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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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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!