Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eagles/Redskins Week 6 Game Recap

*Ed Note: The breakdown will be short compared to previous recaps. Not much to say on that.
(At least for this game and maybe next week at Carolina)

This was a week that could define the 2011 Redskins in many ways. What many expected was to see the Redskins beat a struggling rival at home. This would have literally crushed the competition as the "Dream Team" would continue to watch their season go down in flames. It would have also guaranteed the Redskins another week at the top of the NFCE as they try to win the division for the first time since 1999.

Instead, we got a reality check.......

For the second time in two years at FedEx, the Eagles come out with a dominating performance. Their offense couldn't be stopped and the 30th ranked run defense shut down one of the league's better run units. Meanwhile Rex Grossman must have had become color blind because he was doing a better job getting the ball to Eagle defenders than his receivers. Add key injuries to the mix and one can say that this was just a horrible and infuriating game.

There aren't many bright spots in this one. John Beck coming into the game to try and rally the team back was one. It seemed to work a bit as the Skins cut the lead to 20-13. But poor clock management combined with the Redskins defense unable to stop the run sealed the game for the Eagles.

What looked like a feel good story for a Redskins team on the rise has now gone into a tailspin. Grossman has been benched. LG, Kory Lichtenstiger has been placed on IR. Chris Cooley is out for an indefinite period with a severely broken finger and LT, Trent Williams will miss possibly multiple games with a high ankle sprain. Fans and media alike have been frantic this week about the state of the team and this franchise and frankly, I wonder why?

Maybe they got caught up in playoff talk. It's possible when the 'Skins had gone 3-1 in four games including a win against the Giants at home. What people fail to realize is that ever since week two, this team has struggled. They came back and found a way to win at home against a poor Cardinals team. They then played poorly and lost to the Cowboys despite a strong performance by the defense. Then they held onto a victory against the now 0-5 Rams. With exception to Sam Bradford  and a few other players, that team is horrible. Arguably one of the worst teams in the league this year. Of course, the 2010 Redskins would have lost to them. So, with the 2011 team you can see improvement but this franchise has a long way to go before they can be the team that Redskin fans deserve to watch on Sundays.

What about the Eagles you ask? Well, they have more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. When Vick has time he can find Maclin or Jackson and if he can't he can just run. McCoy also runs like he bathes in oil. If he doesn't slip through players, then he just runs by them like he did Rocky McIntosh on one play. But the Eagles don't look like those teams of the past where McNabb or Vick just dismantled defenses and the defenses destroyed opposing offenses. Matter of fact, the NFCE on a whole has been pretty weak this season. I would argue that it could be the 2nd weakest division in the NFC. At least the NFCS and NFCW have one dominating team in their division (Saints, 49ers).

I think the sports media has broken down the Grossman vs. Beck stuff so I won't break that down here. I will mention it for each player in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Speaking of which, time for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

John Beck (8/15, 117 yards; rushing: 2 carries, 14 yards; 1 TD)- Jimmy at Blogging the bEeast does a nice breakdown of every Beck pass, so check out his views. Beck provided a momentum shift for the team and it helped lead to the Skins sole TD of the game. What worked the most for Beck was his ability to move in the pocket and scramble/run. I have a feeling we'll have "Good John" and "Bad John" moments as well because he is inconsistent. That said, Beck may have some upside and unlike Grossman may get better as the season progresses.

Graham Gano (2/2, LNG 50)- Gano had a game with no muffed holds, poor blocking and he hit his FGs including a very long 50 yarder that set up the team's first score. Nice to see him coming through.

Fred Davis (6 catches, 95 yards)- Had the best game of the receivers. Did have a couple of drops and could have played at least one of the INTs better.

Sav Rocca (4 punts, AVG. 42.5 yards, 2 inside 20, 0 TBs, LNG 53)- nice numbers as usual.

The Bad

Run Defense/Pass Rush- Gave up 192 yards on the ground (5.1 ypc). Just horrible especially when it's late in the game and they couldn't stop the run. Especially when the Eagles had issues with the O-line. Same can be said with the pass rush.....of course, the refs don't like to call holding against the Eagles for some reason in this game.

O-line- Held to 42 yards rushing (14 coming from John Beck) against one of the worst run defenses in the league. Makes no sense and this was happening before the injuries took place.

Rex Grossman (9/22, 143; 4 INT)- Grossman hasn't showed much "Good Rex" this season. It's been mostly bad and it's still the same poor decisions that he made in Chicago. You can live with the mistakes if the TD to INT/Fumble ratio is even or favoring the TD side. When it favors the INT/Fumble side, you need to be benched. For 2011: 6 TDs to 11 INT/Fumbles. That won't work.

The Ugly

- We'll get to see how good the depth at OL really is on the roster. Sean Locklear will probably be starting at either RT or LT. Erik Cook will be the starting C and Will Montgomery will move to LG. Maurice Hurt is being promoted to the practice squad.

- Losing Chris Cooley may not be as bad as you think. We all love "Captain Chaos" but Cooley hasn't been much of a threat this year as a pass catching TE. His blocking is somewhat better but with his injury, we'll see more of Logan Paulsen and Mike Sellers. Both are more blocking TEs than pass catchers and one has to hope that will help the Redskins run game which helps the pass game.

- Panthers aren't that much different than the Eagles. So hopefully this game will help the Skins make better adjustments on dealing with Cam Newton, Steve Smith and the Carolina run game.

- John Beck should start against Carolina. With the injuries to the O-line and the threat Beck can cause with his feet, it makes sense to start him over Grossman (who has limited mobility and is fumble prone).

- DC is/was Grossman's last chance to start in the NFL. There didn't seem to be that many NFL teams showing interest in Rex Grossman as a free agent this season and the Redskins only signed him for one year. Makes you wonder if he'll have a job next year if the Redskins don't bring him back. At this point it will be hard to say if they will.

- How injured is Tim Hightower? Neither Helu or Torain was getting far against the Eagles. I was surprised to not see him especially when he came out during introductions as the starting RB.

- The ref calls wouldn't have changed the Redskins play but they really were making some questionable calls in favor of Philadelphia. The personal foul on Orakpo call should have been an intentional  grounding call against Vick. Let's just say I don't trust the NFL when it comes to their "hero for change" Mike Vick.

- Despite a crappy performance, the Redskin fans stayed and tried to support the team and get loud. I'm proud of the fan base for doing so. And they have a right to be angry about this game, even though I'm not.

- Hopefully Anthony Armstrong will be back next week. So far the Redskins have no threat deep and opposing defenses are playing them that way.

- I got some crap on Twitter before the season for looking at 2012 QBs for next year's draft. Now you know why. Grossman is not the answer and I don't think Beck is either (long term). It's clear to me that the 2012 draft needs to focus on a franchise QB, a playmaking WR (2nd round?) and more O-line depth. No I'm not giving up on Leonard Hankerson at this point but they still haven't found that playmaking WR as of now.

'Skins hit the road to face the Panthers next........

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