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Redskins-Lions: After Further Review

Redskins-Lions: After Further Review

  • I really liked the play calling on that first drive; Zorn's script worked to near perfection. Play action to pass Moss, Portis up the middle, Portis off right end, sprinkle in a little Randle El, then the slip screen to Moss for a first and goal at the one. Then they missed connections on a handoff, ran a pitch to the left which was a). Stephon Heyer's side of the field and b). the short side of the field, and then a shovel pass that did not fool the Lions at all. The fact that the Redskins had to settle for three there set the tone for the game.
  • Mike Green played fairly well in his first start in place of Chris Horton, especially for someone who was on the street a couple of weeks ago. He had six tackles, second on the team to London Fletcher.
  • Dan Orlovsky is not a smooth operator and he gets a little sloppy in some of his throws. He doesn't possess a laser or a cannon for an arm. But he could be a good QB someday, someday soon. Not a Pro Bowl type or anything like that, but he looks like someone who could develop into a Kyle Orton type.
  • It seems like Jason Hanson has been kicking for the Lions forever, but it's only been 17 years. He made his debut for Detroit about seven months after the Redskins won their last Super Bowl.
  • The Redskins run the traditional screen to a running back so poorly that they rarely even try it. But the tight end screen to Chris Cooley works nearly every time it's tried. Cooley usually is able to rumble for at least 10 yards before even needing to elude a tackler.
  • I thought that the facemask call on Jansen that cost a first down in the Red Zone was bad, but on another look, it was awful. Jansen never touched the defender's face mask. Suisham missed a 50-yard field goal after that.
  • I hate Jim Zorn's two-minute philosophy. He says that he's afraid of the other team getting the ball back with enough time to move in for a score so he doesn't even think about calling a timeout with less than 50 seconds left. That's fine, but why not go no-huddle, spike the ball, work the sidelines, anything to conserve the clock and get in more plays. They got the ball back with 2:30 left. Portis runs for five and they let the clock run down to 2:00. Then a pass to Cooley picks up about 10 and the clock continues to tick. The next snap comes with 1:24 left. That's 1:06 for two plays. Yes, the Skins got a field goal but with a slightly more aggressive philosophy they might have been able to score a TD.
  • That said, the third and 19 conversion pass was a thing of beauty. The Lions had eight back in coverage, Thrash found a soft spot and Campbell just dropped it in right on the money.
  • Even after watching it a few times, I can't decide whether or not to blame Cooley for the incompletion that stalled the Skins' first drive of the second half. He did have both hands on it but the safety did make hard contact on the arm.
  • The biggest little play of the game came in the middle of the third quarter. Cooley caught that TE screen for 17 yards to convert a third and six at the Washington nine. If the Redskins punt there, trailing 10-9, the Lions have a good shot a good field position to expand their lead. As it is, the drive stays alive and ends with the Skins taking the lead for good on Campbell's 50-yard bomb to Moss.
  • On that pass to Moss, Campbell did a great job of just shrugging off the unblocked blitzing defender and firing on target.
  • Brian Billick referred to Santana Moss as "Santonio" at least four times, maybe more. He even did it while he was in the process of apologizing for doing so. I trust that his boss will give him a verbose, convoluted reprimand.
  • Devin Thomas was the first Redskin to greet Moss in the end zone after the punt return for a TD. I'm sure that Thomas was relieved that Moss was able to make something out of it after the collision.
  • At the time, I liked the decision to go for two after that, but it could have come back to bite them. The return put them up by 12 and the thought process was that two Detroit touchdowns beats you if you're up by 12 or by 13. But after Detroit scored a TD, Suisham's field goal just after the two-minute warning would have wrapped up the game had they kicked the extra point. Instead, the Lions could have sent it into overtime with a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
  • There are complaints that the Redskins let the Lions get back into it with their touchdown drive after that. Those concerns are legitimate but the Lions, for all their faults, have a way of coming back. They made competitive games out of brewing blowouts against Houston and Green Bay earlier this year. Still, you'd like to see the defense make a statement and force a three and out or get a turnover in that situation. Greg Blache wasn't happy with it; see the last bullet point in this article.
  • You have to like the Redskins coming out throwing on that last drive—which, again, would have been a classic game clincher had they been up by six instead of five. After the passes to Moss for 20 and to Cooley for seven, it was Portis three times for four, four and 31 yards. They burned off over four and a half minutes.
  • We nearly saw the downside of Zorn being aggressive in late-game situations with the Campbell fumble. The ball took a nice bounce away from a few Lions and Jon Jansen was able to pounce on it.
  • London Fletcher knew where that fourth-down play was going better than most of the Lions did. The stop was reminiscent of Sean Taylor leveling Patrick Crayton in Dallas to clinch the Brunell to Moss game in 2005 in Dallas.
  • After the game, Greg Blache said that the performance of his defense was like "the South end of a North-bound skunk." Why don't you tell us what you really think, coach?

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Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 26, one day before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 206 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 46 days.

Today’s schedule: Players report to training camp for physicals and conditioning test. Jay Gruden news conference 2 p.m.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 15
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 24
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 38

Five pre-camp questions for Jay Gruden

RICHMOND—The media portion of training camp gets underway on Wednesday as Jay Gruden holds his pre-camp presser at 2 pm at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center (that’s probably the last time I’ll use the full name of the facility).

Here are some questions we will ask of Gruden as he enters his fourth season as the Redskins head coach.

Will Kirk Cousins’ contract situation be a distraction? This must be asked, even though we know that the answer will be no. Yes, Cousins handled a similar situation just fine last year. But a quarterback playing on a second franchise tag is unprecedented. Certainly, Gruden has to guard against things getting out of hand if the season starts to turn sour.

In his fourth training camp, what is he doing now that he wishes he would have done in 2014? One very visible change has been a reduction in the amount of contact that takes place on the field. Will this continue to decline or, give the issues the team had tackling last year, will it ramp up? What used to be the morning practice and afternoon walkthrough were flipped a couple of years ago. Has there been any thought to changing it back?

How has the adjustment process to having so many new coaches gone so far? The Redskins have new coordinators on both sides of the ball and several new position coaches. As happens when any group of co-workers gets added to a workplace, there is an adjustment period. In the NFL, the coaches have to get up to speed with each other in a hurry.

Will Gruden use the season-ending loss to the Giants as a motivational/learning tool or just bury it in the past? It’s a fine line between learning from past mistakes and dwelling on them. While Cousin should make sure that he doesn’t throw another late-game interception like the one he threw in that game, he can’t have it spook him to the point where he can’t pull the trigger on a pass late in a close game. How Gruden handles the 2016 finale could have a major effect on how 2017 unfolds.

After having one of the highest pass ratios in the league, will Gruden look to run the ball more often? Last year, Sean McVay called passes on 62.4 percent of the Redskins’ snaps. The Redskins drafted a fourth-round running back in Samaje Perine and they may team him with starter Rob Kelley and call to keep the ball on the ground a few more times per game.

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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Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports declared Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL. Prisco repeatedly points out that while Cousins is a good quarterback, the notion that he should be paid like one of the best passers in the league is what makes him overrated.

From Prisco:

After having six 300-yard-plus passing games in his first 11 games, including two over 400, Cousins had one in the final five games last season as the Redskins pushed for a playoff spot. He had five touchdown passes and five interceptions in those games, going 2-3 as Washington folded. It wasn't all on him, but that's the point. I don't think he's a quarterback who rises above situations when the team isn't going right. I am not going to sit here and pan him as a starter. He has proven to be that, and a pretty good one. It's just that the perception is he's much better than that, which is why he's my most overrated player in the NFL in 2017.

Here's the problem with Prisco's login: Simple market economics. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

An argument can be made Cousins is a Top 10 passer. He's certainly in the top half of the league at the position. Few, if any, would argue Cousins is a Top 5 quarterback, but his contract situation forces him to be paid like he is. Those are the exact terms of the franchise tag, even before the 20 percent increase Washington paid this season to use a second-straight tag.  

Since the Redskins lost their window to sign their single-season passing yards record holder to a team-friendly deal last year, Cousins has leverage and the advantage of inflated QB salaries on his side.

That doesn't mean Cousins is overrated. 

If the threshold for being overrated is money, then Brock Osweiler wins this thing in a landslide. After the 2016 season in Houston, Osweiler seems unlikely to ever again be considered a starting QB in the NFL. He's due to be paid $18 million this fall and his offseason trade to the Browns will go down as the first-ever salary dump in NFL history. 

Is Cousins overpaid? Probably. That's the way contracts work in pro football. 

Is Cousins overrated? Probably not. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards and completed about 68 percent of his passes over the last two seasons. 

There just aren't enough quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and guys who can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 

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