Sunday, August 17, 2014

Five Things To Look For Versus The Cleveland Browns

Last week versus the Patriots the team looked improved but still has a lot to work on. Will the team make the necessary adjustments and fix some of the areas of concern from last week or will we see a repeat of mistakes made?

  Hail Redskins Nation!!!! Another week closer to the regular season and another week closer to final cuts down to 53. I've already talked about players that helped their chances of making the team versus the Patriots and hopefully those players can improve on last weeks performance. With this being the second preseason game the starters should be in for at least a full quarter of work maybe more. This will be a good test for this offense and defense. The offense should be helped by the Cleveland Browns aggressive defense and will give them a chance to see how far along they are in learning the new playbook of Jay Gruden. The defense will be helped by facing Johnny Manziel, a mobile strong armed quarterback that has a knack for extending plays and making things happen. Not unlike the franchise quarterback they face in practice everyday but this time they wont know what's coming unlike in practice. Well let's get to the five things I'm looking for this second game of preseason.

Starting offense had limited work last week but expect to
get a full quarter of work versus Cleveland.
Last week against New England the offense looked efficient and ran the ball very well. They ran with power and decisiveness all over the defense. I think that was a by product of  1) not having the starting wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon and 2) wanting to get the  running game and offensive lineman going. This week I'll want to see more from Robert Griffin III. I liked how fast he hit his checkdowns but this week would love to see him get the ball to his playmakers on the outside and Jordan Reed in the middle of the field. If it's screens, quick slants or a reverses. I wanna see the ball in the hands of the playmakers and see if they can make plays against this aggressive Cleveland defense. The learning of the new offense is done at a steady pace but by now we should see some familiarity with the plays and execution when needed.

The defense looked good against a Brady-less Patriots. This
week I expect to see a whole lot more.
 Last week the defense looked fast, aggressive and did plenty of gang tackling. They were going up against a team with their backup QB's but they did what they were supposed to do....shut them down. This week will be a better test for the defense with the starters on both sides playing at least a quarter. The defense has an advantage with Kyle Shanahan being the new offensive coordinator for Cleveland after spending the last three years with Washington in the same capacity. They know his tendencies and playcalls and should allow them to be even more effective and aggressive against the Browns. But don't be too aggressive because that could be used against them. Would like to see constant pressure and containing of gap assignments when Johnny Manziel is in the game. Solid coverage on the back end would be a good thing to see again. Last week they did a good job of sticking with the WRs and not allowing them to get separation. Another week of solid tackling would be a good sign that being more physical in training camp is a good thing.

Niles Paul looks to be the captain on this years special teams unit but is facing huge
competition from free agent special teams standout Adam Hayward.
 After an improved performance by the special teams last week in almost every facet, this week their should be a better showing from the special teams unit that was inconsistent but did have more bright spots then lowlights versus New England. Had a few penalties on this unit last week and hopefully that'll be cleaned up after a week of practice. Had a few nice returns in both the kickoff and punt return game but breaking one for a touchdown would be a huge motivating factor in the guys buying in and believing they can be a quality unit in 2014. With the added emphasis on special teams play, signing of free agents that have a special teams background, and drafting players that love special teams and knows that's a way for them to make the team it should show this week. A turnover or two would also be a field position swing and mental boost for a unit that's still trying to find its way. Both could help this team win this game and during the season. Special teams is an important part of the game and an improved unit will help this team get victories.

We all know and love Alfred Morris ground and pound
 running style but he will have to show soft hands and
the ability of picking up the blitzes to up his touches in
the new offense.
 Alfred Morris has had an outstanding first two years in the league but the one thing that's been missing is him catching out of the backfield. He isn't the only running back with something to prove. In that area or others, the whole running back corp has to show and prove they are a NFL caliber running back. The running game got going last week behind solid blocking and hard running but there is more to the running back position in today's NFL. Blitz pick up and catching out of the backfield is a must for an every down back and they need to improve as soon as possible. Roy Helu Jr. is the most complete back in all three phases but he has had durability issues from the past and is not your typical between the tackle runner. Chris Thompson is in a position to claim the number three running back spot but his issues are all about durability because he can't stay healthy enough to show and prove what he can do. All the other backs on the roster have positives and weaknesses in their game but will need to improve. This is  the chance for one of them to step up and show they deserve to be on the 53 man roster.

The seventh round draft pick Zach Hocker is making
a strong push to making this 53 man roster and unseating
 Kai Forbath. Via
                                                                              I knew this was going to be an interesting battle once the Redskins drafted a kicker with their seventh round pick. The word is that the competition between Zach Hocker and Kai Forbath is neck and neck with Hocker having the slight edge from last weeks game. I still believe that Hocker will make this team and Kai will not. Both are consistent kickers but the advantage of leg strength goes to the rookie. The main reason they drafted him was his impressive kickoff to touchback percentage which is 60% and a average yardage of 66 yards per kickoff. We saw last week that Kai got one touchback on a kickoff but kicked another out of bounds which gave possession on the 40 to the Patriots. Field position is a key in the NFL and giving up that type of field position in a game could be the difference between winning and losing. There was a rumor of keeping both kickers but with all the competition all so many key positions I don't see how it would be possible to keep both.              
     Redskins Nation stayed tuned for more Redskins news and game recaps. Be sure to keep an eye out for more Redskins news, information and articles on IIWI. Soon will be adding more local sports to the blog. Soon you will be able to read more about the Nationals, Capitals, and Wizards. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or Porter III on Facebook for all Redskins news and other local pro sports. Be sure to give my good friend, fellow writer and editor a follow @IIWIISkinsBlog for extensive breakdowns, the weekly (GBU) The Good The Bad The Ugly during the season, game recaps and great articles also. Thanks again for all your support, love and feedback. As always #HTTR   #RedskinsNationIsTheBest 

1 comment:

OxfordKnolls said...

If Hocker makes the team he better can kick off longer then Kai

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