Before I get started, here is RG3’s press conference after the humiliating loss to the Denver Broncos Sunday.
I will applaud Griffin with his frank and truthful approach at the podium. Though he didn’t fully acknowledge the Redskins choke-job against Denver, he knows the season is slipping away. He stated that everyone must look at the game film, learn, and get better from this game. That players need to point the finger at themselves and not at each other. RG3 some makes valid points, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go with my praise.
The Shanahan’s (Mike & Kyle) playing calling coupled with RG3’s lack of performance against the Broncos put a suspect Redskins defense, which was playing one of their best games, in an impossible position. And for that, I place this loss completely at the feet of those 3 individuals.
RG3 is holding on to the football entirely too long on every pass attempt. His slow drop back/footwork is front and center when the Redskins line-up in shotgun formation (which is the formation of choice on almost every play). On these plays, the opposing D-linemen are already 2 to 3 yards down field before RG3 completes his drop back.
Griffin ends up getting giddy in the pocket, rushing through his progression, firing a pass that is not on time or on target due to the pass rush he is aiding by holding the ball so long, and last but not least, getting drilled into the ground. All of these factors add up to terrible rhythm, horrible quarterback production, and a potential injury to the franchise’s best player… For those who didn’t see the game, Griffin was knocked out of the game with an injury scare to his healthy knee.
Again, Mike and Kyle Shanahan both need to do a better job. Play-calling, in-game recognition and game-plan adjustments flat-out have to be better in every aspect.
The NFC East is a debacle after 8 weeks. And even with the Redskins loss to Denver, if Washington gets hot, they can still win the division. 4 of the Redskins last 9 games are within the division. So what should we make of the Redskins 2-5 start, and what should we expect throughout the second half of the 2013 season?
NFC East Standings
New York 2-6
First things first – What to make of the 2-5 start…
There are a few story lines that jump out at me which shaped the Redskins season so far. But the glaring headline, the one which all the others stem off of, is RG3’s recovery from knee surgery in January.
With RG3 missing reps from January to September, the odds of him showing up and actually being ready for the September 9th season opener were not on his side. Whether Griffin wants to admit it or not, he was not prepared for game action – mentally or physically.
Robert Griffin III’s journey back from surgery has defined Washington’s first 7 games. That, plus Griffin not being on the same page with Mike and Kyle Shanahan with his progression coming off surgery. Because it doesn’t take a football-guru to notice the play calling has not coincided well with what Robert is actually capable of doing.
The entire team feeds off the offense. With really no consistent O this season, the struggles of the other units have been magnified. SEE – Special Teams… or don’t. Because that visual might impair football fans everywhere for years.
TAKEAWAY – In 2012, Washington had an offensive identity and plan of attack. In 2013, they have neither. Washington’s roster consists of mostly the same players, but with RG3’s recovery, the 2012 approach had to be updated and the Shanahan’s haven’t done that very well. Hence, 2-5 record.
Now, what to expect the rest of the 2013 campaign.
I don’t want to rule out this team catching lightning in a bottle, because I’ve seen crazy things happen before (2007 Redskins winning 5 straight to finish 10-6 to make the playoffs, and the 2012 version winning 7 in a row to finish 10-6 to win the division). Plus, the NFC East is bad enough to have a 9-7 or 8-8 division winner this year, so the door is still open. Hell, The New York Giants won the Super Bowl a few years back with only a 9-7 regular season record.
If Washington gets their act together offensively I don’t think going 6-3 the rest of the way is out of the question. To make the playoffs, they most definitely have to win each of their remaining division games (2 games vs the Giants, and 1 a piece vs the Eagles and Cowboys). But until I see some improvement with the play calling, and Robert Griffin III playing quick and decisive in the passing game (complemented with a heavy dose of Alfred Morris), I’m not willing to predict the Redskins making the playoffs.
I hope I’m wrong with this prediction and the Skins do win the division, but I’m going on record saying that the Redskins go 5-4 over the last nine games to finish 7-9 for the season. Good enough for 2nd place in the division, but just short of the playoffs.