Thursday, September 30, 2010

Redskins @ Rams 3rd quarter game review

1st quarter review
2nd quarter review


Josh.Brown kicks 73 yards from SL 30 to WAS -3. D.Thomas to WAS 27 for 30 yards (D.Vobora).
Washington Redskins at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:54)
1-10-WAS 27 (14:54) D.McNabb pass deep right to S.Moss to SL 17 for 56 yards (D.Stewart). PENALTY on SL-D.Stewart, Horse Collar Tackle, 9 yards, enforced at SL 17.

One thing that has been made clear to this point is that Donovan McNabb is very, very good at throwing the corner route.
1-8-SL 8 (14:32) M.Sellers up the middle to SL 7 for 1 yard (J.Hall).
Cooley lines up as the outermost receiver, then motions in and blocks as if to seal the WLB to the inside in order to sell the fake pitch to Torain. It’s actually a handoff to Sellers up the middle, and no one is fooled.
2-7-SL 7 (13:53) R.Torain right end to SL 2 for 5 yards (J.Laurinaitis, N.Diggs).
Rabach and Brown each get pushed into the backfield (especially Rabach), forcing Torain to reach the corner later than he would like, but solid blocks by Cooley and Sellers allow him to cut back upfield for a decent gain.

3-2-SL 2 (13:23) C.Portis left tackle to SL 3 for -1 yards (J.Laurinaitis).

Rabach is carried into the backfield yet again, but the real culprit here is Sellers who not only completely whiffs on a safety in the backfield, but he goes to the ground and trips Portis.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Redskins @ Rams 2nd quarter game review

First quarter review is here.


3-7-SL 11 (15:00) (Shotgun) D.McNabb pass incomplete short right to C.Cooley (O.Atogwe, F.Robbins). Penalty on WAS-J.Brown, Offensive Holding, declined.

Brown loses his bases and get pushed back past McNabbs’s drop point by the RDE – he has to grab him by the neck to keep McNabb standing.

4-7-SL 11 (14:54) G.Gano 29 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-N.Sundberg, Holder-J.Bidwell.

WAS 3 SL 14, 6 plays, 53 yards, 1 penalty, 1:58 drive, 0:10 elapsed

G.Gano kicks 63 yards from WAS 30 to SL 7. M.Gilyard to SL 24 for 17 yards (H.Blades, R.Doughty). FUMBLES (R.Doughty),RECOVERED by WAS-L.Alexander at SL 21. L.Alexander to SL 21 for no gain (B.Kehl).

Outstanding hit by Doughty to force the fumble.

Washington Redskins at 14:43

1-10-SL 21 (14:43) D.McNabb pass deep left to S.Moss for 21 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Rams are completely fooled by the naked bootleg, despite the fact that the Redskins run naked bootlegs like it’s their job. And McNabb has even more time due to the fact that the CB on side he’s booting towards comes on a blitz and can’t recover from the QB movement (again – how are you not expecting that?). But the playside route – Galloway on a deep out in the end zone – is well covered. Moss has gotten open on a post corner but it’s to the opposite side, so McNabb has to make the dreaded “throw across his body” to hit him in the far corner of the end zone. He has plenty of time and Moss was wide open, but this still wasn’t an easy touchdown.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Redskins @ Rams 1st quarter game review

Play by play (bold) taken from the official NFL Gamebook.  My commentary added below in its own font.


G.Gano kicks 63 yards from WAS 30 to SL 7, out of bounds.

I am convinced Gano did this specifically because I constantly talk about how great he is on kickoffs. Thanks, Graham.

St. Louis Rams at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:57)

1-10-SL 40 (14:57) S.Jackson up the middle to SL 44 for 4 yards (A.Carriker).

Fletcher crushes the lead FB at the line, but Jackson switches to the opposite A gap because Maake has been moved off the line and the RG is able to get a hat on Rocky.

2-6-SL 44 (14:27) (Shotgun) S.Bradford pass short right to F.Onobun to WAS 49 for 7 yards (A.Carter). Penalty on WAS, Defensive Offside, declined.

Carter is unable to keep up with the FB in the flat. Carriker comes unblocked from LDE because the RT has to pick up a blitzing Rocky, but although he gets his hands up he is unable to deflect the pass.

1-10-WAS 49 (14:06) S.Bradford pass incomplete short left to M.Clayton (A.Carriker).

Carricker blows past the RG’s outside shoulder and knocks down Bradford’s arm.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Deep breaths, people


This was indisputably a lousy performance by the Redskins.  But it seems like some people need to be talked off the ledge already.  I feel I should remind everyone that almost none of us expected the Redskins to be a good team this year.  I had picked the Redskins for 7-9, and most other people seem to have had them pegged at 6-10 or 8-8.  A few went as high as 9-7 or 10-6 and were accused of irrational optimism.

Nothing that happened today should have been all that suprising:

- Trent Williams was hurt.  We all knew that Stephon Heyer is not a NFL-quality offensive tackle.  He struggled.

- We all knew that the line (even without Williams) is better than last year but still seriously flawed.  There were protection problems.

- We all knew there is a serious lack of talent at the wide receiver position.  The receivers failed to produce.

- We all had questions about whether it was wise to take a team with a great front seven for a 4-3 scheme and switch it to a 3-4.  Those players did not execute the 3-4 well today.

The Redskins lived up to expectations.  So light a scented candle, or make yourself some herbal tea, or whatever, and realize that you just saw a mediocre team play like a mediocre team.  As bad as that is, it is should not be a cause for rage.  This is what mediocre teams look like.

Redskins vs. Texans OT game review

1st quarter review
2nd quarter
3rd quarter
4th quarter

OK sorry to be sneaking this in just under the wire.  Let's wrap up:


G.Gano kicks 65 yards from WAS 30 to HST 5. S.Slaton to HST 12 for 7 yards (C.Horton; R.Williams).

Outstanding coverage by Byron Westbrook.

Houston Texans at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:56)

1-10-HST 12 (14:56) M.Schaub pass short middle to K.Walter to HST 28 for 16 yards (C.Rogers; L.Landry).

1-10-HST 28 (14:23) M.Schaub pass short right to K.Walter pushed ob at HST 35 for 7 yards (D.Hall).

Blanket coverage by Doughty on the crossing route at the first down marker forces Schaub to throw short to Walter.

2-3-HST 35 (13:54) A.Foster left tackle to HST 45 for 10 yards (L.Fletcher; R.McIntosh).

Golston is driven off the line by a double team, and the C easily gets out to Fletcher to create a big cutback lane.

1-10-HST 45 (13:19) A.Foster right guard to WAS 49 for 6 yards (B.Orakpo, K.Golston).

The defense plays this well – Carricker and Carter cave in the corner, forcing Foster to cut inside. But Golston is being controlled on the line to give him a lane, and Foster has enough speed and power to escape Orakpo’s backside pursuit.

Redskins vs. Texans 4th quarter game review

1st quarter
2nd quarter
3rd quarter

Sorry this is so late - I always make an effort to get everything done before the next game but various obligations this week made it hard.  I still owe you overtime - I will probably do that today instead of watching the 1pm game.


N.Rackers kicks 70 yards from HST 30 to end zone, Touchback.

Washington Redskins at 15:00

1-10-WAS 20 (15:00) L.Johnson left end to WAS 10 for -10 yards (G.Quin).

Ah – what turned out to be the defining play of Larry Johnson’s brief stay in Washington. Williams, Cooley, and Sellers are all leading to the outside. Williams actually overruns the play and lets the MLB slip inside of him, while a DB racing to the corner dives low to takes out Sellers’ legs. Johnson has to leap over this mess so of course he has lost all momentum and is boxed in by the Mike backer and a DB who has beaten Cooley’s block. At this point the play should have been stuffed for a loss of 2 or 3 – but Johnson gets big ideas in his head and tries to double back the other way, where he is quickly chased down.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Redskins vs. Texans 3rd quarter review

First quarter game review
Second quarter game review


G.Gano kicks 71 yards from WAS 30 to HST -1. S.Slaton to HST 15 for 16 yards (L.Alexander).

Houston Texans at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:55)

1-10-HST 15 (14:55) A.Foster right end to HST 16 for 1 yard (A.Carriker; R.McIntosh).

Carricker fights through a RG-RT double team to stuff the play. I’m liking Carricker more and more.

2-9-HST 16 (14:23) M.Schaub pass deep right to K.Walter to HST 37 for 21 yards (R.Doughty).

Doughty has Walter well covered, but Schaub throws a perfect pass.

1-10-HST 37 (13:48) A.Foster right end to HST 42 for 5 yards (R.Doughty, D.Hall).

2-5-HST 42 (13:09) M.Schaub pass short right to V.Leach pushed ob at WAS 43 for 15 yards (R.McIntosh).

Landry and Orakpo blitz from the offensive left. Landry speeds around the LT, and Orakpo gets past the LG’s outside shoulder (Foster should have picked him up but recognizes it too late). Schaub is forced out of the pocket with both blitzers and then Adam Carricker closing in, but he notices the FB in the flat and lofts it just over Andre Carter’s hands for the first down.

1-10-WAS 43 (12:39) A.Foster right tackle to WAS 41 for 2 yards (V.Holliday).

Carter stands up the fullback in the backfield, forcing Foster back up the middle. The Redskins linemen are getting manhandled and Orakpo is sealed to the outside by the TE, but Landry reads the play and comes in to trip him up.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Redskins vs. Texans 2nd quarter review


Houston Texans continued.
2-5-WAS 5 (15:00) M.Schaub pass short left to J.Jones for 5 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Someone blows an assignment. Orakpo is clearly manned up on the TE, but he stays into block. When Jones, from the slot, goes on a simple out Landry apparently thinks Orakpo has him and lets Jones get wide open.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Redskins vs. Texans 1st quarter review


N.Rackers kicks 70 yards from HST 30 to end zone, Touchback.

Washington Redskins at 15:00

1-10-WAS 20 (15:00) D.McNabb pass short left to M.Sellers to WAS 42 for 22 yards (B.Pollard, K.Jackson).

Twins WRs left. From the left slot Moss runs a slant and not only clears out his DB but ends up blocking an OLB, allowing Sellers to run for big yards after making an easy catch in the flat.

1-10-WAS 42 (14:22) D.McNabb pass short middle to S.Moss to HST 45 for 13 yards (G.Quin; B.Pollard).

1-10-HST 45 (13:45) C.Portis right end to HST 43 for 2 yards (X.Adibi).

Draw play, and either it was poorly designed or someone missed an assignment. Jammal Brown drops back into (fake) pass pro and even though he blocks the LDE poorly Portis is already past before he can make the play. Cooley, from RTE, heads outside and blocks a DB. When Sellers leads through the hole he is faced with two LBs, and obviously can only block one. My prime suspect for the culprit here is Casey Rabach, who was slow getting to the second level and blocked (poorly) the backside OLB instead of one of the two playside guys Sellers was faced with.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A few notes and links

It's looking like I won't be able to get the first quarter game review up until Tuesday night, so here's some reading material to tide you over (basically I'm stalling for time).

- It Is What It Is has posted some initial reactions to the Houston game. 

- John Keim's "Starting 11" analysis of the game.

- Hogs Haven points out, among other observations, that Devin Thomas could have dropped that touchdown pass as well as Joey Galloway.

- TBD's Samuel Chamberlain outlines thirteen plays that cost the Redskins the game.

- Also from TBD, here's a very good photo gallery from the game.  And here's some more good photos from Homer McFanboy.

- Finally, while it's a bit out of date since it aired before the Texans game, here is the video of my appearance, with David Aldridge and Britt McHenry, on TBD's News Talk last Friday.

Check in tomorrow night for the game review.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some Week 1 wrap up notes

First of all, the blog Houston Sports and More was kind enough to ask for my thoughts on the Redskins and the upcoming matchups with the Texans.  Click here for a discussion of the Dallas win, McNabb, Kyle Shanahan's familiarity with the Texans (and vice versa) and, of course, Albert Haynesworth.

As you know I spent the week going over the replay of the Dallas game (here are links to the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, and fourth quarter game reviews).  To wrap things up here are a few notes on what stood out to me the most from week 1. 

- Trent Williams looked very, very good.  He got beat a time or two by DeMarcus Ware, but he more than held his own.  He also did very well tracking down defenders at the second level.  Feeling very good about this first round pick.

- Clinton Portis' pass protection may be the only reason we had any passing game at all last week.  He wasn't just picking up blitzers, but also repeatedly bailed out the linemen when they were beaten by a regular four man rush.  And as always, the violence with which he hit pass blockers made him even more effective - on one occasion a linebacker actually stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Portis waiting for him and then retreated (Portis pursued him and hit him anyway).  And he did not hesitate to take on much bigger defenders, including Jay Ratliff, as soon as they started to make it past the line.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Redskins vs. Dallas 4th quarter game review

Good first week.  Really feels good to be back at this again.  If you missed them, here are links to the first, second, and third quarter game reviews.  As before the bold text is taken from the NFL Gamebook with my commentary added below most plays.


Washington Redskins continued.

2-8-DAL 43 (15:00) D.McNabb pass incomplete short middle to A.Armstrong [B.James]. Penalty on WAS-D.Dockery, Ineligible Downfield Pass, declined.

Derrick Dockery thought this was a draw – he briefly shows a pass pro stance then races downfield. He is next seen eight yards past the LOS blocking DeMarcus Ware, which must have been confusing to Ware because he was in pass coverage at the time. I guess if you’re going to royally screw up you may as well make it funny. (If you are watching the tape you may note Collinsworth claims this is a screen. It is not. If it was Dockery would have delayed for a few seconds to let the pass get set up, and the other linemen would have come out off pass pro at some point.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Redskins vs. Dallas 3rd quarter game review

First quarter game review here; second quarter here.  Play by play info is taken from NFL Gamebook.


D.Buehler kicks 71 yards from DAL 30 to WAS -1. D.Thomas to WAS 33 for 34 yards (D.Buehler).

Nice job by Devin Thomas to let his blocking develop then pick a hole and shoot through it.

Washington Redskins at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:51)

1-10-WAS 33 (14:51) C.Portis right tackle to WAS 36 for 3 yards (A.Spencer, M.Spears).

Not sure what the plan was here. Redskins line up with a trips bunch tight to the right: Cooley on the LOS but standing up, Santana behind him and to the outside, and Fred Davis behind and to this inside. Just before the snap Davis motions to behind Hicks at RG. Rabach and Hicks ignore the linemen altogether and go straight out to the LBs, so Davis ends up man to man on the NT. He not so shockingly gets pushed back. I think Portis was meant to cut to the left where he had room opened up by Williams and Dockery, but Fred Davis had been carried back far enough to shut that off so he had to cut right, where Brown and Cooley had focused on sealing the LDE and LOLB to the outside but hadn’t created anything even resembling a hole. It is a tribute to Portis’ high-effort running style that he managed to gain 3.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Redskins vs. Dallas 2nd quarter game review

The first quarter review got posted earlier today.

As before, the parts in bold are the play by play taken straight from the NFL Gamebook, then my commentary is added in it's own font.

On with the second quarter.  I think you'll like how this one ends.


Dallas Cowboys continued.

3-4-WAS 6 (15:00) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass short right to M.Austin to WAS 5 for 1 yard (P.Buchanon, R.Doughty). PENALTY on DAL-D.Bryant, Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards, enforced at WAS 6 - No Play.

Dallas line up in trips right for a screen to Austin with Bryant and Roy Williams as blockers. But Bryant blocks Rogers downfield immediately rather than waiting for Austin to receive the ball, leading to the PI call.

3-14-WAS 16 (14:31) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete deep middle to J.Witten [R.Doughty].

Orakpo and Lorenzo Alexander are lined up side by side on the offensive left in a nickel formation with only one down lineman (Holliday). That’s right, it was a 1-5-5 defense. Alexander is initially stymied by the LG, but Orakpo is beating the LT to the inside so Alexander slips around him to the outside. Romo is forced to throw high because of the LT being driven back into his face, then Alexander puts a hit on him for good measure. Two of those five LBs dropped back coverage and a total of four men rushed, so this was an excellent job by Haslett of creating pressure without sacrificing coverage.

Redskins vs. Dallas 1st quarter game review

Here it is - the first game review of 2010.  These tend to be pretty long so I usually do them one quarter at a time, but I hope to have the second quarter up tonight.

The stuff in bold is the raw play by play info taken directly from the exceptionally handy NFL Gamebook.  I have added my own commentary under each play (or most of them at least).

As always, these are just my opinions and interpretations.  If you have the game recorded, I encourage you to play it back and let me know if you see things differently.

Here we go...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Game reviews are coming

There seem to be more people hanging around this site than last year, so I want to give the newcomers an idea of what to expect during the regular season.

From here on out the vast majority of the posts on this site will be my play by play game reviews.  Basically this involves me playing back the game on my TiVo and trying to identify what went right and what went wrong.  I don't write up quite every play, but probably at least 75% or more.  If you're the type who prefers NFL Matchup to the Fox pregame show, you might enjoy these.  Partly because it's the part of football I find most interesting, and partly because it's what the TV view shows us, much of the focus will be on the offensive line vs. the defensive front seven.

Because these take a long time to do, and I  have a day job, they will generally go up one quarter at a time.  I try to get the first quarter posted either Monday or Tuesday night, but either way the four game review posts tend to get spread out over the course of the week.  So this isn't really going to be a site for immediate reactions, but that's not really what I'm trying to do anyway.  Occasionally on a Sunday night, if the Redskins were away so I'm not recovering from the stadium experience, I may post some of my initial thoughts.  But since you really can't tell what happened on a football play by watching it once (especially at full speed), my real evaluation won't start until I spend some quality time with the TiVo throughout the week.  After completing the game review posts I will sometimes, though not always, put up one more post of wrap up thoughts to summarize what I learned.

I'm off to FedEx now, so enjoy gameday and check in tomorrow so we can start digesting what happened.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Some thoughts on the Dallas game

Dallas will be missing their starting right tackle and left guard.  Right tackle will be filled by Alex Barron, who is frankly terrible.  Their left tackle, Doug Free, has potential but is young and learning the position (he played right last year).  Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter are already set up for success.  But more than that, this is a perfect opportunity to wreak havoc with Albert Haynesworth.  Hopefully he will be used creatively and set up to ruthlessly exploit these three vulnerabilities. 
Furthermore, the Cowboys will be seeing every Redskins blitz for the first time.  Jim Haslett ran a 4-3 in his previous NFL stops and presumably didn't show too much in preseason, so Dallas has no film on this defense.

My NFL predictions

Just for fun, here are my very brief predictions for the NFL this year:


First Place - New York Giants
Second Place - Philadelphia Eagles
Third Place - Dallas Cowboys
Fourth Place - Washington Redskins

I know, I know.  Sorry.  But I see the Redskins as a 7-9 team.  With a whole lot of things going just right it's not hard to picture them finishing higher up in the standings, but there's just too many things that need to fall into place.  I am inclined to set my expectations relatively low and be pleasantly surprised if proven wrong.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Redskins final(ish) 53 man roster

The cuts are in, and at last the Redskins 53 man roster is not just hypothetical. 

It may not be entirely final though... alot of players have hit the street today and it would not be at all surprising if some of these survivors get bumped for newcomers (there is already speculation about T.J. Houshmandzadeh).

So for now at least, here are Your 2010 Washington Redskins:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rating the Redskins by position

Back when I was doing my position previews prior to the preseason I assigned each position group a confidence level on a scale of 1 to 10.  These are entirely subjective, but even after everything that's happened in training camp and the preseason I think they still pretty much approximate how good I feel about each part of the team.