Sunday, September 29, 2013

Injuries May Play A Role In Redskins/Raiders

Cover Photo: USA Today

Game time can't get here soon enough as the Redskins hope to win their first game of the season against a woeful but dangerous Oakland Raiders team.

The biggest question looming is who will be the starting quarterback for the Raiders: Terrelle Pryor or Matt Flynn?
The most recent update from is that Flynn will be the starter because Pryor's concussion symptoms have returned.

If this is the case this will be a huge boon for the Redskins as they have had struggles against mobile quarterbacks like Mike Vick and Aaron Rodgers but seemed to fair better against a less mobile but strong armed Matt Stafford. Matt Flynn has had success in the NFL as a backup for the Packers but has lost starting opportunities to mobile quarterbacks like Russell Wilson (Seattle) and Pryor. Flynn has neither a big arm or lightning fast mobility, but he has shown to do well with short/intermediate passes and timing routes.

If Flynn plays, the key for the Redskins will be to generate pressure and be ready to knock down quick passes. The secondary also must make their tackles if the team is to succeed against the pass. Also, with Pryor out, expect the Raiders to run the ball much more as the Redskins have struggled equally against both the run and the pass.

In other injury news the Redskins may have opportunities to stop the run and the pass with shake ups on the Raiders offensive line. Andre Gurode is likely to start for an injured Lucas Nix and we know all about Tony Pashos.

The Redskins offense may have some opportunities as well with injuries in their secondary as Tyvon Branch is out and CB Tracy Porter is questionable with a concussion.

We'll know more when the inactive list is officially released in a few hours.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

NFL Week 4 Points, Picks and Predictions

("Here's to alcohol. The cause of and solution to all life's problems" - Homer Simpson)
It's gotten real bad in Jacksonville. You see, NFL teams make major revenue off of stadium food and drinks. In my case, being a regular attendee of Redskins games, I know that the cheapest beer at FedEx is around $9.50 (and that's for standard domestic beers like Miller Lite, Coors lite etc.). That's why knowledgeable fans tailgate for four hours prior to the game and can drink (or share... yeah right) a six pack for the price of one stadium beer.

So here's my point, Jacksonville is so desperate for fans to attend games, they are giving away free beer. That's right, according to this CBS Tampa article, the Jaguars are offering two free beers to anyone who purchases a ticket of $45 or more for Sunday's game against the Colts. So basically, their cutting ticket prices in almost half but it requires a two drink minimum.

Could you imagine the Redskins or any other team in the NFL do this, ever? I really can't. It makes you think that barring some radical turnover in the next few years, we'll see our first London team come from the Jacksonville area (which I think is a terrible idea having a London NFL team for various reasons).

Speaking of London, this week we have our first London game of the NFL season. Horrible match up between the Vikings and Steelers. But I do find the idea of having a team called the Monarchs hilarious only if they use The Monarch from The Venture Bros.

(I have to admit I'm digging The Monarch helmet. Image via Deadspin)
Ok. Onto this week's picks. I'll eventually come up with a win/loss total for me and T.Scorpio, but if you are relying on us for picking winners, you're pretty much screwed anyway.

1PM Games (EST)

Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota/in London (+2.5)
FedEx Al: No real advantage here for the Vikings despite it being a "home" game. I still don't like Pittsburgh's offense. I think Peterson again will be the guy, but maybe I have a little too much faith in the league's best RB.
Pick: Vikings

Tattooed Scorpio: In the battle of the 0-3 teams overseas normally I'd pick Pittsburgh to right the ship but with the Vikings making a much needed quarterback change it should bolster their one dimensional offense and the Steelers defense has looked old and ineffective.
Pick: Vikings

Baltimore @ Buffalo (+3.5)
FedEx Al: If Buffalo was healthy and Ray Rice was out, then I wouldn't like the Ravens odds on the road. That said, Rice might play this week and EJ Manuel is up against a still stout Raven's defense. I don't like this game as a bettor, but going with the Ravens.
Pick: Ravens

Tattooed Scorpio:  Baltimore looked good last week beating Houston convincingly and have a good track record against mobile QBs --- that's what they face with the rookie E.J Manuel. I would pick them normally. Unfortunately, Ray Rice is a game time decision and Buffalo's offense is kind of rolling right now. I don't see the Ravens being able to keep up offensively without Rice and that will tire out that defense.
Pick: Bills(w/o Rice); Ravens (with Rice)

Cincinnati @ Cleveland (+4.0)
FedEx Al: I just think the Bengals are the better team and Brian Hoyer's good run will end sooner than later.
Pick: Bengals

Tattooed Scorpio: The Battle of Ohio sees the Bengals coming off a great come from behind victory against the Packers and the Browns are in love with their rookie QB Brian Hoyer as the Browns went into Minnesota and handled the Vikings. I'm thinking the Bengals may have gotten the spark it needed to get its momentum going in this young season. This is a intriguing match up. Which teams will show up???
Pick: Bengals

Indianapolis @ Jacksonville (+8.0)
FedEx Al:  This is the week where apparently very few home teams are favored. Weird trend. Of course, when the Jaguars are playing at home the opponent will always be favored this season. At least there's free beer.
Pick: Colts
Tattooed Scorpio:  After the Colts went into San Francisco  and man handled the 49ers you would think I'd go withe the Colts in this game but this is going to be my UPSET PICK!!!!! of the week (Ed. Note: If this happens it will be the upset pick of the century!). Jacksonville always plays them tough and the Jaguars can't go 0-16 ....or can they? I just have a feeling something crazy might happen.
Pick: Jaguars

Seattle @ Houston (+2.5)
FedEx Al: Seattle is on fire right now and while Houston would like to come back from the drubbing by the Ravens, I think reality is setting in that they may not be as good as people thought they were.
Pick: Seahawks
Tattooed Scorpio: Houston got embarrassed last week and with Seattle coming to town as the so called "Best team in football" they will have their hands full. I think the difference maker in this game will be J.J Watt. If he can get push up the middle, disrupt Russell Wilson's timing and bat some balls down he can help give the team a boost with hid stellar play.
Pick: Texans

Arizona @ Tampa Bay (-2.5)
FedEx Al: The first home game where the home team is favored makes little to no sense to me. The Bucs are starting a rookie with an injured Vincent Jackson and facing a Arizona team that plays the run well. I get the unknown of Mike Glennon compared to a poor Josh Freeman but I don't like this game for the Bucs at all.
Pick: Cardinals

Tattooed Scorpio: With things getting to worse in Tampa Bay between Josh Freeman and the organization and the rookie Mike Glennon getting the start I'm gonna go out on a limb and pick the Bucs. The team will probably feel energized with the change and that should give them the edge over the not so good Arizona Cardinals.
Pick: Buccaneers

Chicago @ Detroit (-3.0)
FedEx Al: I'm not sold on Detroit.  The Redskins' woeful defense shut the Lions down in many third down situations and with the exceptions of not making tackles and giving up a few big plays, the Lions wouldn't have scored nearly as much. Honestly, the Redskins should have beaten the Lions last week if not for killing themselves with costly turnovers, drops and penalties. The Bears are a much better team than the 'Skins and they'll show why.
Pick: Bears
Tattooed Scorpio:  Jay Cutler and the Bears look legit as they're 3-0 and their defense is carrying this team. The offensive line is protecting Cutler and letting him get the ball to his weapons on offense. Detroit will get a boost with the possible return of Reggie Bush to help make their offense more potent. Chicago's defense should be able to contain Detroit and get a few turnovers from Matt Stafford.
Pick: Bears

NY Giants @ Kansas City (-4.0)
FedEx Al: If this was MetLife Stadium, I think the Giants have a good chance because they are so desperate. The reality is that the game is at Arrowhead and the Chiefs have had extra time to prepare. Looks like Andy Reid may go 3-0 against his former division.
Pick: Chiefs

Tattooed Scorpio: With the turnover prone 0-3 Giants going to the surprisingly 3-0 Chiefs, I don't see the Giants getting their first win this weekend. Kansas City defense will have plenty of opportunity to bolster their already impressive numbers this season and not to mention they've had 10 days to prepare for them. Andy Reid should be 3-0 against the NFC East.
Pick: Chiefs
4PM Games (EST)
NY Jets @ Tennessee  (-3.5)
FedEx Al: I'm still a bit surprised that either of these teams have winning records, but what do I know? I really don't like this match up. Neither QB is consistent, so it looks like it may come down to the run game. I'm going to go with the Jets beating up a bad Titans run defense this week.
Pick: Jets

Tattooed Scorpio: The Jets are a surprising 2-1 going to a stingy and hungry Titans team coming off a solid win against the Chargers last week. The Titans defense should be able to contain the rookie Geno Smith and the pedestrian offense and I think Chris Johnson will have a BIG game.
Pick: Titans

Dallas @ San Diego (+2.0)
FedEx Al: This could be a high scoring shootout between the 'Boys and the Chargers. As a 'Skins fan, I'll be curious to see how Dallas' Tampa -2 handles an elite TE in Antonio Gates. Still think Dallas will win though.
Pick: Cowboys

Tattooed Scorpio: This is my head scratcher of the week. Can Dallas only run against St. Louis or can they carry the ground game across the county to San Diego? Will San Diego return to form from the first two weeks of the season or look like the unimpressive team we saw last week? I think Phillip Rivers picks apart the Dallas secondary.
Pick: Chargers

Washington @ Oakland (+3.5)
FedEx Al: If the Redskins are ever going to get it together, this is the week. Terrelle Pryor looks like he'll play, but Oakland is missing some key secondary help and will have a piecemeal offensive line. If the Redskins stop making stupid mistakes they can win this one.
Pick: Redskins, 31-26
Tattooed Scorpio:  With the uncertainty at who's the starting quarterback is going to be for Oakland with Terrelle Pryor recovering from a concussion and the steadily improving Redskins this is another intriguing match up. RGIII is looking like the 2012 OROY and the defense is figuring itself out and with better tackling and less penalties the team should go into the bye with a victory.
Pick: Redskins

Philadelphia @ Denver (-10.5)
FedEx Al: In Denver, Philadelphia will not be able to keep up with Peyton Manning. I expect the Eagles to get very winded in this game.
Pick: Broncos
Tattooed Scorpio:  In this game we may see 200 plays with these fast paced no huddle offenses. Only thing that may stop that from happening is the thin air in Denver. Peyton Manning looks like a super human robot on the field adjusting to everything he's seeing the defense try to do and finding the perfect play to beat that defense. I believe Chip Kelly's offense has been figured out.
Pick: Broncos
 Sunday Night Football

New England @ Atlanta  (-2.0)
FedEx Al: Still not sure if we'll see The Gronk this week but Brady is starting to develop chemistry with his young WRs. This could be Brady's fantasy breakout game of 2013 (I hope so, he's my QB in my fantasy league).
Pick: Patriots

Tattooed Scorpio: With the Falcons hurting big time and New England getting Gronkowski and possibly Danny Amendola  back I see the Patriots doing what they do....winning.
Pick: Patriots
Monday Night Football
Miami @ New Orleans (-6.5)
FedEx Al: The Saints are my suicide pick of the week, so you see where I'm going. The Saints have been very hard to beat in the confines of the Superdome. It won't get any better this week for the Dolphins.
Pick: Saints
Tattooed Scorpio: Battle of the undefeated teams, one that's a surprise and one that's not that big of a surprise. Ryan Tannehill is looking very impressive at the start of this season and the Dolphins defense has been playing pretty well. New Orleans at home is a tough task but New Orleans at home on a Monday night..... I don't see Miami being able to overcome the potent offense of the Saints.
Pick: Saints

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Recap: Redskins Vs Lions


Hey Redskins Nation! I know that a lot of you are upset after the loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday. I was too, but unlike last week, there was some progress in the team's play. There were also some of the same glaring mistakes that are untimely and costing this team victories. I know you can't blame this loss on the referees, but in my opinion there were a lot of questionable "judgement" calls that went against the Redskins. I like I said, that's just my opinion. 

Once again badly timed penalties that extended drives for the Lions, slowed our offense by taking away several big gains and drive extending first downs. But as I said, I saw progress in that area with only six penalties (45 yards) and none of the 15 yard  unnecessary roughness or pass interference variety. The next issue is missed tackles and bad tackling. Once again, it wasn't as bad as the previous two games but it showed up at the wrong times in this game. The defense did a pretty decent job of rallying to the ball to avoid a lot of the one on one situations that help lead to missed tackles, but when there was a need for a tackle, the defense just didn't get it done. Like I have mentioned before I have to address the play calling of Kyle Shanahan. In some cases he out thinks himself. Instead of sticking with whats working, he does something to try and out think the opponent and ends up ruining whatever momentum the team is building on the field.

It just seems to me that the ball just isn't bouncing the Redskins way. With the crazy fumble on Robert Griffin III's dive after a 21 yard scramble or the TD that in my opinion should not have been overturned because of not enough evidence on the replay to overrule the call on the field. I know, you can't cry over spilled milk or blame a loss on a bad or blown call, but the team is improving slowly but surely and I feel Washington is on the right track and will be cracking the win column very soon. Last year this team rarely faced any adversity nor did RGIII face as much pressure to perform and pressure on the field by opposing defenses. Teams are dead set on stopping this high octane offense and containing the second year QB. Now with all the analysts and so called experts having hind sight and saying the RGIII should've played in the preseason, of course people forget that he was not cleared to play he was just cleared to practice. Late last week Baylor University football coach Art Brilles in an interview said " It took Robert 4 or 5 games to get back to being himself and they reduced the runs for him until then" so there's no need to panic and talk about playing Kirk Cousins and benching Griffin. If you bench Robert where is he gonna get his timing, get the rust off and get his timing down with his offensive weapons? Not in practice because he's been full practice for almost two months now, the only way to get better is to be on the field in live game action. I believe he will be even better against Oakland this coming Sunday.

The defense did make some strides this week against another potent offense except for the missed tackles that happened at the wrong times, but when is a good time for missed tackles? Improved 3rd down performance (9-13), the teams first interception of the year and for the most part making Detroit a one dimensional team. Unfortunately Matt Stafford used his weapons in the passing game, quick passing game and also would've used Bacarri Rambo to the point that the rookie got replaced for a 1 safety 3 cornerback look to avoid some of the mistakes that the rookie has been making in coverage and in tackling. Bacarri only saw 19 snaps on special teams. I don't see this as anything major, I just see it as a rookie going threw growing pains at becoming a NFL player. But with that alignment it put Josh Wilson in unfamiliar position at playing a safety in essence which led to Wilson sometimes taking bad angles or just outright not making the tackle but he still had a decent game but not stellar. The pressure wasn't constant because Detroit did what every other team is gonna do to counter our pass rushers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, three step drops and quick throws which makes it hard to get to the QB and makes the defenders make tackles sometimes in open space. Until the defense as a whole improves tackling and can start making some game changing plays instead of giving them up this team wont be the team that won the NFC East Championship last year. The secondary is improving but still has strides to make but they are on the right track if u ask me. 

Last but not least the playcalling..... I just want to ask Kyle why do you give Alfred Morris so many tosses and pitches? Also why to the short side of the field most times? I counted at least 10 pitches/tosses to Morris which is better suited for a quicker running back so he can get to the edge and try to turn it up field. For Morris it doesn't help him because he's more dangerous when he's running downhill and not trying to key on the ball to catch it then focus on finding the hole and turning it up field. Also I believe Kyle is out thinking himself  to the detriment of the team sometimes. By trying to get too  fancy and using plays that go away from what's working during the game, he's killing the momentum that the team is trying to build on the field. Alfred Morris was averaging almost 8.0 yards a carry but yet in a close game versus Detroit, he elects to start throwing the ball and stop running the ball, which was working. I understand that you have to change up and adjust when the other team's doing to stop whats working but don't stop whats working until the other team does. It's still a work in progress, the coaching and execution on the field is improving but has to be more consistent from all parties involved. Being 0-3 is not the end of the world but it's surely time to right the ship and go get this victory in Oakland on Sunday and go into the bye week on some type of positive note.  As always #HTTR. You can follow me for all your Redskins and football news on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and can follow the editor for this blog, writer for @SonofWashington and good friend @IIWIISOWSkins and don't forget to subscribe to the blog for a email whenever a new article is posted. Hopefully the next recap will be of the Washington Redskins first victory of the season.#BeatDaRaiders

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The GBU: Lions/Redskins

In professional football, moral victories are as worthless as trying to use Monopoly money to pay for a copy of Grand Theft Auto 5.

That said, today the Redskins had a moral victory against the Detroit Lions. The Redskins are 0-3, but we did learn a few things about this team that may have a ripple effect for the rest of the season.
Last week, I had my second regular season The Good, The Bad and The Ugly 1/3 of the way done and just decided not to post it. There wasn't much to be said that I hadn't said in Week 1's GBU. The Redskins played poorly, fell way behind, tried to come back, failed to come back and lost. So after going 0-2 against the Eagles and the Packers, there was a slight hope that the Redskins might be able to turn it around against the Lions.
Photo: Alan Anthony/SOW With 50 pass attempts did the Redskins ask too much of RGIII this week?
Photo: Alan Anthony/SOW
With 50 pass attempts did the Redskins ask too much of RGIII this week?
They almost did. And unlike the first two games of the season, the Redskins had opportunities to win this game. They just failed to do so.

This is a game worth writing about because something different happened. Although the end results are the same (and equally or more so frustrating), there really were some good elements, some bad things and some things that are worth thinking about this team as we look to the next thirteen games of the 2013 season.

But before I get to that, I think we're over the afterglow of the 2012 season, so we need to realize that there are three main problems with the franchise as a whole. When you think about these problems it's amazing what the 2012 team did but it's also understandable why that team started off 2012 with a 3-6 record and this year's team has a 0-3 record.

First, the Redskins lack starting talent at key positions. Most notably on the offensive line (in particular right tackle), wide receiver and the secondary (unless you find EJ Biggers and Josh Wilson suitable replacements at safety). You can blame a few things for this: the cap penalty/limited salary cap, lack of draft picks (this includes the horrible drafts of prior administrations run by Vinny Cerrato) or just a general failure by the front office to address a need (or that a player used to address said need failing miserably).

Second, at times it just seems that the coaches either don't prepare the players enough to succeed or have failed to find schemes to fit the talent on the roster. There are discipline issues, lack of focus and out right mistakes made by multiple players. It also seems that the team tends to go away from what's working (perfect example from today: going away from the run game when it's successful) to go with what they like to run.

Third, players aren't executing. Simple as that. It really doesn't matter what is in the playbook if the players fail to execute the plays on the field.
Photo: Alan Anthony/SOW Overall, the defense had a good game, but tackling is a serious issue.
Photo: Alan Anthony/SOW
Overall, the defense had a good game, but tackling is a serious issue.
All of this was there in 2012, but it was overshadowed by some outstanding performances by RGIII, Alfred Morris, Rob Jackson and a few others. It also seems that when the Redskins were in their seven game win streak, things worked. Players made fewer mistakes, Kyle Shanahan and Jim Haslett looked like geniuses and the front office looked like they had done enough to address deficiencies or at least cover them up.

The fan message is clear, fix the problems. Obviously, the Redskins are trying to do that but it's going to take some time to get the job done. Hopefully, the Lions game was the final wake up call or moment of clarity that they needed to speed up the process before it's too late.
Onto this week's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

- DeAngelo Hall (4 tackles, 2 PDef, 1 INT, 1 TD). Here's a crazy stat for 2013: DeAngelo Hall has 2TDs in the first half of the three games played this season. The Redskins offense in the first half of the first three games? 1TD. How crazy is that? I know fans have mixed feelings on Hall, it's understandable. He has had some great games with the Redskins and some really atrocious ones. Today, he had to cover the best WR currently in the game in Calvin Johnson (he did this for a large portion of the game, but not every snap). While Johnson had a good game (7 catches, 115 yards 1 TD), Hall was able to limit him to minimal damage while putting the Redskins first points on the board by picking off Matthew Stafford.

- Sav Rocca (5 punts, 44.4 AVG, Long of 63, 3 Inside 20). Rocca helped the Redskins control field position by having punts of 60 and 63 yards in the game to pin the Lions back as far as possible. Punters don't get enough respect.

- Ryan Kerrigan (7 tackles, 1 Pdef). Kerrigan didn't have the big sacks like he did from the previous two weeks, but he stopped at least one key third down and seemed to be one of the few defensive players who could consistently make tackles. Also, worth noting is that offenses are trying to stop Kerrigan's pass pressure by going from five and seven step drops to three-step drops. Ryan has helped to take away the long pass thanks to his pass rush.

- Alfred Morris (15 carries, 73 yards 1 TD, 4.86 YPC). The good news is that Alfred Morris isn't a one season wonder. After a shaky start in week one, he has rebounded to have two successful weeks back to back. Morris still runs through players, but today he was able to run away from them for a TD. My only question is why wasn't he used more (see The BAD for more).

- Pierre Garcon (8 catches, 73 yards; 1 carry, 10 yards). Garcon has shown why he's a #1 WR when he's healthy. Garcon found ways to get open and make key catches to keep drives alive.

- John Potter (FG: 2/2 (43, 21), XP: 2/2). Kai Forbath continues to struggle with injuries. Potter made a good argument that he can fill in just fine by making all of his kicks and having most of his kickoffs go for touchbacks.

The Bad

- Robert Griffin III (32/50, 326 yards 1 INT; 6 carries, 37 yards; 3 fumbles, 1 lost). Griffin had his best game of the year, even if his stats look better from previous weeks. He seemed to have a better job finding open receivers, running, feeling comfortable in the pocket and making plays. That said, it's clear on many of his passing attempts, that he's not stepping into the pass which leads to less power in the pass and usually an incompletion. Griffin made a horrible decision that led to an interception. He also blew another scoring opportunity when he tried to slide head first (or was it a stumble?) that generated a lost fumble. Griffin is getting there but he's not there yet. He also didn't get much help from his offensive line today.

- Redskins O-line. The pass blocking was pitiful. It seemed like on every pass attempt, there was a Lion pushing a Redskins linemen into RGIII's face. Tyler Polumbus struggled the entire game. Will Montgomery had problems with his snaps that led to fumbles. Even Trent Williams looked shaky at times and was called for at least one penalty.

- Kyle Shanahan. Are we back in 2011? It sure feels like it. You have a QB who is trying to get back to normal but isn't quite there yet. You have a run game that is working with multiple RBs who can be used to plow through a defense. You're only down by three points at the start of the second half. What do you do? Most of the readers, I hope, would say pound the ball down Detroit's throat. Kyle Shanahan decides to throw the ball a million times.  It just makes no sense.

- Jim Haslett. I really wish I understood what the Redskins are trying to accomplish in pass coverage. I know the Redskins are running more zone but it always seems that opponents can find the wide open, gaping holes in these zones.

- Defensive tackling. It's not just one player but most of the defense. Way too may broken tackles. Way too many arm tackles and guys bouncing off of players with "kill shots". Missed tackles led to big plays and kept many drives alive for Detroit. I believe Washington has given up the most yards after first contact than any other team in the league.

- Aldrick Robinson. You have to catch that ball. No, the pass wasn't perfect but it was awfully close. It killed the team's momentum and led to mistakes after the play.

- The Refs. Generally Ed Hochuli and his crew do a good job making calls and giving good explanations. This game, I had some serious questions with some of the calls and not just the Robinson catch or the RGIII fumble, but with some of the penalties that just seemed wrong or even called on the wrong team.

- Special Team Returns. Chris Thompson was benched and I can see why, but the blocking has been poor on returns. It seems like it would be difficult for anyone to return a punt/kickoff when defenders are running down field untouched. This happened multiple times during the game.

The Ugly

 - Brian Orakpo. I had 'Rak in my bad category for missing plenty of tackles today, but I moved him here because I have a serious concern about him. Much like RGIII, 'Rak is coming off his second injury (pectoral) and I am beginning to wonder if he is having similar problems that RGIII is having with his knee. People have talked about RGIII "protecting" his knee when he throws the ball. Could Orakpo be having similar issues when he tries to wrap up a player? This might explain the tackling issue (at least for him) and is worth keeping an eye on throughout the season.

- David Amerson's growing pains. I think Amerson has a bright career ahead of him. That said, the fans and the team will have to deal with his learning curve throughout this season. He showed flashes of his potential today but was also beaten for large gains by receivers. I expect he'll keep getting better but also expect more of these beatings from time to time.

- Roy Helu, where are you? Helu had three receptions for 35 yards. I think he needs to be used more, especially if the Redskins are having success on the ground. Helu looks like he can handle the duty of taking hits but maintaining his speed and I just wonder why isn't he being used more. I would think that he and Morris should have 40 carries combined during a game with a few pass targeted his way as well. If the Redskins have weapons, use them.

- Improved penalties. This week the Redskins were flagged six times for 45 yards. That seems a bit better than in other weeks but unfortunately some of those  penalties were costly. It's a start but it needs to continue to get better.

- 2nd half Three and Outs. The Redskins D held Detroit to 0/6 on third down conversions in the 2nd half and 4/13 overall. Now if they can just limit the big plays and the damage on 1st and 2nd downs.

- 3rd down conversions 6/13 (46%). Not bad, especially for a team that threw the ball 50 times. Is this a positive sign or an anomaly?

- Time of Possession. Always a key stat that I like to follow. The Redskins won TOP this week 31:12 to Detroit's 28:48. This makes sense. The Redskins were moving the ball and having long drives against the Lions but couldn't finish them.

- Safety Dance. Bacarri Rambo was injured on special teams and while it seemed that he could return, he was held out for the remainder of the game. Not sure if he was benched but here's what the Redskins did with him out. On some plays, the 'Skins would go with just one deep safety (Brandon Meriweather). In other situations they would move either EJ Biggers or Josh Wilson to the safety position.

- FedEx Faux Pas. Right before the onside kick, the stadium decided to play music to pump up the crowd (maybe the team as well). The song has been used before, is a good song and is a combination of pump you up and gear up for a very serious, important point in the game. What the PA people forgot to realize that the song is Lose Yourself, by Detroit native Eminem. A few fans around me weren't happy that this was being played in a game against the Lions.

- Fred Smoot. On 106.7 The Fan's post-game show Fred said that when RGIII throws for 300 yards or more that the Redskins only win 20% of the time. His point is that the Redskins win by running the ball and using RGIII sparingly in the pass game. While the stat is more like 50% (RGIII is 3-3 when he throws for more than 300 yards), Smoot is right. The Redskins success in 2012 came in part with a strong run game that set up the pass. RGIII could then make big plays with receivers wide open down field.

Next Week: The Redskins travel to Oakland to face the Raiders. Believe it or not, they have a better record than the 'Skins. Can the Redskins get their first win before the bye?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

NFL Week 3: Points, Picks and Predictions

(Who said blockbuster trades didn't happen anymore? AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
So, Trent Richardson is a Colt. Is this a good thing or a bad thing for the Colts? Well, it's probably a good thing but it hurts a lot of people playing fantasy football. Andrew Luck will get less pass attempts, Ahmad Bradshaw is now just a handcuff player (I dropped him from my team this week) and people who have Richardson are wondering if he'll continue to slump now that he has to learn a new system for a new team. I have Richardson on my fantasy roster and so far this season, he's killing me.

The bigger question though is whether this helps the Colts in both the short and long term. Chuck Pagano seems to be the type (assuming this since he was the defensive coordinator for the Ravens two seasons ago.) of coach that wants to pound the ball and build a defense. This could help Luck immensely since his days at Stanford were like the suggested situation.

Anyway, this week we'll see if Richardson can help in the short term as he faces the 49ers. For the Browns, it's another year of futility. Maybe they can get their franchise QB with the additional 1st rounder and battling Jacksonville to be the most inept team in the league.

Don't worry though, the Cleveland fans are kind of used to this as shown in another of Mike Polk's videos:

Ok, onto the picks.

1PM Games (EST)

San Diego @ Tennessee (-3.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: With San Diego used to making a cross country trip for the second week in a row after beating Philadelphia and a Phillip Rivers that has a QB rating of 115 the odds are in their favor. Titans have Chris Johnson but that's about it.
Pick: Chargers

FedEx Al: Kudos to the Titans for having an improved O-line and defense, but when the Chargers are playing to their potential, they are a much better team.
Pick: Chargers

Cleveland @ Minnesota (-6.5)
Tattooed Scorpio: The game of the inept and underachieving  QB's. I don't see anyway that Cleveland goes into Minnesota and beats Adrian Peterson and the Vikes. Really not to much more else to say about this game.....
Pick: Vikings

FedEx Al: The Browns may hold Adrian Peterson to under a hundred and limit a few drives to FGs. The problem with the Browns is that they don't have a QB. And now they don't have a running back either. Expect a low scoring, ugly game with AP getting a lone TD that seals the game for the Vikings.
Pick: Vikings

Tampa Bay @ New England (-9.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: I see this game getting out of hand. New England has won by a combined 3 points in its first two wins of the season. I say they will definitely improve on those numbers this week against a drama filled and underachieving Buccaneers team. I see Tom Brady having a big day with the return of Gronkowski.
Pick: Patriots

FedEx Al: Tom Brady has no weapons. This is why every game with the Pats have been so close. That said, Brady can do enough with what little he has to get the job done. Tampa may have the first coach firing of the year at this point.
Pick: Patriots

Houston @ Baltimore (+2.0)
Tattooed Scorpio:  With the game time decision on Ed Reed and his repaired hip in his return to Baltimore, I still give Houston the upper hand in this game. Also, Ray Rice is a game time decision with his sore hip if Ray doesn't go Baltimore could be in for a long day.
Pick: Texans

FedEx Al: Pierce should be able to move the ball against the Texans and the Texans have struggled at times defensively. The Ravens are a hard team to beat at home and Matt Schaub is known for having a key turnover and the Texans starting LT and WR (Andre Johnson) are banged up. I'm smelling an upset.
Pick: Ravens

St. Louis @ Dallas (-4.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: This is gonna be my upset pick of the week.With both teams coming in 1-1, I see the Rams going into Dallas with their stingy defense and explosive WR's and handing Dallas it's second loss of the season. I think Dallas's defense will have trouble with those quick, fast, and shifty wide receivers.
Pick: Rams

FedEx Al: I'm not sold on Dallas and the Tampa-2. Tony Romo will have to deal with a strong Rams pass rush all game. I really like Sam Bradford in this game to put up big numbers.
Pick: Rams

Arizona @ New Orleans (-7.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: With Arizona coming into New Orleans with a injured Larry Fitzgerald and a New Orleans team that plays much differently front of its home fans, it'll be tough for the Cardinals to pull this one out. For fantasy fans, I know I don't need to say this but ....start Drew Brees this week.
Pick: Saints

FedEx Al: This will be a fun game to watch. I expect a shootout between Brees and Carson Palmer. Go with the team playing in their home dome.
Pick: Saints

Detroit @ Washington (EVEN)
Tattooed Scorpio: This game is my head scratcher of the week. The Lions are 8th in yards and 4th in points. If the Redskins don't tackle and start out offensively stagnant, this game may get out of hand quickly like the previous two games...but still.
Pick: Redskins

FedEx Al:  The Lions have never won in DC. Never at Griffith Stadium. Never at RFK. Never at FedEx Field. And yet, this Lion's team thinks that they'll break this streak. I don't think they're the best Lion team I've seen play the Redskins at home but I'm 0-2 with my Redskins picks, so here's hoping I go 0-3. Going to pick the Lions with some reverse psychology here. Prove me wrong 'Skins, prove me wrong....
Pick: Lions 31- 24

Green Bay @ Cincinnati (+3.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: We saw what Aaron Rodgers could do with his record tying 480 yards against the Redskins and the Bengals defense is struggling so far this short season. With Green Bay finding its running game and the Bengals not having a strong enough running game to try to control the clock and slow the Packers down, it could be a long day in Ohio for Andy and the Bengals.
Pick: Packers

FedEx Al: Packers are riding a high after last week's clobbering of the 'Skins. The Bengals are a much better team than Washington at the moment. I like the Bengals in a bit of a shoot out.
Pick: Bengals

NY Giants @ Carolina (+ 1.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: Battle of the 0-2 teams. The Giants and their 10 turnovers vs. Carolina with its two late game losses and with a defense that has a lot of injuries over the last two games. I don't think New York will have another four turnover game with Carolina's defensive depth being tested early and Cam isn't getting any help from his million dollar backfield.
Pick: Giants

FedEx Al: This is really a do or die type of game for both of these teams. Tom Coughlin generally doesn't lose games like these. I expect another heartbreaker for the Panthers late in the 4th quarter. The Panthers are another team that may have a fired coach before the end of the year.
Pick: Giants

4PM Games (EST)

Atlanta @ Miami (-3.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: With the Falcons limping into Miami and the Dolphins being a surprising 2-0 with a balanced attack on offense and stingy defense. Not to mention the Dolphins having the home field advantage (crappy field and grass) I don't see Atlanta faring well in Miami.
Pick: Dolphins

FedEx Al:  I'm not sold on Miami. Even though I expect the Dolphins to move the ball and put up points on Atlanta's banged up defense, I think the Falcon have enough weapons to match and top what Miami puts on the board.
Pick: Falcons

Indianapolis @ San Francisco (-10.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: With Indy making huge news by trading for Trent Richardson and getting a young stud running back that finally has a throwing threat to go with his hard nosed running style should be interesting...but not for this game. San Francisco will be out for blood after getting embarrassed by the Seahawks last week.
Pick: 49ers

FedExAl: The 49ers have stopped the run pretty well already this year. They won't have any problems at home vs. Richardson. Frank Gore should finally get some production on the ground.
Pick: 49ers

Jacksonville @ Seattle (-19.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: This is my laffer of the week. The spread is 19....Seattle might put 50 points on the Jaguars who as a team has only scored 11 points as a team in two games.
Pick: Seahawks

FedEx Al: Do I really have to write about this game? Can't the Jags just forfeit it, we would all understand if they did.
Pick: Seahawks

Buffalo @ NY Jets (-2.5)
Tattooed Scorpio:  Battle of the rookie mobile QBs . After E.J Manuel's last second comeback win against Carolina and Geno Smith's 3 INT performance against the Patriots, I'm not sold on the rookie from the 2nd round (Smith).
Pick: Bills

FedEx Al: Another low scoring game. The Jets really should be 0-2 and if it wasn't for the sheer will of Tom Brady (with an assist to the injured Danny Amendola) the Bills could be 2-0. I am starting to understand why the Bills drafted Manuel probably a round or two higher than expected.
Pick: Bills

Sunday Night Football

Chicago @ Pittsburgh (+1.5)
Tattooed Scorpio: With Jay Cutler looking like the QB everyone has claimed him to be by having two comeback wins to start the season and Pittsburgh looking old and not being able to run the ball I see Chicago going into Pittsburgh and putting the Steelers in a totally unfamiliar place 0-3.
Pick: Bears

FedEx Al: Pittsburgh has no offense. Their defense will eventually wear out and that'll be about it. Only way things end up differently is if Jay Cutler throws a bunch of interceptions. I don't expect that in this game.
Pick: Bears

Monday Night Football

Oakland @ Denver (-15.0)
Tattooed Scorpio: Peyton Manning may match his seven TD performance against the Raiders. The Raiders do look better with Terrelle Pryor at the QB but Denver is the best team in football right now and don't see Oakland being able to handle their offense.
Pick: Broncos

FedEx Al: A lot of people have Denver as their suicide pick in suicide pools this week. I think that's a mistake. Never put money or picks on a Broncos/Raiders game. The underdog tends to surprise even if they suck. Historically, these teams play each other rather close. That said, I expect the Broncos to beat the Raiders pretty easily.
Pick: Broncos


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week Three Thursday Night Football Prediction

(Andy Reid probably has another finger for his Eagles fans. Image via)
Andy Reid is coming home to Philly and hopefully Andy can keep my streak alive of picking correctly on Thursday Night Football. So far I'm 2-0 on TNF and while I've stunk it up when it comes to the rest of the week (thanks in part to my beloved Redskins of Washington) I'm still UNDEFEATED on Thursday!!!!!

So here we go to Philly, home of cheese steaks, the Liberty Bell and some of the most crazed fans in the NFL. This should be fun. I know you're expecting the Eagles' fans to boo Andy Reid, but they won't. Well, not most of them anyway. I'm mean we are talking Philadelphia here. It's a crime to not boo something there at least once a day. People have booing quotas damn it!

You see they fired Andy, he didn't quit on them for something better and that's okay. If you're Jayson Werth and chose to leave for a bigger contract and the chance to be one of the bigger names for the Nationals, then expect beers to be thrown and every thing that can be said about his mom probably has been said.

Here's the thing, Reid  is a good coach and has a great scheme. Sure, he has his faults (give me ten minutes and I can talk about all of them) but there are reasons why the Eagles went to so many NFC title games (and it wasn't just McNabb, although that's what he'd tell you). Then you have the Chiefs defense, which is pretty impressive from what I've seen of it (It begs the question, who the hell is Bob Sutton and why have I never heard of him before?).

So it makes sense that Reid wins this one. It's payback. Reid knows his former players as well, if not better than Chip Kelly. And just because the Eagles kicked the crap out of my team's defense for a half, doesn't say that much about Chip Kelly's vaunted Oregon scheme at the NFL level.

I think there's a few NCAA teams that would put up 30 against the 'Skins at this point and no I'm not talking about Alabama.

So the Eagles lose for the 2nd straight week at home (fitting) and all is right in the world.

Pick: Chiefs

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Recap Redskins Vs Packers

Recap: Redskins VS Packers

Well Redskins Nation after that terrible loss I needed a 12 hour withdrawal from football to try and understand and comprehend what just happened against the Green Bay Packers. I pride myself at being able to look at the game and see what really lead to the team's success or failures and to be honest ....I'm left scratching my head. This game was badly coached, badly played and poorly executed. It's rare that I've used those words to describe my beloved team, but I can see nothing else but bad football. Between the dumb and badly timed penalties, bad field position and the inability to get any type of offensive rhythm I'll have to use the word Mike Shanahan used "embarrassed" to describe this week for the Redskins.

Robert Griffin III once again started off rusty and I noticed that the coaches are not calling any zone read plays that helped make this team a offensive juggernaut in 2012. I'm left wondering why the team isn't running any zone read option offense if Robert is healthy? Is it because they want him to get more of the rust off before they start running it again? Is it that he isn't fully healthy to run the offense, or is it that they want his knee to get used to the rigors and stress of being back on the field exposed to live action? Well, whatever the reason is, this team and offense isn't the same without the threat of running the zone read to help loosen up the defensive pressure that teams are sending. The rhythm of the offense has been terrible so far and must improve for this team to reach their goals and aspirations for 2013. Last year this team often started fast and kept the offensive pressure on opponents. They rarely looked out of synch or out of rhythm during the final seven games of the 2012 regular season but this year has been the total opposite and I have yet to come up with a definitive answer.

My next issue is the constant dumb penalties at the worst possible times in the game. I'm not gonna rehash all the penalties but the team has to address these fouls especially the 15 yard personal fouls, they give the other team automatic first downs. Penalties change field position and gives the opponents momentum in the game which, in this game, is so very important. It seems like a lack of discipline and frustration is boiling over when the team is facing adversity but no matter what happens on the field, you have to keep your composure and if you want to retaliate do it on the field and in a legal way. This team has too much talent, veteran leadership, and coaching to be making these mental mistakes and constant errors, shooting
themselves in the foot. After the teams success in 2012, and all the off season hype surrounding this team, they have to realize that they have a target on their backs and are gonna get everyone's best efforts. 
So they have to bring their "A" game, execute their game plan, and play as a team. That's the one thing that stands out to me, is they're not playing as a team. For the Redskins to be successful this season, especially with this schedule, they have to play as a complete team.

My last thought is about the secondary. The team might have to re think having two rookies on the back end. It really is causing problems for a defense that's trying to shake off an up and down 2012 in which the safety play was a major issue. Not saying that the problems with the secondary is all on Bacarri Rambo, but opposing QB's are using their eyes to fool the young safety and get him out of  position. He's also still having some difficulty with his open field tackles. Most of the defense's problems is  with poor tackling. I haven't seen this so many missed tackles in a long time by this team, it really stood out to me when seeing the normally sure tackler like Reed Doughty missing tackles in open space. Final thought is that it might be time to look for another strong safety since Brandon Meriweather can't seem to stay healthy and be able to stay on the field. Unless he can recover from this latest issue (concussion) in time for next weeks game. I like him because of his ability to cover and lay a big hit. On the play he got hurt on, I don't know about the new rules specifically, it looked like when Brandon was trying to hit with his shoulder, James Starks lowered his head and made a helmet to helmet hit which caused the concussion. I thought that was something that the refs were supposed to be monitoring. I wasn't able to see the hit that put Eddie Lacy out (also involving Meriweather) but this hit looked like the running back lowered his head to initiate contact.

Sorry for all the negatives, but after this game I really saw nothing positive in this game worth discussing. This team has to get it together, play as a team and cut out the unnecessary, dumb, and ill timed penalties or this won't be a "Season To Remember" ..... for anything positive anyway. I personally still love my team and will root for them until I am no longer on this earth but they have to step it up with Detroit coming to town. Even if Reggie Bush might not be 100% or even play, Detroit does have a potent offense with one of the best, if not best WR's, in the game in Calvin Johnson . If the Redskins get off to a start like the previous two games and continue to make the same mistakes, this will be a long season. As always #HTTR. You can follow me for all your Redskins and football news on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and can follow the editor for this blog, writer for @SonofWashington and good friend @IIWIISOWSkins and don't forget to subscribe to the blog for a email whenever a new article is posted. Hopefully wont be anymore recaps like this in the future. #BeatDaLion

Saturday, September 14, 2013

NFL Week 2: Points, Picks and Predictions

(The Manning Bowl! This photo sums up everything. Image courtesy of Direct TV.)
Woo Hoo! Manning Bowl 3.0! I can imagine some tagline from a boxing promoter saying "this is for all the trophies" (since Peyton and Eli have combined for three Lombardi trophies). Hopefully, Peyton can have a repeat performance against the Giants that he did against the Ravens last week. After the John Mara screw job that has cost the Redskins 36 million dollars over two years, I love to watch the Giants lose-- especially when they lose big.

The Redskins hope to rebound against the Packers, a few teams hope to win this week despite playing well in week one but losing (Bengals, Chargers, Falcons and Raiders come to mind) and the Jaguars would like to actually score something other than a safety this week.

Also, Tattooed Scorpio has jumped on for this week's triple P. Will we agree? Will we disagree? Who knows? Well, you'll know in just a moment.