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Welcome to football, 2015 Redskins style

Sep 14, 2015, 11:24 AM EDT


If the Redskins play 15 more games like the one they played on Sunday against the Dolphins, much of what Scot McCloughan set out to accomplish since he got put in charge of rebuilding the team back in January will be in place.

McCloughan wanted to the offense to emphasize the running game. Against Miami ran the football early, often, and successfully. The numbers were 37 carries for 161 yards, a 4.4 per carry average. They ran the ball more often than that once last year, Jay Gruden’s first as head coach. That was in their blowout 41-10 win over the Jaguars then they had 42 rushing attempts. The most they ran the ball in a competitive game was 31 times in their 20-17 Monday night win over the Cowboys.

And it was Alfred Morris, the back who was the recipient of a frequent and lavish praise by Gruden, getting the job done. He had 25 carries for 121 yards, a solid 4.8 average. And when he took a rest, Matt Jones stepped in and averaged 4.7 a pop with 28 yards on six carries.

McCloughan also set to rebuild the Redskins’ offensive line, starting the process by drafting Brandon Scherff fifth overall. Ndamukong Suh was lined up against Scherff most of the day and Suh had two tackles, zero sacks. While we’re at it, for one game Morgan Moses justified the faith shown in him by making him the starting right tackle a week into camp by keeping end Cameron Wake off of the stat sheet entirely.

In the big picture, in addition to the 4.8 average per rush, the Dolphins sacked Kirk Cousins just once. A good first effort against one of the NFL’s best defensive fronts.

Speaking of defensive fronts, the Redskins’ front seven looked good, certainly better than Miami’s heralded group. The Dolphins rushed for just 74 yards including only two in the first half. Running back Lamar Miller, who averaged 5.1 yards per carry last year, averaged 4.1 on 13 attempts. He had consecutive runs of 12 and 17 yards in the third quarter. Absent that burst he was held to 2.2 yards a pop.

Preston Smith made a big play that could have been a huge play, sacking and stripping Ryan Tannehill and then hustling about 30 yards to recover the fumble. The turnover took away a field goal chance for the Dolphins—the line of scrimmage was the Washington 22—but Cousins and company went three and out from the Miami 40.

Finally, McCloughan wants the Redskins to be physically tough. The good play up front on both sides of the ball shows that that is off to a good start. The defense delivered a number of solid hits. On offense, Pierre Garçon and Jones were particularly physical in their play.

But the problem is that this style of play does not leave much of a margin for error. The offense needs to take that Smith fumble recovery and get at least three points out of it, if not seven. Chris Culliver needs to get that third-quarter interception that may have been a pick six and was at least a first down well in the red zone. Kai Forbath can’t go wide right on a 46-yard field goal attempt. The team can’t draw 11 penalty flags for 88 yards. Cousins can’t throw two interceptions. And, most importantly, the special teams can’t continue the problems of the last two seasons by allowing a game-winning 69-yard punt return.

McCloughan knew that all of the Redskins’ problems were not going to be fixed in one offseason. In talking about what he wanted to accomplish this year he made sure to emphasize that a certain number of wins was not on his list. This could mean more close, “shoulda-woulda-coulda” losses are on the horizon.

In fact, until the Redskins can reduce the mistakes and make some key plays in clutch situations, it almost guarantees them.

  1. cowboyhater - Sep 14, 2015 at 11:38 AM

    Much more competitve, but the old offensive issues of not scoring and the defensive issues not securing int’s, and the god awful ST are still here. I’m am pleasantly surprised at how well the DB’s played, but just not sure how long that will last against a more accurate QB.

  2. mauriceatwood - Sep 14, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    I think it’s going to be a long of season of loss after loss. i just didn’t see the motivation from the players to win this game the way I saw it for example with the Cowboys last night during their final two touchdown drives they had to win that game. The absence of this intangible is completely and totally on the coaching staff and in particular the head coach. If the Rams come in and play like they did yesterday we will be 0-2 and headed to NY and then host Philly the following week. The 0-4 record looms large with two road games immediately following in games 5 and 6, so the Skins better find some desire and motivation to win before they face an 0-6 start. Hope I am wrong, but I just didn’t see the motivation when it mattered most.

    • bangkokben - Sep 14, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      I didn’t see a team that lacked motivation but a team that plays tight with the game on the line. Much like the Nats. As if everyone in the stadium expected the shoe to drop and then it did. Very disappointed to see all that teal in the lower bowl. Too many ‘investors’ and not enough fans. I remember seeing my first Redskin game at RFK – the only home playoff loss (Chicago) of Gibbs career. I didn’t buy the ticket. My friend’s father wasn’t going to make it and made sure his son took the biggest Redskin fan he knew. Fans that can afford season tickets, can’t afford to find some twelve year-old fans to give their ‘junk’ tickets to rather than sell them on stubhub.

      • skinsgame - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:43 PM

        I like the direction. Be tough along the line of scrimmage. Next year they can bring in the best QB in the league again and dominate.

    • skinsfan2 - Sep 14, 2015 at 8:07 PM

      You think the Giants game is an automatic loss? Did you watch them play last night? Forget the close score, they have problems all over the field. Which wasn’t a surprise if you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on with them. I like the matchup with them. Redskins should be able to run the ball at will against them and put major pressure on Eli.

      I’m also not sold on Philly, as the start of tonight’s game shows. Definitely not saying the Redskins are better, but they should be able to keep it close. Even Dallas leaves things to be desired. Only 80 yards rushing and a mediocre D.

  3. mauriceatwood - Sep 14, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    In game situations like the special teams touchdown play someone has to step up to make a play. That guy wasn’t even touched. Complete breakdown by the coaching staff and players. Have to instill the will the win before winning is possible.

  4. Jax4 - Sep 14, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    Welp…see ya Kai Forbath. Cut this morning

  5. renhoekk2 - Sep 14, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    Perfect storm. Lost three really good ST starters. A line drive punt. And a very good punt returner. Need to start punting away from returners. Angle it out of bounds if need be. Can’t afford to have that happen during games if that is the game plan for the next 15 weeks.

  6. Skulb - Sep 14, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    One area where the Skins seem to consistently take a beating is in half time adjustments. I was hoping they could turn that around now but it was still the same.

    • Rich Tandler - Sep 14, 2015 at 1:17 PM

      This may be a distinction without a difference. But halftime adjustments are no longer a “thing”. With 12 minutes they have no time to adjust anything. Adjustments are made from the beginning of the game to the end.

      And the defense adjusts to what the offense adjusts to. And, generally, adjustments don’t matter that much anyway. It’s up to the players to beat the guy in front of him.

      • Skulb - Sep 14, 2015 at 1:33 PM

        In that case why is it that the opposing teams seem to consistently come out of the locker room in better shape than when they entered, while the Skins never seem to? Wasn´t this how it looked all of last year as well?

        • vcuramsfan - Sep 14, 2015 at 1:47 PM

          Good point!

        • hail74 - Sep 14, 2015 at 3:19 PM

          What halftime adjustment did Miami make that made them come out better? They failed to score on offense the whole second half and their best defensive play was watching the skins commit penalties.

        • wncskinsfan - Sep 14, 2015 at 6:05 PM

          totally agree. that was maybe my niggest takeaway from this game, the lack of adjustments. Miami came out in the second half and stuffed the box. It seems like the skins did not adjust for it. the lack of adjustments seems very familiar.

        • Skulb - Sep 14, 2015 at 11:26 PM


          Maybe they just came back out the same as in the first half while the Skins lost their nerve or something. It just looked so promising in the first half and then bupkis in the second half. It´s frustrating to watch.

  7. poguehockey - Sep 14, 2015 at 12:56 PM

    As a 42-year old Skins fan, I was happy about this Sunday. I would have been very happy if we had won.
    We need to take this in steps & trust McCloughan is taking us down the right path.
    Long time Skins fans….please remember, we were 0-5 under Gibbs & everyone…EVERYONE wanted him gone.
    I hate this word as much as everyone, but we need patience…hopefully it will pay off??
    If we go 7-9 this year I’m in heaven, but will tolerate no less then 6-10, or Jay may be history.

    • kenlinkins - Sep 14, 2015 at 1:58 PM

      “Patience” is a word that Rich uses often in his answers to me when I fly off the handle with a knee jerk reaction calling for guys to be released or not resigned. I get the feeling that this new GM has a plan and that includes making changes from now until the end of the season. This roster is not set in stone and IMO the new GM will correct any roster mistakes quickly if he feels they are under performing or just not developing. While I still sometimes fly off the handle at times I try, now I to remember those words: ” Patience “. I saw a lot of things I liked on Sunday and a few I didn’t, but much more good than bad to this early point. My fear is that the bad could cause backward movement (i.e. lack of discipline, poor adjustments to game plan) RICH: Has the small group of players who just do not get it been removed from the starting line ups yet? or (fingers crossed) from the roster in general or maybe now do get it? (the last time I asked I believe you said “Patience”……

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 14, 2015 at 2:03 PM

        “I get the feeling that this new GM has a plan and that includes making changes from now until the end of the season. ”

        Week one and one wavier already, so that pretty much seems to be the case.

        • ET - Sep 14, 2015 at 2:42 PM

          Add Frank Kearse to that waiver list. Though that seemed to be about adding another ‘teamer.

      • kenlinkins - Sep 14, 2015 at 5:16 PM

        So Bates was a Redskins for one game / two days and Frank Kearse is back. Forbath is gone and the guy the Redskins drafted (Hocker) beat out the guy the Redskins just picked up (Hopkins) who has not yet kicked a FG in the NFL. (by the way Hocker was 4 for 4 on FG’s this Sunday for the Saints. Culliver is gone for one game but Breeland is back. I do wonder if the Redskins will resign Bates to the PS if he clear waivers? (note to RG3) This is why you never tweet after getting bad news as a NFL player, you just never know what can happen and where you might just land. Frank Kearse gets released on Saturday, one day before the opening game, and on Monday he resigns with the Redskins. I’ll bet he is glad he didn’t fire off some ugly tweet Saturday night. Welcome back Frank, hope it works out for you.

  8. 214hof - Sep 14, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    I wonder when the coaching staff stop trusting Andre ” I shouldn’t have ate that popcorn” Roberts. I seen him drop two or three catchable balls on Sunday, is it because he knows the system better? I have a hard time believing that both Grant & Crowder could be any worse.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 14, 2015 at 2:57 PM

      With Hamstring Jackson out for likely two weeks at least, we’re going to find out.

      • bangkokben - Sep 14, 2015 at 4:22 PM

        Hamstring Jackson. That sounds like the name of a sandwich or action movie character.

        • wncskinsfan - Sep 14, 2015 at 6:06 PM

          time to play the young guys. its all about experience. why the heck not. doubt jackson will be with us next year, anyway. lets see what we have.

    • goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 4:55 PM

      Jackson will be out much loher than 2 weeks. They will not want to rush him back on that blown hammy.
      A hammy injury can linger on for weeks or half of the season for that matter.
      Jackson is great but he gets hurt way too much. Going back to the Eagles Jackson has hardly ever made it a complete season without missing time. With legs that move that fast of course they will give out much like RG3.
      These small ankle guys like Desean Jackson and RG3 need to spend more time in the weight room doing squats. Looks like they keep forgetting about leg day. Jackson is to injury prone to be consistently helpful.
      He is not even being used as a punt returner or kick off returner and he still gets hurt. Goes down the field one time and its a blown hammy.

      • jonevans511 - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:33 PM

        Huh? Aside from 2012 (11 games) DJax played in 15 (2014), 16 (2013),15 (2011), 14 (2010) , 15 (2009), and 16 (2008). That’s not “gets hurt way too much” by any stretch, especially not for a WR in this pass heavy league nowadays. Missing one maybe two games due to nagging injuries happens; Pick your favorite WR and go look at how many games they’ve missed and you’ll see very few who play 16 every season for more than 5 seasons. He’s been as consistent as they come when he plays, and his numbers speak for themselves. Now, do I think this hammy injury could be a product of him not playing this offseason? Absolutely could be the case, but he comes to play so there’s zero reason to call him out and ignore all the other problems we have.

        • goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:45 PM

          You made my point exactly. So in his entire career he has played an entire season twice. If you add all the missed games up that totals almost an entire season. This means that he may not be suffering from any “bad or long term” injuries but he keeps getting small nagging injuries that put him out for a few games here and there. He got hurt last game without being touched. To say Jackson is durable or is not injury prone is a bit of a stretch. Now I love Jackson hope he retires a Redskins, but he is just not dependable like my old Ford Truck out

  9. Sandra Dieguez - Sep 14, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    The skins will get back to the glory days as soon as the owner steps away and lets the folks he hired do their jobs and only then they will win. And RG3 needs to move on and continue the romance with the owner from afar.

    • skinsgame - Sep 14, 2015 at 9:30 PM


  10. ET - Sep 14, 2015 at 3:00 PM

    Rich’s “small margin for error” comment is the key to success for this version of the team. Too many mistakes and missed opportunities. Even so, the Skins managed to keep it close. I think (uh, hope) that similar game later in the season will have a few less mental lapses and we’ll come away with a win.

    • bangkokben - Sep 14, 2015 at 4:17 PM

      I have got to believe that the same type of effort will be successful more often than not against teams like the Bears, Bucs, etc.

  11. bangkokben - Sep 14, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    I am one of the few people on this here thing that doesn’t advocate cutting players or firing coaches as a measure for improvement but am absolutely thrilled to see a new kicker in the building. Turns out one of my BOLD predictions has already come true. So I expect that one to be the last one and one more than most you.

    • goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 4:01 PM

      He had a weak leg, I have been saying he sucks for years now. He was only good if he never missed and he missed early in the 1st game. He had limited range forget about a 55 yard FG.
      Good call on getting a new PK

      • wncskinsfan - Sep 14, 2015 at 6:08 PM

        I felt like we should have kept Hocker. Now we have picked up the guy that he beat out in Saints camp. Not being able to boot a kick off through the end zone is a huge, huge problem. lets see what this kid brings. hope him the best!

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 14, 2015 at 8:29 PM

          Agreed about Hocker.

          Picking the guy he beat out is proof.

  12. goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 4:50 PM

    Its certainly not all bad. The team is undoubtedly better than last year which is not saying much. However, they should be able to squeeze out some quality wins. 6 and 9 would be great this year. Follow it up next year with 9 and 7 or 10 and 6.
    The defense looks and feels much different than last year. The defense appears improved. Still worried about the secondary, however, its better than last year.

    • jonevans511 - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:42 PM

      I don’t know man, the secondary held their own aside from one OBVIOUS issue…..Amerson is not ready, and its sad how they zoned in on him as SOON as he got on the field and it paid off. Other than that though the secondary did a very solid job. Goldson made some plays, Trenton I think stepped up a lot in place of Duke, Culliver dropped that pick but realistically played well over all, and even the ‘backers did an admirable job in coverage (that one Jordan Cameron catch downfield was perfectly played, great throw and catch if i remember correctly).

      Of course, I agree with your overall assertion that we need stronger DB play on all drives, not all except one. That one could have been the difference in terms of keeping momentum in our favor going in to the half. I’d say “don’t worry, Breeland is coming back”, but of course that would have to be followed by “except now Culliver is suspended so……. yeah”.

  13. goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 5:01 PM

    Nick Foles and the St. Louis Rams are going to make minced meat out of the Skins. Cousins should have at least 2 more INT’s. Desean Jackson is out for at least a month so Cousins will be throwing a lot of those tight throws to Garcon and Reed. The over the top throws are finished. The Rams should easily T off on Cousins.

    Cousins is headed for the bench like RG3. Maybe they will change the order to McCoy, RG3, Cousins like it was last year.
    McCoy better get that arm ready cause Cousins is not going to make it but a few more games.

    • bangkokben - Sep 14, 2015 at 6:01 PM

      Ross made the team for just such an occasion. There will be deep throws.

    • gasngo14 - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:10 PM

      you are so angry about Rob not starting your eye balls are popping out your forehead!!

      • goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:18 PM

        I will tell you one thing right now, If Rob started that game VS. Miami we would have won. I am sure of it. Rob would not have had those INT’s. Those INT’s would have at least been field goals.

        The chants are coming folks. Maybe even as early as this game: Rg3! Rg3! Rg3!

        • gasngo14 - Sep 14, 2015 at 8:48 PM

          GOBACKTORG3 hows that change your name…… :))

  14. bangkokben - Sep 14, 2015 at 5:24 PM

    Since we’re still debriefing yesterday’s game…

    -Gruden was wrong not taking time out before the two-minute warning. WRONG!

    -Roberts is still on the team due to his salary. As soon as Crowder can remember who is the intended receiver; Roberts is inactive.

    -Neither of Kirk’s interceptions hurt the team. Miami took the first gift to customer service at Kohl’s and the second was 3rd and 13 from the Miami 29. C’mon Kobra Kai making the 46/47 yarder is 50/50! Worst case scenario and Miami is getting the ball at their 37 with huge momentum and the next time we get the ball we’re down by two scores.

    -Replacing Forbath is the right thing to do. Can’t pass up on 4th and one and have your place kicker give another seven yards of field position to the other team. Placekickers have to be golden from 45-50 because field position is so important to a team that has to scrape for victories.

    -D. Hall is beastly; Amerson is leastly. Miami took my scouting report to a tee (find #39 and throw at him). Would have been so nice if he could’ve come down with a one-handed INT in the back of the end zone.

    -Griffin’s trade value/demand went up with all the injuries to QBs (I think that McC’s wife’s tweets made the Dan reconsider trading #10 – yes I think he was considering. But now I expect Griff is the contingency if everything goes pear-shaped including the GM’s personal life.)

    -ALF, we are not worthy of your awesome effort. Feistiest I’ve ever seen him. Jawing with the Dolphins. Good for him and good for us.

    • colmac69 - Sep 14, 2015 at 6:12 PM

      Re watched game today and quite frankly people who think we lost this game because of cousins play are deluding themselves

      Was he spectacular not by any means but the one thing we all wanted from him was how he bounced back from a bad play and just like baltimore match he did just that with a td on next drive….

      Room for improvement without doubt but I think there’s hope there..if he flames out then half people on this forum b delighted

      Game was lost on bad special teams play and pens in second half that derailed skins from running the ball in manageable

      B interesting to see how new kicker works out

      Forbath had three k-offs yesterday…..first went -8 and returned to 21….second was touch back and third went to 3 and returned to 24 which the fumble put ball on 27 (how did miami recover that fumble as skin player had it under his control?)….gave total 8 yrds to miami……

      One of shanahan biggest mistake was getting rid of gano just before 2012 season

      Big challenge nxt wk vs rams front four

      • gasngo14 - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:15 PM

        Yes everyone gave up on Gano to fast …..AGAIN SKINS FANS ….PATIENT BE PATIENT FOR A CHANGE!!

    • ET - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:03 PM

      Amerson underwhelmed even when graded-on-the-curve, something I didn’t think was possible. It’s pretty sad to see a guy with so much (physical) potential get picked on so mercilessly by the opposing QB. I cringe when he’s on the field.

  15. goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:21 PM

    Alf is a real Dog! A Bull Dog! We dont need anymore of these Kittens around here! I liked Alfs performance he turned my attitude around about him for sure.
    I thought both the offense and defense did some good things but good things do not equal victory.
    Thought Reed looked like he could be beast this year for sure, stay healthy Reed Stay Healthy.

    I think there is no way we beat the Rams next week. I think this one looks more like a blow out.

  16. goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:35 PM

    And stop the talk of the moral victory against the Dolphins. There is no such thing as a moral victory and the Dolphins are not exactly the New England Patriots. Am I supposed to be happy it was not a total blow out like usual? Not happy a bit, I am only happy with Wins. no moral victories this year just another excuse to be subpar.. good teams never talk moral victories.

  17. goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 7:47 PM

    And what did Chip Kelly do to the Eagles LMAO
    We may not be last this year after all!

  18. Skulb - Sep 14, 2015 at 11:35 PM

    People should keep their cool I think. The team is rebuilding and we should be looking for improvements rather than becoming hysterical at one defeat. We´ll find out within a few weeks, but right now it is actually possible that Miami is a good team here and that this result will look very good in a bit. They fought hard and totally neutralized what was touted as a top 3 defense before the game. That alone is very encouraging. They also managed to keep Miami very inefficient on offense, even with Breeland out. Both Miami TDs came on Redskins mistakes really. It´s not like they played better in any part of the game.
    This is not expected to be a winning season but a comprehensive evaluation of everything; coaches and players, which will take two or three seasons. The purpose of the QB this year is to make sure he runs the plays that are called so the other players and the coaches can be evaluated. This was really my biggest problem with starting Griffin because he always improvises and goes off schedule on most plays. You can´t evaluate the coaching when the QB does that. Kirk is very vanilla and does well when he stays on script. As soon as plays break down he is regularly terrible, which was what happened on the first INT. I was covering my eyes as soon as the play broke down because I knew what was coming. But that´s alright. He ran most of the rest of the plays well, and that means he´s doing his job. Frustrating for us but will yield results in the long run, whether Kirk stays on as the QB next year or not. Think Seattle: trash one year, less trash the year after that, SB in the third year. Hopefully that´s the path we´re on now. I think it´s looking promising. Who would have thought that Moses and Scherff could stop Suh and Wake completely before the Miami game? The TV broadcast even kept zooming in on Suh every play, clearly in a premeditated effort to document his domination of the Washington noobs on the right side. And it turned into an embarrassing afternoon for him.

    • goback2rfk - Sep 14, 2015 at 11:50 PM

      Yea nice showing from the young talent in Scherriff. Exceeded expectaitons for sure. The O-Line has another big test next week so I am not going to count my chickens before they hatch.

      • Skulb - Sep 15, 2015 at 12:31 AM

        Indeed. But we need at least three weeks to know what´s what. Watching Miami´s second and third games, as well as the Skins´two next, might tell us what we need to know.
        We all knew ST would be a problem, especially after the injuries to Paulsen and Paul. So as annoying as it was to watch, the PT return TD was to be expected. I was disappointed with all the penalties in the second half though, and the offense should work hard to improve their second half discipline. They are tired but so is the other team. So not good enough.
        The only single player I really have an issue with now is David Amerson. Other teams perceive him as a weakness now and drown him with balls, and he just can´t deal with it. He will play next week probably, but if he doesn´t seriously pull himself together I can´t see them keeping him around much longer.
        But all in all I was pleasantly surprised by a lot of things and we´re on the right track. If it can translate to 6+ wins this year I´ll be happy.
        The real improvement will be seen next year. Fans just need a little patience and to stick it out with Gruden and Scot here. Good things are on the horizon.

        • goback2rfk - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:07 AM

          Well will see if Gruden keeps his job after this year. I guess you never know with the Ax Murderer Dan Snyder.
          I wonder if Scot likes Gruden or not?
          We used to have this player by the name of Lorenzo Alexander. Was a real shocker when we let him go. That dude would crush the Kick Returner 9 out of 10 times. The Special Teams has been awful for years since his departure.

        • Skulb - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:51 PM

          Never understood why Alexander was let go. Archives

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