“War of attrition”, was the term color commentator Ronde Barber used. It was truly the last man standing on Sunday when the Washington Redskins gutted out a 24-14 win against the Oakland Raiders.
It was by no means a clean game, and to be honest the Redskins looked pretty much the same as they did the other three games this season: lost. This team has lacked an identity and this win wasn’t much of a first step in finding one, but it was a step nonetheless. So at (1-3) heading into the bye week the Redskins find themselves only one game out of first place in the NFC East. With that in mind, where does Washington stand through the first quarter of their season? And where do they go from here?
The Redskins have two weeks to get their minds right, because on the other end of their recess lies division rival and leader, the Dallas Cowboys. Following that, matchups with the Bears, Broncos, and Chargers await. To have success in this coming stretch Kyle Shanahan needs to watch some tape and evaluate his own play calling. Obvious run plays on first and second down combined with predictable play action passes have lead to twelve first quarter drives which have lasted five plays or less. The result of this is a grand total of 3 points in the first quarters of their four games this year.
Receiver ball security has been an issue as well; errors such as dropping passes (Santana Moss) and fumbling (Logan Paulsen) have not been uncommon from the Redskins receiving corps. Robert Griffin III has looked about as good as I had hoped considering the timid play calling, and Alfred Morris has done his best given how poor the offensive line has been on the whole. Zone runs have been most effective on the ground and the Redskins will look to continue that trend in the coming weeks. Also, Roy Helu Jr. has done a fantastic job picking up blocks in the passing protection and has been a great in the flat. After Morris went down with an injury, Helu carried the team on their final touchdown drive, icing this weekend’s victory for the Maroon and Gold.
Defensively, the Redskins didn’t suck against the run on Sunday! 26 caries, 104 yards, 0 touchdowns Sunday for the Raiders. This marks the first game this season in which the Redskins did not allow a rushing touchdown.
Corner David Amerson recorded a pick six, Washington’s second in the last two weeks. Still, the tackling has been god awful, especially in the secondary (Bacarri Rambo). My father went to high school with Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Granthem, and I asked my dad if Granthem knew how to properly wrap up, because if he did he never taught the former Bulldog safety Rambo how to tackle properly. YOU CANNOT TACKLE NFL PLAYERS BY ARM-BARRING THEM, WRAP UP! Ronde Barber mentioned the Redskins inability to tackle at least five times during the course of Sunday’s game. But defensively, yesterday was an improvement, and the defense in the second half reminded me of Washington’s defense from the final seven games last season. Let’s see if defensive coordinator Jim Haslett can get this unit to be more consistent in their performance.
Finally, TV announcer Dick Stockton, what in the hell are you doing? Do you do any research before your games? Last week you called RGIII Robert Griffin Jr. This week it was Roy “Hillo” and Brian “Orako”. I am aware that this team is not the strongest/most interesting in the league, but please do our fan base and viewing audience the courtesy of pronouncing the players names right.
Heading into the bye week, it’s time for the Redskins to get healthy and commit themselves to Redskins football. Limit turnovers, establish the zone runs, use play action effectively, WRAP UP on defense, and stop the run. I am aware the items on the agenda will take more than two weeks to correct, but with the murderers row waiting on the other end of the bye week, the work done in these next two weeks will determine to the tone by which this season will continue for the Washington Redskins.