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Peterson Signed By Titans And Scores 125th Touchdown

Veteran running back Adrian Peterson was signed to the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad last week. On Sunday, he scored his 125th career touchdown in the Titans’ 28-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Peterson became just the 12th player in NFL history to reach the milestone.

The veteran was unemployed for the first eight football weeks of 2021. The Titans picked him up when Derrick Henry suffered a broken foot. Henry will be out for most of the rest of the season. The 2020 Offensive Player of the Year is expected to miss six to ten weeks.

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Categories Posted In NFL | Washington Football Team

The Loser Papers – 2016 – Edition VIII

With their backs against the wall, the Washington Redskins traveled to Chicago on Christmas eve, and soundly trounced the hometown Bears. Due to the holiday, TLP had given all their employees the day off, which is why this Edition comes to you on Boxing Day. Our first article comes from the pages of The Chicago Tribune: Read More

Categories Posted In Loser Papers | NFL | Washington Football Team

Halfway Through Hell Week

It’s unfortunate that we won’t get to revel as long as we should in the sweet delicious win that avenged our playoff loss last year. I can honestly say that if that is what a complete game looks like from this squad, then we can play with anyone anywhere. Not depending on injuries, not depending on the weather, and not depending on other teams helping us by underperforming. ANYONE. ANYWHERE. Our defense made the stops it needed, and our offense finally showed killer instinct by putting our foot on their throat in the 4th quarter. Dropped balls hurt us and there were two defensive delay of games penalties that left you scratching your head, but if that’s the only thing holding us back… then the sky is the limit.

I say again, it’s a shame to not get the full time to reflect on the good that was accomplished on the field this Sunday. However, with playoff implications all over these two games this week in the fact that one win directly affected the wildcard outcome and the other is necessary to repeat as division champs, we simply can’t afford to look back while we’re halfway there. Plenty of time to do that during our 10 day break before Arizona.

Dallas week is always a holy week of ritual and preparation as we ready ourselves against the hell spawn that dwells in that outhouse of a town called Dallas. While most of us are closing shop and winding down for a nice holiday, the Redskins are in a frenzy trying to prepare in what very well may be the most important week of their season. If they don’t get a break, then neither do we. So let’s review some of the elements impacting the skins:

Standouts

The easy ones to identify, and I’m sure every major sports outlet is already reviewing ad nauseam, are named Cousins, Crowder, Kelley. I won’t address the first two here and instead will let their excellence on the field speak for me. As for the latter, I’m already on record for calling for Fat Rob for a while so I’m very pleased with his emergence as our lead back. Something about him reminds me of Morris in how he’s a low profile player that never stops fighting for yards. Granted they are completely different running styles, but the result is the same. The beauty of this being that now with a running game to respect, and a DJax to stretch safeties, then there really is no good answer for our offense. It’s a paper-scissors-rock match of you can put eight men in the box to stop the run, but then we’ll burn you deep. If you pull your secondary back, Fat Rob is punching you in the mouth. Anything in between will suffer from Cousins’ best attribute of executing a quick intermediate passing game.

The player I would like to identify though is Maurice Harris. Something about the man just screams tough competitor every time I see him on the field. He’s had only four catches, but three have been on third downs to move the chains. He was only brought up due to Josh Doctson being put on IR, but at 6’ 3” he’s the tallest WR on the skins roster. With his crucial plays, including a heck of a leaping catch on a necessary third down where we were looking at our second punt with no points on the board, he’s looking like a foreshadow of a future in which the skins boast serious size at the WR position. Don’t be surprised if in a year our WR rotation looks like Garcon, Crowder, Docston, Ross, Grant, Harris.*

*Note, there is no DJax in that rotation and that there is only one WR above 6’… a trend in line with what McCloughan preaches: big men who work hard and are team first.

 

Injuries

DeSean “Glass Cannon” Jackson was yet again dealing with nagging injuries coming into the game this past Sunday. While he without a doubt is a force when healthy and has to be respected by defenses every time he steps onto the field, the Redskins offense is beginning to develop into a creature that doesn’t necessarily HAVE to have the likes of Jackson on the field in order to move the ball and put up points. We did that plenty against the #1 Defense in the league without him, but talent like his is boon when it can make it to the field. It was clear once the game started Sunday that his injuries would be of no issue, in fact he was played incredibly well. I look forward to seeing that again on Thursday.

Nick Sunberg on the other hand is an injury that cannot be dismissed. He has participated ZERO in practice due a back injury. McCloughan brought in a Free Agent, but make no mistake that will have little impact on this week. In fact, this has the potential to be a HUGE impact on our offense. Why do you ask? because of red zone issues. Currently the Skins have redzonaphobia and until that changes anything that endangers our field goal unit endangers our offense as a whole. Ironically, the offense is playing just well enough that our punt unit isn’t affected by this injury (Seriously, the Skins average one punt a game. Our offense is by far the most effective unit at avoiding 3-and-outs in the NFL right now) but is not playing well enough to be able to avoid relying on the field goal unit for salvation. The Long Snapper-Holder-Kicker is a tripod relationship based on timing and accountability and when we lose Nick, you can expect it to suffer. It’s no surprise that Gruden stuck to going for two against the Packers and I argue that’s not due to the wind. A bad snap/hold is a high risk with an unpracticed tripod, and if we’re gonna take a risk it might as well be a 2-point risk instead of a 1-point one. I know that our offense looked like a juggernaut against the Packers and the redzone wasn’t an issue then. One game alone does not break a trend though, and until we consistently walk away with 7 points injures like this will have a greater impact than they should. Taking into account the likelihood of a close game Thursday where every point matters, ask the Steelers how it feels to be down a due to missed 2-point conversions.

….. Other that that though, we’re looking great from a health perspective. Morgan Moses is playing hurt, but not that you could tell the way he he’s holding down the right side. Honestly *knocks violently on wood* our injury report (or lack thereof) is a bright spot for this team right now.

 

Schedule

The NFL schedule-makers — Senior Vice President of Broadcasting Howard Katz, Vice President of Broadcasting Onnie Bose, Senior Manager of Broadcasting Jonathan Payne and Senior Director of Broadcasting Michael North — have effectively stuck a thumb in the eye of the Skins this year in the form of our schedule. I REALLY hate the excuses of a short week, but the fact of the matter is the data doesn’t lie. Teams with short turnarounds generally play very poorly on Thursday. The fact that we played Sunday night as opposed to Sunday afternoon means we are in a direr spot because you can’t call Sunday night a restful one with players not leaving Fedex Field until 1am much less getting home till 2 hours later due to traffic. I was at the game and I can tell you I was dog tired the next day without playing 60 minutes against an NFL caliber team. So the exhaustion is real. Here’s hoping our skins can overcome basic human needs and the fact that they have less than 3 full days to recuperate. If there ever was a time to do it, it’s Dallas week.

Also, figures that four people with “Broadcasting” in their title who have never played a snap in the NFL would make decisions based on dollar signs and not on competitive balance. Thanks Goodell, really glad your crack team is at it again to ensure the best possible product is on the field at all times.

 

Weather

While Jerry World is an enclosed stadium so there is no issue of dealing with the same kind of elements the Skins faced this Sunday, I would be remise if I didn’t at least address Kirk’s play in the bad weather. The wind on Sunday was BAD. How bad? Enough that it impacted field goals, kick offs, punts, and Rogers’ deep ball. You know what wasn’t impacted by it? Captain Kirk’s throws. Maybe it’s a byproduct of growing up in Michigan, but holy cow can Cousins throw accurately into the wind. He explained in interviews after the game that it’s all about how he puts a spiral on the ball to cut the wind. I don’t care if it’s his spiral, arm strength, or magic pixie dust that’s causing it. All I know is that teams with quarterbacks that can play well in winter conditions do well in the post-season.

 

Fans

I was at the game this Sunday and even though the Packers always travel well, it was nice to know that their large numbers meant nothing as the noise levels from the crowds decidedly favored the Skins. That made me very happy. However, there is one area in which the fans have been loud that makes my heart very much the opposite of happy. For whatever reason, there still seems a lack of buy-in on #8 being our field general. You’ve read it in the papers, you see it on twitter, and you can hear it on the radio. For whatever reason, it seems like regardless of what Kirk does he always has detractors. I know you can’t please everyone all of the time, but there comes a point when enough is enough.

Maybe it’s leftovers from the RGIII era. A time when the Skins bandwagon got a lot bigger than it had been due to a media darling taking the reins of this team. Eventually after that historic season (a season that without Cousins’ two wins, including a HUGE clutch game against the Ravens, the playoffs never occur for us) we were left with a battle between Skins fans and RGIII fans. That fight continued to be fought bitterly and openly last season and the echos still reverberate every time a bad throw happens. The echos always sound the same way:

“He’s a game manager”

Yes, he’s a game manager in that he manages to win games.

“His arm strength isn’t elite”

Got three +40 yard passes into 20mph+ winds last Sunday that say otherwise

“He doesn’t show emotion”

Maybe because Kirk saw firsthand what happens when you make noise off the field and the harrowing vulture-like approach media coverage in the Washington area takes. In the land where everything is a controversy and back door conversations make it to the front page of the WaPo regularly, it’s no wonder he’s so guarded. He lost the popularity contest to Griffin, and had been cast as an unwanted stop-gap until a real quarterback comes along. GUESS WHAT FOLKS! A real quarterback isnt’ coming, HE’S HERE. You can’t crush every record not owned by someone named Sammy Baugh and not be the real deal. Saying otherwise is an insult to all of the other great Redskins signal callers who unanimously say Kirk is for real (No, Donovan McNabb isn’t counted in that group).

After the “You Like That” moment which was an outlier in the Cousin’s behavioral displays last year, he’s started to show his true nature with “Ooooouuuuweeee” and “How do you like me now”. Which should take away the last bit of ammo the detractors had.

He can throw, he can read defenses, he can lead this team, and his desire to win is evident. All he has left to do is be successful in the last remaining test for a Redskins Quarterback, what is without question the most important indicator of a GREAT Redskins quarterback…. Winning against the Cowboys.

Finish this week from Hell Kirk, BEAT DALLAS.

 

HTTR,

@BryanK3ys

Categories Posted In NFL | Washington Football Team

Luckless Loss to the Lions

Rough Monday huh? Well that’s what happens when you lose a close game late. You get days like today, days spent licking wounds and asking what if? These are the types of bad days that you get when a team that has emerged as a contender loses a game that went down to the wire. Make no mistake, this is not a loss like in 2013 when we let the Lions snap their 0-21 losing streak. This was a loss to a respectable football club that came into their house with a winning streak of their own. A team that has a strong quarterback and a solid corps of receivers. A team that is good enough to win close games. A team that will punish you for being careless.

There were plenty of reasons why the Skins should have gone up early; the defense had a strong first showing and Cousins was playing with focus. Strong play didn’t mean much in the first half though as a series of the almost comic occurred. Thompson tripping in the backfield and scrambling from the line and Stafford using Breeland as a backboard to pass the ball 15 yards were funny, but the chuckles disappeared when we twice saw a Redskins ball bounce across the field on a run. Matt Jones spent a significant portion of his off season working on gripping the football. Fumbles had been an issue his rookie year and he specifically went out of his way to learn the five pressure points on the ball and how to ensure total ball security during hand offs. He ran through those same drills as part of his pre-game warm up. He had even JUST FUMBLED ON THE PREVIOUS DRIVE. Yet, he was still unable to avoid a turnover that deflated the team’s spirit and flipped the game’s early momentum.  A fumble into the end zone that blew our opportunity to go up 7… inexcusable.

(Though, if you were able to read Gruden’s lips when the cameras cut to him on the sideline you may have had a brief laugh.)

The Redskins defense did well to limit big plays and Norman kept the Lion’s receiving corps forced to either run block or take small underneath passes. Stopping the run was still a bit of an issue with Justin Forsett playing the role of ghost of Baltimore’s past but it served in line with the bend don’t break mantra. Indeed, Stafford took only what was given and slowly carved his way into field goal territory to have the Lions go up 3-0. Scherff had an injury scare and we had a 43-yard field goal bounce off the upright, but thanks to a dropped pass by Andre Roberts (good to know he’s now doing for someone else) we were able to go into the half tied at 3-3 with the knowledge that the kick off would be coming our way. Not a bad way to escape from what should have been considered a quirky half of football with a couple fluke plays. Nothing that we can’t overcome, right?

Wrong. Starting the second half, penalties on offense turned another chance to take the lead into a punting situation. In what would become another dagger in the Redskins’ defense, Stafford responded by challenging Norman on a deep pass. Norman made an amazing effort with a leaping defense and truly could not have played the ball any better, but a spectacular catch by Jones Jr and an awkward landing had both Josh and the skins defense crashing into the ground. We would lose our best cornerback on that play, and from then on in the game the deep passing game opened up for the Lions. Until that point we were doing quite well against the pass, however Josh Norman is THAT IMPORTANT to our defensive secondary and his loss would eventually contribute to the Lion’s being able to have their last second heroics. Don’t think so? Ask Carolina how fast it can go bad without him. Breeland would do his best but the defensive line would be pushed aside as the Lions claimed a 10-3 lead.

Being down 10-3 when you had multiple chances to lead the game is not a place you want to find yourself. Dominant teams don’t find themselves in that position, but then again we’re not a dominant team yet. We are, however, contenders. We have shown ourselves to be contenders these past 4 weeks by being able to scrap and fight our way back into games. We’ve never let games get away from us and we always found a way to respond when things didn’t go our way. The team that started the season 0-2 is no longer here, and we showed it with Cousins marching down the field to …. wait what!?!? WE FUMBLED AGAIN???

Yup, you see it doesn’t matter how much grit you have if you can’t hang onto the darn football. It’s clear from re-watching the play that the reason for our next turnover was twofold.  Jones came in with his arm flat on the hand off, and a tripped Cousins should have eaten the ball rather than risk a bad hand off, but regardless of the excuse, the result was the same. Down 10-3 going into the 4th quarter with 3 Fumbles (2 Lost), 2 Sacks, and a Missed Field Goal. Oh, did I say 10-3? Cause Matt Prater just kicked another field goal making it 13-3. Maybe it’s the Lions that aren’t putting us away and not the other way around.

As Cousins and co. responded by making their way down the field, I heard Desean Jackson’s name for the first time that day. *warning, imminent rant* I’ll give credit where credit is due, I’m glad Crowder had the day he had. It’s clear that McCloughan found something special and that he’ll be a contributor for many years. But why are the only names I’m hearing Crowder, Davis, and Grant? Between Garcon and Jackson, 20 million dollars of our cap space went unused. They’re the best receivers on the team, why aren’t they getting the ball? Don’t tell me we can’t force a game plan around a player, we just did it for Jackson last week against the Eagles. While I’m complaining about personnel usage, why the heck is Robert Kelly not getting more touches? The man always falls forward, hits hard, and he HANGS ON TO THE BALL! In fact, he hung onto it so well that it resulted in a 1-yard touchdown pass and cutting the Lions’ lead 13-10.

With new life the skins defense took the field. A sack and a near interception led to a Lions punt and a chance at taking the lead. The offense would have to be careful though as there was 5:20 left in the game and Lions still had all three time outs. The skins did a great job staying inbounds and keeping the clock running as they made it to midfield before an illegal formation penalty wiped away a 20-yard reception to Davis. It may have been for the best though as there was still 3 minutes left on the clock and eating too many yards too quickly would be bad. No worries, the running game would bring us to the two-minute warning in Lions’ territory with a fresh set of downs.  The pressure was on, but the opportunity for redemption was here. Yes, this was a game of miscues, but a score here and eating the clock would let us leave Ford Field 5-2 and be very much in the fight for the NFC East.

Cousins, finding an opportunity, broke loose and runs 19 yards to the end zone in a display a athleticism I doubt even he knew he was capable of. With a minute left and all three timeouts. The defense only had to keep the Lions from marching 75 yards, a task that should be within our capabilities. The loss of Norman would become very apparent though as a 28-yard pass on the first play of the drive would put the Lions at midfield. Norman had warned this week that Stafford could hurt people with his feet and he did just that on the next play gaining 14 yards up the middle. 20 more yards came as Andre Roberts stuck it to his former team on the exact route that he ran while dropping the ball earlier that day, and Boldin caught an 18-yard touchdown pass that would leave us with a 4-3 record and shaking our heads in disbelief.

It’s surreal, the idea that we could make that many egregious mistakes and still have been in that game. In a game with redzone fumbles, multiple turnovers, and missed field goals, the last second heroism by Cousins was encouraging, but should never have been necessary. The game never should have been close. Instead we allowed Matt Stafford an opportunity late and he took it for all it was worth. Just more evidence that the Redskins belong in the Good column, not Great.

4-3 is very different than 5-2. We still have a chance at the division, but it’s harder when you’re dependent on other teams losing instead of just you winning. Wins won’t come until we can learn to not turn the ball over in the end zone and they won’t easy until we learn to put teams away early. We can start though by getting refocused and ready to travel to London.  At least the one silver lining about playing there is we won’t have to wait as long until we get to see if the skins can put this tough loss behind them and go into their bye week with a win. It’s a rough Monday for everybody, but keep your chin up. We lost to a good football team off a series of bad breaks on fluke plays.

 

HTTR

@BryanK3ys

Categories Posted In NFL | Washington Football Team

Keys To Victory & Gameday: October 2nd, 2016 – Cleveland Browns @ Washington Redskins – 1:00PM EST

Keys To Victory

Keys To Victory

The Washington Redskins are currently #5 in total offense and #2 in passing offense.  The Cleveland Browns are giving up 403 yards of offense and 28 points per game.  Those looking for an improved rushing attack may be waiting another week as the Browns pass defense is its weak link.  The red zone scoring offense should receive a major boost this week.

Conversely, the Cleveland Browns are scoring 18 points per game while allowing 28, however, they are averaging over 6 yards per carry with Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson.  Quarterback-turned-receiver Terrell Pryor is a dual threat, averaging over 17 yards per reception.  Corey Coleman only has 7 receptions but he is averaging 24.7 yards per catch and has two touchdowns.

Fortunately, the Redskins have the secondary to cover Cleveland Man-to-Man with Norman and man-zone on the other side with Dunbar or whoever is starting and an actual free safety in Ihenacho as opposed to a converted and learning on the job corner in Hall.

Clearly and convincingly, the task at hand is to pass fifty times and stop the run.  Expect a lot of blitzing into the A and B gaps to contain rushing between the tackles.  It will be critical for the outside linebackers to not overpursue.  They must contain the edges and force runners back into the middle of the field.

Special teams needs to continue to be special.  The Redskins, who lead the league in fumbles caused, need to continue to force turnovers.

Overall, this is a game the Redskins should dominate and it would not be surprising to see them post 40+ points.

While not necessarily a key to victory, it would also be a great game for the defense to figure out how to stop the run as Cleveland will do a lot of it.

Categories Posted In Game Day | NFL | Washington Football Team

A Sigh of Relief

A collective sigh went out across Washington.  A win came when we needed it the most, and it’s hard to not be in good spirits with the end result. After a week of sulking and dreariness from a loss to the Cowboys, a win against the Giants is the kind of pick me up that you need.

It would have been easy for spirits to crumble given how the game took an early 3-14 swing against us. After such a strong 3 out and by the defense on the opening drive, we gave up such a crucial turnover on a botched punt. REGARDLESS of Dunbar getting blocked into the ball, if Crowder fields the punt there is no issue. In the end, that play by both Crowder and Dunbar would set up the perfect redemption story that they had yesterday with their special teams and third down efforts being the keys to victory. They spoke for the team by picking themselves back up. We would bounce back, show resiliency, and when we truly were hanging off the edge of the cliff in an 0-3 start to the season, the Redskins picked themselves back up. It was a tough win and a reason to hold our heads high.

There were some rough plays and rough drives in the first half.  Our defense had a terrible time stopping Running Backs and we kept giving away 3rd & longs.  There were some moments where we almost flashed brilliance with Norman dropping a near interception and Crowder on a 51-yard punt return to reset field position, but ultimately we would be staring at the wrong side of a 9 – 21 score. Again, it would have been easy to crumble, but we didn’t. Chris Baker started yelling at Joe Barry, DeSean kept pressing Gruden. Players were hungry, we still had fight in us. Immediately we charge down the field on two strikes to DeSean and right the reeling ship. WE’RE STILL IN THIS GAME! we seethed. Our defense kept the pushing with Will Blackmon ripping the ball the out of the Giants hands. While we would close the half by misusing timeouts in the final seconds or taking a bad sack, tthe game was still within reach and spirits were strong.

Lichtensteiger got hurt on the first drive and it would be the beginning of what would become a test of our offensive line depth with Lauvao joining him on the side line. One of the best personnel decisions on the offensive line was getting Ty Nsekhe out at LT and moving Trent Williams inside to guard. It was a great move that eventually won the day with our running game. Crowder breaking free on his screen for the touchdown is due to Trent Williams being the man blocking out in space. Him in the guard swing/tackle position is what’s best for the team given that we have a monster like Ty sitting on the bench otherwise. That’s not to say that Williams isn’t the best LT on our team, he’s the best LT in the NFL. It’s precisely because he’s so athletic and a guy like Ty is so trained/built to be a LT that you need to move Trent inside to keep our best players on the field, especially given that Long was our backup guard/center and we’re out both a guard and a center.

Did I mention we can’t stop Running Backs and 3rd & long is our Achilles heel? Cause in the second half it was more of the same of that as the Giants went down the field. Our defense made an admirable stand, almost forcing an Eli Manning fumble, and Bruton Jr. lost a maddening challenge that would have kept a 23-21 lead that instead slipped to 23-24.

Side Note: lip reading Jay Gruden’s clear, irate, and filthy side line language after challenges is my new favorite pastime.

The trick play on special teams was a gambit at the right time. It was too late in the game to being giving the ball back with a defense that has had issues stopping the Giants from scoring and points and time were scarce. Gruden made a gutsy call and Dunbar made a phenomenal catch on a surprisingly spiraled ball from our punter. I’d like to think the Tress Way had practiced that throw ad nauseam waiting for that exact moment to show the world that there truly is no better punter or pure passer in the NFL. Seriously, both of our kickers were outstanding yesterday. Dustin Hopkins putting all but one of his kickoffs though the end zone and every single one of his field goals (5) was through the uprights… It’s been a while since it was safe to trust our special teams and they did so much to comeback from an early error.

Like many of our trips to the redzone this season, we couldn’t capitalize with a touchdown after a great play that set us up in good territory. We did get back the lead thought with 26-24 and we went into a tightly contested 4th quarter. It would have been easy to lose our cool, it would have been easy to crumble. But there was fight in this team, they would not squander a chance to lead. We did see signs of slipping on the other side of the field. It culminated in the FIRST ejection due to two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Odell Beckham Jr made some deep gashes in yards but the Giants couldn’t help themselves and had a line man taunt after a hit to the back on Norman. The Giants continued to drive down the field on OBJ when a man by the name of Dunbar (heard of him yet?) made a one handed interception within our own 5-yard line to safe guard the lead and shake off the Giants assault. It boiled over with OBJ having a tantrum against a net on the sideline. Soon afterward an unnecessary hit on the other side of the field by a player you’ve never heard of before (and probably won’t again seeing as the Giants added him to the active roster the day before the game) saved us from a blocked punt and ensured that their offense would be denied the opportunity to rally for a little while longer.

Shout out to Sean McVay for remembering to stick with the ground game. He ran the ball more times yesterday (30) than he had all season (29). It’s amazing how much better play action is when the threat of a ground game is real. It also leaves defenses so tired that you can end games strong by eating 6+ minutes of clock on a running back’s shoulders. So keep it up and watch the formula that worked last season start working again for you this season. On Sunday it left the Giants with a little more than a minute to spare. The Giants we trying to march to field goal range. That’s when the wonderful new addition to our defense Sua Cravens stepped up and came down with an Eli Manning interception when we needed a big play the most. An excellent end to an exciting game.

Cleveland is a stronger team than their record suggests. They’ve had some bad breaks with their kicker but otherwise they’re playing good football and we are not a good enough team to overlook anybody. Beating teams that you’re favored +9 by Vegas is something that good teams do. Victory this past Sunday doesn’t mean we’ve proven anything yet, but it does mean that we can start to believe this team can play like the 9-7 Division Champs they were last year. Next week is an opportunity to reaffirm those beliefs.

 

HTTR

@BryanK3ys

Categories Posted In NFL | Washington Football Team

Game Day: Sunday, September 25th, 2016 – Washington Redskins @ New York Giants – 1:00PM EST

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Kickoff Temperature: 54 degrees, 5mph winds.

Categories Posted In Game Day | NFL | Washington Football Team

With The First Games Underway Who Is Already Looking In Shape?

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.

Washington Redskins

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, and 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.

Dallas Cowboys

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.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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.

Seattle Seahawks

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.

Categories Posted In NFL | Washington Football Team

The Preseason is Over

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.

 

HTTR

@BryanK3ys

Categories Posted In NFL | Washington Football Team

Gameday: Monday, September 12th, 2016 7:10PM EST – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Washington Redskins

gameday

gameday

 

Monday, September 12th, 2016 7:10PM EST

Television: ESPN

Radio: Sirius

Online: Game Pass

Tickets: Ticketmaster (3,548 available of as this entry)

Kickoff Temperature: 75 degrees, 5 mph winds

Line: Pittsburgh -3

Over / Under: 50

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Injury Report

Redskins

Questionable

DE Kendall Reyes (groin)—The story here is not so much about Reyes but what the Redskins will do on the defensive line. There are only six defensive linemen on the 53-man roster. Twice this week Jay Gruden said that there was no concern if Reyes is out because they might go with only five active defensive linemen even if Reyes is able to go. This would be a departure from previous seasons when the Redskins would normally go with six active on the D-line. This would create another spot for perhaps a defensive back or a special teams player.

DE Kedric Golston(back)—This injury just popped up today. Golston was held out of practice due to the injury. We did not get any details from Jay Gruden as he did not talk to the media after practice. In the locker room, however, Golston said that he would have been “probable” under the old injury designation. He also said, “I’m playing”.

WR Josh Doctson (Achilles)—He was on the PUP list from the start of training camp up until a week ago and he has just five practices under his belt and he was limited in those. It would not be surprising if it is another week or two until he makes his NFL debut.

RB Matt Jones (shoulder)—He declared himself to be 95 percent yesterday and vowed he would be a full go on Monday. It will be interesting to see how he holds up if he lands on that left shoulder again.

G Spencer Long (ankle)—It’s possible that the injury cost him his last shot at holding on to the starting job at left guard. The best guess is that he will be active and the first player off the bench if they need a guard or a center.

All of these players except Golston were full participants in practice on Saturday. Golston did not practice. OT Ty Nsekhe, who is listed as

Steelers

The Steelers are starting out somewhat banged, with OLB Bud Dupree on injured reserve and TE Lararius Green on the PUP list.

Out

WR Markus Wheaton (shoulder)—The fourth-year receiver would be the choice start opposite Antonio Brown if he was healthy but the shoulder has been a concern throughout the preseason. This leaves Sammie Coates s the likely starter.

FB Roosevelt Nix (back)—He is the only fullback on the roster but the Steelers will work around his absence.

CB Senquez Golson (foot)—The fifth of five cornerbacks on the depth chart, Golson perhaps would have been inactive even if he’s healthy enough to play.

C/G Cody Wallace (knee)—Wallace is listed as the top backup at all three interior line positions so the Steelers will have to hope that the starters can make it through the game.

On the practice participation report this week but not listed on the injury report: Starters DE Cameron Heyward (ankle), DT Javon Hargrave (Quad), and reserves RT Marcus Gilbert (elbow), and DT Daniel McCullers (knee).

Categories Posted In Game Day | NFL | Washington Football Team