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Monday six pack: Reed disappears from offense in second half

Oct 14, 2013, 10:54 AM EDT


My six pack of observations on Redskins-Cowboys:

—If you glance at the stat sheet it looks like Alfred Morris had a pretty respectable game against the Cowboys with 81 yards rushing on 16 carries. But 45 of those yards came on one touchdown run. It’s not as though the 45-yard run doesn’t “count”; it was a big play at the moment as it made it a one-score game. But on his other 15 carries he gained 36 yards, an average of 2.4 a carry. That’s not the kind of running we saw from Morris last year, the kind that sets up second and short or moves the chains. It’s been a pattern all year. Morris has four carries of 30 yards or more. Outside of those plays he is averaging 3.5 yards a carry.

—The performance of Robert Griffin III in this game can’t really be summed up in a bullet point but it’s safe to say it was up and down. He had his legs under him, no question about it. He was credited for 77 yards rushing but a pair of 15-yard penalties the defense incurred while he was scampering out of bounds pushed the net result of his runs over 100 yards. But you have to juxtapose that against him completing fewer than half of his passes for just the second time in his 21 NFL starts. The only other time he did that his receivers let him down as they dropped about 10 passes on a rainy day in Pittsburgh. He had a few drops and there were other issues that were out of his control like Santana Moss falling down on the interception in the end zone. But he flat-out misfired on some to open receivers.

—Jordan Reed went from potential star of the game in the first half to someone who needed to have his picture on a milk carton in the second. After being targeted five times and making four catches for 58 yards in the first half, Reed was targeted just once in the second. It’s possible that the Cowboys worked to take him out of the game but you’d have to think that Griffin would at least give him a chance to make a play. And if he’s not getting open, why not try Fred Davis? He played just 18 snaps. In a league where teams are trying to figure out how to get two pass-catching tight ends involved in their offenses all over the league, the Redskins, who have at least two such players (and maybe a third in Niles Paul), can’t get one TE to be consistently effective.

—For a couple of games, it looked like the Redskins had shaken the penalty bug that has plagued them since the start of the 2012 season. But after committing just nine penalties for 74 yards in their previous two games, the flags were flying against them last night. They racked up 12 for 104 yards including that bizarre flag drawn by special teams coach Keith Burns when the got too close to the sideline and ran into an official. The 104 yards is bad enough but there was hidden damage as well. Jerome Murphy was flagged for illegal motion on a punt that was downed at the 16. The Cowboys elected to have them re-kick and Dwayne Harris returned it for a touchdown. The penalty on Burns happened on that return so a simple five-yard penalty ended up costing an 86-yard return, seven points, and another 15 penalty yards.

—The fears that Tony Romo would eat up the Redskins’ defense did not materialize. After passing for 506 yards and five touchdowns against the Broncos, Romo passed for 170 and one on Sunday. No question, the Redskins played some solid defense and Dez Bryant caught just five passes for 36 yards. But I kind of had the feeling that the Dallas offense could have turned it up a notch if it needed to. After Kai Forbath missed a field goal that would have pulled the Redskins to within two points early in the fourth quarter, the Dallas offense flipped the switch to on. They moved 49 yards in nine plays to a Dan Bailey field goal that pushed the Cowboys’ lead to eight. Had the Redskins responded, I suspect that Romo could have cranked out another scoring drive.

—Back to Griffin, much is being made of the fact that he had only five interceptions all of last year and he has five in five games this year. There is no way to sugar coat that as he almost certainly will throw more interceptions as the year goes one. But it is not a particularly alarming statistic. For this season, 2.9 percent of his passes have been intercepted. The league average is 2.8 percent. Griffin is regressing to the mean. He’s gone from being extraordinary when it comes to protecting the ball to being average. That’s not particularly surprising when you look at the fact that he has take just 19 snaps with the Redskins in the lead this year. That’s 19 out of 341 total snaps, or just 5.6 percent.

  1. remainster - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    You were pretty hard on the O-line the whole game, yet it didn’t qualify for a single bullet point? No comments on RG3 staring down his #1 receivers, giving up sacks and fumbles waiting for them to get open and forcing throws to Garcon?

    I’m not saying he needs to be benched, but looking pretty raw as a pocket passer, and his legs seem to have gone away in the second half. He stops running and he’s practically begging for them to sack him.

    Why did they stop doing the hurry-up? it worked great on the opening drive and then they slowed everything down when they needed to hurry up the most. So much wasted time before the half. The offense looked amateur on so many levels.

    • rickjamesinfo - Oct 14, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      great points but Tandler is a company man. If he criticizes then he may not get to ask those lame questions like “how good is it to have (player) back”. OR “do you see some improvement in (etc) part of the game”. These are SOFT BALL questions.

      Rarely do you get reporters who challenge Shanahan and ask straight out “Why would you keep doing the same thing over and over if it doesn’t work”? OR “why do you bring in smaller more mobile offensive linemen and then ask them to stand there and pass block against much bigger defensive linemen. It seems to me that after watching your interior linemen getting pushed back into the QB that most coaches would see that its time to change up that strategy”???

      Get me somebody who asks HARDBALL questions…not stupid rhetorical questions.

      • diyhandymantony - Oct 14, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        Hey Rickjamesinfo, I totally agree! It’s almost like they want to lose so they can get a good to few draft picks to help out the salary cap issue. We know that the Redskins will be feeling that cap penalty for years!!!I guess the only way to change public opinion (coach Shanahan’s style) is to put thoughts and ideas in his head.

        Wat happened to Reed, where is Fred Davis? Ithink Shanny gets the list of questions the reporters are going to ask so he isn’t caught off guard.i think after RG3’s sack he was mad and just started slinging and forcing balls to Garcon because he was pissed. Things were workin’ there and I thought we were gonna win it! What happened to the hurry up? the Dallas D line was thin and it would have even expedited the Defense to become more tired and Alf would have busted a few more. Does Dan Snyder own the Washington Post, u know corporations are buying newspapers to control the media flow with what they want rther than whats in the best interest of the people and fans.

        I am really disappointed in griffin. I am very disappointed in the Redskins too

  2. scottyb1106 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    first of all ive been a die hard fan my entire life, and in no way will i ever sway from that. now here are some issues i have noticed…..#1 we are way too late adjusting to defensive schemes, that 2 wr set that we were using last night was just way to predictable and took too long to develop , play calling was just terrible . run,run,pass,punt. #2 CLOCK MANAGEMENT…now i know i wasnt the only fan watching that was scratching my head when there was 6mins left in the fourth, and we are walking into the huddle, walking to the line?! we were in no huddle hurry up mode in the first quarter, but not in the fourth with 6min left and behind by 15??? just crazy.. #3 PREPARATION …we had 2 weeks to study film. and watched peyton pick them apart. they were using the spread attack, 3 and 4 wr sets spread the secondary thin and the results were explosive. yet we think that a 2 wrs set is better? im confused by the coaching decisions this year and i hope it does not get any worse….hold on tight because this is going to be a bumpy ride on a tough schedule

    • rickjamesinfo - Oct 14, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      run run pass punt IS the Redskins philosophy. STALE…VANILLA….PREDICTABLE…yes it is but our coaches are too dumb to figure that out and they still believe that attempting field goals to at least keep you in the game is somehow a moral victory. CLUE: TD’s win games. 5 field goals equals 15 points…5 TD’s equals 35 points. That is a TWENTY point difference so stop trying to just get into field goal position and start PASSING THE BALL more than 8 yards.

      • diyhandymantony - Oct 14, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        The team can not do anything without doing it THE WAY SHANNY WANTS IT or else you will be on the bench like Davis. What is up with that!!!!

        • Rich Tandler - Oct 14, 2013 at 7:13 PM

          Please tell me how that differs from any other NFL team. Or any organization, for that matter.

        • diyhandymantony - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:06 PM

          Hey Rich thanks for replying long time listener/reader, first time talker.. there is such thing as ad-lobbying in the heat of battle…the coaches got them second guessing themselves! I wonder sometimes why they change things when they are working or even what they do what they do………

  3. rahwayhomey - Oct 14, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    sucks to lose, but great things came out of this game. 1) RGIII getting more mobile each game. w/ major reconstruction surgery less than 10 months ago, looks like his 4.4 speed is back. Better timing w/ WR’s will happen as he missed all of summer & pre-season. 2) Jordan Reed looks like an absolute stud 3rd round pick? that’s a steal. 3) D is playing better & thought this was best game of season. Just need to stop opening drive for once, so we’re not always playin catch up. 4) NFC East is still wide open. no lock here & plenty of games to catch up. 5) 5 games in, we have a negative point total of only 35 points. So, were averaging losing by 1 TD a game. that truly is 1 big play we need to make or stop opponent from 1 big play. Good things can be right around the corner!

    • diyhandymantony - Oct 14, 2013 at 7:12 PM

      yea have you seen our schedule?! Redskins schedule is pretty hard and we’ll be lucky if we can win 6 games

      • rahwayhomey - Oct 14, 2013 at 7:34 PM

        yes seen schedule. who cares who you play. Line up & beat the man in front of you. Luckily our guys aren’t an ounce intimidated by “who’s on the schedule”. If they were, they wouldn’t have made it to the NFL, nor won the NFC East last yr.

        • diyhandymantony - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:03 PM

          you are correct, but the way we have been playing the last 5 games w/ 21 of the 22 starters we should have picked up where we left off last year but NO we have to start all over with the same team. Do ya think we can beat Denver, Bears, Chargers, 49ers, chiefs, even Dallas at home? Not the way the same team from last year has to re-learn it all. Tough row to hoe.

  4. omizu46 - Oct 15, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    First, maybe it’s me, but I think it strange that one would try to separate Alf’s performance by subtracting the long runs. Without the threat of RGIII running over the first few games, defenses could focus all of their attention on Morris. The O-line is small and doesn’t fare well against big D lines and we have been behind in almost all of our outings. If you choose to pull out what you may consider outliers in such a small sample, I would think you must interject situation into the overall equation.

    As usual when we succeed in pre-season, people think it will transfer to the regular season, but it doesn’t. The play-calling for Cousins was vastly different than that for Griffin, who probably should have allowed his Operation Patience to be extended through week 3, allowing him to get his feet wet in game 4 and have a two week adjustment period.

    As a fan of 42 years, and an RGIII fan, I must make the assertion that there is a riff between head coach and QB. The elder Shanny looks quite disdainful when Griffin’s makes the errors he has made this year. To his credit, he has allowed those mistakes in what I think is an effort to teach Griffin that he truly doesn’t know everything. Unfortunately, this lesson comes at the expense of the team. Some decisions, including clock management duties, which were handled by the coaching staff in his rookie year, seem to have been yielded to Griffin, either to show him that his grasp of the game still needs coaching, or simply to humble him. With his recent performances, I fear the rift is growing.

    Currently, the Redskins are not equipped to be a pocket-passing team. The O-line is not built that way, and the playbook, nor receiving crew are designed for it. So for this year, it is a given that we have to work with what we have. Unfortunately, the schedule gets harder and the situation will worsen as the losses pile up. There is no quick fix to our team. We just have to weather this season’s storm and hope the league doesn’t trump up something new in the off-season to further our struggles.

  5. omizu46 - Oct 15, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    BTW, I don’t think Griffin is regressing to the mean, I think he is regressing with in his ability to separate stardom from his on-field performance. Players do a good job of closing their ears to the criticism of fans and media, but when the allow the accolades into their head the results can be just as damaging.

    I think Griffin will snap out of his fog, when he realizes that he is not Superman. Archives

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