Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mid-Season Report Card and Grades

The 2015 Redskins did something that no other team in Redskins history had ever done before. A 24 point deficit is usually insurmountable in ther NFL but this team scrapped, fought and found a way to win. Could this be the kick start this team needed to get everything going in the right direction...only one way to find out. Play a consistent brand of football for the rest of the season and see where they stand at seasons end.
Via Redskins.com



 Hail Redskins Nation!!! Hope everyone enjoyed the bye week and got a chance to recoup like some of the injured players. So far it's been a almost typical up and down season for the Redskins, but you can tell is definitely a more determined, focused and physical team. The comeback victory from week 7 was very impressive and in my mind at the time, it didn't seem possible. If you want to hear my thoughts on the game you are in luck. Click the link to hear my thoughts on the game, team and quarterback situation. I'd like to thank Hurts House Online Sports Show  on the Tru Radio Network for having me as a call in guest to give my thoughts and observations of the week 7 victory. Now it's time to move into the second half of the football season and make a successful playoff push. At (3-4) and in 2nd place in the NFC east the team has it's destiny in its own hands. The first test coming out the bye week is the undefeated Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots. This is a big test for this team and I'll give my tale of the tape a little later. Now let's get to my mid-season report card and grades:


Via Redskins.com
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins has had a very inconsistent first half of the season. When he's good he looks a truly capable NFL quarterback. When he's bad he tends to get worse, especially in the turnover department. He does know the offense, controls the pace of the game, generally makes good decisions until he decides to press or force a pass he shouldn't. If he can limit his multiple turnover games and continue to step up when he's needed to it could make this season very interesting in an underachieving NFC East division. Grade: C


Running Back: To be honest I've never been a fan of running back by committee (3 or more backs sharing the ball) but would rather a 1-2 combo if any. I say that to say this, over the last 3 weeks the running game has been non-existent. The coach already has a issue with sticking with the run, then throw in the fact one back can't get any feel for the game of how the defense is playing the run. Granted injuries on the O-line and from the skill positions has equally hurt the running game. Hopefully with injured players returning and better dedication to the running game will get back going and eating up defenses and game clock. Grade: B-


Via Redskins.com
Wide Receivers: DeSean Jackson hasn't been on the field since the first series of the first game of the season. I still can't understand why Coach Gruden would run a Go route on the first series when the speedy wide receiver hadn't played one down in preseason. I have been noticing fans bashing him calling him soft etc etc. I recall last year and several seasons with the Eagles he played thru the pain an put up big numbers. The fact that it's his hamstring is why you wanna hold him back so it doesn't linger. In the colder months of the season it's harder to get warmed up and stay warmed up to prevent injuries so you would rather he be 100% going into the stretch run. Pierre Garcon is steady as usual and having a decent season so far but  his numbers should get better once the WR corp gets to full strength.The silver lining of this situation is the young WRs have been stepping up big time. The 2nd year pro Ryan Grant and rookie Jamison Crowder have made their presence known and felt on this team. Once Jackson gets back it will add another dimension to the passing game and the offense which in turn will help the running game. Grade: B+


Via Redskins.com
Tight Ends: With season ending injuries to Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen and the often injured Jordan Reed, no one knew what to expect from this group this season. In Jay's offense the TE is a very crucial position. Having to depend solely on Jordan Reed who has missed 12 games combined in his first two seasons had me worried and scouring the waiver wire at the beginning of the season. The late addition of Derrick Carrier has proven to be a quality pick up that has stepped up when needed. For this offense to move the ball and produce touchdowns instead of field goals Jordan Reed has to stay on the field. The blocking from the TE position needs to improve as a whole but so far it hasn't been a major issue. It will be interesting to see how defenses try to play Jordan Reed when DeSean Jackson returns. You can't bracket or double them both so it should open up the passing and running game. Grade: B


Via Redskins.com
Offensive Line: The injury bug has hit this unit harder then any other on the team. Forcing rookies and second year players into starting role helps them develop faster but also does hinder your offense because of the lack of experience. Since the Shawn Lauvou went on the IR the run game has suffered and has been on a decline. By sticking with the run it will help the unit gain chemistry, cohesion and the ability to control the line of scrimmage when necessary. I've been impressed with Morgan Moses and Brandon Schreff holding down the right side. Not saying they've been lights out but the success they've had so far is a good sign. That definitely has something to do with the addition of Bill Callahan to the coaching staff. He's taken an underachieving unit and turning into potentially a quality O-line in the NFL. Grade: C+




Via Redskins.com
Defensive Line: This unit had the most turnover in the off season and all the moves has proven a smart and well executed. The biggest addition (not just by size) in my opinion has been Terrence "Pot Roast" Knighton. His presence in the middle of the line occupying two sometimes three lineman which allows others to get pressure or stuff the run. Chris Baker also is having a productive season so far. He's been equally effective stopping the run and rushing the passer. Lately the defense has been getting gashed on big runs and long runs, which happens time to time. It's only been one such run that directly resulted in a TD. If u recall in the Tampa Bay game they gave up a long gain by Doug Martin but was stopped at the 3 and ended up kicking a field goal from the 7. The impressive thing about that is despite those few long runs the defense has held their opponents to around three yards a carry on all other runs. With a new scheme and new coordinator you have to expect some growing pains. I love the switch from a 2 gap scheme to a 1 gap. Which means instead of the D-lineman trying to read and react to offense they attack and force the action instead of reacting to what the offense is doing. Grade: C+




Via Redskins.com
Linebacker: If the offensive line is the hardest hit by the injury bug the linebacker corp is the second hardest hit unit starting with Junior Gallete right before the start of the season. All the starters have missed time at some point this season but the replacements have filled in well. Second year un drafted free agent Will Compton has started/played 3 of the 4 LB positions, rookie Preston Smith has been effective in his limited role, Jackson Jeffcoat has filled in well during spot duty. The biggest question coming out of the bye week is whether or not Ryan Kerrigan will be able to play after breaking his hand and having surgery during the bye week. The unit has been effective but not the standout unit that would create constant pressure like we thought at the start of the season. Trent Murphy had that one quarter against the Rams but other then that has pretty much been quiet. I was calling for Preston Smith to start in place of him because it seems like Smith is always causing havoc somewhere when he's on the field. I don't want to call Murphy a bust but I thinking it's time to give someone else a shot and see what happens. In the second half of the season we will need this unit to step up with creating pressure (especially this coming Sunday) and causing turnovers. Giving the offense a short field and possibly points by the defense will go a long way into securing a playoff berth. Grade: B-




Via Redskins.com
Secondary: The secondary has had issues for years, sad to say as far back as the untimely death of Redskins great Free Safety Sean Taylor in 2007. Until you solidify the back end, you will always have an issue with your defense. The key additions Dashon Goldson, Jeron Johnson at the safety positions and Chris Culliver and Will Blackmon at the cornerback position the secondary has looked superb compared to last years inconsistency. The veteran of the group DeAngelo Hall, who has either been recovering from injury or getting dinged up here and there all season. If he can
actually get on the field it will give this secondary a boost in leadership and experience which you can never have too much of. Then there's the star in the making second year standout Bashaud Breeland. His play has been consistent all season and his ability to take away a receiver that he's covering is a added bonus. He alone have contributed to several key turnovers throughout this season. For this secondary to take the next step and start forcing turnovers the front seven has to provide more pressure. The secondary has done a solid job of covering but when the pressure doesn't get there it really puts them in a bind. That has been an issue in games recently. The secondary would do a solid job of covering but the pressure doesn't get there or the Qb makes eludes the pressure and buys time to make a play. The more they play together as a unit the better they will be. Grade: B+


Special Teams: This unit has made the biggest improvement from week 1 to the mid point of the season. From getting punts blocked in the first week to blocking a punt of their own and scoring a TD. Special teams coach Ben Kotwica deserves at least a pat on the back and a cold brew
Via Redskins.com
for the turnaround. The players also for finding a way to improve, become a factor in games (in a positive way for a change) and actually becoming a dependable unit. Even from the kicker Dustin Hopkins to the rookie returner Jamison Crowder, it seems like this unit has finally gotten it self together after years of dysfunction. Last season Tress Way was the early season replacement that has excelled and looks like Dustin Hopkins will be this years key replacement. I actually find myself excited when they are receiving a punt or kickoff because you never know if we're gonna see another step of progress to building a great TEAM. Grade: A-


   With the undefeated Super Bowl Champs next on the schedule most wouldn't give the Redskins a chance. If you listened to my thoughts on the outcome of the game you know I'm not too sure we can beat them in Foxboro. If it is to happen the keys are as always; 1) Run the ball to control the clock and the line of scrimmage, 2)Get constant pressure on Tom Brady and keep him moving around the pocket, 3) Don't turn the ball over. Simply those three things can give the Redskins a shot at shocking the world. As always thanks for the support, reading and  sharing my blog. #HTTR #BeatDaPats




Don't forget to contact Demetrius Hendrix on the flyer below for tickets to raffle off @ goal line tickets and a parking pass for Monday Night Football Redskins Vs Dallas on Dec 7th. It'll help fund his non-profit YAS Sports Academy




















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