Moving on from the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, our team, coaches and players are busy watching film and trying to correct mistakes made in game one. Quarterback Kirk Cousins and the offense are working hard to get the timing on routes run by receivers down pat. That way, Cousins throws more accurate passes and the receivers will improve route running.
Even though in game one Greg Manusky’s defense was on the field more than they should have been, fans could tell our defense is better than it has been in past seasons. He had our defenders in the right position to make plays. However, players do have to execute and when they have a chance for an interception, they need to catch the ball. Wide receivers are expected to catch passes thrown their way and hold on to the ball. The Redskins must work out the kinks before game two with the Los Angeles Rams who won their first game scoring 46 points on the Indianapolis Colts.
Most disappointing in game one against the Philadelphia Eagles was the overall play of the Redskins offensive line. I do give the Eagles some credit for winning the battle of the trenches, but the Eagles knew our Redskins would not hurt them running the ball, so they devoted their defense to pass rushing quarterback Kirk Cousins. They rushed more than four players most of the game.
A good running game would have made them “stay in gaps” to stop the run. The offensive line failed to protect quarterback Kirk Cousins and the run blocking was nothing to write home about. Left tackle Shawn Lauvao was so dominated at the line of scrimmage that many fans including myself felt Tyler Catalina should have been sent in to replace Lauvao. Catalina is over 20 pounds heavier, younger, faster, taller, stronger and a pancaking run blocker. He had a very high GPA in college and came out of the SEC. This undrafted rookie made the team because he is that good. He’s 6’6″ tall, 325 lbs. and strong as a bull. Catalina is what we need next to All Pro Trent Williams to get the running game going and protect our quarterback from the left side. In preseason game four, Catalina was used at three different positions on the offensive line and performed impressively in all of them. His size, power, quickness, intelligence, versatility and being a fast learner helped him make the 8-man O-line active roster.
So, keys to victory over the Los Angeles Rams are as follows: Accurate route running and accurate passing by quarterback Kirk Cousins and his receivers. They also need to get Josh Doctson, Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis more involved. We need to run the ball at least 20 times with left tackle Trent Williams and left guard Tyler Catalina opening holes for “Fat Rob” Kelley and relieve Kelley with Samaje Perine. On the right side of center, Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses could run block and open holes to run on that side also. Catalina is quick and athletic enough to “pull” and help block with Scherff and Moses. The Redskins need more disguised run or “counter” plays. When you run the ball, the linebackers have to play up closer to the line to help stop the run. That makes the play-action pass so effective. It is a big mismatch for a linebacker to cover tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis and/or slot receiver Jamison Crowder.
All teams seem to know Chris Thompson comes in on 3rd down, usually a screen pass. That is being too predictable. Sometimes Head Coach Jay Gruden needs to use Thompson on 1st and 2nd downs also. The run can set up the pass and the passing game can set up the running game. Josh Doctson was a 1st round draft pick. It is high time the Redskins make or break him. If he gets to be a key part of the offense along with Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder, look out NFL! There is no way any team can double cover all three of those receivers plus tight end Jordan Reed and even our running backs are receivers often. Kirk Cousins has a great supporting cast. We fans want our Redskins to bring lamb chops back to the DMV and some rams horns as souvenirs.
It is a long season, so losing game one is not the end of the world. We will win games along the way and we will lose when we deserve to lose. It will all balance out over the season. I am confident in our coaches and players. They have pride and will work hard to fix the problems. I predict a Redskins victory over the Rams.
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