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.

The Good

Kai Forbath ( 2/2 FG, Long 36) - When the team only manages six points (both on field goals), I have to find someone to get put on the good list. Forbath made both FGs, the rare highpoint of the game. Also, kudos to special teams for running on the field in time to make the second field goal attempt before the 1st half ran out. In other games, I guarantee they would have found a way to screw that up.  

The Defense - At this point, if the Redskins D only gives up 24 to 27 points a game and don't embarrass themselves for the rest of the season, I'll take it. Overall, they did a much better job against the run and were able to pressure/sack Colin Kaepernick a few times. The problem is that the secondary is still pretty sad and the pass rush isn't good enough to put constant pressure on a quarterback. Same problems we've seen all year. Tackling did look better in this game compared to others.

 DeAngelo Hall/Barry Cofield - Hall gets credit for a forced fumble on Vernon Davis, but it looked like Barry Cofield initially punched the ball out and Hall's foot separated the ball from Davis. Either way Cofield looked good last night. Hall became a shutdown corner last night. Kaepernick avoided throwing his way all night and instead targeted EJ Biggers, David Amerson and Josh Wilson.  

Brian Orakpo ( 3 tackles, 1 sack) - Orakpo has had a quiet season. Normally, you'd see inflated stats and big impact plays for a player in a contract year. Instead, Orakpo has been consistent. His run and pass coverage have improved greatly from 2011/2012 and while the sacks haven't been as frequent as you'd like to see, Orakpo along with Hall and Kerrigan has had a generally good season.

The Bad

Photo: Alex Brandon/AP I'm really getting tired of seeing this play after play, week after week.  
Photo: Alex Brandon/AP
I'm really getting tired of seeing this play after play, week after week.

Josh Wilson (11 tackles) - The tackle number seems great, right? Well, that's what happens when you are targeted throughout the game. More or less, the 49ers must have said to Kaepernick "throw at the player who Wilson is covering." because that's what they did throughout. It was a good plan because those players were wide open most of the game.  

O-line - At this point I've had enough of Tyler Polumbus and Chris Chester. I actually praised them for a few plays in the Vikings game, but I'm tired of seeing RGIII play after play lying on the ground like he's been crushed by a steam roller. Polumbus frequently got beat by Ahmad Brooks last night that led to hurries, hits and sacks. Chester couldn't get to the second level and whiffed on some blocks in the run game. Trent Williams had his second lousy game in a row that contributed to a RGIII interception and some big hits/sacks. Montgomery and Lichtensteiger didn't look as bad from what I saw, but they also missed multiple blocks or were out powered from time to time.  

Robert Griffin III (17/27, 127 yards, 1INT; 6 carries, 22 yards, 1 fumble) - If benching him wouldn't shatter his confidence, I would like the Redskins to do that for the rest of the season. No, it's not because of the poor play (of course there's been plenty of that) or that I think Kirk Cousins would do a better job (I'm not convinced that would be the case). It's because RGIII is getting killed out there. This is the face of the franchise (hopefully) for the next 10 years or more. Griffin is such a "once in a decade" type of player that the Redskins gave up the house to acquire him. It doesn't make any sense that he should be getting pummeled week after week when his O-line can't block for him.

 Plus, he's not helping the situation. Griffin is holding onto the ball too long (ala Jason Campbell) and making some incredibly bad decisions to go along with some questionable accuracy. Griffin needs to take a deep breath, step back, watch some film and figure out how to fix things. Maybe he can do that on the field, but at this point he looks like he's going to wind up like David Carr or Patrick Ramsey if he and the team can't figure out some better ways to protect him. Since we're in evaluation mode, maybe its better to take a look at some backup offensive linemen on the roster while trying to showcase Cousins for a trade. Heck, maybe Rex Grossman should start. He knows what its like to play for bad Redskin teams with a weak O-line.  

Sav Rocca (7 punts, average 34.7 yards, long 51) - The Redskins have enough needs to address in the off-season, so finding a new punter may not be a viable option, but I think long-term this is something the Redskins need to start considering. Rocca has been rather inconsistent this season and his punts seem to be on the shorter end.  

Kyle Shanahan - No, I'm not going with my typical rants on Kyle about running the ball (#RunTheBallKyle has occasionally trended on Twitter) but I really question the play call selection from last night. The Redskins seemed to only want to run WR screens last night. Even John Gruden mentioned that they had called seven of them at one point. Is this more bad play calling or is there a general concern of Kyle to try to help RGIII? It seems like the Redskins have finally concluded that the O-line can't block for a reasonable amount of time, so they've gone to short quick passes. That's fine, but if that's the case why aren't we seeing RB screens or quick slants for that matter? Is RGIII's confidence so blown that the offensive coordinator only feels comfortable when the quarterback throws horizontally?  

Mike Shanahan - poor clock management, a questionable challenge and a deflated team doesn't bode well for Shanahan who needed either a win or a tough loss last night to cool down his hot seat. This season just gets uglier. While I don't think Dan Snyder is going to pull the plug on the Shanahan era this year, it looks like Shanahan will enter 2014 without an extension and unless there are better results early in that season I think he will be fired.

The Ugly

- The Redskins fall to 3-8 with only one victory against an NFC opponent this season (Bears). They are 2-3 so far at FedEx with three home games remaining on the schedule. The team is 12-18 (including the post-season loss to Seattle) at home during the Shanahan tenure. At best the Redskins can go 15-18 if they win the remaining home games this season.

 - Total Net Yards. 49ers: 304, Redskins:190. Very few teams win when they generate less than 200 yards.

 - 3rd Down Conversions. 49ers: 4/14 (28%), Redskins: 4/15 (26%). Offensively, the Redskins were putrid on converting 3rd downs. Part of this was because the team had problems on 1st and 2nd down. Good news was that the defense again did well on stopping the 49ers on 3rd down. Again, they just give up too many big plays on 1st and 2nd downs.

 - Red Zone. 49ers: 3/4 (75%), Redskins: 0/2 (0%). The Redskins had two good drives on Monday but fell apart once they got inside the twenty. On the other hand, the 49ers were able to score touchdowns. The team that scores TDs is the team that wins.

 - 2014 draft. At three and eight, the Redskins would be drafting #5 overall in the 2014 draft. Unfortunately, the Rams have that pick because of the trade for RGIII.

Evaluation Time

A new section of the GBU where I'll look at a few pending Redskin free agents and decide if they should stay or go based on tonight's game. Stay: DeAngelo Hall, Brian Orakpo Go: Fred Davis, Josh Wilson Next Week: The Redskins stay at home to face the cap stealing Giants. This is the game I want them to win more than any other game on the schedule, so I will either be quite happy or incredibly surely for the next GBU

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