Monday, September 21, 2015

Week: Two Observations of the Washington Redskins Vs St. Louis Rams

Every since the blockbuster trade for the rights to Robert Griffin III in 2012 these two teams have been and forever will be linked. This season with RGIII being the emergency Qb and not being a factor the team could finally focus on football, not headlines or six team captains.

   Hail RedskinsNation!!!!! It was a hard hitting dominate game for second time this season but this time the team found a way to win. We all know what that's #VictoryMonday!!!!! This was a full team effort and that's how u win in the NFL. Kirk Cousins protected the ball ( I only saw two passes he put up for grabs), the running game was outstanding. The defense was stout, persistent dominate and wrecked havoc behind the line all day. Even for the most part the coaching was pretty much balanced. The Special Teams didn't make any costly mistakes and actually held it's own against one of the better Special Teams units in the league. It was refreshing to see Coach Gruden adjust his offense to his opponent and to see him stick with the run after the momentum started to slide towards the Rams ( aided by Coach Gruden going away from the run coming out of half time). Not trying to harp on the negative but there's always room for improvement. No one gave this team a chance against the Rams after they beat the Seahawks last week. It's great to see this team come together and play a full 60 minutes, execute, and get a victory.  Now let's get to my breakdowns of the position groups and coaches:

Quarterback: Kirk Cousin's played one of the better games of his
Kirk looked for the most part poised in
his 2nd start of the season.
short career, taking care of the ball, commanding the huddle, and keeping the team up tempo and moving at a good pace. For the most part he made solid decisions and protected the ball. He had a few forced throws into coverage but what Qb doesn't do that at some point, luckily the defenders weren't able to hold onto the ball. Pretty much stayed clean against one of the leagues more talented defensive font four. His only short coming is his accuracy throwing the deep ball and that showed on the first half pass to Ryan Grant. A little more zip on the ball and arch on the ball. If he had lead the Ryan Grant and cautgh him in stride could've been six points. As long as he protects the ball, continues to command the huddle, make solid decisions and keep an up pace tempo...he might play himself into a permanent starting role. Grade: B+

Rookie Matt Jones had a stellar game and
may have help solidify this offense and
the run game.

Running Backs: The Redskins already had a potent rushing attack with the workhorse Alfred Morris but with the addition of the third round pick Matt Jones....let's just say the opposing defenses better stay fresh. These two power runners punished each defender that attempted to tackle them. They ran hard and with a purpose, on several runs you could see the physicality in the rookie and as always with Alfred "The Butler"Morris. Even after Jones put the ball on the ground, he continued to run hard and didn't let it slow him down one bit. In the rookies second game as a professional he had his first 100 yard game and scored his 1st two NFL touchdowns. Chris Thompson even chipped in with a catch on a critical third down that pushed the momentum back to the Redskins side. Grade: B+

Wide Receivers: With the running game being so strong and kept eating up clock there wasn't a lot of targets for the WRs. Kirk only threw the ball 27 times and 11 went to the receivers. When called upon they made the plays that needed to be made, run blocked well (which helped spring Alfred and Jones on their big runs of the day). Without DeSean Jackson and a feared deep threat for the next few weeks Pierre Garcon took the lead and will have to continue to lead with his hard nosed style of play. Expect more of the heavy run attack with occasional play action until D Jax comes back. As long as they make the plays that are there to make....this team will be in every game this season.Grade:B-

Tight Ends: I wrote in one of my preseason recaps that "Jordan Reed will need to stay healthy and fulfill some of  the potential the team drafted him for". His play has an direct impact on the quarterback and is a key to there being success in this offense. For the most part he's showed his potential in the
Jordan Reed was causing match up
problems all day for the Rams defense.
passing game by leading the team in receptions. In both games Jordan has been making tough catches and drive extending catches. He showed his toughness this week when he tweaked his quad on Thursday but knew his team needed him and had a good game. He's still a working progress at blocking but you can see improvement and the determination to get better on his part. With Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen being lost for the season, all the pressure is on Jordan to perform and if healthy it looks like he will have no problem doing that.Grade:B-

Offensive Line: Last week the offensive line held their own against one of the leagues best defensive lines and did the same this week. In two weeks the line has only given up four sacks and have been able to clear the way for 167 yards last week and 182 this week. That's a 175 yard a game average, which any team in the NFL would love to have and
The offensive line has been outstanding
under Bill Callahan. It was big holes to
run through and a clean pocket
most of the game.
remember we're starting two rookies on the right side. Trent Williams didn't play a down in preseason. I say that to say this, this team will get better throughout this season and will be in every game. The chemistry is coming slowly but surely and once this line becomes more familiar with each other...just watch out. Pass protection is definitely a working progress but with time and experience that will get better also. Grade:A-

Coaching: Normally I save the coaching grade for last but I felt this week it was important enough to talk about before the defense. All the talk around the DMV is that Coach Gruden is on the HOT seat....well I don't understand how after one season and one game. I loved his decision to come out with a three tight end formation to neutralize the Rams potent pass rush. The fact that he actually changed his game plan to account for the other teams weaknesses and his teams strengths shows me that he's finally learning on the job. No coach can ever stop learning or adapting to the ever changing game in the NFL. Now I would love to say he stuck with it throughout the whole game but, I can not. Being up 17-0 and receiving the 3rd quarter opening kickoff the coach decided to start throwing the ball. Personally I didn't think coming out passing was the right thing to do and we all saw the results of the quarter. The coach was bailed out by the defense which got stops when needed and the running game that once he decided to go back too, after the Rams almost stole the momentum. At the end of the day all that matters is that the team got the win. Grade: C

Defensive Line: The defensive line has improved drastically from last season, at least so far in this young season. The defense needed a infusion of youth and skill and this line has received a much needed boost in both categories. From the start of the game the line was getting constant penetration on almost
Jason Hatcher was getting constant
pressure and penetration against
the Rams.
every play. The run defense is only giving up an average of  70 yards a game along with creating pressure when teams are forced into 3rd and longs and getting off the field. That is a key factor of why the offense is averaging 37 mins of time of possession. Keep this rotation fresh and healthy and it will be a long season for opposing Qb's and offensive lines. Grade: B+

Linebackers: In the immortal words of London Fletcher "The linebackers have been setting the tone" with solid coverage, hard hitting, and sideline to sideline pursuit. Namely Keenan Robinson, who in his second season at starting ILB and defensive play caller has begun to have his
If Keenan keeps playing at this level, he
may be looking at his 1st Pro Bowl  at the
end of the season.
name mentioned as up and coming linebackers to look out for. The play Robinson made in the 3rd quarter on a reverse to Stedman Bailey helped swing the momentum back to the Redskins. He read the play, recognized it then had the speed and athleticism to catch him for minimum gain if any gain at all. Perry Riley even made an impact blowing up the tight end Jaron Cook on a 3rd and short in the 3rd quarter to force a 3 and out. Ryan Kerrigan is getting constant pressure but hasn't been able to get his first sack of the season yet. Being that he missed all of preseason recovering from minor surgery, I'm sure he'll get it going Thursday night against the Giants. The only knock on this unit it lack of turnovers when it's there for the taking. Grade:B

Secondary: With this unit suffering from injuries and suspensions no one knew what to expect from this speedy St.Louis offense. Well 150 yards passing says it all. Along with the pressure from the front seven the coverage of the secondary was pretty damn good. They did have the one
D Hall has been bit by the injury bug,
but that hasn't stopped him from still
being the quality leader and defender
for this defense.
miscue that led to the lone touchdown for the Rams, but other than that the coverage was pretty solid. I saw plenty of communication from the safety Dashon Goldson, which is key to the success of  any unit. Now with Chris Culliver coming back from suspension it will be interesting who the team cuts to make room. For the fans that don't know why the team is shuffling players from practice squad to active roster is because you can only have 53 on the roster. If someone comes back then someone has to go,plain and simple. Every NFL team has to abide by this. If the front seven can continue to play at this high level or increase it, it wont matter who's in the secondary. The quarterback wont have enough time to get the ball off. Grade: C+

  Overall I can't remember giving higher grades since that great 2012 playoff run. If Kirk continues to take care of the ball, the running game continues to pound defenses and offensive line steadily gels and gain more chemistry. The defense keeps causing havoc, getting constant pressure and force some turnovers to give the offense a short field and the state of the NFC East. I maybe forced to eat my words saying that this team is not a playoff team. It's way too early to be talking playoffs but Tony Romo and Dez Bryant out for the foreseeable future. The Giant and Eagles 0-2 with a huge match up Thursday night, if the Redskins can put together another solid 60 mins of quality football. We can put the Giants in a deep hole and start making a legit plan for a run at the playoffs. I know it's best case scenario...but why not talk about some positive possibilities instead of all the negative spread by other media outlets. As always #HTTR. You can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or on Facebook Carroll Porter III. Feel free to inbox, direct message or comment any questions, thoughts for topics of discussion or just to talk sports in general. If any local residents are interested in volunteering at FedEx Field during games for community service hours or just because. Check out the flyer below.  Hail and enjoy #VictoryMonday #BeatTheGiants

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