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Skins-Jags after further review

Skins-Jags after further review

There isn't a whole lot to recap about a very forgettable exhibition by the Washington Redskins last night, but here are a few leftovers:

The Flavor Vanilla

Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell both said that the Redskins haven't been showing anything close to their full playbook during the preseason. This, of course, brings up the dreaded "vanilla" offenses and schemes that were used to explain away some poor preseason performances during the Gibbs years.

I asked Campbell about balancing wanting to keep things under wraps against the need to run plays against a live defense in a different-colored uniform. He told me that things are plenty spirited when they run the plays against their first-team defense and that each unit takes a lot of pride when it bests the other.

That's all well and good, but there is no such thing as vanilla blocking and tackling. Those aspects of the game, regardless of the play call, need to be executed and the Redskins have been falling short of doing that.

To be clear, I didn't get the impression that Zorn and Campbell were using the play calls as an excuse for the poor performance of the offense. They were answering questions posed by reporters.

Justin Tryon

Some beat reports seem to think that he's on the bubble for making the roster and possibly on the wrong side of it. He certainly seems to be lost in pass coverage at times—most of the time, in fact. You don't see a whole lot of him in run support, either.

It seems that the fifth cornerback spot comes to a choice between Tryon, a fourth-round draft pick, and undrafted rookie Matteral Richardson. I haven't seen that Richardson has been noticeably superior to Tryon, although one reporter who has seen a lot more of practice than have I said that Richardson clearly has been better.

I think that the Redskins drafted Tryon based on potential and didn't necessarily expect a whole lot out of him this year. He probably makes it, but I wouldn't be totally shocked if he didn't.

Justin Hamilton

He's been on the bubble all preseason; in fact, the bubble popped for him once already as he was released in May. The Redskins saw enough of Stu Schweigert after the first preseason game and Hamilton got another shot.

Last night he blitzed and nailed quarterback Todd Bauman, jarring the ball loose. In all, Hamilton got credit for six tackles and one assist in addition to the sack and forced fumble. He might have missed a tackle or two, but I don't recall seeing any whiffs.

Unlike some other blogs, this one doesn't formally adopt a favorite dark horse. But, looking back at what's been said about Justin Hamilton here, he has been mentioned a lot here for a longshot prospect. If that makes him the official bubble player of RealRedskins.com, so be it.

I still don't think he'll make it as it seems that the Skins are likely to keep just four at the safety position and those four are LaRon Landry, Reed Doughty, Chris Horton and Kareem Moore. Justin Hamilton, however, did not cheat himself out of his chance.

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Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

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.  

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NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

NFC East Update - Where everybody is losing except the Cowboys

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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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