Well, as some of you may have seen, I tweeted in the early hours of Sunday morning that the Dolphins wouldn’t care for the QB controversy that the Shanahan’s created because it wouldn’t matter in terms of their preparation overall. If they could score first, they could play pass defense the rest of the game, and they would win. Well, that proved to be the case.
Kyle Shanahan did exactly as I predicted he would. When the Redskins went down 1 score in the first quarter, Kyle abandoned the run game. He ran a little more after going down than in previous weeks, but he still refused to run the ball. This was the same exact case last week against the 49ers (which I’ll get to in a moment) and previous weeks as well. It’s also worth noting that when Kyle has a lead of more than a score, he passes more as well, as if to pile on and try to put the game away. I’ll get into this later on (in my rant on another post) as well.
Well, we did enough to remain competitive for awhile. The team took some shots downfield where Jabar Gaffney hauled in most of his targets, and Leonard Hankerson (minus 1 target which led to an INT because of Hank’s slip) was outstanding. Rex completed some good second and third down conversions for big chunks of yards, under pressure, something Beck hadn’t proven to be able to do yet.
Now on to Grossman. While I love his tendency to stand in there and take a shot and deliver it downfield, I hate when he throws to a spot, because he becomes too decisive on something that might not be there (see both INT’s). But I saw on 3rd down twice yesterday when the Skins were in field goal range with the game still in their reach, Rex would run backwards away from a clearly faster defender and show no ability to separate from the defender, he’d just lose 10-15 yards on a sack, taking us out of scoring range. This has been the case in past games as well, but yesterday, it was brutally evident in 2 instances when the game was close. All in all, I give Rex a D+ for his performance yesterday. I can’t inflate it because it looked better than the garbage John Beck brought in.
Ryan Torain struggled yesterday immensely. I know he’s not getting a lot of opportunities with Kyle calling the plays, but he’s GOT to hit the cutback when the defense overcommits to the strongside, you can’t run into that pile and lose 4. He showed too much devotion to what he wanted, and not taking what was given to him. This is the result of impatience. I need Torain to settle down, because we’ve seen him anticipate and hit holes before. Yesterday it didn’t happen. I will give him credit for making a couple nice catches though. His hands seem legitimately better recently, and hopefully he continues to improve in that area.
I thought the O-Line played solid. They surrendered a couple sacks on overload blitzes, but a couple of those came from good disguises by the Miami defense. I think they tried to emphasize taking help by Will Montgomery away from Mo Hurt this week to see what he could do, and for the most part, I was pleased with his pass-protection. I did see Chris Chester miss a few obvious assignments in pass-pro yesterday though, which disappointed me, because he’s been stout there most of this year.
Fred Davis struggled yesterday, but there were a couple throws where Rex seemed like he was off with him and it left Fred looking bad while defenders made some good plays. He did have a costly, inexcusable drop though. Logan Paulsen on the other hand, is a much better receiver than I thought he was, but he drew two holding calls yesterday, one of which eliminated a Torain touchdown and led to the interception on the goal line. Paulsen needs to address his technique.
I liked what I saw out of the receivers for the most part. Jabar Gaffney was solid running routes and catching the ball, but he lacks that something after the catch. He’s a good complimentary player, but not a substantial starter on this team. Leonard Hankerson (before going down with what we today found out was a season-ending torn labrum) was having an outstanding game. I said last week that I hadn’t seen a receiver running routes this well in Washington in 20 years, and yesterday, he continued that trend. I was pleased with how well he worked between zones, beat press-coverage, lost man-to-man coverage, and at times, kept the play alive by breaking off of the end of his route to work the zone and give Rex an outlet. His ability to leap and snatch the ball and make acrobatic catches over the middle is insane. His hands have improved (as I said they would) and he’s letting the game play out instead of trying to force things that aren’t there before hauling in the catch. Prayers to a speedy and full recovery and for Hank to come back stronger next year as what appears to be our true #1 WR.
Defensively, I was pleased with them early on, except for the guys letting Reggie Bush MUSCLE for yards in the middle a couple of times. 3rd downs just weren’t there for us, and it appeared everyone (including London Fletcher) were struggling to play their spots vs. the pass. I was also displeased with the scheme in not jamming Brandon Marshall (although I think Haslett understood our corners would just get beat by the jam attempt). Kevin Barnes did a horrible job jamming the slot receiver though, and that ended up being our achilles heel. Brian Orakpo played well in coverage a couple times, and made some nice open-field tackles, including a key third down stop in the flat. Ryan Kerrigan had himself a helluva game yesterday against the pass getting 2 sacks and forcing a fumble on both of them. Perry Riley got the start over Rocky McIntosh yesterday and played extensively. Riley was able to record 4 tackles for a loss against the run, got good pressure on blitzes (which Haslett seems more comfortable doing with Riley’s speed), and was solid in coverage for the most part. He’ll continue to get better with experience.
I won’t even go into special teams yet…….
So there you have my thoughts on what happened with the Redskins yesterday. Feel free to comment, and follow me on Twitter @Sean_Bishop.