Monday, August 25, 2014

Thoughts & Observations Of The Redskins Vs Ravens Preseason Game

We all know the game is won in the trenches of the offensive line and defensive line. Unfortunately the Ravens               D-line outworked and played with more intensity then the Redskins O -line and it showed Saturday night.
Via blog.redskins.com

 Hail Redskins Nation!!!!! It's been a trying couple of days since that ineffective, lackluster and disappointing showing against the Baltimore Ravens. The starting offensive line was very good in run blocking as usual but once again the pass protection was horrid at times during that first half. I understand it was a preseason game but they should have more cohesion and chemistry by now and I didn't see that. Robert Griffin III looked rushed, uncertain, and made some more bad decisions. It's amazing how a lot of media and even a Redskins former quarterback Joe Theismann has chimed in saying the Kirk Cousins should be the starting QB going into week 1. I addressed some of these issues in my last post and don't really wanna go into it again even tho it's all that's been talked about these last few days. But since Mr. Theismann decided to stir the pot by saying that in his opinion Kirk Cousins should be starting based on his performance through preseason so far. Which in my opinion is laughable but since I'm not as seasoned or as knowledgeable as him I will defer to Rich Tandler. His basic answer was how could Kirk Cousin's win a competition if there wasn't one.  I believe Mr.Tandler said it better then I could. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying it was all bad but there was more bad then good. The good to me was the defensive and special teams units. With Jason Hatcher getting his first start in preseason the defense looked more stout then in the previous games. Hatcher recorded his first sack of the preseason on Joe Flacco in the first quarter. The work ethic and strength on that play is what the Redskins was hoping to see and hoping to get during the season. Now let's get to my observations.


The running game looked very effective. Alfred Morris and
Roy Helu Jr. both gashed the defense.
Via redskins.com

- Offensive line run blocking was impressive at times. Opening up big holes for which ever running back was in the game.

- The pass protection was terrible at times. Chris Chester looked a little slow and was getting pushed back a yard or so seemed like every pass play.

- Santana Moss showing once again that if anyone can challenge Father Time it is him. He still looks fast, quick , and elusive. Kirk threw a nice pass that allowed Santana to keep moving towards the end zone for the touchdown.


- The defensive line looked stout especially with the addition of free agent Jason Hatcher. He recorded his first sack as a Redskin in the first quarter by being relentless.The secondary with solid coverage on the play.

- Jarvis Jenkins looked like he understands he has get more pressure on the quarterback. He had some good pressures and got a QB hit which is always good.

- Ryan Grant is looking like he is going to be a good wide receiver for years to come. I've said it before he's not the fastest or the quickest but he can run routes and knows how to get separation.

- Bashaud Breeland looks like the real deal. Making plays, hitting hard and making his presence felt on defense and special teams. A future cornerback tandem of David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland will be very physical and long duo.

-Kirk Cousins making quick and decisive decisions and hitting receivers in stride all be it against 2nd and 3rd team players. He still occasionally  forces some bad throws and locks on a receiver but you can see the steady improvement.

- Kai Forbath lack of leg strength on kickoffs was the cause of another long return. Not getting enough hang time or distance on his kickoffs once again.

-Phillip Thomas looks healthy, fast, and aggressive. He had no hesitation with sticking his nose in the action and saw no ill effects of the contact. Unfortunately he had to have a MRI on his foot after feeling pain in the same foot that he had the injury last season. This may force Bacarri Rambo into the starting lineup week 1.


Constant pressure will be key to the defenses success in 2014.
via espn980.com
- The special teams unit improved again after another week of practice. They gave up one big kickoff return but Andre Roberts had some nice punt returns and looks to be solidifying his punt returner duties for the season.

-Keenan Robinson has earned the starting "Mike" Linebacker beside Perry Riley Jr. He's made the right calls, been in the right place at the right time and has remained healthy.


 One more preseason game to go versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday. I would like to see the starters get at least a quarter of work even tho that's most likely not going to happen. I'm not panicked about the starting offense but there should be some concern. The Ravens had faced Jay Gruden's offense the last three season twice a year. They played physical and dominant at times but that comes from having a familiarity with the offense just like last week versus Cleveland. The Redskins knew Kyle Shanahan's offense and the defense showed it last week and Baltimore showed it this week. The defense looked aggressive and strong but with the suspension to Brandon Meriweather and not a true back up set. Hopefully that doesn't upset the chemistry of the unit.
Keenan Robinson making a fourth and 1 stop short of the
first down in the first quarter.
Via sportspyder.com


 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. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or Porter III on Facebook for all Redskins news and other local pro sports. You can subscribe to the blog and get emails whenever a new article is posted. 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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Observations Of The Redskins Vs Browns Preseason Game

The defense came to play and showed that they are going to be an improved unit this season. Ryan Kerrigan collecting   his second sack of the game on Johnny  Manziel. Hopefully this is going to be a regular sight during the season.
Via salon.com


   Hail Redskins Nation its a Victory Tuesday even though its only preseason.  I wrote about what I was looking to see from the Redskins this week and I must say I still don't know how I feel bout what I saw, on offense anyway.  The defense looked stout against the Browns and didn't surrender a touchdown until the third defensive unit was on the field. The defense did have the upper hand by knowing the Kyle Shanahan's offense, playing against it for the last three seasons in every practice. Not to take anything away from their performance but they did what they should've done to a team learning a new offense. That they were probably more familiar with and new the calls better then the Browns. One of  the impressive things was the constant pressure from the defensive front. The team had five sacks and numerous QB hits and pressures throughout the game. The offense moved the ball at ease at times but this week unlike last week they made costly mistakes that cost them points. Mainly turnovers when they were about to get some kind of points on the board. Both teams were learning new offenses and it showed. The mistakes made by all the young QB's on both teams must be corrected. Since it's still preseason I'm gonna keep it informal and instead of breaking things down like it's a regular season game I'm just gonna give observations but will be doing my detailed breakdowns once the season starts.


-You can see when there was a clean pocket for Robert Griffin III to throw out of he was perfect in his mechanics, footwork and his progressions. You could see the learning process at work. Getting the ball out on time and hitting his reads one by one.

-You also could see when there was some pressure RGIII reverted back to his instincts that sometimes gets him in trouble. It's going to be hard for him to break the habit of wanting to make something happen with his legs but this is something new for him and will take time to learn. Hard to change who you've been for your whole life in a season and a half.

-Evan Royster showed he was back healthy and will have something to say about which running backs will be looking for work elsewhere at the end of the month. He looked faster and more decisive as a runner even as a pass catcher.


The power running game left more to be desired against a
stout Cleveland browns defense.
Via realredskins.com
                                                                            - The offensive line lacked the push it had a week ago. It was apparent on the goal line stand in the second quarter. Jay Gruden said it best. The line that gets the lowest will win and the Browns got lower on those three straight running plays and won on that drive.

-Chris Chester looked like his age is starting to catch up with him after a subpar 2013. He occasionally got blown up, whiffed on a block or just got plain outworked. The thing that concerns me is that one of the younger guys hasn't been able to unseat him from the starters role.              

- I know the referees are trying to get the point across about illegal contact and some of the new rule changes but it was ridiculous how many flags were thrown.21 penalties combined is not a good thing. The to false start penalties on Robert had me scratching my head. He's screaming his calls how is he supposed to remain perfectly still while screaming at the top of his lungs.

- Having the whole starting offense on the field for the first time this preseason gave us a glimpse of how dynamic and diverse this offense can be baring turnovers. Andre Roberts caught a deep ball down the seam. Pierre catching bubble screens and getting first downs by bowling over defenders. DeSean Jackson's speed and shiftiness on the sideline route where he shook two would be defenders to get out of bounds with them grasping at air.

- Special teams unit looked like it progressed from last week. Better angles taken, no miss tackles, only one big return on a kickoff and swarming to the ball everytime. The undrafted Rashard Ross made a strong case at returner and wide receiver with a long 42 yard kickoff return and 43 yard reception from Colt McCoy.


- Both punters got one punt a piece. With the team not really being put in punting situations this competition is one that hasn't truly developed yet. Hopefully on sat against the Ravens we may get to see more then one punt from each. I mean punting is better then turning the ball over and giving up field position.

Ryan Grant has a knack for getting open and getting down
to avoid defenders and unnecessary contact.
Via redskins.com

-Ryan Grant is making a strong push to make this roster and maybe even seeing some playing time this upcoming season. Everyone talked about his lack of speed and strength but whatever he has it getting him open. Leonard Hankerson's job security might be in jeopardy.

- Bacarri Rambo has shown improvement and made a big play causing a fumble but on that fumble he showed what got him in trouble last season. Not wrapping up and going for the big hit. this time it worked in his favor and maybe he did it because he had teammate around that could tackle him if he missed. All I know is he's played better and will be watching next week to see if his improvement continues.
His first succesful slide came on his third attempt at
sliding. The first two were not pretty.
Via espn980.com


- All the talk of Robert not learning how to slide and protect himself. It's a process. He's been used to outrunning everyone and never had to learn to slide. So it's gonna be harder for him to change the physical and mental aspect of protecting himself. I think he will get it eventually just hopefully it won't be because of another injury which I don't think it will.

- Bashaund Breeland looks like the truth. After his unfortunate run in with the law this week it seems that it was a wake up call. He knew he needed to have a good game and he did that. Five tackles (3) solo, two passes defended and a fumble recovery. He's physical and likes to hit. He put several good hits on Browns players and they all got up a little slow as he popped up looking for more.

- Santana Moss showed he still has speed and the knack for making plays. With a nice catch and run on a screen on a 3rd and 19. He picked up 24 yards for the first down.

-Lache Seastrunk once again lead the team in rushing and showed some toughness running between the tackles. He almost broke one that he bounced outside but the defender got a fingertip on him to trip him up. If not it would've been a touchdown.

- Zach Hocker didn't get a chance to attempt a field goal but the depth of his kickoffs are apparent. The constant sentiment that I keep hearing is that you can hear the difference from when he kicks off and when Kai kicks off. It's described as a loud thud.

 The penalties and turnovers has to be remedied. In the regular season against a better offensive opponent those four turnover would typically been at least 14 points. This is one of the major contributing factors to last years 3-13 record. 34 turnovers last season more then double the amount from the 2012 season when the team only committed 14 turnovers total to set a team record. it's only the second preseason game and the team is learning a new playbook but not turning the ball over is universal no matter what playbook you have. It shows so far that the more physical training camp has helped the teams tackling. On Saturday the Redskins play the Ravens in the critical third game of preseason. This is where the teams usually play the starter for three quarters. Hopefully in practice this week the work on not throwing interceptions since all three quarterbacks did against Cleveland.

 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


Dale Earnhardt was in the booth during the Redskins Radio Broadcast for
Monday Night Football. I would love to be in the booth with Sonny Jurgeson,
Larry Micheal, and Chris Cooley
Via espn980.com

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?
Via rantsports.com


  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.
Via flickr.com
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.
Via washingtonpost.com
 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.
Via sportsjourney.com
 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.
Via rantsports.com
 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 redskins.com
                                                                              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 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Is It Finally Time For #dcrising?

Two of D.C.'s top athletes (Robert Griffin III and Marcin Gortat pictured here) having a quick conversation after the Wizards playoff game from last postseason.
Via http//.easybranches.eu
                                                                                                         
 
                                                                                                                                                                      Being a life long resident of the Maryland, mainly staying in P.G. county around FedEx Field I feel the pain of not having a championship team in one of the four major sports for a LONG time. I know and understand that the D.C. United has won some championships for the DMV but MLS in my opinion is not a major American sport....yet. I'm speaking of the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Nationals. The Nationals are the newest to the bunch but as of right now they have the greatest chance of hoisting a trophy during a championship parade with fans screaming everywhere. Sounds good don't it. I know I've missed the championship parades. In my eyes there will be some parades coming soon. All four franchises are turning the corner or mediocrity and rebuilding to become actual competitors and hearing talk of possible championship runs now and into the future. I look at the state of Massachusetts as inspiration. Since 2000 Massachusetts (Boston)  has won at least one championship in every major sport and to me that makes it a major sports town. Washington has always been known as a football town but the recent success and playoff runs of the other three teams, D.C. has now become more of a sports town but still doesn't get the credit that we deserve. I'm gonna take a quick look at all four franchises and see how realistic is it for a championship within the next five years. Let's start with my favorite team the Redskins.



Since taking over ownership of the the team there hasn't been much
 success but with the new regime at Redskins Park they are looking
to change that.
via vosizneias.com
I'll be the first to say that Daniel Snyder was over his head when he first took over the team but he also will do anything for this team to win. With any new thing you have to live and learn and unfortunately there was a long learning curve but I believe he has finally figured it out. By hiring Bruce Allen as a general manager he finally has a true football mind running the team. With this team finally having a young franchise quarterback and running back they are  poised to build a team around those and other core pieces on this team. Finally this team is more of a destination for actual football players and not guys looking for a quick payday. The hiring of Jay Gruden I believe will help this team make it to the next level. The staff that he has assembled has a mix of veteran experience, youthful insights, and attention to detail. The additions added to this team this offseason were made to address some of the obvious issues that plagued this team last season but as we all know. You don't win football games on paper you win them on the field. This year this team has the talent, the motivation, and most of the pieces to improve on a bad 3-13 season. Not saying they're going to the Super Bowl or even making the playoffs but at 8-8 which I see as a possibility, it would be a major step in the right direction. With having a first round pick going into next year and no cap penalty going forward I see this team becoming a legitimate contender for a Super Bowl within the next five years if not sooner. #HTTR



Since bringing baseball back to D.C. its been a learning and slow
 process but the Lerner's have build a solid team that's poised to be
 good for many seasons to come.
Via thechosengroup.com
Baseball had been missing from the district for decades and when D.C. was finally able to get the MLB and the Montreal Expos to relocate to the city. There's been a lot of growing pains since 2005 but after rebuilding the minors and a "few" losing seasons including a 100 loss campaign they have finally come to the fun part of rebuilding.....Winning. We all remember the excitement of the 2012 season when the Nationals won the NL East and was one out away from advancing and..... I'll leave it at that. I believe this team also will be better with the hiring of a new leader. Matt Williams was a great baseball player and looks like he may be a great baseball manager also. He has handled all the pressure to win, dealing with a young superstar that has to mature as a player and a man, an ace pitcher that's struggling to find consistency and a slew of injuries to key players. Despite all of those and other issues throughout the season he still has this club in first place and looking to retake the NL East title from those pesky Braves in 2014. The minors have plenty of prospects, the team has been in the process of locking up the young talent, and the Nationals are finally drawing interest from the top free agents that wants to come here and play for a possible championship. This team has shown this season when healthy they are a hard team to beat. With that being said with the possibility of Ryan Zimmerman being back healthy by September maybe they can get HOT at the right time and make a long run to the World Series. This team hopefully will be hoisting the trophy sooner rather then later. #LetsGoNats

Ted Leonsis had built a perennial playoff contender (except for last season) in the
Capitals and looks like he's aiming to do the same with the Wizards.
Via nba.com


    The one lone bright spot of the D.C. sports scene for the last few years has been the Capitals. Putting up outrageous offensive numbers, winning the SouthEast division five out of six straight seasons until the realignment last season and always in the conversation of possible Stanley Cup contenders. This year the Capitals also hired a new coach and general manager with fresh approaches to help this team make it to the next level and hopefully the Stanley Cup. The hiring of Barry Trotz  and promotion of GM Brian MacLlenan was a step in a different direction but I feel right direction. Trotz being a defensive minded coach with plenty of playoff appearances and known for not being afraid of calling out his players for bad play, superstars or fourth liners. MacLlenan has been with the team for 10 years, seven of those under former GM George McPhee and already he has made moves that McPhee just couldn't find a way to pull it off.  We all knew the offseason for the Capitals would be a crucial one after not making the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons and I believe they answered the bell very well. Adding what the team actually needed....Defense and a steady backup goalie to help push and tutor Braden Holtby. They believe he is the franchise goalie they need to make a return to the playoffs and a Stanley Cup run. In this case the new coach might be the biggest boost to them finally making a sustained run to the promise land.
With the power change in the Eastern Confernce this core
could be set to surprise the NBA.
Via kanyetothe.com
     
       The last piece to #dcrising is the Wizards and the great playoff run they made last year. They have a young core of talented players and savvy veterans that know how to win and play the game the right way. Now this franchise has frustrated me to the point that I actually stopped following them after the Jerry Stackhouse trade for Richard Hamilton a few years back. Some of the decisions the front office and play on the court really upset me and I'm a loyal fan to the end. With that being said I am pleased with the recent moves and believe that this team is a prime position to make a title run. Last years success should be a sign of things to come for this franchise that had no direction for so long, but now with Ted Leonsis things seem different. With a young talented duo in the backcourt, veteran presence on the front lines and coming off the bench I think this team has the perfect combination to take this team to the playoffs and beyond. With the Wizards they have the same coach an GM returning after a good run last year but know that they have to improve in order to reach their ultimate goal of a NBA title. The team has been active in free agency and have lost a few pieces but have gained more then they've lost. As long as they can build chemistry, stay healthy and the young developmental players can shine during the season this upcoming season will be something to watch.

  I'm a hometown guy and love all my local teams and going forward I see some good times for these four teams. All four fan bases are loyal and love their team and now it's time for those teams to bless those fans for their patience, loyalty and support with good play, solid execution and hopefully within the next five years will be adding to the trophy case or hoisting for the first time a championship title like these.

Via no.wikipedia.org
Via sports.espn.go.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                     
Via twinstrivia.com
Via the hogs.net
                                                                                                                                                                

Friday, August 8, 2014

5 Players That Helped Their Chances Versus The Patriots

With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson not playing against the Patriots Aldrick Robinson had a chance to shine
 and I believe he took full advantage.
Via roanoke.com
      Hail Redskins Nation!!!! The preseason is finally upon us. After three days of joint practices with the New England Patriots they finally got to put the pads on for real. Well as real as a preseason game can be.... but that's neither here nor there. Now I hope #RedskinsNation doesn't get too excited about the final score and start talking Super Bowl but there are reasons to rejoice. The team played well, executed for the most part, played aggressively, and didn't look lost or out of place for the most part. There is plenty of competition for a few spots on this roster. Some players helped their case and some hurt them. Good thing is it's only the first preseason game. There's still have more time to correct their mistakes or add to the impressive performance.With this being the first game and there not being any major mistakes I'm going to focus on the players that helped themselves. Here's my five players that helped themselves in the first game.

Players That Helped Their Case:
Via hamptonroads.com

Robert Griffin III: I know there is no chance of RGIII not making the roster or being the starting quarterback but he did have a lot to prove after his 2013 season. His playtime was limited to just one series  an four passes but in that series he showed plenty. Hitting his checkdowns quickly and correctly was the best sign to me. He made his reads didn't stick on a receiver and delivered the ball to the right place at the right time. Can't wait to see more from him going forward.

Via espn.go.com
    Bacarri Rambo: We all remember the debacle that was Rambo's rookie season. Miss tackles, bad angles in pursuit and lackluster performance on special teams caused him to be inactive most of last season. With Ryan Clark sidelined with a sore hamstring Bacarri would get the start. He made some good plays and some not so good but the difference this year was the good outweighed the bad. Bacarri made a couple of tackles by squaring up not going for the big hit and wrapping up. The improvement is there but this is just the first game and he still has more improving to do. It would be nice to see him take the next step and continue improving. With other safeties on the roster like Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis he has little room for mistakes this training camp.



Via redskins.com
Keenan Robinson: After London Fletcher retired at the end of the 2013 season we all wondered who would fill the void on the playing field including the front office. The first few moves of the free agency period were to add depth to the ILB position and the special teams. By signing Darryl Sharpton, Akeem Jordan, and Adam Heyward it showed the team wasn't sure about the 2011 draft pick Robinson after his two seasons ending up on injured reserve. Keenan did notice that and made it a point of emphasis to show this team and front office that it wasn't a mistake drafting him. He's impressed in training camp knowing the calls, knowing where to be and play recognition but the question was how will it translate to the field. Watching his limited time in the game last night it shows that he was studying hard and learning the playbook those two years on IR. He was in the right place at the right times, made the right calls and fits on run plays and played decent in coverage when he had to. He has taken a step in the right direction showing the team he can handle the position and new responsibilities. (John Kiem did a great write up on his play you can click the link to read his breakdown.)

Via timesdispatch.com
Aldrick Robinson: With the team adding play makers DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts through free agency Aldrick Robinson felt the pressure of making the team in 2014. The first preseason game gave Robinson a chance to prove that he deserves to be on this team this year with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson being sidelined. With three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown I believe he showed why he should be on this team. Aldrick has always had speed but not the consistency to make the tough catch or the big time play when needed. He showed his ability to get open, get separation of the line (which has been one of his issues) and the ability to run more then just deep routes. He caught one touchdown on a slant play where Kirk Cousins had the confidence on him to get open. Also had a chance to catch another from RGIII but he wasn't able to get both feet in bounds before his arm landed out of bounds. With his speed if he can take the next step in his career to become more consistent he can be another speed weapon on this offense that all of a sudden is deep with game changing speed.

Via washingtonpost.com
Zach Hocker: The seventh round pick has been in a battle with incumbent Kai Forbath and from all accounts it's pretty much even and will go down to the last week of preseason. Last night I believe that Hocker took a step ahead of Forbath. he went 2-2 in field goals and 1 of 3 of his kickoffs were touchbacks even though one was eight yards deep but the returner brought it out of the end zone. He also made a good form tackle on a kickoff return that was called back via penalty but I think that helped his case also. Him being a former high school safety probably helped him in that regard. That's another intanglible that could helphis case. Ther's talk of maybe keeping two kickers but with all the position battles and deep competition I don't think that will be possible. If Hocker keeps it up he may cause Forbath to be looking for another job at the end of the month.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Are Joint Practices With The Patriots a Good Idea?

How much can the Washington Redskins learn from the perennial Super Bowl Contenders? Practice habits, technique, drills? I don't know exactly how miuch but I know it wont hurt the development of our younger players and coaches.
Via nola.com
  Hail Redskins Nation!!!! Another week into training camp and another day closer until the first preseason game versus the New England Patriots. The unique thing about this week is that it will be joint practices with those same Patriots. This is something revisited by the Redskins a few years ago with the Baltimore Ravens when training camp was held in Ashburn,Va. This time is unique because of the fact that the team is at an away training facility like the days of Joe Gibbs. The team went away to Carlisle, Pa for training camp and they hosted practices and scrimmages with the Pittsburgh Steelers during Joe Gibbs first tenure as head coach. Being able to practice with the Patriots and learn from one of the elite franchises in the NFL, is going to benefit many on the team from this experience. From the franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III to the head coach Jay Gruden. Both the head coach and the young QB said this week that they will be picking the brains of their respective counterparts. I believe this will be a great experience for both and the entire team. When you have the chance to practice with NFL greats such as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick you have to take advantage. My list goes as follows.


Robert Griffin III having a laugh with Tom Brady
during joint practices on Mon.
Via @RedskinsRVA

   Quarterback: The fact the Tom Brady is a three time Super Bowl champion, two time Super Bowl MVP and future Hall of Famer should be all the reasons you need. We all know about his accomplishments but the biggest help he can give RGIII is the way he commands his team and is always trying to be better. The more that the young qb can learn and absorb from Tom Brady the better it will make him as a quarterback. Robert is striving to be a great quarterback in this league. These joint practices are very important on many levels for Griffin. This is his first full off season where he can work on hie mechanics, foot work, getting better at reading defenses and hitting his check downs faster. Any type of practice habits or techniques he can pick up from Tom Brady will be a bonus.
Just the fact that the team get to practice against another team is a relief for them after a couple of camp schuffles after hitting each other for a little over two weeks now.
Via redskins.com
  The 53 man roster: I know it's still 90 men on the roster and all the men on the field will benefit but I know you get my point. Just being around and practicing against a great organization ultimately will help a franchise trying to find its identity and return to the glory days of old. Seeing how the Patriots practice, what type of drills they may do that are different from their own, and the added competition of  different opponent to practice against. I believe you can't get better by doing the same things over and over again. I loved the fact that coach Gruden had live full padded practices during the first weeks of camp. With these changes to training camp I believe are a good sign for this team going forward.

First time NFL head coach Jay Gruden can also learn
a thing or two from one of my favorite coaches Bill Belichick
Via nypost.com

Coaching: With this being Jay Gruden's first time being a head coach in the NFL he knows he still has a lot to learn. Being able to see how Belichick runs his practices and handles his staff and players will aid in Gruden's maturation as a head coach. Figuring out the balance between delegating to his assistant coaches or being more hands on, how does he prepare his team for game day,how does he treat and handle his players and other things of that nature. These are just a few things that goes into being a head coach and that's not even including game plans for every game, playing time for players and the other field related business. Being a NFL head coach is a hard job and anything Gruden can learn from Belichick will help him become a better coach and possible Super Bowl winning coach. Seems to me so far that Jay Gruden is a even keeled guy that has a plan and will try to execute it and make this team a winner again.



Better evaluation of the team:  After a few weeks of training camp the players get familiar with each others strengths and weaknesses. When that happens it doesn't really help the coaches evaluate the talent because each player starts to know what to expect from his fellow team mate. By bringing another team with different players with different strengths and weaknesses it will help better evaluate the talent of the team and individual players. Remember last season how good certain players looked during practice and training camp but when the lights came on it just didn't happen. I feel that with the Patriots coming to Richmond this will help this coaching staff better evaluate these players and find the best 53 to fill this roster and make a run to the playoffs.

 Redskins Nation stayed tuned for more Redskins news coming. 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. Coming soon you will be able to read about the Nationals, Capitals, and Wizards. I'll keep you updated as to when I will start covering those local sports teams. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or Porter III on Facebook for all Redskins news, info 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