This Ole Fart Thinks: Redskins vs. Eagles
Well, well, well I was walking through the park the other day and I heard my name being called very faintly. I couldn’t figure out which direction it was coming from because I could barely hear it. I eventually saw this scruffy looking old dude trying to wave his arms. I slowly walked towards him and as I got closer I recognized it was my old friend shally. We exchanged pleasantries and he immediately started talking about the Redskins. Below is what the ole fart had to say:
Ok, it is time for a lot of people to climb back down off the ledge and take a deep breath.. This also pertains to me as well.. Honestly, I didnt see the Monday night game turning out the way it did, but there were lots of warning flags that should have alerted us to the potential for an outcome like we saw. So, let’s take it from the top
This was ONE GAME. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. We played very poorly in stretches at the beginning of last year and the season was almost lost before we caught fire at the end. We lost to teams we had no business losing to, and beat the eventual Champions. So, we need to put this game in perspective, even though there are a lot of areas of concern.
Philly has a lot of Offensive talent with a healthy Vick, Jackson, and, especially McCoy. Those guys have played well just about every time we have played them, when healthy. And they were very fresh and healthy.
When you play a team whose schemes you have never seen before, it puts you at a disadvantage. I think we will be much better prepared for the Eagles the next time we play them, and have game tape on them from multiple games.. Teams will catch on to Kelly as the year goes along. Even as our Defense played better in the second half.
The Eagles players, to their credit, really have bought in. They played hard all game long and they schemed very well against out Offense. Still, we made it mighty easy for them with turnovers and Defensive lapses. There was simply no excuse for the way the Redskins played for the entire first half, and some of the second half. There were also dumb penalties (Hall !!!!) and fumbles, poor calls and poor decisions (Thompson and Morgan).
So, let me start at the top with RGIII.. Let’s not forget that he is about 8 months from major knee surgery, with no playing time in preseason. Shanahan obviously decided that playing RGIII in preseason wasnt worth the risk/benefit calculation. Just look at what happened to Sanchez to see what could have happened. But right now, RGIII is both rusty AND not the same player we saw last season. You cannot go without live speed plays and not be off. That aspect of his play will, and did improve in the second half. Still, he was off, way off, in many of his throws.
Although others disagree with me, I tend to agree with Jaws that his motion isnt the same. Yes, he threw with a lot of arm motion last year, but not like in game 1..The more I looked, the more I didnt see leg drive in his throws. That is why a lot of his passes, even when caught, were high. It contributed to the first interception for certain. He was able to throw the deep out ok, but unless he can get more confidence in his legs, he is going to need to make a major change in the way he throws the ball. Either way it is going to take time.
The greater issue is the lack of foot speed. As I posted in another thread, he looked slow, or in his case, mortal when running the ball. He got caught from behind by a lineman and that simply didnt happen last year.. Even his runs to the edge were tentative. That was what made him special. He has the potential to be a great pure pocket passer, but with his foot speed impaired, teams are going to tee off on him and ignore the threat of his beating them with the run. The kinds of plays he made freezing Defensive Ends like JPP wont be there, until teams fear being punished for coming at him aggressively when in the pocket. If he isnt going to run, we better have a whole lot more screens, draws and misdirections or it will be ugly. I dont forget that the “young” John Elway was an incredible athlete and very elusive. But it was the “older” John Elway who won a championship with his arm.
I dont worry about Morris except to say that some of those yards he got were the result of teams fearing RGIII more than him, and yards will be tougher to come by this year. Still, he is a terrific RB and there will be games with over 100 yards coming up this season. Having Helu will help as well.
The Offensive line laid a collective egg. We can trot out the usual complaints about Polumbus. He didnt play very well. But then none of the linemen did. There was tremendous pressure up the middle much of the game so the interior linemen were crappy. Trent had a very costly penalty in the 4th quarter for a false start. This simply wasnt how I thought they would play. The Eagles Defense man handled them much of the game.
The tight ends were ineffective with the exception of Reed. He caught everything thrown his way and will be a major weapon this year if they give him plays.
Wideouts? Well, I though Garcon and Moss played well. Hankerson had an up and down game. He had a killer drop in the 4th quarter, but made other catches. Robinson was invisible and Morgan didnt exactly look like removing some nuts and bolts turned him into the second coming of Anquaan Boldin. They simply have to play better.
Defense? That is what distressed me most of all. How many times have we seen missed tackle after missed tackle before this? The Kelly scheme is pretty simple in philosophy: You play fast and get your skilled players into one on one situations with defenders. If they cant tackle securely, there will be a lot of big plays. That is precisely what we saw all game. Fletcher, I am sorry to say, looked old. If he cant do better than that, Barnett (who is by reputation a very solid run defender) needs much more playing time. Riley is solid, but Orakpo looked like a one dimensional player. He still doesnt play the run that well or hold the edge. He also got swallowed up by Peters for nearly the whole game. If he cant do better, Kerrigan is going to run into lots of obstructions game after game. I cannot see breaking the bank to sign him long term after this season if this is going to be the overall level of his play. Perhaps Jackson represents the better investment? And if nothing else, we need to develop B Jenkins as an edge rusher to hedge our bets if Orakpo cannot be an impact player.
The D line got gashed over and over again. Both Vick and McCoy ran through them because they didnt tie up the blockers, and there were holes over and over.
Defensive backs? Again, not having a healthy Meriweather hurt a lot. But why on earth do you sub a poor tackler in Biggers for a decent tackler in Doughty? Especially since Biggers had NEVER played safety before, and he missed tackles or took poor angles all preseason. Dumb!! I think we would have been far better off with Gumbs who tackles hard and securely. Murphy took a dumb penalty on a kickoff and Pugh contributed nothing. Rambo? We he got schooled a lot, missed some tackles, but what can you expect from a 6th rounder? He is a work in progress and will get better. The worst offender? Hall - How do you excuse taking that kind of dumb deliberate horse collar penalty? I would have sat him the rest of the game. Problem is we still dont have anyone better and that hurts. Losing Crawford was a big blow because of his contributions on both defense and special teams.
Speaking of which what happened to Rocca’s leg? I TOLD people we should have drafted Locke to punt and to kick off. The other real concern that I have now is that Forbath has messed with his stroke to kick off deeper and has altered his FG stroke. I sure hope that was his only miss for the next few games. We won a lot of games last year because of his reliability. I dont want to even think that he is a different kicker this year. Thompson? OK, he gets a 1 game mulligan, but he sure didnt look like any kind of threat in the return game. The entire return game looked off and not threatening–except to our own field position.
So, what’s next? We need to shake this one off and go play a Green Bay team that is flawed but very dangerous. They dont have much of a running game, but they can still pass the ball downfield like crazy and they have a Tight End who is light year’s better than Philly’s. We better get coverage responsibilities defined between the SS and linebackers or we are going to have a very long day.
On defense you can expect the Pack under Dom Capers is going to sell out to come after RGIII. We better have some plays ready for this. The game is winnable, but overall I think they are a better team than Philly, and they wont want to be 0-2 after 2 games either. We need to play 4 solid quarters and cant give away points like Monday. Right now, I dont know that we are ready.