Sunday, January 2, 2011, 7:15 p.m.
By Ryan OHalloran
Five observations from the Redskins season-ending 17-14 loss to the New York Giants Sunday:
1. Before the game, the thought here was quarterback Rex Grossman couldnt greatly impact his 2011 status regardless of how he played against the Giants. It may be time to amend that. With one quarter remaining, he had seven turnovers in his two-plus starts and that doesnt even account for the number of batted passes. Sure he eclipsed 300 yards and threw a 64-yard fourth-quarter TD pass to Anthony Armstrong. On the final drive, Grossman looked uncomfortable and the Redskins hopes ended when he overthrew Terrence Austin with 1:03 left. The Redskins coaches now have a huge decision to make.
2. One bright spot was the not just the use of two tight ends by the offense, but the actual USE of two tight ends by offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Entering the fourth quarter, Chris Cooley and Fred Davis had combined for nine catches for 73 yards and Davis 1-yard TD. Down the middle of the field, the Giants were burned by putting linebackers on both players. Getting both these players chances to produce next year should be an off-season project.
3. The Giants remain a bad match-up for the Redskins. New York rushes the passer; the Redskins offensive line is still building. New York gets the key turnovers via strip or interception downfield (10 takeaways in the teams two games); the Redskins dont. And the Giants get the huge play (like Mario Manninghams 92-yard TD catch) and convert third-and-longs; the Redskins have to nickel-and-dime their way down the field and play right into an opponents hands on third-and-long. The Giants have won six straight meetings by 16, nine, six, 33, 24 and three points.
4. One bright spot from the season has been that the Redskins discovered some young talent that could play bigger roles next year: Armstrong (although hes 27) and rookie receivers Brandon Banks (return game) and Austin (showed burst today) and running backs Ryan Torain (when healthy) and Keiland Williams (good hands out of the backfield). Thing is, there are still concerns about each other player and while having good futures, its probably as role players or as a change-of-pace sparkplug.
5. And so another losing season ends with a thud the Redskins have plenty of needs to address because they went 2-4 in the division and even though they improved their run total from four to six, this is still a flawed team. But where to start? On the last-ranked defense that still has square pegs trying to be fit into round holes? On an offensive line that was pushed back by elite defensive lines? The Redskins have picks in the first two rounds but then not until the fifth round and its a guess when free agency will start because of the anticipated lockout.
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