Thursday, October 31, 2013

Week 9 Thursday Night Football Prediction

(Photo: Al Tielemans/SI)   
It only took nine weeks, but finally Thursday Night Football has a good match up as the Bengals face the Dolphins in Miami tonight.

Fitting that the team that symbolizes Halloween colors is playing on Halloween.

TNF is the only day I've gotten every game right this season so, I'm finally going to get a bit of a challenge here tonight.

Even though the Dolphins are at home, the Bengals are favored by three.

I'm going with the favorite as I like the Bengals to win this one 33-18. And I hope AJ Green can start of my fantasy team to a good start. So far I'm 1-7 on the year. Last year I only lost two games during the regular season of fantasy.

Go figure. But that's what you get when Tom Brady and Trent Richardson are your starters.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grades and Recap: Redskins Vs Broncos


Hey Redskins Nation, it's another loss of a game that Redskins had control of and were playing for the most part error free football up until 4th quarter but some how found a way to lose. Once again Kyle Shanahan went away from the running game, which was working very well and tiring out the Broncos defense but then all of a sudden decides he wants to throw the ball down the field.

  Denver does have the 32nd ranked pass defense but that's mostly because of teams having to throw to keep pace or catch up with their potent offense. I'm guessing Kyle thought he would try to take advantage of this stat but it turned out to kill the momentum that the defense had help build with two turnovers in the first five minutes of the third quarter. The defense has been steadily improving and the sad fact is that since the Broncos put up 45 points it looks like they didn't do their job to the casual fan but this is not true.

With two backup safeties playing for the first time together and Peyton Manning being the super human quarterback that he is no one gave the Redskins a chance. For almost three quarters of the game they kept pace and contained the Broncos offense. The inconsistent offense constantly going three and out for some of the first half and all of the fourth quarter really was the downfall of the defense.

Addressing Kyle's playcalling and going away from what works has been a constant issue for me this season. He's out thinking himself and really putting our offense in situations where I don't see helping the team being successful offensively. I'm looking for the play caller that had a cast of Rex Grossman, Jabbar Gaffney and Anthony Armstrong that stretched the field and had the right play call most of the time.

Now to address Robert Griffin III, to me this was one of his worst performances of his short career. Between him missing wide open receivers, not reading the defense properly, not trusting what he sees and to me it looked like he made his mind up from the jump that he wasn't gonna run the ball. I hope the latter isn't the case because I would have a real problem with that, but it did look like on several occasions he had a running lane but didn't take it.

Don't get me wrong he did extend plays with his feet and made some plays but there was a lot more yards and points left on the field that this team could've used against the #1 scoring offense. The offensive line did give RGIII time to throw but the interior of the line once again was porous and got man handled by the Broncos front seven but was doing a very good job run blocking until Kyle got pass happy.

Last but not least the special teams took a huge step forward by not giving up a TD return this week and contained one of the more dangerous returners in the league. Sav Rocca did have one bad shank that helped spark the Broncos offense but as a whole the unit was much improved and looked like the extra practice helped.

To me this season is still far from over but this team has to put together a full 60 mins on offense, defense, special teams and coaching. until they do this the Redskins will continue to be inconsistent this year. Now I know that I try to stay away from berating the officials but it seems to me that every week the Redskins get held, facemask pulled, even helmet to helmet contact and it's a no call, but if the Redskins commit a penalty it's called asap. I don't know if it's me because I'm a fan and I know the refs can't see everything but when you can clearly see the foul and don't call it during the game but send a letter later in the week say "Sorry we missed the call" what else can you say?

 I'm starting to wonder why the NFL doesn't have a policy similar to the NHL. Roger Goodell says the goal is to preserve the integrity of the game but isn't getting the calls right part of the integrity? When a controversial play or call happens during a game in the NHL they stop play and call NHL headquarters in Toronto for an official review to make sure the call is made correctly and the game continues after the correct ruling is overturned or confirmed. There is no letter later in the week that means absolutely nothing to a team that took a loss maybe because of a called that was missed or called incorrectly. Well that's just a thought I had now let's get to the grades and recap position by position:  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 8: Points, Picks and Predictions

(Love the helmet, feel bad for the fans of the team.)

This is probably the worst week on the NFL schedule this season. All three prime time games are/will be lousy (TNF: Panthers/Bucs, SNF: Packers/Vikings, MNF: Seahawks/Rams) and most of the schedule features juggernauts vs. teams that haven't played very well this season.

I actually plan to go out and try to catch up on yard work during a chunk of the day.

Anyway, picks are going to be slightly less thorough this week. Due to scheduling conflicts, Tattooed Scorpio is out this week. So it's just me making my usual weekly picks.

The question we really should start asking is who's going where in the draft? Yep, only in week 8 and I'm already looking forward to the draft. Two reasons. One is that my 'Skins aren't playing very well and I'm curious where they'll be picking (granted the Rams get the 'Skins 1st rounder in the 2014 draft). Second, is that there are some really, really bad teams out there. The Bucs, Jaguars, Giants (so far) immediately come to mind.

Next there are about a dozen teams that have been extremely mediocre. Heck, you can apply that term to almost half of the divisions in the league this year. That's why part of me hopes that the draft can bring in an infusion of talent because I'd rather see parity than mediocrity.

Onto this week's picks:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Recap: Redskins Vs Bears


Well Redskins Nation, it feels good to say it's #VictoryMonday after a hard fought comeback victory against the Chicago Bears. Could this be the win this team needed to "right the ship" and get some momentum going forward to make a run at a playoff spot and possibly repeat as NFC East Champion.But let's not get ahead of ourselves, this team has to fix some major issues and get more consistent in all phases of the game. The game changed in the 2nd quarter when Jay Cutler went out with a torn groin muscle (out 4 weeks) when he was sacked by Chris Baker (1st career sack) and it didn't look like anything major when he got hit but apparently it was. Once again the special (needs) teams gave up a  81 yard return for touchdown by Devin Hester, who tied Deion Sanders record with 19th return for TD. It was superbly blocked by the Bears but for the second week in a row Niles Paul had the returner in his grasp but failed to make the tackle or atleast slow him up for someone else to make the tackle. The one good thing that came out of this was that the unit didn't implode after that return, they actually improved and the highlight was when Jose Gumbs  made a bone jarring tackle of the returner short of the 20 yard line. Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris looked like the rookies that were the dynamic duo that propelled this team to the title and a improbable run to the playoffs. For the second week in a row Griffin has a season high in rushing yards with 77 yards last week and 84 yards this week. The second year quarterback looks like he has the confidence in his repaired knee to go out and be the playmaker that he was and is. Roy Helu Jr.may has made his case to stay a vital cog in this offense by scoring three TD's and the third being the game winning score 3 yard scamper to the end zone. Last but definitely not least on offense the 3rd round steal Jordan Reed, this rookie broke several Redskins TE records and along the way had his breakout game of the season. With his 9 catches 134 yards and a 3 yard TD catch off a beautifully thrown fade pattern where he abused the safety C. Conte. On defense I have to highlight the play of the whole unit but for the second week in a row DeAngelo Hall get the first star of the game. He all but shutdown the big time receiver Brandon Marshall who had a quiet 6 catches for 75 yards and most importantly no TD's. Brian Orakpo (who is one of my favorite Redskins)  got his first interception and pick 6 of his career when another one of my favorite players Reed Doughty had tight coverage of Alshon Jeffrey. Reed forced a deflection and bobble of the ball which fell right into the hands of the 2-time pro bowler Orakpo who returned it 29 yards for the score to give the team the lead for the first time in the game. I'm not gonna go into the Brandon Meriweather launching himself and getting flagged (twice) all I'm gonna say is reputation rules in the NFL and he maybe looking at a possible suspension since he's a repeat offender. Now lets get to breakdown and grading position group by position group:


Quarterback: Robert Griffin III reminded us that he is still a dynamic athlete, quarterback and reigning OROY. He gashed the defense on runs and showed off his new rookie playmaker Jordan Reed. Robert did have a couple of bad throws, which included an ill advised throw into triple coverage which resulted in a interception by the ball hawk Charles Tillman but he was more fundamentally sound. The last drive to win the game was impressive and showed how comfortable the QB has become in the offense and how easily he moved the team down the field to win the game. Grade:B


Running Back: Alfred Morris, Robert Griffin III and Roy Helu Jr. showed sticking with the running game does payoff with another game over 200 total yards of rushing offense. Helu really looked like the rookie that started and had three consecutive 100 yard games while he was the starter in 2011, he was a change of pace back that was too much for the Bears to keep out of the end zone. Alfred was Alfred running threw arm tackles and dragging defenders for extra yards before they could get him down, his running style is what loosens up the defense for Helu to do his damage.Grade:A

Wide Receivers: This unit did improve from last week's dreadful performance but it wasn't a big improvement. We still saw drops by normally sure handed receivers and at times slim to no separation from the DBs. Despite that Aldrick Robinson made a 45 yard TD catch on a deep pass that fell into his arms as he beat double coverage for a much needed score. Hopefully he can start contributing more, he had another nice grab for 30 yards. I don't know what's going on with Santana Moss but he isn't resembling the WR that caught everything thrown his way last year. If he can't get his hands on the ball in the passing game I say put him on punt returns. Leonard Hankerson took a step back this game with a couple of drops and only one reception. Grade:C+


Tight Ends: With Fred Davis being inactive (healthy scratch) and Logan Paulsen returning from injury it showed that Jordan Reed was going to be a featured target on this day. Of the first six passes RGIII threw all six went to rookie TE and he caught all of them and made a great grab on the fade route to score. The blocking has improved by this young unit as the season has progressed. It's sad to say but possible that we wont see Fred Davis in a Redskins uniform again, unless he can get his practice habits up to the coaches standards.  But it might be time for a change on scenery for the still young TE to get his career back on track.Grade:B

Offensive Line: After last week's embarrassment at the hands of a division rival this unit played better but still have much room for improvement. The interior of the line did block better and didn't look over matched like last week. That being said they did block for a second consecutive 200 yard plus rushing as a team. Chris Chester did make one of the possible game saving plays by diving on top of and recovering a botched handoff  in Bears territory. Pass protection has to improve if the young QB is to progress as a pocket passer. Not to gloss over the job that Trent Williams did on Julius Peppers . He showed why he should be selected for his 2nd Pro Bowl appearance Grade:C


Defensive Line: This unit had it's second strong showing in a row. They constantly collapsed the pocket, for the most part contained Matt Forte except for his 50 yard run after a great cutback to the open field. I can't say enough about NT Barry Cofield, since he got thal cumbersome club off of his hands he has been a force in the middle and collected a sack in the process. Jarvis Jenkins is getting in football shape and getting more reps and starting getting some push. But once again Stephen Bowen hasn't had one of those stellar games yet this season but I see slowly but surely he's getting back into 2012 form. The backups did their jobs and didn't see any drop off when they were on the field.Grade: B-

Via therepublic,com

Linebackers: This unit was a steady force this game nothing to flashy besides Brian Orakpo's first interception and pick 6 of his NFL and football career. Perry Riley Jr. is one of the more underrated ILB's in the game because he's rarely out of position and makes the plays that are in front of him. Ryan Kerrigan had a quiet game with only one tackle and an assist but his presence is always felt on the field with his relentless motor. London Fletcher played better this week but did get beat on the late TD to Martellus Bennett while staring into the backfield trying to read the quarterback. Nick Barnett got some limited action he didn't register any tackles, but seeing him on the field with the defense to me is a good sign.Grade: B+

Safeties: The steady and reliable Reed Doughty got his 2nd start at SS and had a hand "so to speak" in on Orakpo's pick 6. His sure tackling and ability to read the play and help diagnose it before it happens is a vital part to the resurgence of the defense the past three weeks. Unfortunately he got a concussion on the surprise onside kick Chicago attempted late in the game. Already spoke about Brandon Meriweather if he were in the box playing SS he wouldn't be in those positions to get those 15 yard penalties.  The 1st penalty looked to me that it was more shoulder then helmet in my opinion. With Meriweather facing a two game suspension I'm not sure where the team sits at FS going into Denver next week and hosting San Diego the following week.Grade: C+


Cornerbacks:  The cornerbacks have been playing very well as of late and no one more then DeAngelo Hall, who for the third week in a row has faced an elite WR and has won the battle and the war. Calvin Johnson , Dez Bryant, and Brandon Marshall all are bigger and frequent targets but DeAngelo Hall only gave up one touchdown total. Very impressive by the seasoned veteran. Josh Wilson had a decent game trying to cover the Bears other big WR Alshon Jeffrey who had a quiet 100 plus yard receiving day. The rookie David Amerson is rounding into the 2nd round pick the Redskins imagined when they drafted him. Very physical, instinctive and as long as he stays discipline and be weary of the double move, he will be one of the starting cornerbacks next year.Grade: B+

In order to not sound redundant I'm not even gonna speak on the (non) special teams unit. I know everyone else is talking about so I'll leave it alone. All I will say is Keith Burns might be showing why he was a assistant special teams coach  and not the special teams coach. Special teams should win you games and give you good field position not cost you  games like they already has. With Denver Broncos coming up next this team will need to be at its best, especially special teams. Trindon Holliday of the Broncos is a game changer returning punts and kickoffs. Its bad enough you have to face Peyton Manning after a loss to his replacement but you have to contend with  Von Miller and Champ Bailey returning to the defense. If the Redskins can answer back if and when the Broncos score they will have a shot..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. #BeatDaBroncos

Saturday, October 19, 2013

NFL Week 7: Points Picks And Predictions

(This is Classic Jay Cutler)

I'm working on an article for Son of Washington about Jay Cutler vs. DeAngelo Hall and it's amazing how small of a world a 32 team NFL can be. Here's some examples:

-  The Oakland Raiders trade for D. Hall in 2008 off-season for 2nd and 5th round picks from the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta uses the 2nd rounder to trade with the Redskins 1st round pick to get OT Sam Baker. The Redskins use their new acquired 2nd rounders (theirs plus Atlanta and Oakland's 2nd rounders) to get Devin Thomas, Fred Davis and Malcolm Kelly (great drafting there Vinny Cerrato!).

- Jay Cutler faces off against D. Hall and with some great receptions by Eddie Royal, smokes Hall in week 1 of the 2008 season. Hall is later cut mid-season and signs with the Redskins. Hall has gone to have a pretty decent career in Washington after struggling in Oakland.

- Meanwhile, Cutler's coach of the 2008 season none other than Mike Shanahan, is fired at the end of the season. After a year out of the league, Shanahan takes over as head coach of the rock bottom Redskins in 2010.

- Before the start of the 2009 season Cutler, Hall and Shanahan are gone from their team's they were on at the start of 2008. Jay Cutler is traded to the Chicago Bears for a bevy of picks (Two 1st round picks, a 2009 3rd round pick and QB Kyle Orton). The Redskins tried to get in on the Cutler auction but lacked the picks to make a serious play. Three years later, the Redskins traded the farm to the St. Louis Rams for the 2nd overall pick in the draft, which became Robert Griffin III.

- Cutler faces Hall (now with Shanahan as his coach) for the 2nd time in 2010. Hall picks off Cutler for 4 INTs and returns one for a TD.

I could go on with connections with Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall, but we really need to get to the picks. Enjoy the games and keep an eye on Cutler/Hall III. It should be an interesting match up.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 7: Thursday Night Football Prediction

Quick Pick: I like Seattle, but I'm really hoping for another Larry Fitzgerald performance like he did last week.

I'm 1-5 this year in fantasy, its horrible........

So far 6-0 on Thursday Night Football.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Recap: Redskins Vs Cowboys


Hey Redskins Nation, I know after a tough loss to our bitter rival is bad enough but being that the Redskins had several chances to win this game makes it even worse. Once again Robert Griffin III had some good. some bad and some moments showing that he is getting back to the RGIII we all know and love. This game was lost on special teams, the O-line and the offense as a whole for not executing with the defense continued to give them opportunities to take advantage of. The defense put forth its best effort of the season by holding the potent Cowboys offense to a little over 200 yards of total offense and DeAngelo Hall did a masterful job of containing Dez Bryant. Kyle Shanahan also had some head scratcher moments with some of his play calls but when your play makers aren't making plays it doesn't matter what the offensive coordinator calls if they're not executing. This game had a division game feeling all the way but the ultimate game changing plays were given up on special teams. I'm not gonna get in to the officiating at this point, after all the questionable and missed calls there is no point to get into it because the players have to overcome adversity no matter where it comes from. I'll just say it felt like the referees were looking to call penalties on the Redskins and not seeing some of the blatant calls that weren't being made by the Cowboys. After five games and four recaps I think it's time to break it down position group by position group and I'll even give my grade and if you like you can comment with your grades or disagreeing or agreeing with my assessment. So let's start the breakdown:

Quarterback: RGIII had his good points and bad points but overall he missed a couple of wide open receivers on several occasions and he he sailed a few passes that would have been a decent if not big gain if completed. He did have a season high nine carriers for a season high 77 yards and its looking like he's getting more comfortable and hopefully will be seeing the QB the dazzled every time he touched the ball in 2012 His indecision on a few occasions cost his team from sustaining drives and possible scores, if he would've held the ball for a second more or made the proper read there were a lot of yards and plays left on the field. Grade: B-


Running Backs: Between Alfred Morris , Roy Helu Jr., Darrel Young and RGIII they collected over 200 yards against Dallas on Sunday, those numbers look impressive but with the sporadic and below average blocking by the interior of the O-line it was a hit or miss running game.( I'll get into the O-line a little later) With Griffin becoming more of a running threat I expect these numbers to stay the same or maybe increase if we could get a lead for our running backs to take advantage of . The team has to get Helu Jr. in the mix more, with his vision, balance and speed he can be vital in the screen game with all the blitzes the offense has been facing. But you can't forget about Morris, he broke his career long 45 yard TD run on a great cutback showing how impressive the running backs vision and toughness is on one play Grade:B+

Wide Receivers: In my opinion this unit did not help out the quarterback on Sunday, from dropped passes, miss communication , and inability to get separation from a defensive secondary that had just been picked apart the week before was a disappointment in my eyes. Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson and Santana Moss just got outplayed a majority of the game. The down-field blocking is still a plus for this unit but the purpose of having a corp of receivers is to spread the field and take the top off the defense which they did neither on Sunday. This unit has to be more explosive and sure handed like in 2012. In order for this team to shine the WRs must get separation and make plays when the QB gets them the ball. Grade: C


Tight Ends: This unit I thought would have a bigger impact on the game and should've been more of a focal point to attack on this Cover-2 defense. In the first half this was the case with Jordan Reed showing his hands, athletic ability, balance and heart making catch after catch to move the chains but the second half he all but disappeared. Some because of coverage but some from the quarterback being under siege and not being able to get that valuable extra second to see Reed flash open. Have to get this rookie the ball more. With Reed's emergence it seems the writing is on the wall for Fred Davis unless he can impress coaches with the limited reps that he's getting. i'm hoping to see more two TE sets coming to have Fred Davis and Jordan Reed on the field at the same time to cause defense headaches trying to stop this tandem. Grade: B+

Offensive Line: I had to go grab a drink before writing about this unit....and it still didn't help. The bright spot for me was the play of our tackles Trent Williams ans Tyler Polumbus had decent if not quality games but they did make some mistakes too. My problem is with the interior of the line, Will Montgomery, Kory Lichtensteiger, and Chris Chester were terribly man handled and made to look like children among men all night long. I think its time to get Adam Gettis in the mix at guard with the first team this week, it's time  to see what the second year pro can do especially with Chris Chester over 30 and two more years on his contract at 3 mil per season. The way he looked against Dallas I think father time might've caught up with the 8 year vet. Now onto Will Montgomery his play of glory was on the QB keeper when the center had a 8-10 yard cushion to block LB Sean Lee and he goes for his legs instead of engaging in a grown man type of block and whiffed and Lee was able to make the touchdown saying tackle. Last but not least Kory Lichtensteiger all I have to say about his play is when Cris Collingworth can honestly and calmly say that his man is just overpowering him and every time they show Kory he was on his back or getting ran over. The interior of this unit has to be better in pass protection and run blocking in order for the offense to resemble the explosive team that had defenses trying to figure out how to stop the offense and stop the Redskins from scoring. Grade: D

Defensive Line: This unit played well containing the elusive Tony Romo and only allowed him a few plays extended by him using his feet  and elusiveness. Barry Cofield once again showing that he is the best NT in the game, Kendric Golston was his normal steady player doing his job but Stephen Bowen hasn't been as disruptive as I would've hoped for so far this season Jarvis Jenkins obviously wasn't in football shape playing only 6 defensive snaps. The D-line deserves credit for containing the playmaking QB and stopping their non existent running game but couldv've used more collapsing of the pocket to make the QB uncomfortable.Grade: B


Linebackers: The outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo kept the pressure up most of the game, even tho neither recorded a sack. Rob Jackson made an impact after his four game suspension with a interception that the offense couldn't take advantage of. Inside linebackers Perry Riley Jr. and London Fletcher had solid games but you can see that London's coverage skills aren't what they once were but he's still the best option at ILB right now and played every snap on Sunday. I believe Perry Riley Jr. can take over when Fletcher calls it a career but this unit needs another ILB to step up and it maybe Nick Barnett but he hasn't been able to get on the field with the starters playing consistently. Grade: C+

Cornerbacks: Now the All Stars of the week goes to the secondary as a whole. DeAngelo Hall gets the first star (if this were hockey) not only did he hold Dez Bryant, the up and coming star wide receiver to under 50 yards but he also made a veteran play saving a sure touchdown when he recognized a blown coverage and made a athletic, diving play and just got enough of the ball to knock it to the ground for the incompletion. Josh Wilson had the pass deflection that force the lone turnover but he also took a bad angle on a sure sack of Romo that he missed on that gave up the game clinching TD. E.J Biggers had a uneventful game but has to get better when called upon and the bad news of the bunch  was David Amerson sustaining a concussion on the punt return TD that looked pretty bad and seemed to be helmet to helmet but no penalty called. That forced Biggers into action even thou he did give up the athletic TD catch n the back of the endzone, the pass was perfect and it was really nothing much he could do even tho he did try to force him out of bounds to negate the catch. Grade: B++ (couldn't give an A cause didn't force a turnover)

Safeties:  With Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty as the last line of defense it's steady but not flashy. Meriweather playing Free Safety isn't his play making position I feel, he makes a bigger impact in the box closer to the ball but as long as no one is getting behind him for a long score or completion I'm good. What else can you say about good ol' reliable Reed Doughty, who is one of my favorite players on the team. He's a sure tackler, has seen almost all formations so he knows what he see and trusts his eyes and instincts, and is a special team demon. You didn't hear these guys names being called so that's a good thing, that means they aren't making mistakes. Grade: B

Special Teams: No amount of drinks will make this unit worthy of any grade but a F but with sustaining two major injuries on this unit is the only thing that makes it possible not to get a F. Losing LS Nick Sundberg and LB Bryan Kehl is the only reason I wont give the unit a F this time. Giving up so many plays and penalties this unit is becoming a thorn in this teams side and constantly making bad decisions or not executing when the pressure is on. Now with the punt return TD I partially blame the coach for not calling a timeout after the first punt was negated by a offsides penalty, knowing that the unit most likely was winded after running down and pinning them deep it seemed like the logical thing to do in the stalemate of the game that was going on. But that's neither here or there the point is the unit is giving up big plays to opposing teams and not giving the team an advantage in field position either on offense or defense. Coach Burns was a part of a top 5 unit in Denver after serving six years on the staff and you can tell he doesn't have the players to fit his scheme. I know its gonna take patience, personnel, and continuity to make a good special teams unit but after 5  regular season games, four preseason games, OTA,s and training camp they unit should have some type of understanding of what's expected and atleast be fundamentally sound. With the season ending injuries to LB Bryan Kehl and  LS Nick Sundberg thats not going to help this unit going forward. Grade: E

After this matchup the only feeling I have is that the Redskins will see the Cowboys again on December 22 and hopefully it will be a different outcome. We can only talk improvement so much more going into Week 7 but we all have figured out that Griffin missing his 2nd offseason didn't do his progression as a quarterback any favors. Not saying this season is over by any stretch but I can't wait to see the holes get filled next off season with the cap space that the team has and it will finally be able to fill some much needed holes. With the Chicago Bears and their turnover hungry defense coming to FedEx Field this coming Sunday the offense better get its act together and the special teams better not have a repeat of this week with Devin Hester the all time leader in special teams returns for TDs in NFL history. Readers let me know if you like this breakdown of the game or the previous recaps of the game.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. #BeatDaBears

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The GBU: Redskins/Cowboys

Did I surprise you with the headline?

Probably not, because while we do tend to use the occasional swear word on the site (although when I'm at home watching the Washington Redskins play, lately I curse enough to make Samuel L. Jackson blush) we try to be all around fan friendly here at SOW. But the headline says it all. This is the same stuff we've been seeing from the Redskins for this entire season. The team falls behind early because the defense falters and the offense is unable to counter anything until it's too late. Either that or the offense (or special teams) makes a key mistake and clinches the game for the opponent.
Let's cut the crap, okay?

The Redskins are currently 1-4.

They're not 3-2 (although you could argue that the Redskins had opportunities to beat both Detroit and Dallas and blew those chances).

They're not 0-5 (although had the Redskins not been gifted with facing an eventually cut QB, backup RB, FB and banged up Raiders O-line, it would have been hard for them to come back from being down 14-0).

It's not the end of the world since the 2012 Redskins came back from a 3-6 record to win the NFCE.
But the road ahead is only getting harder with the Chicago Bears and the Denver Broncos next up. The BYE week didn't seem to help things and so far the 2013 team looks like the 3-6 2012 team than the team that won seven straight. There is a good chance the 'Skins are 1-6 by the time they face San Diego.

This year is starting to feel like almost every year I've had season tickets with the exception of the 2005, 2007 and the latter part of the 2012 seasons. Honestly, you go for the tailgate - hope the Redskins pull out some type of victory, shrug your shoulders when they don't and look forward to the next tailgate. The away games are worse. Either you're irritable the rest of the day wanting to put your fist through your TV or you've become apathetic and try to find something else to do that's not football related.

Frankly, this pisses me off. And it should make you mad as well.

I want to see the team win at home, tailgating should be the bonus, the appetizer to the main course of competitive football. Our voices should be hoarse coming out of the stadium for singing Hail to the Redskins. Instead we come out of the slab of corporate concrete known as FedEx Field, listless and looking like extras from the set of The Walking Dead.
Photo: Tim Sharp/ AP     RGIII might look better on the field if he had some blocking.
Photo: Tim Sharp/ AP
RGIII might look better on the field if he had some blocking.
I expect more from Mike Shanahan than this. I really do. I'm tired of seeing questionable coaching each and every week. This includes poor clock management, getting pass happy, not making adjustments and not fielding a team that can't execute basic blocks and tackles. And I'm tired of players not executing basic plays or making a tackle. Just block somebody, anybody O-line!!!! You have two arms, wrap somebody up defense!!!!!

I'm sure the players are frustrated as well. Neither them or the fans expected this type of play from this team. So either the team really overachieved in 2012 or they have underachieved greatly  in 2013.

The Redskins have 11 weeks left to right things and try to get to a respectable level.
If they don't there will be calls for Mike Shanahan and company to be fired, 2014 free agents will be told to hit the road and the team trying to start over for the sixth time since the 2000 season.
Let's look at this week's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

Jordan Reed (4 catches, 58 yards)- Finally we have a TE who can run fast, make clean routes, catch the ball and break tackles to get first downs.

WR corp. - Garcon had a quiet day overall and Moss had a couple of catches but nothing like his normal performance against Dallas. I was impressed by Leonard Hankerson in the few catches he made. It took a few seasons, but Hankerson is starting to look like the possession receiver that they hoped they were getting when he was drafted.

Alfred Morris (16 carries, 81 yds 1 TD)- His sole TD run of 45 yards is a thing of beauty. Maybe, that'll be the next film study article.  I still don't think Morris is touching the ball enough.

DeAngelo Hall- Dez Bryant has a pretty quiet night.  Hall is playing some of the most consistent football since he's been with the Redskins.

The Bad

Special Teams- Outside of some Forbath FGs, not much I can say about this unit other than horrible.  And had Forbath not pulled the ball on the missed FG, I think there would have been a chance that it would have been blocked.

O-line- The interior has been lousy all season in pass blocking. This week, they decided to forgo some of their run blocking as well. Chris Chester can't seem to be able to block DLs at the line of scrimmage nor can he get to Sean Lee at the second level on runs. Will Montgomery has the position on Lee during the RGIII draw run to the endzone. All he has to do is chip or get in Lee's way and it's a TD. Instead he dives at Lee and completely misses. Lee makes the tackle.

Play calling- Yes, I like the hurry up stuff from Kyle and understand that it can't be done on every play. But one thing again that I don't understand is  the deep passing calls when your O-line can't block anybody for a second.

The Ugly

Penalties- 12/104. Just a complete lack of discipline. Penalties happen in games, can't avoid them but anything over 5 generally is way too much. I could rant about some of the idiotic ref. calls in this game but that could be for another article ("blocked into the punt", I have never heard that before in the 30 plus years of watching football). This should not be a topic of conversation with the Redskins every week and yet here we are.

3rd down efficiency- Surprising good for the Redskins (50%), but Dallas is at 41% which is not good for our defense (goal is to hold a team to the 20 -30 %)
Red Zone efficiency- Here's The true ugly of this game. The Redskins were 0/3 in their three trips to the Red Zone. Dallas on the other hand were 3/4 (75%). This is unaccecptable on both sides of the ball.

Up Next: The Redskins come home to face Mike Shanahan draft picks in Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall and the Bears. Here's hoping the Redskins can start to turn the season around here.

 Cover Photo Credit: LM Otero/ AP

NFL Week 6 Points, Picks and Predictions

Sorry folks, the weather in the area has been pretty dreadful in the area and the one day I'm off from the real job this week, I decided to sleep in. Before I knew it it's 11:30 so no big monolog today just the picks.

1PM Games (EST)

Oakland @ Kansas City (-8.5)
FedEx Al: The Raiders are better than we give them credit, but it's hard to beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead.
Pick: Chiefs

Tattooed Scorpio: This rivalry is always a hard hitting one even when the teams weren't that good but this year both teams are doing pretty well. Kansas City is 1 of 3 undefeated teams left in the league and Andy Reid has a lot to do with that , his ball control offense, hard hitting defense and the opportunistic special teams has this team looking complete and ready to compete for division crown with the Broncos.
Pick: Chiefs

Philadelphia @ Tampa Bay (+2.5)
FedEx Al:  I'd love to pick against the Eagles here, but man is Tampa Bay bad. Expect an ugly game here.
Pick: Eagles

Tattooed Scorpio: With Mike Vick a game time decision and Nick Foles performing like he did against the lowly Giants I don't think it matters who starts against the Buccaneers. Tampa is in a bad place with a rookie QB and a head coach that appears the pro game is too much for him. The fast paced Eagles should have a no problem wearing down the Bucs D.
Pick: Eagles

Green Bay @ Baltimore (+3.0)
FedEx Al: If this was in Green Bay, I think they beat Baltimore. However, at home the Ravens are a tough play and Joe Flacco looks more elite at home than anywhere else.
Pick: Ravens

Tattooed Scorpio:  The Packers will be looking to keep pace in the tight NFC North by going to Baltimore and trying to get a win. The Ravens defense isn't a staple of the team anymore and I think that will be a problem for them in this game with all the weapons the Packers have, Aaron Rodgers should have a big day.
Pick: Packers

Detroit @ Cleveland (+2.5)
FedEx Al: The Factory of Sadness has brought some joy to the Cleveland fans this year. I think that the Browns will run the ball frequently and depend on their defense to keep the game close. If the Brown don't turnover the ball I think they beat the Lions.
Pick: Browns

Tattooed Scorpio: The Browns are back to their 1st round pick from a year ago at QB and unfortunately its not a good thing. The offense looked stagnant with Weeden back at QB. Detroit is looking to rebound from butt kicking by the Packers last week and should be able to with the Weeden as the starter and their defense ready to attack.
Pick: Lions

Carolina @ Minnesota (-2.0)
FedEx Al: Thoughts go out to Adrian Peterson  for the death of his son. The job will allow him to not think about it. This could be a career day for him.
Pick: Vikings

Tattooed Scorpio: After the tragic death of league MVP Adrian Peterson's son he stated that he would play this Sunday. It's always said by athletes that when tragedy happens in their personal life that to play the game helps them to forget about it for a few hours and helps them cope. I believe AP will have a big game trying to keep his mind off of this senseless tragedy.
Pick: Vikings

St. Louis @ Houston (-7.5)
FedEx Al: If ever Houston was going to come back from some bad losses, now is the time.
Pick: Texans

Tattooed Scorpio: his is gonna be my coin flip game. Not sure which team will show up for both of these teams. Matt Schaub has thrown a pick 6 in 4 consecutive games (NFL Record) and the Rams have been inconsistent even with the improved offensive weapons but the defense has been faltering.
Pick: Texans

Pittsburgh @ NY Jets (Pick'em)
FedEx Al: Man, another crappy game on the schedule. The team that turns over the ball less will probably win. I think I'll pick the home team.
Pick: Jets

Tattooed Scorpio: This is a game of WTH!!! The Steelers are winless and the Jets just beat the Falcons in Atlanta with a rookie QB and limited offensive weapons. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the Steelers will get their first win this week only because of Dick Lebeau and his impressive record against rookie QBs.
Pick: Steelers

Cincinnati @ Buffalo (+6.0)
FedEx Al: I expect a bit of a rebound for Andy Dalton and the Bengals this week. Hopefully, AJ Green can have a big game ( he's my top fantasy WR on my team).
Pick: Bengals

Tattooed Scorpio:  The Bengals are looking to right the ship and play like the team that has made the playoffs two years in a row. Buffalo and their rookie QB are looking to keep surprising the league with their never say die mentality. I've changed this pick several times but I'm gonna go with the Bengals because of their big play WR A.J Green and the Bills not being very good in their secondary.
Pick: Bengals

4PM Games (EST)

Tennessee @ Seattle  (-11.0)
FedEx Al: Titans are likely to be stomped by an angry Seattle team playing at home. I feel bad for the Titans.
Pick: Seahawks

Tattooed Scorpio:  The 12th man will be a deciding factor in this game if the Titans can't score early and try to take the crowd out of the game. I don't know if this will happen...but i would like it to. Seattle will be looking to get back on the winning track at home and they most likely will behind their fearless leader Russell Wilson
Pick: Seahawks

Jacksonville @ Denver (-26.5)
FedEx Al: This is a college homecoming game for Denver. If you're a Jaguars' fan, you might want to either rent a DVD or do some yardwork.
Pick: Broncos

Tattooed Scorpio:  Not too much to say about this game....just wish there was a mercy rule in the NFL for this game. Peyton will have great fantasy football numbers after this game too.
Pick: Broncos

Arizona @ San Francisco ( -10.0)
FedEx Al: I don't buy the line on this game at all. Yes, I think the 49ers will win this one, but the Cardinals play tough defense.
Pick: 49ers

Tattooed Scorpio: The 49ers are looking for their second straight game getting back to their fundamentals, hard nosed defense and pounding the ball. Arizona's defense has been pretty strong too but with the INT prone Carson Palmer at QB I expect a lot of pressure from the 49ers.
Pick: 49ers

New Orleans @ New England (-1.5)
FedEx Al: Until the Patriots get their passing attack together, I'm not sold they can keep up with the Saints.
Pick: Saints

Tattooed Scorpio:  After last weeks unexpected lost to the rain ( and the Bengals) in Ohio the Patriots looking to rebound against the undefeated Saints. Drew Brees is playing like his old self with Sean Peyton back calling plays and shockingly the Saints actually have some defense. I think with Gronk still not being available and the anchor of their defense done for the year (Vince Wilfork) I see a mild upset in the making.
Pick: Saints

 Sunday Night Football

Washington @ Dallas (-5.5)
FedEx Al: What teams will we see this week. Will the Redskins return to their form of the last two weeks or 2012, or will they look like the team that played the 1st two games of the season? I don't know. I expect a close one here despite Dallas' shootout last week against the Broncos. Gotta go with Washington only because I'm a homer.
Pick: Redskins 27-23

Tattooed Scorpio: My marquee matchup of the week. After the bye week Mike Shanahan has one of the best records and with a extra week to prepare for the Cowboys I see this game being like the rest of division rivalries....whoever makes the costly mistake will lose this game. As long as its close in the 4th quarter and Romo is their QB I see the Redskins winning this game.
Pick: Redskins

Monday Night Football

Indianapolis @ San Diego (-1.5)
FedEx: I expect a fourth quarter comeback for Andrew Luck as the Colts win again.
Pick: Colts

Tattooed Scorpio:  The Colts are looking very good with 2nd year QB Andrew Luck and a hungry revamped defense. The Chargers are another one of my head scratcher teams, one week they look like a contender and other weeks they look like the 7-9 team from a year ago. I think Luck and the no named offense will be too much for the Chargers.
Pick: Colts

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How The Redskins Can Beat The Cowboys

Can the Redskins beat the Cowboys this week?
Yes, they can! But the key in beating Dallas is to score early and often.

That's the hard part.

You have to understand that this is one of the topics that many Redskin fans would like to avoid discussing in favor of why the defense has struggled (and is ranked dead last in the league), what's going on with special teams or various other issues including the debate over the logo/team name issue.

The fact of the matter is that the Redskins offense has been pretty lousy in the first half of each game this season. The team as a whole has an average first half point total of 7.75 points through four games compared to Dallas' 16.2 points average through their first five games of the year. If you remove the Redskins three defensive scores of the season (all during the first half of their games played), then the average plummets even further to a pitiful 2.5 points per 1st half.

But here's the good news, the Redskins may have started to figure out what they need to do in order to get points on the board. There have been moments in each of the last two games where the team shown signs of improvement in their drives. This along with being able to execute the plays will give the Redskins a chance to score while keeping the ball out of Tony Romo's hands. So let's take a look at what the Redskins need to do when they face Dallas on Sunday Night.

The Template

Image via. A heavy dose of Alfred Morris may help the Redskins on Sunday night.
Image via.
A heavy dose of Alfred Morris may help the Redskins on Sunday night.
With all the hype and controversy on Robert Griffin III's knee, people tend to forget that the Redskins are a run first team. There is a reason that the Redskins had such success in 2012 and were ranked as the league's number one rushing offense. With the team not getting blown out by an opponent, Washington has had the chance to run the ball in the last two games and it has worked well. When the Redskins can run the ball, it sets up play action passes and opens up passing lanes that Griffin can exploit. Not only does this give the team momentum, but it keeps the Cowboys offense on the sidelines and keeps the Redskins defenders fresh.

The key on Sunday will be for the Redskins to extend drives, move the ball and most importantly execute their plays. Penalties and mistakes have been key for the offense this season. The good news is that in their last game, the team only had three penalties called against them.

RGIII's Return?

While I think establishing the run will be critical for Washington in this game, it may not be the easiest of tasks. Dallas has the fourth best rushing defense (yards allowed) in the league. They may force Robert Griffin III to throw the ball at the start of the game. If this is the case, the Redskins will need to see the RGIII of 2012, at least the accurate version of himself, to make an appearance early.
This has been one of the main problems for the offense this season as Griffin tends to take at least a quarter to get into his groove. He won't have time to do that this week if Dallas proves to be formidable against the run and dare him to throw the ball. Griffin doesn't have to be the deep ball threat, but what he needs to do is keep drives alive with his feet and his arm. He needs to get key first downs and to be accurate.

Dallas has the 2nd worst passing defense in the league through five weeks, so Robert will have opportunities to get the ball down field and to make plays. The key will be to determine when to go deep and when to get some quick yards. Hopefully, Kyle Shanahan will help develop a strong gameplan with having an extra week to prepare for Dallas.

Keep Dallas O off the field early and often

The Cowboys like to strike first and put the opponent on their heels early in games. Since this game is in Jerry World, the Cowboys would love to get an early 10-0 or 14-0 lead on Washington and let the crowd do the rest to help shut down the Redskins.

But there's another reason Dallas would like to get ahead. It's because sometimes they have trouble scoring after the first half. In a few games this year opposing defenses have been able to make adjustments against the Dallas offense. Although many have trashed the Redskins defense and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett (some criticisms are justified), in the last two games the Redskins have done an excellent job of shutting down offenses on third down and limiting their scores. If the Redskins can shut down or limit Dallas' scores early in the game, there is a chance they may shut them out completely at the end.

Opposite Directions

Through the first 5 weeks of the NFL season the Redskins and Cowboys have been going in opposite directions. Dallas scores early, Washington doesn't. Dallas moves the ball the Redskins have been three and out. Yet, as we head towards week six, there has been a change in Washington as the team seems to be coming back to the 2012 form. It's a slow process. Much slower than anybody expected, but it is happening. Dallas is still a formidable threat, but they still make key mistakes like they have been doing for the past 5-10 years. If the Redskins can generate some offense early and limit Dallas, they have a good chance of beating the Cowboys this week.

Cover Photo Credit: (AP Photo/G. Newman Lowrance)