Monday, August 17, 2015

RGIII Watch (Redskins @Browns)

(Is RGIII improving and can the fans handle it? Image Via)
So, it's been a few days. People have had a chance to watch the game, panic and settle down and now it's time to look back at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the Redskins first preseason game of the 2015 season.

Before we start the GBU (which will be my next post), I need to focus in on RGIII again. There was a TON of sports talk driven commentary on whether RGIII shown any improvement and whether Kirk Cousins (who did look great on Thursday) should be put back into the running as a potential starter in week one after the game last Thursday. So, this article is dedicated only to the breakdown of RGIII's passes and his run for a 1st down.

So Robert was 4/8 for 36 yards. The stats don't look that great, but at this moment that isn't really an issue. So lets look at each pass attempt and see what did (or didn't) happen.

#1) 3-5-WAS 25 (13:48) (Shotgun) 10-R.Griffin pass short right to 14-R.Grant to WAS 34 for 9 yards (21-J.Gilbert).

It was a 3rd down and RGIII completed a short crossing pattern to Ryan Grant. Grant ran a good route to get beyond the five yards needed. Griffin's pass was slightly behind Grant, but on target enough that Grant didn't need to stop or reach back to grab the pass.

#2) 2-5-WAS 39 (12:38) 10-R.Griffin pass incomplete deep left to 88-P.Garcon.

Based  on Garcon's head movement and body position, it looks like the route was meant to go inside on his right shoulder. The pass, while accurate to location, was more towards the sideline on Garcon's left shoulder. Did Robert adjust his throw for the safety in the middle of the field? I don't know because I don't know the original route/play call. Was Robert a bit late on the pass? Yes. Should Pierre have caught the pass anyway?  Yes. What would have been interesting is how the vibe in DC would have been if Garcon had caught the ball. Fair to say Robert's stats would have been more like 5/7, 97 yards and a TD.

#3) 3-5-WAS 39 (12:31) (Shotgun) 10-R.Griffin pass incomplete short left to 85-E.Spencer.

This was the pass I had the biggest issue with during Robert's performance. It was a short timing route that either was some miscommunication with rookie WR Evan Spencer or Griffin was way off on the pass. This type of error could lead to an easy INT and TD return.

#4) 2-7-WAS 23 (6:24) 10-R.Griffin pass short right to 14-R.Grant to WAS 28 for 5 yards (22-T.Williams).

Looks like same route that worked on Robert's 1st pass. Looks like Jay wants Robert to work on certain things......

#5)  2-8-WAS 33 (4:35) 10-R.Griffin pass deep left to 14-R.Grant to CLE 45 for 22 yards (31-D.Whitner) [99-P.Kruger].

This was Robert's best pass of the night but not because of the yardage. Robert ran a bootleg to his left (something he's had problems with in 2013-2014) and despite taking a shot, throws a bullet to Ryan Grant. It's not ideal for Robert to get planted on a throw, but he kept his eyes downfield and was able to hit Grant on the run while running to his left.

#6) 3-1-CLE 36 (2:44) 10-R.Griffin pass short right to 36-D.Young to CLE 36 for no gain (56-K.Dansby).

The old Spider 2 Y Banana  play. Looks like Robert got the ball out pretty quickly but unfortunately Cleveland had good penetration and did a good job in man coverage to hit Young behind the line of scrimmage for no gain.

#7)  2-6-CLE 14 (:42) 10-R.Griffin pass incomplete short left to 88-P.Garcon.

On Robert's final two passes of the night, it looks like Jay Gruden was looking to work on one of the weaker elements of RGIII's game: the fade route. On this play Garcon was able to get separation with the CB but the ball went more to the sideline instead of the corner.

#8)  3-6-CLE 14 (:39) (Shotgun) 10-R.Griffin pass incomplete short left to 88-P.Garcon [36-K.Williams].

2nd fade attempt. This was thrown more to the designed spot but the coverage on Garcon was better and Robert had to basically throw the ball away. While neither pass was that terrific, at least both balls were thrown that only the WR could make the play or no one could.

I also want to talk about the following play:

3-2-WAS 28 (5:50) (Shotgun) 10-R.Griffin scrambles right guard to WAS 31 for 3 yards (56-K.Dansby).

This is a good play to look at with Robert's view of open receivers and his growth. From watching the game live Robert takes the snap looks, sees no one open and runs three yards for a 1st down. He even shifts his body into a position where he doesn't take a major hit as he goes down. Overall good play. However, CSN's Trevor Mattich did notice that had Griffin waited a moment more there were times that Grant and Garcon were open. Ideally, you want the QB to avoid taking a hit and throw, but in this case he got the 1st down. It's hard to argue that he should have not used his legs here.

Final Thoughts

It's the 1st preseason game, so barring something terribly awful, RGIII's job was never up for grabs. The good news is that Robert has shown improvement compared to last year and arguably looked better in this game vs. the Browns than in any game he played in during 2014 (maybe the Jacksonville game being a lone exception). Robert looks more comfortable when he is taking snaps from under center and there is a clear confidence when he is working in the pocket.

Is RGIII there yet? I don't think so. He still needs to improve upon his touch on fades, he needs to develop better timing with his receivers and be ready to read more exotic defenses and know how to counter them. But so far, so good. Hopefully Robert can take advantage of the next few games and continue to improve upon his skills.

Now is not the time to panic, now is the time to see if the Redskins and RGIII can get ready to succeed for the first time since 2012.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Observations of the Washington Redskins Vs Cleveland Browns Preseason Game


    Hail Redskins Nation!!!!! Football season is finally upon us with the start of the 2015 preseason. After re-watching the game to fully observe Robert Griffin III and his progression in becoming a complete NFL quarterback, I feel like he's only going to get better as the season progresses.
The development of RGIII is crucial to his success and
ultimately the Redskins also.
The injury bug has hit the team big time especially at one specific position, tight ends. Niles Paul out for the season wit a dislocated ankle and fractured leg, Logan Paulsen is set to have season ending toe surgery for turf toe and Jordan Reed is well...Jordan Reed. Fans have been calling for the re-signing of Chris Cooley. My personal feeling is that any extended time out of the NFL has helped no one. Now if he was still playing, then possibly I might have given him a shot. Since he's been broadcasting since he left the team, I honestly can't see the team signing him. Here's my observations by position group (with so many bodies in training camp) :

Quarterback:  With all three quarterbacks staying turnover free and for the most part stayed clean, I like the way all three played. Looked like they had control of the playbook, knew where the ball has to go and got it out quickly for the most part. Besides the one drop by Pierre on the first series, the offense looked somewhat smooth and efficient. For the first game of the preseason, I felt good about most of what I saw.

Mack Brown running hard, fighting for extra
yards and punishing defenders at the same time.

Running Back: With thr departure of Roy Helu Jr. (Oakland via free agent) I wasn't too sure about the position. After watching this game and even losing Silas Redd Jr. to a season ending knee injury, this backfield is deep and talented. Even though all Alfred Morris's backups have limited to no NFL experience, once they got in the game they were determined to show that they belong in the NFL. They all ran physical, tough and with a purpose.

Wide Receiver: Once again we are deep at this position during the preseason. Looking for that unknown game changer to help make this offense become more potent and deadly. With DeSean Jackson sidelined with a sprained AC joint, the WR corp still looked effective without its biggest deep threat. The X factor is the rookie Jamison Crowder out of Duke. He's impressed in camp so far but a slight hamstring injury kept him out vs Cleveland. The team says he should be available this week.

Tight End: Already spoke about the injury situation. Too many injuries to even give any type of observation, other then get bodies in camp as soon as possible. Jordan Reed is gonna have to step it up big time this season by stay healthy and finally becoming the consistent playmaker the team needs him to be. (Update as of 5;50pm 8/16/15) The team has signed D.J. Williams after a workout. At 6 ft 2 inches 245 lbs he has good size, he was with Tampa bay last season but didn't get on the field.

The no. 5 pick feels more comfortable at RG to start his career.
Which could be good for him and the O-line this season and
Offensive Line: This unit needed to be the most improved and from the looks of things by mid just may be. With the hiring of Bill Callahan as the new offensive line coach seems to be paying dividends already. The addition of a 6 ft 5 inch 319 lbs rookie Brandon Scherff at right guard doesn't hurt either. With Brandon at RG and Morgan Moses at RT there should be holes open on the right side and left this year. As long as everyone stays healthy and they continue to mess as a unit this could become a very physical mauling line. Better protection, better running game equals better offense as a whole. Trent Williams has lost 30 lbs. and looks like he's ready to have another pro bowl type season.

Defensive Line: This line has also gotten younger, bigger and more physical from last year. the same goes for this line that said for the O-line. The defense will only be as good as this unit. With two new pieces on the D-line this preseason is gonna be vital for them to mesh and gain chemistry. I saw some good penetration, holding of point of attack and a more aggressive pass rush. If they can learn each others tendencies and use it to their advantage...well as Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton said " We're gonna be the hammer and not the nail". I love that saying. Very real and true statement. In order for this team to become better we have to force the action instead of always reacting.

Perry Riley Jr. is a consistent player but for this defense to be
as effective as possible plays need to be made and he just hasn't
made any yet.

Linebacker: To me this position has gotten upgraded the most with the additions of  Junior Galette, Rick Jean Francois and the rookie Preston Smith. I feel comfortable saying that we should be able to get better constant and steady pressure on opposing QBs. I love Perry Riley Jr. but he has limited ball skills and rarely makes a game changing play, if ever. I love Will Compton's motor, skills and heart. I believe if he gets another opportunity to start at ILB in 2015 I don't think he'll be coming out again.  This unit looked solid for the most part at getting pressure, setting the edge and stopping the run which are keys to success in the NFL.

Secondary: With the back end of the defense so banged up (as of today 5:20 pm 8/16/15) DeAngelo Hall went down at practice again. It's hard to even give an effective observation with all the changes. They even have a WR Quinton Dunbar playing CB and he actually did ok. He did get beat on a slant route for a first down but that just tells you how thin we are right now. Once everything and everybody works itself out this whole defense could and should be much improved this year as opposed to last. As of right now the safety position is set at one spot, Dashon Goldston seems to have taken the lead in the competition. He has good ballhawking skills and loves to hit. He has a nasty streak and that is something this defense/team desperately needs.

   As always thanks for reading and stay tuned for more articles, game recaps and insights on the Redskins. You can follow me on Twitter @TattooedScorpio or friend request me on Facebook @ PorterIII. Always love talking football with the best fans in the world. HTTR

Friday, August 14, 2015

Redskins vs. Browns: Initial Thoughts

RGIII and Alfred Morris hope to pound the ball down the Brown's throat. Photo: David Richard AP
 I wanted to watch the game a second time before I did my first big write up on the year for the 'Skins. But unfortunately, I started watching the game 1-2 hours after it started (thanks to the real job and that I actually watched Redskins Kickoff on CSN before starting the game). So, it made it hard to get to a second viewing last night.

So instead, here's some initial thoughts on the game with a write up that should come later tonight.

1. RGIII - So (as always), the top story will be about how RGIII did last night. I thought he was good, not great, but not terrible. More or less what you expect for a player playing his first "real" game this season. I thought Robert did an excellent job with the bootleg pass to Ryan Grant and the bomb to Garcon was very close to where it should have been. I also didn't mind him running for a 1st down despite getting tackled and taking a hit.

Did he miss a few passes and open players last night? Yes.
Did he throw a couple of passes behind a couple of receivers? Yes.
Was it his fault that Garcon dropped his long pass? No.

Robert looks much more comfortable in the pocket than he did in 2013 and 2014 so far. I also didn't see the "happy feet" (QB looks like he's running in place while trying to find an open receiver) that he showed plenty of times last year when he was confused trying to reading defenses and finding an open guy.

Robert still has a lot of work to do, but so far so good. He did what was asked of him for the most part.

2. Niles Paul/Silas Redd injuries - I hate to see guys get injured in pre-season games and training camp. I feel real bad about Paul in particular because I met him back in 2012 and got to hang out with him for a few hours during a CSA show in Chantilly, VA. Great guy. Paul had earned the starting TE spot this year. He had added 30 lbs to his frame and focused on his blocking to help the team get better. It's a huge loss for the run game and on special teams with him gone. Plus, the Redskins are going to have to sign a free agent TE to replace him and Logan Paulsen. The TE unit has no veteran leadership currently (sorry, Jordan Reed doesn't count, he's never on the field) and will have to rely on inexperienced young guys to fill in.

Redd was on the bubble to make the team with Alfred Morris and Matt Jones already as locks for the final 53. He was in the hunt with Chris Thompson and Trey Williams for those 1-2 final RB spots. Williams and Thompson fit what the 'Skins are looking for as a 3rd down back, but Redd would have made Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan make a tough choice on whom to cut.

3. Young Guys stepping up - Good to see some solid performances from the following Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Ryan Grant, Chris Thompson, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith and Akeem Davis. I missed a few players out there, so I'll have to go back and look more. That said, the young players are starting to step up and play well.

4. Special Teams still have issues - I'll put my punt return thoughts on hold since Jamison Crowder did not play last night. That said, the team still has issues on kick off and punts. Kai Forbath still struggles on kickoffs, which led to a huge return by Cleveland last night. It's something worth watching.

5. Curious to watch the D more - With certain situations in last night's game, it was hard to gauge the starting defense. Hopefully will get a few better looks in the next couple of games.

Keep your eyes peeled on Twitter for more comments on last night's game and stay tuned to IIWII. Later tonight/tomorrow morning should have a full GBU report on the game.