Tag Archives: Washington Redskins

NFL Week 1 Observations. The Better Late Than Never Edition.

Overreactions.

That basic sums up week 1 in the NFL. The teams that lost Sunday looked inept and hope, to quote the great Jim Mora “that they can even win a game.” The teams that won meanwhile, are on top of their divisions and are very much going to win the Super Bowl. That’s how it feels anyway. That’s because with just 16 games in a season and a media that has 24 hours to fill, hyperbole is necessity. The media needs it like Miley Cyrus and attention, and boy does she need attention. But I digress.

Peyton Manning? I Heard He’s Really Good.

It appears that you heard correctly bold subtitle thing. It also appears as though you haven’t been living under a rock. Last Thursday, in the season opener that featured Manning’s Broncos and the defending champion Ravens, Peyton Manning gave a master class in quarterbacking. He got out to a bit of a shaky start and then proceeded to toss an NFL record 7 touchdown passes, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Joe Kapp with the Vikings back in 1969. The last time someone did without throwing an interception, like Manning did that night, was Y.A. Tittle in 1962. I think the interesting thing here is that Manning appeared to know this off the top of his head. That’s some real student of the game stuff right there.

Also The Ravens Are Full Of Holes, And It Shows.

The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens start the season on the ropes. I promise you, this is not an overreaction. Joe Flacco seemed to have chemistry with exactly none of his receivers, except maybe Dallas Clark but his hands appeared to be made of bricks, and Joe never found his rhythm. Jacoby Jones who is not only an important part of the offense but special teams as well, was taken out by one of his own players in what can only be described as sheer ineptitude. Jacoby sprained his knee and will be out 2-3 weeks. Baltimore could really use Anquan Boldin at receiver right now but, unfortunately he’s too busy being awesome in San Francisco. Where the Ravens traded him for reasons no one can begin to fathom. Add to that a nonsensical limit to Ray Rice’s touches (adequately screwing over my fantasy team) and I’ll be the first person to tell you I haven’t the foggiest idea what the Ravens are doing.

The defense has holes. They’ve got more holes than swiss cheese, a sieve and Miley Cyrus’s personality put together (zing!). They don’t look bad so much as they looked lost and inept. They made a star out of Julius Thomas who no one had ever heard of, even I presume, Julius Thomas. The NBC analysts Chris Collinsworth and Al Michaels were at a  loss with anything to actually say about the guy, except that he played basketball. Which, to be fair, is more than any of us knew. Especially the Raven’s defense.

The Bills, Cardinals And Raiders Will Be Better Than Everyone Thought.

Everyone believed that the Patriots beat the Bills simply by arriving in Buffalo. Instead Tom Brady & co. won but with way more effort than anyone imagined. It was a nail biter that ended with Tom Brady driving his team down the field to set up the go ahead field goal. But the Bills gave their fans something to be optimistic about this decade. Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel looked sharp throwing for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both looked shifty and hard to hit, both of them using their combined 30 carries to pick up 108 yards.

The Cardinals look like a for real NFL offense for the first time in years. Literally years. Larry Fitzgerald proves that he can be a dynamic player if there is a halfway competent quarterback passing him the ball. Enter Carson Palmer, our friendly neighborhood halfway decent quarterback. He looked impressive throwing for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns, hitting 8 different receivers along the way. Rashard Mendenhall added a bit of a running game and all of a sudden the Cardinals look like they can give any team in the league a run for their money.

Terrelle Pryor a.k.a. Al Davis’ last draft pick proved that the old man could still smell talent. Pryor had a decent outing Sunday. He threw a couple of interceptions but, he passed for 217 yards and a touchdown. Pryor made plays with his feet, specifically he made 112 yards worth of plays with his feet. He kept the Raiders offense on track and gave them a chance to win late. Unfortunately, Andrew Luck is Captain Clutch and stole a victory late for the Colts. Apparently Pryor cried after the game, but honestly, he’s got nothing to cry about he gave the Raiders a chance to win. The Raiders. I would’ve have been shocked if they won more than two games this season. Now, I’d be shocked if they didn’t.

The Philadelphia Eagles Look Fast On Field, Chip Kelly Says They’re “Too Slow.”

The Philadelphia Eagles are going to break a lot of records this season, and they’re all going to be for the most plays run. Under rookie head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles have adopted a frantic playing style. The Washington Redskins thought they were prepared for this. The were in fact, not prepared for this. Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett (the poor guy) was studying college film in an attempt to prepare for Kelly’s blazing offensive production. It seemed for naught. The Redskins hung in there early but once the Eagles got in the end zone, it seemed like they couldn’t stop scoring. Lesean McCoy and Michael Vick worked together like partners in crime. Two really fast partners in crime, shredding the Redskins tired defense for 24 first half points, while running 53 plays (which is a disturbingly high number of plays). After the game Chip Kelly said to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala with a straight face, “I felt like it was slow, to be honest with you.”

Michael Vick said he felt like he played an entire half of football in one quarter. That’s because you did Mike. That’s because you did.

RG3 Looked Like A Rust Bucket For Most Of The Game.

To say Robert Griffin III looked rusty, would be the understatement of the century. He looked like the tin man, if the tin man decided to take frequent baths in the ocean. Griffin was the definition of rust for three quarters of this game. His actions appeared stiff and unsure. His timing with his receivers was off. Passes hilariously overthrown and comically under thrown. He looked like a shell of himself. The only thing about this game that gave Skins any hope for this season was the fourth quarter. Robert was able to find a rhythm and when he did find it, the Eagles seemed unable to stop him. So that’s good.

Packers Try To Stop Kaepernick From Rushing, Ironically Get Picked Apart In The Air.

Well, it’s not like the Packers didn’t succeed in a manner of speaking. Colin Kaepernick only rushed for 22 yards. Unfortunately for the Pack, their defense failed in every other sense of the word. The 49ers quarterback took whatever yardage he wanted from the Packers defense, which turned out to be 412 yards and 3 touchdowns. Clay Matthews got his hit on Colin Kaepernick but may have cost his team the game. There were offsetting penalties, and the officials mistakenly awarded the 49ers another 3rd down instead of the fourth down they were supposed to get. Some people might blame the officials for this. I blame Clay Matthews. His hit on Kaep as he was running out of bounds was stupid, unnecessary and a tad dirty. If he doesn’t to that there isn’t even a mistake for the officials to make.

Anquan Boldin formerly of Ravens fame proved that the Ravens made a mistake in trading him to the 49ers. Joe Flacco’s former favorite target became Colin Kaepernick’s favorite tartget, grabbing 13 passes for a grand total of 208 yards and a touchdown. Boldin had a monstrous difference in the game because when the Packers broke out of their zone a bit to guard him, he still burned them.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense put up a very good fight. Rodgers had 333 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with one interception, but the punch that Eddie Lacy was supposed to add to the running game, never came, and Rodgers was up a creek with Jordy Nelson and no paddle. Amazingly, it was almost good enough as the Packers fell 34-28.

Tony Romo’s Has An Offensive Line?

Why, yes he does. In fact, they were quite good. They looked like a cohesive unit for the first time in about 15 years (I’m exaggerating but only mildly). No longer do opposing defensive linemen look like the Juggernaut running through paper maché. They have to actually work  to get to Tony Romo. This provides Romo with more time to look down field than he’s ever had in his life. If you thought he was good before (Romo haters, not one word) wait until you see him have time. The Giants have a pretty good secondary and they couldn’t stop Tony at all. He was slinging the ball all over the yard as he and the Cowboys staved off a late game comeback by the Giants.

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What We Learned: NFL Week 1

Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books. There are lots of things to look at this week; the five rookies that started, the return of some prominent running backs, and more. Let’s jump in it!

The Giants Need Receivers and The Cowboys Have a Secondary.

Tony Romo and Kevin Ogletree after their victory over the Giants last Wednesday.

The Dallas Cowboys helped kickoff the NFL season last Wednesday with a 24-17 drubbing of the New York Giants. Tony Romo looked electric, as threw the ball all over the yard. Romo offset his one interception by throwing 309 yards and 3 touchdowns. Dez Bryant ran rampant, showing the elite playmaking ability that Dalas was looking for when they drafted him. Kevin Ogletree stepped up in a big way with 8 receptions for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns.

I don’t know if the Cowboys secondary is permanently cured of the knuckle headed play that has plagued it in the past but, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has the Cowboys disrupting Eli’s rhythm all night. The pass rush played a part of course gathering 3 sacks and making Eli Manning uncomfortable.

The Giants struggled offensively. It’s pretty clear that losing Mario Manningham to the San Francisco 49ers this offseason has hurt them. They tried running the ball, which they were worst in the league last season in doing, and they failed miserably at it. They were unable to stretch the field. Both Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks received special attention from the Dallas defense. Nicks was pretty much shut down with 4 receptions for just 38 yards. Victor Cruz had opportunities but dropped a number of passes. While this isn’t a sign of things to come, the Giants need a third option to emerge for Eli or they’ll be in a lot of trouble.

Quarterback Nightmares

What do Michael Vick, Brandon Weeden, Matthew Stafford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Andrew Luck, and Ryan Tannehill have in common? A metric crap ton of interceptions between them. All of these quarterbacks threw three interceptions on Sunday. Noteworthy: 3 of the 5 rookies starting at quarterback are here. 

Michael Vick and Brandon Weeden were apparently playing to see who could throw the most interceptions. They both tied at 4, I suppose. However what’s interesting about the Eagles is that Michael Vick threw the ball 56 times. 56 times! What kind of game plan is that? This simply adds another chapter the play calling blunders in the book that is Andy Reid. Does Andy Reid know who LeSean McCoy is? Apparently not because McCoy  had just 20 carries.  When you ask a quarterback to throw that many passes some of them are going to get taken away.

Brandon Weeden looked about as lost and confused as a man can get. Beginning with him getting trapped under the American Flag at the start of the game and continuing into the game.

Weeden had some good plays but he threw no touchdowns to go along with is 4 picks and he overthrew a number of open receivers  including what would have been a touchdown to Alex Smith who was wide open in the end zone.

Matthew Stafford was able to help the Lions escape with a victory after throwing 3 interceptions. He threw all of the interceptions in the first half. Then became captain clutch in the waning moments of the game to help his team top the Rams 27-23.

Adrian Peterson looks glorious in his return, Blaine Gabbert looks good.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had 84 yards and 2 touchdowns on 17 carries as the Vikings beat the Jaguars in overtime 26-23. Peterson looked like the same dominant player he was when he left. He tore his ACL only 8 months ago. That’s pretty impressive stuff. He was making all of the sharp moves and cuts as always. Furthermore, he was able to take some pretty big hits and keep rolling like we know him to do so well.

Last season, I called for the Jaguars to start Gabbert. Almost as soon as the Gabbert era began, I ate those words. They were very bad tasting words and I can honestly say that Gabbert was the worst quarterback in the league last season. He looked terrified in the pocket and inaccurate out of it. He got his season off to a good start, despite the loss; by completing 26 of 39 passes and throwing for 260 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Shock! 

The Jets shocked the media, and not me,  by scoring points this Sunday. Lots of them. 48 points to be specific. In this age of overanalysis, the media saw the Jets unable to score points of any kind in the preseason and assumed it would carry over to the regular season. That’s not how this works. Mark Sanchez looked golden and Stephen Hill looked great as well, as the Jets steam rolled the revamped Bills offense.

The Redskins shocked the media, and me, by scoring 40 points on the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans. Led by rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III who threw 320 yards and 2 touchdowns, on 19 of 26 passing. Griffin had a perfect quarterback rating at halftime and ended with the best quarterback rating in the league by the end of week 1, with a rating of 139.9. The rookie running back Alfred Morris out of Florida Atlantic contributed another 2 touchdowns. The defense was tenacious and harassed Drew Brees all day long. On a side note: Griffin handles press conferences like veteran. 

The Oakland Raiders had a ton of penalties. Just kidding. The Raiders are still as undisciplined as they always have been and racked up the penalties, including two offsides penalties by Tommy Kelly which kept San Diego’s drives alive, in a 22-14 loss to the Chargers, shocking absolutely no one. Even the media.

I can tell already, this is going to be a great season. This is going to be a great season.

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Chris Cooley’s Release Marks A New Era In Washington.

This may not be major news for a lot of fans but, I’m a Redskins fan and it rocked my world today.One of my favorite players, Chris Cooley was released from the Redskins today.

Chris Cooley, despite spending his entire career during one of the least productive eras in Redskins history, is a class act. He always has been. He didn’t have to put up with the nonsense and dysfunction but, he did. Chris Cooley is one of the only players I’ve ever seen who was a fan of the team he played for, not because he himself was on the team. That meant something to fans. He hated the Cowboys just like the rest of us fans.

Many Washington fans, myself included, saw the writing on the wall. Chris Cooley wasn’t able to stay healthy while the Shanahans were in charge but, if there was ever a player who exemplified what it was to be a Redskin it was Cooley. Chris is one of those players who is reliable to a point. As Mike Wise wrote in the Washington Post today, “Chris Cooley: The Redskin you could count on when you couldn’t count on the Redskins.” Nothing could be truer.

Washington has seen it’s fair share of coaches and quarterbacks and guys like Cooley were the constant. The leader in the locker room that bridged together the different regimes. He was supposed to be here for RGIII.

For Redskins fans Chris Cooley was a joy to root for. He gives 100% on every play and never quits. You can’t replace that easily. When Chris Cooley got choked up at his press conference today, I did too. Many of my most positive memories of being a Redskins fan involve Chris Cooley.

So here’s to Captain Chaos. I wish him well wherever he ends up next. I’ll always be a Cooley fan.

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NFL Story Lines I’m Tired Of Already.

Football, America’s favorite sport is returning and with its return come a number of story lines. Each team has their own contributions to the great web of NFL stories. Due to the existence of 24 hour sports networks and the internet some stories tend to be over covered. A lot of times there isn’t anyway to know what will happen to the players involved so “coverage” becomes a lot of repetitive annoying questions and speculation. Here are some of the stories that have received so much coverage that they’ve become annoying.

Peyton Manning Is A Bronco. 

Peyton Manning proved his value to the NFL the year he didn’t wear a uniform. The Indianapolis Colts without Manning were easily the worst the worst thing to happen to football all year. Manning’s multiple neck surgeries, move to a new team, and association with anybody that ever met and/or talked to Tim Tebow makes him the subject of much speculation. While this is a very intriguing story its been being reported on for months. Furthermore, maddeningly enough ESPN spent the whole week at Broncos camp.

Commonly Asked Questions In This Story Line: How is Peyton’s neck? Can he take a hit? Are the Broncos Superbowl contenders? Will Manning be Better than Tebow?

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. 

Griffin is surrounded by hype and hoopla wherever he goes. There’s no hope of escaping any of that. However, that fateful day in February when the Redskins moved up in the draft to take Griffin, has joined RG3 and Andrew Luck together at the hip for the rest of their careers. Quarterbacks drafted first and second in the draft always are. This story is tired and played out. It’s been covered since February. The two quarterbacks have been compared and scrutinized; by their numbers, by their big plays, and even by their catches. I say we just let the guys play and let history write itself.

Commonly Asked Questions In This Story Line: Who will be the better pro? Do the Redskins improve more or the Colts? Will Luck and Griffin have a Magic Johnson and Larry Bird style rivalry? Why is Andrew Luck not in a million commercials? Should we call RG3, Bob Griffin?

Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, and the Jets and stuff.

Tim Tebow has the ability to make any thing he touches turn into a media circus. It’s not his fault really but it is bothersome. Now that Tim has brought the circus to New York two things have happened. The already high scrutiny on Mark Sanchez is now through the roof  and there’s an unofficial clock on how long he has his job. I think the silliest thing about wondering how long Sanchez will have his job is that he’d have to lose it to Tebow, who though a winner, is simply not a good quarterback. If Sanchez is inconsistent, Tebow has defined the word. Just in case you’re wondering, no I don’t think Mark will lose his job to Tim Tebow.

Commonly Asked Questions In This Story Line: Which week will Tebow take over the starting QB job from Sanchez? Is a two quarterback system effective? How often will Tebow be used in the wildcat? Tebow in the redzone? Is Rex Ryan out of his mind?

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Ready, Set . . . Peyton!

No sooner after Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay concluded their tearful and heartfelt press conference announcing the release of Manning from the Colts organization; did the speculation of where Peyton could and should be headed shift into overdrive. In that instant the greatest free agent in recent NFL history was released into a market where he is without a doubt the hottest commodity. In a league where an elite triggerman is needed to win a Superbowl, all of the usual quarterback-needy suspects emerged. The Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals, and the Seattle Seahawks come to mind. Some not so usual suspects arose as well like the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers. While all of these teams will certainly be able to have some good reason to believe that they can and should acquire Peyton; some of these teams should not and others will not. They should drop out of the race right now because if you win and do get Manning it will be far from cheap and your team will not be set in the long run.

I believe the Redskins should use free agency to acquire wide receivers. While they will undoubtedly give Peyton a look the price will be too steep and they will opt to build a team through free agency in an attempt to give weapons to the rookie quarterback they should draft, whether that be Robert Griffin III or Ryan Tannehill. The Redskins tried the quick fix veteran quarterback before but to no avail.

The 49ers had a good run with Alex Smith and he gave them a good enough season to believe that he could do it again. He’s by far a cheaper option and one that works. Furthermore Smith is younger and at the moment more healthy than is Manning. While one could argue that San Francisco is an elite quarterback away from a Superbowl, the 49ers would greatly benefit from a deep threat to go along with their strong running game and tight end.

All of the other teams mentioned should scramble and do whatever it takes to get Manning. There just aren’t enough quarterbacks to go around.

 

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NFC East Free Agency Grades

Philadelphia Eagles

Grade: A

What did you expect? The Eagles cleaned up shop in this years free agency. They robbed the Cardinals blind in a deal that sent Kevin Kolb to Arizona giving them a 2012 second round draft pick and the 25 year old Dominique Rogers-Cromartie. When it looked like the Jets and Cowboys were going to go head-to-head for the services of the highly talented Nnamdi Asomugha, the Eagles swooped in at seemingly the last second and acquired him.

The Eagles were on fire this free agency. They had many needs and they addressed them with star power, all the while picking up quality players that fit their system. I was amazed at what Andy Reid was able to do. Jason Babin returns to the Eagles after one year with the Titans to solidify the defensive line. Cullen Jenkins also adds to this coming off of a Superbowl season in Green Bay.

Everybody wondered what Philadelphia would do without depth at the quarterback position after trading Kolb and they went out and got Vince Young. Vince is a a guy who is troubled but has the potential that Andy Reid and his staff can tap into. To aid the running game the Eagles signed Ronnie Brown, a back who is 29 years old and still very much in his prime. They were able to get DeSean Jackson to report to camp and hopefully they’ll pay him the money he deserves. He is after all their biggest playmaker and a piece that gives them legitimate Superbowl hopes.

Philadelphia is dangerous in nearly every part of their team. They have the secondary from hell, speedy wide receivers, a solid offensive line, a talented quarterback, and a great defensive line as well. They covered all of that ground in one giant step of a free agency period. Their only weakness is at the linebacker position. It’s very average but, maybe even those guys will look better with all the talent around them.

The Eagles have made moves that make them the team to beat in the NFC East. Right now at least, they’re the division’s paper champs.

New York Giants

Grade: C

The Giants were up against the cap with rookies to sign and weren’t able to make the same splash that their division rivals, the Redskins and Eagles were able to make. The Giants made some moves with the wiggle room that they had. They let tight end Kevin Boss go and re-signed Bear Pascoe who is a bit younger and very capable.

The Giants made many simple moves. They invested in their own players and tried to get their own guys back. They re-signed running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive lineman  Mathias Kiwanuka, and guard Kevin Boothe to bolster one of the most solid offensive lines in the division. I also have to commend the Giants for reaching out to undrafted free agent and cancer survivor Mark Herzlich. I think he’ll be a solid player for years to come because of his work ethic and experience.

Unfortunately for the G-men because they were not ready for the frenzied free agency they were not able to improve their team. They just maintained it. They lost some solid players and didn’t really gain anybody who is going to drastically make a difference on the team. It’s good that they brought a lot of their guys back because they are a good football team already but, the Eagles not only made a statement in free agency, they made a gap. I just don’t think New York did enough to separate themselves from the rest of the division or to simply not get left eating Philly’s dust.

Washington Redskins

Grade: B

It’s clear that Dan Snyder is no longer running things in Washington. Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have full autonomy and it shows. The Redskins made smart decisions in free agency. They went after guys that fit the needs that they had. They signed Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen to add size to the defensive line. Both men are excited to transition into a 3-4 defense, so they know the effort will be there. This was apart from moving Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth two players constantly surrounded by controversy in D.C.

To be honest there’s not enough room to go over all the things the Redskins did in free agency. They were extremely active but, the thing that stood out the most is that there were no huge names coming in. Except for the large sum of money that the Redskins allegedly offered Santonio Holmes, it appeared that no one was going to be truly over paid.

Apart from their work on the defensive line the Redskins added Josh Wilson to replace the departing Carlos Rodgers, and they re-signed a few linebackers that worked well in the 3-4 and were improving later on in the last season (and a few that didn’t).

Offensively Washington traded for Tim Hightower to add depth at the running back position. This is good because Ryan Torain is hurt . . . again. They signed a bajillion wide receivers, many of which will not make the final roster, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth, and Santana Moss are the notable signings. Casey Rabach, who once was a solid center but isn’t anymore, was cut and Will Montgomery was moved to center. Jammal Brown was re-signed at guard.

With all the good moves that Washington made, they never addressed their less than desirable quarterback situation. John Beck is an unknown but, who knows if he’ll be any good? Rex Grossman is a known commodity with ups and downs that make roller coasters seem  boring. They may still be at the bottom of the division but, steps are being made in the right direction.

Dallas Cowboys

Grade: D

Dallas like the Giants were hamstrung by the cap. While the Redskins and Eagles made concessions for this year by restructuring contracts during the 2010 season. Dallas was over the cap and had to cut many players but, including players from their already porous offensive line.

The Cowboys were able to re-sign Doug Free which is something that they wanted to do, and needed to do. Dallas had many needs and quite frankly, few answers. Key re-signings for the Cowboys apart from Free, were defensive back Allan Ball, safety Gerald Sensabaugh, and defensive end Marcus Spears. Dallas followed the trend of most teams against the salary cap. They invested in their own guys. There was the run they made at Nnamdi but we all know how that turned out.

With a new head coach in Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator in Rob Ryan, taking the helm this season Dallas may get out to a rough start. They didn’t help themselves in free agency. They brought some guys back but, they lost some to other teams, and they managed to do this without really addressing any of their needs. Their free agency was an uninspired mess.

 

 

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