Redskins Stock Report: Week 3
PIERRE GARCON was a big man among big man last Sunday, catching eight passes for 143 yards and one touchdown. Robert Griffin III looked for Garcon 13 times, but the five miscommunications were due to RG3′s inaccuracy rather than any problems with Garcon’s performance on the field. Garcon’s 13 targets were more than twice as many as anyone else on the team, indicating not only his importance to the offense, but how often he was getting open. [There's a pretty direction relationship between those two things.] Apart from the first eight plays from scrimmage of the 2012 season — which were pretty great — Garcon was injured all of last year, missing six games and playing hurt the rest of the time. The team and its fans were left to wonder how the offense would be with a healthy Pierre Garcon in the lineup every week. Right now, Garcon isn’t the whole offense, but he’s the biggest part of it by far.
ALFRED MORRIS had a miserable first week of the season, fumbling twice, giving the Eagles nine easy and early points and basically helping the other team while doing almost nothing for the Redskins. It was quite a turnaround for one of the best stories in the NFL of 2012, when Morris went from unknown sixth round draft pick from a small college and a bad team to the second-leading rusher in the NFL and the guy who set the franchise record for rushing yards in a single season. Morris came back last week with a big game, though it was mostly wasted in the blowout loss in Green Bay. He had a 32-yard run and racked up 107 yards on 13 carries, an average of over eight yards per attempt. And it wasn’t all that one big run, Morris gained at least four yards on nine of his 13 carries.
Morris blames at least some of his poor first week on a lack of work in the preseason:
Morris carried the ball eight times for 28 yards in the preseason. Last year, as a rookie, he ran 39 times for 195 yards. He then rushed for 1,613 yards during the regular season.
“I’m not used to that,” Morris said about his preseason work. “The more I do, the better I get. … I’m a hard runner, always getting yards after contact, always making the first guy miss. I felt I wasn’t running as strong as I normally do because I didn’t have those reps you normally would get in the preseason.”
TRENT WILLIAMS absolutely dominated Packers OLB Clay Matthews, never allowing him near RG3. Williams allowed one pressure in all last week, but nothing else. He also had an incredible drive block on Packers DL Johnny Jolly, shoving him completely out of the way on Morris’ 32-yard run. Williams had the best season of his career in 2012 and just had one of the best games of his career in the second week of 2013.
RYAN KERRIGAN was one of the few Redskins defenders who showed up to play against the Packers. Kerrigan got his season off to a good start with a sack and a pass tip that resulted in a fumble recovery and touchdown return in week one and then came back in week two with two more sacks, two QB hits and two tackles for loss. Kerrigan works hard in the offseason and in practice and that’s why he keeps improving every year. He’s improved as a pass rusher, as a run defender and in pass coverage. He does it all.
JORDAN REED looks like the real deal to me. He had three passes thrown his way and caught them all, including one for a touchdown. None were long passes, but two of them required considerable skill to haul in a pass that wasn’t thrown on target. Reed is already more of a part of the offense than I thought he would be and since he’s proving he can make plays, his role should only increase. He’s a terrific athlete who can make acrobatic catches and do nice things after he makes the catch. I like his future, which might start a lot sooner than anyone expected.
BRANDON MERIWEATHER got run out of New England and Chicago not because he has no talent, but because he has a peculiar talent for making bad decisions. He launched himself, helmet-first, twice last Sunday, dishing out two concussions. The first went to Packers RB Eddie Lacy and the second went to himself. He appears to be recovering relatively quickly this week, but it isn’t know if he will play in week three. In any case, he has played two out of a possible 19 games for the Redskins and left early due to injury in both of those games. This time, he’s lighter in the wallet because of it. Meriweather needs to start using his head for something other than tackling.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS aren’t helping the defense the way they must. The inside ‘backers in a 3-4 defense need to make a lot of tackles and London Fletcher and Perry Riley were mostly invisible against the Packers. Riley had only four tackles and Fletcher had only two tackles
WILL MONTGOMERY had a terrific, Pro Bowl-worthy season last year, but was terrible in week two. Apart from two personal foul penalties, Montgomery didn’t block very well, got pushed back on passes and didn’t get to linebackers on running plays.
FRED DAVIS played only five snaps in the second half and only 16 snaps in the entire game. Meanwhile, rookie TE Jordan Reed too over instead. Davis is working on a one-year deal and wants to get the sort of payday he hasn’t gotten the last two years because of a drug suspension and an Achilles Tendon tear. He finished with one catch for 3 yards against Green Bay. That better improve.
JOSHUA MORGAN caught only two passes on six targets, which is pretty lousy, but he made things worse by letting a pass go right through his fingers and into the hands of a Green Bay defender. Morgan has six catches on 11 targets this year and needs to improve those numbers to hold off Leonard Hankerson and keep his starting job. Morgan is also in the final year of his contract and needs to start putting up some numbers, both for himself and for his team.
JIM HASLETT‘s defense has given up more yards than any defense after two games since 1967. That’s not good. The tackling is terrible, the defensive line is doing very little, the inside linebackers have been mostly a non-factor and the young secondary is getting torched. It’s not a good sign when the top five tacklers on your defense are defensive backs, as was the case last Sunday. So, just to recap: The run defense is bad and the pass defense is bad.
SPECIAL TEAMS hasn’t done so well either. The long snapper committed two penalties on one play last Sunday [is that a record?], the punt returns have hurt the team and kick returns aren’t so hot either. PK Kai Forbath has missed his only FG attempt this season [from 40 yards] and is now injured. His replacement, John Potter, missed very badly on his only FG attempt and received the least convincing vote of confidence from a head coach in history. Meanwhile, normally reliable punter Sav Rocca had a terrible game in Green Bay and is off to a bad start in 2013. At least the coverage units haven’t given up a long return.