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State of the Redskins, Week 6—Second-half shutdowns key to winning streak

Oct 12, 2016, 8:25 AM EDT


Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 6 of the NFL season.

Record: 3-2 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 1-1
vs. NFC: 1-1
vs. AFC: 2-1
Home: 1-2
Away: 2-0

Rankings and changes from Week 5 (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 366.0 (11th, -3 from last week)
Defense (yards/game): 392.0 (27th, +2)
Points for: 115 (16th, -4)
Points against: 122 (19th, +7)
Passer rating offense:  91.1 (18th, 2)
Opp passer rating: 91.0 (17th, +6)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.1 (15th, -8)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 5.1 (32nd, 1)
Weighted DVOA through Week 5 (Football Outsiders): 4.1% (12th, +2)

Trending the right way: The Redskins improved from 26th to 19th in points allowed at 24.4 per game. That is close to where they were last year when they were 17th at 23.7 allowed per game.

Trending the wrong way: The rushing defense is not getting any better. The Redskins dropped to last in yards per carry against them at 5.1 allowed per attempt. No other team has allowed even 5 per carry. While we’re on the topic, the rushing offense dropped eight spots down to 15 in yards per carry.

Top three storylines:

Second half shutdowns—Last year the Redskins allowed an average 13.6 points per game in the second half. This season the average in the second half is 9.4 points. In the last three games they have allowed no second-half touchdowns.

Related: TD Punt return earns Crowder player of the week honors

Next men up getting it done—There were 16 players who participated in at least a third of the defensive snaps against the Ravens. Of those seven played either very little or not at all against the Steelers in Week 1. With Bashaud Breeland and possibly Su’a Cravens close to coming back, the Redskins have demonstrated some defensive depth.

Cousins still not there—You won’t see many better throws than Kirk Cousins’ perfectly placed touchdown to Pierre Garçon in the third quarter. But you won’t see many passes uglier than some of his third and short efforts that sailed over the heads of the receivers. If he hits a couple of those the game is a laugher at the end. Cousins still is clearly a notch below where he was last year. In 2015 he finished with a QBR of 70.1, sixth in the NFL. This year that metric has slipped to 58.2, 16th in the league.

Next three games

Sunday vs. Eagles (3-1)—Does rookie Carson Wentz really possess the best traits of Bret Favre and Peyton Manning as his coach said he does? Or is he a rookie who is off to a hot start and will come back to earth when defensive coordinators figure him out? If I’m the Redskins I’m more worried about an Eagles defense that has allowed just under 13 points per game.

October 23 @ Lions (2-3)—The Redskins once went for 30 years, from 1968 through 1997, without losing to the Lions. Now the Lions have won three in a row against Washington. The last time the Redskins beat Detroit Jim Zorn was in his first year as the head coach.

Related: Can Redskins D rattle Eagles QB Wentz?

October 30 vs Bengals (2-3) in London—While the Bengals are still a quality team this game does not seem quite as daunting as it did when the matchup at Wembley Stadium was announced. The Cowboys steamrolled them on Sunday. Despite a pretty good arsenal of weapons Andy Dalton has just five touchdown passes in five games.

  1. redskins12thman - Oct 12, 2016 at 8:37 AM

    Great points Rich.

    Stat that needs to improve is: Opp. yards/rush attempt: 5.1. We must do better against the run and continue with better tackling and stopping 3rd down conversions.

    Cousins has four areas that need to improve: vision (seeing open WRs), mobility to extend plays and running for gains when possible and accuracy on longer throws.

    Need to focus on Eagles; key game if Redskins are to make the playoffs.

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    • snyderisanidiot - Oct 12, 2016 at 9:31 AM

      Cousins has much more to work on than 4 things. Cousins is in sharp decline compared to last year. He is in full regression sophomore slump mode.
      Kirk is not seeing the field or the defense pre read. He does not seem to understand where his single or man coverage is.
      His accuracy has been way off even though the stats lie a little about this. His throws are off in general not just the long ball. He is making stupid decisions like taking a sack instead of throwing the ball away. His mental game sucks.
      He reminds me of a robot. Ready, Set, Hike, Drop Back, Throw, Repeat…..
      He has no mobility or movement within the pocket which disables him from creating or making any plays.
      Kirk Cousins is a hot mess right now and people are sugar coating it big time. This guy is a top 5 paid NFL QB.

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      • redskins12thman - Oct 12, 2016 at 9:42 AM

        Yes, I wonder why Cousins is not seeing where single or man coverage is; I thought he was better last season. Are opponents disguising this in different ways? I think opponents studied Cousins in the off-season and are challenging him in his areas of weaker play.

        I see the automaton characteristics too, especially when it comes to moving outside pocket to escape pressure and extend plays by ad libbing. This needs to get fixed…

        At least Cousins reacted well on the botched snap play.

        How is Cousins doing on his progression reads?

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        • Trey Gregory - Oct 12, 2016 at 2:51 PM

          I don’t know that it’s accurate to say that Cousins is having trouble identifying where the man coverage is. I mean, it’s a pretty simple thing than any fan who cares enough can see at home. I’m willing to bet anything Cousins could tell you exactly who received what type of coverage right after the game.

          Part of the issue with that statement is that there isn’t always man coverage. A lot of teams run zone these days. There’s also wrinkles. Sometimes I think this WR is getting covered by that CB pre snap then the CB runs 5 yards up the field with the WR and then shifts to the middle while the slot corner or safety takes the WR on the edge and the CB goes to the slot. Unless you’re watching the coaches tape, it’s hard to know. And then you only find out after the game when you watch it.

          Side note. Did you guys know NFL Now has the coaches tape? I just noticed this week. It’s glorious. And I can tell you that our receivers were very well covered for most of the Baltimore game.

          No QB can literally see the entire field all at once. Open receivers get missed all the time because they weren’t open and the QB looked away. Cousins isn’t playig great but he’s not playing bad.

          Ben just mentioned a couple plays. Half the QBs in the league wouldn’t have made those. And on that DJax first down, Cousins was moving and avoided the sack. So I don’t know where these complaints about mobility are coming from? Just because the color guy made a comment about it one time in week 1? Cousins rolls out on a bootleg multiple times a game.

          His issues is consistency. Im giving him a mulligan for the long passes in Baltimore because of the wind and that’s not Cousin’s strength. But look at the other 4 games. He’s clearly having g some timing or accuracy issues. But he’s also making a few spectacular throws. So it’s there. The potential is right there. We have a guy who CAN do it. We just have to get it out of him consistently now. I won’t be shocked if he’s just been a little off tonstart the season and comes on like gangbusters sometime between next week and mid season. I’ll be more shocked if he doesn’t tighten up and plays like this all season.

        • redskins12thman - Oct 12, 2016 at 7:20 PM

          Yes. I thought you were watching coaches film.

          I was told that Jackson felt he was being held and was upset that he wasn’t getting the call. Can you tell from either angle whether he’s getting held?

        • redskins12thman - Oct 12, 2016 at 7:24 PM

          Re mobility, I rarely see Cousins extend plays as much and pick up substantive yardage compared to several other QBs; I won’t name them all now but Rodgers, Luck, Stafford and Taylor immediately come to mind.

        • Trey Gregory - Oct 13, 2016 at 3:17 AM

          I really do get the whole mobility thing. But that’s not who Cousins is. QBs can get a lot done just stepping up in the pocket too. It’s not like Brady and Peyton Manning rushed for a lot of yards. Cousins just isn’t a guy like Cam or Wilson who will get a lot with his legs. He’s not completely flat footed. But that’s not his strength.

          A lot of times on say, 3rd and 8th, the defense wants a QB like Cousins to run. They may give him 5 yards hoping he will dart so the LBs can close and tackle him short. It’s better to try and throw in that situation. They won’t leave those 5 yards for Kap or Cam because they might just get the extra 3. But they’ll welcome Cousins to try.

          Cousins does roll out though and move around. The only thing that’s missing is the good throw into tight coverage. That’s what Rogers does so well. It’s also why he’s considered an elite QB. Cousins has to play his game and do what he’s good at. But the guy runs like 5-8 bootlegs a game. He moves. And he extends plays from time to time.

          The guy is still learning. Despite this being his 5th year he’s still in year 2 of starting. He will figure out when he can throw and when he can’t. That stuff will come. Right now it’s the bread and butter stuff he needs to focus on. We know he can do it. We’ve seen him. And just figuring out if a guy CAN do the basic stuff is half the battle. Refining it is a whole different challenge.

          I personally believe Cousins has what it takes to be a franchise QB. It’s just a matter of how patient the organization will be while he puts it all together making $20 mil a year. If he was playing like this with 2 years left on his rookie contract, no big deal. But watch the few great (and I mean great) throws he makes every game and realize we might be letting that walk out the door because we were too busy messing with RG3 to develop Cousins and money might get in the way of patience now that Cousins is the guy. I don’t think you can have a season like he did last year as a fluke. He’s not going to get a 70% completion rate every year (maybe never again) but he’s capable of 65 if we work with him and figure it out.

          I just don’t care a whole lot about him running for a few yards when protection breaks down before he gets a better grasp on not overthrowing targets and hitting the right receiver. Or better accuracy and reading the field. Let’s worry about that and just tell the Oline to block and receivers to get open. He wouldn’t have to run if he had someone to throw to.

        • chimps000 - Oct 13, 2016 at 10:29 AM

          12th man and others aren’t just talking about running for yards, altho there have certainly been missed opportunities there. Cousins isn’t moving his feet well period.

          He isn’t moving in he pocket well, whether that’s up or to the side, in order to extend the play. On that egregious -3 point sack, he actually saw the oncoming rusher, then started to move away from the same rusher slowly while then getting sacked. Its the kind of play that cousins makes every other game that you just don’t see hardly ever in the nfl. It’s a result of playing tight and having tunnel vision, it can be improved, but he has been consistently poor in this aspect of the game through 5

      • bangkokben - Oct 12, 2016 at 2:24 PM

        I don’t know who is “sugar coating” his performance. He’s been consistently inconsistent. He’ll make the Garçon TD pass or the stand and deliver pass to Jackson where he takes a big hit and then the mind numbing idiotic plays like rolling outside of the pocket and still taking a sack. ESPN’s QBR stat is spot on since it’s based on decisions made and not just results. Last year he was excellent and this year he’s middle of the pack of an overall group that is down. As for finances that doesn’t mean a thing. You get paid for either potential or recent performance. Last year — for one year — he was 6th in production. This year he’s getting the NINTH most for a QB. He should be playing better period regardless of his contract. Last year he was probably the 50th highest paid QB. We’re we suppose to expect 50th best in production?

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    • redskins12thman - Oct 12, 2016 at 9:32 AM

      Cousins red zone play has shown some improvement (playing calling contributing factor too), but he needs to get back to not having INTs.

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      • Trey Gregory - Oct 12, 2016 at 3:02 PM

        This is another captain obvious statement. But stick with me. I think he’s throwing the INTs because he’s forcing the passes. But why is he forcing them?

        Truly none of us actually know. But I do know that a couple of our top receivers get pretty whiney when they’re not getting the ball. DJax let’s the whole stadium know when he’s upset. That’s not healthy for the team overall during the game. Teams are playing a lot of zone against us. It’s hard to find open guys in a zone unless it’s a short pass. So DJax and Garçon aren’t going to get as many opportunities until the run game gets going. But if they’re complaining, and Cousins wants to appease them, then maybe he takes a gamble to try and get it to them?

        The Baltimore INT was a straight gamble. Cousins saw the LB. he was right in front of Cousins. People need to stop saying he didn’t see him. It’s just that the LB could have broke to Cousins’ left or right. So Cousins tried to make him break to the left and then threw it right on a gamble that the fake would work. It didn’t.

        Maybe, just maybe, Cousins doesn’t do that if his receivers come to him after a bad play and say “it’s ok we’ll get them next time.” Instead of throwing up their hands and letting the whole stadium know their frustrated. I don’t know. I could be completely off. But can you see how that’s a possibility? Just stay cool during the game and talk about it after.

        And Cousins doesn’t have a lot of options on most plays because defenses aren’t worried about the run. That’s going to be a big issue until we can make people respect our run game. Maybe Kelley needs more carries, maybe we need to just run more, maybe someone needs to punch Jones in the face before every drive, maybe Thompson need more carries. I don’t know. But they have to get going .

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        • redskins12thman - Oct 13, 2016 at 1:22 AM

          What did you think about WaPo article on Cousins’ INTs this season?

  2. redskins12thman - Oct 12, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    I think the defensive storylines are too much in flux to write a lot early, but my initial storyline is not as much “Next men up getting it done” (even though that’s transpiring now) as much as “Can we stop the run please?” and “Why the heck did Bruton, Phillips and Hall get as many snaps as they did, playing as much as they did until injuries forced them out?”

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    • bangkokben - Oct 12, 2016 at 2:45 PM

      Dude, just be grateful that Bruton, Hall, and Philips are done. I said as much at the beginning of the year, that they were never going to earn the job in an offseason and lose it after a game or two. The run defense is still an issue with or without them. Ihenacho has been better but how could he not be? Blackmon has been the same or worse than Hall. Fuller started off weak but has been much better than Philips. Hall is definitely done with the ACL. Bruton getting IR-ed with a concussion shows that even if he didn’t get injured, he lost his job. Philips has lost his job to Fuller because of Fuller’s play. Still, complaining about why these guys weren’t replaced earlier is the equivalent to complaining about how long it took to replacing the taillight in your sports car when the engine won’t allow you to faster than 60 mph. This team still has an issue in stopping the run and the only things that can fix it is an offense the scores a bunch of points in a solid amount of time or the opposition’s coordinators wanting to pass instead of run.

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    • Trey Gregory - Oct 12, 2016 at 3:10 PM

      And I get why Hall played 100%. He would still be out there had he not been hurt. He’s a team leader, one of the beater cover guys on the team, gets paid too much to sit on the bench, and has earned the right for a little time to figure out his new job.

      People are way too quick to draw conclusions after a couple games. What if the Packers just gave up on Rogers when he went through his down streak last season? “Ah, he sucks now. Put in the rookie.” That would never happen because Rogers has proven he can play. So has Hall. He just maybe needed a bit more time. All players, even the greats, go through slumps. 2-3 games is not an adequate sample size to really evaluate these guys.

      Bruton and Phillips were awful but I get it. And Ihenacho didn’t make the secession any easier based off his previous play and injury history. The dude hadn’t really played for 2 years. That matters. But I feel the need to admit when I was wrong. And, so far, it appears I was wrong about Ihenacho. The guy isn’t great in coverage but he’s a spark out there and really impressed me. His hustle is awesome. He’s a clear upgrade and I’m happy to be wrong about that. I think he had an outstanding game on Sunday.

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      • COSSkinsFan - Oct 12, 2016 at 9:19 PM

        I have vented my frustrations with Cousins here, but I do think he will come out of it and be our guy. If he continues missing so many open targets for big plays, I think his price will have to drop or he’ll be gone. Everybody has slumps and he has the talent to come out of it. Its the same feeling I had about the defense, our tackling will improve and third down stops will increase. This started last week and hopefully continues.

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    • chimps000 - Oct 12, 2016 at 7:32 PM

      “Still, complaining about why these guys weren’t replaced earlier is the equivalent to complaining about how long it took to replacing the taillight in your sports car when the engine won’t allow you to faster than 60 mph. ”

      I don’t understand this statement. The defense has played significantly better without those three players (I include D Hall there, Blackmon has played at least as well as he did, and actually made a significant game changing play with the strip-fumble).

      We are questioning the judgment of talent by Joe Barry. Simple as that. If he messed up what seems obvious to us, that is pretty important information. Doesn’t mean he is a bad coach overall. Doesn’t mean he has a bad scheme, or that he is a bad teacher. Doesn’t mean he can’t learn and improve. But it definitely means something.

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      • Trey Gregory - Oct 13, 2016 at 1:14 AM

        Trust me man, I get your point. I really do. And Inget just as frustrated as you do when our guys aren’t playing well. And I think about the other options on the bench too. And I often wish the other guys would come in the game to see if they can play better too. I can look over one bad game. But after the second I was hoping they would make a switch too.

        But I also accept that I’m not working with all the information. And I don’t think it’s that black and white. You and I have a snapshot whole the coaches have the thousand hard view. You don’t know what you don’t know. Something may seem obvious to you but if you had all the information it may not be so obvious. In fact the exact opposite may seem like the obvious choice.

        I know you’re kind of talking to me and Ben separately here but my point was simply that we don’t know WHY the coaches decided to play the guys he did. So you’re assuming he’s not good at evaluating talent because you’re assuming the decision was based off talent. That isn’t necessarily why. And for all we know Barry wasn’t the one who decided those guys should start. He could have been told who to give first crack and for how long. I listed off a bunch of reasons for why they could have chose Bruton, Hall, and Phillips over Blackmon, Ihenacho, and Fuller. Some serious some jokingly. But there’s more. It could be so many. Many McCloughan promises Bruton he would have a certain number of games to prove he was starting material if he signed with the team? Seems unlikely but maybe. Maybe Fuller wasn’t taking camp or practice seriously so, even though he looked better than Phillips, they benched Fuller to punish him and show the rest of the team that they value hard work. I really think playbook and system issues are the most likely reasons. But it could be 100 different things. We weren’t there so we don’t know. You can’t come to a conclusion without all the information.

        I don’t necessarily agree with Ben’s analogy either. But let’s try another. Assuming that Barry started those guys because of talent related issues, thus concluding Barry is a bad talent evaluator, is like trying to explain why the sun rises and sets without understanding the earth is round and spins on its axis. It’s the reason why cultures had all these elaborate stories to explain the sun rising and setting when the real reason completely eluded them. They didn’t have all the information. You can’t jump to a logical conclusion without all the facts.

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      • Trey Gregory - Oct 13, 2016 at 1:16 AM

        Sorry for all the typos. Typing on my phone with my thumbs and auto correct gets me a lot.

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  3. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 12, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    A lot of QBs in this league wish they had the time to throw that our line usually gives Cousins.

    He’s playing too tight, I think.

    Staring down his primary receiver, getting happy feet, not seeing both sides of the field…all seem to be what you’d get from a guy who is pressing too hard.

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  4. sidepull - Oct 12, 2016 at 11:36 AM

    There is a lot more to this than meets the eye but here you go…
    Second half points allowed by the Redskins
    Trending down.
    Amazing really all the ingredients that go into that type of cooking.

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  5. chimps000 - Oct 12, 2016 at 12:21 PM

    I’m going to give joe barry credit- 19th in the league in points against is pretty good with that roster.

    On the flip side, 16th in points for with the offensive talent they have is not good at all.

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  6. Jimmy kubas - Oct 12, 2016 at 4:31 PM

    Do any of u think Cravens vision having to wear glasses now will affect his play when he returns???

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    • snyderisanidiot - Oct 12, 2016 at 7:35 PM

      I do. He has played his entire career without glasses so I must think it will affect his play. Its like if your a QB that throws bare handed but you decide to use a glove for the game.

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      • Jimmy kubas - Oct 13, 2016 at 6:50 PM

        We have d worst luck with you players we draft that R special.. Taylor… Jarrett… Now Cravens…. I hope his play doesn’t fall off..

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