Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week Four: Thoughts and Observations of the Redskins vs Giants Game

This game will either break this team and spiral into another double digit loss season or it will make them take a look at themselves in the mirror and know they must play and execute better to be successful.
Via slumz.boxden.com
  Hail Redskins Nation!!!!! Or should I say Kirk Nation or RGIII Nation??? For the second week in a row there is a major fracture in Redskins Nation and it's really getting old. I took a couple of days to get my thoughts together about the game and this divide in one of the most passionate fan base in any sport around. With such a bad performance in the prime time spotlight it could drive any fan base crazy but not to the point where physical threats and verbal altercations happen between fans that love and want the same thing for the team...Victories.

This game really made me think about things with the premiering of "A Football Life: Sean Taylor" on Friday. I saw a post on Facebook that really hit home by a fellow fan. All of this bickering back and forth over quarterbacks is ridiculous. When Sean Taylor was taken from this team and world way too early Redskins Nation came together like the nation did during the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Not to say that the two tragedies are anywhere near the same level but the unity and love was, in my opinion. I just hope fans will get themselves together and realize that it's a team game. It takes 22 men on the field and 53 men on the roster to win or lose a game not just the quarterback. Now with that being said lets talk about this debacle of a football game from Thursday night.

I know a lot of fans will blame Kirk Cousins, the defense, coaching or even a curse of the name Redskins for this butt kicking (they know who they are). Well, I just feel it was a perfect storm that turned into a avalanche of bad plays and then total implosion. A short week, injured starters, turnovers and limited game prep is what I chock it up to. I've said before our team still has holes that a playoff team would not have. If you recall Bruce Allen stated that the salary cap penalties would have repercussions for years to come. Well, now do you understand what he meant? Depth is key for any team and quality depth is key to a winning team. We have made progress but there's plenty of more progress that needs to be made in this area.

Fans have to realize that their own expectations are what's not being met and maybe they are a little unrealistic. 3-13 teams do not win the Super Bowl the next season or even make the playoffs in some cases. I'm not saying the Redskins couldn't make the playoffs but to talk about making another round of drastic changes after four weeks is crazy. Plenty of fans don't agree and are screaming for a new coach, new quarterbacks and even some screaming to get rid of the owner (which I feel is mind blowing).

Fans have to realize that players are people just like us. They learn, adapt, absorb new information and try to put those new practices in place the same ways that we do. It takes time, patience and game time experience to get better as a team. Not practice, not watching film, not mental reps. Only real time game action. That's why I've said over and over 8-8 would be a good season for this team that's not totally in rebuilding mode but are in a mode of trying to identify who they are as a team. Now to get off of my soap box and do what I do best...breaking down game film.

Via beta.sportingnews.com
Kirk Cousins no doubt had the worst start of his short career and it couldn't have come at a worse time. A prime time, division rival game for all to see had to be the one game where fans would start calling for DC's new favorite player: Colt McCoy. As I've stated before we win as a team and lose as a team but Kirk's five turnovers with four of them deep in the Redskins territory really hurt and set a tone for the game.

He is a quality QB but still has things to learn with his limited experience. The catch to getting more starts and putting more on film for all to see is that your opponents see those tapes too. Once they see your weaknesses on the field they will do everything in their power to exploit those weaknesses. The same thing can be said for Robert Griffin III. In the Houston game you could plainly see that they were constantly bringing pressure because they knew he had to think about what to do instead of reacting to what was being done. That' why on the field reps are so important.

Via redskins.com
One of the few bright spots of the game was Alfred Morris. Even though he didn't eclipse the 100 yard mark or the 20 carry mark this game which is usually a key to success for the Redskins. He did have an impressive 20 yard touchdown run in the third to bring the team within 10. But then the turnovers just killed what momentum they had  built after halftime. Morris even had three receptions for 27 yards. Even though it was pretty much after the game was out of hand, it's good to see him getting involved in the passing game. Alfred should have a productive season once Coach Gruden learn to keep feeding him the ball even if he's only getting three yards a carry. His track record shows he gets better the more carries he gets during the course of the game.

Via riggosrag.com
As you would've guessed the receivers didn't have a big impact on this game with six turnovers on the offensive side of the ball. Niles Paul took a nasty hit from Will Demps who is a repeat offender and hopefully he receives the same or worst punishment that  Brandon Meriweather did for his hit in preseason. The rhythm wasn't there because of the pressure the Giants were putting on, which throws off the timing and creates a much hectic situation for quarterbacks. Kirk stated in his post game presser that he found himself pressing after the 2nd int. By him pressing it put the receivers in a unknown situation since they haven't had time to build chemistry and timing. Which in turn led to the constant turnovers and also made Kirk try to make throws he knows he shouldn't have tried to make.


Via redskins.com
Now to the offensive line... it really was a mixed review. They didn't get a chance to establish the run because of the aforementioned turnovers. The depth was tested once again with Josh Leribeus getting in the game again for Shawn Lavauo. Then the unthinkable happened Trent Williams went down with a knee injury, but from what I'm hearing it could've been alot worst. To come in for Trent was third year tackle Tom Compton who from what I saw played pretty well in relief at LT, which makes me wonder why he can't over take Tyler Polumbus at RT. I did hear he is still not strong enough to take on the bull rush of opposing D lineman. The issue is now is that most teams are going to use the same strategy that the Giants and the Eagles used. Get pressure Kirk's his face, play zone on the short to intermediate routes and make him make a throws under pressure. Only way you can get better is game time experience and looks like Tom Compton and Josh Leribeus are gonna get some. We will know truly find out how ready these young players are, if there to become starters.

Via redskins.com
Now to the defense. The defense started behind the so called 8-ball and ended up under the 8-ball. I don't care if the 85' Bears defense was out there, they would've gave up points being put in those tough situations. Being the offense had six turnovers and four of them deep in their own territory. There were plenty of mental and physical mistakes that cost this team and added to the avalanche of mistakes and miscues.

For one, the safety play was horrendous. Between miscommunication and missed tackles, this team looked and played like they were out of sorts and didn't feel like they belonged on a football field. I did expect some letdown with the leader of the secondary and defense gone for the season. DeAngelo Hall's leadership, ball hawking skills, and knowledge of opponents and their tendencies was really missed on Thursday. The other unfortunate problem the team is having is with depth of the front seven. With Barry Cofield, and Kedric Golston already out and Jason Hatcher nursing a sore hamstring, and Brian Orakpo's torn ligaments in his dislocated finger this was basically a M*A*S*H unit.
As Coach Gruden said earlier in the week, this was the worst time for the team to have a short week but so was it for the Giants. I liked some of the comments the coach has made since the butt kicking and I hope this serves as a wake up call for the whole team going forward. Brandon Meriweather has been horrid in coverage since he's been back. I'm not ready to throw him under the bus because he hasn't been in football game shape because he was out the first two weeks. Now if he plays the same against Seattle after 10 days in between games then I think it's time to promote Phillip Thomas and see what we have. This unit is not as bad as it looked against the Giants and not as good as they looked against Jacksonville - they are somewhere in between. We need a ball hawking player on defense badly. There were plenty of opportunities to make plays but they just weren't made.

The Giants did counter our pass rush with quick three step drops and running some modified no huddle to tire of our thin D-line and it worked to perfection aided by the turnovers. Not to mention the young CB's David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland playing without the steadying presence of D. Hall. They sometimes looked lost or not sure what to do. Now for Perry Riley, I wish he would learn to turn his head in coverage especially in the red zone but Riley wasn't the only one. The defense made Larry Donnell look like a young Antonio Gates. One of the only bright spots of the defense was the impressive play of Keenan Robinson. His stat line was just as impressive as his play on the field. 13 tackles, 7 solo, and one pass defensed. I believe we have found a replacement/upgrade for London Fletcher. We all will find out what this team is made of when they play Seattle on Monday night in week five.

Via redskins.com
Well the special teams unit didn't add to the mess but it also didn't help. Andre Roberts has been questionable the past few weeks. Fielding punts that he shouldn't, letting a couple bounce when he should've caught them and coming out the end zone of kickoffs. I applauded him for his judgement the first two weeks but the last two weeks he's been inconsistent. The kickoffs were better this week from Tres Way and Kai didn't have a field goal attempt this week. Now if they can go two weeks in a row without a major mistake or return for touchdown then I can say that Coach Kotwica is finally getting through and players are fully buying in.

Now with all these many days between games I hope the players get rested, healthy and get back to improving and showing this fan base that they are a improved team from last season. I also hope Redskins Nation gets it together ad remember that we are all rooting for the same thing. A winning team that plays well and eventually brings another Super Bowl Trophy to the DMV. You can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and my fellow blogger and good friend @IIWIISkinsBlog for breakdowns and analysis of all Redskins news and info. As always #HTTR4LIFE

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week Three: Thoughts and Observations of the Redskins Vs Eagles

After a big hit by Chris Baker (legal in my opinion) to Nick Foles started a pushing match that after all was said and done cost the Redskins their stout nose tackle that was controlling the line of scrimmage.
Via archive.courier-journal.com
   Hail Redskins Nation!!!! That was a crazy division matchup with the Eagles that had a little bit of everything. A lot  of was not good and I'm not just talking about the play on the field. Now I'm not one to blame the referees for wins and losses. But when the calls are never consistent and it effects the down and distance in crucial situations of the game that determine the outcome of games, it's becoming a problem. Now to get to the on the field issues. Even though the Redskins had a dominate lead on the stat sheet they were still trailing by one at halftime. This is a direct result of getting field goals instead of touchdowns. The Redskins put up  511 yards of total offense but 427 of that was through the air. That is not the way to beat the Eagles with their fast paced offense. The defense didn't register a sack but they constantly got pressure and were able to keep LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles pretty much in check. Along with that they did hit Nick Foles plenty even one of them deemed illegal which resulted in the ejection of Chris Baker. I didn't agree with the call first of all. It's a live play on a thought to be interception where every man is a live player. If you look at the replay you see Foles rolling towards
Bashaun Breeland recording his 1st forced fumble of his NFL
career and almost got his 1st int but couldn't hold on.
Via redskins.com
 Bashaud Breeland who was returning the int and he got hit/blocked. Now Baker didn't hit him in the head or neck area and he was moving towards the action so he should be able to get hit like anyone else. I know the rule changed in regard to hitting the quarterback in situations like these but in that case you need to instruct the quarterbacks to go away from the action so they wont get blindsided. Now to the special teams.... once again two plays cost Washington this game.The 102 yard kickoff return hurt, for one because it was after a great opening drive that resulted in points and ate up six minutes off the clock. After re-watching the play Trenton Robinson blew his assignment by leaving his lane and there was a miss tackle by Brandon Meriweather that would've stopped him with a 30 yard gain. Adam Heyward got caught up in the wash or he would've had a clean shot at the returner also. The second mishap was when Kai Forbath missed a 33 yard field goal that would've gave the Redskins the lead in the fourth quarter. I already see the blame game going on in #RedskinsNation. As I stated last week we win as a team and lose as a team.Ultimately it came down to plays not being made by the Redskins when they presented themselves and the Eagles made the plays when they were there to be made. News just in on DeAngelo Hall. He suffered a torn achilles and he's done for the season. Now lets get to my observations:

Via washington.cbslocal.com

Now don't get me wrong I love that Kirk Cousins had a career day but the fact  remains that the Colts had 169 yards rushing last week against the Eagles. Alfred Morris should have been getting fed the ball. 48 passes to 28 rushes is not a formula for success. I hope Jay learns to get back to balance like he had in Cincinnati. Granted Alfred wasn't getting his normal chunks of yardage but he was wearing the defense down in the first half. The team had 65 yards at half and only ended up with 84 for the whole game.

Via washington.cbslocal.com
For the first time in a long time (I have to look it up) the O-line didn't give up a sack. Kirk cousins did have a lot to do with that by getting the ball out quick and on time for most of the day. That has to be a big boost for Josh Leribus confidence since he played almost a whole half. Shawn Lavauo went out with knee swelling and instead of hurting himself more or the team he allowed the next man up to do the job. For the most part the third year guard performed pretty well.


Via redskins.com

The receivers played well and were getting open for the most part. They did however leave a lot more yards and plays out on the field on Sunday. Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson both had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown but there was even more to get. They were a couple of miss-communications between the QB and the WRs,  a few missed opportunities on third downs in the second half (first half 7 for 8 2nd half 1 for 9) and some drops at the wrong times. But with this being Kirk's first start and getting a chance to work with the starters you can't be too upset. Here's the final thing I'm going to say about the so called "quarterback controversy". Kirk Cousins is where we want Robert Griffin III to be. Quick reads, getting the ball out on time and keeping the offense on schedule. The only thing about Kirk is his arm strength and that was apparent of his first attempt to go deep to DeSean. He had to put everything into it and throw it a little early so he wouldn't underthrow DeSean but by doing that he telegraphs where he's going. If you have a cornerback that likes to watch the Qb that could be a turnover. Kirk is a solid young quarterback that will be a starter in this league but just in more of a west coast based offense where your not asked to throw downfield as often.

Via redskins.com    
Kirk Cousins played a hell of a game. With only a few mistakes he excelled in this game by setting career records for yards, completions, and I believe passer rating. He did have one costly turnover, which looked to be a mix up with him and his receiver. It was costly but every turnover is. Kirk showed his maturity and poise in the pocket by getting rid of the ball, trusting his receivers on plays where he had to throw to a spot and not to the receiver and avoiding negative plays for the most part. This team is in good hands until RGIII gets back under center. Kirk's stock is definitely rising which is a good thing for the Redskins.

Via redskins.com

The defense played lights out but just not good enough to make a huge impact on the final outcome of the game. This top five unit showed the league that they are much improved from last season. They shut down the 1-2 combo of LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles and made sure whenever they got the ball they paid for it. They kept constant pressure of Nick Foles and hit him a bunch. Foles did continue to get up from the beating and continued making throws when needed. With being able to shut down the elusive running backs unfortunately that had a effect on the backend. Jeremy Macklin and rookie Jordan Matthews took advantage of the focus they had on the running backs and hurt the Redskins big time. With over 200 yards and three touchdowns between them you really can't feel good with DeAngelo Hall out for the rest of the season. SN: Chase Minnifield has been signed to active roster. I feel this could've been avoided by pulling Brandon Meriweather like he did Bacarri Rambo the previous week. This was a bad game for him to make his season debut. I believe that played a role is his poor coverage against this fast paced offense, he wasn't in football shape since being out the first two weeks of the season. On Jordan Matthews 2nd TD he gave him a clean release at the line and it was just pitch and catch. I saw him do this on several occasions and everytime his man caught the ball. The defense made a statement and now it's time for them to turn the corner from a good defense to a dominate defense.

Via philadelphia.cbslocal.com
Now to the special teams.... Last week they played great with no mistakes or mix ups but that can not be said about this week. I've already broke down what pretty much happened on the kickoff but in my opinion the missed FG had a bigger impact. What people have to realize is that the unit is getting better but as they're getting better there will be some good days and some bad. To me this game wasn't a bad game by no stretch. The kickoff return was blocked well and a bad decision by a player resulted in a TD and that shows why every player is important on this team. Now I'm not quite ready to kick Kai to the curb but a 33 yard field goal should be a chip shot. He has two strikes in my book. The blocked extra point that he kicked too low that J.J. Watt was able to block. Three strikes your out in my book (baseball reference #LetsGoNats).  I bet Ted Hocker's number is on speed dial on Coach Kotwica's cell phone.


Big game on Thursday. A division game, on a short week and with injuries mounting this turned into a sure victory into a possible nail biter. Thanks for all your support #RedskinsNation I truly appreciate all of your feedback and enjoy interacting with fans from all over. If you haven't already be sure to follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio and my good friend and fellow blogger @IIWISkinsBlog. Can also find me on Facebook under PorterIII. Be sure to go like our Facebook page for It Is What It Is. As always #HTTR4LIFE #BeatDaGiants

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week Two: Thoughts And Observations After The Redskins Vs Jaguars Game

The Redskins defense came to play and make a statement and they did. 10 points given up, 10 sacks and a dominating performance throughout the whole game. Congrats to Ryan Kerrigan on a career day and franchise record tying four sacks.
Via washington.cbslocal.com


   Hail Redskins Nation!!!! It was a Victory Monday and since I've been busy I guess we'll extend it to Victory Tuesday. I find myself  conflicted about this victory with all the quarterback controversy talk and our injured franchise QB. I love that Kirk Cousins played well and led the team to a victory but the divide it has caused in Redskins Nation is troubling to this life long fan. We should all be talking about how good the team looked as a whole not about who's better under center. The team is bigger than one player or position. A win is a team win a loss is a team loss and that should be where it ends. You all know I'm a big RGIII fan but I am not a Kirk Cousins hater. I'm happy we have a capable above average back up quarterback that can come in when needed and is ready to lead the team to victory. The offense looked great from the start of the game with Robert Griffin III playing and when Kirk had to come in to take over he didn't miss a beat and showed how the offense is supposed to run. From the start the defense had it set in their minds they they were gonna dominate and that they did. The outstanding effort from the whole defense for the entire game was evident.  Tying the franchise record with the 10 sacks, giving up only 10 points and with only two blown assignments but only one the did damage (Bacarri Rambo) basically shut down the Jacksonville offense from the start of the game. The special teams even had an outstanding day. No mistakes, great coverage, hard hitting and superb returns by Andre Roberts. The punter Tres Way has impressed me with his mile high booming punts but the fact that he kicked off for most of the game and did a decent job is a bonus. Now for the quarterback situation I'm taking the high road because the debate is gonna be as decisive as the race, religion or any political square off. All I will say is I hope everyone understands the whole picture and not just on the field view even tho that's all that we feel really matters. I will elaborate more in a future post about the current situation with the quarterbacks and the franchise. Now lets get to my thoughts and observations.

Via foxsports.com
From the first offensive snap it seemed like this would be the Redskins day. Lining up in the pistol RGIII took the zone read play and hit the edge when the DE crashed down the line and got a 12 yard gain for a first down. In the short time he was in the game he looked like the RGIII of old.  The deep ball to DeSean Jackson that was ruled incomplete (incorrectly) was a nice throw but he could have led him a little more (has the arm strength but still learning D Jax speed). You can see they were starting to build in game chemistry.

Via foxsports.com
 I'm gonna say it now. I believe Alfred Morris can lead the league in rushing this season. His vision is remarkable, his ability to stop on a dime and cutback, the power that he runs with and his improved open field moves are just a few things that I see. He's not that 80 yard take it to the house type back but he can do everything else you need your starting running back to do. Once he improves his hands he will become unstoppable in my opinion.

Via redskins.com
I said when we signed Andre Roberts would be a quality addition that would pay off and it has especially on special teams. With DeSean Jackson going down early in the game Andre got his chance to shine and that he did. He did everything from running reverses, catching almost everything thrown his way, 37 yard punt return that he was one block from taking it to the house. His ability to play inside and outside helped the offense not skip a beat when D Jax went down. His special teams in both games has been very impressive. He makes great decisions and does not hesitate or do alot of dancing around when it's time to go. Once a weakness out WR corp is now deep as ever with talent and quality depth.

Via redskins.com
Now we all know the saying "next man up has to be ready whenever his number is called" well Kirk Cousins knows it and lives by it. He came in after the injury to RGIII and didn't miss a beat. First pass of the game for him he looked off the safety and waited patiently for Pierre Garcon's route to develop and then hit Darrel Young for a wide open 20 yard TD. Kirk was in a rhythm for the most part hitting targets in stride, throwing receivers open, knowing where to go with the ball and most importantly didn't turn the ball over. Now the true test will be this Sunday against Philadelphia where they will have a whole week to gameplan for him. Some of those intermediate wide open targets may not be there and you better believe they will be bringing pressure up the A and B gaps (between the guards and center).


Via redskins.com
Everyone from fans, media, and some even at Redskins Park reportedly wondered why Jay Gruden would keep Jim Haslett on the staff after such a horrible 2013 defensively. Well I know it's only two games but the numbers and performances of the defense so far speak for themselves. The franchise record tying 10 sack game was what I dream of but didn't think I'd see it this soon. It looked as everyone on the defense was ready to play and do whatever it took to win this game. I've been a Haslett supporter since he's been here and it's good to see a standout performance from this improving unit.

Via redskins.com

The front seven got very good push, penetration, stayed home, wrecked havoc and kept the Jaguars offense in check all afternoon. It would make this article entirely too long if I highlighted every standout player on defense so I'll try to keep it brief. The standout performance of course was Ryan Kerrigan with his career and franchise record tying four sacks. He shares that record with his fellow OLB Brian Orakpo. I wonder if teams are gonna start sliding protection to Kerrigan like they do Orakpo. Problem is you can't slide protections both ways so now its pick your poison.  Jason Hatcher so far is showing that age is just a number and the number is 2.5 sacks in two games. He is a menace to block with his quick hands and strength. If he continues to play like this he will truly be one of the best pick ups of the offseason. Chris Baker  shows why he feels that his natural position is nose tackle. With three tackles and constant push up the middle and occupying of multiple blockers which makes life much easier for the linebackers flowing to the ball. Everyone was concerned about the defense at the outset of the season but it seems that finally with improved personnel and being in the same system for four years now is starting to come together. Not to mention with Brandon Meriweather coming back this week from suspension the defense has the potential to be even better going into Philadelphia this week. With the release of Rambo I believe the team can't deal with his constant taking of bad angles and missed tackles.


Via redskins.com
 I do wanna spotlight 2nd year CB David Amerson. Just watching him in coverage, the run game and his reading of receiver and routes and I truly believe this kid is gonna be a stud at corner for the Redskins for years to come. Bashuad Breeland almost got his first int and pick 6 on the same play in the second half. If he continues to develop and fine tune his craft the Redskins could have a formidable duo on the outside for years to come.





Home opener at FedEx Field
   I haven't been to a home opener in a few years. It felt great to be back in FedEx for such a dominate game and a victory. I love being surrounded by #RedskinsNation cheering and celebrating our team playing well for a whole 60 mins. Thanks Fedex Al for the great seats.  Thanks for reading and sharing. Feel free to like It Is What It Is page on Facebook and subscribe to the blog. Just enter your email address and you will receive a email whenever we have a new post. Thanks for your great continued support. As always #HTTR and #InRG3AndKirkITrust

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.
Via eog.com

    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.

Via redskins.com
 

- 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.

Via redskins.com

- 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.

Via redskins.com

- 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.

Via redskins.com

- 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
Via redskins.com
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

Monday, September 1, 2014

How Hard Is It For The Redskins To Find A Starting Safety?

Ever since the tragic and untimely death of Sean Taylor the Redskins have had a hard time filling the position of strong safety and free safety. Between freak injuries and players not playing their true position, safety has been a constant issue since.
Via hotdogandfriends.com
   Hail Redskins Nation!!! The final 53 man roster is set and I must admit I was left scratching my head at some of the roster moves. But as always I have faith in Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden at picking the right players for what they are looking to accomplish in 2014. What got me thinking about this subject was the cutting of Phillip Thomas (signed to practice squad) and the news that NFL Network will be doing "A Football Life" documentary on Sean Taylor. The Redskins have drafted 7 safeties since 2006 and unfortunately for some reason or another things just haven't worked out in the Redskins favor. I know this might be a touchy subject for some since it's dealing with one of Redskins Nation favorite players of all time. The issues didn't start with the untimely death of Sean Taylor it started a few seasons prior. Let's go back.
In the "new" NFL Sean might've had trouble adapting to
the defenseless receiver rule.
Via blog.redskins.com

   It all started when Joe Gibbs 2.0 and the Washington Redskins drafted Sean Taylor in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Sean Taylor was the prototype of the perfect safety. He had size, could hit, cover ground, a ballhawk and a terror to any offensive player on an opposing team on any given Sunday.  I know we all enjoyed his constant torment of Terrell Owens in a Eagles uniform or a Dallas uniform ( If you click the link you will be treated to some of them). A year later a undrafted rookie Free Safety named Ryan Clark was signed by the team. Ryan and Sean became fast friends and created a bond that would become crucial for the development of both of the young football players. This allowed Sean to play strong safety which put him to closer to the action and would allow him to lay the wood to any and everybody coming his way. The tandem was hard hitting, had a nasty streak, occasionally took a bad angle sometimes but for the most part were where they were supposed to be. They were both on their way to making a name for themselves in the NFL. The saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it" applies here BIG TIME.

   Along comes the "genius" Vinny Cerrato who decides to cut Ryan Clark and go an overpay Adam Archuleta. In 2006 they also drafted one of my favorite players SS Reed Doughty. Doughty wasn't spectacular at all but was a steadying force because he was where he was supposed to be and did his job but was more of a fill in player than a starter. The problem was that Archuleta was a downgrade of Ryan Clark and really stunted the growth of the young promising safety. After that failed experiment, in 2007 the team drafted SS LaRon Landry who was a tackling machine and intimidating hitter also. Also bought in two veteran safeties Omar Stoutmire and Pierson Prielou to help solidify the back end. I still say if Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry were able to play together that the Redskins would have one of the deadliest safety combinations ever. Sean was off to a spectacular start to the season and was hearing talk of  possible Defensive Player of the Year. Then on November 27, 2007 tragedy struck and ended a promising career and life of a young family man. Sean Taylor was tragically killed and the team, players, coaches, and fans would never be the same again. I felt like I lost a little brother as I'm sure most people did also.

     Every since that terrible day Redskins Nation and the Washington Redskins haven't been the same since. We all wonder what type of secondary the team would have if Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry had been able to build the chemistry that Clark and Taylor were able to build. Since 2007 the Redskins have had at least 21 safeties line up in the defensive back field. Now I'm not going to name all of them but I will highlight some of the players that I saw with great potential but for some reason or another it just didn't work out.

   My first choice is, you guessed it,  LaRon Landry. He is a dynamic SS that could make game changing plays and would bring it down in the box. Unfortunately he couldn't stay healthy enough to play on a consistent basis. After Sean's passing they tried him at FS which was a mistake and I believe was the beginning of the end for his time here. My next choice is FS Kareem Moore who was drafted in 2008. He had great range, open field tackling skills and seemed to mesh well with the defense as a rookie. After a fluke knee injury in one of the last games of the 2010 and two unsuccessful knee surgeries he was released and would never play in the NFL again. Another quality safety drafted was Chris Horton. He made an immediate impact in the secondary by creating and forcing turnovers being named the Defensive Rookie of the Week and Defensive Rookie of the Month. After a toe injury that landed him on the injured reserve in 2010, released at the beginning of the 2011 season. Horton was picked up by the Giants in 2012 but was released and hasn't played again in the NFL. In 2012 the Redskins drafted FS/SS Jordan Bernstein. I must say he was one of my favorites. He had perfect size, versatility, and could cover ground. I just knew he would be the starting safety for years to come. Then you guessed it, first kickoff of the 2012 season n he has a career ending knee injury and never plays another down. That brings me to Phillip Thomas. A 2013 draft pick with the versatility to play FS/SS, could hit and had a nose for the ball. In the first preseason game of the season he suffers a Lisfranc injury which is a very hard injury to come back from. He looked well in camp and in the three preseason games he played in but soreness in his medically repaired foot has gotten him released and signed to the practice squad. This seems promising since there has been no report of another surgery required.

  Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to be doom and gloom but it's crazy how much bad luck we've had with the safety position. Those are just the highlighted players but there are plenty more of safeties that have lined up and for some reason or another things just didn't work out. I miss the hell out of Sean Taylor as a football player and a family man that was changing his life for the better but was taken from all of us way too soon. Maybe Phillip Thomas is the answer or maybe with the team actually having a first round pick next year, they may draft a quality play making safety if one is available. The Redskins need a play maker in there secondary and haven't had one since "The Great Sean Taylor.  R.I.P ST21

Via route4sports.com