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Redskins report card vs. Ravens—Crowder, Norman among aces

Oct 10, 2016, 12:13 PM EDT


Here are grades for various units, players, and other elements of yesterday’s win over the Ravens:

Grade A

WR/PR Jamison Crowder— The importance of his 85-yard punt return is obvious. He also had a hand in the other Redskins’ touchdown when he caught a 23-yard pass from Cousins to get the drive started.

ILB Mason Foster—He was literally all over the field, making plays in coverage out near the numbers and making tackles in the box.

Luck—They really didn’t do much positive on one of their biggest plays of the game, the interception that C. J. Mosley fumbled out of the end zone. It also helped that Steve Smith exited the game with an ankle injury in the first half and did not return. And the early snap in the fourth quarter that bounced off of Cousins had disaster written all over it.

Josh Norman—He wasn’t following Smith before his former teammate exited the game with a foot injury. Flacco threw just three of his 46 passes in his direction, completing one for nine yards.

Pierre Garçon—He made a few nice grabs, including one for the Redskins’ only offensive touchdown.

Grade B

Special teams—I was going to give them an A but with a missed extra point I just couldn’t even though the wind was a big factor.

Offensive line—They did a good job protecting Kirk Cousins, allowing only one sack to a team that had averaged better than two per game going in. Their run blocking was just OK, clearing room for some good runs but an average of just 3.0 yards per carry.

Defensive line—Yeah, they should thank the Ravens for calling only eight running plays for the last three quarters of the game. But they did a good job clogging the line and getting pressure on Joe Flacco.

Grade C

Offensive play calling—The run-pass got a little out of whack with 42 passes called and 19 runs (not counting late Cousins kneel down from victory formation) in what was a close game throughout. It should be noted that Cousins threw six passes after the Redskins got possession in the last minute of the first half so that skewed the numbers some plus they were only getting 3 yards a pop on the ground. And while I liked the several times they went deep on third or fourth and one it was kind of futile to do it when the wind was such a factor.

Kirk Cousins—He threw some head-scratching passes and the interception was nearly a disaster. He did redeem himself with some nice throws; you won’t see many better than the TD pass to Pierre Garçon, the definition of a dime.

Matt Jones—The lost fumble could have been huge but the D got the stop and special teams stopped the fake field goal attempt. He only gained 30 yards on the ground but he didn’t have much running room. Adding 22 yards on three receptions saved his grade.

Tress Way—Two touchbacks, one of them from near midfield, is unacceptable for Way, who may have had some problems with the win.

I didn’t include everything here, give me your grades in the comments.

  1. Skulb - Oct 10, 2016 at 12:25 PM

    Compton A-.
    Ziggy Hood B+
    Greg Toler B+

    Baker’s belly A+

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  2. Skulb - Oct 10, 2016 at 12:29 PM

    Btw Rich, are you aware that Trent Murphy now needs just 1,5 more sacks to equal his total from the 14 AND 15 seasons. Hands up those who saw this coming!

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    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 10, 2016 at 1:05 PM

      Trent gets an “A” from me for ‘most improved.’

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    • Trey Gregory - Oct 10, 2016 at 1:06 PM

      I spent a little time this summer trying to convince people Murphy would break out this season if they actually let him rush the passer and stopped dropping him into coverage.

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      • greed - Oct 10, 2016 at 3:25 PM

        hey i was on that bandwagon this summer also , murphy showed flashes last season as a end rusher remember the eagles game at home , i thought with the eperience he gained playing LB , putting on weight and playing his more natural position DE he was going to have an impactful yr, good to see the organization stick with him

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        • Trey Gregory - Oct 11, 2016 at 2:47 AM

          I don’t want to crown him yet either. He could just be on a hot streak and he could tail off. But I don’t think he’s going to get much worse. I think he is a good player. I’m not one to say I told you so. But I said that this summer and gave a well thought out argument for why. Then people replied just making fun of me but without a reason.

          His past performance had a little to do with it. But mostly because of how he was used. He was dropped into coverage on something like 80% of his snaps. And it’s not like he played every snap to begin with. So getting 3 sacks in that little bit of opportunity was actually decent. He also always set the edge well. That’s a good sign because it usually means he has a speed rush. He’s not a fast guy but a speed rush is also a contain rush.

          Anyway. It was mostly based off his college production and combine numbers. His combine numbers were on par with some of the top defensive players in the game. He is an explosive athlete. All except his bench press. It was very low. So the extra weight should have helped him a lot there. I know he dropped some again, but I’m not sure how much. I have to assume increased upper body strength is at least part of the reason for him breaking out. A guy just doesn’t have the production he had in college, his combine numbers, and his reported work ethic without being a good athlete and having star potential. Something was off.

          I think they had him playing the wrong position. I get that they still have him at OLB but he’s often used as more of a DE. I’m fine with him at OLB as long as he’s rushing the passer and not dropping in coverage. I think he’s a nickel DE but I don’t think being in a 2 or 3 point stance makes a big difference for him. He gives good effort, works hard, and I think he just figured some stuff out. If he can work with Smith and help Smith’s work ethic then we will have a solid group of edge rushers. Not great, but solid.

        • greed - Oct 11, 2016 at 12:51 PM

          Not saying he’s the next K. Greene just sayn i too from seeing his play at stanford and seeing him flash at times with skins i thought hoped he finally put it altogether at either end or rush LB and be a consistent contributor on defense , ive heard some call him a bust as a 2nd round pick but imo he was never a liability as a rush lb i thought it was going to take time to make an impact being he was a DE in college , just because the purpose of rushing the QB is the same they are 2 different positions bv again good to see him figure it ov and being consistent

        • Trey Gregory - Oct 11, 2016 at 3:13 PM

          He was actually an OLB in college. Somewhere along the line someone started saying he never played OLB before as an excuse for him and people just kind of bought into it and keep repeating it. But Stanford runs a 3-4 and Murphy played 3-4 OLB in college.

          That doesn’t mean he’s not more of a DE in the NFL though. He’s just more of a 4-3 DE. That’s why I said he’s a nickel DE for us. But he dropped some of that weight and is playing OLB again, and playing well. So not much to complain about here.

    • Rich Tandler - Oct 10, 2016 at 1:07 PM

      I’m not going to say I saw it coming. But it does show what having patience (and they could afford patience on a rookie contract) can do.

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      • greed - Oct 10, 2016 at 3:29 PM

        rich how would you grade ov Q DUBAR , seems like the more this guy plays the better he gets , great find truly fits JAY and SCOTT motto of wanting good football players !

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        • Jimmy kubas - Oct 10, 2016 at 7:17 PM

          He’s a baller..had a rough preseason… But he plays at another level when they count..agree..he’s getting better… Glad we didn’t cut him…

  3. Trey Gregory - Oct 10, 2016 at 1:07 PM

    Did anyone get a good look at Ioannidis? He kind of got lost in the shuffle with me. My vision gets blurry watching these things live.

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    • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 10, 2016 at 7:55 PM

      “Anyway, the Redskins used Matt Ioannidis more at nose tackle, allowing Hood to play right end. He has worked quite a bit on his pass-rush moves in recent years, and had a chance to record his first sack since 2014 with a quick swim move. He also did a good job on another cutback run by holding his man off with his right arm and filling the gap to make the tackle. The Redskins need to find a true nose if they want to start playing the run a lot better. Indeed, on Monday they were hosting Terrance Knighton and Phil Taylor. Both are bigger nose tackles. (For what it’s worth: I saw at least one time where Chris Baker was aligned over the center. He prefers end; he’s making plays at end and did so again Sunday. Both he and Hood would help. They and the linebackers need someone who can not only command a double team, but hold one. Guards don’t have to stay on the nose right now, because it’s unnecessary after the initial surge).” Via Keim

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      • Trey Gregory - Oct 11, 2016 at 3:10 AM

        Thanks man. Seriously.

        Now that I got a dose of Hood a DE I want more. The guy had a great game. He was flying around, shedding block, and running through guys. Now I’m on the bandwagon to get a true nose tackle right now. We have two good DEs but we’re not using one because he’s pretending to be a nose tackle. We need to set him free to play where he can contribute the most.

        I got a chance to rewatch some of the game since that post. Ioannidis was a pleasant surprise. He was DT great but wasn’t terrible. I still hope they bring in Taylor or Knighton but I feel a lot better about Ioannidis playing nose than I did just yesterday.

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        • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 11, 2016 at 5:33 PM

          Yeah I don’t know what Pot Roast’s status is yet. I would hope we would sign him but I also hope he kept the weight off after getting cut by the Pats.

        • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 11, 2016 at 10:57 PM

          ”There are some improvements there. I think the combination of Ziggy [Hood]and [Chris] Baker played a lot of snaps, I think they did a nice job, I think Matt [Ioannidis] played his best game at nose, he played about 28 plays. Cullen [Jenkins] played about 23 plays, did a nice job. Overall I think the defensive linemen, Ricky [Jean François], they were more disruptive and played a lot better, which enabled the linebackers to make plays, very few missed tackles, we had a couple . . .” Jay Gruden

          We’re not signing Pot Roast so i guess we’re going with old Ironside.

  4. Trey Gregory - Oct 10, 2016 at 1:11 PM

    So it seemed like they moved Hood over to the right more in this game. Like he was playing less zero and more 3. I didn’t chart the plays or anything, so I’m not sure that’s right, but it seemed like that’s what they did. I think we can see the difference that makes though. He’s a more natural 3 technique. So is Baker. So quit screwing around with trying to make one of these guys a nose tackle if we don’t actually have one. We don’t need one if we have two 3 techniques out there.

    I like that they’re working some guys out. I hope they’re able to bring someone in who can help. That would allow us to use Hood and Baker to their full potential. But until then, when we’re in nickel, we don’t need a guy over the center.

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    • greed - Oct 10, 2016 at 3:35 PM

      cant agree with that trey true the switch enabled the guys to make more plays but skins still getting gashed , 3-4 defense do need a true NT the staff has finally bowed to that conclusion too , the reason why theyre bringing in potroast and taylor for workouts

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      • Trey Gregory - Oct 11, 2016 at 3:04 AM

        I think you missed my point though. Of course you need a NT in a 3-4. Of course it’s not ideal not to have one. But we don’t have a true NT at the moment and we don’t actually run a true 3-4. So why force it if you don’t have the personnel? Why not let Hood play at the position where he can have the biggest impact? We do that for Baker.

        I’m saying you don’t need a NT in a 4 man front. And we use 4 man fronts a lot. But they will still line Hood up over the center (aka nose tackle) even in a 4 man front. Where we could line him up as a 3 technique (aka a 4-3 DT) on the right and baker as a 3 on the left with Kerrigan and Murphy as the ends. You don’t need a nose tackle in that alignment. And since we’re a hybrid defense, we can do that. We’re not married to the 3-4. I’m just saying not to try and force a player into playing nose tackle. Don’t use a 3 man front until we ah e a true nose.

        But I did get to rewatch some of the game since I made that post and I paid close attention to Ioannidis. He surprised me. Wasn’t great, but he’s adequate. The kid can play nose tackle. He had great effort and it allowed Baker and Hood to be DEs. I think that’s why Hood had such a good game. We have a pretty decent DE on this team that we haven’t been utilizing. Sign Knighton, Thomas, a sumo wrestler, the hulk, Laquon McGowan, or just start Ioannidis. I don’t care. Just get me a nose tackle so Hood can play DE NOW. That’s how good Hood looked.

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        • greed - Oct 11, 2016 at 11:35 AM

          we sayn same thing bro , stop trying to force a square peg in a round hole

  5. wildbill1952 - Oct 10, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    The missed extra point was caused because of a bad snap, and a hurried adjustment on the hold, causing Dustin to snap hook it. Wind was not as big a factor as the bad snap. Going for it on 4th down twice on the same drive seemed dumb to me and it would have been less of a thriller if the Skins had gone into the last drive up 19-10, instead of 16-10. They should have let Dustin kick it and take the 3. Everybody in the stadium knew it was going ot be Jones up the middle. We don’t have the 3 parts of the interior to make a 2 yard run when the other side knows it’s coming.

    Come to think of it, why is it the other side always seems to know what play the Skins are going to run? Screen passes looked especially bad. Somebody or something is telgraphing the play, or the other team islistening in on the miked helmets.

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    • Trey Gregory - Oct 10, 2016 at 1:59 PM

      I think you might be surprised just how often defenses can anticipate what the offense is going to do league wide. Maybe not exactly. Like which side they’re going to run or throw the screen to. But they have a pretty good idea what’s coming. It’s really about which side executes their assignment better and less about surprise. Notice that Bellichick’s motto is “do your job” and not “loose lips sink ships,” “don’t telegraph the play,” or “don’t be predictable.” If everyone executes their blocks then you can tell the defense what you’re doing and it will still work.

      With Long in at center I actually do think we have the pieces to run inside like that. Scherff is a big boy. So are Long and Lauvao. They should be able to gets as good a push as anybody. Baltimore has a pretty, pretty good D-line though. Timmy Jernigan is just a good player who got the better of our relatively inexperienced center and RG for most of the game.

      I agree they should have kicked the FG instead of going for it on 4th and 1 though. Then they could have tried a Hail Mary at the end of the half. Hopkins is truly a great kicker. I believe he could have made the 30 yarder despite the wind. But his 54 yard FG didn’t even stand a chance.

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    • Jimmy kubas - Oct 10, 2016 at 7:29 PM

      Because if RB in backfield… Run…no RB…pass…it’s obvious if they running or passing to my kids…

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  6. lezziemcdykerson - Oct 10, 2016 at 5:32 PM

    I gave Kirk a C- last week. I want to drop his grade for not improving but I’ll keep it the same.Average play average pay.

    I’d give the LB unit specifically a B+ (everyone except Preston Smith) They were the real difference in this match up. I spent a little time lobbying in the off season (too) that we could gamble and get a talent like Doctson instead of going defense with the first pick based off of this unit and our secondary. So far it wasn’t working but when our LBs play like this it masks our greatest deficiency, the D line. The offense is there. The defense, if this is who they are, isn’t that far off. A true safety or two and a NT. Preston’s gotta pick it up. I’d like to see Murhpy at DE and that’s not going to happen if Kerrigan and Smith aren’t getting it done.

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    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 10, 2016 at 6:39 PM

      Doctson was the only non-D player I wanted in the first round, I was happy when we picked him.

      If this Achilles thing turns into his last stand*, I’ll chalk that up to bad luck. (Rather than hold it against GM McGlue.)

      * Zep ref.

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      • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 10, 2016 at 6:58 PM

        Yeah Doctson in one play has proved his worth IMO. Just showing his potential was enough for me. No need in risking injury now when we’re stacked at WR. Especially with Crowder increasing his effectiveness from year one to two. Our other offensive picks, besides Sudfeld, didn’t make the 53. Benefits of trading out of the 4th I suppose. I love our picks rounds 1-3 after that it’s like but why trade out of the 4th? Whatever it’s over, aka I’ll bring it up again next week and the week after that. If the defense can keep overachieving and we sneak into the playoffs I’ll be happy. Especially knowing that next year we have close to 10 picks in next years draft. Just hoping Scot doesn’t get trade back happy again.

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        • Trey Gregory - Oct 11, 2016 at 1:59 AM

          The thing is that Doctson hasn’t even come close to showing his potential or value yet. His real gift is his leaping ability. He’s 6’2 but plays like he’s 6’5. He will be a good player for us once he’s healthy. I’m with you. No need to rush. Let him heal. The main objective for this season is to teach him the rout tree and playbook.

          I hope McCloughan doesn’t go trade happy too. We’ve already missed out on good players because of trading down. Just stay put and take the guys who fall to you. Not taking that 4th will sting until he uses the pick he got in the trade to draft a good player. If he doesn’t draft a good player then fans are never going to forgive him. It’s just that we could be developing Ioannidis and another D-linemen for next season. Two instead of one. We could be developing a good future line. Instead our line sucks and the future doesn’t look much brighter. That’s why it stings.

        • lezziemcdykerson - Oct 11, 2016 at 5:34 PM

          I agree. We’ve got a ton of picks next year hopefully it pans out.

  7. lezziemcdykerson - Oct 10, 2016 at 8:01 PM

    “I wrote about Trent Murphy before the game in my notes package, but it’s worth repeating, because he continues to show more as a pass-rusher. It often takes pass-rushers a few years to get a great feel for the game, etc…, and that’s especially true if you’re not someone who can just win off the edge. Murphy has developed because he’s kept working. He also said Friday how much yoga has helped his game for one reason: it provides more flexibility. Sure enough, on his pressures and his sack, a key for Murphy was being able to bend the corner and maintain his balance and speed. Made a big difference.” Via Keim

    Know who else was a yoga advocate? (ok pilates whetever) Lorenzo Alexander. Go look at his sack total.

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  8. snyderisanidiot - Oct 10, 2016 at 8:19 PM

    Stop Sugar Coating It, Kirk Cousins has looked awful this season. Compared to last season Kirk is in sharp decline. Sophomore Slump for Cousins. Grade D for Cousins.

    Grade D for Matt butterfingers Jones. However, I do not like any options at RB for the Skins. At this point I think Thompson should start even though he is not a every down guy.

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    • chimps000 - Oct 10, 2016 at 8:37 PM

      overly harsh- kirk hasnt been awful, but he hasnt been good. He has a very good oline, very good skill players, and he doesn’t look very good. He’s ok. Flacco would have sick numbers on our offense. Of course, Flacco has a huge contract, and is truly “elite”. And this year, Kirk has a pretty big cap number himself.

      Jones is not good, and his fumble where he has the ball in good position for it to be knocked out was a headscratcher. Maybe Rob Kelly is not good either, but lets at least give him a chance. I was calling for it week one, don’t understand the coaches. I’m not calling for jones to be cut midseason, but he isnt very good, and he already has two fumbles in 5 games after leading the league last year in fumbles. The GM went out on a limb preseason saying how great Jones is, the coaches have treated him like he is the second coming, and it just isnt happening. Doesn’t mean that theoretically it cant happen in the future, but it aint happening now. And if Kelly can’t get it done, lets get someone here who can.

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      • Trey Gregory - Oct 11, 2016 at 2:10 AM

        I agree that post was too harsh on Cousins. Let’s not get too high or too low. Let’s be fair and call him what he is. He’s been playing very mediocre ball. He has some outstanding plays followed by some awful plays. But most are just OK. He’s average right. Is.

        But you’re being too harsh on Jones. The first fumble was when he took a big hit to the head and I’ll bet anything he blacked out even if just for a second. He just dropped the ball. It wasn’t so much a fumble as him going unconscious. There’s a difference.

        The fumble against the Ravens was different. But the ball was in that spot because the handoff was botched. Go watch it again. He was bobbling the ball and almost dropped it. But he got his hands on it and started to secure it right when that guy put his helmet on it. I don’t know if the botched handoff was on Cousins or Jones but most people would lose that ball if it was hit like that. We can blame Jones for it, I’m fine with that, but it’s 1 real fumble in 5 games and he isn’t fumbling like he did last year. They’ve been weird situations.

        He is running better too. It’s concerning that it’s taking him so long to get the basics down but you can see the progress. Again, not great but not awful. Just OK. He does well on outside runs and he has a lot of potential we haven’t unleashed yet. Kelley looks like a fine RB to me who is inexperienced and needs more carries to get his confidence up. But Chris Thompson is a good running back on all 3 downs. I don’t care what anyone says. If you can’t stay patient with Jones then give Thompson more carries. I personally would like to see us run the ball more in general with Jones getting the bulk of carries and Kelley getting something like 5-8 a game.

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  9. redskins12thman - Oct 10, 2016 at 9:55 PM

    I like this new feature Rich! I will re-watch the game and let you know what I think!

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  10. T Dogg - Oct 11, 2016 at 12:36 AM

    Well good game, we left alot of opportunitys on the field,we had a chance to go up big on Ravens but our offense and Kirk and play calling didn’t take advantage, our defense needs to keep playing like they did last Sunday, Kirk needs to get his swag back of 2015 because he’s forcing balls in bad spots, not running for 1st downs, getting sacked in shotgun unacceptable, doesn’t look like a franchise QB, more of just above average, he’s trying to hard relax, to many over throws deep, needs more practice and patience! Let’s Go Skins!

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