Skip to content

Need to Know: Five Redskins who are under pressure against the Giants

Sep 24, 2016, 4:43 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, September 24, one day before the Washington Redskins visit the New York Giants.


Today’s schedule: Walkthrough at Redskins Park before departing for New York; no media availability

Days until: Browns @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Ravens 15; Eagles @ Redskins 23

Five Redskins who will the under pressure on Sunday

QB Kirk Cousins—He’s on this list every week in Sharpie until he comes through in the red zone and on third down. A lot of other aspects of this team need to improve for them to become a consistent winner but the list starts with the $20 million man.

RB Matt Jones—I get the feeling that the Redskins coaches may overcompensate for their lack of run play calls in the first two games. That would mean a heavy workload for Jones. He will need to remain effective (4.3 yards/carry) and continue to hold on to the ball.

CB Josh Norman—It looks like he will end up on Odell Beckham Jr. the vast majority of the snaps. Fans who wanted this matchup to happen may regret getting what they asked for. Last year Beckham caught six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers and he beat Norman a few other times but Eli Manning either didn’t see him or didn’t have time to get the ball to him. Norman has been playing well but if he is going to demonstrate that he is indeed the best cornerback on the planet it’s time for him to start proving it.

S David Bruton—Bruton has had the whole litany of problems this year—missed tackles, bad angles, wrong place at the wrong time. He has Duke Ihenacho waiting in the wings and if he doesn’t pull it together soon Bruton could find himself watching while Ihenacho plays.

CB Dashaun Phillips—With the return of Victor Cruz, the Giants line up with three quality receivers on most plays. If Phillips doesn’t play well he will be exposed by Beckham, Cruz, or rookie Sterling Shepard. Quinton Dunbar did pretty well matched up with Beckham at FedEx Field last November and he could come in to replace Phillips.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it 

  1. Trey Gregory - Sep 24, 2016 at 4:58 AM

    Good list. I agree with all. Norman has been playing great but he belongs on this list because of all the trash talking he did. And OBJ will get his vs. Norman. It’s going to be a long and embarrassing day if they match Norman in man with OBJ.

    I think Preston Smith belongs on this list. I don’t realistically expect them to bench him. But Murphy has looked like the better player. Smith looks lazy at times out there. He takes plays off. He has a ridiculous spin move when he only spins 180 then turns his head to make sure he’s out of position and he quits. Who spin moves against the run?!?!? You can’t turn your back to the ball carrier. It’s the slowest and most pathetic spin move I’ve ever seen. He needs to get his head on straight and play to his potential.

    • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 5:14 AM

      The team is so desperate for a win, the list is really all 46 at this point, but top five would be Cousins, Bruton, Phillips, D Hall and Smith with Compton, Kerrigan and Lichtensteiger right there too. It’s scary to think Bruton, Phillips and D. Hall have played the best most consistently.

      There’s been something awful going on in safety and nickel play. Don’t know if it is communication, lack of experience, athleticism, football IQ (not for DHall) or some magic combination of these and other factors, but it just isn’t working. By now, opponents know it and will continue to go after this weak link until the Redskins demonstrate that it’s been repaired. Linebacker play has also been disappointing and needs to improve.

      Jones looked solid against Cowboys; it’s not his issue that his number wasn’t called more often. Giants will be a more difficult opponent to run against and the o-line will have as much to do with team’s success as the running backs. i believe Cooley says we need to run wide against the Giants (at least to begin with) in order to be most successful.

      As far as inactives, I’m guessing Lanier, Ioannidis, Kouandjio, Fuller, and Ross will join Reyes and Sudfeld.

    • snyderisanidiot - Sep 24, 2016 at 9:20 AM

      Just to think one of Rich’s ‘Bold’ predictions was Preston Smith as DPOY. omg.. lmao!
      I know bold predictions are fun but “Come on Man”

      Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan should have their hands down in the dirt on every play. The fact that they expect Kerrigan and Smith to drop into coverage sometimes is baffling. I guess its the 3-4 but get these guys hands in the dirt and rush them.
      I would say both Kerrigan and Smith have been disappointments. Kerrigan did not exactly have a stellar year last season either. My biggest problem with Kerrigan is he will make 1 play in the 1ST Quarter and then disappear for the rest of the game. Neither Ryan or Preston have a big influence on the game and that to me is the biggest problem with those 2 .

      • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 10:13 AM

        I think the linebackers as a whole have been disappointing so far, including Compton and Foster. I’ve expected more from each of them because they are a good group of players. Murphy played well against the Cowboys and hopefully he gets more snaps. Cravens can contribute in passing situations too!

        I don’t care who covers the TEs, but whether it’s a LB or DB, someone has to do that job. There have missed these assignments, every which way from Sunday, and basically left them unmarked at multiple times in a game. At times, the defense has looked clueless, especially Bruton and Phillips. How can you get through the entire off-season with the defense in such a disarray at the beginning of the season?

        • greed - Sep 25, 2016 at 1:54 AM

          agree with your lb opinion havnt seen compton make many impact plays in 2 games, sua cane in against the boys and instantly made a difference, foster has been mia also , one play instead of attacking a blocker so next defender can make tackle he ran with blocker allowing the lineman to block him and the other defender NOT GOOD

      • Trey Gregory - Sep 24, 2016 at 4:14 PM

        It’s interesting that you say Smith should have his hand in the dirt every play. Because I’m starting to wonder if he’s really more of a DE too. I think they got it wrong with Murphy and it took too long to correct it. By the time he settles into DE (if he’s ever allowed to) he will be a free agent and might move on. I don’t want to make that mistake with Smith. He’s been BAD in coverage through two games and I don’t think he’s setting the edge particularly well.

        Kerrigan though, I think he’s an OLB. He can still rush from a two point stance. I understand that sometimes these guys have to drop in coverage so we can zone blitz. But I’m with you. We don’t have enough quality pass rushers to send Smith, Kerrigan, and Murphy into coverage a bunch.

        I also understand the frustration with Kerrigan but I think he did much better against Dallas. He got pressure a few times and wasn’t getting manhandled by TEs in the run game. I thought the real issue was the interior line. They just got zero pressure. Baker looks hurt. He’s not getting any push.

        I would like to see Smith, Baker, Murphy, and Kerrigan line up in that order in neckel and stick Hood at nose in base and see what happens. Or replace Baker with Hood in Nickel if Baker can’t get going. Get these guys in the field and let them tee off.

        • ET - Sep 24, 2016 at 7:39 PM

          Smith does strike me as possibly misplaced as well, though they indicated when he was drafted that he might have his hand in the dirt sometimes. Regardless, hopefully it doesn’t take as long to figure out with Smith as it has with Murphy. Smith is another guy that just shouldn’t be in coverage too often.

  2. redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 5:19 AM

    I’m curious about a defense the Redskins have faced in its first two games and that the team is sometimes struggling against. I’m taking a specific play in the game against the Cowboys.

    With 2:20 left in 3rd qtr on a 3rd and 7 from the Dallas 11 or 12 (series immediately following failed onside kick), Cowboys use three to cover Reed, two to blanket Jackson with Garcon, Crowder and Thompson marked one-on-one. Crowder seemed to get very brief separation but Cousins’ view may have been obscured.

    The Cowboys started the play with 5 on the line but obviously rushed only three. Terrell McClain is being blocked by Lichtensteiger, Lauvao and Sherff but somehow McClain is able to get past them and flush Cousins out of the pocket and forces him to throw ball away (Cousins had about 4 seconds before receiving pressure); for reasons I can’t understand, Lauvao just seems to stop blocking.

    Faced with this defense again, how should Redskins attack it?

    • chimps000 - Sep 24, 2016 at 11:19 AM

      When teams only rush 3 and drop 8 into coverage, the way I’ve seen that defense usually gets beat is that no coverage can hold up for 5 plus seconds. Someone will come open, or eventually there might be a lane the QB can run to get 7 yards there. In that particular play, I don’t know I’d have to watch it again, but in general I have seen way too many plays where there is either no pressure or marginal pressure or some pressure but if cousins would just move his feet he could extend the play, and one of those receivers will come open, or the defense will finally break down and there will be a lane for cousins to run for the first. Cousins seems like he has a clock in his head and he is just throwing the ball regardless of situation- he has shown poor awareness and he has been poor moving around in the pocket this year. He needs to be willing to hang in there, move, and extend the play with his feet.

      Only two games though.

      • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 11:34 AM

        Thanks. In this play, even though the Redskins have 3 players blocking McClain, he’s able to start pressure after 4 seconds. Cousins moves right to avoid getting tackled, but by the time he hits the sideline, Cousins has not found an open receiver and throws the ball away.

        Lauvao and Lichtensteiger should have done better against McClain.

        I’m curious if anyone feels there was a lane or other movement Cousins should have made so that the play was more productive (i.e., 7+ yards); the Redskins needed 7 yards on the play or they would have just kicked the field goal on 4th down as they ended up doing. Also, are there other plays or formations the Redskins should consider to counteract this defensive alignment.

        I think this is an important example as it’s 3rd down / red zone against a defense they’re likely to see until the Redskins are effective against it.

        • chimps000 - Sep 24, 2016 at 3:01 PM

          Now I want to see the play you are talking about.

          I just think the best counter is what Aaron Rodgers does, with a 3 man rush he will stay in the pocket as long as he needs to, moving all over the pocket and out of it while keeping his eyes downfield, letting his 5 blockers be able to block 3 guys and waiting for one of his receivers to uncover- or finally just running it himself usually for a decent gain. It takes a lot of patience, and it takes a QB out of his rhythm, something that Rodgers is comfortable with and something that Kirk is not, at least the first two games. I would think you are right and teams will give us a lot more drop 8 looks especially on 3rd down and key red zone passing downs. Cooley doesn’t think so this week, because Spagnoulo really likes to blitz. I’m interested to see how the Giants play us.

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 24, 2016 at 3:51 PM

          3rd and 7 in the Redzone is just a bad place to be for this team. Cousins likes to go over the middle on 3rd and long and that was NOT open at all. Doctson can’t get up to speed fast enough. His biggest value (at least at first) might be in those kinds of situations. Throw the ball high and let him try to get it. I saw him do it 100 times at TCU. Against some pretty good coverage too. He would just reach above where the DB could and bring everything down. It was nauseating since he played for my arch rival and there was no stopping him.

        • chimps000 - Sep 24, 2016 at 3:32 PM

          just after I typed that I heard Cooley say on his radio show that the Giants don’t blitz much in the red zone…

    • Trey Gregory - Sep 24, 2016 at 3:24 PM

      I went back and watched this play about 10 times. It’s hard to tell exactly what happened because of the camera angle. But I’ll start by saying Thompson might have been the correct read. He could have completed a pass to Reed but it would have been short. Thompson was behind the first down marker but along the right sideline and the receivers pulled the defenders into the end zone. It wasn’t a guaranteed first down but Thompson was open and had room to run. Cousins was looking the other direction.

      So it appears they ran an 8 man zone. Basically a cover 2. In normal circumstances the best way to beat that is to have 4 receivers (including TEs if need be) run seam routes. Have at least two (but maybe all) of those receivers go deep to spread the zone both vertically and horizontally. If you can at least split the safties deep then the zone has a good chance of breaking down.

      But this wasn’t abnormal situation, they were in the Redzone. So you can’t spread them vertically. If you have a 6’5 receiver then you can just throw it up and let him get it. But we don’t have that. Doctson is the closest thing and he’s. it ready. An 8 man zone is tough to attack on a short field like that. I would say a short pass with good downfield blocking is a good way to go. Either a slant or quick out. But a normal out rout might work if it’s kind of a bang bang play.

      And I don’t know that they put 3 on Reed so much as they were just covering the underneath routes. The LBs and maybe SS usually cover the shallow routes in the middle of the field there.

      • Trey Gregory - Sep 24, 2016 at 3:37 PM

        Oh and as far as Lavao. You’re right that it wasn’t a great play for him. But I don’t think he just intentionally stopped blocking. I think he saw Scherff was helping Kory and went to see if Williams needed help. Why have 3-on-1 when there’s two other guys 1-on-1?

        It’s hard for me to criticize these guys without knowing their exact blocking assignments. But we do know that he’s responsible for his gaps even if nobody is currently in one. So i think he looked over to check on Williams, then looked back to make sure nobody was trying to sneak by on a delayed blitz, and by that time McClain was already at his shoulder and he lost leverage.

        Cousins had enough time to make a play. Obviously more time is better but 4 seconds is plenty. I would be curious to see a view of the receivers detouring after their initial rout didn’t work. Because, yes, guys like Rogers move around until someone gets open. But the WRs have to keep moving. I’ve seen it in the past where our guys just stop and throw their hands to their side when it doesn’t initially work. It’s one of my many complaints about Desean that I’m trying to get over.

      • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 7:01 PM

        The points you and chimps000 made are spot on.

        Thanks for reviewing the play; if Cousins progress had started far right he might have been able to connect with Thompson earlier near first down marker. The coaches film should give you a good view unless you don’t like either of the two views it provided.

        You are right that it’s 3 covering underneath route not Reed per say, but that’s exactly the progression that Reed followed; if Reed had headed the other way, he might have shaken loose.

        I just think the Redskins need to prepare for such scenarios for the following reasons:

        1. if opponents can rush three and still get pressure, they’re going to rush three

        2. Reed and Jackson will garner the most attention; they will be double / triple-teamed and they’ll take their chances one-on-one with the other receivers.

        3. Kirk was not mobile at all in Steelers game and did a little bit better against the Cowboys, but he’ll need to do more with 3 rushing and 8 in pass defense

  3. colorofmyskinz - Sep 24, 2016 at 5:44 AM

    I would substitute Kory L. For Matt Jones. If Kory does his Job Matt will easily do his. Kory will be staring at some snorting bulls and I frankly think he will be under more pressure.

    I would substitute any Dlineman for Norman. He has nothing to be concerned about. It is Beckham that will be under pressure to perform to all of his talking not Norman. Talkers put extra pressure on themselves. If you can only choose 5 people a Dlineman HAS to be on this list. I go with Baker. He is the leader of this Dline group and quite frankly he has way under performed from his last year looking squarely like a DT and no where near a DE. If he wants to demand DE so he has access to more money then he needs to start playing like one.

    I would bump the number from 5 to 10 players because we have only scratched the surface. Then we have coaches as well… No see many under pressure quite honestly.

    If this game is lost we are going to watch the wheels melt off this bus fast.


    • sidepull - Sep 24, 2016 at 6:38 AM

      Color it could get ugly. Kory vs “Snacks”? I dunno. Thats not projecting to be a great game for Kory.

    • snyderisanidiot - Sep 24, 2016 at 9:12 AM

      We are NOT getting a Win up in the Medowlands. I think Cousins will look better but Eli will look like the second coming of Joe Montana. Look for Eli to go big on Sunday. Get him on your fantasy squads cause the Redskins are about to get lit up.

      • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 9:27 AM

        Anything can happen in a divisional match-up; let’s not give up just yet.

        The Giants right side of its line-up is very vulnerable and hopefully Barry has a good game plan to exploit this. Their RG is weak and the Giants starting RT will miss this game. We must apply pressure here!

        Eli is excellent at quick releases so the Redskins must jam receivers and play tighter.

        The Redskins need to bring it in both these game aspects on Sunday!

        • Trey Gregory - Sep 24, 2016 at 5:42 PM

          The pass rush will be key. But so will not abandoning our zone. If we play the zone properly it won’t give up big plays. Bump and run, man, jamming at the line… those are all tactics that abandon what we do best. Let Eli throw for 3 yards and avoid the 15+ yard plays.

          I understand the concern. It’s that Phillips, Bruton, and maybe Hall don’t play the zone correctly. That doesn’t mean they’ll play man the right way either though.

        • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 7:05 PM

          Yes. If the Redskins had not shown itself so vulnerable to 15+ yard plays, I would be less concerned about Eli marching the down the field in any fashion including short yard pass plays with the potential of YAC. Until, I see improved play by safeties, nickel back and linebackers in pass coverage, I’m not counting on it; the first two games were very upsetting in this department.

  4. sidepull - Sep 24, 2016 at 6:31 AM

    Matt Jones, when given the chance has not looked bad and with the few number of carries it seems unfair to put him on that list. He cant call his own number.


    And Trey is so right about Smith, its like he has really given up at times and out of place. I really wish he had picked up where he left off last year. And yes more Murphy. I cant believe I wrote that.

  5. sidepull - Sep 24, 2016 at 6:42 AM

    Hoping Spaight and Cravens get more playing time. Need some pressure, some hits and some turnovers. Some chaos, some mayhem, something to help derail the Giants.

    • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 8:14 AM

      Is it hard for Compton and Spaight to sub for one another a lot given that they are the principal communicators for the defense or is that a non-issue?

  6. garg8050 - Sep 24, 2016 at 7:00 AM

    1. Cousins for obvious reasons
    2. Breeland – he’s a marked man until he starts making some plays.
    3. Kerrigan – he’s getting paid like a top 10 pass rusher but isn’t producing to that level.
    4. Baker – he wants to be paid like a top DL, so he needs to start playing like a top DL. Get some penetration and some QB pressures.
    5. Smith – prove that the last few games last year were not a fluke.

    Cousins and the defense…no big surprise

  7. chimps000 - Sep 24, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    Add D Hall to the list, he has not made plays and has looked often late and out of position. It’s almost funny that our defensive line has played better than expected, but our secondary that D Hall said in the offseason was the most talented he had ever been on has been this bad outside of Norman.

    And I would add Joe Barry to the list. His comments don’t make him sound very smart, and his lack of adjustments has been painful. There was a thread the other day someone was saying maybe Bruton and Phillips backups are worse than they are, we don’t know. I agree, we DON’T know, but the starters are playing so poorly along with Hall that we need to find out. Barry should have found out in the Cowboys game. It’s like his eyes weren’t watching the same game everyone else was watching, similar to McVay calling so few runs when it was finally working for perhaps the first time since the first couple games last season. These coaches seemed way too committed to their “game plan”, which is fine IF you have a plan B, a plan C, and you adjust your plan based on in game action.

    I wonder if now McVay’s gameplan is going to overcompensate and run the ball no matter if its working or not, which seemed like the gameplan that he rarely deviated from last year. The Giants D line is much better than the putrid dallas D line, this is not the game for that kind of attack. Sure, we have to run it more than last week, but he needs to either stick with or deviate based on how it works in the game. Same with Joe Barry- when your nickel corner is on the field almost every snap and he is getting torched left and right, can’t you notice that fact by halftime at the latest, and try a different player in there? Same with Bruton, same with Hall for that matter, although I understand giving him more time to “get it together”.

    Its one thing to have talent deficiencies, and give the GM more time to get the roster improved, but its hard for me to watch a team get outcoached.

  8. chimps000 - Sep 24, 2016 at 7:53 AM

    One interesting thing to watch for in this game…

    The leak was that Norman is going to shadow Beckham EXCEPT when he is in the slot. If Joe Barry is smart, he will vary that strategy now.

    I would favor having him shadow him all over the field including the slot. I doubt that will actually happen.

    The thing is, the Giants have multiple pass catchers, and this isn’t the game where its so important if Norman travels or not. The freaking Pittsburgh game was the perfect game for that strategy, they had one legit WR in that game, and Joe Barry had all offseason to prepare different defensive packages.

    Norman could play lights out on OBJ and we could get still killed by Cruz or Sheppard or whomever because our secondary is that bad.

    But on critical 3rd downs, Ill be watching if the Giants put OBJ in the slot and make him the primary read to get him away from Norman and get him covered by Phillips, Bruton, or Hall… that would be a brutal mismatch unless he is bracketed.

    • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 8:21 AM

      How this information gets leaked is unfathomable to me unless someone wanted to spread false information; if the latter is not the case, this is truly disappointing.

      • chimps000 - Sep 24, 2016 at 8:43 AM

        cooley guessed that Norman could have said it to someone he trusts, and then that person leaked it… apparently the initial report came from a North Carolina reporter.

        I don’t think the leak itself is that big a deal, the Giants D coaches would obviously see pretty quickly if Norman is travelling or not, the slot aspect is more of a big deal bc it allows the giants coaches to go in having a good idea of what they are going to face on early big 3rd downs and red zone plays, IF Joe Barry doesn’t now vary his strategy based on the leak.

        • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 10:18 AM

          Just awful if true. Loose lips sink ships. If true Norman’s got to realize there’s no room for discussing anything remotely related to game plan beyond the locker room.

  9. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 24, 2016 at 8:17 AM

    I don’t think this is the game to try and correct the run/pass imbalance.

    With their two massive DTs, no one is running on the Giants much.

    P.S. Poor doggie!

    • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 8:22 AM

      Cooley thought you could stretch runs wide on the Giants.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 24, 2016 at 10:12 AM

        Could work if we get precise blocking…not whiffs and people falling down, etc.

  10. Jerel - Sep 24, 2016 at 8:43 AM

    I think we should check out Kendall fuller in the slot because dashun Phillips is not looking good at all to me Kendall showed me a lot. At times you see Kendall get beat but the next play he captilized, I think that shows a lot. I’m just saying we should look into that

  11. chimps000 - Sep 24, 2016 at 8:54 AM

    Here’s some interesting viewing- every pass play by Carson Wentz against the Bears. He moves well in the pocket, he scrambles, he has a big arm, he made a lot of good decisions, he was under a lot of pressure, his WRs still drop the ball a lot, and it was his second NFL game and he played that well- unbelievable.

    • snyderisanidiot - Sep 24, 2016 at 9:05 AM

      Its a fluke. He will come back down to earth. Look what Robert Griffin III did his first year.
      He looks like he may be pretty good but its way to early to tell. And yes his performance so far has been much better than Cousins, but so has every QB’s

      Look for Kirk to get it turned around Sunday.

      • chimps000 - Sep 24, 2016 at 2:52 PM

        You are probably right that he will come back to earth, especially as more teams get to see tape on him. The difference with him and RG3’s rookie year though is that Wentz is reading the field, going through progressions, and flashing true NFL ability while griffin was in a gimmick college offense with ultra simple reads and the rest of league was unfamliar with that scheme. And Griffin lost some of his speed over the years from all the injuries.

        You are right though, I was thinking of Cousins when I watched it, the obvious difference in performance quality from a rookie in his 2nd game. Time for Kirk to light up the giants defense and change the narrative.

  12. snyderisanidiot - Sep 24, 2016 at 9:03 AM

    My Five:

    1) Kirk Cousins
    2) Kirk Cousins
    3) Kirk Cousins
    4) Kirk Cousins
    5) Kirk Cousins

    • William m.Brown - Sep 24, 2016 at 10:09 AM

      I agree the Redskins main problem is At The quarter back position, anyone who doesn’t see that is giving him a free pass. We had the ball with 4.26 left, you go get the TD Skin’s. He can’t do it. Why.

  13. Shawn McNeil - Sep 24, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    kirk Cousins a bum needs to be removed from the roster

  14. redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    Any chance we can talk Walter Thurmond out of retiring? How did he do last season?

  15. Eli - Sep 24, 2016 at 10:53 AM

    1) The DC of the 0-16 Detroit Lions.
    2) The 30 year old OC Chris Cooley is in love with.
    3) John Gruden’s brother.

    • redskins12thman - Sep 24, 2016 at 10:58 AM

      So true; the coaches are definitely under pressure as, above all else, the team has been 1. unprepared for the start of the season, and 2. game plans / lack of impactful adjustments are both central to the team’s two losses so far.

  16. tavarchie - Sep 24, 2016 at 6:28 PM

    Fire DC Barry now. . Archives

Follow Us On Twitter