The Washington Redskins travelled to play the Carolina Panthers, and pretty much just got destroyed.
Before I get started on the offense, I want to bring up the defense. There were a couple instances when it looked as though Jim Haslett may have dialed up some dumb plays, some others where he should have dialed up more pressure. But the players as a whole didn’t execute, didn’t tackle well, and damn sure didn’t manage to play with explosiveness. The few plays that should have energized them, and a couple long drives by the offense to give them a breather, they seemed to come back out with less life.
Reed Doughty, as much as he’s an asset to have as a motivator and a leader in the film room and a solid tackler, does absolutely nothing to give you any comfort at SAFETY on this team. He’s too slow to jump from the middle of the field and assist in coverage on the outside, especially when we’re playing so much cushion coverage with the corners and giving up everything underneath. If you want to make him a coach, fine, but he’s really not suited to play in this league because of his speed.
Rocky McIntosh had possibly his worst game of the year, and it looked like there was no explosiveness. On the same token, nothing went right for Brian Orakpo outside of his unblocked sack… he bit too hard on the run fake and Cam Newton made him pay for it several times.
Now, the focus turns to the offense. And at the head of the offense, is Kyle Shanahan. I brought up the other day that Rex Grossman isn’t the sole blame, and this weak proved that. When the Redskins went down 10, in the 3rd, Kyle abandoned the run game almost completely. I understand you want to get back within 3, but the fact still remains, you have to buy the defense more time to rest and you have to give your offense a bit of balance. Kyle’s gameplan was weak yet again, but even worse was the playcalling. I understand that not every bootleg can go to the right, but you should absolutely never bootleg a right-handed QB to the left. I feel like those are plays where you should just hand it off anyways and hope for the 2-3 yards you might possibly pick up on them. And also, while blame shall be placed on receivers for dropping passes, we still know this group drops passes, and Kyle puts us in position to see these guys drop passes on 1st and 2nd down. I like showing confidence from a fatherly standpoint, but this is the NFL, not parenthood. I mean, it’s like Kyle heard Rex say he thought we have the best pass-catchers in the league and Kyle took him serious and believed it 100%.
Losing Santana Moss clearly hurt the team in the 2nd half as the defense focused on Jabar Gaffney, whom Kyle seems to favor anyways. I thought there WERE a lot of missed Pass Interference calls, but that’s still not enough of an excuse. Speaking of Gaffney, I was infuriated with his play at the end of the 1st half. He drops a pass he had in both hands deep down the sidelines with minimal contact, then on the ensuing play, tries to make a play over the middle and the ball pops out and we turn over possession leading to another FG for the Panthers.
The line played horribly a lot of the game, and with the left side revamped, I somewhat understand. I’d prefer to have speed back and put Montgomery back at Center and take Cook out altogether in favor of Willie Smith at guard, who can pull and make blocks on the edge behind the tackle. I thought Locklear did a fairly good job although he made some key mental mistakes.
Now on to John Beck. His legs are an asset, and he was VERY solid when scrambling and running the boot to the right. He also has good pocket awareness and uses his feet to extend and manipulate the pocket. He was a bit erratic throwing the football early, but he calmed down and became more meticulous in the 2nd half, and was VERY good throwing to the sideline. I hate to make comparisons at QB in this game, but his footwork is very Rodgers-esque, and his pocket style is very Drew Brees-esque. His throwing late in the game was very efficient, and you wish the receivers would have just made a play for him on his late incompletions, because very few were poorly thrown.
QB is far from a problem on this team unless talking about a backup and someone stable for the future. I’d like to find an Aaron Rodgers to groom for several years under Beck, who I am already buying into. I don’t know that we can call him anything like a winner or playoff bound yet, but he’s good and makes plays, he just needs a supporting cast before I start knocking him. I definitely think we can spend our draft picks on receivers, linemen and DB’s rather than QB if that clear answer isn’t available when we make our selection.
Last thing I want to point out is the INT in the 4th. Hankerson is going to catch a lot of heat for that one, and while I will blame him too, I also encourage you to down some salt on that one, because Hankerson showed a clear read on Gamble biting down in that zone and opened up top. But the ball was already in the air when he saw the bite, and he made the mistake and left Beck there to take the heat for the INT. But it’s yet another experience Hankerson can learn from, and I’m confident he can correct that issue going forward as well. Don’t give up on him quite yet.
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