Monday, September 8, 2014

Week One: Thoughts and Observations After the Redskins Vs Texans Game

Week one was a uneven performance. Special teams and turnovers were the primary cause for the 0-1 start. The Redskins looked improved in some areas but the same in others against the Texans.

    Hail Redskins Nation!!! I was hoping to start the season with a Victory Monday post but things didn't work out as I had planned. There was some good and some bad but mostly the same from this team. Inconsistency and mental mistakes at the worst possible time. Well anytime is a bad time in the NFL but you know what I'm saying. After watching the game and collecting my thoughts (mostly shaking my head). I will say the team played hard but sometimes were ineffective on offense and are not good enough to overcome turning the ball over three times. Especially one of the turnovers directly result in the game winning touchdown. The punt block for touchdown return by the Texans in the second quarter was  the momentum shift that they needed and they got it. I'll breakdown how they got it a little later. One part of this team that had to improve was special teams and in some categories they have but in others they have to correct the mental errors. The defense looked solid for the most part but a few 15 yard personal foul penalties and not getting of the field in the fourth quarter were the only negatives that stand out to me. As long as the mental mistakes are corrected, this team will win more games then they lose in my opinion. Now let's get to my thoughts, observations, and breakdowns after this game.


- The Redskins might want to start working these young guards harder in practice because if Chris Chester is the right guard for the whole season the team will look as inconsistent the whole season as they did on Sunday.

- Same goes for the right tackle position. Tyler Polumbus is a one dimensional right tackle. Run blocking he is above average but pass blocking he is a detriment to this team. The problem that I have is the the young players haven't unseated either him or Chester. Is it that they aren't ready or they are only good enough to be career back ups? The Redskins need to find out by putting them into the fire and see what happens.


- The knock on Jordan Reed was his ability to stay healthy. Unfortunately his strained hamstring in the first quarter is not going to change that perception (Plus he's my TE in both my fantasy leagues). I have a feeling this may be a lingering issue with this potentially dangerous offensive weapon. He has to learn to go down. When he has been injured it's normally when fighting for extra yards. Take what you can get and get down.

-Andre Roberts looks to be a solid pickup in free agency. His decision making on punt returns is in Brian Mitchell's words " A breathe of fresh air".  He knew when to fair catch, knew when to let it bounce and knew when to catch it and go. He catches the ball puts his foot in the ground and go. Perfect example was on the 25 yard punt return that swung field position. As the primary slot receiver he has shown a knack for getting open in the middle of the defense. Nearly made a big play in the second quarter but the catch was ruled out of bounds and challenged but wasn't enough evidence too overturn.


- Robert Griffin III had an efficient game with a quarterback rating of 96.7 but he did look rattled and indecisive sometimes as the pocket collapsed. Which it did very often against the Texans and their versatile D-lineman and newly signed 100 million dollar man J.J. Watt. RGIII still has improving to do but I believe it was a good start to build off of. Still needs to be quicker at making decisions. Getting rid of the ball, scanning the whole field and finding his open man quicker. But for his first real game at being more of a pocket passer I believe he played well. Not well enough to win but well enough to show he's learning.

- Jay Gruden's play calling in the first half was a little conservative but with the pressure that the Texans were generating...I understand. He seemed a little pass heavy in the first half despite Alfred Morris and Roy Helu Jr. were gashing the defense. The two most impressive drives of the day were both run heavy drives. For the most part the new coach did pretty well in his first game as a NFL head coach. Just like for the team and the quarterback he has room for improvement. A few plays I saw the zone read look or with a extra back or TE in the backfield. When this happened it caused the defense to hesitate and  created a few 10+ yard plays. Need to show that look more. Robert doesn't have to run but the fact the defense has to respect the threat it changes everything.


- Keenan Robinson has accomplished two of his NFL goals for this season. Starting at ILB for the Redskins and finishing the game healthy. Keenan had five tackles and a fumble recovery in his first career start but the numbers don't tell it all. He made good play calls, had good play recognition, and was going sideline to sideline with ease. It will be interesting when we face quality TE's during the season. Now with a linebacker that has size and speed maybe we can actually stop those seam routes that would always burn them.

- Jim Haslett called a very aggressive game but the defense only got a sack on the quarterback once even tho he was under constant pressure. The rush let down a some when Barry Cofield went out
with a high ankle sprain. No reports on how serious but his absence in the middle will be missed but Chris Baker and Kendric Golston (strained groin) will have to step up when needed. The defense wore down in the fourth quarter when Houston was able to run 13 plays for a little over six minutes and kick the game clinching field goal. With losing Cofield and Golston in essence shortened the rotation which might have attributed to the decline in the fourth.

- Special teams has improved in several areas but must improve in several areas and must erase the mental errors.  This was the case on the pivotal play of the game. The punt block for touchdown was a big mental error by Roy Helu Jr. He did not fully engage his man  properly on the inside and left too quickly and that gave his man all the advantage he needed. The good thing about it happening week one (trying to find a good thing about it) is that you can bet that special teams coach Kotwica will be addressing this issue first thing Monday morning. Also mental mistakes can be fixed and coached up. I know going forward that Roy Helu will not be leaving early again. The coverage was much improved on both kickoff and punt coverage and I've already spoken about the returns with Andre Roberts. Like I said previously it's going to be a learning and growing process and this was step one in that process.

Next week is the home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars who almost stunned the Philadelphia Eagles. If the errors are corrected this could be the first victory of Jay Gruden's career and the Redskins 2014 season with hopefully more to come. As always #HTTR4LIFE

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