Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The GBU: 49ers/Redskins

Photo: via Deadspin Another genius move keeping Giants/Redskins on SNF.
Photo: via Deadspin
Another brilliant move by the NFL for keeping Giants/Redskins on SNF.

Why Roger, Why?

I'll get to the 49ers/Redskins game in a minute, you didn't miss much last night or at least nothing you haven't seen all season long. But right now, I think I'll start off this week's GBU with some questions for the NFL. My first question is who's the genius who decided to keep the Giants/Redskins game on Sunday Night Football? My only guess is that Sunday Night Football didn't want to go up against The Walking Dead's mid-season finale or the post Thanksgiving weekend. That would be the only reasons in my opinion, because nobody cares about RGIII and Justin Tuck selling sandwiches for Subway or Eli advertising Citizen Eco-Drive watches.

So instead of watching a good game against two potential playoff teams in the Cardinals/Eagles, we're stuck watching a prime time game against two inept squads that have little to no hope in reaching the post-season.

The Redskins are done. Period. At this point if the Redskins can find a way to beat the Giants at home and the Falcons on the road, I would be ecstatic. I don't even like the odds of them winning those two games at this point. Meanwhile, the Giants are almost equally sad. Eli has become a walking turnover machine and this team finds the most interesting ways to lose (see the Victor Cruz fumble for TD vs. Dallas). So again, why is this crown jewel of failure being kept on prime time television? Wasn't the flex game option made to keep garbage like this game off of NBC? I sure would like to know.

Fun Times To Be Had At FedEx During Prime Time Games (Unless You Root For The Redskins)

Not another night game at FedEx!!! At least they won this game.
Photo: Alan Anthony
Not another night game at FedEx!!! At least they won this game (vs. Cowboys 2010). 

Speaking of prime time games, I hate prime time games at FedEx Field. First and foremost is that the Redskins are generally lousy when they play nationwide on prime time television. They're just as bad if not worse when they play these games at home. I learned last night that the Redskins are 2-12 on Monday Night Football since they've been playing at FedEx. I think the records are slightly better when it comes to Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football but I still don't think they are that terrific (anybody wanting to do the research can leave those stats in the comments below).

 I can go on about driving home at 2 in the morning, dealing with more drunks than you normally see during daytime games and all the fun things that can happen when you can't see in the dark (porta-johns as an example) but the Redskins inability to win at night is the main reason. So back to back prime time games at home haven't made me that jolly during the start of the holiday season and unfortunately I'm not sure it's going to get much better come Sunday night.

What We Learned From Last Night's Game?

It's not good. Let me first compliment the 49ers on their defense. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what a 3-4 scheme should look like and be played. You saw the following things that you don't see in the Redskins 3-4: DEs make tackles despite being blocked, OLBs actually getting to the QB in order to hit and or sack him, players making tackles and coverage. Yes, actual coverage. There was a DB in the vicinity of the WR/RB/TE trying to catch the ball. In most cases the DB actually made a play on said receiver and if he didn't break up the play, he made the tackle.

Second, is that the journeyman patchwork that we call an offensive line in DC has got to go. We already knew that they're not very good at pass blocking but against a good defense, they're not that great in the run game either. Multiple times LBs came in untouched and the O-line had difficultly stopping the DEs and NT from penetrating the backfield. The Redskins O-line is one of the lightest in the league and they have difficulty against bigger defensive linemen. There's more to be said, but I'll save it for this week's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

NFL Week 12: Points, Picks and Predictions

(Me, watching football this year.)
First, a quick apology to our constant readers on the site. I haven't had time to do the weekly picks for the past few weeks because of some issues with my life not related to football. If only I could write this full time and make enough money to not have to work a job.......

Anyway, both myself and Tattooed Scorpio have been busy and its just been a hard year to watch football. The Redskins have stunk it up and to be honest, I just don't get the feeling that we're getting as many exciting and epic games that we've seen over the past five years or so.

Maybe its a lack of talent. Maybe its injures or a watering down of teams. Either way parity seems to have become parody in the NFL.

That's all I've got to say for the moment. Onto this week's games.

1PM Games (EST)

Tampa Bay @ Detroit (-8)
I don't think Detroit covers this game, but they win one at home. Expect Matt Stafford to be picked off a few times to keep this game close throughout.
Pick: Lions

Jacksonville @ Houston (-10)
Here's my first upset of the week. The Texans look like garbage and it seems like they're going to go out on a real bad note. I'm going Jaguars here for a home upset.
Pick: Jaguars

Minnesota @ Green Bay (-5)
The Packers are fading and the Vikings well, they still aren't that great. That said I think I'm going with another upset and picking the Vikings today. Crazy, Green Bay won't make the playoffs this year.
Pick: Vikings

San Diego @ Kansas City (-4.5)
This is probably the best game of the 1PM games. The Chargers are desperate and the Chiefs want to prove that they can beat good teams (granted, the Chargers aren't that great.). Arrowhead is a very tough place to play when the Chiefs are good.
Pick: Chiefs

Carolina @ Miami (+5.0)
Carolina is on a roll and Miami is spiraling out of control. I like the Panthers here easily.
Pick: Panthers

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland (-1.0)
The Factory of Sadness may be joyous today as the Browns face a mediocre Steelers team. I like the Browns here primarily because hardly anybody would expect them to beat Pittsburgh.
Pick: Browns

Chicago @ St. Louis (-1.5)
Hard to believe that the Rams are favored here. I like the Bears in another mediocre game.
Pick: Bears

NY Jets @ Baltimore (-4.0)
The Ravens are a hard team to beat at home and Geno Smith has been a turnover machine. This doesn't fare well for the Jets.
Pick: Ravens

4PM Games (EST)

Tennessee @ Oakland (+1.5)
The Raiders are again playing at a below .500 level. Meanwhile, the Titans have just enough talent left on the roster to make a last minute playoff push (not likely though). Slight edge to the Titans.
Pick: Titans

Indianapolis @ Arizona (-2.5)
Hard to believe that the Cardinals are 6-4 with the putrid play of Carson Palmer. I think the Colts will give them problems today.
Pick: Colts

Dallas @ NY Giants (-2.5)
Hmmm.... does Dallas start to lock up the NFCE or does the Giants start to flip the switch at the right time and take advantage of the Cowboys typical fade that starts in November? I think the Cowboys hold the Giants off for at least one more week.
Pick: Cowboys


Denver @ New England (+2.5)
I kind of expect another classic Brady vs. Manning shootout. If that's what it boils down to, then the Broncos win this one.
Pick: Denver


San Francisco @ Washington
Man, I'd love to say the Redskins have a chance here. And believe it or not, I think they do. However, the problem with the 'Skins all season is that they can't play 60 minutes of consistently good football. I expect the Redskins to blunder early (or start out slow). The 49ers will get a 21-0 type of lead and then the Redskins will start to comeback. But as we've seen, they won't be able to do enough. Either that or the Redskins will go up by 10 and blow the lead in the 4th quarter. Either way, I can't see them winning this one. Sorry.
Pick: 49ers 31, Redskins 17

Friday, November 22, 2013

Observations and Thoughts after the Redskins Vs Eagles Game

Via NFL.com

       Redskins Nation this latest loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was both sickening to watch and possibly the nail in the coffin of the post season hopes for the Redskins. Honestly I don't know which is more maddening the terrible play on the field or the negative media attention to my favorite team. I'll address the media issue a little later but the offense has been dreadful and very predictable. I'm not sure how big of a impact Jordan Reed getting hurt (concussion) had on the game plan or play calling but whatever the reason the Eagles had it figured out for most of the day. Kyle has to start going away from his tendencies and mix up his playcalling. It was said immediately after the game by Robert Griffin III that is was like the Eagles knew what plays were being called before they were called, which I agree with fully. For three quarters the Redskins looked inept and uninspired on offense and defense plus the special teams just can't get any type of positive momentum going. I believe this is a result of a combination of things that are in the teams control and few things that aren't. Some of the things that are in the teams control such as execution, penalties,clock management issues and not being able to make the play when the play is there to be made.
Via redskins.com

    In this most recent game these issues came into play along with some glaring others. The quarterback play was a big issue being that the Eagles were batting his passes and pretty much knew the plays that the offense were trying to execute. I put most of that blame on Kyle Shanahan for seemingly running the same series of play combinations that easily keyed the Eagles defense to what was coming. During my observations of the game it was a combination of zone read run, option read run and max protect PA pass. If I can see these tendencies I know a paid defensive coordinator can also. Another issue with the offense is not being able to make the play when it's there to be made. Last season whenever the Redskins needed a big play on a 4th and 10 or a 4th and goal it seemed like they always made the play, this year that is not the case. This game was no different with drop passes, blown assignments, bad play calls, and ineffective play of the QB and the offense as a whole. I stated in my last observation about the chemistry that RGIII had with Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon, since they were practicing together during the offseason and I believe that is the major reason the offense hasn't been as crisp.RGIII's rookie season he had a chance to build chemistry with all the pieces on offense hense the balanced attack of last years offense. The other skill position players on offense that he didn't get offseason reps with haven't been in sync with the QB or the offense as a whole. As long as the 2nd year QB stays healthy and can head into the offseason fully healthy and able to participate fully in OTA's and training camp the team will show the benefits of that next season. The fact the fans and the media are questioning a 2nd year QB coming off a injury and trying to duplicate the success from last season is puzzling to me. Last season he could do no wrong and shocked the world with how big of an impact he made on the game, team and fans alike but having a last place schedule did have some factor into that also. Not making excuses for  him or this team but just  #StayingMedium and look at the situation from a strictly football perspective and not as a fan. I also had high expectations for this season but I had to look at the reality that this team has a lot of holes to fill and playing a 1st place schedule tends to showcase your weaknesses more then the strengths and not to mention the 36 million dollar cap penalty. My hope for the rest of the season is hopefully not a double digit loss season which will give the St.Louis Rams a high 1st round draft pick from compensation for the trade for the rights to RGIII.
Via redskins.com

    The defense is another whole issue in itself. Some fans and media would like to see Jim Haslett fired and I don't agree with that idea at all. I say atleast let his contract be fulfilled unlike any other coach under the ownership of Daniel Snyder. Not saying he doesn't deserve criticism and much of the blame but when you have to settle for 2nd rate players and not the players you want or believe are the pieces necessary to get the job done how can you receive a fair assessment. The defense since Haslett has been the DC has been in flux and has constantly had a lack of playmakers and talent. Just look at the fact he hasn't had a quality FS in all four years he has been here which is a key position in his 3-4 defense. I believe the core of the defense is there with the likes of Barry Cofield, Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo, DeAngelo Hall, Perry Riley Jr. and rookie David Amerson. The key now is getting playmakers around these players and watch the defense come together. It's a difficult task to improve your defense when you can't get the personnel that you need to fit your defense and scheme. The fact that the unit is filling holes with walk on talent for the past 2 seasons should be a sign that the cap penalty was and is a big issue and should be treated as such. Next season will be a big year for the defense I believe. With David Amerson showing he was worth his 2nd round pick that the team spent on him and hopefully the signing of a true veteran FS  in free agency will address alot of the issues that has slowed this secondary. The team must also address the depth on the DL and at LBs especially with London Fletcher possibly retiring at the end of the season, I'm hoping Nick Barnett maybe his replacement since Keenan Robinson can't seem to stay healthy. It's hard to go from worst to first but this team did it last season with the benefit of the schedule, a new type of QB and offense and the uncanny knack for making plays when needed or not. But last season should not make you have less patience or understanding of this team. It takes time to build a championship caliber team, just look at New England Patriots, New York Giants and the Colts (during the Peyton Manning years). It takes years to build a winning team and is very hard to maintain hopefully the Redskins can find out in the next coming seasons.

     Now to address all this media negative spin and even some of the fans now showing some negativity towards the team and most notably RGIII. I totally diagree with last weeks media storm concerning the quarterbacks comments after the game and Santana Moss's reaction to those comments. During RGIII's Wednesday press conference he explained his comments and the reactions to it. I'm not going to go back into it because I know Redskins Nation is tired of hearing it, but I will say I'm not concerned at all. He's a second year QB trying to develop his skillset in the NFL, being a team leader at the young age of 22 and he has brought back to life a franchise and fan base that has had nothing to cheer about for the last two decades plus. I know it's a "what have you done for me lately" league but cmon now it's technically a year an 10 games into his pro career and the expectations are seemingly ridiculous. Last season they couldn't get enough of the newest face of the NFL and now with some adversity and reality now there's actually a question asking "Is RGIII the problem in DC". When I saw this on a sports channel and immediately changed the channel, while laughing at this buffoonery. The one thing fans and the media have to realize is that you can not let the last two decades plus of mediocrity lessen your patience and understanding going forward into this next chapter of Redskins History. It's hilarious how fast they love you and how fast they'll throw you under the bus. I know it's the media's job to get people to watch to get ratings and get people talking but some of the stories are utterly ridiculous.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Via redskins.com
                                                                                         With the San Francisco 49ers coming to town for a Monday Night Football this week this could be a major embarrassment for the team or a major stepping stone after two back to back sub par performances. The 49ers have a stout, opportunistic defense and a equally potent offense when firing on all cylinders and they're getting healthy at the right time for them and the wrong time for their opponents. It's gonna be a tough uphill battle for the Redskins but I believe they have it in them to win this game and shut up all the negativity surrounding this team over this recent weeks. The 49ers have also had their difficulties recently also but the Redskins will have to play a FULL 60 mins in order to beat the reigning NFC Champions.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. #BeatDa49ers

Monday, November 11, 2013

Observations of the Redskins Vs Vikings

Via Redskins.com

             Hail Redskins Nation, sorry for the delay in posting after that disappointing loss to the one win Minnesota Vikings. Normally I have a 24 hour rule about posting after a loss but after that debacle I needed 72 hours to get my thoughts and observations together. As you noticed this will be a observations of the game.Also has some of my opinions about this team. Please feel free to comment about your observations and if you agree or disagree with my thoughts. As for the grades I'm giving the whole team top to bottom an incomplete. That includes the players, coaches, the second half gameplan. The inconsistency of this team is baffling me week to week. One of the pleasant things that came out of the game was the first half of Robert Griffin III but unfortunately it's two halfs in football. In the first half the offense looked unstoppable scoring on 5 of 5 possessions but in the second half it looked like the offense couldn't get out of it's own way. It wasn't just RGIII that looked totally different in the second half, it was the whole team. The coaching staff was in the same boat,once Minnesota made adjustments after halftime the game went in a whole different direction. The most disappointing part of it all is that the week before Kyle Shanahan, in my opinion called his best game of the season. By mixing up the playcalls, sticking with the run and adding some new wrinkles to the offense I felt that this team was on its way to getting on track to repeat as Division Champs. One of the wrinkles the team added was the triple option last week which opened up holes for the team to gash the Chargers but didn't see it once this week. Why is that Kyle?
Via Espn.go.com

      My first observations of course are going to focus on RGIII and the offense. When this season started I was very optimistic that this team would pick up right where it left off in 2012. I failed to take into account the importance of of the offseason for a rookie QB going into his second year in the NFL. The most important fact of the missed offseason is the signal callers ability to learn how to read defenses. If u recall in 2012 this offense was dynamic, could score from anywhere and when the time came for some on the field magic....they produced almost flawlessly. One of the biggest contributors was Santana Moss, who was seemingly in the right place at the right time whenever RGIII called his number and would make the big catch but that is NOT the case this year. Either the two miss each other, Moss doesn't make the tough catch, or a dumb penalty negates the play when they do make it. I say that to say this, I believe with Griffin missing the offseason and only getting reps with other injured players has slowed his progression as a NFL quarterback. We all see the chemistry that has been formed with Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed (both players that were injured during offseason) during the season making Garcon look like the #1 WR I knew he could be and Reed looking like a true draft steal.. The rest of the WR's and TE's either haven't gotten open, have dropped catch-able  passes, and sometimes have been missed by the 2nd yr QB when they've been wide open. At this point in the season its time for this open to get clicking and stay clicking but in order to do that you must have time that is provided by the offensive line.

      The offensive line, which was one of the best run blocking units and so so pass blocking team I feel has taken a step back. With the whole offseason, defenses have been learning to counter the Redskins unique offense of zone read, zone blocking with the occasional bootleg action. The way they're doing this is by going man coverage and blitzing the A gap (between the center and guard) to keep pressure in the QB's face and make him rush his reads and throws. Kory L, Chris Chester and Will Montgomery are all under contract until 2015 but the way they're playing it looks like they don't wanna be here past 2013.Kory and Chris gets manhandled most of the time, and with Montgomery you have bad snaps, bad blocks when getting to the second level and sometimes just bone headed plays. I'm not saying replace the whole interior of the line but you have Josh LeRibeus and Adam Gettis inactive every week without giving the youngsters a shot to see if they could outperform the vets and improve the inconsistency. I still can't understand how they can be so good at run blocking and sometimes so porous against the pass. Now Kyle's playcalling has something to do with it but I will address that a little later. With the team getting a little over 20 million in cap space next year,  I feel the needs and wants will be addressed via free agency and offensive line is a priority.

Via Redskins.com

    Now to talk about the so called skill positions of WR's and TE's. I've already mentioned the good with Reed and Garcon and some of the bad with Moss but the others aren't producing either. Hankerson disappears sometimes for whole games and Robinson shows flashes but just can't get over the hump of consistency. As I stated earlier in the article teams are going man coverage and blitzing up the midddle to help slow down and stop the Redskins sometimes potent offense. When this happens the WR's have the advantage, as long as the line gives him the time to throw(which isn't always the case) but when they do have the time they aren't winning the 1 on 1 battles. With a young QB learning to the NFL game by trial and error he needs his WRs to step up and make plays when the plays present itself. If the players on the roster can't make the plays maybe it's time to promote one of the practice squad players and see what happens. Nothing like competition.

    When talking about the defense I am not as critical, just for the fact that the unit is still in flux with injuries, suspensions, and lack of playmakers. Don't get me wrong the D doesn't get a free pass at all after this game. Most fans and critics are calling for the firing of Jim Haslett (which I don't agree with) but coaches coach and players play. I'm still wondering how they made Christian Ponder look like a Pro Bowl QB. With the defense having no true FS, an aging leader (London Fletcher) and the declining play of Josh Wilson in my opinion the defense is doing a decent job making teams work to score. The D may give up yards but haven't been giving up as many points as it had at the beginning of the season. The defense has faced plenty of top tier QBs and offenses, with that being said the rankings of the defense isn't a true barometer for the unit. There needs to be more consistency with getting to the QB, they have improved on the pass rush but have to complete the mission and sack the QB. Those are momentum plays and help change or keep up the momentum of the game.

     The front seven has improved with the return of Brian Orakpo and the emergence of Ryan Kerrigan, they have improved the pass rush that was seriously lacking last year. The rushing stats has suffered this season, but I attribute that to the team playing from behind and the other team running the ball to try and run the clock out. Not to mention the absence of Adam Carriker and the step back that Stephen Bowen took this season (in part due to injured PCL ) has also added to the raised rushing stats. The assumption that this would be the strongest unit on the team at the start of the season had to wait until midseason, but they're coming into their own now but has to get more sacks not just pressures. The only issue In have with the aging London Fletcher is his ability to go out and cover TE's and RB's but with Nick Barnett getting some reps in relief of Perry Riley Jr. I see better coverage but still needs to improve. From what I've seen Nick Barnett maybe the replacement for Fletcher since Keenan Robinson can't seem to stay healthy.

Via WPGC.cbs.local

    To me the secondary has been the most improved unit and for the last 4 weeks has been the most consistent. I've mentioned the declining play of Josh Wilson but I also have to mention the improved play of the rookie David Amerson. He's had a typical rookie season with its ups and downs but there certainly has been more ups then downs. With DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, and E.J Biggers all  being unrestricted free agents next season I believe Amerson's play has made one of them expendable. To me it seems like Wilson will be the odd man out and with Chase Minnefield on practice squad chomping at the bit to get some playing time I don't see Wilson being here next year. DeAngelo Hall is having one the best season of his career, not stats wise but play on the field wise. The safeties haven't been a issue since Hasllet has started Brandon Meriweather at FS and Reed Doughty at the SS. Both have been steady since they've been playing beside each other. Meriweather has received a suspension for helmet to helmet contact but other then that he's been lights out....no pun intended. It will be interesting to see how things fall out during the offseason, I'm sure a FS will be a priority since there isn't a true experienced FS on the team. Bacarri Rambo has had his ups and downs but as the teams only true FS it's apparent that he's not fully NFL ready.

    My biggest disappointments of the game was the playcalling, coaching and lack of adjustments once the Vikings made their adjustments in the second half. Going into the third quarter the Redskins had a 10 point lead, great first half execution and the chance to kill Minnesota's will with a touchdown drive. Once the Vikings stopped running zone coverages and started playing man coverage the game changed dramatically. The receivers couldn't get open and they blanketed Garcon with safety help over the top. They also started  blitzing straight up the middle and getting pressure right in the face of the QB. Now what Kyle failed to do was adjust his playcalling since they were doing these things to stop what was working in the first half. In my experience when a team starts blitzing and playing man coverage the way you counter that is to throw running back screens, run draws and delays draws to use the defenses aggressiveness against them. This did not happen and the results were 3 and outs for the whole second half which allowed the Vikings to get back in the game. Kyle has to stay focused on what's working and what's not and when the defense finds ways to stop What's working you must have a back up plan to counter the adjustments. Also seems to me he gets impatient and sometimes tries to force plays that goes totally against what was working and throws off the rhythm of the offense. The 3rd down conversion rate had gone up drastically over the last three games (was converting 55% of 3rd down) but due to Kyle's lack of adjustments the second half was filled with 3 and outs.

      I'm so tired of talking about special teams that all I'm going to say is atleast the team didn't give up another TD by punt or kick return. Upcoming game with the Philadelphia Eagles on the 17th is a huge game for this team, only because the weak state of the division. If the Redskins can follow there trend of playing a good game then bad game, we should be in for a great game. With enough tape on the Eagles now the Redskins should have a better idea to stop them so it wont be a repeat of the Week 1 blowout loss. Nick Foles is looking lights out, with a 15:0 touchdown to interception ratio the defense can't afford to take this young QB lightly. After Christian Ponder looked great last week against this defense with limited weapons, if they underestimate Foles with the Eagles weapons it will be a long day .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. #BeatDaEagles

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Week 10 Thursday Night Football: Redskins/Vikings

(Image via ESPN)
So finally, I have a serious reason to watch Thursday Night Football. I have to be honest, I may have watched maybe 2-3 full games of TNF this season. Primarily because the matchups have generally been putrid and I have to admit, I enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory, Elementary and some of the other decent TV shows that come on during Thursday.

Of course I generally have to turn on the game just to get the TNF introduction. "In my city" is really a perfect song for TNF.
Smart move by NFL Network. While the song is annoyingly pop and the lyrics are equally silly, the song is catchy, upbeat and performed well by Priyanka Chopra.

So where I turn on the game just to keep up with my fantasy stats, now I'm going to watch for the 'Skins.
So how are the 'Skins going to do?

I think they can win this game if they can contain Adrian Peterson and make Christian Ponder throw a couple of picks. The Vikings are without one of their better pass catchers in Kyle Rudolph and their secondary is seriously banged up.

This could be RGIII's break out game of the season, if Kyle Shanahan runs the ball enough that he can set up the pass for the rest of the night.
There is a reason that the Vikings are 1-7 and hopefully the Redskins can exploit those faults into a victory.

Pick: Redskins 24, Vikings 16

Monday, November 4, 2013

Grades and Recap: Redskins Vs Chargers

Via footballamerica.com

       Another #VictoryMonday Redskins Nation. On the brink of a season crushing loss the Washington Redskins steadily improving defense had the goal line stand of the season. 1st and goal from the six inch line with less then 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter and only up by three points is usually a recipe for disaster. Not today for the now 3-5 Redskins, they put together a full 60 mins plus of football in all phases of the game. Was it all pretty....no but it was a total team effort and team win, which the Redskins needed badly. Looking at this game I figured it would have to be one of the teams more complete performances of the season to get the job done and that they did. Robert Griffin III looked more like the reigning OROY. He was making the throws into tight windows, broke the pocket when he had to and in his words he "tried to fly" by leaping at the end of a 3rd down run that gave the Redskins a 1st down and extended the drive. Alfred Morris finally got his 2nd 100 yard rushing performance of the year with 121 hard fought yards on the ground and a touchdown. Darrel Young had a career day with three touchdowns on the ground and is the first running back since Jerome Bettis (1994)to have three TD's and less than 14 yards rushing.

     Last week Pierre Garcon made some statements about the passing game that seemed to rub some folks the wrong way but boy did he show and prove in this game. With seven catches for 172 yards and numerous highlight reel catches he was a one man wrecking crew against the Chargers secondary. Leonard Hankerson did show up with some big catches and finishing the day with five catches for 55 yards. The rest of the wide receiver corp didn't do much in the passing game but did  do a hell of a job in downfield blocking to spring Morris on several big runs on the day. Young TE Jordan Reed made some plays early but once again disappeared in the second half but did make a huge 3rd down catch in overtime to help extend the drive and  get the win. One pleasant surprise was the play calling of Kyle Shanahan, he stuck with the run, added some wrinkles to the playbook, and utilized the triple option to help open up holes in the passing and running game. Kyle kept the defense off balance with a steady dose of zone stretch, zone read and well timed play action pass plays.With the play distribution of 40 rushes and 32 passing attempts it seems to be a good combination for winning and hopefully Kyle will keep this in mind going forward.

     The defense has been steadily improving week to week and kept that streak going with a gritty and gutty performance that saved and won this game. The stats might not reflect this but the on the field product is showing improvement not saying there isn't room for more improvement. The defensive line did a good job getting constant pressure around Phillip Rivers and forcing him into two interceptions. One of which was just a misscommunication with his WR but the second was an athletic INT by the rookie David Amerson. Amerson read the route perfectly and went more aggressively for the ball then the WR and came up with his 2nd INT of the season. He also missed an assignment on a 4th down on the game tying drive by the Chargers. The linebackers had another tough and steady performance by allowing only 69 yards on the ground and helped contain the high powered Chargers offense. The secondary didn't have as good of a afternoon like in weeks previous but did collect two interceptions from Mr. Rivers which always makes your secondary look better. The goal line stand made by the defense in the fourth quarter with less then 30 seconds was one of the most impressive stands I've seen from a Redskins defense in a very long time. Since the defense had been stuffing the run for most of the day it made the Chargers one dimensional and forced them to throw it on 2nd and 3rd down and ultimately settling for the game tying field goal to force overtime.

   Last but not least the special teams. I'll start with the bad, two blocked field goals is never a good thing but in defense of that part of the unit the 59 yard field goal attempt had to be kicked low because of the distance. Now on the other hand the 25 yard field goal attempt was all on the kicker, it was no reason for that kick to be that low for a lineman to be able to just reach up and block it. This unit is in flux with Nick Sundberg being on IR but hopefully they can get this issue fixed this week in practice. One part that has improved in the last three weeks has been the coverage on punts and kickoffs even with Kai Forbath kickoffs being returned and not held in for touchbacks. I like the fact that they are finally improving as a whole unit but can't continue to have plays that cost the team points or gives the other teams points. With two winnable road games coming up (Minnesota 11/7 and Philadelphia 11/17) this team will have to mirror this 60 min performance to get them back to .500. Have to take one game at a time, now let's get to the grades:

Via Redskins.com

Quarterback: Robert Griffin III had one his best games of the year throwing the ball completion percentage wise against the Chargers. Only had 9 incompletions with a few drops mixed in but did complete passes to eight different receivers. Early in the game Robert didn't look as accurate as we're used to but in the 4th quarter and overtime he threaded the needle to Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed to help extend the game winning drive. I believe the chemistry with those two is growing just hope another WR can step up and give RGIII another dependable target. He did have an interception on a crazy play backed up in his own end zone but that was more on the offensive line than the 2nd year QB. The highlight of the young playmakers day was when he "tried to fly" and made a five yard leap for the first down while getting hit and hitting the ground pretty hard. It extended the drive and eventually lead to points. Grade: B+

Via redskinsxtra.blog.timesdispatch

Running Backs: Once again the three headed monster Alfred Morris, Roy Helu Jr. and RGIII ran for over 200 yards with Darrel Young chipping in with three TD's. Of those three touchdowns the last was the game winner in overtime after and impressive drive which featured six rushes out of the 10 play game winning drive. The fact that the team pulled out the triple option to give the defenses something new to think about was a game changer. It was really effective,aided the play action passing game and even got Santana Moss and Jordan Reed  involved with both receiving pitches on the triple option and both gained 18 yards on their runs. Grade: A

Tight Ends: Jordan Reed can be a deadly weapon for this offense if they can find a way to keep him involved throughout the whole game. Fred Davis looks as if his time here in D.C is over with him being a healthy scratch for the third week in a row. I would've loved to see a two TE set featuring Davis and Reed but looks like that just isn't in the cards unless things drastically change. Logan Paulsen even tho he's not 100% he is still the teams best blocker at the position and has above average hands. I've said previously that Niles Paul has to get more involved in the offense and it looks like he's getting more reps and even caught a pass but I would like to see a lot more out of Paul. Grade: B

Via utsandiego.com

Wide Receivers:  Pierre Garcon is proving all the doubters wrong and doing it in a flashy fashion. Most critics and experts say Garcon isn't a true #1 WR....well with 7 catches,172 yards and a number of spectacular catches what would you call that? After the comments he made after last weeks loss, Pierre definitely backed up his words. There was a Leonard Hankerson siting on Sunday, after two weeks with only two catches Hankerson stepped up and had five catches for 55 yards. Santana Moss got involved receiving a pitch out of the triple option and would've had a big gainer in the third quarter but RGIII over threw Moss.It's a sad statement that the TE's have more targets and receptions then any other receiver not named Garcon.(Pierre deserves a A but the unit as a whole gets). Grade:C+

Offensive Line: This unit has had its ups and downs this season but it's clear that the right side of the line needs to be addressed. Chris Chester, who has been consistent and productive thru his time here but he is looking out matched recently and was called for holding twice . The Tyler Polumbus experiment needs to be concluded. He does well in the running game but in the passing game he is a liability. On several plays he was man handled by the DE and I believe his play sometimes is the reason the offense doesn't succeed in many aspects. Trent Williams is putting together another Pro Bowl season by effectively making his opponent disappear. Kory Lichtensteiger and Will Montgomery have been okay but has been giving up too much pressure up the middle but they did rush for over 200 yards for the third time this year (2-1 record) and didn't give up a sack for the first time this season.Grade:B-


Defensive Line: The D-line did a good job of constantly getting pressure and collapsing the pocket around Phillip Rivers and kept him uncomfortable throughout the game. Barry Cofield did a hell of a job of clogging up the middle which helped allow the team to only surrender 69 yards rushing. It wasn't a stellar outing but it was a consistent outing and was a major part for this team victory. The late fourth quarter goal line stand was not only game saving but hopefully going forward maybe even season saving. Some experts say that San Diego made some bad play calls but when your team has only 69 rushing yards and your short yardage back is hurt (Ryan Matthews) you have to do what you can to try and score. Grade: B+

Linebackers: The linebackers were active, aggressive and impressive even tho the numbers don't truly reflect it. London Fletcher, Perry Riley Jr. and Nick Barnett did an excellent job containing the All Pro Antonio Gates to only 53 yards on five receptions. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan got constant pressure even tho neither recorded a sack they did make things very uncomfortable for the veteran QB.  Brandon Jenkins was activated over Darryl Tapp and the rookie didnt't make a big impact but he was in the mix of getting pressure. Grade:B

Via Riggosrag.com

Cornerbacks: Even tho the ranking of 28th against the pass this unit is playing far better then its ranking. DeAngelo Hall had another good game but without any turnovers. Josh Wilson had a another decent game but did nothing to stand out and E.J Biggers grabbed his first interception as a Redskin and had pretty good coverage when he was in. As for the rookie David Amerson he recorded his 2nd INT when he read the play perfectly, broke on the ball aggressively and beat the WR to the spot and made an athletic interception. I think with Amerson gaining confidence and Wilson not standing out I can see a secondary with Amerson on one side and Hall on the other going into next season. David did make a crucial mistake by letting a WR run free for a 20 yard gain on a 4th and 2, but also did make the stop of Danny Woodhead at the six inch line to force the goal line stand. If this unit keeps improving and  it can help propel this team back into the race for the division title. Grade: B

Via Redskins.com

Safeties: With starters Reed Doughty and Brandon Meriweather back together this was the first time all season that all 11 scheduled starters were on the field together. Brandon played a smart, hard hitting game and didn't receive any personal fouls. Reed Doughty once again plays his position well and was where he was supposed to be. Going up against a potent passing attack the back end has drastically improved since the start of the season. Rambo is chomping at the bit to get back into the defensive rotation and hopefully will get some reps to see if the game is finally slowing down for him. Grade: B

Special Teams: If its not one thing it's another. Finally sure up the kickoff and punt return coverage and you get two field goals blocked. As I stated the 59 yard FG attempt had to be low with it being such a long FG but the 25 yard attempt was all on Kai Forbath, he must improve and get his kickoffs deeper. I was happy to see Santana back on a kickoff return but would love to see him on punt returns too. Grade:C-

    Now with a quick turn around and a road game versus Minnesota who lost a heart breaker to Dallas and are a strong team at home. This is a crucial game for the Redskins with the Eagles being their next opponent, a win against the Vikings and it could be the game to get this team back to .500. 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.#BeatDaVikings 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NFL Week 9: Points, Picks and Predictions

(Everything is Thumbs Up in KC.............so far. Photo via buisnessinsider.com)
Hard to believe that we're going to be half way through the season after this week. For some teams (who haven't had their BYEs yet) last week was the middle ground.

It's been a weird season personally.

Of course Peyton Manning is still Peyton Manning. And there haven't been that many surprises with the incredibly talented Seahawks still rolling. The Saints are back to form with Sean Payton back and even look a bit tougher using a Rob Ryan defense. And I've been impressed by the Colts as they've beaten so really tough teams early on this season.

What's been so weird is how some really good teams have dropped off drastically in less than a year's time. Atlanta, Houston, NY (Giants), Baltimore, Pittsburgh just to name a few teams that have gone from great to pathetic. Although the Patriots find ways to win, Tom Brady looks below average. Granted, there are reasons for all of this but this season just hasn't felt right.

It doesn't feel right with the NFC East either. Dallas is the division leader and they're 4-4. What you have to remember about the current Cowboys is that they're hot in early months and then fade in November/December. Meanwhile the two teams I saw fighting for the NFCE- The Giants (2-6) and the Redskins (2-5) are cellar dwellers hoping to still be able to talk playoffs by the end of this week.

Speaking of the Redskins, it's been a bad year to be a fan of the team. National and local media has done nothing but bash the team and its fans for supporting the name "Redskins". Of course Bob " social justice" Costas and Peter "Mr. Coffee" King have no problems mentioning Indians or Chiefs in their diatribes about the world. Same goes for the KC Star, the local Kansas City newspaper that refuses to use the name Redskins but has no problems with their local team (or the fact their fans dress up in head dress and use the same "tomahawk chop" song that Florida St. and the Atlanta Braves use) the Chiefs. I love media hypocrisy.

This has been a big enough thorn in my side but then add the inconsistent play of RGIII, the fact that Kyle Shanahan isn't willing to run the ball and that our defense is still pretty sorry has made my 2013 crap so far.

So what's going to happen with the rest of the season? I don't know, but here's a few predictions:

1. Reality Check: I expect the Chiefs in particular to get a bit of a rude awakening in the 2nd half of the year. They still have to face the Chargers twice, the Colts once and the Broncos twice. Plus, the Raiders have become a much better team with Terrelle Pryor. If the Chiefs go 3-3 or better in those games, I will be impressed. I also feel that unless Tom Brady can turn it around, the same thing will happen with the Patriots.

2. Resurgence: 49ers, Ravens, Giants. Three teams to keep an eye on down the stretch. Now the 49ers are playing good (6-2) but I think we'll see them blow by the Seahawks for the NFCW title. The Ravens will get their heads straight and figure out how to get the ball more to Ray Rice. The Giants, you can't count them out. I would love to include my 'Skins here but they are so hard to predict and even harder to see the good team play for an entire game.

3. Staying the Course: I really like Miami and Cincinnati as two teams that will be on the bubble to be playoff contenders and be in a position to win their division if certain things happen.

4. Two 0-16 teams?: Yeah, that looks like the reality. At this point both Jacksonville and Tampa Bay are just putrid. Maybe the Jags pull an upset on Houston or Arizona and maybe the Bucs can beat arch rival Atlanta, but the odds are slim.

5. Awards: Coach of the Year- Andy Reid, MVP- Peyton Manning

Finally time for this week's picks: