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Kyle Shanahan downplays QB pressure vs. Denver

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Kyle Shanahan downplays QB pressure vs. Denver

No question about it, the Broncos battered Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III during the course of their game last Sunday. When asked about the play of his offensive line, Kyle Shanahan somewhat downplayed the issues.

“I think that game versus Denver looked pretty much like every game does versus Denver – especially with 58 [linebacker Von Miller] out there . . . they hit every quarterback,” said Shanahan. “That’s how it is when you throw the ball. You always want to protect him. You always want to keep him upright and take those hits off, but you turn on any tape versus Denver and that pass rush, especially when 58’s out there, I think a lot of those games will look worse and not many of them will look much better.”

Looking back at the Broncos’ games this season, they have been able to get to the quarterback in every game. They have at least one sack in every game and double digits in hurries in all eight contests so far (from www.profootballfocus.com).

But the Redskins were worse than any other Broncos opponent this year when it came to allowing their quarterback to get hit. Here is a look at each Broncos game this year with the opponent, sacks, quarterback hits, and quarterback hurries.

Opp-Sacks-Hits-Hurries

  • BAL-5-5-21
  • NYG-1-4-19
  • OAK-2-2-13
  • PHIL-3-3-23
  • DAL-4-2-10
  • JAX-2-3-13
  • IND-2-6-17
  • WAS-3-11-15

It should be noted that Von Miller, who was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2012 with 18.5 sacks, was suspended for the first six games so he was in the lineup only against the Colts and Redskins. He had a sack, three hits, and a hurry against Washington.

Still, Griffin and Kirk Cousins were hit a combined 11 times. The Broncos had no more than six QB hits in any game prior to this one. They had averaged 3.6 hits in the seven games prior to the one against the Redskins.

However, it’s possible that not all of the blame for the QB hits rests with the offensive line. Many thought that Griffin held on to the ball for too long on some of his pass plays. The Broncos’ 15 hurries against the Redskins were a bit fewer than their average of 16.8 going into the game. Perhaps Griffin’s indecision turned some of the hurries into hits.

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to spend send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110 but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!