Here are my observations after taking a second look at the game. Here is the second half,the first half review is here.Third quarter--Brandon Banks was on the field for two defensive snaps. Early in the third quarter he motioned into position behind Griffin and the quarterback faked a handoff to him. The fake drew even the offside defenders to the right, allowing Davis to get a little running room after Griffin threw him a pass on the left side. Davis ran right between blocks by Josh Morgan and Trent Williams and got 12 yards and a fist down. The fear of Banks speed set it up.--The Redskins were on the move to put the game away until a first-down clipping call on Will Montgomery spiked the drive. It clearly was a clip and looks like Morris may have been trapped for a loss of seven yards or so had he not done it. After that, a pass intended for Hankerson was tipped away, an underneath pass to Hankerson picked up 10, and the Griffin ran well short of the first down.--Richard Crawford made a nice, open-field tackle on Benn to prevent the Bucs from converting a third down. He got into the bigger receiver with this shoulder and stopped him a yard short of the sticks.--Again, bad optics as Griffin yells at the defender who hit him late to draw a flag but the offensive line does nothing.--Shanahan said that Garons personal foul on Aquib Talib came prior to the whistle. That turned a third and four into a third and 19. On the original camera shot you can see it happen while Royster, who caught a short pass form Griffin, was fighting for an extra yard or two. Its hard to tell if the whistle had blown. It was a good 8 or 10 yards away from the action, though, and Talib clearly wasnt going to be involved in making the stop. That is going to get flagged most of the time.--The play that got Freeman and the Bucs going, a 65-yard pass and run to Mike Williams, happened both because Wilson hesitated when Williams broke down the sideline and because Madieu Williams missed a tackle near midfield. There is no reason for Wilson to let Williams get past him there. A big play was the only thing that would get the Bucs back into the game and he got it.--Ill chalk up the seven-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson up to great athletic ability. Jackson gets paid a lot of money to make plays like that and, in this case, he did. Hall could have been a little closer to him and Williams could have anticipated that Jackson was going to get the ball and moved over there sooner but Im not sure it would have done any good.--The second time they use the quick pitch to Morris it picks up seven and a first down.--One of Griffins few off-target passes of the season was a little behind Morgan and it almost got picked off. It was tipped in the air and linebacker Mason Foster was close to a diving interception.--Banks speed set up the razzle dazzle as the Bucs defense was pulled over to the left with Griffins first lateral and Niles Paul had all kinds of room to run after he caught Griffins forward pass. Had Banks not actually run the ball a few times last week against the Bengals this and the previous play with him in on offense would not have been nearly as effective.Fourth quarter--Again, just a great athletic play by Jackson on Freemans deep pass to Jackson right after Cundiffs 31-yard miss. And anything but a perfect pass is incomplete.--We thought that the field would be an issue after a college game was played there Saturday night. It turned out not to be but Hankerson did slip on a cut during a route. If he keeps his feet, its likely a reception and a first down. Because he slipped, the pass was nearly intercepted. As it was, it became second and 10. A sack and an incompletion followed and the Redskins chance to respond to the Bucs second TD was gone.--Maybe some day offenses wont expect Ryan Kerrigan to get fooled on screen passes. But Sunday was not that day as he took away a scoring opportunity for the Bucs by sniffing out a screen and tackling D. J. Ware for a seven-yard loss on third and three at the Redskins 31. They were in Connor Barths field goal range before the play but they had to punt due to the loss.--Not much to say about RG3s scramble on third and 10 that came up short of the first down. He had no chance to extend the ball out to get it over the line to make as he was getting tackled. It was very clearly short and I have no idea why Shanahan decided to challenge.--Theres not much more that can be said about the final drive except that there were two terrifying moments. The second was 0-3 Cundiff lining up for the game-winning field goal. The first came right before that after Griffin threw to Moss for seven yards. They rushed to line up as the clock ticked below 10 seconds. If anyone had committed a false start, the game is over after a 10-second runoff. Shanahan got the timeout before they got set, however, and Cundiff slipped the kick past the good side of the left upright.
Those who doubted the wisdom of the Redskins drafting a guard with the fifth overall pick in 2015 (yes, I was one of them) should be preparing to eat their words.
On draft day and during the two and a half years since then, there has been plenty of talk that the Redskins would regret taking Brandon Scherff, who played tackle in college but seemed destined to play guard in the NFL, so early. Not that anyone thought that Scherff would be a bad NFL player but given that they left DL Leonard Williams and edge rusher Vic Beasley on the board, he needed to develop into an All-Pro caliber guard to justify such a high pick.
Well, don’t look now but Scherff is making his way towards becoming one of the best guards in the game. Not just Pro Bowl good; he checked that box last year. Scherff could become the first Redskins position player to be named a first-team All-Pro since Darrell Green and Jim Lachey earned the honors in 1991.
MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24
Asked about Scherff’s play this year, Jay Gruden was effusive in his praise.
He’s reacting. He’s anticipating. He’s pulling. He’s pass-blocking. He’s run-blocking. He’s double teaming. He’s doing everything you want him to do out in screens, out in space. He’s the best guard out in space by far in this league. It’s fun to watch him.
You can listen to Gruden’s full comments on Scherff in the video above.
Gruden is not exactly an unbiased observer. But other, more neutral analysts also have been heaping praise on Scherff.
An article on Pro Football Focus said that Scherff had an “elite” game against the 49ers, not allowing any pass rush pressures and dominating as a run blocker.
Two other analysts clipped some plays from the 49ers game to illustrate just how well he was playing.
This one from Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network shows one play, the 49-yard screen pass to Chris Thompson on which Scherff threw a key block.
I’m not sure what the scouting credentials Brandon Thorn has but he did put together a nice collection of clips of Scherff making quality blocks both in space and in the interior vs. the 49ers.
Will Scherff earn All-Pro honors? That could depend on how well the team does. While the All-Pro teams are supposed to be individual honors, it’s tough for an offensive lineman to get many votes if he’s not on a winning team, especially one like Scherff who would be trying to break into the club for the first time.
But the Redskins are not really worried about All-Pro votes. If he keeps playing the way he’s playing and he gets no such consideration it will be fine with them.
Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 20, three days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles for Monday night football.
Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences, open locker room, after practice approx. 3 p.m.
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 9
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 16
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 34
Injuries of note:
Not practicing: OT Trent Williams (knee), OT Ty Nsekhe (core muscle)
Limited: CB Josh Norman (rib), CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle), OLB Ryan Anderson (back), S Stefan McClure (knee). OL Tyler Catalina (concussion protocol).
It was encouraging that Breeland and Norman practiced although Jay Gruden noted that they both took place only in individual drills. See the full injury report here.
First look at Redskins vs Eagles
Number that pops out—LeGarrette Blount, who had a career average of 4.4 yards per carry coming into the year, is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, fourth in the NFL. Not bad for a guy who is supposed to be a lumbering power back. The key to stopping him is the same as it always has been, getting the north-south runner to go east-west. The Redskins did a solid job against him in Week 1, limiting him to a 3.3-yard average on his 14 carries.
The clutch gene?—Carson Wentz is the MVP favorite right now and the thing is that his stats are very good but not very impressive. He ranks 10th in net yards per attempt, 25th in completion percentage, eighth in yards per game, and seventh in passer rating. But he gets it done when it counts. Seven of his 16 touchdown passes have come on third down. His passer rating of 130 on third down is 10 points better than the second-best in that category, a guy named Tom Brady. As a result, the Eagles get first downs on 53 percent of their third-down passes, also best in the league.
Third down passing the key—The Redskins allow conversions on 35.7 percent of third-down passes, 16th in the NFL. If this game ends up with third downs near the Redskins’ season performance they will be in good shape. If the Eagles convert half of their third downs or more, the visitors will be in trouble.
Protecting Kirk Cousins—The Eagles have 14 sacks on the year. They got four against the Redskins in the season opener so they have 10 in their five games since. Their leading sacker is Brandon Graham, who has four on the season. Two of those came in the opener so he has two in the other five games. He will again be lined up against Morgan Moses, who had one of his worst games since becoming a starter against Philly. If Moses plays as well as he has since Week 1 Cousins could have time to have one of his usual big games against the Eagles.
Yes, Ertz is a pain— This is kind of hard to believe but Zach Ertz, who has been in the league since 2013, is third all-time in tight end receptions against the Redskins with 54. He’s behind only Jason Witten and Jackie Smith and ahead of Jeremy Shockey, Mark Bavaro, and Jay Novaeck. Ertz has played nine games against Washington; Witten has played 28 and Smith played 27. So if it seems like Ertz is always a thorn in the Redskins’ side, it’s because he is.
Potpourri: Wentz is the Eagles’ second-leading rusher with 133 yards on 32 carries . . . The Eagles have the third-best special teams DVOA in the league. On punt returns, they are averaging 16 yards per and giving up an average of 5.6 yards. That’s a lot of hidden field position.
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From the locker room
Josh Norman talking about how it felt when he put some stress on his broken rib during practice on Thursday.Posted by Rich Tandler on Thursday, October 19, 2017
In case you missed it
- Maybe the D isn't as banged up as we thought
- What will the Redskins do after Allen's injury?
- Redskins practice from the sideline
- Francis added to roster ahead of MNF vs. Eagles
- Four things we learned about Kirk Cousins