Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, November 18, five days before the Washington Redskins travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers.
Non-RG3 notes and quotes from Gruden’s Monday new conference
—At 3-6 the playoffs were a long shot but still in the realm of possibility. Slim chance went to no chance after Sunday and the team is recalibrating its goals. “Right now—yesterday—we took a major step backwards towards regression,” said Gruden. “We have got to figure out a way to make sure we continue to show some improvement and put yesterday behind us and figure out ways that we can get better so we have something to feel good about as we finish the season.”
—Jason Hatcher said that he didn’t want to talk about the practices leading up to the Bucs game, leading many to believe that the sessions were not sharp. Gruden disagreed. “I thought the tempo was pretty good . . . It just didn’t carry over to Sunday for whatever reason,” he said. “So, we just have got to make sure we continue to monitor our practices – make sure the tempo’s good, make sure the fundamentals are sound, and continue coaching these guys up and not let anything get swept under the rug if things go wrong. Maybe we did that too much last week. I’ll go back and watch it and see.”
—After the game, we found out that Mike Evan’s 56-yard touchdown catch that put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter was a communication mix-up. There was supposed to be a blitz and Josh McCown should have been on his back before delivering the ball. “Based on the blitz that was drawn up, Perry [Riley] was supposed to blitz,” said Gruden. “There was a little confusion there and Keenan [Robinson] was supposed to cover the deep middle, and we were hoping based on the pressure that Josh wouldn’t have had those extra three hitches to drop it deep to Mike Evans.” We will have to wait for the NFL to come out with the all-22 tape to see where Robinson was on the play. In any case, Riley was in coverage when he should have been blitzing.
—Fans would like to see the Redskins blitz more, especially after they got just two sacks against a Bucs team that was having pass protection issues. But there are risks, according to Gruden. “You put your corners on an island and sometimes you – when they change strength, you have to change with them and one guy has got to blitz and one guy has got to drop. Sometimes there’s some miscommunication there. But basically, when the offense happens to pick up the blitz and they’re in max protection, then you’re one-on-one with [Bashaud] Breeland or your corners against elite receivers like Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. It puts them on an island. There are risks involved in blitzing, but there are definite rewards also.”
—The team has an NFL-low three interceptions and Gruden said there isn’t much the coaches can do about except preach fundamentals. “[Jim] Haslett can’t intercept the ball for the guys,” he said. “We have to have guys break on the ball and make some plays. We have to have defensive linemen get their hands up in passing lanes and linebackers read the quarterbacks’ eyes and getting their hands up in passing lanes. And we just have to do a good job as a team defense, getting pressure on the quarterback and forcing errant throws.
—Today’s schedule: Off day, no availability
—Days until: Redskins @ 49ers 5; Redskins @ Colts 12; Rams @ Redskins 19
If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
In case you missed it
- Clearing the air at Redskins Park
- How much time did Griffin have to throw?
- Redskins injury roundup: Baker 'day to day' with chest bruise
- Gruden on RG3: 'Sometimes you don't need to be great'
- Gruden says Griffin's comments 'not his place'
- RG3 responds to criticism via Facebook account
- Gruden updates status of Trent Williams
- Gruden: Too many mental lapses vs. Bucs
- Did RG3 compare himself to Manning, Rodgers?
- Bucs take advantage of mistakes, Redskins don't