Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys - Thoughts

Okay, now that I’ve had slumber to rest on this loss to the Cowboys, it’s time I give my thoughts on the game.

Nobody was expecting 16-0. Truth be told, I think it’s a blessing that our defense is playing as well as it has been so far, and offensively, I think we needed a reality check at some point. I hate that it came against a division rival, the Dallas Cowboys at that, but for the long haul, this is a team that believes it can correct their mistakes and rebound. The coming weeks will be what defines this Redskins team.

The running backs in the first half were slipping left and right. I didn’t see much of that happening to defenders or even to receivers making cuts on their routes, so I don’t know what was up with Tim Hightower and Roy Helu.

Receivers weren’t getting open. Looking back at Dallas’ first two games, a lot of the success in the passing game for those teams came on the receivers’ ability to beat the corners physically at the line of scrimmage. The Redskins didn’t show anywhere near enough of that.

Fred Davis was used more as a blocker than ideal. I thought Kyle Shanahan ruined a couple huge opportunities to run some chip-blocks with Fred Davis and have him take off into the flat after even a half-assed sell of a block, because nobody stuck with him when he was staying in to block.

Rex Grossman made some horrible decisions. The INT was just a poor throw that he tried to force in on a rope instead of letting it sail, or even finding the running back running wide to the right on the wheel route. It was a good play by the Dallas linebacker to get over and pick it off, but even if Sean Lee wasn’t in the area, Fred Davis was covered too well by the safety on that particular play for that throw.

What frustrated me most offensively was Kyle Shanahan’s play calling after the Touchdown. Mike Shanahan went out of his way to defend the playcalling because of the first-half-rushing results, but Kyle Shanahan does this all-too-often anyways. But it doesn’t fly as an excuse here, because the touchdown drive was a somewhat balanced attack and Tim Hightower wasn’t slipping and the O-Line started blocking well on the run. Even just a few on 1st Down would have kept Dallas’ defense a lot more honest.

Trent Williams, aside from maybe 2 or 3 plays (and getting away with a flagrant tackle of DeMarcus Ware) played 1st Round Draft Pick caliber. He was punishing vs. the run when we actually tried to run, and he protected Rex Grossman extremely well (telling that the two biggest sacks came from Jammal Brown’s side, who looked a little rattled facing DeMarcus Ware).

Defensively, I don’t particularly have anything to complain about. We got beat on the max-blitz, but had that play worked out, every one of us would be calling Jim Haslett the genius of the century. I’ll take the future and what that look opens up for Jim Haslett to shoot his safeties back into coverage instead of blitzing next time when the QB goes to max-protect to block it.

DeAngelo Hall didn’t play a terrible game… he got beat on a play where Tony Romo bought a lot more time than anyone thought he could/would, and Dez Bryant did a good job getting open. As anyone who has ever played or coached this game will tell you… if you give ANY receiver 5-6 seconds to run around, he’ll find a way to get open.

I loved having LaRon Landry back, he didn’t look like he missed a step to be honest. His monster hit on the sideline, he took off from the middle of the field as soon as the ball was thrown and blew up the receiver mid-air… and I still don’t know if anyone saw the receiver move after that hit. LaRon Landry’s ability to break off of the blitz and chase down a relatively fast receiver in Kevin Ogletree and hit him as violently as he did forcing the fumble… it looks like LaRon Landry could have a tremendous year if he’s building on this performance.

Josh Wilson played a great game… coming up with a lot of huge defenses.

Like I said, there’s a lot of good to come out of this game, and a lot of the bad was self-inflicted by the offense. One thing I want to be sure to point out is that Dallas’ defense is a lot better than people give them credit for, and it’s too unfair to bash the offense completely given that even the most well-oiled offensive machines don’t play 16 perfect games… especially against defenses playing as solid as Dallas’ is right now.