RICHMOND—Friday saw a return of some rain, mostly light, and a visit from the governor of Virginia. Here is my practice report, which is slightly abbreviated since I was unable to watch all of practice. I’m augmenting it with some tweets from my colleague Tarik El-Bashir
—Yesterday they started up practice with the full kickoff team going through its paces. Today is was the punt team. They’re getting ready for the preseason opener six days from now.
—The offense was missing a big, key player due to injury but it’s nothing serious.
No helmet for Trent Williams today. Looks like he'll be a spectator today. Got kicked in shin yesterday. #RedskinsTalk
— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) August 1, 2014
—But they did get one starter back as a substitute switched sides.
With Tyler Polumbus back after missing a couple of days on a personal matter, Tom Comopton flips to 1st team LT with Trent sitting out. — Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) August 1, 2014
—Some good action here as linebackers are in one on one coverage against running backs coming out of the backfield. Lache Seastrunk showed that he’s picking up some pass receiving skills when he outfought Will Compton, who had tight coverage, and caught the short pass. Here’s a Vine of some other action in that drill.
—One holdover from last year who really has to fight for a job is receiver Aldrick Robinson. He made some progress today.
Aldrick Robinson has hauled in a pair of TD passes. One in 7s and another in 11s. Speed never in doubt. But can he be consistent?
— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) August 1, 2014
—One skill that Redskins defensive back have seemed to lack is how to play the ball in the air. Too often there has been a defender near the receiver as the ball comes down but the defender misplays the ball and the receiver makes the catch. David Amerson had no such issues covering Jordan Reed. The pass was up for grabs down the left sideline and Amerson did a nice job of tracking the ball and knocking down the pass.
—Kirk Cousins has a head-scratcher at least once a day. Today he tried to go to Aldrick Robinson over the middle and Bacarri Rambo got an easy interception. I have no idea what Cousins was looking at.
—A fun ending to practice as the team ran the two-minute offense. Griffin would have had the play of the day when he scrambled to his right and before going out ob bound he launched a deep pass to DeSean Jackson. The receiver had a step or two on DeAngelo Hall and he hauled in the pass. But a holding flag negated the play, although it will still look nice on film.
In the third quarter of the Redskins’ Week 3 game against the Giants, New York drove to a first and goal at the Washington 10. A Trent Murphy sack and two incompletions later, Josh Brown came in and kicked a field goal.
Since then, opponents have had goal to go situations 12 times. They have scored touchdowns on every one of them.
The stop against the Giants was one of just two all year. They had one against the Cowboys in Week 2. Their opponents’ goal to go success rate is 90.5 percent. That’s the second worst in the NFL.
The failures have been costly. On Sunday, the Cardinals recovered a Kirk Cousins fumble and returned it to the Washington 10. The Redskins led 13-10 at the time and coming out of that situation with the game tied would have been large. But on third and goal at the six Carson Palmer hit Michael Floyd with a touchdown pass and the Cardinals had both the lead and the momentum.
Opponents usually haven’t had to work that hard. Teams have run 21 plays in goal to go and they have 10 touchdowns.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys got to goal to go three times. A stop on any one of them would have been a boost to the Redskins and would have changed the dynamic of the game. But Dallas was three for three.
The goal to go problems are a subset of the Redskins’ problems with red zone defense in general. Opponents have scored touchdowns on 27 of 40 red zone trips, a 67.5 percent success rate that puts the Redskins 30th in the NFL.
The NFC East was a beast for a while, but in recent weeks, the division is fading. All the teams outside of Dallas lost this weekend, and losing streaks are popping up throughout the I-95 Corridor. Here's the NFC East update:
- The Minnesota Vikings gave the Dallas Cowboys all they could handle last Thursday night, and yet, the Cowboys won 17-15. Dak Prescott was not impressive in Minneapolis, but Ezekiel Elliott was and the Cowboys defense did just enough to slow the Vikings terrible offense. At 11-1, Dallas has clinched a playoff berth, and with a date in New York this Sunday night, Jerry Jones' crew has a chance to avenge their only loss of the year, which came in Week 1 to the Giants.
- It seemed expectations met reality for the New York Giants last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben McAdoo's team had won six games in a row, but largely, faced poor competition. In their first tough test since the leaves started falling, Eli Manning's offense could not get going and the Giants fell to 8-4, still in possession of the first NFC Wild Card spot. Even on their win streak, the Giants didn't pass many eye tests. Beat Dallas on Sunday night and all that changes.
- Two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Winners of two straight and with a surging Kirk Cousins, the Redskins marched to Dallas on Thanksgiving and gave the Cowboys a real test. Despite the loss, Washington still held its spot with the second NFC Wild Card. After a deflating loss in Arizona, now the 'Skins are on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Good news for Jay Gruden and company: The team can get right back in the thick of things this week in Philly, and the remaining four-game schedule looks advantageous.
- While the Redskins have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three in a row and look to be falling apart. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is devoid of offensive weapons to work with and the Eagles have been outscored 85-42 in their last three games. Philly can get their first NFC East win this week with the 'Skins visiting, but it will take a different effort than they've shown in the last month.
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