Score more than 19 points. The offense is due for a big game and it needs to happen here and now.
Rush the ball more than 25% of the plays, the current percentage of running plays in the first two games.
Limit the Giants passing offense. Make the running game beat you.
Stop the stupid penalties.
On this day, September 23rd, way back in 1962, the Washington Redskins scored a come from behind victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Bobby Mitchell hauled in a 50 yard pass from Norm Snead in the 4th quarter to eke out a 17-16 win. It was a tough day for Snead who completed only 8 passes and was sacked 4 times. Mitchell caught 3 passes for 94 yards of Snead’s 147.
The Redskins went on to finish the season 5-7-2.
American football fans around the world are happy again now the 2016 NFL season is underway and, just like that, the first two games have flown by. There’s still a long way to go, with 14 games remaining but our predictions for the NFL season have the following five teams doing well.
Many teams were caught off guard by the Redskins, as they won the 2015 NFC East title. That may be bad news for Washington going forward as now the opposition will be extra vigilant when they come head to head. Sadly the Redskins haven’t got off to the best of starts this season after two home losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys with scores of 16-38 and 23-27 respectively. That makes the next game, away at the New York Giants, a crucial game so early in the season. However, there is still a long way to go and many experts expect the NFC East to be wide open this season. So despite two early losses, the Redskins are still in the hunt.
No other team in the NFL could have such a yo-yo like season ahead of them with so much depending on the fitness of their starting quarterback Tony Romo. The richest sports team in the world could have a decent season if Romo is healthy, or a dreadful one if he doesn’t. The first two games have represented that with a narrow opening day loss to the Giants, 19-20, followed by a win over the Redskins.
New England Patriots
Tom Brady, star quarterback for the Patriots, has now served two of his four game suspension and all things considered they haven’t done too badly without him. They currently stand as the top of the AFC East with a 2-0 record after beating the Arizona Cardinals by 23-21 and the Miami Dolphins by 31-24. With 15 games left to go there is still a large element of uncertainty along the way but New England will be hoping that things can get even better once Brady is available for selection again.
Also unbeaten at this early stage of the season with wins over the aforementioned Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals at 24-16, with many considering the Steelers to have the best offense in the league, they’ll be reassured that they have done their job so far in earning the wins. However, Pittsburgh may be concerned about their defence which could see them drop potential wins if they are outscored at the back. If their defence can remain focused there’s no reason that that Steelers can’t go on a run and challenge for a potential Super Bowl place.
Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett, Bobby Wagner, Jimmy Graham and Kam Chancellor form a core of players that need to be at their absolute best this season if the Seahawks are to live up to high expectations this season. Early results have been mixed so far with a 12-10 win over the Dolphins followed by a 3-9 loss at the Los Angeles Rams. With a number of players in the prime of their careers they can be legitimate Super Bowl contenders if they focus.
Sometimes, as a fan of the Washington Redskins, one cannot help but be pissed off beyond all words. The 2015 team led us down the primrose path of high expectations. The worst fans were predicting this seasons was a .500 record. The best laid plans of Skins fans had the team winning eleven games this season. Adding fuel to the fire were situations beyond the team’s control, such as Le’Veon Bell being suspended and Tony Romo suffering another unfortunate injury which kept him out of the week two contest. A genuinely false sense of security abounded throughout the fan base. Pittsburgh was going to be a tough game in any case but we were led to believe we actually had a chance of winning the game. (Insert expletive of your choice here.)
Dallas was a game for which no excuses can be made. The Redskins lost to an inferior opponent because they did not and could not make the plays winning teams make consistently. The team is now looking at a virtually impossible climb to earn a playoff berth and their team statistics say they will win six games or fewer. While it seems easy to place the blame on the secondary, Bashaud Breeland in particular, the lack of a consistent pass rush and an inability to stop the run make it impossible for the secondary to cover good receivers indefinitely. Eventually, any receiver will get open. The Skins had three garbage sacks and very few hurries. It may not even be legal to knock a quarterback down anymore. If it is the team had us fooled this week.
Ultimately, the game rests on the shoulders of the highest paid player in the league this season. Depending on which fan you ask, Kirk Cousins either missed three touchdowns or four. Either way, he is posting empty stats like they’re going out of style. Who throws for 364 yards with only one touchdown? Who makes that boneheaded throw in the end zone? What kind of quarterback stares down his receiver in the end zone when the defense has a limited field to cover?
What kind of jackass head coach abandons an effective running game on a 4th and less than one yard? The same kind who pisses away all of his timeouts before they are actually needed.
When I started writing this I had fully intended to make it some kind of reasonable and rational explanation as to why the team is now 0-2 but, quite frankly, I don’t have one and even if I did I’m so pissed off I doubt I could articulate it in any semblance of a cogent fashion. If this team doesn’t beat the New York Giants like they sexually assaulted their children I expect everyone to be fired. Gruden can’t seem to find his ass with both hands, a flashlight, a GPS, and a proctologist. Ditto, Cousins and the wide open receivers.
Yes, the defense is a complete mess but we knew going into the season that the front seven was questionable, to say the least. The plan was, necessarily, to outscore opponents. Two games into the season the Redskins high-powered offense is averaging a whopping 19.5 points per game. That’s tied for 20th in the league. The team can’t win games like that. The offense had best unfuck itself quickly. That begins and ends with Kirk Cousins making the plays he should make.
Let’s be honest. The 2016 Washington Redskins opened the season like a six win team. Maybe. 55 yards rushing. No passing touchdowns and two interceptions with that group of receivers some were calling the best in the league. Nine penalties. 30% 3rd down conversion rate. Zero for two on 4th down conversion attempts. Minus 5 minutes in time of possession.
This week’s opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, opened the season with a division game against the New York Giants. With a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back against a revamped Giants defensive line some were calling the best in the league, Dallas ran for 100+ yards, threw for 200+ yards with no interceptions, did not allow a sack, did not turn the ball over, committed six penalties, converted 10 of 17 third down attempts, well over 50%, and were plus 13 minutes in time of possession.
To say that Dallas outperformed Washington in week one is a gross understatement. Yes, Pittsburgh is probably a tougher opponent than New York but a team can only win the games it plays. Fortunately for the Redskins, or perhaps unfortunately as the Giants are considered the primary competition for the division title, Dallas lost their opener. The difference is they were in theirs with a chance to win right up until the end. The Redskins were in no such position.
|Net Pass Yards||290||329|
|Third Down Conv.||9-14||3-10|
|Fourth Down Conv.||2-2||0-2|
|Time of Possession||33:18||26:42|
|Net Pass Yards||203||227|
|Third Down Conv.||5-10||10-17|
|Fourth Down Conv.||0-0||0-0|
|Time of Possession||23:17||36:43|
Keys to victory, you ask? Don’t play like the dog’s unwashed bollocks. Everything has to be markedly better this week. If Jones can’t find openings on his first few carries, either give him more carries than the seven he got last week or get Robert Kelley in the game. If Cousins can’t get the ball to the midget patrol in the end zone, get the taller receivers and tight ends in the game and get Josh Doctson in the game. What the hell did you draft him for if you’re not going to use him in those situations? Scoring 16 points with this offense is a steaming pile of horse dung. It’s absolutely inexcusable, regardless of the opponent. If the team can’t post at least 24 points offensively they will lose more games than they will win. That falls on $20MM man Kirk Cousins. You gambled on yourself. You’re no longer playing with house money, Sporto.
Defensively, the Redskins obviously have to stop the run more often than never. Part of that blame can be given to the offense that couldn’t keep the defense off the field but even so, stop someone before they get into the secondary. Also, Deangelo Hall seems to be confused as to where he should be. He’s a step late virtually every play. I realize he’s learning the position on the fly but he’d better learn it quickly. Dez Bryant had a bad week last week and he’s undoubtedly looking to make up for it this week. Complicating issues, Sua Cravens reportedly has a hip flexor and may not play this week. Expect Duke Ihenacho to be active. Also, expect Jason Witten to have a field day with someone less mobile than Cravens shadowing him.
If I were to pull some numbers out of thin air, I would venture the following would result in a Redskins victory:
250+ yards passing with 0 interceptions. 300+ is a reasonable expectation against a weak Dallas secondary.
100+ yards rushing. That’s almost double last week’s output.
Control time of possession. Keep the defense fresh.
Allow under 100 yards rushing.
Cover Jason Witten on 3rd downs.
Be error free on special teams.
|National Football Conference – 2016 Regular Season|
|NFC East Team||W||L||T||Pct||PF||PA||Net Pts||TD||Home||Road||Div||Pct||Conf||Pct||Non-Conf||Streak||Last 5|
|New York Giants||1||0||0||1.000||20||19||1||3||0-0||1-0||1-0||1.000||1-0||1.000||0-0||1W||1-0|
|Rk||Team||G||Pts/G||TotPts||Scrm Plys||Yds/G||Yds/P||1st/G||3rd Md||3rd Att||3rd Pct||4th Md||4th Att||4th Pct||Pen||Pen Yds||ToP/G||FUM||Lost||TO|
|1||New Orleans Saints||1||34||34||65||507.0||7.8||27.0||4||11||36||1||1||100||7||53||29:35||2||1||-1|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||1||33||33||70||413.0||5.9||26.0||5||14||36||2||2||100||6||46||31:06||0||0||-1|
|8||San Diego Chargers||1||27||27||69||388.0||5.6||25.0||7||15||47||0||0||0||5||30||34:01||0||0||+1|
|Rk||Team||G||Pts/G||TotPts||Scrm Plys||Yds/G||Yds/P||1st/G||3rd Md||3rd Att||3rd Pct||4th Md||4th Att||4th Pct||Pen||Pen Yds||ToP/G||FUM||Lost|
|2||New Orleans Saints||1||35||35||64||486.0||7.6||25.0||4||11||36||0||0||0||14||141||30:25||1||0|
On this day, September 16th waaaaay back in 1937, the Washington Redskins defeated the New York Giants 13-3 at Griffith Stadium.
This game could quickly and concisely be described as a “Riley Smith” game. After all, the Redskins opened the scoring when Riley Smith kicked a field goal in the first quarter. The Giants tied it at three with their own field goal in the second quarter and it stayed that way until the 4th quarter when Riley Smith intercepted a pass and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown. Which Riley Smith then converted to make the score 10-3 Redskins. Riley Smith added a field goal late in the fourth to make it 13-3 and put the game out of reach.
Despite the great game by Smith, this game has more historical significance.
First of all, it was the very first time that the WASHINGTON Redskins beat the New York Giants. While they had beaten the Giants three times before in the franchise’s five year tenure, it was while they were in Boston – once as the Boston Braves (14-6, October 9, 1932) and twice as the Boston Redskins (21-20, October 8, 1933; 14-0, December 6, 1936).
But most significantly, this game marked the debut of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh – the rookie tailback sensation from Texas Christian University – and the Redskins first round draft pick.
He played a full sixty minutes, and completed 11 of 16 passes for 115 yards. It wasn’t earth shattering, but it WAS the beginning.
The Redskins finished the season 8-3, and went on to win their first World Championship by beating the Bears 28-21.
Flashback Friday is a great excuse to slide in this fantastic vintage Sammy Baugh advertisement!
Follow me on Twitter @TheHogsDotNet
The Preseason is over.
I say again, the preseason is over. While this may seem like an obvious statement, it bears repeating as I hope to make it clear that reality has now set in with regard to who we are and how we’ll fare this season. Sure we looked good in the second halves of every preseason and we had a nice outing during Week 3. We had positive energy, good team building activities, and all the make-up of a Disney story of friendship. Heck, we even go positive predictions from ESPN and FOX during the past few weeks. A quality practice squad doesn’t suit up on game day though, and coaches don’t tip their playbooks during meaningless games. The preseason doesn’t prepare you for 60 minutes of elite offensive and defensive linemen slamming into you with reckless abandon. The preseason doesn’t have coaches pinpoint your weaknesses and exploit them repeatedly for massive gain and momentum. What unfortunately is the worst part, the preseason doesn’t hand out losses that impact how other teams will prepare for you. So make no mistake about it, the pre-season is over and our Skins reminded us all of that fact on national television.
The Redskins last season were near historically bad at stopping the run last season, at 4.7 yards per attempt (YPA) they were second only to 1959 when we allowed 5.48 YPA. How did we address this fact? We let our biggest lineman walk, replaced him with aged veterans, and moved our oldest and longest tenured skin into a more robust role. While we had one of the deepest drafts at defensive line available this year, we instead chose to focus on luxury picks and wait till the back end of the draft to take a total of one (1) new defensive lineman. I know this is heresy to question a McCloughan draft but after last night it’s warranted because where is all that talented lineman at? Why improving the quality of our practice squad, that’s where. Ziggy Hood, with all considerable and earned respect due to the man, starting at defensive end is a wonderful example of why the Skins, regardless of how nice we did last year, are still a far cry from being a contender in the NFL. Ziggy Hood, a former first round pick, played tremendous ball for Pittsburgh when they drafted him. He played an amazing 5 years for them and then was released. Why? Because teams that are contenders are always getting stronger, faster, and younger in the trenches while teams like the Skins are sifting through the discount bin hoping like hell to find something worthwhile. You can’t preach getting bigger (looking at you Scot) and then ignore the gaping holes in your defensive line as well as the talent available to you in the draft. If you truly thought that all that was available to you were projects that need time to develop then take them and start developing. I don’t mind getting gashed in the name of learning and growth, but instead we decided to roll the dice on vets. What did that get us? 4.9 YPA when defending the run against the Steelers. Congratulations! We got a head start at breaking records!
This is the part where I’d mention our running game, but seeing as all they could muster is 55 yards. I’ll cover the subject in its entirety in 55 words:
Five million was the cost to keep our best rusher since Clinton Portis. We added no new offensive linemen and somehow expected better results when adding several did wonders last season. You can’t force a team to stop playing zone coverage when they don’t have to respect the run. The offense was dead on arrival.
And on the offense note, Kirk…. I don’t need to spend $20 million on a quarterback who can’t make throws to open receivers or floats balls to middle linebackers. Everyone gets a bad game and in truth the defensive tactics to stay in zone coverage were phenomenal at ensuring that we had nothing deep and no yards after catch (YAC). Great quarterbacks don’t care about that though, great quarterbacks aren’t beaten without ever even countering the defensive coordinator’s game plan. In the game between Kirk’s Long Term Deal vs Management’s wait and see approach, Management is up 1- 0.
In case you’re wondering, there’s seven (7) ways/route trees to beat zone coverage – Four Verticals, Double Smash, All Post, Double Out, Levels, Corner/Deep Out, and Man Beater. What did we do? Check down to the middle of the field or sideline out where in both cases our receivers were immediately swarmed and stopped. The goal of Cover defense is to allow JUST THAT, small dinks and dunks to midfield or 5 yard sideline mark stopped for minimal YAC. Don’t you just love it when the opposing team’s plan comes together?
Which brings me to my final point in this rant of tough love and sober reality check. Coaching.
We got beat the most not on the field but on the sideline. Joe Barry could NOT get his squad off the field. Third and Fourth down conversions were a dime a dozen and we couldn’t respond to anything they threw at us. The Fourth down conversions are the best example of this seeing as they ran THE SAME PLAY multiple times and punished us with conversions and points on the board. I understand losing a jump ball, I understand losing a tough push in short yardage situations, but when the offensive coordinator can keep churning out the same formation and leaves your players looking like they need a few more weeks at training camp, that’s on YOU. We made NO second half adjustments, and we had ONE three and out…. On the first drive of the game. Do you know why? Because good coaches identify what doesn’t work and they adjust, bad ones leave you watching the same play on repeat with worse results each time. Offensively, we had early opportunities to get up 14-0 with turnovers and a bit of luck. Instead we settle for 0-6 and then regressed as the same play calls got less and less yards each time. Contenders punish teams that allow turnovers, contenders counter everything thrown at them, and losers kick field goals. … Guess which category we fall into?
The preseason is over Redskins, we’ve begun a new one where it’s supposed to no longer be good enough to try our best and take home moral victories. We claimed to be contenders, we claimed to be up to the challenge that our schedule will be this year; from the practice squad to the GM… it’s time to start acting like it.