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Six pack of Redskins-Lions observations

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Six pack of Redskins-Lions observations

Six observations from the Redskins’ 27-20 loss to the Lions:

1. Robert Griffin III started to look like the RG3 of 2012 early on. At the 10:16 mark of the first quarter he pulled the ball out of Alfred Morris’ belly and scampered around right end for seven yards before going out of bounds. But then the 2013 issues returned and two incompletions later the Redskins were punting. The sequence set the tone for the day with the Redskins making some nice plays but failing to take advantage of them.

2. The Redskins had only six penalties for 41 yards but it seemed like more than that. That’s because of penalties like the defensive holding flag against London Fletcher on the Lions’ second drive. It was called while Matthew Stafford was throwing an incomplete pass on third and six at the Washington 29. Instead of having David Akers trying a 45-yard field goal—he missed two from that range last week—the Lions got a fresh set of downs. Three plays later Joique Bell scored on a 12-yard run.

3. You have to wonder about the Redskins’ play selection. The didn’t face a two-score deficit until less than four minutes remained in the game but Alfred Morris had just 15 carries and Griffin threw the ball 50 times. It seemed like the Lions were not going to let Morris beat them and they were willing to give Griffin a few relatively short runs if he pulled the ball out and took off.

4. Giving up seven receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown is not a horrible performance. Letting Nate Burleson light you up for 116 yards on six catches is embarrassing. Burleson’s last 100-yard receiving game came in November of 2010. The big play was the 41-yard catch and run late in the first half that set up a Detroit field goal. David Amerson tried to make a play on the ball but he really had no chance and should have just tried to tackle Burleson.

5. Perhaps the next time Griffin has a defender pulling him down from behind he’ll just take the sack or throw the ball into the stands, especially on a first-down play in the red zone. But even after throwing that second-quarter interception I’m not 100 percent sure that he will. “Another play where if you make the play, it’s a great play, but if you don't, it’s a bad play,” he said. “And it was a bad play.” Well, not really. If you make the play it’s a miracle and if you don’t it’s a disaster.

6. The Redskins sacked Stafford on the first play from scrimmage and did not get to him again on the subsequent 65 snaps. They did harass him in the pocket from time to time but not when they needed to. On the clinching touchdown pass to Johnson the Redskins elected to rush three and drop eight back in coverage. Stafford was able to set, survey the field and find Johnson near the goal line. There were four defenders within a couple of yards of the receiver but it still wasn’t enough.

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The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 7 worst play of 2016

Giants at Redskins, Week 17

4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10

Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all season. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

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What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!