Sunday, November 29, 2015

Quick Prediction Redskins vs. Giants

I am unlike a lot of Redskin fans......I really despise the Giants. Most Redskin fans consider the Giants their 3rd hated rivalry behind the likes of the Cowboys and Eagles. It's understandable as the Cowboys are our "classic" rivals and that many* in their fanbase are obnoxious bandwagon fans who don't even realize that Dallas is in the state of Texas. The Eagles I also get. I have many friends, co-workers and associates that are Eagles fans and are fine by themselves, but you get a group* of Eagles fans together and it's like a pack of hyenas. They'd give their grandmother the finger during an Eagles game.

But, I can't stand the Giants. I'm sick of their smugness. I'm sick of John Mara and how he seems to control Roger Goodell like he's his personal Muppet. I can never forgive Mara for the events of Capgate and his "spirit of the game" comments, despite the NFL violating the uncapped year rules and colluding to keep the salary cap down. I also can't stand Eli Manning and his having a bitch fit because he was drafted by the Chargers, so his daddy and the NFL got him sent to NY.

Anyway......
The 'Skins are playing the Giants today and it's time for a prediction.
The 'Skins have really stunk it up against the G-Men as of late. I'm torn here and it's time to give you what my head and heart are telling me.

Head says: I've had this as a loss for awhile. Matter of fact, I saw the Redskins at the mid-way point to be 3-5, they lose to the Pats (duh) and then go 1-2 in their next three. So far, I've been dead on. I expect a typical crappy Redskins performance and a typical blowout type of loss.

Heart says: This is the game they turn things around. Beat the Giants and with exception to the Bears and Bills, the 'Skins could win the remaining games on the schedule (Cowboys, Eagles). At worst, with a Giants win, I see the Redskins going 4-2 down the stretch. An 8-8 season and the NFC East could easily be there for the taking. They will win today.

I trust my head here more than my heart, but you never know.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Saints @ Redskins Game Preview/Prediction

(Can Ryan Kerrigan step up and have a big game against Brees? Photo: Derick Hingle/US Presswire)
So, I had a six part mid-season breakdown that I wanted to get out this week and well.... life happened. Currently, I'm in the middle of part two of the series and I hope I will have the remaining posts out within the next two weeks.

Anyway.....

I was going to make a prediction about this game in part 6 of the breakdown, but since the game is on in just a few hours I figured I'd need to make a quick prediction.

So, I think this game will be one of the 3-4 games that I think the 'Skins will win in the remainder of the 2015 season.

Here's why:
- Drew Brees is not nearly as good outdoors than he is indoors. Brees will have a decent game nonetheless, but I think will be more likely to miss a key deep pass or get picked off at some point in the game.

- Jay Gruden actually has a decent record at FedEx. His teams are 6-6 at home, 1-11 on the road. Could Gruden actually have a winning home record after Sunday?

- The Redskins may have most of their starters back. With exception of the OL, the team seems to finally be getting healthy. For the first time all season, the Redskins may have their top three CBs active and healthy. DeSean Jackson may finally at 100%.

- The run game may be able to work this week. The Saints defense may be even worse than the Redskins in stopping the run. If Matt Jones or Alfred Morris don't get 100 yards this week I would be really concerned.

- Rashad Ross and the kick off return team might have a chance to break another big run as the 'Skins will be facing Kai Forbath this week. While I still like Forbath, we all can admit Forbath's weakness is his kickoffs.

This may not be a critical as the "Code Red" game at home vs. Tampa Bay, but it's pretty close. I have a feeling that this will also be another nail biting, frustration game for the fans. That said, I expect that Kirk Cousins will lead the team down the field on the final drive to win with no time remaining.

Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Mid-Season Thoughts Pt.1: Awards


(Cheer up coach, The Redskins are right where I thought they'd be.)
Hey folks, FedEx Al here.
I thought now would be a good time to jump back onto the blog and look at the 2015 Redskins so far and where I think the team is headed for the remainder of the season and into 2016.

Remember, back in June I predicted the Redskins to go 6-10 and after the first eight games, the team is on course to achieve that record. Now there has been plenty of ups and downs already and a lot of frustration because I feel that the team could have played better and possibly won 2-3 of those five losses. But, despite all of those fan feelings, the team is right where I expected them to be which overall isn't a bad thing.

I have plenty to write about when it comes to the team, but let's start off and give out some mid-season MVPs

(If only he could stay healthy for 16 games. Photo: Alex Brandon via Newsday)

MVP Offense: Jordan Reed
Reed is still not the best run blocker, but at least he has made an effort to improve in that area and it has shown. What Reed is known for though is being a pass catching machine. The Redskins offense is much different with him in the game and it gives Kirk Cousins a good target to find open on a regular basis.

Reed's only problem remains that he gets injured to the point that many fans consider him just being a bonus if he's active on game days. It would have been really nice to seen what Niles Paul could have done this season alongside Reed.


(Swaggy!!!!! Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP/via Washington Times)

MVP Defense: Chris Baker
In previous seasons I got annoyed by Baker's celebrations. The reason is that he didn't finish plays. Dancing while there's a loose ball or if a player is still not tackled drives me crazy (to be fair he's not the only player in the NFL to do this). In 2015 though, Baker has really evolved into a team leader who makes plays, finishes them and then celebrates. Baker won a starting job this year and has proven that it's going to be very hard for another player to take it away from him.


(Could Hopkins be the 2015 'Skins best free agent? Photo via Redskins.com)

MVP Special Teams: Dustin Hopkins
I think both the team and the fan base has a great deal of respect for Kai Forbath. I think despite letting him go, we still do. Forbath was incredibly accurate from  the 45yd. range and he could hit FGs that went into the lower 50 yd. range. That said, his kickoffs were terrible.

In many cases, that would be ok if the Redskins had a decent kick coverage team but they really don't. Matter of fact, the Redskins have one of the weaker coverage units in the league. So, the team made a change and brought in Dustin Hopkins, the kicker who lost the Saints kicking job to Zach Hocker.......the former Redskins draft pick who lost to Forbath for the Redskins kicker position.

Hopkins not only can kick FGs, but now can generate touchbacks, something the team desperately needed and has a knack of making successful onside kicks.

So, the awards have been given out. Now it's time to crack open this franchise and look at its parts, piece by piece.

Part 2 will look at the front office and if Scot McCloughan is having an effect on the team.

Part 3 will look at the coaching, both the good and the bad.

Part 4 will tackle one of the most annoying debates I've had to deal with as a Redskins fan/blogger.

Part 5 will look at the current roster, the injuries, the cap and who will (or won't) be back next season.

Part 6 will end with a final game by game season prediction and a brief look at the 2016 draft.

Thanks again for reading and sorry for not posting in awhile. Please continue to read and follow @TattooedScorpio both on here and on Twitter. I'm at @IIWIISkinsBlog and please share this if you like the article and feel free to leave comments, emails or Tweet me.

Hail to the Redskins!

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