This is a list of things about the Skins' 2012 season that I want to remember when we get to free agency, draft, and beyond.
1. RG3's Spectacular Season. The whys and hows of his injury will dominate the offseason discussion but let's not let it totally overshadow the greatest rookie season in franchise history. His debut game in New Orleans was stunning. The final drive in Tampa, the 76-yard game-clinching run against Minnesota, and the go-ahead touchdown drive late in the 4th quarter in East Rutherford were breath-taking early-season moments. The 7-game season-ending win streak featured 8 touchdown passes in back to back wins over Philly and Dallas, a clutch go-ahead touchdown pass against the Giants in a huge Monday night win, and two clutch throws on the final drive against Baltimore on one leg. He threw 20 touchdowns against just 5 picks with a 102.4 QB rating.....as a rookie! Oh and by the way, he rushed for 815 yards while leading the league in yards per carry at 6.8. The list of eye-popping plays he made during the course of the season are too numerous to mention but how's the 88-yarder to Garcon in the opener, the 4th and 10 to Paulson the first Giant game, the 76-yard TD run against Minnesota, the 30-yard go-ahead TD pass to Moss in the first Giant game, and the TD pass to Moss just before the half on Thanksgiving in Dallas for starters.
2. Pierre Garcon's Impact on W's and L's. With Garcon the Redskins were 9-2, without him they were 1-5. He was a difference-maker for sure.
3. Alfred Morris. He was the perfect zone-stretch and zone-read runner. He set the franchise record with 1,613 yards with the perfect combination of vision and power. His 33 carries for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns in the NFC East title game against Dallas in the season-finale is one of the franchise's all-time great individual performances.
4. Santana Moss Wasn't Done. The 33-year old led the team with 8 touchdown catches and was third on the squad with 41 catches.
5. The Offense Was Top 5 and Could've Been Better. They finished 5th overall, 1st in rushing averaging 169.3 per game, 4th overall in scoring at 27.3 points per game, and it could've been better if their defense didn't rank towards the bottom. Imagine that offense with a defense that gave them the ball back quicker.
6. Offensive Innovation. Mike and Kyle Shanahan introduced the NFL to the "Pistol". The "Pistol" was nothing more than a formation that allowed them to more effectively run their traditional zone-stretch offense while also threatening defenses occasionally with the lethal "Read-Option". Once the Shanahans introduced RG3 as a run-threat out of the "Pistol", the offense became nearly unstoppable. The most overrated talk during the season was how many times RG3 ran from the "Pistol" while underrated was what the threat of him running did to defenses. Separating truth from fiction, the "Read-Option" was not only the most effective passing offense the Redskins ran, it was the safest and cleanest pocket for RG3. He barely got hit on throws on the "Read-Option" and his primary receiver was almost always open. By midseason, San Francisco and Seattle were among the teams copying what the Redskins were doing.
7. Turnover Margin. The Skins ranked 3rd in the league at +17 and led the league with just 14 giveaways. A big reason for their 7-game season-ending win streak was 15 takeaways and a plus-10 margin.
8. Defense Got Better. 28th overall isn't good and leaves a ton of room for improvement but after the bye at 3-6, a defense that couldn't stop anybody started to and a team that couldn't generate any pass rush got some. Jim Haslett deserves a lot of credit for figuring out how to take a defense decimated by injuries and suspension early (see Carriker, Orakpo, Merriweather, Jackson) and turning into a competitive group by the final month of the season.
9. Penalties' Good and Bad. The Redskins were penalized an average of 7 times a game (5th most in the league) but just 2.7 times per game in their last 3 games (best in the league).
10. Danny Smith's Comeback. From two blocked punts in the first two games to a very good rest of the year. Fans wanted him fired early but his punt coverage team finished 8th while his kickoff coverage team finished 12th. Brandon Banks was ineffective but the move to Richard Crawford on punt returns worked.
11. Kai Forbath. Nobody can explain the move to Cundiff at the end of the preseason but the final outcome was a good one after Cundiff predictably failed. Forbath set an NFL record by making 17 straight field goals to start his career....he finished 17-18, missing his final attempt of the season into the wind and on the sand at Fed Ex.
12. Fed Ex Turf. A total disaster late in the season and a total embarrassment in the playoff loss to Seattle.
13. Biggest Offseason Needs. Safeties, corners, and another playmaker on offense are my top 3 priorities. Big decisions regarding Fred Davis and Brian Orakpo.
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).
Another impressive win for the Skins....5 straight, good for first place in the NFC East with 2 left. The good, bad, and more.
1. Organizational win. There used to be organizational losses after losses but now there are organziational wins. Today may have been Mike Shanahan's best moment in Washington. His personnel decisions of the past few years were all over this one. As many as 11 of his draft choices from the last 3 years contributed....most in a major way. Trent Williams and Perry Riley from 2011. Kerrigan, Jenkins, Hankerson, Paul, and Royster from 2011. And none more than the one that drew the most scrutiny, Kirk Cousins, the 4th-rounder from this past draft who most thought was unnecessary. His two biggest offseason free agent acquistions (Garcon and Morgan) were major contributors and have been. His coordinators (Kyle and Haslett) were superior to the competition today. They're on a roll with a chance to do something big this year and they're young....really young.
2. Kyle's playcalling. After going 0 for their first 4 drives, Kyle realized that they had to throw it and throw it on first and 2nd down. The bootleg must have been run 15 times in this game with the quick-strike play-action throw called another 10-12 times. An amazing adjustment when he figured out that the run-game would not produce per usual and incredible that it was so effective without the running game working. After the dismal start, he got aggressive and stayed that way to the tune of 38 points. It was also interesting that they ran last year's offense much more than this year's offense. The "Pistol" formation was absent except on one play and they ran only one, maybe two read-options. Why? Not sure, but two things were clear. One, they didn't run the ball very well without it and two, they clearly thought Cousins was more comfortable running their base offense primarily.
3. Kirk Cousins. Those that didn't like the Redskins spending a 4th-round pick on another quarterback....sit down. After a shaky start 1 for 6 start, Cousins when 25 of 31 the rest of the way. His play-action throws, especially the bootlegs, loosened up a Cleveland defense that stopped the run and got good pass rush early. Cousins, like RG3, is talented. He can make all the throws, can run it a little too. But like RG3, he definitely benefits from a coaching staff that knows quarterbacks and knows offense.
4. The Defense. Cleveland is the weakest offensive opponent they've played in a while but still, the defense did a solid job all day long. There were a few plays that they'd like back (the Benjamin TD pass in particular) but it's a defense that's getting better. They stopped the run, got good pass-rush pressure, deflected multiple passes, and picked off two passes. The Jackson pick set the tone in what would become a dominant 2nd half. The Skins played everyone on defense and their freshness paid off.
5. D'Angelo Hall. I'm going to single him out because he takes so much heat from so many but he played well. He was all over the field as a tackler, as a cover-corner, as a cover-safety, and as a special-teamer on kick coverage.
6. Special teams. Rocca and Forbath solid. Kick and punt coverage very good with the exception of one kickoff return. Big hits by Alexander on Sp. teams is a given each week.
1. Another long touchdown pass allowed. DJ Johnson burned in man coverage on 3rd and 7 by Benjamin. Bad play for the Skins because they went from being in total control up 17 with 10 to go to a game that was once again in play.
2. Garcon 15-yard penalty. It wasn't the spin but the taunting with the spin that drew the flag. It'd be nice if they could make the catch, toss the ball to the ref, and get back to the huddle to get ready for the next play.
1. Casserly said that the Skins can perhaps pull in two 2nd-round choices if they choose to trade Cousins in the offseason. I don't think there's a chance they'll trade him so soon especially without another back-up they're comfortable with.
2. Martz said the decision on RG3 was made Wednesday.
2. Redskins fumbled twice and didn't lose any of them continuing a trend of now recovering 18 of their 24 fumbles.
3. I thought the challenge on the Garcon play was worthwhile. It looked like a catch.
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.
Their biggest win in several years. The good, bad, and more.
1. The offense. The debate about the type of offense their running is over. It's smart, it works, it's a step ahead of the defense most of the time, and it leverages the strengths and minimizes the weaknesses of the players that are running it. The Redskins didn't have the ball much but still managed a very impressive 370 yards on 51 plays. I loved Kyle's aggresive play-calling in the final 3:51. He knew giving the ball back to Eli with any meaningful amount of time left would likely mean loss. The throw to Garcon on 2nd and 8 for 17 yards was the perfect aggressive call.
2. RG3. No explanation necessary.
3. Alfred Morris. What a bounce-back after the 3rd quarter fumble. 10 carries for 54 yards including the final 12 to ice the game post-fumble.
4. Pierre Garcon. He's the 3rd difference-maker on offense.They would be better than 6-6 if he hadn't missed time.
5. 2nd half 3rd-down defense. After allowing the Giants 8-10 on 3rd-down, they held NY to 1 for 7 in the 2nd half. Giant penalties helped but the most important penalty of the game, Will Beatty's hold on Rob Jackson, was forced by Jackson's great jump on the snap.
6. Sav Rocca. He punted effectively but more importantly, he did a nice job on a bad snap on the game-winning PAT.
7. Darrell Young. He's so underrated. He blocks, catches, and runs for first downs.
8. Few penalties for 2nd straight week. Just 4 for 56 yards and the Paulson offensive P.I. was awful. With that said, I thought they got away with a few defensive holds.
1. Pass rush and coverage. It's obviously not good enough but fortuneately tonight, Giant self-destructive penalties and a few Eli misses on deep balls in the first half made the final result look better than it really was. Fletcher on a tight end in coverage just doesn't work.
2. Banks' return yardage. He's just not producing on returns. Is it all him or is it a combo of him and blocking? Not sure but Niles Paul had a decent kickoff return in the first half.
1. I thought Coughlan might consider going for 4th and 11 from his own 43 after Kehl's running into the punter penalty. He must have given some thought about not giving the ball up to an offense that had proven they could move the sticks. The odds were probably no better than 50-50 that the Giants would get the ball back.
2. The Paulson offensive pass interference penalty was awful and could've cost them the game.
3. Shanahan time out on offense with 1:01 left in the first half cost his team 3 pts. The goal should be to score while simultaneously leaving the Giants with the least amount of time possible. He didn't achieve the latter and could have easily.
4. Gruden was smitten with the Shanahans all night long and did a great job of illustrating why their offense is smart and working.
5. How important did Mike Shanahan think getting the first score of the game was?? He challenged a seemingly 50-50 at best ball-spot on Paulson's 3rd and long on the first 3rd down of the game.
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) From head to toe, three things are immediately noticeable when Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon takes the field.
- His mouthpiece looks like vampire fangs. Nothing special, he says. Just something the team dentist designed for him a few years back when he was with the Indianapolis Colts.
- He appears to be the only NFL player whose jersey has a cedilla, the curvy thing that dangles from the letter "c." His parents are from Haiti, accounting for his French name. He speaks Creole and understands French, although he says the French class he took in college didn't help much at all.
- He's makes the Redskins offense a lot better, even though he's playing with a toe that hurts. And hurts. And hurts. And has been hurting for some 2 1/2 months.
"I think I'm going to make it through the whole season," Garcon said this week. "Hopefully nothing crazy happens. But I've been dealing with the pain for so long now, it's only getting numb to it or getting used to it."
When Garcon caught the first touchdown pass of Robert Griffin III's career - 88 yards in the season-opening win over the New Orleans Saints - little did anyone know that the moment would yield as much frustration as excitement. Garcon tore a ligament in the second toe on his right foot while sprinting to the end zone, and the intervening weeks have been flush with thoughts of how to play through pain, how best to avoid surgery and whether he should even try to play again this season.
"It is frustrating because it's just a toe," Garcon said. "But it plays a big part. I need my toes to push off."
Garcon returned for Weeks 4 and 5, but he clearly wasn't physically ready and served more as a decoy than anything else, catching four passes for 44 yards. It looked like more of the same when he returned for again this month against the Philadelphia Eagles, catching three passes for a tepid 5 yards.
Coach Mike Shanahan wasn't certain whether Garcon would be able to play again four days later against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving because of the possible effect of the stadium's artificial surface on his toe.
"No matter what, I have to go out there and play," Garcon said. "If it's grass, turf, AstroTurf, concrete - I've got to be out there no matter what. It's going to be a pain throughout the year."
Against the Cowboys, Garcon looked again like the player signed to a $42.5 million, five-year contract to fill the team's need for a No. 1 receiver. He had five catches for 93 yards, including a 59-yard acrobatic catch-and-run score that gave nary a hint of anything wrong with his foot.
"He just brings a different attitude to the receiving corps," Griffin said. "He's our guy. Having him out there is definitely a plus. ... He was in his own world. That's how he is when he's out there. He plays in the zone and I think it helps the other receivers to have him out there."
The Redskins (5-6) hope Garcon can play another key role in Monday night's NFC East showdown against the New York Giants (7-4), but the fickle foot means offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will have to be flexible with the game plan.
"You never know because he's not 100 percent healthy," Kyle Shanahan said. "But when he does feel good, he's a big-time player. And when he's not fully going, I still think (having) him out there help us. ... It makes me a little less decisive in what we're going to open up with and stuff we're going to do, but it's definitely a problem I don't mind having."
Still to be decided is how and when the toe will heal. Garcon has never had surgery, and he's adamant that he'll opt for it only as a last resort.
"It's slowly going away," Garcon said. "The surgery is not something I want to do. But if a few doctors say I need it, then I'll probably do it. But if I don't need it, I'm not getting it."
Notes: LB London Fletcher (sprained left ankle) and LT Trent Williams (left thigh bruise) again did not practice. ... Griffin was chosen as the NFL's offensive rookie of the month for November. He also won the honor for the month of September.
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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
One of the biggest wins in recent memory for the Skins. The good, bad, and more.
1. RG3. He was brilliant in the first half in particular. Everything they tried worked and everything they asked of him was executed to near-perfection. There was a drop by Logan Paulson and a missed block by Paulson that led to a sack on the first two drives of the game but the first-half otherwise was a gem. He ran it well, threw it well, avoided pressure well. He's damn good and getting better.
2. The offensive scheme and Kyle Shanahan's playcalling. I've said this before and I'll keep saying it until all of the people I care about are worshiping at the same altar. The Shanahans know what they're doing with their scheme. RG3 as a run-threat out of the pistol and/or spread isn't a "college offense" about to be figured out , it's a "pro offense" that leverages the unique skills of its quarterback which might be easy to figure out but will never be easy to stop as long as RG3 is running it. I loved the playcalling today and it stayed aggressive even at the end of the half when last week they played for a field goal. I loved the aggressiveness on the drive after Dallas got it to within 28-13 when they took it down the field and scored on a gutsy 3rd and 1 TD pass to Niles Paul. Even better was the drive after the Cowboys closed to 35-28. 12 plays, great mix, field goal range, nothing stupid, field goal attempted, field goal made, game over.
3. Pierre Garcon. He IS a difference-maker.
4. Alfred Morris. He is also a difference-maker. He benefits greatly by the scheme that features RG3 as a consitent run-threat but he'd be good in any system.
5. The defensive scheme. For the 2nd straight week, Haslett had them ready to play. Yes a lot of yards and points given up by the time we got to the end of the game but the first half was a gem. Dallas had it five times in the first half and scored 3 points. The Skins were in position to make plays and made them more often than not.
6. Kai Forbath. A huge field goal to ice the game. He is 10 for 10 on the season.
7. Penalty improvement. After double-digit penalties the last few weeks, just 5 for 41 yards today.
1. 2nd half defensive execution. Too many people open althought the Cowboys made some very good plays after the catch.
2. Brandon Banks as a returner. I actually think Banks is helping offensively but his decision to field that punt in the end zone cost them significant yards.
1. I thought Cedric Griffin was pretty good in the first half.
2. The Skins' clock-management at the end of the first half was exceptional. The play call when they were down to no timeouts to roll RG# and throw to Moss where it's either a TD or an incomplete with no chance for sack was perfect.
3. Why they picked up the flag on the late hit on RG3 out of bounds I'll never know. He was clearly out of bounds when he got pushed to the turf.
The news on Pierre Garcon's troublesome foot could have been a lot worse. Then again, it could have been a lot better.
Garcon, met with Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte on Wednesday, and NFL sources told ESPN 980 that the official diagnosis is NOT a tendon injury as was reported by USA Today, nor has it ever been the same as turf toe. It is however a 'ruptured ligament in the bottom of the 2nd toe."
The official public disclosure does not mean that it is a new injury. As a matter of fact, one source insisted 'it still is the same injury, it (foot) hasn't progressed."
Another source said that the 'inflammation got worse,' after Garcon returned to the lineup on September 30th in Tampa, a game that he recovered a fumble for a touchdown, and played an integral role in. The same source labeled it as a 'fairly serious injury. I think it's been a torn ligament the whole time."
The Redskins did not force Garcon back into the lineup as many suggested or hinted, based on Mike Shanahan's comments and his frustration level with the initial length of recovery time. The decision was Garcon's, ESPN 980 was told.
The injury occurred on the 88-yard touchdown catch and run against New Orleans on September 9th, and then Garcon missed the St. Louis and Cincinnati games, before returning against Tampa and Atlanta. He tried to suit up against Minnesota, and even put on his uniform pants during pre-game warmups. He was shut down by the Redskins staff, and has not practiced or obviously played in the last two games.
While the injury is essentially the same, it is a more revealing public disclosure than a sore foot or just foot pain, as has been described in many circles, including by Mike Shanahan. In addition, contrary to what has been previously mentioned, 'it can be hurt more."
Also, per sources, Dr. Anderson informed Garcon definitively that he has two options. Season ending surgery or rest. Surgery would land Garcon on the injured-reserve list, and take 3-4 months to recover from. Garcon, ESPN 980 was told, chose rest over surgery for now (still a possibility down the road) because he wants to play.
For now, he'll essentially be on complete rest, keeping 'all weight off it, and immobilized." There is no official timetable - and as one source suggested it "is a mystery," despite seeing the worlds top specialist for foot and Achilles injury, Dr. Anderson, who also repaired Fred Davis ruptured Achilles today as well.
ESPN 980 reached out to Brad Cicala of Terra Firma Sports Management, who represents Garcon and is as close as anybody to the star wide receiver for comment. Cicala, commended the Redskins treatment of his client.
"The decision the Redskins made was the best decision in terms of Pierre. I commend the coaching staff and the training staff. Pierre's goal is to be here to help the Redskins. Our goal is to get back [on the field this year]."
It is important to note that Cicala did not criticize the Redskins treatment of his star client, as some agents and now former players have done (Malcolm Kelly, LaRon Landry, etc). Cicala said Garcon would be 'willing to answer questions' on Thursday here at Redskins Park.
For now, the plan besides more rest will be to keep Garcon's hand/eye coordination sharp and it is expected that he will catch balls after practice at some point, while sitting in a chair.
The hope for the Redskins has to be that Garcon will be able to return on November 18th after the bye against Philadelphia - which would essentially be a 5 week window of rest & rehab. Generally, the time period for such an injury is six weeks, being completely off the foot - so that target date might be unrealistic.
The Redskins visit Dallas just four days after that on Thanksgiving and then have a week and a half off between games, hosting the Giants on "Monday Night Football" on December 3rd.
Using a more conservative approach - it would stand to reason that if the foot responds to rest and treatment, Garcon's return could be on the national primetime stage.
The Redskins desperately need a win on Sunday at FedEx Field. Everyone knows they have historically stunk on their home field for no good reason, other than they haven't been a very good sustained football organization for a long time.
They need a win because they have lost eight in a row in front of the burgundy and gold faithful, who will be in a sour mood on Sunday because of the commitment they've already made (time, money, emotion) along with the bitter disappointment many in the area are feeling over the Nationals stunning collapse and the Orioles bitter defeat.
They need a win because a loss would drop them to (2-4) through what would have to be considered the easier part of the schedule, and with staring two consecutive road games (at NY Giants, at Pittsburgh) right in the face.
Here are V (in roman numerals, and to represent the 'V' for Vikings) keys to a Redskins Victory against the boys from Minnesota, who have waltzed into FedEx Field, and beaten Washington in each of the last two years, with very average to sub-par football teams.
I. 3rd down Conversions : The Redskins are a putrid 23.3 % (14/60) and the Vikings are an alarming 44.2% allowed (34/77) on their defense. If Washington can not convert at least 35 + % of the time in this game, something is drastically wrong.
Kyle Shanahan was asked this week about the problem, "I don’t think it’s ever one thing in particular. It’s a little different thing each week. We have to get better at it in all areas. Last week we had a few drops on third down, which was two of them. We had a couple third-and-long situations. For the most part we were in some integral situations – missed a third-and-two and a third-and-one running the ball – two drops. That’s four right there that takes you to 50 percent if you make them, so we have to make those plays.”
II. Conversely, the Redskins defense must get off the field on third down : The Vikings have a methodical offense for the most part that features high percentage throws with a lot of bubble screens to Percy Harvin. They are converting 35.5% of the time on third downs, while the Redskins are yielding a 39.3 % conversion rate on the money down. Most of the problems have come in two games, (Atlanta/St. Louis) and they have been very good against New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Tampa.
III. Tackle Percy Harvin and Kick-off out of end zone : The Vikings list Harvin as 1st in the NFL with 242 yards after the catch. My friends at Pro Football Focus, say Harvin is even more dangerous with 320. Either way, the Redskins have an ENORMOUS task on their plate Sunday to tackle the slippery, elusive speed demon. The Vikings will run reverses, bubble screens, hitches and a lot more. This will be the most critical element.
Also, this will be a great test to see if new PK Kai Forbath can consistently kick-off out of the end-zone, if he is allowed. Danny Smith often likes to pin teams in short of the 20, and test his very good KO return coverage. THIS IS NOT THE WEEK FOR THAT. Harvin averages 38.3 yards per KO return and has a touchdown return already this year in Detroit, a 105-yarder. Forbath only had two touchbacks in nine kick-off attempts during the preseason, and it is not thought to be his strength.
IV. Reverses and the Option game execution : The last time the Redskins saw a team that was in as much Cover-2 as they will see on Sunday, was at home against the Bengals. In that game, the Redskins unleashed the triple-option in the 2nd half, to loosen up the Bengals shell and it worked with very good success. Fred Davis also had his best game. I have a pretty good feeling that you will see a few reverses in this game with maybe Joshua Morgan being the receiver carrying out the fake, because he's a great blocker on the backside of plays. I am hoping the Redskins go back to the TE leak or throwback staple that we have not seen yet this year.
V. Pierre Garcon : The Redskins most expensive purchase, outside of the compensation package they paid for the rights to Robert Griffin III, was for Pierre Garcon. He's already missed two games, but made a huge impact in two of the three games he's played in. Friday, he was very limited in reps according to Mike Shanahan, after full practices earlier in the week.
It goes without saying that the Redskins chances increase with Garcon in the lineup, and I think he will play -- based on the fact that he was full go on Thursday which is Washington's toughest and most important practice of the week.
I'd be surprised if he can't play in what I have pretty much determined is a must win game.
The names are certainly changing around Redskins Park these days.
Redskins Fan favorite and all-time franchise leader for receptions by a tight end (428) Chris Cooley was released yesterday. Fan favorite and 2nd in in all-time rushing yards (6,824) Clinton Portis finally officially retired last week.
In fact, in the four primary point producing positions: quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, and running back, the Redskins have a new quartet of faces - threel new to the franchise this year.
The new guard
Robert Griffin III - We all know about him of course, the rookie quarterback who doesn't talk or play like one and poised to be the franchise quarterback everybody wants him to be.
Pierre Garcon - The biggest pickup of the offseason in free agency, a proven commidity who honed his skills with one of the greats Peyton Manning. Garcon has been a frequent target of Griffin so far in preseason and looks primed and eager to relish the role of #1 receiver this season for the Redskins.
Fred Davis - Recently voted the offensive player of the 2011 year (despite his suspension) at the Redskins annual Welcome Home Luncheon, Davis is considered by many to be a Top 10 tight end talent. This season Davis will strive to cement himself as a true undisputed top tight end in the NFL.
Alfred Morris - That's right, 6th round draftee and rookie running back Alfred Morris is the fourth face on Mount Rushmore for Redskins' optimists. With Helu, Hightower, and Royster all dealing with injuries and rehab, Morris has taken advantage of the opportunity. Morris turns 2 yard stops into four yard gains. He falls forward. He bounces and spins. He used to be a linebacker and its apparent. It's too early to call right now, but Alfred Morris may be that late round nugget that the Redskins were looking for - and don't be surprised to see him as the starter for the beginning of the season as the other guys figure it out.