Here is my review after looking at the recording of the Redskins-Bengals game. The first half is here, the second half will be posted at 4:00 p.m.First quarterOn the first snap of the game, all 11 defensive players were within seven yards of the line of scrimmage. From the snap of the ball that was a touchdown, assuming that Sanu could throw a decent pass. He could.It was pitch right to Alfred Morris on the first play of the game, pitch left on the second. Ten yards on each play. Among others, Leonard Hankerson did a good job blocking on the first run, Josh Morgan did the same on the second one.Its hard to see how Trent Williams could have sustained a bone bruise on that second run. He stayed engaged with his man as Morris ran past him and then went to the ground. Many thought the injury could be somewhat serious as it looked like a classic scenario for ligament damage.There must have been some sort of a protection mixup on Rob Jacksons interception. Ryan Kerrigan just went through virtually untouched and hit Andy Dalton as he was throwing a little swing pass. Jackson saw the gift fluttering through the air and pounced on it, becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to get a zero-yard interception return for a touchdown.The Bengals had to overcome a second and 18 to start the drive that led to their second TD. They got most of it with a Dalton scramble. The score itself came on second and 20. Madieu Williams did hit Dalton on the blitz but he was a step and a half away when the QB released the ball. It didnt look like Josh Wilson, who had single coverage on receiver Armon Binns, misplayed the ball. He got caught flat-footed when Binns made his cut and he had no chance after Dalton threw the ball. Perhaps he could have taken a better angle and cut off the receiver after the throw but even that seems doubtful.After being sacked with 2:46 left, Griffin is in a pile that includes a few Bengals and tight end Logan Paulsen. The offensive linemen, all five of them, are standing and looking at the pile, all but Jordan Black at least five yards away. Although it was more of a coverage sackGriffin pumped, apparently looking to go deepthe optics here are not good.The next play was one of a few where Black looked truly awful. Carlos Dunlap made him look like a statue as he sped around him to RG3. Black wasnt perfect the rest of the way by any means but he did seem to realize that he had to do better.Second quarterTwice the Bengals caught the Redskins bunched up in the middle of the line on third and short and went to Andrew Hawkins on an end around. They easily got the first down both times.The Bengals fake field goala highly questionable call to begin withnever had a chance. Madieu Williams just stayed home and the holder turned runner ran right into him.On the fumbled pitch (which they still are calling a sack but its not as Griffin had no intent to pass) it looks like Griffin simply should have held on to the ball since Dunlap was on him so quickly. I am not sure why Morris didnt recover the ball. They had several replays, some of them from the right angle to see what happened but they stopped them before the recovery. The all-22 view comes out tomorrow, maybe we can see then.And, as the announcers pointed out, Griffin did grab Dunlaps facemask as the defender was on top of him in an apparent effort to keep him from going after the ball. Smart move or a dirty one? It didnt matter as Dunlap ultimately recovered the ball anyway.Niles Paul got off a nice block to spring Brandon Banks on that 55-yard return late in the first half. He didnt knock anyone to the ground but he got himself into position to get between the ballcarrier and the would-be tackler.
An Achilles injury robbed Josh Doctson of the bulk of his rookie season with the Redskins. After a strenuous offseason spent rehabbing and a clean bill of health, Doctson is ready to fight back.
"It feels good to be back out here with them and to be playing football again," Doctson said Wednesday at Redskins OTAs (full video above). "It's what I’ve been doing for a long time, it's why I’m here. I'm good at what I do."
Sure it's May and there was no contact, but Doctson showed how good he can look on Wednesday. He caught a number of balls throughout the two hour session and looked smooth in his routes. The second-year pro from TCU makes cuts while maintaining speed and balance, and the skills allowed him to get open a number of times to haul in passes using soft hands.
"Right now, so far, so good," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "I like the way he looks, like the way he runs and love the way he catches."
Late in the OTA session, Colt McCoy found Doctson for a deep touchdown. While the sidelines erupted, Doctson just calmly jogged back to the line of scrimmage and talked with coaches.
Doctson explained that to "show my teammates, coaches and myself again that I can play with these guys, play at this level, it feels real good."
The Redskins will need the 6-foot-2, 202 lbs. Doctson this fall. With the exit of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon, more than 40 percent of Kirk Cousins' passing yards left the Washington offense. Free agent addition Terrelle Pryor will be expected to pick up a large chunk of that yardage, but Doctson will need to offset that loss as well.
"He’s been impressive. I think the big thing for him is the confidence in his Achilles and I think he’s got that right now. I saw him out there today and yesterday, the last two days he’s looked better and better. It looks like he can run down the field," Gruden said.
Doctson described the pain in his Achilles as "pretty much non-existent now."
Never a good place to look for nuanced analysis, last season some social media speculation suggested Doctson was homesick dealing with his injury. That theory seems foolish, as the receiver spent the entire offseason in Ashburn, working out and rehabbing.
"I'm feeling good. I'm feeling healthy," he said. "I got after it every day. It’s a tribute to my hard work why I'm feeling so feeling healthy."
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On Monday, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that even though there have been a lot of changes to his team’s defense, there would be no grace period for them to gel and start playing effectively.
“We have a new defensive coordinator, new defensive line coach, new secondary coach,” said Gruden. “We have some new players on defense, some free agent acquisitions, some draft picks. They’re going to have to learn on the fly and learn to play together, which is going to be the biggest challenge for us.
“I don’t think patience is in the dictionary here in D.C. We have to be good now.”
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The defense had plenty of issues last year. They were 19th in points allowed but 28th in yards and 20th in opponents’ passer rating. The unit saved its worst for the most critical situations, finishing 26th in red zone defense and dead last in third-down conversion rate.
The organization responded by promoting Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator, hiring the well-regarded Jim Tomsula to coach the defensive line, and by bringing in some more talent. Their top two draft picks, DE Jonathan Allen and OLB Ryan Anderson, should contribute to the defense right away. D.J. Swearinger was signed as a free agent to man the free safety spot while Su’a Cravens moves from linebacker to play strong safety. Free agents Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee should bolster the defensive line along with Allen.
Cornerback Josh Norman likes the changes and is confident that the team will do better.
“We will be [good]. Fixed points, will be,” he said. “We’ve got guys that’s capable of being that, of doing that. They will do that and we will be better. We’re definitely not going to have the product that we had last year, that’s for sure.
“We’ve got . . . edge rushers out here that’s pretty darn good. We got some guys in the draft that’s going to help us out. In the secondary as well, we brought guys in that’s going to fill that void for us.”
MORE REDSKINS: OTA practice observations
In addition to drafting Anderson, the Redskins hope to have OLB Junior Galette healthy and contributing to the pass rush this year. He has missed the last two seasons after two Achilles injuries. The last two seasons that Galette played he had double-digit sacks each year and he was out participating in team drills yesterday, a good sign that he is on the road to good health.
“We’re going to be a whole lot better than we was last year,” said Norman. “The stuff they have us going, the scheme we’re going to be playing in is going to fit to what suits us, what we’re most capable of doing. I think it’s going to be a lot different result, the product on the field.”
A better defensive product on the field will almost certainly lead to a better overall Washington Redskins team. They will need to be better to keep up with what looks to be an improved and very competitive NFC East.