LA to 0 for 7 on third and 7+ yards needed.  Bending but not breaking:  Goff completed 6 of 8 attempts but only three of those resulted in a first down (they also sacked him once).  While the Skins allowed both Todd Gurley short yardage runs to keep possessions alive, this was much better than the Philadelphia game.

Flying Flags- four penalties for 25 yards?  Who are these people!?  I’m used to Septembers where this team is committing multiple infractions on the same drive and often on the same play.   Instead– the team’s six penalties accepted over two weeks is the lowest in the league.  Two holds, a defensive hold and a neutral zone infraction were accepted Sunday (a facemask was offsetting and an ineligible downfield receiver was declined).  Jordan Reed is the early leader on the season with two flags (holding and pass interference).

Special Situations- Tress Way averaged 51 yards per punt–placing both inside the 20-yard line.  Dustin Hopkins makes two of three field goal attempts, connecting from 22 and 41 yards while missing a 51-yarder.  It would be nice to have more production from the return game, but there were no major embarrassments and the coverage crew didn’t give up the big play.

Dissecting the Division- Philadelphia leads the NFC East via tiebreaker:  the Eagles and Dallas own 1-0 division marks to the Redskins 0-1 while Philly has the better point-differential.  The Skins are in third while the 0-2 Giants are in last…but take heart as Howie from Hoboken remembers that the 2007 team started 0-2 and won a Super Bowl.

Conference Competition- the AFC holds an early 4-3 edge in the race to 33 wins and interconference supremacy.  The AFC West (6-2) is marginally better than the NFC South (5-2) while each division has at least one 0-2 team.  A different race for #1 is underway…who’s feeling the draft?

SURPRISE!  The Redskins follow another underwhelming August for the starters by losing their regular season opener.  For those who’ve followed this team since coach Jay Gruden took over…did anybody expect anything else?  Backfiring offense?  You got it.  Disappointing defense that made some plays but came up short at the moment you needed them to come through?  Of course.  Special teams stumbles?  Bring on the muffed punt.  The big takeaway from Sunday’s 30-17 loss to Philadelphia was that many saw the seeds of this fruit weeks away.  Now they have to travel cross-country to face a Los Angeles Rams team that is coming off of a 46-9 rout of Indianapolis…and is coached by  Skins’ former offensive coordinator Sean McVay.   Giddy up!

Captain Kirk- the Franchise Tagged One completed 23 of 40 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown…while tossing an interception and losing two fumbles.  The interception was in the red zone and took points off the board…while the second fumble was returned for the defeat-sealing touchdown.  One year after posting a passer rating of 97.3 in two games against the Eagles, Kirk clocked in Sunday at 72.9.  Episode Equivalent?  I’m feeling this is “The Way to Eden”, where space hippies take over the ship and Spock jams with them in the lounge.  The leader of said hippies has weirder ears than Spock.  It’s not Kirk’s fault 100% this episode has issues, but he doesn’t help it.

Running on Empty- one thing Kirk did do well was make plays with his feet, leading the Skins in rushing with 30 yards on four carries.  Running backs Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson combined for 34 yards on 13 tries.  Anytime the quarterback leads the team in rushing, it better be 1975 and his coach better be Darrell Royal, Barry Switzer or Frank Broyles.

Receiving Roulette– in the first game minus the DeSean & Garcon duo, Terrelle Pryor led the team with six catches for 66 yards.  But none of those grabs came on the team’s last three possessions.  Josh Doctson?  No receptions for the 2016 first-rounder.  Jordan Reed (injured toe that isn’t lingering, they promise) added five grabs for 36 yards and Ryan Grant proved he’s not merely a preseason sensation with four receptions for 61 yards.  And we wonder why Kirk Cousins didn’t sign a long-term deal in the offseason.

DeSean & Garcon- I wish I could quit those guys…but the former Skins receivers will feature prominently here this season.  Pierre caught six passes for 81 yards in the Niners loss to Carolina while Jackson’s regular season debut was pushed back as Tampa Bay’s game in Miami was postponed.

Hold the Line- the Redskins front five didn’t live up to their “Hogs 2.0” moniker, allowing four sacks while breakdowns in the running game forced the offense into more than their share of long-yardage situations.  Hopefully Trent Williams isn’t too banged up– the line needs their best player at 100%.  A legendarily bad offensive line is what helped cause the 4-12 crater of 2009…and the thought was that smart drafting and player acquisition over the last eight offseasons had made this unit a strength instead of a weakness.  Sunday seemed to be a step back after many steps forward.

Third and Less than Ideal- the Skins moved the chains on 3 of 11 opportunities, calling pass plays on each occasion.  Cousins completed 4 of 9 passes for 2 conversions, while scrambling for one first down while getting sacked once.  Three passes to the short middle (two conversions), three to the short left and three to the deep middle.  His top target?  Jermaine Crowder (three passes, three incompletions including the interception in the red zone).  Yardage breakdown:  1-1 in short yardage, 0-3 in mid-range (4 to 6 yards needed) and 2-7 in long yardage.  Needing 7+ yards on 7 of 11 third downs is no way to move the ball.

What Brown can do for you- linebacker Zach Brown led the defense with 12 tackles…with two of those stops for losses.  One is always wary of free agent pickups in the world that gave us Adam Archuleta and Albert Haynesworth, but this move appears to be the right one from the start.

Quality not Quantity- Ryan Kerrigan doesn’t intercept a ton of passes, but he makes his picks count.  Sunday #91 returned a first half INT for a score…his third pick six in three career interceptions.  He also notched half of a sack to go with three tackles.  If the veteran can stay healthy and continue to wreak havoc this fall, the defense that ranked 28th last year will be much improved.

Third Down on D earns one- the inability to get off the field was an issue last year, and Sunday was no different.  The defense allowed the Eagles to move the chains on 8 of 14 attempts, including 5 of 9 on third and 7+ yards needed.  The defense was able to hold the Eagles on both of their third down plays, but was only able to sack Wentz once.

Flying Flags- just a pair of penalties for 15 yards to start the season.  That is marked improvement for a team that in recent years has consistently been near the top of the league in most flags.  The first-on Jordan Reed for holding-turned what would have been a 2nd and 10 into a 1st and 20 at midfield-the offense wound up punting.  The other-on Ryan Anderson for offsides-wiped out a Junior Galette sack and moved the Eagles in position to make a 42-yard field goal.  What did we say about quality verus quantity?

Special Situations- Tress Way averaged 40.5 yards over four punts while Dustin Hopkins made his only field goal attempt (a 33-yarder)…and there were no situations where the Skins eschewed a long field goal for a punt.  The return game?  Jamison Crowders’ muff set up the Eagles second touchdown.

Dissecting the Division- Dallas is the week one leader, edging Philadelphia on point differential (+16 to +13).  The Skins are in third place due to the same tiebreaker over the New York Giants.  Again, it’s only week one…they’ll get things turned around, right???

 

The NFL season kicks off this evening, and that means the sports page at WTOP.COM is now over-run with predictions and prognostications.  For all of the goods go here:

http://wtop.com/section/sports/

For those of you who were looking for answers in essay form as opposed to short answer… I’ll hand off right here…:

-What will be the Redskins’ final record, where will they finish in the division, and will they make the playoffs?

Redskins will go 10-6 and win the NFC East…while the rest of the division will all finish 6-10.

-What non-playoff team from last season will make it this year?

The Ravens will bounce back from last year’s close calls and injuries…and shout Oh during the anthem come January…

-What playoff team from last year won’t make it this year?

Denver will realize that a massively substandard Peyton Manning is much better than a Trevor Siemian at his best.

-Which team will have the biggest increase in wins?

The Ravens will win 5 to 6 more games in 2016 than they did last year…I’m also wary about the NY Giants and Indianapolis

-Which team will have the biggest decrease in wins?

The Broncos could crater in a Florida Marlins kind of way…and I’m concerned that Arizona or Carolina will have “market corrections” to 10-6/9-7.

-In what week will Tony Romo return as a starter, if at all?

Tony Romo will start Sunday October 30th and light it up in week 8 against Philadelphia…only to injure his back while trying to slide the next Sunday at Cleveland. Robert Griffin III will be unavailable for comment.

-Will RG3 start for the Browns in Washington in Week 4?

Robert III, one year after being deposed from his the Potomac Valley Duchy, begins an unstable regime on the shores of Lake Erie while many in the Anacostia region root for his triumphant return.  Heavy is the head that wears the crown–for while Robert the Lion-Hearted but Feeble-Kneed directs a campaign into Landover, he gives way to his heir apparent midway through the skirmish.  So ends the House of Griffin in Cleveland…and begins the House of McCown.

-How many personal fouls will Josh Norman/Odell Beckham Jr. combine for in their two matchups this season?

Norman/Beckham Jr will combine for  3 personal fouls this fall…leading FOX to bring Beckham Jr into Norman’s segment where they shake hands.  Sadly it’s funnier than Rob Riggle’s picks segment…

-Who will win each conference championship and the Super Bowl?

Arizona beats Seattle to win the NFC title…while New England beats Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game.

Then Tom Brady sticks it to Roger Goodell as Sully from Southie celebrates on Super Bowl Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BOLD PREDICTION–

NBC and the NFL will get into a major tiff over whether or not Mike Tirico is worthy of their Thursday night games… Al Michaels and Bob Costas taking turns calling them out.

 

 

 

Tis the season to be clinching!  December is when some NFL teams lock up playoff berths and division titles…while others are merely securing their spot in the cellar.  The Redskins 49-27 loss to Indianapolis secures the team’s sixth non-playoff season in seven years.  December for this franchise has changed from the “what are the potential postseason matchups?” to “where is the reset button?”.

 

If this team wants to be serious about becoming a contender, they need to get better on offensive line and in the secondary.  It’s great that they have two #1 wide receivers in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, but if the quarterback of the moment is lying on his back how valuable are they? Keenan Robinson and Ryan Kerrigan are difference-makers at linebacker, but does that matter when opposing receivers either run free through the secondary or are just not tackled after the catch?  This should be an intriguing offseason– one that is in effect already underway.

 

Colt 47–  McCoy threw for 392 yards and 3 TD’s with no interceptions…and was able to keep more than a few plays alive in the pocket while also managing the gameplan better than in his previous outings. He did fumble 4 times (losing 1 that was returned for a Colts TD) and was sacked 6 times (one more than RG3 the week before).  Much like many a Trek Episode, McCoy is neither the key problem nor solution (City on the Edge of Forever an obvious exception) for this franchise.  He’s a quarterback, not a miracle worker.

 

Alfred the Insignificant– Mr. Morris gained 67 yards on 17 carries…but when you trail 21-3 the running game goes into the circular file.  He’s well within striking distance of 1000 yards (only Stephen Davis has reached the millenium mark three straight years for the Skins)…it’s just a shame his play isn’t as impactful as it would be with a better team around him.

 

DeSean and Garcon Show– DeSean Jackson tallies 5 catches for 84 yards and a TD while Pierre Garcon adds 3 grabs for 9 yards…3 for 9?  For a guy who broke Art Monk’s regular season record for receptions last fall?  Does it make sense to keep both alpha-wideouts in Ashburn when the line can’t protect them long enough to get the ball?

 

Third and Really, Freaking, Consistently Ridiculously Long– the Skins converted just 5 of 15 attempts…with 13 passes and 2 runs called (one was a Morris loss on 3rd and goal from the 1, the other a Morris draw on the final play of the game.  McCoy completed 8 of 12 passes for 4 conversions while being sacked once.  Yardage Breakdown:  1-3 on third and short, 2-3 on third and 4-6 yards needed, 2-9 on third and long (7+).  There aren’t many 3rd & 27 plays out there…

 

D earns an F– where to begin?  The defense notched just one sack but tallied two takeaways in the first quarter.  The secondary looked vulnerable while allowing TD passes of 30, 48, 73 and 79 yards.  The defensive backfield had the appearance of playing shorthanded on multiple occasions…while one never thought it would be a strength the fact that it is such a glaring weakness makes one wonder what steps will be made in the offseason regarding the back four.

 

Flying Flags– are you ready for 10 penalties and 68 yards?  Four were offensive (Trent Williams tagged twice–for a false start and a hold), three came against the defense (including two neutral zone infractions) and two came on special teams on an extra point attempt and ensuing kickoff.  The most costly?  DeSean Jackson’s hold wiped out an Alfred Morris TD (although the Skins would score on the next play) and the two special teams miscues truncated the Colts field by 20 yards (they started at their 44).  When you’re allowing 73 and 79 yard TD’s, does shortening the field for the other team really matter?

 

Cobra Kai– a quiet day for Mr. Lawrence– as everybody’s favorite 80’s movie bully connected on 25 and 29 yarders.  Dutch would’ve made those.  Forbath improves to 19 of 22 on the season…but the real story on special teams remains Tress Way: 6 punts for a 46.5 yard average.  This is the role Zabka had to play on “European Vacation” where as Jack he dated Audrey Griswold…and was never seen again after picking up one vote for family president.  Does this make Way Rusty or  Clark?

 

Dissecting the Division– Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day win over Dallas gives the Eagles the NFC East lead as well as the #3 seed in the conference…while the Cowboys drop to 7th in the NFC due to losing the conference record tiebreaker with Seattle and Detroit.  The NY Giants–despite wasting a 21-3 lead in Jacksonville–hang onto third place thanks to their September win over the Skins (they host Washington in week 15).  The Burgundy and Gold remain one spot behind the Giants in 15th place of the NFC– one game ahead of a Tampa Bay team that owns the head to head tiebreaker.  At least they own their pick this year…