by Dustin Raymond
The Washington Redskins bye week has come and gone and at 1-3, the team clearly has a lot of work ahead of themselves. If they want to have a hot streak and try to get into the playoffs, several key issues need to have been be addressed while the players were way:
1) The Redskin’s defense has been criticized as one of the worst defenses in the league this season. Besides the young secondary, whom continue to familiarize themselves with the speed of the game, missed tackles have become a primary concern.
In Week 3 against the Detroit Lions, Joique Bell bullied his way up the middle for a 12-yard touchdown run, running through a host of defenders, all of whom simply tossed their body weight at him instead of trying to wrap up his legs. Unfortunately, that sight has been all too common this season.
It’s not just the open field tackles that are being missed, it’s the direct lines where it appears the defenders aren’t getting their arms around the ball carrier’s body. Either they go for the strip – and still don’t make the turnover – or they try to use their shoulder to knock them down. Keep to the safe tackles and prevent the big plays.
Positive: Ryan Kerrigan has continuously proven his ability to utilize his arms to drag down the ball carrier.
2) Last year, Alfred Morris set a franchise records for the most rushing yards as a rookie. It’s an astonishing feat for any running back, but as of yet Morris appears to be absent this season.
It’s not his mechanics on the field, but the play calls coming from the sideline. A lack of run spread formation read-options, especially on 3rd and shorts, have given the opposing defense more confidence to cover the pass and limit Robert Griffin III’s choices.
If the Redskins want to allow Griffin’s to build on his pocket passing abilities, the use of the run to keep the defense guessing it a must. It opens up the play action which have yielded great results like against the Lions. Morris draws the attention of the front seven while Jordan Reed can get into the flat for a big play.
Positive: Alfred Morris has is back at practice after suffering bruised ribs in Oakland.
3) The Redskins offense has been playing a lot of catch up in the first few games of the season, yet they seem to lack the understanding of the sense of urgency. A lot of time was shaved off the clock between plays where quick drives were the only shot left to achieve a victory.
The no-huddle offense has become a large addition to many teams offenses and the Redskins appear to be behind in practicing and perfecting the style. Fortunately against the Raiders, Griffin came out using the hurry-up offense in the first half with successful results. This needs to be implemented more.
Positive: As mentioned before, the no-huddle was utilized early with success so should be featured more throughout the season as Griffin gets more comfortable.
4) Robert Griffin III just went through his first four games of the season (his preseason?) and now has had a week to sharpen his skills before their second conference game of the year. One area that should be focused on — his reads.
Against the Raiders, Santana Moss had his defender beat for what should have been a touchdown but Griffin stuck to his first receiver for a screen pass. It seems as though Griffin sticks to his first two reads and doesn’t continue through his progressions. He loves to use his check downs which is safe, but removes the possibility of a big play down the field.
Perhaps it’s him still getting comfortable after being removed for eight months or the fact that he’s been blitz in the first four games as he was in all 15 games of last season. Either way he will need to not stare down his receivers to keep the defense guessing where the ball will be thrown.
Positive: Robert Griffin III has the drive and dedication to get better and become the best quarterback in the NFL. With time, he will get more comfortable and adapt.