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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’ 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 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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