Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Hate Jim Haslett (as a defensive coordinator)

I hate Jim Haslett as a defensive coordinator.  Today, the Skins had Romo and his Cowboys at 4th and goal from the 12 yard line.  A stop wins the game.  The only thing you don't want to do is: 1) give Romo time to set and throw, 2) telegraph the defensive play call so that Romo knows what's coming.  Haslett did both.

Haslett put only 5 defenders in the vicinity of the line of scrimmage (and rushed 4).  So not only was Romo free from pressure, but he knew pre-snap he would not have to worry about pressure.

I was screaming at the TV before the ball was snapped.  Haslett's play call gave Romo and the Cowboys their best chance to win.  And the Cowboys capitalized.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cranky 'I Told You So's

This season has been frustrating to say the least.  Obviously, the mature thing to do is shout three huge I Told You Sos to Skins management.

1) I told you RGIII would not play like his normal self this year.  RGIII is currently ranked 20th in Win Probability Added/Game and 26th in completion percentage.  This "all in for week 1" stuff was a sham.

2) I told you the Skins will never have a good defense under Jim Haslett.  Haslett's most consistent trait going back to the late 90s is to produce defenses that underperform.  I told you this back in 2011, and tried again in 2012.  This year the Skins defense ranks 28th. Beginning with 2012 and working backward, the Skins defense has ranked 20th, 20th, and 24th.  Before Haslett arrived the Skins defense ranked 14th, 9th, and 8th.

3) I told you not to cut Graham Gano, that he was all-pro caliber, and that cutting him "feels like [cutting] David Akers all over again".  This year, Gano is 14/15 on FGs including 5/5 from 50+.  In addition, Gano leads the league in touchback percentage, while the Skins are ranked 30th -- if you don't think touchbacks matter, consider that they are equivalent in value to a QB sack.

So there it is Skins management.  I told you so.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Skins vs. Bear: The Great, the Good, and the Not-So-Good

The Skins beat a solid team, and hope remains that the Skins can still make something of this season. Still, today's wild win against the Bears had almost as many lows as highs.

The Great
  • Jordan Reed.  The Skins rookie tight end out of Florida not only had 9 catches for 134 yards and a TD, but 0 drops (which cannot be said for the Skin's core of veteran receivers).  
  • Rushing Game.  More than 200 yards on the ground between Alfred Morris, RGIII, and Roy Helu.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Not much to do but wait and see... (REVISITED)

We revisit this pre-Cowboys game post:

"Either RGIII's physical and mental readiness will continue to show improvement, or he'll stay rusty like many do the first year back from ACL repair."

  • REVISITED: RGIII looked, well, maybe a bit more mobile?  He was certainly not the confident RGIII of last year.

"Either the Skins' defensive secondary will mature and work better together, or they'll continue to allow gobs and gobs of passing yards."

  • REVISITED: The Skins' defensive secondary looked not terrible.

"Either Kai Forbath will return to his ultra-accurate form, or he'll continue to struggle with injuries, accuracy, or both."

  • REVISITED: Forbath looked sharp and comfortable on three short FGs, and pulled a 49-yarder.

"Either the Skins will emerge from the bye ready to take over a weak NFC East, or they'll continue the year as a weak team in a weak conference."

Not much to do but wait and see...

The first quarter of the season is over, and there's not much to say.
  • Either RGIII's physical and mental readiness will continue to show improvement, or he'll stay rusty like many do the first year back from ACL repair.
  • Either the Skins' defensive secondary will mature and work better together, or they'll continue to allow gobs and gobs of passing yards.
  • Either Kai Forbath will return to his ultra-accurate form, or he'll continue to struggle with injuries, accuracy, or both.
  • Either the Skins will emerge from the bye ready to take over a weak NFC East, or they'll continue the year as a weak team in a weak conference.  
We'll learn a lot tonight when the Skins take on the Cowboys.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Skins vs. Lions: The Great, The Good, and the Not-So-Good

At least the game was competitive...

The Great
  • John Potter, maybe.  In relief of an injured Forbath, Potter was 2/2 on FGs and had 3 touchbacks on 4 kickoffs.  

The Good
  • RGIII.  Very mixed game from RGIII. He had some strong, accurate passes, and showed a bit of speed. But he also had two very Rex Grossman-like turnovers: a throw-away that became an INT, and a fumble caused by no one.  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Skins vs. Packers: Quick Observations on a Lousy Game

  • David Amerson was abused repeatedly. He struggled with both coverage and tackling, and the Packers noticed and took advantage often.
  • In general, the Skins' secondary, which relies heavily on rookies and non-starters, is overmatched by NFL offenses. It's hard to see this improving anytime soon.
  • RGIII's passing looked better but his throws still arrive less accurately and less quickly than in the past. The result is more dropped and defended passes. 
  • The Skins front seven can generate good QB pressure.  
  • Theoretically, as the season progresses RGIII will continue to return to form, the offense will find its 2012 rhythm, and the Skins defensive rookies will noticeably improve, so there's reason to stay optimistic ... probably ... maybe ... hopefully ... ugh.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Skins vs. Eagles: The Great, the Good, and the Not-So-Good

The game was a mess, and I'm ready to move on, so let's get this over with.

The Great
  • Ryan Kerrigan.  7 tackles, a sack, and a huge forced fumble that translated to 7 points.  Hopefully he passes his concussion test and stays healthy.
  • Kai Forbath's Kickoffs.  Forbath, who struggled on kickoffs all of last year and all of pre-season, kicked 3 touchbacks on 4 tries.  Touchbacks are each worth an average of more than 10 yards on field position, so this is important long-term.
  • Perry Riley.  Riley had a sack, a fumble recovery, and a thousand tackles.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Effects of Year 1 ACL Recovery On Passing Efficiency

If you just awoke from a deep sleep and haven't yet heard, RGIII has been medically cleared to start the regular season tomorrow night against the Eagles.  Let's assume that RGIII stays healthy and has no medical setbacks. Can we expect him to be at full efficiency his first year back from ACL/LCL surgery?

For answers, we have two reference points:
1) Tom Brady’s performance the year after his ACL injury, and
2) RGIII’s performance in college the year after his first ACL injury. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cut Players the Skins Should Consider (and Avoid)

NFL teams are cutting down their rosters to 53 today, which means other teams may release players of use to the Skins. Here are two players the Skins should consider signing, and two others they should avoid.

Consider Signing

  • Fernando Velasco (Center) - Velasco was cut by the Titans after starting all 16 games last season, and he has experience in a zone-blocking scheme. Meanwhile, the Skins have reportedly cut both their backup centers Kevin Matthew and Tevita Stevens. Sure, starting guards Lichtensteiger or Chester could play center if needed, but then the Skins would be playing backups at both the center and guard positions.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Mattered in Pre-Season Game 4

As expected, the Skins rested their starters for pre-season game 4.  But there were still important issues to be addressed involving some potentially key players, including Kai Forbath, Evan Royster, Chris Thompson, and Pat White.  Let's handle these one at a time.

Is Kai Forbath reliable on kickoffs?
Forbath is extremely accurate on FGs, but he is below average on kickoffs.  In fact, in college he only handled FGs, and he has struggled to kick the ball deep in the NFL.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Four Observations From Pre-Season Game 3: Skins vs. Bills

It's Skins vs. Buffalo in the 3rd game of the pre-season.  The stakes are low, but there is still much to be learned about the team. Below are 4 observations about RB depth, kickoffs, turnovers, and backup QBs.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

The View from FedExField

Some of you  may know that I live in Vancouver, Canada.  So I don't get to attend many Skins games -- a far cry from childhood when my dad took me to every home game from 1983-1987.  But I happened to have a meeting in Maryland this week, and took the opportunity to catch tonight's pre-season game against the Steelers.

It had been awhile since I last saw a Skins game in person, and I appreciated being able to experience some things, mostly small things, that are not part of the television experience:

1.  Before the game I saw Dan Snyder casually hanging out on the field talking with ex-Washington, now Pittsburgh special teams coach Danny Smith.  Snyder looked like a nice, friendly, confident, short, frumpy man-child.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What Did We Learn From Preseason Game 1?

You can't learn much from a preseason game, but here are a couple tidbits that I think were apparent from the film:

  • Kirk Cousins looks sharp.  Cousins showed great footwork, mechanics, and tempo, and every one of his throws was accurate.  And I mean really accurate -- he practically placed the ball into the hands of his receivers.  If Cousins can show similar accuracy on the long ball, he's the real deal.
  • Kai Forbath still has trouble on kickoffs.  The Skins and Titans each kicked the ball off 4 times, yet the Skins had 1 kickoff return and the Titans 4.  Short kickoffs were a problem last year too, and giving the opponent opportunities for returns is not a good thing. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

When Should RGIII Play Again?

I continue to believe that Shanahan should have shouldered more responsibility for RGIII's injury. But it's time to look to the future.  When is it safe for RGIII to play again?

Hard question to answer, since RGIII appears to be superhuman. But but one approach is to compare RGIII's recovery timeline to that of Adrian Peterson, who recently made his own superhuman recovery from ACL surgery.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tim Tebow is Still Terrible

True Story.  I have NFL Network on in the background and I notice the Patriots QBs going through drills.  Tom Brady and the other QBs are taking snaps, dropping back, and throwing short out-routes to RBs.

The first thing I notice is how efficient Brady is with his drop-back footwork and release. Then I see the next guy go, some guy wearing #5, and I notice choppy footwork, a really long time to turn and set, and then a throwing motion that includes a long hitch leading to a release that's twice as long as Brady's.  I had two thoughts:

First, he must be a rookie, wow, rookies have so much to learn just in terms of fundamentals let alone scheme and plays!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

RGIII's Knee

My Facebook posts the hour before RGIII's removal from the game at 7:08pm:
  • 6:10pm - "RGIII is too hurt to run, and too hurt to set and throw :( We need to put in Kirk Cousins."
  • 6:25pm - "I'll believe RGIII is ok when he throws a pass more than 15 yards with accuracy."
  • 6:45pm - "Still waiting for an accurate pass. He's too hurt to play, and this is painful to watch."
  • 7:03pm - "I can't believe they've left RGIII in. I just can't believe it."

Skins vs. Seahawks: The Great, The Good, and The Not-So-Good

Against tradition, we start with the not-so-good.

The Not-So-Good
  • Mike Shanahan.  Inexcusable, reckless, and stupid to let RGIII play so long.  
  • Ryan Kerrigan.  Several times he gave up the edge allowing Russell Wilson to make a big play.
The Good
  • Alfred Morris.  He ran hard and well as usual, too bad he didn't get more chances.