Recap: Redskins Vs Raiders
Victory Monday is upon us RedskinsNation, that's right we finally got our first win of the season against the Oakland Raiders. Don't get me wrong it was by no means a perfect game or even a decent game but in the NFL a win is a win. We saw some good things, some bad things, and some of the same old things that cause us fans to wanna scream and throw things at the television during the game. There has been some weekly improvement with Robert Griffin III and the offense and with the dynamic duo of Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan and the defense. On offense there is still a problem with a slow start and not looking like the team from 2012 that had answers to whatever the opposing defenses try to throw at them. The adjustments
came faster this week with the team going to a fast paced hurry up offense which created a spark for the team. One area the team needed to improve on and did drastically this game was penalties. With only three penalties (29 yards) the team addressed the issues that had them ranked as one of the most penalized teams in the league in the first three weeks of the season. Another issue this team is having is with the Keith Burns coached Special Teams. Normally its just penalties or giving the offense bad field position or putting the defense is a no win situation with field position but the blocked punt for TD was utterly ridiculous. I understand Coach Burns is new, installing new systems and have new players on the unit but there are just some things you can't have happen on the road in a rowdy stadium such as the Black Hole. After two horrible weeks and one decent week the defense finally showed up and showed what they are capable of when they can get pressure and don't have confusion in the secondary. There were missed tackles in this game but not as many as previous weeks and it mostly comes from not wrapping up and trying to lay a big hit instead of making the sure tackle. I have to be honest if it wasn't for a stuck in quicksand Matt Flynn I don't know if this team would've had seven sacks but they were definitely getting pressure from any and every angle. The victory wasn't without injuries and one of the biggest for the Redskins was when Alfred Morris went down early in the fourth quarter with an apparent rib injury. Mike Shanahan said in his weekly Monday press conference that there was nothing broken but after watching film he could see Morris wasn't running like himself from early in the second quarter but couldn't say what the extent of the injury was before speaking to the head trainer. Now let's address all three phases of this team in their performance against Oakland.
Offense: Once again the offense was able to move up and down the field sometimes during the game but also sometimes looked stagnant and unsure of itself. To me it looks like the rust is almost completely off of RGIII but not fully. The more reps the second year QB gets the better his mechanics and timing with his weapons will get. He had some good throws that zipped in there like darts and there were other throws where he didn't fully step into his throws and they sailed high or wide but you can see the progression. Pierre Garcon is proving naysayers wrong that he is a legitimate #1 wide receiver. From his aggressive run blocking, the anger that he runs with after he gets the ball in his hands or the speed that makes him a threat from anywhere on the field, he adds a much needed dimension to this offense. Leonard Hankerson looks like he is in the midst of having the breakout season that everyone has been waiting for from the 2011 3rd round pick out of the University of Miami. Hankerson is making critical third down receptions, making nice downfield blocks and developing into a deep threat along with a red zone threat. Unfortunately there are injuries on every team and the same can be said here. Alfred Morris going down opened the door for Roy Helu Jr. to step in and remind us that he can do impressive things with the ball in his hands also. Helu Jr looked like he didn't miss a beat after being out almost all of last year, making great blitz pick ups, catching anything that's thrown his way and hurdling the occasional defender leaving them grasping for air. His pinball touchdown run was a display of all of his skills that make him a good running back.His patience to find the whole, the power to run threw arm tackles and the balance to be able to take a hit from a defender and stay on his feet to fight for extra yards. Overall the offense is improving but not quite looking like the offensive that was so explosive and averaged 27 points a game in 2012, let's hope this bye week has he same result as last years bye. More focus, better execution and ultimately wins.
Special Teams: Coach Burns has a lot of work to do with this unit during this bye week. From the bad penalties, bad field position for offense and defense and after this week one of the worst things to happen a blocked punt for a touchdown. Also the fake punt hurt but didn't do any damage and the team looked like it was ready for it but Oakland still was able to pick up a first down. Mike Shanahan stated that they practiced fake punts more this past week more then they have all season. There are plenty of reasons for these glaring errors, new personnel, new scheme, new coach, players playing in new or different positions on the team. With time and practice this unit has to improve to give the team a boost when its needed. Sav Rocca does have a slow catch and punt time but he is booming his kicks lately with good hang time to give the unit time to get decent coverage but his occasional shank hopefully is a thing of the past. If this unit can gel and get itself together it can help propel this team back to a .500 record and in a position to challenge for the Division title and a playoff berth. Not time to panic about special teams but if the unit doesn't show improvement and consistency it could hurt this team even more going forward.
Defense: After three weeks of confusion, missed tackles, penalties and just bad play, the defense had its best game of this young season getting a pick 6 from rookie David Amerson, getting seven sacks and holding the Raiders to only 298 total yards. With Bacarri Rambo only playing on special teams and not on defense that put Brandon Merriwether at the FS position and thrust one of my favorite players Reed Doughty in at starting SS. The experience on the back end paid off this week keeping the Oakland wide receivers pretty contained and covered so the front seven could get constant pressure. The seven sacks came from all over. Brian Orakpo had two sacks (6 sacks in two games in Oakland) two passes defensed, Ryan Kerrigan had two sacks, Barry Cofield had a monster game with two sacks and a fumble recovery and last but not least Darryl Tapp with a sack. There were a few missed tackles during the game but none that cost this team too badly but have to sure it up for future games against mostly 10 win teams from a year ago. I believe the game changing play was made by the rookie David Amerson, who got his first pick 6 of the season and career. The combination of Orakpo and Kerrigan showed what everyone has been saying if they both could be on the field at the same time.....havoc. Hopefully this defense will take another step forward going into Dallas in week 6 for a possible shot at taking the division lead.
I know it sounds crazy at 2-3 the Redskins could lead the East but this year the NFC East has not gotten off to a good start but we all know that it will come down to the last week of the season. This bye week will either get this team back in the form we saw at the end of 2012 or be up and down like it was at the start of 2012 and 2013. 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. I know its not Dallas week yet but #BeatDaCowboys