Quick Links

Game Blog First Quarter

Game Blog First Quarter

First Quarter

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at Warpathinsiders@comcast.net

They played 60 minutes last time and Chris Simms wasn’t sacked. It took just two minutes into this one for them to nail him today. A good sign, no doubt.

There was a little too much French pastry, as the late Al McGuire used to say, on that formation right before Brunell had to burn a timeout on the first drive. Very fancy, a lot of shifting. I understand that they’re trying to get the Bucs off balance, but that seems to have been a little much.

Derrick Frost does tend to be inconsistent, but him air mailing that punt from the Bucs 34 into the end zone is not a good sign. I’m not quite sure what the risk is from there of angling it out of bounds. The chances of it winding up inside the five aren’t very good, but the odds of it going out inside the 15 are excellent.

“Gut and Power” Portis goes in for the touchdown after the Arrington interception. They didn’t get an interception against Simms last time around either. We’ll see how the young QB reacts to the rocky start.

I’m not sure how this replay is going to come out. It doesn’t look like there is any indisputable evidence there, unless there’ something in super-duper slo-mo to show a Buc touching him.

There wasn’t. Touchdown Washington Redskins. That’s six takeaways in less than two quarters. It’s not game over yet, way too much time, but it’s going to be very, very difficult for the Bucs to come back from this.

Antonio Brown needs to learn when to stay the hell away from the ball. It’s admiarable to try to keep it from bouncing back further, but not at that cost. It was very, very fortunate that the Redskins recovered that ball. That could have been a game-changing play. It’s also a ball that the Redskins would not have recovered earlier this year.

Quick Links

Redskins report card vs. Cardinals: Cousins cools off

Redskins report card vs. Cardinals: Cousins cools off

Here is my report card on various aspects of the Redskins 31-23 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. I didn't cover everything, feel free to hit on what I missed in the comments.

A

Week after week Pierre Garçon just leaves it out on the field. All he does is produce.

It’s getting to the point where you can say the same thing about Jamison Crowder.

B

After he struggled against the Cowboys, Rob Kelley was his normal self against the Cardinals. For Kelley, "normal" means getting a couple of yards more than the play was blocked for and popping off a few runs of 10-plus yards. It looks like Matt Jones will continue to be inactive and Mack Brown will continue to look for his first NFL carry. 

This may be a little high for Jay Gruden but I liked that he got angry after the game. He could be heard ripping into his players through closed doors after the game. If a coach does that after every loss the players will tune him out eventually. This was the right time for Gruden to play that card. His game strategy was OK but I might have gone for a touchdown from the one yard line in the first half instead of having Dustin Hopkins kick his second 20-yard field goal in ad many games. 

C

All hot streaks come to an end at some point and Kirk Cousins' run of putting up elite performance on a weekly basis ended on Sunday. Yes, he was under some degree of pressure on many of his dropbacks but even when he had time he just wasn't sharp. He did have some top-drawer passes like the 59-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson that set up the Redskins' first touchdown. But for every one of those, a couple of other throws missed the mark.

D

If you read much of what I write you probably know that I am much more apt to point the finger at the players for defensive problems than the coaches. But on Sunday the Cardinals were a step ahead of Joe Barry's defensive calls all day long, especially on plays involving David Johnson. Arizona had scored over 30 points just twice this season before Sunday.

The offense was bad on third down situations, converting just five of 11. The defense was worse as the Cardinals moved the chains on 10 of 16. And don’t forget that one other Arizona third-down try in the fourth quarter got them close enough to go for it on fourth down and they just about sealed up the game on David Johnson’s run. Just not a good day on either side.

Quick Links

There's lots of talk about Trent Williams at guard instead of tackle. Don't listen to it.

There's lots of talk about Trent Williams at guard instead of tackle. Don't listen to it.

With Trent Williams eligible to return to the Redskins after serving a four-game suspension, much chatter has emerged about the All Pro left tackle moving inside to play left guard.

Don't listen to that chatter.

Williams made the move inside to guard once this season, during a win in New York when injuries decimated the Redskins offensive line. He played well, especially considering Williams said after that game that he had never played guard in his life. 

For Washington moving forward, some fans want Williams at left guard and Shawn Lauvao sent to the bench. That would mean Ty Nsekhe stays at left tackle. 

A few problems with this plan: 1) Trent Williams is the best left tackle on the team, and maybe in the NFL. 2) Injuries are mounting up for Nsekhe and right tackle Morgan Moses, not to mention the rest of the offensive line.

RELATED: Nsekhe could move to left guard with Trent Williams back

Nsekhe left the locker room in Arizona with a walking boot on his foot. Moses has dealt with a severely sprained ankle since Halloween. A healthy Williams returning to the team allows Nsekhe or Moses sit and get the rest they need for their injuries. 

Further, on Sunday in a loss to the Cardinals, center Spencer Long sustained a concussion. His backup John Sullivan came in and handled the center duties well. 

Some might suggest that Long move to guard, Sullivan stay at center, and Lauvao go to the bench. That move has more merit than moving Williams inside, but still seems like it would be a reach. And now with Long forced to enter the NFL concussion protocol, it's unclear when he will be back on the field at all.

Another suggestion has been to move Nsekhe inside to left guard. Consider that Nsekhe has been a development project; he's bounced around lower professional football leagues and at age 31 only has six career NFL starts. Couple that with his size - he's 6-foot-8 - and it's a tall task to move from tackle to guard. 

Lauvao played poorly against the Cardinals, that's indisputable. But as much as some fans believe a reworked offensive line is the answer, moving those pieces is not very simple. Coaches and players like and respect Lauvao, and his play can only improve with Trent Williams back standing next to him. 

Like all things in sports, the situation will remain fluid. More injuries could force more changes, but speaking with folks that know the situation, do not expect to see Williams at guard when he returns to the field next week in Philadelphia. 

MORE: Gruden says Redskins "not even close" to thinking about playoffs