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GameBlog vs. Patriots Final

GameBlog vs. Patriots Final


Pregame

Playing the role of the Master of the Obvious here (OK, so what else is new), but I think that it’s critical for the Redskins offense to move the ball. So much so, I would say, that Al Saunders might crack out a little bit more of his playbook, although I don’t think there will be much radical like, say, motion before the snap.

The defense needs to work on the fact that teams have been taking advantage of its aggressive nature. The flea flicker burned them against Cincinnati and the reverse got them against the Jets. Marcus Washington told me after the Jets game that it was more a matter of individual breakdowns than of problems with the nature of the defense itself. Both Washington and Andre Carter assured me that the defense will continue to take it to the other teams’ offenses.

First Quarter

It looks like David Lonie will get his make or break chance tonight. He’s kicking off so that would indicate that he’ll get the punting chores in the early going. If the offense does well, though, he might not have much of a shot.

Not much shown either in the way of aggressiveness or effectiveness on the Redskins’ initial defensive series. Brady had time to make phone calls while he was in the pocket against Washington’s four-man rush and he converts a couple of third downs. The Skins stiffen as Brady runs out of room deep in the red zone and the Pats settle for three.

Brunell displayed a good arm on a deep incompletion to Brandon Lloyd. Although it was overthrown he stepped in and zipped about 30 yards downfield on a rope.

Betts is running a little harder tonight than the rather casual style he displayed against the Jets. Nothing like a little competition to light the fire.

A little too booming a punt by Lonie on his first effort, into the end zone from near midfield.

A wham, bam, thank you ma’am drive for the Patriots. That screen to Dillon that got it going was kind of funny looking, it almost looked like he was surprised to get the ball. The Redskins sure didn’t think he was the receiver and before they knew what happened Dillon was into Redskins territory, turning a second and 10 at the 20 into the start of a quick scoring drive.

It’s kind of surprising that Gregg Williams is starting to do some liberal substitution on defense. Golston, Montgomery, Prioleau, among others, are in for the third series. You’d think that Williams would want to have his defense at least stop the other guys once.

Second Quarter

A good fourth-down conversion for Brunell there. He can fire the ball in there when he needs to. The fact that they went for it on fourth and four in an indication of how badly Gibbs and Saunders want to get the offense rolling.

Now, as far as I know there is no such thing as a “vanilla” field goal attempt. It is what it is and that one by Hall was just flat out ugly. It didn’t appear that the Patriots got exceptional penetration; Hall just kicked it too low.

It’s obvious that Williams wants to see how the defense can play without blitzing. He’s sent a linebacker maybe once or twice and he’s not sent a back yet. So far, the answer to the question is “not too well”.

A couple of all-out blitzes lead to a third-down conversion and a touchdown. Maybe it’s not the schemes, maybe the Redskins are just getting whipped.

Feel free to cover Ben Watson, someone, anyone. It is permitted under the rules, I do believe.

Joe Gibbs looks like he could appear on one of those “want to get away?” commercials. If he was angry last week in a press conference that lasted less than three minutes, I can’t wait to see how tense and short tonight’s will be.

Even though this is no more than a glorified practice, it would be disturbing to see the Redskins practice like this. I’m not doubting their effort but the focus seems to be off. It’s as though they are playing the role of the scout team while the Patriots just run through their paces.

Third Quarter

Duckett is in the game. The quick scouting report based on his first couple of runs is that he needs to travel North and not East-West. He got five yards up the gut and then went nowhere trying to get outside.

Whatever Gibbs and/or anyone else said at halftime didn’t have much effect as a lackluster three and out was the effort out of the gate.

The contributing writers to the print edition of Warpath were asked to give their projections for the NFL Most Valuable Player, among a few other categories. I picked Peyton Manning as the MVP. After watching him tonight, I think I want to change my pick to Tom Brady. He won’t put up as many yards or have numbers as flashy because the New England offense isn’t built like Indy’s and the Patriots play outdoors in the North, but he orchestrates that offense to perfection, makes all of the throws with zip and accuracy, and knows how to deal with anything and everything that’s thrown at him.

Fourth Quarter

Finally, after 11 quarters of play, the Redskins get a takeaway. That and the insertion of Jason Campbell into the game have given the Redskins something of a spark.

They just showed a clip of Al Saunders talking about Campbell and he was very guarded in his praise for the young quarterback. In fact, it wasn’t praise at all really, just a wait-and-see attitude. That’s consistent with the few times that I’ve talked to Saunders about him. The coach apparently wants to be careful not to put too much pressure on him or make him think that the coach is satisfied with where he is.

I’ve touched on this before in other articles, but it’s obvious that the light schedule that Gibbs has in training camp has a lot to do with the way that they have looked in the preseason. The late start, the paucity of two-a-days, the scarcity of hitting, have the Redskins ill-prepared to be competing from scrimmage against teams that are more battle tested. Of course, the object is to win in December, not in August and you can’t question Gibbs’ record when it comes to late in the season. But it sure makes nights like this miserable ones.

A positive note is that Reid Doughty, the rookie safety, has played much better tonight than he has in the previous two games. He stripped the ball causing the fumble that the Redskins recovered and has generally been in the right place.

The Redskins can bounce back from this, no question. They bounced back after the debacle in the Meadowlands and that was a game that counted. However, they had done some good things that year before that and they had the memory of that to fall back on. They haven’t played a solid, complete game since Christmas Eve. That will make it tougher to get any momentum generated.

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QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

QB run will come at NFL Draft, but when it happens matters most for Redskins

Quarterbacks will come off the board in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night. That much is certain. Where those quarterbacks come off the board, however, matters much more for the Redskins. 

Mitchell Trubisky will be the first passer off the board, and depending on the information, he could be drafted as high as the first overall pick, and will certainly go early.

Trubisky, though, seems like the only certainty of a QB going early. Questions plague guys like Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. Those guys could all go in the first half of the draft, but they could all slide into the 20s as well. 

For Washington, the earlier quarterbacks get drafted the better. It seems highly unlikely the Redskins make a draft day trade of QB Kirk Cousins, limiting hardly any interest in a first-round passer.

The more passers that go before the 'Skins pick at 17 means the more high-quality players slide down the draft board. Look around the internet at lists of the best prospects available. Hardly any signal callers crack the Top 20, but the positional need at QB demands the position be overdrafted.

Though the Burgundy and Gold continue to slow-play contract talks with Cousins, he is under contract for 2017 and the team holds an option for 2018. That means Bruce Allen can sit in his draft room and potentially be a trade partner for a team that wants to land a QB, or just wait patiently and watch as they come off the board and send other desirable prospects closer to 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Need to Know: Redskins’ needs line up well with the strength of the draft

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, April 25, one day before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 16
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 28
—Training camp starts (7/27) 92
—Redskins opener vs. Eagles (9/10) 137

Wrapping up the Redskins pre-draft presser

We’ve looked at a some of what Redskins college scouting director Scott Campbell said during his pre-draft press conference on Monday, covering possible trades, who makes the final call on those trades, and how the organization handles character issues. Here are a few more bullet points from Campbell’s presser:

—Asked if the Redskins would draft to fill needs or take the best available player, Campbell gave the stock answer. “I guess as you asked the question, you kind of framed it and the way I’m going to frame the answer, and the age-old answer of ‘I’m going to take the best player available,’” he said “And if that serves your needs, that’s a bonus.” So, there you go. That said, don’t be surprised if the best players as defined by the Redskins in the first few also happen have the “bonus” of filling one the team’s top two or three needs.

—The needs could line up well because the strength of the draft as Campbell sees it coincides with side of the ball where the Redskins need the most help. “Well, I’m excited because I think it’s one of the strongest, deepest classes on the defensive side of the ball that I’ve seen,” he said. “I’ve told the guys upstairs I’m excited because we’re going to get better . . . And several different positions – sometimes it’s just maybe defensive line or outside backers or corners. Across the board on defense, I’m really excited about the class and the guys we’re going to bring in are going to help us.”

—The draft board is still used after the draft ends and the scramble for undrafted free agents starts up. “There’s going to be guys left on the bottom of that board that didn’t get drafted that we had rated as draftable,” said Campbell. “So that’s our No. 1 targets. I assign a scout to all the coaches, and really the coaches talk to the players – once the draft ends, let me be clear, it’s after the draft ends when we start making calls – the scouts are on the phone with the agent finding out what our competition is, how much.” Campbell said that money isn’t much of a factor in recruiting the undrafted players; selling opportunity is the key.

—The draft board was influenced by former GM Scot McCloughan but adjustments have been made since he was fired in early March. “Well, he certainly had influence on it because we all met as we always did the last couple of years and every team does. You meet right after the all-star games before you go to the combine and kind of get an initial ranking of how you like the guys. Of course Scot hadn’t been here since, so just like when he was here before, there’s adjustments being made to the board with the new information.”

—The 2016 draft class did not contribute a lot but does not mean that there is more pressure on the organization to do better this year. The pressure is always there regardless. “Always pressure. Every year’s pressure,” said Campbell. “I grew up in an NFL household. My dad was a coach and a player for 40 years. Pressure every year to perform, that’s what the NFL is. You’ve got to perform every year.” His father was Marion Campbell who played in the NFL for eight years and then coached for 21 seasons including stints as the head coach of the Eagles and Falcons.

—Campbell also asked for a little patience with the 2016 draft class, citing a group from a few years ago. “It takes a couple of years to develop a class,” said Campbell. “People are saying the ‘14 class had some success. Well, if I read articles and see what happened and what was said right after that draft, our grades in the mock drafts were not very good. It takes time. Morgan Moses didn’t start his first year, you know, but he’s come on to be one of the best right tackles in the league. That’s my opinion anyway. It takes time to develop. I still think with time, that class [2016] will be just fine.” I guess I buried the lede here—Campbell reads draft grades.

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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