Welcome back to those who’ve visited the B & G report and if this your first view, I hope I can provide some valuable NFL and Redskins analysis that will keep you coming back! Enough small talk let’s get started!
The first word that comes to mind after watching the Skins falter to the Eagles in their home opener was “Disappointment“. The Skins had multiple opportunities to take control of the game, after Kerrigan’s timely pick 6 for a touchdown. After the Eagles best CB Ronald Darby went down with an ankle Injury, the Skins had a chance to exploit the Eagles secondary. Instead there was a series of dropped balls by the Skins receivers, a horrible interception thrown by Cousins, some ridiculous penalties and let’s not forget that “phantom fumble” linked to Kirk Cousins incomplete throw. Although Cousins arm was clearly going forward, the refs reviewed the call and the call stood as a fumble, which resulted in a touchdown. Even former head of NFL’s officiating MikePereira stated that the call should have been reversed, to an incomplete pass. I was disappointed that Gruden & Cousins didn’t react with more animation/passion when the refs called the fumble. These are the situations that coaches need to show fire and plead their case to the refs for the blown call. Even Kirk barely showed any emotion after his second turnover of the day. I’ve read a lot of people already calling for Colt McCoy to start, but that would be a huge mistake! Although Colt has shown flashes of brilliance in the past, he is small and injury prone. Colt has never completed a full season as a starter. They need to stick with Cousins because he’s earned that right with all the dysfunction he’s dealt with. Colt is just not the answer. Cousins did show his growth by leading the team in rushing and showed that he has the athletic ability to get out of the pocket. If Cousins can continue showing he can be a running threat, that in turn will open up the passing game.
OFFENSIVE LINE ISSUES
Although Cousins didn’t have a good day, the O-line also didn’t come to play. I agree with CSN’s Brian Mitchell’s assertion regarding the Skins O-Line nicknamed “Hogs 2.0” and how they need to create their own identity. The Skins O-Line strength has not been their run blocking over the last 3 seasons and even their pass protection looked sketchy against Phili. Offensive Line Guru Bill Callahan needs to to get the Skins O-Line ready for the Rams, who showcase the games best DT in Aaron Donald. This will be the second week in a row that the Skins face a top 5 player at his respective position, after facing Phili’s DT Fletcher Cox. Trent Williams has always been the consistent dominator and RT Morgan Moses has shown flashes, but the O-lines bookends will be playing thru ankle sprains this week against the Rams revamped defense, led by Wade Phillips. LG Shawn Lauvao has always been the weak link on this O-Line, but the lack of a true center has compounded their blocking issues. SpencerLong is decent and this will be his first full season as a Center, moving over from guard is still a work in progress though. Long’s nagging injuries have done him no favors. The best case scenario for the Redskins offensive line would be for Long to move back to LG and rookie center ChaseRoullier taking over as the starting Center. Unfortunately I don’t see that happening unless injuries occur. In the meantime using three tight end sets can offset some the the O-Lines short comings. FACEBOOK CHAT WITH ESPN REDSKINS REPORTER
I actually had a brief chat with ESPN Redskins beat writer John Keim yesterday on Facebook, regarding the Redskins using multiple tight end sets. I mentioned that I liked rookie TE Jeremy Sprinkle who was inactive last week, but Keim who has an up close look at the Skins roster told me “Sprinkle isn’t ready and blocking needswork“, as well as mentioning other issues with the Redskins offense. The coaches need to get Sprinkle ready to play because at 6’5 260 he could be a valuable red zone asset. The consistent health issues of Reed and Paul also make it a necessity to get Sprinkle involved sooner, rather than later. In the meantime Reed, Davis and Niles”Swiss Army Knife” Paul can form a decent three tight end set, that gives the Skins a better run/pass option.
DEFENSE AND FINAL THOUGHT
Some positives that Redskins fans can take away from the Phili game is their run defense made stops and the defense played well down the stretch of the game. Kerrigan’s interception for a touchdown needs to be a weekly theme, until this revamped offense gets its legs. Unfortunately the defense was horrendous on third down. The Eagles converted 8 of 133rd downs, that simply will not cut it. The Redskins defense missed 4 sacks by the skin of their teeth, which definitely led to a few of the Eagles game changing plays. I liked what I saw from OLB Preston Smith, but he needs to pay better and take down the QB if he has them in his grasp. Outside Linebacker Junior Galette was used sparingly, but he was held to under 16snaps for the day. As Gruden stated at the last pressed, he wants to “bring Junioralong slowly“. Even though his snaps were limited, he did have 3 quarterbackpressures/hits. Gruden also mentioned that that Junior’s snap count will continue to increase. Overall I think the offense & defense need more time to gel and the Skins should have a better performance against the Rams shaky offense line this Sunday.
Look for the Burgundy and Gold “L.A. Rams Primer” coming later this week!