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).
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.
A loss but it was nice to see D-Hall keep his cool at the end. The good, bad, and more.
1. RG3. It wasn't his fault his receivers dropped 10 balls. He missed one deep shot to Paulson but was mostly accurate. I'd like to see him use his legs more than he did today especially on 3rd-downs when it's necessary.
2. Logan Paulson. He didn't drop anything.
1. Defense. Awful across the board in this one. Obviously they can't cover and don't generate much pass pressure but they couldn't stop the run today either. The list of those culpable is long...the list of anyone who played or coached well doesn't exist. Pittsburgh scored on 5 of their first 6 drives and coasted the rest of the way.
2. 10 Dropped Passes. Drive killers most of them though the first two drops (Hankerson and Briscoe) didn't cost them a touchdown.
3. Not enough zone-read and other option looks. The first drive of the game was similar to the first two drives of the Minnesota game and much of the Atlanta game. Not enough option looks. Three under-center snaps to RG3 with no option possibility on the first drive or any drive usually equals punt. They should know by now that they move the ball much better as an offense when they run out of option-look formations.
4. Lack of 4th Qtr Urgency. Why didn't they get into their hurry-up offense down two scores in the 4th Qtr? Makes no sense. They should've gotten into it down 27-9 at the start of the 4th qtr. Sometimes Shanahan's clock management defies logic.
4. D-Hall's Lack of Composure. I've always liked his competitive feistiness even though he's not a very good corner but with that said, going after an official like he did should cost him big money if not a suspension. He was frustrated and clearly incapable of keeping his cool.
5. Rocca. One of the worst days of his career as a Redskin.
1. I didn't like the razzle-dazzle third-down Morgan pass to RG3. I'd rather they run option if they are going to expose RG3 to a hit.
2. The blocked PAT appeared to be a low kick by Forbath.
3. Forbath is now 6-6 on FGs...5 of them from 43 or longer.
4. Shanahan on missing Fred Davis--"of course we missed him...anybody tells you they don't miss a pro bowlplayer isn't being honest".
5. I didn't like the knee at the end of the game. Giving up sucks. I know the odds of scoring twice in 26 seconds is 10 million to 1 but there's no chance if you take a knee.
1. The notion that the Redskins ditched the option for the week is wrong. While they didn't run very much "triple option" like they did last week, they ran plenty of "zone-read" option. But unlike previous weeks, RG3's read resulted in the ball going to the lead back Morris on all but two occasions. Those plays, like previous weeks, were very effective. One more note on this. In the redzone, the "zone-read" is a staple for them. It's typically what they like to do between the 20 and 10 with the QB draw being more preferable inside the 10. Bottom line, it's working as the Skins lead the NFC in touchdowns and are 3rd in the NFL in red zone offense scoring touchdowns 67% of the time.
2. Will Montgomery is doing a very good job snapping the ball. This seems trivial but the significant majority of their offensive plays are in shotgun whether it be "Pistol", "Spread" or other. They haven't really had any mishaps in four games.
3. Cundiff's two short misses weren't close. Not that you didn't know that already but at least Gano's misses were close.
4. Skins' pass defense WAS better. This was obvious after watching it again. D-Hall was damn close on almost every catch made against him as was Wilson. The safeties, Williams in particular, played better. With that said, comparing it to the St. Louis and Cincy games it didn't take much to show improvement.
5. The sideline was confused in the final 18 seconds. Little doubt that after the spike with 18 seconds, they lost track of playclock time. And then after the last completion to Moss, they looked stumped on the sideline. Thank god they had one timeout left even if they did call it too early with 7 seconds left.
Upon further review of Sunday's win over the Saints...
1. Alfred Morris was good but could've been slightly better. He ran hard and was physical at the point of attack. His 2nd touchdown in particular was impressive. He had great vision on most of his runs. With that said, he missed a few cutbacks that would've resulted in more yards. Not many, but a few. His 3.4 yards per carry isn't quite what Shanahan wants out of his running game. He's looking for something closer to 4.5 to 5. I'm surprised that Shanahan made it a point during his Monday press conference to say Morris was the starter moving forward. I'm suspicious and think he might give Royster and/or Helu more carries in St. Louis.
2. Kory Lichtensteiger's holding penalties were questionable. He had two of them and neither was obvious. Additionally, his mobility and dare I say it speed, are why the Shanahans love him. He was very good.
3. RG3's decision-making was interesting in a few cases. I wonder what the Shanahans think of some of the decisions he made. His across-the-field pass to Fred Davis on the first play of the 2nd quarter wasn't as easy as the wide-open bootleg dump-off in the flat to Darrell Young. A pass to Santana Moss later in the 2nd quarter for a first down looked like a play where running the ball or throwing a pass to Helu would've been easier and resulted in a first-down as well.
4. Their intention at the end of the first half WAS to score. Some have questioned why they weren't more aggressive on the drive that ended with the blocked punt. I think their intention was aggressive but with 1:46 left and the ball at their own 22, their first-down draw was bungled between RG3 and Royster resulting in a 2-yard loss. The Skins' 2-minute offense the past two years has almost always started with a draw or screen. I think the draw was the first play in their 2-minute drill but after the 2-yard loss, they turned conservative and decided to run clock, force the Saints to burn timeouts, and give it back to them if they couldn't make a first down running the ball. I AM surprised that after an 8-yd run from Royster to set up 3rd and 4 that they didn't throw the ball for the first down. At that point, there were still :52 seconds left and the Saints had two timeouts. Running the 3rd and 4 draw seemed a bit too conservative in that spot.
5. Jimmy Graham is the best tight end in football. He might be one of the best 5 to10 players in the game. At 6-7, 265, with incredible athleticsm, strength, and more importantly soft hands, Graham is the best at his position. He must be doubled and even then it's nearly impossible to stop him if Brees puts the ball up high. An amazing athlete and football player.
It is finally official. As if there was any suspense at all, or any question, Robert Griffin III is your new quarterback, Redskins Nation.
The man who Redskins Head Coach/Executive Vice President Mike Shanahan will hang his career hat on, is now in burgundy and gold, and better be worth the price.
As in, if this doesn't work out, history will remember Shanahan with a complete mixed bag of opinions and likely will strongly tarnish the two-time Super Bowl winning coach.
Griffin III, became the fourth player selected by the Redskins with the No. 2 overall pick and the fourth Heisman Trophy winner, (first QB), to be picked by the Redskins.
He also impressed the fickle DC media with his first answer in his first tele-conference with reporters assembled at Redskins Park. He was asked how he felt, and proceded to belt out "Hail to the Redskins, Hail Victory."
He stopped short of the entire fight song, saying later that he still had to learn the rest, but said "That's how I felt, it felt that good."
Mike Shanahan with pick filed in, wasted very little time in addressing the media on Thursday night, and was predictable in his response.
“We were really excited when we were able to move from the sixth spot to the second spot. We had a good feeling Robert would be there. Just to be around him to see how he handles himself and to see how he works, you can see what a class act he is and what sort of charisma he brings."
Griffin, born in Okinawa, Japan was raised for some time in New Orleans, before moving to Texas could very well be the starter in Week 1 at New Orleans, against a defensive unit that will be completely different than we saw it at the end of the year. It is somewhat ironic that Griffin III would play his first game in a city his family has major roots in, and be drafted by a team that has such a intimate connection with the military.
Griffin's parents, Robert Jr. and Jacaqueline, are both retired US Army sargents. They obviously have installed a strong confidence and a fierce drive in their son who is a mere 22 years old.
I still love what he told me in my sit-down interview with him on Tuesday night at the EA Sports NCAA '13 event, that he is on the cover of. He will not back down. I asked how his ACL injury a few years ago, changed his perspective. "It made me love the game of football. I went from a kid who played the game of football because it was fun and I was good at it."
Griffin continued, http://bit.ly/I5oSw3, "I missed practice. I missed film, the games. As soon as it was taken away from me, I love it. it was a wake up call. It was a wake up call to a guy who didn't need a wake up call."
Pretty much describes at least early on, Robert Griffin III in a nutshell. Now if only Brandon Meriweather was the same type of guy.
Meriweather was arrested for DUI and refusing a breathalyzer in Arlington County, VA early Thursday morning. He is what we thought he was. A troubled gamble at the very best as we chronicled here http://bit.ly/Kfk6uO.
The last paragraph of that post is probably my most favorite out of anything I have ever written. Give it a read. Go ahead, you will enjoy the prophecy.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts will soon get a more thorough look at Andrew Luck.
They won't have the same opportunity with Robert Griffin III.
General manager Ryan Grigson said Monday the Colts plan to bring Luck to Indianapolis for an individual workout during the next couple of weeks. Luck is widely expected to be the No. 1 pick in next month's draft. Griffin is expected to go second, but Grigson said the Colts wouldn't see the Heisman Trophy winner work out at the team complex.
"Circumstances didn't allow us to do anything private with him (Griffin) so we did the usual Pro Day," Grigson said during a conference call. "We did the best we could with that situation. We do have a private workout that we're scheduling with Andrew in the future."
Grigson was ill last week and could not attend Griffin's workout in Waco, Texas, or Luck's workout in Palo Alto, Calif., though there were Colts representatives in both places.
Team owner Jim Irsay has already said he plans to take Peyton Manning's successor with the No. 1 pick, but nobody within the organization is saying whether they'll take the consensus favorite, Luck, or the fast riser, Griffin.
Luck is considered the most polished quarterback to come out of college since Manning was taken No. 1 overall by the Colts in 1998.
"Obviously you want to go No. 1, who wouldn't want to go No. 1?" Luck said after last week's Pro Day workout. "I'm just trying to prepare myself for the NFL, whichever team that is. Whether it's watching certain defenses or going out there and working on throws I've never done before. That's been my focus and it hasn't been hard to stay on that path."
Without Manning, the Colts collapsed last season. They went a league-worst 2-14, and have embarked on an ambitious rebuilding project -- one that no longer includes Manning.
Indy released its franchise quarterback March 7, and last week the four-time league MVP signed a new five-year deal with the Denver Broncos.
But Grigson insisted Monday that the team has not decided who to take and would likely wait until after the first round is completed April 26 before negotiating a deal with the top pick.
"We're going to do it the old-fashioned way, and that's not something that's been discussed at this point about how we would go about that," Grigson said. "I think we'll do it like teams always have and keep it simple."
Clearly, this is a team in transition.
In addition to releasing Manning, the Colts made a series of cost-cutting moves by releasing defensive captains Gary Brackett and Melvin Bullitt and former Pro Bowlers Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai earlier this month. They also have lost longtime center Jeff Saturday to Green Bay, emerging receiver Pierre Garcon to Washington and backup tight end Jacob Tamme to Denver in free agency.
There was even speculation that the Colts may try to save more money by trading perennial Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney, who will count $19 million against the salary cap this season. Grigson denied those rumors.
"There's never been any substance that would suggest we're doing anything like that. He's a Colt, period," Grigson said.
"Everything with Dwight is great. He's going to be here this year," Grigson added. "We expect him to be a major contributor and a guy who strikes fear in our opponents and those offensive linemen every week."
The Colts haven't completely gutted the roster.
They did re-sign receiver Reggie Wayne to a three-year deal, and Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis to a four-year deal. Mathis and Freeney have been one of the league's most feared pass-rushing tandems since 2004.
New coach Chuck Pagano has called them "game-wreckers" and is still contemplating how best to use the two as he tries to switch from the Colts' trademark Tampa 2 scheme to Pagano's favored 3-4 system.
Grigson's biggest concern has been putting together an offensive unit in which the new quarterback -- Luck or Grigson -- can thrive.
The Colts have stockpiled talent along the offensive line by trading for Winston Justice and signing free agents Mike McGlynn and Samson Satele. They also signed free agent receiver Donnie Avery, a speedster who could give them a major deep threat if he's healthy.
"He's always been a fast guy," Grigson said of Avery. "He's had considerable production early on in his career and, of course, he as well as we, hope he gets back to that level. We sure hope he does and I know he does. It's a nice get for us based on what he brings to the table and what he can help in this offense with much needed wrinkle of speed."
But the biggest question going forward is the one Grigson doesn't want to answer.
"I really go through this thing methodically and I watch a ton of tape. We take every bit of information that we gather with our own two eyes and (take) everything into account," Grigson said when asked about the evaluations. "We're going to use this process every minute up until the time we're on the clock."