Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week Eight: Thoughts and Observations Of The Redskins Vs Cowboys Game

The underdog Redskins found a way to play a full 60 mins of almost error free football to upset the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys. Tony Romo was under constant pressure all night and never seemed comfortable. This win took a total team effort to go on the road and beat the division leader.
Via redskins.com

The first sack of the night for Brandon Meriweather came of
a Cover 0 look which gave Romo fits all night.
Via redskins.com
    Hail Redskins Nation!!!! It's Victory Tuesday and what makes it even better is it's over our biggest division rival. I figured this would take a total team effort and some unsung heroes stepping up but the whole team stepped up. Offense, defense, special teams and coaches all played a major role in this victory that can possibly give some positive momentum to this season. First off Jim Haslett gets my game ball for his gameplan and having his players ready to play. Haslett knew he could't shut down the whole Dallas offensive attack so he picked his poison. Which was to let DeMarco Murray do his thing but Tony Romo and Dez Bryant was not gonna beat them this time. In order for him to do that he had to have confidence in his young corners to be able to play mostly man coverage. The youngsters David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland showed they can step up in the bright lights and handle their business. I said a couple of weeks ago that these two could be a formidable duo in the future but seems the future is now after last night's performance. On third down Haslett used a lot of cover 0 looks. Which is when you blitz one more man than the line can block and usually the middle of the field is wide open. This has burned the team in the past in certain situations but last night worked like a charm. Romo even said after the game he had never seen that many cover 0 looks and let alone actually blitz out of that look. The issue with this defense is that if you don't get home usually your
It's about going full speed on the field and becuase Trent did that
he was in the right place at the right time and recovered a
much needed fumble in the first half.
Via redskins.com
secondary pays the price. Last night the defense collected five sacks on the elusive Qb and found a way to get home. Another rookie defender that made a impact and stepped up was new starter Trent Murphy. He hasn't registered a sack yet but recovered a fumble caused by Meriweather and batted a screen pass that almost resulted in his first career int. Those were game altering plays and helped this team keep the momentum and took the ball out of the Cowboys hands. Haslett has taken plenty of heat from fans and analyst alike but you have to give that man credit for the gameplan and execution by his defense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The offense was inconsistent in the first half but I chock that up to a third string quarterback starting for the first time in three years. Colt McCoy played well in his first extended action since 2011. He had a few bonehead plays but none to big the team couldn't recover from. It was good to see the
Alfred Morris didn't get his first 100 yard game of the season but he
was involved heavily in the gameplan throughout the game and
helped the some of the pressure of of Colt McCoy.
Via redskins.com
run first mentality of Coach Gruden last night. Out of 25 first down plays they ran the ball on first down 22  times. Now that's sticking with the run and he didn't stop feeding Alfred Morris the ball. It helped the offense by staying ahead of the chains,  keeping the down and distance reasonable and helped win the time of possession battle by 10 minutes. The addition of Tom Compton to the starting lineup looks to have helped this line gain some consistency in the run and pass game. The line only gave up three sacks and I can honestly say two of those were on the Qb. Colt did a quality job in getting rid of the ball, hitting eight different receivers and not making costly mistakes to hurt his team. The team only had six penalties for the whole team but four of those were on the offense and three of those were pre snap. Those have to get ironed out but as we know third stringers don't often work with the
All three Qb's have seen action  this year but we wont truly know
how good this offense can be until RGIII gets back under
center hopefully after the bye week.
Via redskins.com
first teamers so I can excuse those....this week. Being that he will probably start next week against the Vikings he can work on those things next week. If he plays well again it will make it an interesting offseason for the backup job. Will the team try to trade Kirk for whatever they can get now that they have confidence in Colt or will they go keep Kirk and let Colt walk via free agency. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. I like what I see from this team on offense, defense and special teams. Never gives up, play as a team, and have fully bought into what the coaches are teaching them. I can't wait for RGIII's return (after the bye week hopefully) to see how much he has learned from watching how the offense should be run and how much he can develop his pocket passing game once he gets back under center. With a little over 400 yards of total offense with the third string Qb against one of the higher ranked defenses....I can't wait until our franchise quarterback get back.

   Now to the much improved special teams unit (which some fans have been very impatient with, you know who you are) that have made major strides since the disastrous start in week one. The last five games for this unit they haven't made any mistakes and in the last two weeks they've actually
Even tho I still don't have total confidence in Kai Forbath. Two game
winners in back to back weeks and getting touchbacks on Ko's does help.
Via redskins.com
made positive plays to help the team win. Andre Roberts was back to his usual self making good decisions on punts. Helped the field position battle with a huge 37 yard punt return in the first quarter to help set the tone for the game. Coverage has been solid, few penalties, and even making a play or two to help momentum and field position. With all the issues with injuries and quarterback changes this units improvement has been overlooked. Coach Kotwica is doing his job and doing it well. But like they say if they aren't talking about you that's a good thing because it means your doing your job. An my last point about special teams. They need to keep Akeem Davis active every week for special teams. He is a beast out there, making another BIG hit on punt coverage. They threw a flag like in a previous game after he made a impact play on special teams but this time they picked it up because it was a legal hit and perfectly timed just like the previous flag he recieved.

  Before this game I knew it would be a good divisional rivalry game but had no idea the Redskins would come out that focused and determined to win. It's good to see the fight in this team and the will to win runs deep. With two sub par teams on the upcoming schedule this could be the time to get back to .500. Can't look ahead or over any teams but 8-8 still looks like a possibility and I believe that would be a successful season. You can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or friend request me on Facebook at Porter III. As always #HTTR4LIFE #BeatDaVikings #RedskinsTweetTeam

Saturday, October 18, 2014

State Of The Redskins (Defense)

Plenty of fans and NFL media analyst believe the Redskins are never gonna win again and that there's no hope for this franchise. I disagree and believe this team is on it's way to finding it's identity and learning how to win and will become contenders again.
Via redskins.com

  If you've read any of my articles before you know I tend to lean towards the positive rather then the negative. I'll rather figure out why we have the issues and not just harp on the issues. After a 1-5 start for the Redskins I've heard everything from this team sucks to this team wont ever win again until they change the name and the owner. Instead of making up crazy reasons why this team hasn't been able to win consistently I'd rather look at what is causing this. One of the most heard issues is with Brian Orakpo and his franchise contract. Yes I agree he is not an elite pass rusher by definition but he is a complete OLB. Most elite pass rushers can't say that. Many don't remember that Orakpo came into the league never playing linebacker previously. In the time he's been here he has developed into
One of the best all around linebackers in the game even tho fans
and some media don't agree.
Via redskins.com
a well rounded LB that plays his position well. Only flaw in his game is he hasn't been able to come up with the game changing play or sack when it matters. You have to take into account that unlike the so called "elite" pass rushers he always lines up on the left side against the best offensive lineman on the team in most cases. Most other OLB's move around all over the defensive front and make the offensive line find u and figure out how to block you before the snap of the ball. This makes it easier for defenses to neutralize Orakpo's pass rush by chipping him with the running back or tight end. When they're not doing that they're sending the third wide receiver on his side to force him into coverage and when they're not doing that they quick throw so there is hardly any chance of a QB sack or even pressure. I hope to see Coach Haslett starts moving him around like they do Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan has lined up over center, guards and even a few stunts with the D-lineman to help get pressure on the quarterback. I feel once Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen get back on the field the defense will be better. Once you get your true rotation going it puts everyone back in their correct roles and should make everyone more effective which will improve the whole unit. As for the contract situation with Orakpo it's a sticky situation because some team will pay him what he wants if the Redskins don't and if he leaves via free agency that will leave this defense with an even bigger hole to fill on defense. That will compound one of the Redskins problems as a franchise. Development of talent has been a inconsistent process with this franchise. Too many hit and miss prospects that sometimes goes elsewhere to produce the results the Redskins were looking for.
    One of the next biggest issues talked about is the secondary. They have also had a inconsistent season and have not been able to create any turnovers. Once DeAngelo Hall went down with the season ending injury some didn't realize the impact it would have on the defense as a whole. His absence is hurting this defense two fold. the first is his veteran presence on the field. The next issue is with Tracy "Glass" Porter who has only been healthy for one game this season  and it has forced Bashaud Breeland into a starting role. Which the team was
The rookie is playing solid football, he just has to limit his
mistakes. Without the veteran presence of D. Hall it's a little
harder for the rookie while learning on the job.
Via usatoday.com
hoping would to avoid. They wanted to use the same formula they did with David Amerson last season. Gaining experience playing the nickel back and gain more snaps and experience in a lesser role throughout the season. The rookie has been learning on the job with some good plays and some bad, but the valuable experience you can't replace. I believe he will be a quality starting corner in this league. There's talk of converting him to safety because of his aggressive nature and physical style. His lack of elite speed makes him a candidate for the move. He's naturally long and athletic which helps him at CB. Now the other rookie Trent Murphy hasn't made any plays yet but also hasn't made any rookie mistakes either. Looks as if the rookie is finding his way in the league. Sometimes it takes more time for some then others to pick up the speed and pace of the NFL game. It will also help the rookie if the team had a lead and could force a team to throw to catch up it will allow the rookie and the other pass rushers a chance to pin their ears back and go get the quarterback. Now at safety Ryan Clark is a steadying force in the secondary and his knowledge is invaluable and should help the young players learn. There's hope for Phillip Thomas, being that he's still on the practice squad and hopefully getting healthy. I've documented the issues at safety for this team and it's crazy how they can't find someone that plays well and sticks at the position. Brandon Meriweather has had a forgettable season that started with a unjustified suspension for the first two games of the season. I believe this has hurt his play in two ways. The worst of the two is that he's unsure in his tackling which is making him hesitate which leads to mistakes and miss tackles. Brandon has had both of these issues happen since his return. The second is that he wasn't in football shape when he came back because of the suspension and not being able to be around the team.

   With all of that being said this defense is ranked 10th in the league in total defense. Which is very good stats for 1-5 team but we all know this game isn't won on paper it's won on the field. Now imagine when all the pieces are back healthy and ready to return this unit will gel and hopefully start to live up to their full potential. I think creating turnovers starts up front with getting pressure but teams are quick throwing and throwing a lot of screens to combat the teams pass rushers. The team should start trying to bat more balls down when teams start to do this. Deflections are just as good as a clean int. I would also like to see more of Chase Minnifield on the field to see what he has. With this being his second season on the practice squad he only has one more year of eligibility and the team needs to see if he can play in this league. The same can be said for Phillip Thomas. It's only seven weeks into the season so it's too early to proclaim anything about this defense or this team. They have to learn how to win, play as a team, play a full 60 mins and find an identity. This season will play itself out and I'm hoping it starts to trend in a more positive way to finish out the season strong. As always #HTTR #BeatDaTitans.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week Six: Thoughts and Observations After The Redskins Vs Cardinals Game

Via eog.com

  Hail Redskins Nation!!!! For the second week in a row the Redskins were in a close game heading into the fourth quarter but somehow found a way to lose. This week unlike last week the cause of the teams demise was costly, untimely turnovers. First I'll speak about the late interceptions by Kirk Cousins....all three of them. The first interception was a product of bad mechanics. With the pressure coming Kirk rushed his throw and did not set and plant his feet while throwing which caused the ball to sail and fall right to the Cardinals defensive backs arms. That one I can understand but the last two were just horrible. He basically threw it directly to the defenders. If there is a bright spot it's that even with the second interception the team still forced a punt and had a shot to tie the game. That is until Kirk threw his third int for a pick 6 and ultimately the nail in the coffin. Not that I'm blaming Kirk for this loss but those turnovers are becoming more and more routine when he's under pressure. An we all know the league is a copycat league. If it continues to work, as it has the last three weeks all teams will continue the same strategy until Kirk shows he can make a play under pressure. Now to the Andre Roberts fumble that wasn't but somehow was. Now his knee was clearly down but because they couldn't tell when the ball came loose the call stood. They say it's a game of inches and that play clearly proves that saying.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week Five: Thoughts and Observations After The Redskins Vs Seahawks Game

Russell Wilson showed again why he is a defending Super Bowl winning quarterback. By not making mistakes, protecting the ball, and great decision making with the ball. Both the Redskins quarterbacks hopefully were taking notes on how to play the quarterback position.
Via 6abc.com

Hail Redskins Nation!!! I know plenty of fans are upset with the latest loss in primetime but there is reason to be optimistic in my opinion. After the embarrassing, turnover riddled loss to the Giants last week this team played a full 60 mins as a unit. None of the units were outstanding but none were as bad as last week either. The team is still inconsistent in some aspects but they are also showing signs of improvement. With Seattle having two weeks to prepare for the Redskins they were able to exploit some of the weaknesses the Redskins have. One thing I noticed in the first half that got exposed was the fact that the OLB's crash down the line hard on run plays and don't hold the edge. That was evident as Russell Wilson ran for 86 yards in the first half, mostly out of the zone read formation. Wilson did tie a record with running for 122 yards but only gained 36 more yards after the defense adjusted in the second half.    

  Unfortunately the defending champs offense was able to adapt and eventually find a way to extend and keep the lead in this game. The deciding factor in this game for me was the special teams play. The Seahawks constantly pinned the Redskins deep in their own territory with booming punts, great coverage and the ability to flip the field position when needed. The play fake on the FG attempt was perfectly timed and executed. That play was the key to the win. If you look at Seattle they are the prototype for successful team in my eyes. Don't get me wrong I don't like them but I do respect their team, coaches, and approach to building their team for success. All three units of the Seahawks dominate when needed and rarely make mistakes to hurt any other unit on the team. The one weakness they have with their physical in your face type of play is sometimes they make mental mistakes. With 13 penalties for 90 yards and a majority of them on pre-snap penalties that negated three touchdowns in the game. I believe if the Redskins had all hands on deck last night including Robert Griffin III this game may have turned out differently. But injuries are a part of the NFL and next man up isn't just a catch phrase. Not saying Kirk did anything to lose the game but RG III's mobility could've help neutralize Seattle's aggressive pass rush and opened up more running lanes for Alfred Morris. Now let's get to breaking down this game:

Via nwcn.com
The offensive line was under constant pressure with Seattle's excellent defense that cycle in pass rushers like nothing I've seen. Seattle has a big, powerful D line and they constantly over powered the O-line. By moving their players on the line all over they were able to create mismatches. The O line could barely open up running lanes, and gave up a lot of pressure on Cousins but only got to sack him once. Morgan Moses got some time at RT with Polumbus injuring his hand, and lets just say Moses still looks like he needs work if he's gonna take over the starting job. Overall they could've played better but they could've played worse against such stout competition. Next week against Arizona will give a better determination of where this unit is headed.

Via redskins.com
The receiving core as a whole didn't really shine but what did you expect with the Legion of Boom out there. The one thing size can't stop is speed and DeSean Jackson proved that during this game. With five catches for 157 yards and a touchdown, he showed what can happen if the line gives Kirk time with that aggressive defense. Most of the underneath routes were covered up by Seattle's big and fast defense. It was some plays, yards and points left on the field throughout the game. Since Kirk is most likely getting comfortable with the starters it's understandable why it's still a working progress. This team needs Jordan Reed back to help take some of the zone coverage off of the middle of the field. He was a game time decision and was seen running almost full speed during practice towards the end of the week. He is another weapon this team is missing, but the question remains. Can he stay healthy? With Reed and RG III hopefully retruning soon , it can be the spark this offense and team needs.

Via redskins.com
Kirk had a good comeback game after the worst game in his short career as a starter. He did force a few balls into coverage and was out of sync in the first half due to pressure. He also made some excellent throws and decisions including the 60 yard TD to DeSean Jackson. He did exactly what he was supposed to do on that play. Stepping up in the pocket, feeling the pressure, not locking on a target and leading the receiver so he can run after the catch. Even with Kirk not having his running game he distributed the ball to seven different receivers and looked like he knew where the ball was supposed to go. I like the way he stepped up and had a good game following a bad one. He still has more to learn but definitely showed that he is learning.

Via riggosrag.com

Now to the running game and the stout Alfred Morris. I know and understand that Seattle has the best run defense in the league giving up only 2.8 yards a carry but only running the ball only 17 times is not gonna get it. You at least have to keep attacking the defense by making them tackle the workhorse. They were in the game most of the game and was no need to abandon the run. Coach Gruden even said to the sideline reporter at half he has to get Morris the ball more but yet in still I didn't see that happen for the most part. Roy Helu Jr.showed some of his elusive running style while catching passes out of the backfield. The team still are missing that home run threat that teams have to account for every time they are on the field. Hopefully Chris Thompson will be healthy soon and can earn a promotion to the starting lineup. Point blank if this team doesn't run the ball more they will not win games because the running game is the strong point of this team.

Via redskins.com
 This defense had a tough test with the Seahawks mixed bag of tricks on offense. From zone read, bootlegs, trick plays, and the fact that don't turn the ball over just makes you want to tear your hair out...if you have any. The defense contained Marshawn Lynch for the most part but Russell Wilson did the damage on the ground in his place. With the OLB's crashing down to try to gang tackle Lynch that allowed Wilson to read the play and take off. The good thing was the adjustments Haslett made at halftime to slow that down. The defense played well but the depth or lack of depth is being exposed with some of the starters out. Once again Bashaud Breeland played solidly and physically. I think this kid is gonna be a play maker in this league. He's still learning how to play CB in the NFL but he physical nature is evident. Tracy Porter has to get on the field because E.J. Biggers is getting exposed as the third CB and it's hurting the defense. Keenan Robinson is showing why the team was adamant that he would be the successor to London Fletcher. He's flowing sideline to sideline, making tackles and making solid calls. There has been plenty of talk about Brian Orakpo not having big numbers or making a game changing plays to warrant the franchise tag. All I have to say about that is his effectiveness doesn't always show up in sacks. He takes on double teams, goes against the best lineman on the opposing team and doesn't get to move around like most of the elite OLB's. So before fans say he's a bust or not worth it, think about if he wasn't there. Ryan Kerrigan would be getting the double teams or  would have to go against double teams and chips all game. Kerrigan gets moved around. Most times he's on the right side but sometimes lines up over the guards or center which gives him the match up advantage. This unit isn't the greatest but they aren't the worst either. Jim Haslett is doing the best he can with what he has. Injuries to key players has hurt this unit but they stay competitive and make adjustments to stop what's hurting the team during the game. Still need a game changing play maker on defense. Hopefully a first round pick next year will finally get the defense what they need.

Via csnwashington.com
 Finally the special teams unit. This unit has had two weeks in a row without making a mental mistake or giving up a huge return or TD. Now don't get me wrong, the weren't perfect or made any plays to spark the team but they also didn't make any plays to cost the team. Which is a improvement for this unit. Seattle showed what a good unit is all about. Great coverage, no penalties, good return game, a punter that gets hang time and boom every time. I personally think it maybe time to call Zach Hocker back. Tres Way is doing a good job at kicking off but trying to ask him to onside kick is ridiculous. He is a punter and shouldn't have to constantly kick off because the starting kicker can't. Who knows what effect it may have on his punting down the line. He's booming punts and hope he continues but keeping Kai Forbath on the roster and he can't fully do his job is not a good thing. Just like they cut Rambo for not being able to do his job I think it's time let him go and bring in the guy they drafted to see if he can do the whole job asked of him.

 Next week we have another stout defense to go against in the Arizona Cardinals. They are having injury issues also and are using a third string QB. I believe Carson Palmer will be back next week but I feel this game is a winnable game. If we match our play from this week and improve on it this could be a much needed win for this team. Be sure to like the It Is Wat It Is page on Facebook and if you'd like to follow on Twitter or Facebook you can hit me up at @Tattooedscorpio on twitter or friend request me on Facebook at Porter III. As always #HTTR4LIFE #BeatDaCardinals