Happy Victory Monday and welcome back to The Burgundy and Gold Report! The start to the season versus Arizona was how Redskins fans hoped it would end, but Peterson’s day was the stuff movies are made of. Of course there was a miscue here and there and an intentional grounding, but Jay Gruden had this team ready to play in Arizona. With Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson at Jay’s disposal, he called a balanced game with the running backs and tight ends being the recipients in the passing game. On the defensive side of the ball, the rebuilt Skins’ line flashed what fans hoped to see with the Alabama duo in John Allen and Daron Payne. Both players made themselves comfortable in the Cardinals backfield.
It came as no surprise that Cardinals QB Sam Bradford struggled, but it had more to do with the Redskins controlling the line of scrimmage. In turn, the the Skins’ defensive backs had no trouble with Arizona’s stars Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson. Removing those two from Arizona’s game plan left the Cardinals helpless to stop Washington’s onslaught.
Follow The B&G Report as we go through the story lines that made this Victory Monday so sweet!
The AP & CT Show
Redskins’ running backs Peterson & Thompson formed an aggressive one-two-punch that had Arizona reeling all day. The Skins run game produced 182 total rushing yards, but even more impressive was that both AP and CT combined for 133 receiving yards. A knock on Peterson when signed by the Redskins was he would come off the field on 3rd downs based on his lackluster receiving ability. Subsequently, All Day responded by leading the Skins in receiving yards with 70 yards on 2 receptions. Thompson looked simply unstoppable on the ground and in the receiving game, even lining up at wide receiver.
Thompson looked quick, but more importantly strong after breaking multiple tackles on the day. The dynamo showed no ill effects from last season’s broken leg and gave Skins’ fans reason to rejoice. The use of the I-formation, zone read, sweeps, RPO’s etc. showed that this isn’t your grandfathers run game. The Skins even lined up OLB Ryan Anderson at fullback which they did at times in 2017. The emergence of Peterson and the athletic ability of Thompson give the Skins a unique set of runners in which to build a run game around.
Execution = theme of the day
Alex Smith‘s quick decision making kept the Redskins two steps ahead of the Cardinals all day. Smith avoided at least 4 sacks with his sheer athleticism. The first play of the 2nd quarter on Arizona’s 18 yard line was a pinnacle point in the game. Left Guard Shawn Lauvao was pushed back into Smith’s lap and the QB found an open Thompson running the underneath route towards the sideline. Making the precise throw off his back foot was impressive, but the execution of the play was paramount. The play call took into account any scenario. Smith & CT stayed on the same page as the entire play developed leading to an impressive throw, catch and run for the score.
Trent and the O-Line
Not much to say about the self proclaimed HOGS 2.0 other than pure dominance. Although LG Lauvao still looks like the weak link, he looked decent out in space. The rest of the line held their assignments and pushed the Cardinals’ defenders around. Trent Williams, in particular, looked unstoppable and pushed around Arizona’s star pass-rusher Chandler Jones all day, rendering him a non factor. The Skins ability to not only hold the pocket for Smith, but create running lanes all day should give Redskins fans hope for a resurgent run game. Fans should not get ahead of themselves, but this game should go a long way towards building this unit’s confidence.
The Redskins’ defense came to play from beginning to end. It all started up front with The Alabama Wall. Allen and Payne’s numbers might not be relevant in the stat sheet, but their impact was felt all day by Arizona. After watching the film it was Payne that seemed to have his way with Arizona’s offensive line. Payne was held most of the day, but instead of complaining he just continued to push the pocket with defenders helpless to stop him. Aside from an Anderson sack, the Redskins outside linebackers were quiet all day.
The Redskins will need to continue to be creative in ways they use their defensive front to push the pocket because the outside linebackers looked a step slow. All in all, it was an “A” day for the entire defensive line unit. They’re valiant effort made life easy for the DB’s most of the day.
The corners and safeties, playfully nicknamed The Flight Marshals, seemed to be on the same page all day, swarming the Cardinal runners and pass catchers. Manusky didn’t have to blitz often, but when they, did success ensued. The redskins had the luxury of only having to send 4 rushers at times while the back 7 sat in zone. This made life easy for Manusky and the Redskins’ defense.
This team did all the little things necessary to pull out the 24-6 victory.
Smith will give the Skins a QB who won’t lose the game with a bad judgement call.
Peterson will continue to grind out the tough yards.
Thompson will be the “Swiss Army Knife” of the offense.
Reed will continue to produce if he can stay healthy.
The receivers still need more time to learn this offense and get on the same page with Smith.
The outside linebackers will improve, but this Redskins defensive line is the biggest cause for optimism.
It might be cliche, but “the battle is won and lost in the trenches”. The Redskins certainly showed that versus Arizona, but how far they’ll go will be up to them.
Thanks for checking out another Burgundy and Gold Report. Stay tuned for more news and analysis leading up to the Redskins home opener versus the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday! Stay hungry Skins Nation!
Written By Adam Aniba
More from the B&G Report….
Peterson Rumbles Into D.C.
All You Need to Know about AP to D.C. https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/08/21/all-you-need-to-know-about-ap-to-d-c/
The Other Guy From Alabama: The Rise of Cam https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/08/19/the-other-guy-from-alabama-the-rise-of-cam/
The Richardson Effect https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/the-richardson-effect/
3 Camp Stories to Watch https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/07/29/camp-edition-3-camp-stories-to-watch/
Supplemental Draft Edition: Is Adonis https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/supplemental-draft-editon-is-adonis-alex
5 Undrafted Free Agents to Watch https://burgundyandgoldreport.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/5-undrafted-redskins-rookie-free-agents-to-watch/
Pictures courtesy of redskins.com