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GameBlog vs. Jets--Final

GameBlog vs. Jets--Final


Pregame

It’s sort of like RFK now in that they seem to have settled in to a pregame routine here at FedEx Field. You get a number from the cheerleaders, then the Redskins Marching Band performs, then the player introductions (as a team, no individuals) complete with the waving flags and the infernal fireworks. After years of trying a bunch of different things, you can set your watch by it now.

No major physical changes at FedEx either. They did something with the luxury suites, the windows are gone, probably to return when the cold weather does. I can’t see the very top level from here in the press box, so perhaps Daniel Snyder put some seats on top of that wind fence up there (hey, they’re not obstructed view).

Brandon Lloyd’s gametime decision was to wear his hat with the bill facing frontward.

First Quarter

David Frost is kicking off for the Redskins. Tyler Jones did last week, which made little sense because he is unlikely to be on the team. Frost got a decent kick and made a TD-saving tackle at midfield.

A blitz and sack on Patrick Ramsey’s first snap. You think that they knew that he doesn’t react well under pass rush pressure?

As one of our contributors here dubbed him, “Frostee the Rollman” is true to his name as he gets about 15 yards of roll off of a good bounce on a punt that will go in the books as a 56-yard boomer with no return. He’ll take it any way he can get it. Three minutes in he’s the star of the game.

Nice open field tackle by Pierson Prioleau on a quick out. Give Carlos Rogers an assist as he forced the receiver back into the middle of the field, giving Prioleau the opportunity.

Another key Redskin down long enough to cause a TV timeout, but Cornelius Griffin ran off the field so it didn’t seem to be anything serious.

Kenny Wright is playing like someone who has a chance to start on opening day. He got the sack on Ramsey on the first play, made the tackle on the second play, and just did a nice job of batting away a first-down pass attempt.

Marcus Washington looked like a bull-rushing defensive tackle as he pushed back an interior lineman and got to Ramsey just as he was releasing the ball. He havoc just waiting to happen to the other team’s offense.

If you want to see a receiver going deep in this offense, look at the numbers on the field. That’s where the one that Lloyd made a good catch on last week went and that’s where Brunell’s 28-yarder to Antwaan Randle El just went. They’re staying out of the traffic in the middle of the field and not pushing Brunell’s arm strength by going to far out to the sideline.

Danny Smith is getting plenty to get annoyed with on special teams. There was the opening kickoff that nearly went all the way, a personal foul that turned a Jet 15-yard punt into a 30-yard net and a holding call on another punt that cost some 25 yards in field position after a nice return by Mike Espy.

Everyone is talking about Betts filling in should Portis miss any regaulr-season action, but Rock Cartwright will play a key role as well. Betts hasn’t shown that he can carry a 25-30 carry load, so Cartwright will have to get some significant carries to give him a rest.

Second Quarter

Just like with the flea flicker last week, the Redskins were made to pay for their aggressive nature as the Jets got a TD on a 61-yard reverse. It was well-executed by the Jets, but someone didn’t stay home.

Jason Campbell is in the game with the first-team offense. A little bit of nerves apparent as an easy toss to Cartwright was high.

More nerves as his second pass is picked off. He tried to force it in to Thrash and it ended up right in the bread basket of a Jet. A sideline lecture by Bill Lazor on what went awry there ensued. That was a rare opportunity for Campbell, being in with the starters, he needs to take advantage of those.

The Jets are pulling out all the stops here. The reverse, an onside kick, and then a fake punt, sort of, where the punter made the decision to kick the ball after it was apparent that he wouldn’t make the first down. A three-yard net punt was the result. They should save some of this for the regular season.

A couple of solid Campbell passes lead to the Redskins’ first touchdown of 2006. With a rusher in his face after a bootleg he stopped and fired to David Patten for 15 and then he went to James Thrash for 20 as he was being getting knocked down. He was operating with the Redskins’ second-team offense against the second and third string Jet defenders.

More reason for Smith to be steamed as the Jets take back a kickoff for a touchdown. Actually, he’s looking more befuddled than angry at the moment. There will be plenty of time to dish out tirades in the film room on Monday.

Sellers was the lone back on one snap and got eight yards straight up the middle. From the same formation (with Nemo Broughton lined up at wide receiver), he carried twice more for 12 and six yards. He’ll be a fantasy stud, I tell ya.

Sean Taylor’s recognition skills are improving. On a first-down pass he closed quickly and made the tackle to keep the gain to three yards. The next play was a run up the middle and he stayed back instead of flying up to make a play that was already being made by the middle of the line.

Brooks Bollinger is running for his life and making the most of it. He ran for nine to convert a third and seven, picked up 15 more with a late hit flag and then ran for 25 more. Those things happen, but you’d like to see more out of the defensive line, which is playing with a mix of starters and backups.

Third Quarter

Maybe Al Saunders won’t run the same play twice in the same month when the season starts, but he sure isn’t hesitant to call the same thing a few times in a row tonight. We had Sellers’ three blasts earlier and then the same play to Broughton three times in succession.

It looks like the Redskins coached up Mike Rumph’s tackling skills in a hurry. He made a couple of solid open-field stops, although he’s hitting a bit high. Of course, it would be nice if his coverage would improve so that he wouldn’t have to make those tackles to begin with.

The Jets are just chewing up the third quarter. They’re converting third downs and a fourth down, getting key scrambles by Bollinger, and generally putting on a classic display of ball control. That field goal drive ran 23 plays, 76 yards, 11:58 elapsed. The Funky Four had to wait until just 20 seconds remained in the third quarter to do their thing.

Last week’s game was sloppy but it wasn’t because there were a lot of penalties. This week, the laundry is flying. There were eight accepted penalties in the first half and I think that there were at least five more on that long Jets drive. And we haven’t even gotten into the true garbage time yet.

Mike Espy isn’t doing much to strengthen the case he made for a roster spot last week. He’s dropped a couple of catchable balls and hasn’t done much on returns even though he’s been back on every New York kick.

Fourth Quarter

The night’s attendance is around 65,000. That sounds impressive until you realize that the stadium is only 2/3 full with a crowd that size.

Christian Morton seems to have played his way down the depth chart. He didn’t go in until after two players acquired just this week, Mike Rumph and Julian Battle, were deemed to be done for the night.

The Jets have now fumbled five times and lost none of them.

John Eubanks is another corner who is playing himself out of a job. He left his man as Kellen Clemens was scrambling out of the pocket and Clemens found Reggie Newhouse for six points.

Todd Collins now gets a chance to remove that bad taste that must be lingering in his mouth from last week. Campbell was inconsistent tonight and a good show by Collins will put some more zing into the battle for the #2 QB job.

After Robert Johnson left the game with a sprained ankle, Buck Ortega got his opportunity and he made the most of it, catching a 30-yard touchdown pass on fourth and ten. It helped that the linebacker attempting to cover him had no clue as to how to do so, but Ortega made the catch and run. You have to wonder if a 227-lb tight end has a place on the team, but you never know.

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Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Need to Know: Redskins’ Friday draft picks could be just as vital to success as first-rounder

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, April 23, four days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 10
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 31
—Training camp starts (7/27) 95
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 140

In search of someone, anyone, to stop the run

One of the areas the Redskins needed to improve last year was their rushing defense on first down. In 2015, they gave up a league-worse 5.0 yards per carry on first down. That was the worst performance in the league. It’s pretty tough to play defense when a handoff makes it second and five. The Saints, who had a historically bad defense that year, were second, fiving up 4.8 yards a pop.

Well, it was no better for the Redskins defense in 2016. Again, they gave up 5.0 yards per carry on first down, again the worst performance in the league.  Remember, this is on first down, when teams are most likely to run.

The Redskins’ problems on third down were well known. They were dead last in the league allowing first downs on 46.6 percent of third-down attempts. For context, an average performance on third down is allowing about 38 percent and the best teams are around 35 percent.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, however. The Redskins weren’t very good at getting teams to third down. They allowed first downs on 33.8 percent of their opponents’ second-down plays. That put them in the bottom third of the league. Again, you don’t have to look too hard to connect the dots to link that back to the five yards per rushing play on first down. Second and five is a piece of cake most of the time.

You don’t need an advanced degree in statistical analysis to figure out that the Redskins defense isn’t going to get much better if they can’t stop teams from running the ball on first down.

It’s easy to point to the defensive line, which has not been very good, and say that the problem is there. That certainly has something to do with it. But the Redskins didn’t have a very good D-line in 2014 and they allowed 4.1 yards per first-down rushing attempt, a performance that was right at the league average.

The factor that was common in 2015 and 2016 and was different in 2014 was the defensive coordinator. It’s possible that opposing teams found a flaw to exploit in Joe Barry’s scheme that wasn’t there in Jim Haslett’s (which surely had flaws in other places).

But X’s and O’s can only get you so far. The Redskins will be looking to take a defensive lineman early and perhaps use an additional pick or two at the position later in the draft. While getting one who can rush the passer would be a plus, they need a run stuffer who can take snaps on first down and bottle up the ground game.

The focus in the draft will be on the first-round pick but, as has been discussed here many times, that pick is unlikely to be a defensive lineman. There isn’t likely to be one at 17 who would represent good value. That could mean that the Redskins’ second- or third-round pick, perhaps an interior lineman like Caleb Brantley of Florida, Larry Ogunjobi of Charlotte, or Montravius Adams of Auburn, is just as important to the team’s success as the first-round pick.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Mock drafts, cap bargains

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 22, five days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 20
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 32
—Training camp starts (7/27) 96
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 141

The Redskins week that was

Redskins full 2017 schedule released—Even with the Caps and Wizards in full playoff mode, the DMV stops to take a look and see when the Redskins will be playing. The Thanksgiving game was surprising. It’s another working day but I worked at various places since I was 14 and last year was the first time I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving so I can’t complain too much about working two in a row. It’s a small price to pay for having the best job in the world.

Don't count out any RB for Redskins at 17—Yeah, I know that NFL teams aren’t supposed to take running backs in the first round any more. But that is one of those trends that comes and goes. In 2013 and 2014 there were no RBs taken in the first. Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott in the last couple of years began to shift the thinking. If the Redskins think that Dalvin Cook or Christian McCaffrey can help them win games more than any other player on the board they should pull the trigger.

Rise of Patrick Mahomes could bring big payoff for Redskins—It seems likely that quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky will be taken before the Redskins pick at No. 17 goes on the clock. That means that two players in whom the Redskins might be interested will be available, pushed back by the quarter backs. Could Mahomes, out of Texas Tech, push a third player back to Washington. The buzz is that a team might grab him in the first half of the first round.

The Redskins' five best salary cap bargains for 2017—When I started pulling the numbers for this post I thought I’d find more key players with salaries of under $1 million. I only found three and one of them is the kicker. This means that they don’t have very many late-round or undrafted players who are contributing a lot of value. They need more out of players like Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis and Maurice Harris. That is how a team thrives in the salary cap era. A couple of Saturday picks could make or break this draft.

Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often—There are a lot of ways the first 16 picks of this draft can work out. It seems almost certain that everyone’s favorite first-round pick, a stud defensive lineman, won’t be a realistic option on the board. This could send things in an odd direction for the Redskins. It’s fun to do a mock and I’ll do one or two more prior to draft day but there are too many variables to think that it has a high degree of accuracy. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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