Here is my review after looking at the recording of the Redskins-Bengals game. The second half is here,go here to see the first half review.Third quarterThat was just a good, competent drive for the Redskins first offensive touchdown. The only thing of note was the last play, when Robert Geathers tried to take Morris head off behind the line of scrimmage, but the RB spun out of it and scooted into the end zone.Jarvis Jenkins had a big hand in making a third-down stop on the Bengals ensuing possession. He got into the hole and made the initial contact on BenJarvus Green-Ellis. That held him up long enough for the rest of the defense to take him down.You have to love the way Alfred Morris runs. During the second TD drive he just willed his way through a pile of bodies to pick up seven additional yards. He ran the last five yards with his torso parallel to the ground.The edge defenders have to play the option soft when Banks is in. His speed just terrifies defenses. Good adjustment by Kyle Shanahan to get him in there.Again, Morris. Hes stopped dead after a two-yard gain on second and five at the 12. But his legs keep churning and he moves the pile for enough yardage to get the first down.Had Griffins left foot not been a few inches out of bounds, his arms-out dive to the goal line with the ball touching the pylon would have been an all-timer.But they got the TD on the next play anyway as Griffin found Santana Moss in the front of the end zone with a pinpoint pass on the move. That tied the game at 24-24.Its hard to say for sure, but it doesnt appear that Josh Wilson was touched while he was on the ground after recovering Green-Ellis first fumble in 590 career touches. The all-22 might provide a better view. The veteran refs probably would have let the play proceed and then, since it was a turnover, take a look on the automatic review. But the replacements blew the whistle and signaled timeout very quickly so even if the Redskins had prevailed on a challenge, Wilson would not have been given very many return yards, if any.Fourth quarterThe Redskins twice got good field position after tying the score and twice they squandered it. The first one, after the fumble recovery, was torpedoed by a second-down sack. They got the ball at the end of the third quarter on a punt and that one ended with Mike Shanahans controversial decision to punt on fourth and one from the Cincinnati 44.One of the disadvantages of having Banks in on offenseblocking. Griffin ran on third and eight from the Washington 49 and came up a yard short. Had Banks been able to get anything resembling a block on cornerback Nate Clements it looks like Griffin would have been able to squeeze out another couple of yards and they could have kept the drive alive.Another thing to look for on the all-22 is DeAngelo Halls facemask penalty. It didnt look like he was close enough to Green to do anything to him. It wound up being only a six-yard penalty since Green caught the ball and got down to the 12 but curious anyway.I can see why some wanted pass interference called on the deep pass to Hankerson but I really dont see it. Mays was between Hankerson and the ball and he is allowed to maintain that position. Yes, Hank went to the ground but not until the ball did.It just looked like Richard Crawford was tentative in his coverage of Andrew Hawkins on the 59-yard touchdown pass. He didnt quite believe what his eyes were telling him and by the time he figured it out, Hawkins was well past him.Although they didnt go no-huddle, the Redskins were efficient during their 90-yard drive to make a game of it again. They got off 12 plays in about three and a half minutes. That is a switch from what weve seen in the recent past.On the earlier challenged touchback, the ball was just inches from bouncing in the field of play. Niles Paul was just inches, maybe a foot or so, from legally batting the ball back on the onside kick. It would be a stretch to say the Redskins are about 18 inches away from being 2-1 but it wouldnt be a huge one.The Redskins should have declined the delay of game penalty after Cincinnati took a delay of game from the Washington 36 after the 2:00 warning. Its easier to put a team in the hole from the 41 than it is from five yards closer in.The officials were correct (after being corrected) not to run 10 seconds off of the clock after Leonard Hankerson was injured after the Redskins were out of timeouts and already had received a free timeout when Evan Royster was hurt. The rules, however, do call for a five-yard delay of game penalty in such a situation.Another RG3 Moment happened when Adam Jones hit him out of bounds after a scramble. Jones went sprawling while Griffin remained upright. Goes with the Superman socks.Public service announcementplease do not work on the assumption that the guys in the TV booth know the rules. They dont. There is never, ever a runoff if the clock is stopped.
Redskins draft countdown
The NFL draft is 65 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how they might fit in Washington.
40-yard dash: TBD
Projected draft round: 1
What they’re saying
Tremendously explosive and passionate in his play. Former high school track sprinter with good play speed. Screams off the edge as a blitzer. Always bouncing on balls of his feet just waiting to race to the action on a dead sprint. Plays with smooth backpedal and diagonal shuffle. Has a shiftiness that allows him to mirror change of direction in space . . . Scouts use terms like "winner" and "top notch person" to describe him.
How he fits the Redskins: This doesn’t take a whole lot of explaining. The Redskins have not had a reliable pair of safeties since they lost Sean Taylor 10 years ago. Su’a Cravens is moving into the strong safety spot. A pick line Baker could solidify the position for years to come.
His passion for the game is a big resume enhancer for McCloughan. He wants players who love football and Baker appears to fit that mold.
Baker plays fast, as in fast enough to cover slot receivers when called upon. McCloughan doesn’t much care for 40 times; he will judge a player’s speed off the tape. But it will be interesting to see how Baker runs at the combine.
At Washington, they sent him after the quarterback on occasion and I could see the Redskins doing that as well. Baker had three sacks last season and in a game I watched him play against USC he had two quarterback hurries that led to interceptions by his teammates.
Potential issues: At 5-10, 180 he is on the small side for a safety, at least one that McCloughan might prefer. His size gives him trouble if he must tackle a tight end or a big running back.
His play against the run is inconsistent. At times, he takes bad angles, can’t get off blocks and misses tackles. But at other times he sniffs out a play and makes a tackle in the backfield.
Baker might grade out to be more of a late first- or early second-round pick. McCloughan will stick to his draft board for the most part and if the value isn’t there in his opinion he could bypass Baker in favor of a higher graded player despite the need. Or perhaps he can execute a trade and end up with Baker with a pick somehwere in the twenties.
Bottom line: Right now Baker is Mike Mayock’s fourth-ranked safety. Malik Hooker of Ohio State and Jamal Adams of LSU are likely to be gone by the time the 17th pick is on the clock. Jabrill Peppers, Mayock’s No. 3 safety, is too similar to Cravens and many think he might be a better fit on offense. If they want to get a first-round safety it appears that Baker is the guy.
Certainly, Baker’s size will give McCloughan pause. They can bulk him up some but he could have a problem carrying as many as 200 pounds. Not only could he have problems dealing with bigger players, he could deal with injury problems.
In Baker’s NFL.com profile they compare him to former Colts safety Bob Sanders. Every season in which Sanders played more than 10 games he was a first-team All-Pro. Problem was, he only managed to play in double-digit games in two seasons. The Redskins will be wary of the possibility of getting bursts of great play from someone like Baker with some stints on injured reserve.
Over the next few weeks, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will grade each position group’s performance in 2016, break down the current personnel situation and evaluate the unit's outlook for 2017.
Starters: Duke Ihenacho, Will Blackmon
Backups: Deshazor Everett, Josh Evans
Injured/Reserve/Waived: Donte Whitner, DeAngelo Hall, David Bruton
Free Agents: Duke Ihenacho, Whitner
Rewind: The Redskins tried to get by in 2016 without a serious investment in the safety position. In August the plan was for Washington to start DeAngelo Hall and David Bruton at the safety spots. Hall suffered an injury in Week 3, Bruton in Week 4, and neither player would return.
Bruton's play was never starter level, and his replacement for many snaps came in the form of Donte Whitner. Once a great player, Whitner was past his prime, and though he got a ton of action for the 'Skins, was often a liability. Ihenacho missed tackles, but curiously got fewer snaps than Whitner. Deshazor Everett flashed in his few opportunities with the defense, but also rarely got snaps. Blackmon made some plays and gave some up, but fought injuries and was converting to the saftey position from corner for the first time in his 10-year career.
Fast forward: One big piece of the safety puzzle should come with Su'a Cravens' move from linebacker to safety. A physical, intelligent player, as a rookie Cravens proved a nose for the ball and a sure tackler. He will help the 'Skins in the back of the defense. What player lines up next to him will be a major question. Cravens does not have elite speed, and Washington will need to pair him with a safety that can handle deep middle coverage.
It's very hard to see Bruton or Whitner back on the roster in 2017, and Ihenacho seems like a long shot as well. After dealing with injuries for multiple seasons, Hall will need to rework his deal to stay with the 'Skins, something the veteran admitted in his locker clean out interview with the media.
Blackmon has another year left on his deal, and is a versatile option for the 'Skins defense. His natural position, however, is corner, and the 'Skins should effort to get Blackmon back on the outside of their defense. Everett deserved to play more than Whitner late in 2016, but didn't, which creates questions. Everett should at least get a chance to compete for more playing time in 2017. There is also speculation that Bashaud Breeland could transition to safety, but that seems far fetched.
It's important the Redskins look to bolster the safety position this offseason, be it in free agency or the draft. After the defensive line, safety may be the greatest position of need for Washington. Cravens has all the tools to be great, but he still is a young player with zero NFL experience in the secondary. Scot McCloughan should take steps to cement a solid player next to Cravens, as well as more depth at the position to sustain injuries, like what happened in 2016.