Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week Eight: Thoughts and Observations Of The Redskins Vs Cowboys Game

The underdog Redskins found a way to play a full 60 mins of almost error free football to upset the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys. Tony Romo was under constant pressure all night and never seemed comfortable. This win took a total team effort to go on the road and beat the division leader.
Via redskins.com

The first sack of the night for Brandon Meriweather came of
a Cover 0 look which gave Romo fits all night.
Via redskins.com
    Hail Redskins Nation!!!! It's Victory Tuesday and what makes it even better is it's over our biggest division rival. I figured this would take a total team effort and some unsung heroes stepping up but the whole team stepped up. Offense, defense, special teams and coaches all played a major role in this victory that can possibly give some positive momentum to this season. First off Jim Haslett gets my game ball for his gameplan and having his players ready to play. Haslett knew he could't shut down the whole Dallas offensive attack so he picked his poison. Which was to let DeMarco Murray do his thing but Tony Romo and Dez Bryant was not gonna beat them this time. In order for him to do that he had to have confidence in his young corners to be able to play mostly man coverage. The youngsters David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland showed they can step up in the bright lights and handle their business. I said a couple of weeks ago that these two could be a formidable duo in the future but seems the future is now after last night's performance. On third down Haslett used a lot of cover 0 looks. Which is when you blitz one more man than the line can block and usually the middle of the field is wide open. This has burned the team in the past in certain situations but last night worked like a charm. Romo even said after the game he had never seen that many cover 0 looks and let alone actually blitz out of that look. The issue with this defense is that if you don't get home usually your
It's about going full speed on the field and becuase Trent did that
he was in the right place at the right time and recovered a
much needed fumble in the first half.
Via redskins.com
secondary pays the price. Last night the defense collected five sacks on the elusive Qb and found a way to get home. Another rookie defender that made a impact and stepped up was new starter Trent Murphy. He hasn't registered a sack yet but recovered a fumble caused by Meriweather and batted a screen pass that almost resulted in his first career int. Those were game altering plays and helped this team keep the momentum and took the ball out of the Cowboys hands. Haslett has taken plenty of heat from fans and analyst alike but you have to give that man credit for the gameplan and execution by his defense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The offense was inconsistent in the first half but I chock that up to a third string quarterback starting for the first time in three years. Colt McCoy played well in his first extended action since 2011. He had a few bonehead plays but none to big the team couldn't recover from. It was good to see the
Alfred Morris didn't get his first 100 yard game of the season but he
was involved heavily in the gameplan throughout the game and
helped the some of the pressure of of Colt McCoy.
Via redskins.com
run first mentality of Coach Gruden last night. Out of 25 first down plays they ran the ball on first down 22  times. Now that's sticking with the run and he didn't stop feeding Alfred Morris the ball. It helped the offense by staying ahead of the chains,  keeping the down and distance reasonable and helped win the time of possession battle by 10 minutes. The addition of Tom Compton to the starting lineup looks to have helped this line gain some consistency in the run and pass game. The line only gave up three sacks and I can honestly say two of those were on the Qb. Colt did a quality job in getting rid of the ball, hitting eight different receivers and not making costly mistakes to hurt his team. The team only had six penalties for the whole team but four of those were on the offense and three of those were pre snap. Those have to get ironed out but as we know third stringers don't often work with the
All three Qb's have seen action  this year but we wont truly know
how good this offense can be until RGIII gets back under
center hopefully after the bye week.
Via redskins.com
first teamers so I can excuse those....this week. Being that he will probably start next week against the Vikings he can work on those things next week. If he plays well again it will make it an interesting offseason for the backup job. Will the team try to trade Kirk for whatever they can get now that they have confidence in Colt or will they go keep Kirk and let Colt walk via free agency. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. I like what I see from this team on offense, defense and special teams. Never gives up, play as a team, and have fully bought into what the coaches are teaching them. I can't wait for RGIII's return (after the bye week hopefully) to see how much he has learned from watching how the offense should be run and how much he can develop his pocket passing game once he gets back under center. With a little over 400 yards of total offense with the third string Qb against one of the higher ranked defenses....I can't wait until our franchise quarterback get back.

   Now to the much improved special teams unit (which some fans have been very impatient with, you know who you are) that have made major strides since the disastrous start in week one. The last five games for this unit they haven't made any mistakes and in the last two weeks they've actually
Even tho I still don't have total confidence in Kai Forbath. Two game
winners in back to back weeks and getting touchbacks on Ko's does help.
Via redskins.com
made positive plays to help the team win. Andre Roberts was back to his usual self making good decisions on punts. Helped the field position battle with a huge 37 yard punt return in the first quarter to help set the tone for the game. Coverage has been solid, few penalties, and even making a play or two to help momentum and field position. With all the issues with injuries and quarterback changes this units improvement has been overlooked. Coach Kotwica is doing his job and doing it well. But like they say if they aren't talking about you that's a good thing because it means your doing your job. An my last point about special teams. They need to keep Akeem Davis active every week for special teams. He is a beast out there, making another BIG hit on punt coverage. They threw a flag like in a previous game after he made a impact play on special teams but this time they picked it up because it was a legal hit and perfectly timed just like the previous flag he recieved.

  Before this game I knew it would be a good divisional rivalry game but had no idea the Redskins would come out that focused and determined to win. It's good to see the fight in this team and the will to win runs deep. With two sub par teams on the upcoming schedule this could be the time to get back to .500. Can't look ahead or over any teams but 8-8 still looks like a possibility and I believe that would be a successful season. You can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or friend request me on Facebook at Porter III. As always #HTTR4LIFE #BeatDaVikings #RedskinsTweetTeam

We Did It!!!!!!!!!!

(Silas Redd celebrates with a back flip in the 20-17 upset of the Cowboys. Photo: Washington Redskins)
I've been a total slacker when it comes to writing these days. I blame my current job and the fact the Redskins have looked horrible for most of the season for these reasons.

That said, last night was the first game I really felt the Redskins played with attitude. They wanted to win this game and played with the attitude that was needed to outplay a team that based on record and possibly on paper was the better team.

It started with the defense. I know that Jim Haslett can't blitz on every play, but what we saw last night seemed to be the "UNLEASHED" Redskins defense that has been talked about since Mike Shanahan was fired. Haslett and the D fooled the Cowboys multiple times by having everyone on the line of scrimmage. Sometimes he sent the house, other times he didn't and you could tell that it confused the hell out of Tony Romo.

It took the offense a little longer to work out the kinks, but let's be a bit realistic here. Colt McCoy has been the Redskins #3 guy through all of training camp and through two weeks of the season. Then, he was the backup until last week. The fact that McCoy played this well with the limited amount of reps and limited time to work with his fellow starters is amazing.

I have a lot more to say about the game and stat breakdowns in a GBU that I should have out Wednesday or Thursday but until then here are some major high fives I'd love to give to the following players and coaches.

Colt McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed, Jason Hatcher, Ryan Kerrigan, David Amerson, Trent Muphy, Bashaud Breeland, Keenan Robinson, Kai Forbath, Tress Way, Jim Haslett, Jay Gruden.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

State Of The Redskins (Defense)

Plenty of fans and NFL media analyst believe the Redskins are never gonna win again and that there's no hope for this franchise. I disagree and believe this team is on it's way to finding it's identity and learning how to win and will become contenders again.
Via redskins.com

  If you've read any of my articles before you know I tend to lean towards the positive rather then the negative. I'll rather figure out why we have the issues and not just harp on the issues. After a 1-5 start for the Redskins I've heard everything from this team sucks to this team wont ever win again until they change the name and the owner. Instead of making up crazy reasons why this team hasn't been able to win consistently I'd rather look at what is causing this. One of the most heard issues is with Brian Orakpo and his franchise contract. Yes I agree he is not an elite pass rusher by definition but he is a complete OLB. Most elite pass rushers can't say that. Many don't remember that Orakpo came into the league never playing linebacker previously. In the time he's been here he has developed into
One of the best all around linebackers in the game even tho fans
and some media don't agree.
Via redskins.com
a well rounded LB that plays his position well. Only flaw in his game is he hasn't been able to come up with the game changing play or sack when it matters. You have to take into account that unlike the so called "elite" pass rushers he always lines up on the left side against the best offensive lineman on the team in most cases. Most other OLB's move around all over the defensive front and make the offensive line find u and figure out how to block you before the snap of the ball. This makes it easier for defenses to neutralize Orakpo's pass rush by chipping him with the running back or tight end. When they're not doing that they're sending the third wide receiver on his side to force him into coverage and when they're not doing that they quick throw so there is hardly any chance of a QB sack or even pressure. I hope to see Coach Haslett starts moving him around like they do Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan has lined up over center, guards and even a few stunts with the D-lineman to help get pressure on the quarterback. I feel once Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen get back on the field the defense will be better. Once you get your true rotation going it puts everyone back in their correct roles and should make everyone more effective which will improve the whole unit. As for the contract situation with Orakpo it's a sticky situation because some team will pay him what he wants if the Redskins don't and if he leaves via free agency that will leave this defense with an even bigger hole to fill on defense. That will compound one of the Redskins problems as a franchise. Development of talent has been a inconsistent process with this franchise. Too many hit and miss prospects that sometimes goes elsewhere to produce the results the Redskins were looking for.
    One of the next biggest issues talked about is the secondary. They have also had a inconsistent season and have not been able to create any turnovers. Once DeAngelo Hall went down with the season ending injury some didn't realize the impact it would have on the defense as a whole. His absence is hurting this defense two fold. the first is his veteran presence on the field. The next issue is with Tracy "Glass" Porter who has only been healthy for one game this season  and it has forced Bashaud Breeland into a starting role. Which the team was
The rookie is playing solid football, he just has to limit his
mistakes. Without the veteran presence of D. Hall it's a little
harder for the rookie while learning on the job.
Via usatoday.com
hoping would to avoid. They wanted to use the same formula they did with David Amerson last season. Gaining experience playing the nickel back and gain more snaps and experience in a lesser role throughout the season. The rookie has been learning on the job with some good plays and some bad, but the valuable experience you can't replace. I believe he will be a quality starting corner in this league. There's talk of converting him to safety because of his aggressive nature and physical style. His lack of elite speed makes him a candidate for the move. He's naturally long and athletic which helps him at CB. Now the other rookie Trent Murphy hasn't made any plays yet but also hasn't made any rookie mistakes either. Looks as if the rookie is finding his way in the league. Sometimes it takes more time for some then others to pick up the speed and pace of the NFL game. It will also help the rookie if the team had a lead and could force a team to throw to catch up it will allow the rookie and the other pass rushers a chance to pin their ears back and go get the quarterback. Now at safety Ryan Clark is a steadying force in the secondary and his knowledge is invaluable and should help the young players learn. There's hope for Phillip Thomas, being that he's still on the practice squad and hopefully getting healthy. I've documented the issues at safety for this team and it's crazy how they can't find someone that plays well and sticks at the position. Brandon Meriweather has had a forgettable season that started with a unjustified suspension for the first two games of the season. I believe this has hurt his play in two ways. The worst of the two is that he's unsure in his tackling which is making him hesitate which leads to mistakes and miss tackles. Brandon has had both of these issues happen since his return. The second is that he wasn't in football shape when he came back because of the suspension and not being able to be around the team.

   With all of that being said this defense is ranked 10th in the league in total defense. Which is very good stats for 1-5 team but we all know this game isn't won on paper it's won on the field. Now imagine when all the pieces are back healthy and ready to return this unit will gel and hopefully start to live up to their full potential. I think creating turnovers starts up front with getting pressure but teams are quick throwing and throwing a lot of screens to combat the teams pass rushers. The team should start trying to bat more balls down when teams start to do this. Deflections are just as good as a clean int. I would also like to see more of Chase Minnifield on the field to see what he has. With this being his second season on the practice squad he only has one more year of eligibility and the team needs to see if he can play in this league. The same can be said for Phillip Thomas. It's only seven weeks into the season so it's too early to proclaim anything about this defense or this team. They have to learn how to win, play as a team, play a full 60 mins and find an identity. This season will play itself out and I'm hoping it starts to trend in a more positive way to finish out the season strong. As always #HTTR #BeatDaTitans.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week Six: Thoughts and Observations After The Redskins Vs Cardinals Game

Via eog.com

  Hail Redskins Nation!!!! For the second week in a row the Redskins were in a close game heading into the fourth quarter but somehow found a way to lose. This week unlike last week the cause of the teams demise was costly, untimely turnovers. First I'll speak about the late interceptions by Kirk Cousins....all three of them. The first interception was a product of bad mechanics. With the pressure coming Kirk rushed his throw and did not set and plant his feet while throwing which caused the ball to sail and fall right to the Cardinals defensive backs arms. That one I can understand but the last two were just horrible. He basically threw it directly to the defenders. If there is a bright spot it's that even with the second interception the team still forced a punt and had a shot to tie the game. That is until Kirk threw his third int for a pick 6 and ultimately the nail in the coffin. Not that I'm blaming Kirk for this loss but those turnovers are becoming more and more routine when he's under pressure. An we all know the league is a copycat league. If it continues to work, as it has the last three weeks all teams will continue the same strategy until Kirk shows he can make a play under pressure. Now to the Andre Roberts fumble that wasn't but somehow was. Now his knee was clearly down but because they couldn't tell when the ball came loose the call stood. They say it's a game of inches and that play clearly proves that saying.

The GBU: Redskins @ Cardinals

(Ryan Clark braces for the inevitable ending. Photo:
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Something had to give today. Either the Redskins were going to win their first game on the road since September 2013 (a ugly, ugly win against the Raiders) or the Cardinals were going to beat the Redskins for the first time in eight tries (at least according to the Fox broadcasting team). The Redskins unfortunately made many of the same mistakes that they've been doing all season long and despite a shaky performance by the Cardinals, the 'Skins fall to 1-5 with a 30-20 loss in Arizona.

The biggest thing I think we've learned today is two fold. First, the chances of the Redskins having a winning season during Jay Gruden's first year as head coach seem slim to none. Second, I think it's pretty clear that Kirk Cousins is not the long term solution to the team's woes at quarterback.

This team is just a mess despite thinking that there was more depth and talent on the roster coming into training camp than we had seen in years. The fact is that there are significant problems with the defense at almost every position. The offense isn't much better as the team has some serious problems in the trenches. Even special teams have question marks that may not be answered until we reach the 2015 off-season.

So what happened today? Well, let's take a look at who did good, who did bad and what ugly things happened to make this game what it was. It's time for this week's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week Five: Thoughts and Observations After The Redskins Vs Seahawks Game

Russell Wilson showed again why he is a defending Super Bowl winning quarterback. By not making mistakes, protecting the ball, and great decision making with the ball. Both the Redskins quarterbacks hopefully were taking notes on how to play the quarterback position.
Via 6abc.com

Hail Redskins Nation!!! I know plenty of fans are upset with the latest loss in primetime but there is reason to be optimistic in my opinion. After the embarrassing, turnover riddled loss to the Giants last week this team played a full 60 mins as a unit. None of the units were outstanding but none were as bad as last week either. The team is still inconsistent in some aspects but they are also showing signs of improvement. With Seattle having two weeks to prepare for the Redskins they were able to exploit some of the weaknesses the Redskins have. One thing I noticed in the first half that got exposed was the fact that the OLB's crash down the line hard on run plays and don't hold the edge. That was evident as Russell Wilson ran for 86 yards in the first half, mostly out of the zone read formation. Wilson did tie a record with running for 122 yards but only gained 36 more yards after the defense adjusted in the second half.    

  Unfortunately the defending champs offense was able to adapt and eventually find a way to extend and keep the lead in this game. The deciding factor in this game for me was the special teams play. The Seahawks constantly pinned the Redskins deep in their own territory with booming punts, great coverage and the ability to flip the field position when needed. The play fake on the FG attempt was perfectly timed and executed. That play was the key to the win. If you look at Seattle they are the prototype for successful team in my eyes. Don't get me wrong I don't like them but I do respect their team, coaches, and approach to building their team for success. All three units of the Seahawks dominate when needed and rarely make mistakes to hurt any other unit on the team. The one weakness they have with their physical in your face type of play is sometimes they make mental mistakes. With 13 penalties for 90 yards and a majority of them on pre-snap penalties that negated three touchdowns in the game. I believe if the Redskins had all hands on deck last night including Robert Griffin III this game may have turned out differently. But injuries are a part of the NFL and next man up isn't just a catch phrase. Not saying Kirk did anything to lose the game but RG III's mobility could've help neutralize Seattle's aggressive pass rush and opened up more running lanes for Alfred Morris. Now let's get to breaking down this game:

Via nwcn.com
The offensive line was under constant pressure with Seattle's excellent defense that cycle in pass rushers like nothing I've seen. Seattle has a big, powerful D line and they constantly over powered the O-line. By moving their players on the line all over they were able to create mismatches. The O line could barely open up running lanes, and gave up a lot of pressure on Cousins but only got to sack him once. Morgan Moses got some time at RT with Polumbus injuring his hand, and lets just say Moses still looks like he needs work if he's gonna take over the starting job. Overall they could've played better but they could've played worse against such stout competition. Next week against Arizona will give a better determination of where this unit is headed.

Via redskins.com
The receiving core as a whole didn't really shine but what did you expect with the Legion of Boom out there. The one thing size can't stop is speed and DeSean Jackson proved that during this game. With five catches for 157 yards and a touchdown, he showed what can happen if the line gives Kirk time with that aggressive defense. Most of the underneath routes were covered up by Seattle's big and fast defense. It was some plays, yards and points left on the field throughout the game. Since Kirk is most likely getting comfortable with the starters it's understandable why it's still a working progress. This team needs Jordan Reed back to help take some of the zone coverage off of the middle of the field. He was a game time decision and was seen running almost full speed during practice towards the end of the week. He is another weapon this team is missing, but the question remains. Can he stay healthy? With Reed and RG III hopefully retruning soon , it can be the spark this offense and team needs.

Via redskins.com
Kirk had a good comeback game after the worst game in his short career as a starter. He did force a few balls into coverage and was out of sync in the first half due to pressure. He also made some excellent throws and decisions including the 60 yard TD to DeSean Jackson. He did exactly what he was supposed to do on that play. Stepping up in the pocket, feeling the pressure, not locking on a target and leading the receiver so he can run after the catch. Even with Kirk not having his running game he distributed the ball to seven different receivers and looked like he knew where the ball was supposed to go. I like the way he stepped up and had a good game following a bad one. He still has more to learn but definitely showed that he is learning.

Via riggosrag.com

Now to the running game and the stout Alfred Morris. I know and understand that Seattle has the best run defense in the league giving up only 2.8 yards a carry but only running the ball only 17 times is not gonna get it. You at least have to keep attacking the defense by making them tackle the workhorse. They were in the game most of the game and was no need to abandon the run. Coach Gruden even said to the sideline reporter at half he has to get Morris the ball more but yet in still I didn't see that happen for the most part. Roy Helu Jr.showed some of his elusive running style while catching passes out of the backfield. The team still are missing that home run threat that teams have to account for every time they are on the field. Hopefully Chris Thompson will be healthy soon and can earn a promotion to the starting lineup. Point blank if this team doesn't run the ball more they will not win games because the running game is the strong point of this team.

Via redskins.com
 This defense had a tough test with the Seahawks mixed bag of tricks on offense. From zone read, bootlegs, trick plays, and the fact that don't turn the ball over just makes you want to tear your hair out...if you have any. The defense contained Marshawn Lynch for the most part but Russell Wilson did the damage on the ground in his place. With the OLB's crashing down to try to gang tackle Lynch that allowed Wilson to read the play and take off. The good thing was the adjustments Haslett made at halftime to slow that down. The defense played well but the depth or lack of depth is being exposed with some of the starters out. Once again Bashaud Breeland played solidly and physically. I think this kid is gonna be a play maker in this league. He's still learning how to play CB in the NFL but he physical nature is evident. Tracy Porter has to get on the field because E.J. Biggers is getting exposed as the third CB and it's hurting the defense. Keenan Robinson is showing why the team was adamant that he would be the successor to London Fletcher. He's flowing sideline to sideline, making tackles and making solid calls. There has been plenty of talk about Brian Orakpo not having big numbers or making a game changing plays to warrant the franchise tag. All I have to say about that is his effectiveness doesn't always show up in sacks. He takes on double teams, goes against the best lineman on the opposing team and doesn't get to move around like most of the elite OLB's. So before fans say he's a bust or not worth it, think about if he wasn't there. Ryan Kerrigan would be getting the double teams or  would have to go against double teams and chips all game. Kerrigan gets moved around. Most times he's on the right side but sometimes lines up over the guards or center which gives him the match up advantage. This unit isn't the greatest but they aren't the worst either. Jim Haslett is doing the best he can with what he has. Injuries to key players has hurt this unit but they stay competitive and make adjustments to stop what's hurting the team during the game. Still need a game changing play maker on defense. Hopefully a first round pick next year will finally get the defense what they need.

Via csnwashington.com
 Finally the special teams unit. This unit has had two weeks in a row without making a mental mistake or giving up a huge return or TD. Now don't get me wrong, the weren't perfect or made any plays to spark the team but they also didn't make any plays to cost the team. Which is a improvement for this unit. Seattle showed what a good unit is all about. Great coverage, no penalties, good return game, a punter that gets hang time and boom every time. I personally think it maybe time to call Zach Hocker back. Tres Way is doing a good job at kicking off but trying to ask him to onside kick is ridiculous. He is a punter and shouldn't have to constantly kick off because the starting kicker can't. Who knows what effect it may have on his punting down the line. He's booming punts and hope he continues but keeping Kai Forbath on the roster and he can't fully do his job is not a good thing. Just like they cut Rambo for not being able to do his job I think it's time let him go and bring in the guy they drafted to see if he can do the whole job asked of him.

 Next week we have another stout defense to go against in the Arizona Cardinals. They are having injury issues also and are using a third string QB. I believe Carson Palmer will be back next week but I feel this game is a winnable game. If we match our play from this week and improve on it this could be a much needed win for this team. Be sure to like the It Is Wat It Is page on Facebook and if you'd like to follow on Twitter or Facebook you can hit me up at @Tattooedscorpio on twitter or friend request me on Facebook at Porter III. As always #HTTR4LIFE #BeatDaCardinals

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week Four: Thoughts and Observations of the Redskins vs Giants Game

This game will either break this team and spiral into another double digit loss season or it will make them take a look at themselves in the mirror and know they must play and execute better to be successful.
Via slumz.boxden.com
  Hail Redskins Nation!!!!! Or should I say Kirk Nation or RGIII Nation??? For the second week in a row there is a major fracture in Redskins Nation and it's really getting old. I took a couple of days to get my thoughts together about the game and this divide in one of the most passionate fan base in any sport around. With such a bad performance in the prime time spotlight it could drive any fan base crazy but not to the point where physical threats and verbal altercations happen between fans that love and want the same thing for the team...Victories.

This game really made me think about things with the premiering of "A Football Life: Sean Taylor" on Friday. I saw a post on Facebook that really hit home by a fellow fan. All of this bickering back and forth over quarterbacks is ridiculous. When Sean Taylor was taken from this team and world way too early Redskins Nation came together like the nation did during the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Not to say that the two tragedies are anywhere near the same level but the unity and love was, in my opinion. I just hope fans will get themselves together and realize that it's a team game. It takes 22 men on the field and 53 men on the roster to win or lose a game not just the quarterback. Now with that being said lets talk about this debacle of a football game from Thursday night.

I know a lot of fans will blame Kirk Cousins, the defense, coaching or even a curse of the name Redskins for this butt kicking (they know who they are). Well, I just feel it was a perfect storm that turned into a avalanche of bad plays and then total implosion. A short week, injured starters, turnovers and limited game prep is what I chock it up to. I've said before our team still has holes that a playoff team would not have. If you recall Bruce Allen stated that the salary cap penalties would have repercussions for years to come. Well, now do you understand what he meant? Depth is key for any team and quality depth is key to a winning team. We have made progress but there's plenty of more progress that needs to be made in this area.

Fans have to realize that their own expectations are what's not being met and maybe they are a little unrealistic. 3-13 teams do not win the Super Bowl the next season or even make the playoffs in some cases. I'm not saying the Redskins couldn't make the playoffs but to talk about making another round of drastic changes after four weeks is crazy. Plenty of fans don't agree and are screaming for a new coach, new quarterbacks and even some screaming to get rid of the owner (which I feel is mind blowing).

Fans have to realize that players are people just like us. They learn, adapt, absorb new information and try to put those new practices in place the same ways that we do. It takes time, patience and game time experience to get better as a team. Not practice, not watching film, not mental reps. Only real time game action. That's why I've said over and over 8-8 would be a good season for this team that's not totally in rebuilding mode but are in a mode of trying to identify who they are as a team. Now to get off of my soap box and do what I do best...breaking down game film.

Via beta.sportingnews.com
Kirk Cousins no doubt had the worst start of his short career and it couldn't have come at a worse time. A prime time, division rival game for all to see had to be the one game where fans would start calling for DC's new favorite player: Colt McCoy. As I've stated before we win as a team and lose as a team but Kirk's five turnovers with four of them deep in the Redskins territory really hurt and set a tone for the game.

He is a quality QB but still has things to learn with his limited experience. The catch to getting more starts and putting more on film for all to see is that your opponents see those tapes too. Once they see your weaknesses on the field they will do everything in their power to exploit those weaknesses. The same thing can be said for Robert Griffin III. In the Houston game you could plainly see that they were constantly bringing pressure because they knew he had to think about what to do instead of reacting to what was being done. That' why on the field reps are so important.

Via redskins.com
One of the few bright spots of the game was Alfred Morris. Even though he didn't eclipse the 100 yard mark or the 20 carry mark this game which is usually a key to success for the Redskins. He did have an impressive 20 yard touchdown run in the third to bring the team within 10. But then the turnovers just killed what momentum they had  built after halftime. Morris even had three receptions for 27 yards. Even though it was pretty much after the game was out of hand, it's good to see him getting involved in the passing game. Alfred should have a productive season once Coach Gruden learn to keep feeding him the ball even if he's only getting three yards a carry. His track record shows he gets better the more carries he gets during the course of the game.

Via riggosrag.com
As you would've guessed the receivers didn't have a big impact on this game with six turnovers on the offensive side of the ball. Niles Paul took a nasty hit from Will Demps who is a repeat offender and hopefully he receives the same or worst punishment that  Brandon Meriweather did for his hit in preseason. The rhythm wasn't there because of the pressure the Giants were putting on, which throws off the timing and creates a much hectic situation for quarterbacks. Kirk stated in his post game presser that he found himself pressing after the 2nd int. By him pressing it put the receivers in a unknown situation since they haven't had time to build chemistry and timing. Which in turn led to the constant turnovers and also made Kirk try to make throws he knows he shouldn't have tried to make.

Via redskins.com
Now to the offensive line... it really was a mixed review. They didn't get a chance to establish the run because of the aforementioned turnovers. The depth was tested once again with Josh Leribeus getting in the game again for Shawn Lavauo. Then the unthinkable happened Trent Williams went down with a knee injury, but from what I'm hearing it could've been alot worst. To come in for Trent was third year tackle Tom Compton who from what I saw played pretty well in relief at LT, which makes me wonder why he can't over take Tyler Polumbus at RT. I did hear he is still not strong enough to take on the bull rush of opposing D lineman. The issue is now is that most teams are going to use the same strategy that the Giants and the Eagles used. Get pressure Kirk's his face, play zone on the short to intermediate routes and make him make a throws under pressure. Only way you can get better is game time experience and looks like Tom Compton and Josh Leribeus are gonna get some. We will know truly find out how ready these young players are, if there to become starters.

Via redskins.com
Now to the defense. The defense started behind the so called 8-ball and ended up under the 8-ball. I don't care if the 85' Bears defense was out there, they would've gave up points being put in those tough situations. Being the offense had six turnovers and four of them deep in their own territory. There were plenty of mental and physical mistakes that cost this team and added to the avalanche of mistakes and miscues.

For one, the safety play was horrendous. Between miscommunication and missed tackles, this team looked and played like they were out of sorts and didn't feel like they belonged on a football field. I did expect some letdown with the leader of the secondary and defense gone for the season. DeAngelo Hall's leadership, ball hawking skills, and knowledge of opponents and their tendencies was really missed on Thursday. The other unfortunate problem the team is having is with depth of the front seven. With Barry Cofield, and Kedric Golston already out and Jason Hatcher nursing a sore hamstring, and Brian Orakpo's torn ligaments in his dislocated finger this was basically a M*A*S*H unit.
As Coach Gruden said earlier in the week, this was the worst time for the team to have a short week but so was it for the Giants. I liked some of the comments the coach has made since the butt kicking and I hope this serves as a wake up call for the whole team going forward. Brandon Meriweather has been horrid in coverage since he's been back. I'm not ready to throw him under the bus because he hasn't been in football game shape because he was out the first two weeks. Now if he plays the same against Seattle after 10 days in between games then I think it's time to promote Phillip Thomas and see what we have. This unit is not as bad as it looked against the Giants and not as good as they looked against Jacksonville - they are somewhere in between. We need a ball hawking player on defense badly. There were plenty of opportunities to make plays but they just weren't made.

The Giants did counter our pass rush with quick three step drops and running some modified no huddle to tire of our thin D-line and it worked to perfection aided by the turnovers. Not to mention the young CB's David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland playing without the steadying presence of D. Hall. They sometimes looked lost or not sure what to do. Now for Perry Riley, I wish he would learn to turn his head in coverage especially in the red zone but Riley wasn't the only one. The defense made Larry Donnell look like a young Antonio Gates. One of the only bright spots of the defense was the impressive play of Keenan Robinson. His stat line was just as impressive as his play on the field. 13 tackles, 7 solo, and one pass defensed. I believe we have found a replacement/upgrade for London Fletcher. We all will find out what this team is made of when they play Seattle on Monday night in week five.

Via redskins.com
Well the special teams unit didn't add to the mess but it also didn't help. Andre Roberts has been questionable the past few weeks. Fielding punts that he shouldn't, letting a couple bounce when he should've caught them and coming out the end zone of kickoffs. I applauded him for his judgement the first two weeks but the last two weeks he's been inconsistent. The kickoffs were better this week from Tres Way and Kai didn't have a field goal attempt this week. Now if they can go two weeks in a row without a major mistake or return for touchdown then I can say that Coach Kotwica is finally getting through and players are fully buying in.

Now with all these many days between games I hope the players get rested, healthy and get back to improving and showing this fan base that they are a improved team from last season. I also hope Redskins Nation gets it together ad remember that we are all rooting for the same thing. A winning team that plays well and eventually brings another Super Bowl Trophy to the DMV. You can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and my fellow blogger and good friend @IIWIISkinsBlog for breakdowns and analysis of all Redskins news and info. As always #HTTR4LIFE

Thursday, September 25, 2014

TNF: Giants/Redskins

Here's our picks for tonight's game.

Tattooed Scorpio:
Tough division matchup on a short week for both teams. Washington is coming
 in banged up after a tough loss to the Eagles. The Giants are coming off a much
 needed win against the Texans and found their running game behind Rashard
 Jennings. This is always a tough NFC East matchup but with a improved defense 
and Eli Manning still learning a new offense and looking like the turnover machine 
from 2013. I feel the Washington offense will put up enough points to make the 
Giants have to pass and that puts it in Washington's favor. 
Pick: Redskins
FedEx Al: 
The key to this game is more or less who makes the least amount of mistakes during 
the game. In the Redskins two losses, they've made key mistakes on special teams,
given up big defensive plays or turned over the ball. I think Kirk Cousins will again
put up some yards and help the 'Skins beat a really bad Giants team.
Pick: Redskins 31-17

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week Three: Thoughts and Observations of the Redskins Vs Eagles

After a big hit by Chris Baker (legal in my opinion) to Nick Foles started a pushing match that after all was said and done cost the Redskins their stout nose tackle that was controlling the line of scrimmage.
Via archive.courier-journal.com
   Hail Redskins Nation!!!! That was a crazy division matchup with the Eagles that had a little bit of everything. A lot  of was not good and I'm not just talking about the play on the field. Now I'm not one to blame the referees for wins and losses. But when the calls are never consistent and it effects the down and distance in crucial situations of the game that determine the outcome of games, it's becoming a problem. Now to get to the on the field issues. Even though the Redskins had a dominate lead on the stat sheet they were still trailing by one at halftime. This is a direct result of getting field goals instead of touchdowns. The Redskins put up  511 yards of total offense but 427 of that was through the air. That is not the way to beat the Eagles with their fast paced offense. The defense didn't register a sack but they constantly got pressure and were able to keep LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles pretty much in check. Along with that they did hit Nick Foles plenty even one of them deemed illegal which resulted in the ejection of Chris Baker. I didn't agree with the call first of all. It's a live play on a thought to be interception where every man is a live player. If you look at the replay you see Foles rolling towards
Bashaun Breeland recording his 1st forced fumble of his NFL
career and almost got his 1st int but couldn't hold on.
Via redskins.com
 Bashaud Breeland who was returning the int and he got hit/blocked. Now Baker didn't hit him in the head or neck area and he was moving towards the action so he should be able to get hit like anyone else. I know the rule changed in regard to hitting the quarterback in situations like these but in that case you need to instruct the quarterbacks to go away from the action so they wont get blindsided. Now to the special teams.... once again two plays cost Washington this game.The 102 yard kickoff return hurt, for one because it was after a great opening drive that resulted in points and ate up six minutes off the clock. After re-watching the play Trenton Robinson blew his assignment by leaving his lane and there was a miss tackle by Brandon Meriweather that would've stopped him with a 30 yard gain. Adam Heyward got caught up in the wash or he would've had a clean shot at the returner also. The second mishap was when Kai Forbath missed a 33 yard field goal that would've gave the Redskins the lead in the fourth quarter. I already see the blame game going on in #RedskinsNation. As I stated last week we win as a team and lose as a team.Ultimately it came down to plays not being made by the Redskins when they presented themselves and the Eagles made the plays when they were there to be made. News just in on DeAngelo Hall. He suffered a torn achilles and he's done for the season. Now lets get to my observations:

Via washington.cbslocal.com

Now don't get me wrong I love that Kirk Cousins had a career day but the fact  remains that the Colts had 169 yards rushing last week against the Eagles. Alfred Morris should have been getting fed the ball. 48 passes to 28 rushes is not a formula for success. I hope Jay learns to get back to balance like he had in Cincinnati. Granted Alfred wasn't getting his normal chunks of yardage but he was wearing the defense down in the first half. The team had 65 yards at half and only ended up with 84 for the whole game.

Via washington.cbslocal.com
For the first time in a long time (I have to look it up) the O-line didn't give up a sack. Kirk cousins did have a lot to do with that by getting the ball out quick and on time for most of the day. That has to be a big boost for Josh Leribus confidence since he played almost a whole half. Shawn Lavauo went out with knee swelling and instead of hurting himself more or the team he allowed the next man up to do the job. For the most part the third year guard performed pretty well.

Via redskins.com

The receivers played well and were getting open for the most part. They did however leave a lot more yards and plays out on the field on Sunday. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson both had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown but there was even more to get. They were a couple of miss-communications between the QB and the WRs,  a few missed opportunities on third downs in the second half (first half 7 for 8 2nd half 1 for 9) and some drops at the wrong times. But with this being Kirk's first start and getting a chance to work with the starters you can't be too upset. Here's the final thing I'm going to say about the so called "quarterback controversy". Kirk Cousins is where we want Robert Griffin III to be. Quick reads, getting the ball out on time and keeping the offense on schedule. The only thing about Kirk is his arm strength and that was apparent of his first attempt to go deep to DeSean. He had to put everything into it and throw it a little early so he wouldn't underthrow DeSean but by doing that he telegraphs where he's going. If you have a cornerback that likes to watch the Qb that could be a turnover. Kirk is a solid young quarterback that will be a starter in this league but just in more of a west coast based offense where your not asked to throw downfield as often.

Via redskins.com    
Kirk Cousins played a hell of a game. With only a few mistakes he excelled in this game by setting career records for yards, completions, and I believe passer rating. He did have one costly turnover, which looked to be a mix up with him and his receiver. It was costly but every turnover is. Kirk showed his maturity and poise in the pocket by getting rid of the ball, trusting his receivers on plays where he had to throw to a spot and not to the receiver and avoiding negative plays for the most part. This team is in good hands until RGIII gets back under center. Kirk's stock is definitely rising which is a good thing for the Redskins.

Via redskins.com

The defense played lights out but just not good enough to make a huge impact on the final outcome of the game. This top five unit showed the league that they are much improved from last season. They shut down the 1-2 combo of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles and made sure whenever they got the ball they paid for it. They kept constant pressure of Nick Foles and hit him a bunch. Foles did continue to get up from the beating and continued making throws when needed. With being able to shut down the elusive running backs unfortunately that had a effect on the backend. Jeremy Macklin and rookie Jordan Matthews took advantage of the focus they had on the running backs and hurt the Redskins big time. With over 200 yards and three touchdowns between them you really can't feel good with DeAngelo Hall out for the rest of the season. SN: Chase Minnifield has been signed to active roster. I feel this could've been avoided by pulling Brandon Meriweather like he did Bacarri Rambo the previous week. This was a bad game for him to make his season debut. I believe that played a role is his poor coverage against this fast paced offense, he wasn't in football shape since being out the first two weeks of the season. On Jordan Matthews 2nd TD he gave him a clean release at the line and it was just pitch and catch. I saw him do this on several occasions and everytime his man caught the ball. The defense made a statement and now it's time for them to turn the corner from a good defense to a dominate defense.

Via philadelphia.cbslocal.com
Now to the special teams.... Last week they played great with no mistakes or mix ups but that can not be said about this week. I've already broke down what pretty much happened on the kickoff but in my opinion the missed FG had a bigger impact. What people have to realize is that the unit is getting better but as they're getting better there will be some good days and some bad. To me this game wasn't a bad game by no stretch. The kickoff return was blocked well and a bad decision by a player resulted in a TD and that shows why every player is important on this team. Now I'm not quite ready to kick Kai to the curb but a 33 yard field goal should be a chip shot. He has two strikes in my book. The blocked extra point that he kicked too low that J.J. Watt was able to block. Three strikes your out in my book (baseball reference #LetsGoNats).  I bet Ted Hocker's number is on speed dial on Coach Kotwica's cell phone.

Big game on Thursday. A division game, on a short week and with injuries mounting this turned into a sure victory into a possible nail biter. Thanks for all your support #RedskinsNation I truly appreciate all of your feedback and enjoy interacting with fans from all over. If you haven't already be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and my good friend and fellow blogger @IIWISkinsBlog. Can also find me on Facebook under PorterIII. Be sure to go like our Facebook page for It Is What It Is. As always #HTTR4LIFE #BeatDaGiants

Sunday, September 21, 2014

IIWII Week Three Staff Picks

Hail all football fans!!!! Another season is upon us and as we all know its gonna be unpredictable. With that being said once again FedEx Al and I (Tattooed Scorpio) try to predict these crazy games. Last year, I think we did alright for non experts. So we decided to try it again. My week 3 picks are as follows with Al's picks below mine:

* Point spread based on current line from CBS Sports and based on home team.
** Games times are in Eastern Standard Time
San Diego at Buffalo (-2.5) 1PM, CBS

TS: Buffalo is a shocking 2-0  while San Diego is 1-1 after handling the defending champs last week. Even tho San Diego is making that dreaded cross country trip I believe that they will prevail against a Buffalo. E.J. Manuel and Sammy Watkins look like a dynamic duo already but San Diego is a complete team that will probably use the same ball control strategy as they did against Seattle. 
Pick: San Diego

Al:  The point spread kind of tells you that despite a 2-0 record and playing at home this week, Vegas doesn't seem comfortable giving the Bills a decent edge. While I don't think the Bills start is a sham, I do think it may not be as good as people think. The Chargers will put a great deal of pressure on Manuel and will probably slow a somewhat successful Bills run game. The biggest thing going for Buffalo is the cross country trip for the Chargers and that they beat the Super Bowl champs last week. This seems crazy but Buffalo may stun again and go 3-0.
Pick: Buffalo
Dallas at St. Louis (-0.5) 1PM, FOX

TS: Dallas will be traveling to St.Louis to try and duplicate their success in Tennessee. They ran the ball well with Demarco Murray who is leading the league in rushing after two weeks. After this week he will still be leading the league because we all know how he loves to run all over the Rams. He has almost 500 yards rushing in his last three game versus the rams. 
Pick: Dallas 

Al: I think Dallas will have a harder time moving the ball against the Rams compared to the Titans. However, the Rams have no quarterback. As long as Romo doesn't throw 3-4 INTS Cowboys should win this game easily.
Pick: Dallas
Washington at Philadelphia (-6.5) 1PM, FOX

TS: This is a big game for both teams and DeSean Jackson, but he is a game time decision with a slight separation of his shoulder. I feel if does suit up he'll be on a limited snap count because it's no reason to risk season long issues for one game even though it's a division rival. Chip Kelly's offense has looked good but it's not consistent and that's what you get with a fast paced offense. I feel the Redskins defense will be able to contain Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy. 
Pick: Redskins
Al: The key for the Redskins is discipline on defense and pounding the ball down the Eagles' throats. This could be a serious trap game for the Eagles since they have the 49ers next week. I'm a homer and I think the 'Skins may make up for the week 1 loss by pulling a major upset this week.
Pick: Redskins
Houston at New York Giants (+2.5) 1PM, CBS

TS: The Texans looking to go 3-0 against a Giants team that looks very bad this early part of the season. All I have to say is ....J.J. Watt. Eli will have another long day trying to learn this new offense with limited running game and unsure receivers. Arian Foster will run the ball effectively opening up the play action game. 
Pick: Houston

Al: The Houston defense is just SICK. Meanwhile, the Giants look sickening. Houston may have a repeat game like they did last week against the Raiders.
Pick: Houston
Minnesota at New Orleans (-10.5) 1PM, FOX
TS: Both of these teams coming off bad losses last week and wanna get that bad taste out of their mouths. New Orleans will get a boost being back at home and I believe will get their first win of the season. 
Pick: New Orleans

Al: Beyond AP what do the Vikings have? Oh yeah, they don't have AP anymore either.
Pick: New Orleans
Tennessee at Cincinnati (-7.5) 1PM, CBS

TS: The Bengals look focused and balanced in their first two games, which is shocking being they lost their offensive and defensive coordinators to head coaching jobs. The Titans looked bad against the Cowboys last week with a weak defense so I don't think any thing different facing a potent Bengals defense. 
Pick: Cincinnati

Al: Couldn't write it any better than what TS just wrote.
Pick: Cincinnati
Baltimore at Cleveland (+1.5) 1PM, CBS

TS: This the Ravens third division game in three weeks and their looking to beat the Browns who shocked the world by beating the Saints last week. The Browns defense looking to keep improving and forcing turnovers to beat the Ravens. Brian Hoyer is doing just enough to help them win. 
Pick: Cleveland

Al: Kyle Shanahan knows Gary Kubiak's scheme. Matter of fact he runs practically the same scheme (minus the zone reads). The Ravens are asking their third string RB to carry the ball. I smell an upset at The Factory of Sadness.
Pick: Cleveland
Green Bay at Detroit (-2.5) 1PM, FOX

TS: This NFC north rivalry goes way back and as always it will be a hard hitting game. Detroit's defense has been playing pretty well giving up a avg. of 255 yards a game and only 57 yards giving up on the ground. Green Bay is also averaging almost 300 yards passing a game. With the combo of Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson thru the air and Lacy on the ground I think will be a little too much for the Lions at home. 
Pick: Green Bay
Al:  I just don't have a lot of faith in the Lions. Green Bay has the better offense.
Pick: Green Bay
Indianapolis at Jacksonville (+7.5) 1PM, CBS

TS: The good thing about this game is that someone will finally have their 1st victory of the season. The Colts coming off a disappointing loss to the Eagles and the Jaguars coming off a thrashing by the Redskins are looking to improve their records and get a division win. Even tho its the home opener for the Jaguars I think Andrew luck and crew are the better team and they will show it. 
Pick: Indianapolis

Al: The Colts have lost two tough games against the Broncos and the Eagles. They finally get their first win of the season against a banged up and struggling Jaguars team.
Pick: Indianapolis
Oakland at New England (-14.5) 1PM,CBS
TS: Well in this cross country match up I see it being over pretty early. Oakland is bad and New England is well....New England. Nothing much else to say. 
Pick: New England

Al: I feel bad for the folks who get this game to watch locally.
Pick: New England
San Francisco at Arizona (+3.5) 4:05 PM, FOX

TS: This is a big match up early in the season in the now toughest division in football and shockingly Arizona is at the top of the division. The Cardinals offense looks very potent with weapons that know their role and excel at what their asked to do. The 49ers lost their home opener to the wounded Bears and Colin's three INTs are the main reason they lost that game. I see a tough battle that I give the edge to the home town Cardinals. 
Pick: Arizona

Al: The Cardinals got lucky and were able to win last week with Drew Stanton at QB. If Carson Palmer can't go this week, Stanton won't be able to do it for a second week in a row. The Giants are horrible, the 49ers are not.
Pick: San Francisco
Denver at Seattle (-5.5) 4:25PM, CBS

TS: This rematch of the Super Bowl will be the marque matchup of the week. Seattle coming of a loss to the Chargers and Denver beating their rival the Chiefs. With the fast paced offense of Denver it will play into the hands of the Seattle defense. The question is will they use the same formula San Diego used of ball control and winning the time of possession battle. Seattle has a strong running game and a healthy ( so far) Percy Harvin but the Broncos defense is better then they were in February. The 12th man is sure to be loud and that's the deciding factor in my opinion. 
Pick: Seattle

Al: I don't trust the point spread in the game. Why would the Seahawks be only favored by 5 after dominating the Broncos in the Super Bowl and playing at home? Something doesn't pass the smell test here. Going Denver just because I don't like the numbers.
Pick: Denver
Kansas City at Miami (-4.5) 4:25 PM, CBS

TS: The Chiefs are looking to get on the winning side of things after losing their first two games. Miami is trying to replicate  their success in week 1 when they shocked the world and beat the Patriots. With storms in the forecast this will be a nasty ground battle won in the trenches. With Jamaal Charles out with a high ankle sprain I expect a heavy dose of Knile Davis a young powerful, quick back that will get plenty of touches. Most importantly it keeps Alex Smith from doing too much and throwing int's is always too much. 
Pick: Kansas City

Al: While I need Knile Davis to have a good game in fantasy, the reality is that the Chiefs just aren't the same team they were in 2013. I expect Miami to make some turnovers and win at home.
Pick: Miami
Pittsburgh at Carolina (-3.5) SNF, NBC

TS: This will be a hard hitting affair for the Sunday night football. Carolina is lacking a true passing game. TE Greg Olsen really being their only true threat but their read option based run game and potent, stingy top 10 defense make them a tough match up. Pittsburgh offense is looking good with LeVeon Bell carrying the workload out of the backfield catching and running. Their defense isn't as feared as they once were but they do have some young talent and as Pittsburgh does they will develop them. 
Pick: Carolina

Al: The Panthers will capitalize off of some turnovers that they will generate against the Steelers. After watching the Steelers/Ravens on TNF, it's clear that Pittsburgh will have trouble generating offense. Cam Newton will be putting up some points tonight.
Pick: Carolina

Chicago at New York Jets (-2.5) MNF, ESPN

TS: The Jets are looking to win this game specifically running the ball on Chicago's depleted defense. expect a heavy dose of the run game from the leagues leading rushing attack and the 3rd ranked defense. Chicago has a big WR combo in Marshall and Jeffrey and believe they will test the Jets defense. As long as Jay Cutler doesn't turn it over. With that being said. 
Pick: Jets

Al: Chicago is banged up and heading to NJ to face a strong Jets defense. I think if the Jets limit their mistakes, they have a good chance to win this week.
Pick: Jets 

And that's it for week three. Please feel free to leave comments. Are we right? Are we crazy? Which teams are you picking today?

Also, check out our coverage and comments throughout the day on Twitter @ Tattooed Scorpio and @IIWIISkinsBlog and like our IIWII facebook page.