Quick Links

RG3: 'Too many mistakes'

rg3-tackled-vs-lions.png

RG3: 'Too many mistakes'

The play of the Redskins and quarterback Robert Griffin III against the Lions was improved from the previous two games. The team was more competitive. There were some signs of hope.

There was, however no victory.

Unlike the previous two games, blowout losses to the Eagles and Packers, the Redskins were in the game at halftime and well into the fourth quarter. Griffin got into rhythm early, made plays with his arms and with his feet and started to resemble the RG3 who won was the rookie of the year in 2012.

Still, Detroit became the first Lions team to come out of Washington with a win. They were 0-21 there before today, a skid that went all the way back to 1939.

“We had too many mistakes a crucial times,” said Griffin. “Of course, the fumble, the interception early in the game.”

Both of the turnovers by Griffin came in Lions territory. The Redskins trailed 14-7 in the second quarter when they mounted a drive from their own 20. On first down from the Detroit 20, Griffin was chased out of the pocket by the Lions’ Willie Young. The defensive end had Griffin’s jersey and was pulling him down when the quarterback fired a pass in the direction of Pierre Garçon, who was tightroping the sideline. But cornerback Chris Houston was right there and he picked off the desperation throw.

“I thought I saw Pierre coming right back towards me on the sideline,” said Griffin. “Then when I watched it on the big screen he had actually stepped out of bounds and the corner behind him kept coming downhill. Another play, you make the play it's a great play, you don't make the play and it's a bad play. And it was a bad play.”

Perhaps the wiser play would have been to throw the ball away or take the sack but instead the drive was killed.

It was Griffin’s fourth interception of the season. All of last year he threw only five.

The lost fumble was perhaps more exasperating. With the game tied at 17 early in the fourth quarter Griffin took off upfield. After a gain of 21 he saw the safeties coming and dove headfirst to the ground. The ball came out after he hit the ground but before anyone contacted him. The Lions recovered the loose ball.

If a quarterback slides feet first, he is down as soon as he hits the ground. But a headfirst slide keeps the play alive until contact is made.

"Knee down, elbow down, that’s the rule. I was trying to declare myself down, avoid the big hit,” said Griffin. “It's the rule. It can be a sucky rule but it's still the NFL rule.”

The Lions answered with a field goal to take a 20-17 lead and there was one more costly miscue by Griffin. After what could have been the play that saved the game, a 57-yard bomb to Aldrick Robinson that was originally called a touchdown before being overturned on replay, Griffin mishandled a snap. He scrambled for it and recovered but the play lost 10 yards. That made it third and 20 and the Redskins punted. Detroit drove 75 yards for the clinching touchdown.

“The one thing you want to make sure doesn't happen in those situations is a negative play,” said Griffin. “And we had a negative play right afterwards.”

Griffin finished the day 32 of 50 passing for 326 yards with no touchdowns and the one interception. It was his third straight game with over 300 yards passing. Given their 0-3 record that is obviously not a formula for success.

Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 24, 36 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 44
—NFL Draft 93
First Sunday of 2017 season 229

Gruden's fate rests on Manusky, McCloughan

In his press conference the day after the Redskins lost to the Giants to end their season, Jay Gruden talked about the decision-making process that would unfold if there were changes in the coaching staff.

“Ultimately I would think it is my call – our call,” he said. “Bruce [Allen] will have some input, Dan [Snyder] will have some input, Scot [McCloughan] will have some input, but from a staff standpoint, I like to think I have a lot of pull on that one.”

That doesn’t make it sound like he was completely free to replace the fired Joe Barry and new Rams head coach Sean McVay with whomever he chose. Others could make suggestions and have input and possibly veto power.

The decision to make Greg Manusky the defensive coordinator likely was influenced by and/or had the approval of, McCloughan. Manusky ran the defense in San Francisco when McCloughan was the GM there. McCloughan was instrumental in getting Manusky to come to the Redskins to coach the outside linebackers a year ago, after he was fired as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Greg Manusky

Having McCloughan’s approval for the hire provides Gruden with some degree of security. If it doesn’t work out, if the Redskins upgrade the talent on defense and still don’t get better results, the heat will be on McCloughan as well as Gruden.

Still, Gruden will be the one in the spotlight this season. When the annual media lists of coaches on the hot season in 2017 come out, Gruden is sure to be atop many of them. It’s simple math, really. In Gruden’s three seasons the team has gone 4-12, 9-7, and 8-7-1. A return to double-digit loss territory would be a regression and there would be legitimate concern over whether Gruden is the guy who can make progress and then maintain it and build on it.

Did Gruden get his first pick for the job? Probably not. It seems that Gus Bradley was the favorite, having built the aggressive Seattle defense and having ties with McCloughan from there and with Gruden and Allen from Tampa Bay. But he decided to head west and take over the Chargers’ defense, perhaps wondering about Gruden’s job security. If Bradley didn’t top the list, then Gruden’s top choice probably was Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. But he is under contract and the Bengals denied permission for him to talk about making a lateral move.

More Redskins: Redskins stay in house

Wade Phillips decided to go to the Rams, who have decidedly better defensive personnel than the Redskins, before he had a chance to meet with Washington. We’re not sure how seriously Gruden pursued Phillips but it’s possible that he would have taken him over Manusky if he had the chance. That means that Manusky was at best Plan C or Plan D.

But that’s water under the bridge. Gruden’s fate now lies in the hands of Manusky and in the hands of McCloughan, who must set out to get the new defensive coordinator a significant talent upgrade. If Gruden gets a better defense and can maintain a top offensive attack (given Kirk Cousins’ contract status, he needs McCloughan’s help there, too) and the Redskins can take the next step he should be expecting to start serious extension talks in 2018.

If the Redskins spin their wheels and end up around .500 again or if they regress and post double-digit losses like they did for five out of six years from 2009-2014 they could be cleaning house and starting over again. That wouldn’t be a good scenario for anyone. The organization is counting on Manusky, who was Plan C, and McCloughan to help Gruden get things on track.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

Quick Links

The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

On Monday morning, the Redskins made several new coaching hires official, including Jim Tomsula as the new defensive line coach.

Tomsula was out of football in 2016 after serving as the 49ers head coach for the 2015 season in which the team finished 5-11.

Despite struggling as a head coach, Tomsula gained an odd, if not heavy cult following. It made little sense considering he has the look and demeanor of someone who was put on this earth to coach football and coach football only. But through the glories of the internet came this:

The Jimmy Tomsula rap song.

RELATED: MOST IMPORTANT REDSKINS' FREE AGENTS

It's just a demo, and I suppose the full version could be out there somewhere since this song is over a year old. But there's something hypnotizing about 60 consecutive seconds of "Open up my shirt like im Jimmy Tom-Sula."

How long before we begin hearing this song at FedEx Field on Sundays?