Just Win Baby!
Sometimes that's more important than anything else.
So the Redskins head into the bye at 1-3. The good news is that Robert Griffin III is starting (at times) to look like his 2012 self. The defensive line has shown that they can generate pressure although it was against a less than stellar Oakland offensive line and if they can stay healthy, the Redskins have found two dominating running backs in Alfred Morris and Roy Helu Jr.
Of course what we also learned from this game is that the Redskins have a lot of work to do if they are going to equal or surpass the success they had last season. There are some serious issues with the offensive line. There seems to be a lot of pressure put on Griffin when the quarterback drops back to pass. Special teams is still a work in progress as the Redskins try to figure out who is their punt and kick returner and figure out how to block for them and for their punter (and possibly kicker as well).
Also, the Redskins have issues in the secondary. Beyond Brandon Meriweather, do the Redskins have another starting safety?
Hopefully, the Redskins can figure it out as they enjoy the bye week and then get ready to face Dallas.
Onto this week's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
The Good- Alfred Morris (16 carries, 71 yards). The stats don't show an excellent game, but it was based on the amount of yards after first contact Morris gained on the ground. Morris took a pounding with bruised ribs and still was able to be a solid contributor.
- Roy Helu Jr. (13 carries, 41 yards 1TD; 2 receptions, 43 yards). Helu filled in for Morris after he went out with the rib injury and continued to gain the tough yards after first contact that Morris had been doing throughout the game. Helu needs to get more touches every week.
- David Amerson (1 tackle; INT, TD). Amerson showed why the Redskins drafted him in the second round with his first ever pick six. It'll probably be the first of many to come. Amerson still has a long way to go and made a few errors in this game. That said his TD was the momentum shifter that changed the game in the Redskins favor.
- Hurry Up Offense. Kyle Shanahan has said that he wasn't planning on the Redskins becoming an up-tempo type of offense that you see in Philadelphia, Buffalo and throughout the league. Yet, the Redskins did pull this trick out of their proverbial hat as the team tried to generate something late in the 1st half. It worked and helped the Redskins move the ball and put some points on the board.
The Bad- Perry Riley and the blocked punt. The Raiders tried a stunt on LB Perry Riley and S Jordan Pugh. The good news is that they recognized the stunt and did a reasonable job picking it up. However, Riley didn't hold his block long enough and let his man through too early leading to the punt block and Oakland's first TD of the game.
- Special Teams blocking. I don't think Chris Thompson is going to be the next special teams ace and it makes me really miss Richard Crawford. That said, no matter who is returning the ball in both kickoffs and punt return are receiving little help from the rest of the players on the field. There is a serious issue with down field blocking. It's been an issue for weeks now, but with the Redskins having so many problems, it's not been high on the list of topics to discuss.
- Offensive Line (Pass Blocking). One of the biggest problems I've noticed all season is that the Redskins O-line can't seem to block when the quarterback drops back in the pocket. If RGIII is on a bootleg or scrambling, they're generally fine but in the pocket they've been highly suspect. I can't put the blame on Tyler Polumbus alone. Almost every position has struggled. This is a concern especially if Kyle wants to keep throwing the ball (something I will address in my next point).
- Play calling. Back in 2011 I took a lot of issue with Kyle Shanahan for not running the ball more when you had John Beck and Rex Grossman under center. I'm having the same problems in 2013 with the not 100% Robert taking snaps. The offense has two very strong running backs. Why aren't the Redskins finding ways to use them more? Oakland decided to send the house frequently against the Redskins when RGIII was passing. My question is where were the hot routes or some quick slants that will burn an over aggressive defense? The few time the Redskins deployed some slants, it worked. I also had some issues with playcalling on 3rd down situations. In 3rd and long, the Redskins went with short passing routes. In 3rd and short we saw a few plays where most of the WRs went deep forcing RGIII to throw a bomb to Santana Moss instead of trying to keep the drive alive. Maybe I missed something but the playcalling was seriously questionable at times on Sunday.
The Ugly- Matt Flynn is not a starting QB in the NFL. Lack of superior arm strength and mobility will get you benched in the modern NFL. Flynn really has neither and it showed. Granted Flynn hasn't played much in his NFL career and with the right scheme, he could succeed. That said, he was under pressure all day and really struggled with his reads and making plays. Of course with his O-line banged up and without his starting FB and RB, he didn't have much help. But I can see why he's been beaten out by Terrelle Pryor and Russell Wilson for starting jobs.
- Penalties (3 for 29). Finally the Redskins showed some discipline and kept the penalties to a minimum. Major improvement.
- 3rd down conversion. The Redskins defense has gotten pretty good at stopping teams on 3rd down. Last week they held the Lions to 4/13. This week the Raiders were held to 5/17 (29%) on third down attempts.
- Other key stats. Surprisingly, the Redskins lost the Time of Possession battle by almost five minutes despite the success they were having on the ground. Also, the teams split the turnover battle with each having two turnovers and one turnover for each side resulting in a immediate TD. Although with the 2nd turnover the Redskins were able to convert their turnover into a TD and Oakland missed a FG on their drive post turnover.
- Crazy stat through week 4. Signs that the offense is slow in the 1st half. Redskins TDs by the offense in the 1st half through four games:1. Redskins defense: 3. That shouldn't be happening.
Next Week: The Redskins are off, so here's hoping the Broncos can beat up the Cowboys and maybe somehow the Eagles and the Giants can find a way to both lose when they face each other.
In Two Weeks: The Redskins head to Texas as they face the Cowboys. Let's get the "We Want Dallas" chants ready.