A good start, bad finish. The good, bad, and more.
1. Brian Orakpo. As active as he's been this year as a run-stopper and pass rusher.
2. Barry Cofield. He's their only legit defensive linemen although Chris Baker is growing on me.
3. Reed Doughty. Despite getting hurt, when he was in there he was what he always seems to be....a solid run-stopping safety and a very good special teamer.
4. Santana Moss as a punt returner. He catches what he's supposed to catch and when he doesn't fair-catch it, he's decisive as a runner. So much better than Thompson, Morgan, and Williams that it just angers me that they didn't put him back there in mid-September.
1. Offense after taking 14-zip lead. After taking a 14-nothing lead early in the 2nd quarter, the Redskins had 9 drives the rest of the game with the following results--184 total yards, 4 dropped passes, 4 penalties, 5 sacks, one fumble, 3 points. As for why the offense fell apart, it's not because Alfred Morris didn't get enough carries. He had 9 carries in the first half for 11 yards. How much more did you want him to get the ball? To whom was it obvious that he was on the verge of a monster 2nd half? Until they proved that they could make plays down-field in the passing game, their conventional inside-zone/outside zone run-game was going to be a tough go. The offense's lack of productivity over the final 3 quarters had more to do with drops, penalties, sacks, and lack of passing game execution.
2. Game-changing Special Teams gaffe. The Redskins had a 17-14 lead with a dominant field position advantage when Kyle Nelson rolled the snap back to Rocca and Rocca had his punt blocked. The net yardage with a holding penalty added on was 8 yards. Giants started at the Skins 46 instead of deep in their own territory and they took the lead on that drive. Not that it was game-over but it was a game-changer for sure.
3. Drops and penalties. As mentioned above, one of the reasons the offense didn't produce more in the final 3 quarters. Garcon, Davis, and Paulson all had at least one. Davis' drop on the final drive was huge. It would've given the Skins a chance late.
4. The field. Too slippery. Cost the Skins a first-down in the 2nd quarter when Morris slipped after a catch and came up a yard short. Next play, Royster stopped on 3rd and 1.
5. Aldrick Robinson. His effort and ball skills on the one deep ball weren’t very good. He also appeared to have had a big opportunity on a reverse but got less than he should've.
1. Collinsworth is one of my favorites but he went overboard with his praise of everything Redskins-related. He said the following about Mike Shanahan and staff....."if they stick with this group, they'll win the division next year".
2. Why did RG3 run rather than throw a "Hail-Mary" on the final play of the first half?
3. Griffin went to his check-down receiver several times, especially in the first half. It seemed to be an emphasis for him. It almost looked like the coaches made it a point to let him know it was okay if that's where he ended up. It worked for the most part. He was an impressive 16-17 in the first half for 149 yards.
4. The refs blew it on the "1st-down" indication on the Skins' final drive. Bottom line, even if Triplett himself indicated third-down, other officials including at least one that authorized the chains to be moved were handling the result of the play differently. There was crew confusion so he should've stopped the clock and measured the 2nd-down spot. That was the appropriate course of action. They obviously blew it and while it DID cost them a chance to continue their final drive, I've seen enough in recent weeks to believe that their chances of tying the game even if they got the correct call were less than 50-50. We were probably headed for another Minnesota/Philly ending.
Here are some "Quick Snaps" thoughts and observations after watching the game from the press box on Monday Night, and then watching just about the entire game back on television Tuesday night, from the Redskins 24-13 win over the Steelers.
***As everyone saw and has noted, Barry Cofield and Ryan Kerrigan were flat out dominant. On the third Steelers play of the game, Kerrigan shed his block and forced the tackle into Cofield. On the Steelers 5th play, the Redskins deployed the "Nasty Nickel" package as Doc Walker likes to call it. Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins were down lineman and Kerrigan drove his block back with power and flushed Ben Roethlisberger from his spot and up towards the line of scrimmage. The Pittsburgh quarterback picked up 2 yards, but essentially it was as good as a sack and Kerrigan's bull rush caused it.
Kerrigan's interception and return for a touchdown was pure instincts and recognition. You can't go to Purdue and transform yourself from a '43' end to a '34' outside linebacker with some down lineman alignments, and not be common sense and football smart.
Kerrigan forced a fumble for a sack of Bruce Gradkowski as well, but the play he was frustrated with after the game was a 29 yard completion to tight end David Paulson. Kerrigan, with another bull rush pushed right tackle Marcus Gilbert all the way back, had a hand on "Big Ben" as the elusive and "slippery dude" as Kerrigan called him stepped up in the pocket and completed a pass to an open hole in the Redskins zone coverage.
Cofield drew an illegal hands to the face penalty on a screen, after a terrific inside swim move to beat Maurkice Pouncey for a sack. Cofield also recovered a fumble on Kerrigan's strip and sack. Cofield also blew past Pouncey another time, and should have drawn a holding call. Instead, David DeCastro was whistled for holding Kedric Golston, which was less than obvious on the television rewind.
***I thought the secondary struggled in some fairly obvious ways. E.J Biggers had a defensive pass interference penalty and missed a few tackles, one of which David Amerson cleaned up. DJ Gomes mistakes were obvious in some ways, and not so obvious in other ways. Gomes had two personal fouls, one of which he will almost surely be fined for on a defenseless receiver hit. The other was plain stupid. He blatantly shoved a received who was already out-of-bounds into the Steelers bench. The not so obvious was Gomes taking several bad run fits on long runs by Johnathan Dwyer. One was a big gain on a 3rd/18 give up, in which Gomes shot down and missed the cut back of Dwyer to his right. Later, Gomes flowed down to the line and got blown up by a block because he did not recognize early enough where Dwyer was cutting out of the hole. Bacarri Rambo badly whiffed on a tackle attempt on the run. He did have tight coverage on a third down incompletion in the end zone, on a ball that was over thrown but the bottom line is this - Gomes is in a huge battle for a roster spot and did very little to help his chances on Monday.
David Amerson was lost in space and unsure of who to cover on the 29-yard gain to Paulson that we wrote about with Kerrigan. Amerson, according to Jon Gruden also did not play a route/Cover-2 concept correctly, by not "sink (ing)." Not sure what he was exactly supposed to do on the play, as the fullback peeled off into Amerson's zone, but I would love to find out.
***One interesting note that struck me was that the Redskins scored both of their offensive touchdowns on plays in which the Steelers tried "double A-gap" blitzes. On Leonard Hankerson's grab, you can clearly see Keiland Williams cutting down one blitzer, while Will Montgomery shifted to the other. Roy Helu's touchdown in the 4th quarter was a similiar call by the Steelers, but because of the zone-blocking from left to right by the Redskins offensive line and tremendous blocks by LT Tom Compton and LG Josh LeRibeus, Pittsburgh's attack was thwarted.
In some ways it reminded me of how Evan Royster and the Redskins offensive line deftly picked up the same type of attack by the Vikings last year on Robert Griffin's 76-yard TD run. If I am seeing it right, that's three touchdowns off the top of my head when teams try to ambush Will Montgomery and the middle of the Redskins offensive line.
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.
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).
This list is for me but I'll share it with you. It's a list of things about the Skins' 2011 season that I want to remember when we get to free agency, draft, and beyond.
1. Rex Grossman Makes Throws But Can't Make Plays. After 13 games of Rex in 2011, my mind is made up. I like the way Rex throws the football and I love his competitiveness but I can't live with his inability to make a play when the play as-designed breaks down. His lack of mobility, lack of feel in the pocket, and overall lack of extend-the-play ability is just too limiting. Good teams in the NFL have quarterbacks who can extend plays. Teams that score touchdowns in the red zone usually have quarterbacks who can extend plays. It's Grossman's biggest limitation and it's why they shouldn't bring him back.
2. Evan Royster and Roy Helu. While neither is Chris Johnson speed-wise, they're both perfect for the Shanahan running-game scheme. As impressive as Helu was with three straight 100-yard performances in weeks 12-14, I thought Royster was the more-impressive pure runner.
3. No WR YAC. The Skins lack playmakers on offense for sure and much of that is simply that their wide outs can't turn 15-yard pass catches into 30+ yard catches. How many times did Moss, Gaffney, Stallworth, et al make a catch and either fall down or immediately get tackled. Other than QB, this team's biggest need is a playmaking offensive player. They need a WR who can score touchdowns from a distance.
4. Front 7 Impressed. The defensive front 7 was impressive all season long. The free agent additions of Cofield and Bowen were a huge net gain. Adam Carriker played well at times and the linebackers led by Fletcher and Kerrigan were solid. Orakpo can struggle at times against the run and he needs more consistency as a pass rusher but I'm still hopeful his edge speed can wreak havoc. Kerrigan's motor is non-stop and he's a natural playmaker. The emergence of Riley as the other inside LB was a nice surprise.
5. The Davis/Williams Disappointments. Here's the bottom line with this from my perspective. Both were dummies for doing what they did but the overall feeling about both of them from within is that they're not bad people. Given their talent and in particular, the investment in Williams, the Redskins have no choice but to give them a second chance. Williams is under contract which makes the decision on him easy. Davis is a UFA. I would do my best to sign him to a deal that minimizes the risk to the team but incents him to behave and peform.
6. Kory Lichtensteiger. With him, 3-1. Without him, 2-10. Lichtensteiger became late in 2010 and early in 2011 their most reliable offensive lineman.
7. 5 Blocked Field Goals. The Skins were lucky it wasn't more than five. They could've easily had 2-3 PAT's blocked. The problem was interior blocking. Each of the five blocks came from up-the-middle pressure.
8. Clock Managment. This was a problem all season long but reared it's ugliest head in the season-finallee at Philadelphia. With no timeouts and 17 seconds left, the Skins threw a pass short of the goal line, in bounds, and then tried to get the FG team on before the clock ran out. Other examples of horrible clock management included not knowing that they needed to spike the ball after a huge completion at the end of the Minnesota game and using timeouts on offense at the end of the Jet game. Additionally, they never seemed to have a true hurry-up offense. In the Jet game, it took them close to 25 seconds to get snaps off in their supposed "hurry-up".
9. 3rd and 21. If not for an all-out blitz on 3rd and 21, the Redskins would've likely started the season 4-0.
10. Rex's Return Equaled Offensive Competence. The three John Beck games (at Carolina, at Buffalo, SF) were offensive disasters. He seemed terrified and was clearly in over-his-head. When Rex came back against Miami, the Redskins were far more competitive over the final 8 games of the season.
11. Could've, Would've, Should've. A) Both Dallas games were winnable....3rd and 21 at Dallas and Gano's overtime miss at home. B) New England at home looked good until an offensive pass interference penatly was called on Santana Moss on the potential game-tying or game-winning touchdown. Remember, Shanahan indicated he would've gone for two and the win. C) Minnesota at home if not for a horrible holding call against Darrell Young on a Brandon Banks game-tying touchdown run. On the flip side, if not for a 4th and 5 TD pass from Rex to Moss the Skins wouldn't have beaten Arizona.
12. Biggest Offseason Needs. QB, WR, OL, CB, S, and a coach that knows how to manage the clock at the end of halves and games.
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Barry Cofield is concerned that the Washington Redskins season could get "historically ugly." One thing that sure isn't neat and pretty: the way Mike Shanahan explains his quarterback changes.
The coach who clumsily evoked "cardiovascular endurance" while benching Donovan McNabb a year ago meandered his way Monday through the surprise switch from John Beck to Rex Grossman.
Grossman started Sunday against the Miami Dolphins and - according to Shanahan - will keep the job for the upcoming game against the Dallas Cowboys as the Redskins (3-6) try to break a five-game losing streak.
"Rex is going to be our quarterback," Shanahan said. "When you go with a veteran quarterback, it's pretty easy - because usually that situation stays pretty much status quo. Unless there's an injury during the week, Rex would be the quarterback. But crazy things could happen. He could go down during the week.
The disclaimer is a must - because it was a week ago that Shanahan said "Yeah, we're going to stick with John" when asked who would get the call against the Dolphins. Instead, he had Beck and Grossman both take first-team snaps during the week and informed the team on Saturday that Grossman would start for the first time since Oct. 16.
Shanahan explained the change of heart on Monday with 90-second answer that even included a reference to a turf toe injury suffered by Niles Paul - a rookie receiver with only two catches this season - as one of the reasons to go with a more experienced Grossman.
Further questioning revealed more telling read-between-the-lines answers: Beck basically played himself out of the job with subpar performances in back-to-back games, and Grossman might have claimed the job back even sooner had he not been hospitalized with pneumonia three weeks ago.
Beck threw three interceptions, took 11 sacks and led only one touchdown drive in a 23-0 loss to Buffalo and a 19-11 defeat to San Francisco.
"I'm not going to go into a lot of detail in that," Shanahan said, "but I think that speaks for itself."
Regarding Grossman's illness, the coach said: "I'm not going to go through all the possible scenarios, but any time anybody has pneumonia, it usually lingers for a few weeks."
Shanahan no doubt is treading carefully because he infamously said before the season that he would stake his reputation on both Beck and Grossman as quarterbacks. Now he's benched both of them in barely more than half of a season, and he says Beck - who is 0-7 as an NFL starter, including 0-3 with the Redskins - was hurt by the offseason practices that were cancelled during the lockout.
"I like John's talent," Shanahan said. "I like what we have in John, but I'm always going to do what I think is in the best interest of the team to win."
The question now is whether either quarterback gives the team a chance to win, especially as the injuries kept mounting. Shanahan praised Grossman's confidence, poise and overall play in the 20-9 loss to the Dolphins, but the fact is that the Redskins failed to score a touchdown against a team that had previously won only one game. Washington hasn't scored a first-half touchdown or held a lead since Oct. 2.
Grossman certainly looked more comfortable than Beck while completing 21 of 32 passes for 215 yards, but he also had two interceptions - including a brutal fourth-quarter pick inside Miami's 10-yard line when the Redskins were driving with a chance to take the lead.
"Everybody says, `Well, you only had nine points,' but nine points obviously goes to a collective group," Shanahan said. "But I thought Rex played well."
Quarterback play aside, the Redskins have reason to feel snakebit. Third-round draft pickLeonard Hankerson got his second NFL start Sunday and had 106 yards receiving - but he dislocated his right hip and tore the labrum in the fourth quarter. He will become the fourth Redskins offensive starter to go on season-ending injured reserve, joining tight end Chris Cooley, running back Tim Hightower and left guard Kory Lichtensteiger.
Receiver Santana Moss and left tackle Trent Williams have also missed multiple games with injuries, and Shanahan said right tackle Jammal Brown is a "long shot" to return this week after sitting out Sunday with a groin injury. Backup defensive lineman Kedric Golston is also out for at least a week with a knee injury.
And, of course, everyone on the roster is suffering from losing.
"There's no guarantee that we can win another game," veteran defensive tackle Cofield said. "We just don't have a team on our schedule that's just going to lay down and let us beat `em. If we don't play better, then there's no reason to expect to win any games. The ball's just not going to bounce our way, and so it could very ugly. It could get historically ugly.
"Hopefully guys are fearful of that, and hopefully guys focus in and just come together and do whatever it takes to get a win - because if we don't, then it's going to be a very very long winter."
A look back at some of the individual high and low points during the Redskins 28-14 win over the New York Giants.
**Belted hard on 3rd Down - first series on big blitz. **Pass deflected, with clean pocket on 1st down. **Cooley and Rex not on same page on hot read blitz throw. Cooley doesn't turn around. Boley was all over Rex ***Rex overthrows Gaffney bomb **Rex lays one out on a dish for Armstrong down 7-0 at 1 yard line - a little too far but complete on great diving catch. **3rd-and-4 TD to Gaffney, a bullet after looking off and freezing safety in man coverage, tight window. **Final TD was set up by low throw to Davis, who caught it and got speared. Would have been short of 1st, but penalty. **Great long strike to Gaffney on 2-minute drive at end of half for 39 yards, a little under thrown but wide open on go route. **Rex hits Santana + 11, Cooley + 15, Gaffney (above), Hightower + 9, and Armstrong on the fade route TD. (5-80, 2:11)
**22 yard run off left zone stretch, with DY perfect spot and north/south. ** A lot of lateral short runs zone stretch left, says he missed a lot of cutbacks. **TD run - outraces NYG defenders to corner on stretch, no cut. Good job by DY, Kory, Logan. **Hightower had 3 catches, including a 10 yard dump screen middle which set up Gano's MFGA and a 9-yard screen left that helped on TD drive before halftime.
**Gets speared on 3rd-and-8 catch, drawing penalty instead of longFG/punt - set up game sealing TD. **Huge 3rd-and-8 catch on game sealing TD drive for 22 yards toNYG-9, great footwork and hands. **Fred climbs ladder and gets crushed but holds on for a nice early big gain, + 23 to set up Hightower TD. **Had a 28-yard reception on drive that ended with back-to-back sacks.
**TD on fade route to end first half, similar to Dallas on SNF in season opener twice last year, but those were incomplete. **Great diving, sprawling catch at the 1.5 to set up Hightower TD. **Long ball, that Rex throw up - in AAA hands and knocked out on 2nd effort by defender. **Goes up ladder for catch over middle, and gets belted - ball pops out. Tough call on catch/no catch. **Stepped out-of-bounds on what would have been 1st down on 3rd-and-15, inside the NY-10.
**Didn't turn around (was covered) on hot read with Rex on 2nd series. Rex hit pretty good. **Had big catch on 2nd play of 5 yard drive before halftime. **Got good low pad level block on perimeter on one run to right, but lost block and same Giant defender made the play.
**Had huge 4th and 5 reception on **Big 3rd down catch on 2nd drive of game, to give defense a breather on a cross -- plus had a leaping, twisting 22-yard catch in the middle zone. **Rex goes long up top for incompletion, but along with Gaffney's two deep attempts - shows Armstrong is not only deep option.
Kyle Shanahan Play calling
**2nd series, three straight passes (deflect, hot mistake, bomb to JG) **Good balance overall...34 - pass , 26 - run. ***Great 2-minute drive, all passes, 5 different receivers, short and long.
*Great vertical post on Webster - good head fake and explosion on INC. **Stepped out-of-bounds essentially twice on a completion that was initially ruled catch, overturned on replay after challenge. **TD on 3rd-and-4, ran great short post route, (Rex's best throw of day? because of tight window)
**Allowed Rex to get hit hard on speed rush outside by 94-NYG, on incomplete to Gaffney. **On Cooley-Rex hot miscommunication, allowed Tollefson to blow past and hit Rex. **Allowed big sack by Tollefson, for 16 yard loss on 3rd-and-15, that pushed WSH out of FG position on 7-man pressure. **Did a good seal, wall block in front of Rex on Moss 22-yard reception. **Had a holding call on a stretch run right by Hightower.
**Allowed 2 sacks, one causing the Rex Grossman fumble lost. One sack was because he thought Kory L. was going to slide help. **Overall - a lot of runs to left side on zone stretch that did not get enough results.
**Allowed one direct sack to Chris Canty & may have been partially responsible for one of the Pierre-Paul sacks on Trent, as JPP stunted inside of Trent.
**Way too many rainbow snaps and general snapping issues, that have been a problem the entire preseason and camp.
**Got blown off the line, and allowed Dave Tollefson to rough up Rex. DT Linval Joseph crushed Rex on 11-yard completion to Gaffney in 2nd quarter, past Chester.
**Great pass coverage on Ballard. ***Goes wide (too far?) on Nix bomb. **On Eli TD, got sucked in on PA fake left and over pursued. **On Bradshaw TD, got stoned at POA by Hynoski. **On INT TD, had overload blitz with Atogwe/Rocky inside, avoided cut by K. McKenzie - stayed on feet - kept hands up, batted ball up in air, still had instinct to catch and run for score. **Had several other big pressures throughout game, including one rush and pressure that caused Eli an illegal grounding. **Did get beat on intermediate crossing route by TE, was behind in trail coverage all the way.
**ST punt tackle on opening punt by Rocca. **Bites on the post in deep man coverage vs. Nix with DHall underneath in zone. Got burned. **On Eli boot, over reads it and falls down. **Out of position on Bradshaw TD, after reading smoke to right (his left). **Made 9 defensive tackles, including one for loss (3rd-and-1, before blocked FG; really Cofield from behind) **Was late deep over the top - on seam route by TE Ballard for 41-yard gain. **Knifed in to backfield to blow up Jacobs, to help force long 3rd down attempt.
**Got stoned and pushed back 5 yards on first play, a Bradshaw run **Blew up 4th and 1 by shooting gap and causing shift by Bradshaw into traffic. (WSH leads 21-14) **On 3rd-and-1 stop - blew thru gap and chased down Bradshaw from behind. (Did not get credit)
**Gets blocked, but sheds block and backside tackle on 2nd down run. **Had Eli in finger tips on rush on long bomb to Nicks, but Eli stepped up and out of it. **Also in on front side seal of 4th down and 1 stop. **Final play of game, nickel front, on right side of Golston as only 2 down - just abuses Diehl for sack to finish. **Contributed with D-Hall on 3rd down incompletion with big pass rush of Eli.
**Had big stunt pressure on 3rd-and-18 series, after Kerrigan and Doughty set up the distance to force incompletion. **Blown off line of scrimmage on big Brandon Jacobs run that set up Bradshaw TD. **Had big 3rd down sack from nickel front with 21-14 lead to force punt.
**Helped stone Bradshaw on 4th and 1 stop up middle (combined officially for tackle w/ Josh Wilson) **Blew up protection and swarmed Eli for nearly a sack with Neild, but Truck got whole credit. **Did get beat badly in deep seam route by TE (Ballard) for 41-yard gain. Looked slow.
*Spraigned right ankle on first series of game, and continued to play through it off-and-on the entire game.
*Had several pass rush attempts that he appeared to be held on.
**Blocked key FGA with the Redskins up 21-14.
**1st sack, slipped and initially went down to ground, before getting up and busting through his right side of 'A' gap. **2nd sack - blew through his left side of the 'A' gap, with London also blowing in, inside the NYG-3 yard line.
**Very good read, on quick screen left to force key INC. **Big pressure and force INC later in game. **Helped with key pressure look (with Atogwe) inside of Kerrigan on overload of 91's TD.
**Nice run stop shooting gap on 2nd down, to force 3rd and Long. Made two tackles early. **Helped force early throw - on blitz overload with Rocky on Kerrigan TD. **Was very late on a 24 yard catch to Manningham, with Reed blitzing - from single high safety look.
**Had short underneath zone on Nicks long bomb, so not responsible. ** Made a great open field tackle on a 3rd down smoke, to force punt, one play after having a nice tackle and short pass defense. **Nice pass rush along with Carriker on 3rd Down, to force an incompletion in 7-7 game.
**Had good pass coverage on Nicks, and on very next play - tackles Mario Manningham after 6 yard catch - shy of first down marker. That let to the 4th-and-1 stop that he had a credited part in.
**Would have been beat on 3rd-and-8 by Cruz - but drop. **Was late, with deep help on Nicks long pass. Not his responsibility, but still have to point out.
**7 yard PR, looping and slipping. Opening KO returned 24 yards. Another KO return (down 7-0) returned 24 yards. **Banks 25-yard punt return for long of day.
The Washington Redskins are finally back in familiar territory. The rules are very different, the faces are familiar in some cases -- yet foreign in others.
Finally, however -- football is back. Training Camp 2011 officially began on Thursday, with just over 60 players under contract (including all 12 rookie draft picks) taking the field for the first time on Friday morning in the searing heat.
Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen made it a peaceful start to the new season -- by trading Donovan McNabb to the Vikings for a 6th round pick in 2012 and a conditional pick in 2013 to eliminate one huge distraction.
The Redskins gave their fans, players and most importantly the media (just kidding) a huge early Christmas present by trading the worst free agent acquisition of all time, not just in Redskins history -- but in professional sports history -- getting rid of Albert Haynesworth.
Washington essentially took back a bag of dirty, water logged footballs and 25 sweaty, stretched out jock straps to get rid of the cancer that had invaded Redskins Park for the last two years - but anything is better then absolutely nothing.
After disposing of two mammoth sized distractions -- it almost feels like the Redskins are once again -- a football organization that is just trying to get better, instead of one that consistently has made god awful decisions every chance they had.
That being said - they have a long way to go. Training camp so far is very limited, not only by the amount of players, but by the amount of contact. Mike Shanahan said on Saturday morning that he won't have the Redskins in full shoulder pads for most of the week, if not the entire week ahead. He's putting a high emphasis on his normal coach-speak of getting his players in "football shape" which is all fine and good -- but the first pre season game is quickly approaching.
Washington hosts Pittsburgh in less then two weeks, and oh by the way -- that will be a game with live tackling (in case you did not remember) and I think your body has to be used to that pounding.
Nevertheless -- here's what has jumped out (good and not so-good) about the first two days of camp.
**John Beck really struggled with the deep-ball accuracy in Saturday's practice. Beck did everything flawlessly, to the non-scouting eye, on play-action, his boot rolls, the footwork -- until it came time to release the ball on a deep pattern. The ball seemed to consistently wobble from the point of release and he was largely inaccurate.
Beck missed new WR Jabar Gaffney deep when hurried by a blitz by Oshiomogho Atogwe. Beck also overthrew Anthony Armstrong a couple of times on deeper routes. Beck also missed an underneath check off, leading RB James Davis too far.
Beck did look share on most of his underneath throws, going (7-8) at one point, per John Keim of the Washington Examiner.
**Some rookies that have flashed at times -- LB Markus White looks like he has good athleticism for a 260 + pound guy. White showed good side-to-side lateral pursuit, picking through traffic on one particular run to his far side on Saturday. White has lined up at LOLB, with the injury to first round pick, Ryan Kerrigan.
Offensive Tackle Willie Smith stoned White in Saturday's practice on one particular rush, drawing praise from offensive line coach, Chris Foerster. Smith, is raw -- having only played left-tackle at East Carolina for two years -- but he has practiced some at guard in the post season all star game season, and so far has looked like the tempo and new environment is not too much.
Roy Helu really stood out in Friday's practice, not as much on Saturday. Helu has been called the ideal back by scouts for Mike Shanahan's one-cut zone run offense. Helu has really good first step explosion, once he plants his foot and turns up-the-field.
***Mike Sellers is clearly battling for his career as a member of the Redskins. He has not been a great lead blocker as a full back for the last two years. He is a good pass weapon out of the backfield, and of course a core special teams veteran.
Kevin Sheehan and I speculated on Thursday morning, before camp even began - that Mike Sellers was in some trouble in terms of a battle for a roster spot.
On Friday - Sellers was used primarily as a tight end. On Saturday - Sellers was used in the same role, as the Redskins used some more motion sets and even flexed Sellers out wide. He did have one ball go off his hands on an attempted one handed grab.
The bottom line is this -- Mike Sellers, at his age and salary -- needs a lot to go right for him. The fact that he is a big part of the Redskins special teams units helps a lot, but the Redskins have one mission besides trying to win.
Get younger and get cheaper.
***One last item -- the defensive line looks so much better. Probably, because we know that the additions of Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen are imminent on the field, but just in general. Jarvis Jenkins has worked at both end spots in practice so far. He can also shade over the nose, when asked to do so. Cofield played over the nose at Northwestern. On Saturday, Cofield said he has familiarity with the Redskins defense, which has principles based on the Steelers 3-4 -- from his time with former Giants Coordinator, Tim Lewis. Lewis has Pittsburgh roots as well.
Bowen says his go-to pass rush move is a "stutter" move to catch offensive lineman off guard, and allow him to get them off their base. Here's the bottom line -- if Jenkins has a good camp/pre-season and maybe this is too optimistic -- the starting defensive line for the season opener against the Giants could be Jenkins, Cofield & Bowen; with Adam Carriker, Anthony Bryant and Vonnie Holliday as the top three reserves.
1. Santana Moss deal---love it. Good value deal. Let's hope he can play primarily in the slot.
2. McNabb trade--the deal with the Eagles is officially a bust. Andy Reid fleeced Shanahan/Allen on the deal. Why did he deal him within the division? Because he knew McNabb had little left. As far as the deal with Vikings....good job salvaging something from a bad situation. To those that advocated releasing McNabb 6 months ago because you were convinced it was the "right" thing to do, you were wrong. The right thing was to wait until you could get something, anything in return. Personally, I would have waited a bit longer and rooted for serious QB injuries on other teams in preseason to create more demand for Donovan. But they were ready to take two 6ths and move on, fine.
3. Barry Cofield--another productive/durable young player added to the mix. Question for me is whether or not at 305 he's big enough for full-time nose. I wonder if the plan is for him to play both NT and DE. He was nose in college at Northwestern, DT in a 4-3 in NY.
4. Kellen Clemons/Donte Stallworth/Jabar Gaffney-- put all three of these additions in the low risk/high reward category. Unlike their predecessor Cerrato, the Skins want to see before they spend. Roster limits are up to 90 for preseason. The Skins need bodies to compete with their other bodies. No guarantee any of these three make the final roster. Jeremy Jarmon is gone in the Gaffney deal, he was a tough fit for the 3-4.
5. No Santonio Holmes--I'm thrilled they didn't overspend for him. He's not worth it.
6. What's next? a) Another DE/maybe Cullen Jenkins although he's a durability risk and he's older b) cornerback/are they really going with Barnes and/or Buchananon on the other side of Hall? c) punter/look for Brad Maynard to be here soon. d) OL/some of the additions here may come after the official Thurs/4pm waiver wire is activated. Jamall Brown is a priority. They need him here. Tons of possibilities and I expect no less than 3 O-linemen to be added by end of week.