1. they score 35 or more points. The Skins are allowing nearly 34 a game in their last 5 so simple math says they need 35 to win. Treating each offensive drive as if they must score is the mindset required so being very aggressive should be the approach. Specifically, mixing in some of their hurry-up "turbo" offense might help. I hope they consider going for it on 4th and short with decent field position. Any more than 3 punts in this game is a recipe for a loss.
2. the defense gives them something. The Skins' D has given up points on 8 of its last 10 drives including 6 of 8 against the Vikings. Generating at least an occasional pass rush would be nice. Nick Foles has been red hot so getting him out of rhythm with a legit pass rush seems like a must-have. Bottom line, if they can get Philly off the field on half of their drives....say 5 of 10, then that's a good day for this defense and it should give them a chance to win.
3. they make no more than 2 big mistakes. It seems like a given that this team will make an error or 4 on Sp Teams, a penalty or 6 when you least need it, or a mixed up coverage that matches Perry Riley against a wide receiver. To have a chance in Philly, any more than 2 of these types of mistakes will doom them.
This game is a pretty much must-win and in similar spots this year at Oakland and at home against Chicago and San Diego, they've played well.
QB (3)--Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Rex Grossman-- I still think the overwhelming odds favor 3 QBs vs. 4 with Pat White. Maybe White will conveniently hurt his shoulder tomorrow night against Tampa and find his way to the IR....#stash.
RB (4)--Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr., Evan Royster, Chris Thompson--I guess Royster's injury could cost him a spot to the impressive Keiland Williams' preseason but I think they believe he's their most natural runner and is more capable as a 20+carry per game back if he had to do it. I think Thompson is too much of a practice squad risk.....his potential as a speedy playmaker and potential returner is too enticing.
FB (1)--Darrell Young
TE (4)--Fred Davis, Logan Paulson, Jordan Reed, Niles Paul-- 4 tight ends has been the # since before camp started....nothing we've seen changes that.
OL (8)--Trent Williams, Kory Lichtensteiger, Wil Montgomery, Chris Chester, Tyler Polumbus, Tom Compton, Adam Gettis, Josh LeRibeus--LeRibeus reporting to camp in poor shape still puts him in some jeopardy. I don't think his draft status as a 3rd-rounder will make much difference in the decision so it won't shock me if they cut him. I think Pashos goes knowing they could probably get him back if needed.
NT (2)--Barry Cofield, Chris Neild
DE (4)--Stephen Bowen, Kedrick Golston, Chris Baker, Phillip Merling-- Jarvis Jenkins back after Week 5.
OLB (4)--Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Brandon Jenkins, Darryl Tapp-- Rob Jackson comes back Week 5.
ILB (4)--London Fletcher, Perry Riley, Nick Barnett, Brian Kehl-- Barnett gives them their only experienced back-up LB.
CB (6)--DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, David Amerson, EJ Biggers, Chase Minnifield, Jerome Murphy-- Murphy makes it after the injury to Crawford. He may have made it anyway.
S (5)--Brandon Merriweather, Reed Doughty, Baccari Rambo, DJ Gomes, Jordan Pugh-- If Gomes goes then it's Gumbs.
The good, bad, and more from the preseason win over Pittsburgh.
1. Ryan Kerrigan. He plays with incredible athletic anticipation. He knows what you're going to do before you know it and it allows him to anticipate where the ball is going. The plays he usually makes involve taking the football from the other team. He has 3 interception returns for scores (2 in regular season; 1 preseason) since being drafted and I think all of them were picked off behind the line of scrimmage. He also had a strip/forced fumble tonight which he's done a few times in the regular season as well. He was a playmaker in college and he's already a proven playmaker in the pros. If Orakpo can become a consistent pass-rush threat, Kerrigan will thrive more this year than he did last year.
2. Barry Cofield. Unfortunately he got hurt but before the injury he played very well. He was dominant against one of the best young centers (Pouncey) in the league.
3. Leonard Hankerson. Same as with Cofield, he played well before leaving with a strained knee. His one-handed touchdown catch was his second TD catch in two preseason games.
4. Reed Doughty. He's a necessity on this team even if he never sees the field on defense. His special teams production will be big this year particularly in lieu of the loss of Lorenzo Alexander to free agency.
5. Rex Grossman. Rex played well and moved the team. The interception was not his fault. Jordan Reed didn't run the run rout well.
6. Defensive urgency. The defense gave up plays but they came out flying around the field as if it were a regular season game. In addition to guys already mentioned (Kerrigan & Cofield), Fletcher, Tapp, Biggers, and Riley were among several defensive players that played with huge energy.
1. Injuries. Cousins, Cofield, Hankerson, and Robinson for starters. Cousins was on crutches after the game so his injury appears to be the one to watch. Cofield told Doc Walker after the game that he would be ready for the opener.
2. Penalties. A second straight week of some stupid 15-yd penalties. Gomes' first 15-yarder was awful.
3. Turnovers. 4 of them including an ugly-looking missed block on Pittsburgh LB Jarvis Jones who showed up simultaneously with a pitch to Keiland Williams in the backfield.
4. Early offense. In rhythm against Tennesee, the starting offense never got into the same rhythm tonight. Before Cousins got hurt, just 23 yards and one first down.
5. DeJon Gomes. Two 15-yd penalties including a bad one on the sideline. He took a few bad angles in space that resulted in lost yardage as well.
1. Why was Josh Morgan returning 2nd-half kickoffs against players looking to make Pittsburgh's team with big hits?
2. In case you haven't been paying attention, the read-option component of the Redskins' offense isn't going anywhere. Helu scored on a beautiful read-option run after White had made big yards on QB read-option keepers.
3. An early 3rd and 4 highlighted the problem the Redskins have with pass protection in fairly obvious pass situations. Cousins had no time and was sacked. If it had been a regular season game, my guess is that they would have gone pistol and made the opposing defense think read-option was a possibility. That was the key to reducing pass-rush pressure last year.
For many, March is all about college hoops. It's always been a month that has been terribly overrated in my eyes, at least if you like high quality offense instead of being 'offended' by the choppy product that swallows up the nation's focus.
For an NFL die-hard, March is just an insane month. For somebody who covers an NFL team that never stops making news, it is pure un-adulterated mayhem.
The Redskins have so many issues and questions heading into free agency, the new league year and the annual draft - so we will cover as many as we can.
1. What impact will London Fletcher's situation have moving forward?
The captain of the defense has been largely un-committal about playing in 2013, since his post game comments following the Seattle playoff loss. He told longtime Redskins reporter David Elfin http://cbsloc.al/ZqUzIa that he was having surgery today on his ankle and later this month on his elbow to try and play this upcoming season, saying to Elfin, "Surgery is the first step towards prepping for next season.”
Fletcher confirmed the news via his own twitter saying " @LFletcher59 Surgery went great...thanks for all the well wishes! Prep begins now for season 16!#Monster216#HTTR."
So you have that cleared up, but unless I am missing something, there is no guarantee that he will be able to play at a high enough level in his mind to go through the rigors of a long season.
The other issue and perhaps the one of greatest significance, is do the Redskins feel he will able to play at a high enough level to keep him on the roster next Tuesday at a cost of about 6.2 million under the team's strapped cap? The decision does not actually have to be made on Tuesday or before, as the Redskins can simply cut or re-structure other contracts to get under the mandated league number by 4 PM Tuesday, but the question has to be asked.
The Redskins are roughly 3 million over, and facing a potential loss of their special teams captain, Lorenzo Alexander, a deadly weapon (when on the field) in tight end, Fred Davis and perhaps 2/5th of their starting offensive line. Not to mention, several key contributors and starters like Logan Paulsen, Darrel Young and Rob Jackson are restricted free agents.
Washington would only save an estimated 3.4 million by letting go of Fletcher before March 12, because of a "dead-money" cap hit of about 2.8 million dollars, as part of the 3.5 million dollar guaranteed bonus Fletcher received last year. Still for a team that is being unfairly punished by the NFL, that 3.4 million might be a saving grace.
Don't get me wrong, they have a lot of other work to do to free up enough space to give them operating room for tendering & signing restricted free agents, and perhaps making a push to bring back some of their unrestricted free agents, but here's the 3.4 million dollar question....How much would that saving help the big picture?
Would it keep Lorenzo Alexander in DC? Is there anyway to cut Fletcher now, under the premise that you will bring him back on a much smaller base salary than his currently scheduled 5.5 million? I think you can try that, but unless Fletcher agrees to that pre-arranged deal, it is a large risk.
Or can you keep Fletcher for now, absorbing the 6.2 million figure while giving his body time to heal and buying more time. That plan would allow you to not only see what your other options are, but also set up a situation that if Fletcher decides to retire after June 1st, the Redskins would save not only the 5.5 million in base salary, but the dead-money hit would only be 700,00 this year and 2.1 million in 2014.
So many questions and clearly not enough answers. My money is on the Redskins holding on to Fletcher through the league year deadline and working other contracts to buy cap room. That's only a guess, as the team is as tight-lipped as any sports organization can get (which makes my life incredibly harder) but I just don't know how you can sacrifice a lot of what you are about, for 3 million dollars worth of space.
2. Will Santana Moss and DeAngelo Hall be released or have their contracts slashed instead of re-structuring?
Hall is a relatively easy contract to work with. He is on the books for 7.5 million in base salary with a workout bonus of 50 K. His contract for 2014 calls for a 9 million dollar base salary, with the same workout bonus.
Hall said at the end of the year, that he wanted to stay in Washington and would be willing to essentially take less. However, did that mean a re-structure or an actual pay cut? If the Redskins were to simply re-structure by converting base to bonus, they could save somewhere between 5.5 - 6.5 million. However the guaranteed money would then have to be split in terms of amortization over this year and 2014, which is not something I would want to do on a contract that currently has no dead money.
I would ask Hall to take a pay cut from 7.5 to 2.5 million this year, while worrying about next year when you have to (next year) and save 5.0 million dollars under the 2013 cap. If he doesn't accept that, sorry DeAngelo but goodbye and then the Redskins would save 7.5 million and perhaps the full 8.0 depending on how the actual calculation of the bonus is interpreted.
The problem with that plan, cornerback is a much bigger position of need for the Redskins than wide receiver is and Hall is a valuable member of the unit, despite some of his inconsistency. He's an even more important member of the defense, because Josh Wilson struggled last year, while Cedric Griffin is an unrestricted free agent. Combine that with the uncertainty at safety, and you have a key necessary ingredient in Hall to 2013. Is he even more important to the defense than retaining Fletcher or Alexander? Most would scoff, but I am not asking that question for no reason.
Which brings us to Moss, who led the Redskins in touchdown receptions last year, with 8 along with 41 catches for 573 yards. Certainly those are not numbers that would traditionally blow anybody's socks off, but considering how prolific the Redskins running attack was and how they were able to spread the ball around to Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson and the tight ends, I don't know if it would be feasible to expect anything more.
Moss will be 34 before the season begins, and counts for about 6.167 million on the Redskins salary cap. He is entering the final year of his deal, so it was very likely that this would be his final year in Washington anyway. If the Redskins were to release Moss, they would save between 4.5 and 5 million dollars worth of cap space, after the dead-money pro-ration of about 1.7 million.
It would seem pretty obvious to me that the Redskins have no other choice, but to exercise this option - despite a potential overall loss to the offense - I believe it would be easier to replace Moss than DeAngelo Hall or even Fletcher.
On a personal note, I hope that it doesn't happen as I've always enjoyed talking to Santana and we have built a good, professional relationship.
3. What impact will new "Senior Executive" A.J. Smith have on the Redskins in 2013?
It's hard to know if he will have any significant impact, but my guess is that for the most part, he can't really hurt. Smith is the only true and pure personnel executive that the Redskins have. Bruce Allen, Eric Shaffer and Mike Shanahan are not known for their expertise in that area. Morocco Brown and Scott Campbell have done a very good job procuring talent in free agency and the draft under the new regime, but they haven't done everything like Smith had to do during his long tenure in San Diego. Brown was a finalist for the Arizona job, so perhaps the Redskins are essentially protecting themselves a bit here.
Essentially, Smith gives them another set of eyes to cross-check and focus on certain areas while hoping that a new challenge revitalizes him a bit, and he can discover somebody like an Eric Weddle, Antonio Gates or Michael Turner.
What will be interesting will be to see what Chargers free agents the Redskins pursue. I don't expect them to be heavily involved this off-season because of all the various issues discussed above, but would Smith put in a good word for CB Antoine Cason, who is only 26 (fits age type) and had 12 interceptions in his five seasons with the Chargers? He's known as a high risk, high reward type of defensive back - but as we outlined with the Hall situation, it is pretty much a desperate need.
Longtime veteran CB Quentin Jammer (San Diego) and former Charger CB Drayton Florence are also veteran free agents who might be less expensive and less risky, because they are on the backside of their careers.
Safety Corey Lynch is also an unrestricted free agent, and while he's listed as a strong safety by most outlets, the word is that he's athletic enough to handle either position. Offensive lineman, Louis Vasquez had a nice year last year on a horrible offensive line, but you would have to think the Chargers are going to make a strong push to retain him.
Smith's son Kyle, is a scout for the Redskins so it probably won't take him a long time to get caught up.
4. Will the Redskins bring back Fred Davis, Lorenzo Alexander, Kory Lichtensteiger or Tyler Polumbus?
Because this is already long, I will try and make this short and sweet. I would say no on Davis, although I know the Redskins would like to see what he could be post surgery.
I am going somehow, someway with a yes on Alexander - although considering every part of the decision for both sides - I think it's no better than 60/40 that Alexander gets treated fairly and the Redskins are the choice he and his agents make.
Because I believe they will find a way to keep Alexander, and I believe ultimately they will not release Hall or Fletcher....some difficult choices remain. Kory Lichtensteiger is as mentally tough and hard of a grinder as there is. I want to believe he will stay, and I am not sure how other teams value him - but with the Redskins being so tight with cap space, it's hard right now for me to fathom that Lichtensteiger will get a fair offer from Washington. Now will he choose whatever the team offers, if he has nothing better? Sure. Will that be a likely scenario? Probably not.
The Redskins hold Lichtensteiger in high regard, but his knee injury was a major blow to a guy who was quickly becoming a more than reliable force at left guard in 2011. He was solid in 2012, but struggled every day and every week with knee soreness and some element of discomfort. I know the Redskins know that, and with Josh LeRibeus in the fold, it would make sense that they are ready to get cheaper and healthier at the left guard position.
It sucks to have to write that, because I think highly of Kory and his family - but the bottom line business might get in the way of a future partnership.
Polumbus, was on ESPN 980 on Wednesday, which you can listen to right here, http://bit.ly/WLpFZA - and I will have more on Polumbus later this week - but I believe he is a guy that the Redskins hold in higher regard than the fan base does, which is understandable. Washington does not have an answer right now on the roster, as Maurice Hurt and/or Tom Compton are far from ideal.
Will the recently released Eric Winston (by Kansas City) who was with Kyle Shanahan in Houston, be the answer to Washington's question mark? Only if he is willing to play for a veteran, team friendly deal after making a small fortune by his move to the Chiefs, and while he was with the Texans.
Washington won't be able to afford Andre Smith from the Bengals, Phil Loadholt from the Vikings or Gosder Cherilus from the Lions as some of the top free agent choices that are available - but with Winston now available - you have to think he would be the only thing that could prevent Polumbus from returning.
5. Is there a surprise cut or release that nobody is really focused on?
The Redskins have some tough choices to make and because they are extremely secretive, a lot of this is pure guesswork. They may have to non-tender a few restricted free agents (Chris Baker?, Nick Sundberg?, Darrel Young?) just to be able to squeeze under the cap by Tuesdays' deadline.
Could we add Rob Jackson to that mix? Or will the Redskins try and work out a long term deal with the young veteran outside linebacker who emerged after Brian Orakpo's season ending Week 2 injury last year? A source close to the situation indicated on Wednesday that the team had not yet approached Jackson about his situation, but both sides could be playing poker. If the Redskins chose not to tender Jackson or any other restricted free agent, they simply become unrestricted - but it would also help the team slip under the cap limit.
Speaking of Orakpo - and I have a hard time believing that I am typing this. Could the Redskins consider letting him go, while bringing Jackson and Alexander back? It might not make sense at first thought, but according to salary database Spotrac.com, Orakpo counts for about 5.10 million under the cap. If the Redskins were to part ways with the former first round pick, they would face a dead money hit of about 2.10 million - but a net cap savings of just about 3 million dollars. It doesn't seem like a whole lot, to give up on such a high draft pick - who at times has lived up to his potential.
However, this is why I don't think you can rule it out. Orakpo suffered his original injury on January 1, 2012 and then re-injured his pec muscle in August and then suffered another tear, in a different area in mid-September. Is there any guarantee that he will ever not be at increased risk for something like that happening again?? That's the obvious part.
What isn't so obvious is this. If the Redskins have a plan in mind moving forward - that they will not sign Orakpo to a large deal when he becomes a free agent for the first time at the end of 2013 - why not move on now (possibly via trade) & secure Jackson and possibly Alexander? Again, I admit this is an unconventional thought process but SOMEBODY we are not expecting has to be released.
If it's not Fletcher or Hall - who is it? Adam Carriker would be another alternative but the Redskins just re-invested in him last year as a key part of the defensive line. It's not going to be Stephen Bowen or Barry Cofield. It's obviously not Ryan Kerrigan. Josh Wilson?? Possibly, but that seems highly unlikely given the already tenuous state of the secondary.
There's nobody on offense that seems to be a likely and significant impact on cap savings other than Moss. I don't believe you can re-structure more than 2-3 guys at max per year, which is a lot in my eyes, but you could do this as Rich Tandler suggested http://bit.ly/WS9G1r OR you could manage your franchise for the now and with one eye on the future.
Just my thoughts - What do you think the Redskins should do as the real "March Madness" begins?
Chris Russell // SFTheRooster@Yahoo.com // www.twitter.com/russellmania980
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Washington Redskins linebackers London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan will head to the Pro Bowl as replacements for Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers linebackers Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith.
The 37-year-old Fletcher is going to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl. Kerrigan, a second-year player, gets his first trip to the exhibition game.
Their additions give the Redskins five Pro Bowl selections for the first time since 1996. They join rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who will miss the Pro Bowl after knee surgery; left tackle Trent Williams and special teamer Lorenzo Alexander.
Williams and Smith helped the 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons 28-24 in the NFC championship game Sunday.
I've been accused the last few days of describing Seattle as the best team since the '85 Bears. I don't believe that at all but I do believe they are the best all-around team in the NFL right now. If every playoff game this year were played on a neutral field, I think Seattle would be the favorite to win the whole thing. They have a very good defense, very good offense, and very good special teams. They've won 5 in a row coming into the postseason by an average score of 42-10. They're excellent but....so are the Redskins, and the Skins are playing at home. I like the home team's chances.
The Skins beat Seattle if...
1. they match Seattle's physicality. Seattle tries to be physically intimidating on both sides of the ball. The Redskins are really physical offensively with their run-game in particular and have been much more physical defensively in recent weeks.
2. RG3 is closer to 100%. The Skins can beat weak teams like Dallas and Philly with a less-than 100% RG3 but he needs to be right against Seattle. His explosiveness could be the deciding factor if he has it.
3. they stop the run. Slowing down Marshawn Lynch is a must. Seattle likes to do some of the same things the Redskins do offensively like running the read-option with their quarterback but it all starts with Lynch. If the Redskin defense can't keep him around 4 yards per or less, they're in trouble because they won't get off the field enough.
4. they don't lose the turnover battle. I'm not sure they have to win it, but they can't lose it. Seattle has been as effective as the Skins at taking the ball away (31 total takeaways on the season for both teams) but the Skins have to continue to do what they've done all season long....protect the football. Amazing they have a league-best 14 total turnovers in 16 games.
5. they don't give up the big play. Seattle can strike quickly with any part of their team. Leon Washington is as dangerous as any kick returner in the league. They've scored off of blocked kick returns, interception returns, and fumble returns. Lynch, Wilson, Rice and Tate are all big-play guys on offense. The Redskins were vulnerable to the big play earlier in the season. If they can keep their recent trend of not giving up the big play they'll be in good shape.
LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The National Football League announced today that Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for December. The selection is the first of his career and makes him the fifth defensive player in team history to receive NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors.
Fletcher is the first Redskin on either side of the ball since running back Clinton Portis (October 2008) to win Player of the Month honors. He is the third Redskins linebacker to win the award and the first since Marcus Washington was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for December during the 2005 season.
In five games in December, Fletcher compiled 61 tackles (37 solo), three interceptions, two sacks and four passes defensed, all according to coaches’ film. In addition, the Redskins went undefeated in December, winning five games during the month for the first time in team history. He was the only NFL player to have at least two sacks and three interceptions during the month.
Fletcher finished the regular season with a team-high 188 tackles (112 solo), a career-high five interceptions, three sacks, three forced fumbles and 14 passes defensed, all according to coaches’ film. His five interceptions were the most among NFL linebackers in 2012. He also extended his consecutive games played streak to 240, tied with Tampa Bay’s Ronde Barber for the second-longest among defensive players since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger (Bill Romanowski – 243). 2012 marked the 14th consecutive season in which Fletcher recorded at least 100 stops, dating back to 1999 when he was in his second season with the St. Louis Rams. That is the longest streak current streak among all NFL players. Coaches have credited him with 2,446 tackles for his career, the second-most among active players.
There is no game that has any less significance than the annual Pro Bowl. There is perhaps no individual honor that means more in a given season than a Pro Bowl nod, especially when selected to the original AFC or NFC roster.
For the Washington Redskins, nine wins and a possible NFC East Championship brought with it three Pro Bowl selections to the original roster and two more alternate selections. A possibility of 5 Redskins players could be in Honolulu, a week before the Super Bowl -- unless they are in New Orleans, preparing to play the biggest game of their lives.
Robert Griffin III, Lorenzo Alexander, and Trent Williams all earned Pro Bowl selections for the first time in their career. London Fletcher and Alfred Morris were selected as alternates.
For Griffin III, he joins Dan Marino as the only two rookie quarterbacks to be named to the original Pro Bowl rosters in year number one, according to Randall Liu of the NFL.
Alexander became the first Redskins player as a special teamer to make the Pro Bowl, since the red snapper - Ethan Albright in 2007. Alexander leads the NFL according to STATS, LLC with 19 special teams tackles, but the Redskins coaching staff has him credited with 29. Either way, you get the point. He's a stud.
Williams, who was suspended for the final four games last year, due to a violation of the NFL substance-abuse program was the team's # 4 overall pick in 2010 and the first selection of the Mike Shanahan era.
Only Ryan Kerrigan of the three first round picks the club has made in the Shanahan-Allen regime has not made a Pro Bowl yet, and he just set a career high for sacks with 8.5, and was simply dominant on Sunday in Philadelphia.
Griffin and Williams were chosen by management, but Alexander was retained. He was undrafted and bounced around before finding a home in Washington, and could have been discarded by a new staff that had no allegiance to him, except for one key guy who was retained in special teams coordinator, Danny Smith.
Instead, Alexander, became a part of the foundation poured down by Mike Shanahan when he arrived in Washington. Alexander was an unrestricted free agent in 2010, when the current regime inked him to a three year deal.
"I'm very humbled by everybody voting me in." Alexander thanked Smith, and several of his teammates for helping him get the nod, pointing out "obviously it's not a one man show."
For the "One Man Gang," he understands what it could mean moving forward. Alexander said via tele-conference on Wednesday night, "even more so than Pro Bowls, you want to be able to make it to the playoffs and go deep into the playoffs, and that's our main goal."
As mentioned, Alexander is a free agent once again this year, "hopefully that works out for me. Ultimately, I want to be here. I love this community, and the organization has always supported me."
Williams, is an athletic freak, who plays perhaps the most important position on the field (outside of quarterback) at the left tackle spot. He's the first Redskins offensive lineman to be selected since Chris Samuels was chosen in 2008.
Williams was voted a co-captain this year, despite his suspension to end the 2011 campaign which fortified his value. He is the kingpin to an offensive line group that has helped the Redskins lead the NFL in rushing for much of the year, as they are still number one at 162.3 yards per game and a group that has yielded 32 sacks in 15 games.
"Those guys make me better and likewise. This award that I'm receiving is a unit award, because I couldn't do it without them," Williams said via tele-conference on Wednesday night.
Griffin, was not available to comment via phone to reporters, but tweeted "Players, Coaches, Fans and most of all My Teammates, I could say so much more but will keep it simple & say Thank You."
Griffin becomes the sixth rookie quarterback in NFL history to be named to the Pro Bowl overall, but shares the distinction above with Dan Marino. He's also the first offensive rookie from the Redskins to be selected since Larry Brown in 1969.
The only snubs that you can really make a gripe about are Morris, who has only rushed for 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns as opposed to San Francisco's Frank Gore who has a combined 1,359 yards and 8 touchdowns. Morris is an alternate selection and might get to play if Adrian Peterson bypasses the event.
Will Montgomery got a hard snub as Jeff Saturday of the Green Bay Packers made it over the Redskins rugged center. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Montgomery grades out as a + 21.0 overall on the year, including a + 2.8 in Philly on Sunday with a grade 2 MCL.
Saturday, who was benched recently, has a negative 5.0 cumulative grade on the season. He led the fan voting, which counts for 33.3% of the vote for the initial rosters. The other offensive center named? Seattle's Max Unger, who graded out just below Montgomery.
According to (@PFF), John Sullivan of the Vikings was an even bigger snub at a +28.0 to lead all centers. Of course, it helps to have Adrian Peterson as your running back.
As for right guard Chris Chester, he fell behind the three offensive guard selections for the NFC (Jahri Evans, Chris Snee, Mike Iupati) according to Pro Football Focus.
Just for the record, I have no issue with London Fletcher only being named an alternate. He clearly did not deserve to be in the same group as Patrick Willis and especially NaVorro Bowman.
Some have tried to make a case for Kai Forbath. Please people - he didn't even play in the first 5 games of the season. No offense, he's been terrific but you can't even make a reasonable argument.
A nice win with a quarterback not completely healthy and against an Eagle team that came to play. The good, bad, and more. Also, their updated playoff situation is listed below.
1. The Defense. Jim Haslett schemed up more pressure on the quarterback than in any game this year. The players also won more matchups than they have in any game this year. Five total sacks with several more hurries. Pressure was a factor all day but most importantly on three key plays. First--the Ryan Kerrigan sack/forced fumble on the final play of the 1st quarter. They were down 7-zip and on the verge of going down more. Second-the 4th and 2 sack at midfield up 20-13 in the 3rd quarter. Again, it was a Kerrigan play pushing the tackle back into Foles for the sack. Third-the final play of the game. Pressure forced the intentional grounding and the 10-second run-off...game over. The two turnovers forced in the first half were huge. I say forced because Kerrigan forced one with the sack and Cofield tipped the ball that Fletcher picked off. By the way, Cofield was very good all day as was Fletcher and Riley.
2. Offensive Playmakers. The Redskins have guys making plays after catches, during catches, and after getting hit. It's as important as anything we've seen during the 6-game win streak. Pierre Garcon makes plays. Joshua Morgan makes plays and was especially effective today. He had an incredible run on a reverse that should've been a loss. His touchdown catch and run was typical of the kinds of plays their receivers are making. Moss's touchdown catch was spectacular. Morris makes plays especially after contact. Royster had a good move on 3rd and short. Niles Paul had a nice catch and run. Attribute it to the scheme, the return of Garcon, or anything you want but the Skins have guys making plays with the ball.
3. Kai Forbath. He's money. 17 for 17 and the new record for most kicks made without a miss to start a career. His two early field goals today were important and gave the Skins some momentum.
4. Kyle Shanahan. He had a quarterback that was clearly less than 100% yet he was able to come up with a gameplan that kept the threat of RG3 as a runner in place without actually running him much. All season long I've felt the talk of him as a runner has been so overrated compared to the biggest benefit which has been the "threat of RG3 running" even when he didn't. There was plenty of pistol and even several read-option plays but he only ran on one read-option. The others were Morris runs or the read-option was used to set up passes. Kyle threw in several wrinkles....two plays stood out. On a completion to Garcon in the first half off the read-option look, Joshua Morgan was in motion than moved into the backfield prior to the snap. They've used that alot on plays where the WR ends up being a decoy on a run play or is used as the pitch back on the option but never on a quick throw off the read-option. The more interesting play was the touchdown run by Morris. That play appeared to be a fake read-option to one side with an old-school counter trey with Trent Williams pulling to the other side. The play broke wide-open for the touchdown.
1. RG3's mobility. It was obvious he wasn't 100% and we saw it early. He seemed uncomfortable on an early read-option run and later on a 4th and 2 bootleg miss.
2. A near-disaster in pass coverage at the end. Madieu Williams did a nice job on a safety blitz but was seemingly out of position (which isn't a first) and very lucky on a pass into the end zone for a wide open Maclin on the final drive.
1. Skins got lucky at the end when #86 dropped a wide-open slant for a touchdown.
2. I think Andy Reid may have gone for 2 and the win if they had scored at the end. He was in a risk-taking mode all day with nothing to lose.
3. The challenge by Shanahan on the RG3 lateral to Moss that lost 17 yards was a bit of a waste.
4. Eagle fans have complained about Reid's clock managment for years and it's easy to see why. He called quick timeouts with still over a minute left in the first half potentially leaving plenty of time for the Skins to score before the end of the half. It didn't hurt him this time but the strategy was wrong.
Skins' Playoff situation:
To Win the NFC East- Beat Dallas. They could also win the NFC East with a tie against Dallas if the Giants lose once. The Skins CAN'T win the NFC East with a loss to Dallas. A 9-7 final record would lose out to either a 10-6 Giants or a 9-7 Cowboys (common opponents).
Wildcard- If they lose to Dallas, they could still qualify for the playoffs as a wildcard but would need 3 of the following 4 things to happen. 1-the Giants to lose once (vs Balt or Philly); 2-the Vikings to lose to the Packers; 3-the Bears to lose once (vs Cards or Lions); 4-Seattle to lose twice (vs SF and STL).
One of the most dramatic wins in recent Skins' history. The good, bad, and more.
1. 2nd-half defense. What a turnaround after a dismal first half. Seven 2nd-half/OT possessions....3 punts, 2 turnovers, 7 total points. They got better pressure on Flacco and did a better job against the run. The two forced-turnovers were really big. Baltimore was moving on both drives. Jackson got the forced fumble with the Ravens at midfield on their first drive of the 3rd quarter. Kerrigan's pressure led to the Fletcher INT with the Ravens at the Skins' 11. After a lights-out first half, Flacco was forced into mistakes in the 2nd half that really impacted the final result. The Kerrigan/Fletcher play in particular was all on Flacco for holding the ball on what was obviously a 5 blocking 6 situation.
2. Kai Forbath's Field Goals. 14-14 for the season, 9 of them over 43 yards and a huge game-winner in OT. Now, with that said, his kickoffs aren't very good and the kick after the game-tying touchdown/2-pt conversion was so close to being a play that cost them the game. Barely into the end zone even though Jacoby Jones protested.
3. Richard Crawford. Not a bad debut. 3 punt returns for an average of 33 per. Still not sure why he didn't outrun the punter for the touchdown but what a huge play.
4. Kirk Cousins. He comes on a 3rd and 6 with the game on the line and makes a throw that draws a P.I. Then, his 2nd entrance into the game comes on a 2nd and 20 with the game on the line and he goes 2 for 2 with a touchdown to Garcon, then ties the game on a 2-pt conversion QB draw. He was a clutch quarterback at Michigan State and what a job he did under pressure today. No panic, totally under control, and a great 3rd and 5 touchdown pass to Garcon. That's why they picked him. You need at least two in the NFL, they got em in the draft.
5. RG3. It wasn't his best game but I thought he was very effective early especially with the read-option (which sliced/diced Baltimore's defense on the first two drives en route to setting an NFL first-quarter best this year with 186 total yards) but he missed a few things too. An early 3rd and 7 to a wide-open Garcon was thrown poorly. The 3rd and short option pitch to Morris was a bad pitch. Morris would've easily gotten the first down. I know this will sound nuts after the injury but I thought he could've run more on the read-option and the same from the pocket. Still, on one leg, he made two big-time throws that got them to within striking range. The 15-yarder to Moss and the 22-yarder to Garcon were monster plays on the final drive and he couldn't step into either throw. Both throws were all arm.
6. Punt team. Sav Rocca had a very good day and the punt coverage team did a very good job on Jones.
1. RG3's injury. Can't wait to hear those complaining about him running the ball blame this one on the Shanahans but as was the case in the Atlanta game, it happened on a pass-play scramble, not a called run.
2. 1st-half defense. It was bad and they were lucky it wasn't worse. They couldn't stop the run, they couldn't rush the passer, they couldn't cover. D-Hall was beaten like a drum and it looked like Madieu Williams was constantly out of position. Flacco was 10-13 and 2 of the misses were his fault. He underthrew an open Torrey Smith that could've been a touchdown. Rice and company rushed 14 times for 91 yards. They only had the ball for 12:32 yet rolled up 218 yards. Not a good half for the Skins at all but not all that unusual either.
3. Drive-killing mistakes on offense. Penalties in the first half hurt. Morris' fumble cost them 7 pts. There were key dropped passes including Moss' catchable deep ball and Garcon's dropped 3rd and 3 in the 4th quarter.
4. Skins drop-back pass protection. We've seen it all season-long but they really struggle when they're in obvious pass situations. They throw it effectively out of the read-option look and first-down play-action, not when pass is obvious and expected.
1. The Garcon spot on that 2nd qtr catch/run was correct. His knee was down short of the marker.
2. Niles Paul's fumble was correctly reviewed and overturned.
3. RG3 took a helmet-to-helmet hit on a scramble run in the 4th qtr that was missed.
4. The 3rd and short option call by Kyle was a good call, bad execution.
5. I was surprised that Baltimore didn't take a shot with 26 seconds left and one timeout in regulation and at the same time didn't understand what they were doing at the end of the first half throwing the ball with clearly no intention of trying to get into FG range.