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McCoy: 'Our protection failed a lot'

McCoy: 'Our protection failed a lot'

Colt McCoy was not effective at quarterback against the Rams on Sunday. He completed 20 of 32 passes for 199 yards with two interceptions. That comes to a passer rating of 54.

The Redskins got nothing going on offense; they took just one snap in the red zone and got shut out for the first time since the John Beck-led Washington team lost to the Bills 23-0 in 2011.

So what did Jay Gruden have to say about McCoy’s performance after looking at the film?

“Well, he was put in some tough situations,” said Gruden during his Monday news conference. “We continue to punish ourselves with holding calls, false starts, mis-targeting a run, poor technique from time to time and we leave ourselves in third down and too long, and we are not very good on third down obviously. And then in the second half when it became a one-dimensional game, we’re not good enough to overcome those right now at this time. So, unfortunate, it wasn’t all on Colt. Obviously he had some issues with protection. Our backs missed a few, our line missed one or two and it was a tough day for the quarterback.”

Read through that again and see if you can find anything that actually places any responsibility on McCoy for his performance. Maybe the part about “poor technique from time to time”. Perhaps when he said “we are not very good on third down” he put some of the fault on the quarterback. But overall, McCoy got kid gloves treatment by the coach here.

Let’s go back a few weeks to the day after the Redskins’ 27-7 loss to the Bucs in Week 11. Robert Griffin III was not effective in that game with a stat line very similar to the one that McCoy put up against the Rams. Griffin completed 23 of 32 for 207 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown pass.

Here is what Gruden had to say about Griffin’s performance during that game during his day-after press conference:

“Just from Robert’s perspective – you take everybody else out of the picture – Robert had some fundamental flaws,” said Gruden. “He did. His footwork was below average. He took three-step drops when he should have taken five. He took a one-step drop when he should have taken three on a couple of occasions. That can’t happen. He stepped up when he didn’t have to step up, stepped into pressure, he read the wrong side of the field a couple of times. So, from his basic performance just critiquing Robert, it was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position.”

To sum it up, McCoy has a bad game and it’s because “he was put in some tough situations”. Griffin stinks up FedEx Field and he “had some fundamental flaws.” You be the judge.

Fairness dictates that I point out that two days after taking down Griffin, Gruden did say that it was a mistake to do it so perhaps he is taking a kinder, gentler approach with his quarterbacks in public. But to essentially hold McCoy blameless in a shutout while holding Griffin to a much higher standard doesn’t seem to be equitable.

Also in the interest of fairness I need to pass along this quote from McCoy speaking in the locker room on Monday.

“We’re obviously very disappointed,” he told a group of reporters. “We just have to go back to work and figure out the things we can do better, things we can improve. We need get our run game going. Our protection failed a lot yesterday. And I certainly have to play better, too.”

The emphasis is added.

I think you can imagine that there would be quite an uproar if No. 10 had said the same thing, even with the immediate addition that he needed to play better, too.

Personally, I don’t have an issue with either quarterback talking about protection. Both quarterbacks have been at fault for some of the 29 sacks they have taken over the last five games. But the line, backs and tight ends have been awful in protection in recent weeks.

But if one quarterback is going to get called out for throwing his teammates under the bus, shouldn’t the other one get the same treatment for doing the same thing?

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Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Need to Know: Redskins looking for consistency from Preston Smith

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 9, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 12:05; Jay Gruden and news conference and open locker room after practice approx. 2:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 10; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 15; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 23

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot),
Thursday injury report

Around Redskins Park

—The Redskins’ third-down defense is the worst in the NFL in a long time. They are giving up first downs on 48 percent of opponents’ third downs. Since 2002 only one team, the 2011 Chargers, has been worse over the course of a full season. The Redskins have a chance to improve in the last four games of the season. Their remaining opponents rank 15th, 22nd, 26th, and 27th in converting third downs on offense. So, while the damage is done perhaps they can avoid historically bad territory.

—Perhaps one of the reasons why the Redskins haven’t done well on third down is because Preston Smith, a player they were counting on to generate pass pressure and rack up sacks, isn't getting that done. He has 3.5 sacks on the year, two of them coming into one game. What are they looking for out of Smith? “Consistency is the truest measure of performance,” said defensive coordinator Joe Barry. “You have got to show up every single week . . . Preston is giving great effort, he’s trying. He just has got to show up in the statistic column.”

—Barry was candid in admitting that they were taken by surprise when the Cardinals snapped the ball on the fourth and one play from their own 34 in the fourth quarter. “I think everyone was a little shocked that the ball actually was snapped and they ran a play, but that’s football,” Barry said. The center’s hand is on the ball, ball is ready, the ball can be snapped, we have got to be ready to execute.” Should the season go south from here that play will be remembered as the turning point.

—Although whether or not the season goes south will largely be dependent on the play of Kirk Cousins, he doesn’t think about the pressure. “I just go about my business. I think you take it one game at a time, that’s the best way to manage it, and just enjoy the process,” he said. “We’ll see where we are in a few weeks but I can’t play the game today, I can’t play next week’s game today. All I can do today is prepare and go to practice and have a great practice, and I thought today I had a great practice and that’s a good step.”

—Jay Gruden wants to see the defense improve in two specific areas in addition to third downs. “Turnovers the last couple of weeks and red zone,” he said. “Those are three big time areas of concern . . . We’ve been lacking in all three of those categories of late.” They have had just one takeaway in their last three games and in their last five games teams have punched it into the end zone on 14 of 17 red zone opportunities (82.3%).

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A little more left arm use by Reed on this catch. #Redskins

A video posted by Rich (@richtandler) on

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Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

Redskins injury report: Three return but still plenty of question marks

The Redskins’ injury report is looking a little better today, three days away from their game against the Eagles. 

DE Chris Baker (ankle), CB Will Blackmon (concussion), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle), C Spencer Long (concussion) didn't practice today. That is a substantial reduction of the number of players who were out of practice on Wednesday.

Going from out yesterday to limited participants today were S Donte Whitner (illness), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), and DE Anthony Lanier (leg).

Also limited were TE Derek Carrier (knee), ILB Will Compton (hip), TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and OLB Preston Smith (groin).

A player moving from out of practice to limited is no guarantee that he will be able to participate come Sunday but it’s a step in the right direction.

On area of concern is the offensive line. Three players who started against the Cardinals have not practiced this week. One was Nsekhe and he already was headed to the bench after the return of Trent Williams from suspension.

RELATED: Five Redskins who need to perform vs. Eagles

According to Jay Gruden, the line will have enough bodies even if Long, Nsekhe, and Lauvao are out. Second year guard Arie Kouandjio would start at guard and John Sullivan, who finished up after Long left the game on Sunday, would be the starting center. They could activate Kory Lichtensteiger from injured reserve to back up guard and center and Vinston Painter would be the backup tackle.

It appears that Reed is making progress from the AC joint separation he suffered in his left shoulder on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas.

“He looked good out there today,” said Gruden. “He’s still a little sore. Right now I have absolutely no idea (if he will play).”