Redskins Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down
The Washington Redskins dropped to 1-4 after another division loss, falling in Dallas to the Cowboys 31-16. So, who gets the Thumbs Up and who gets the Thumbs down. Here we go…
Special Teams: You all begged for Danny Smith to leave. Still begging? Despite poor special teams play the last few years, the Redskins have actually worsened their quality of play. Even new special teams coach Keith Burns manages to wrack up a costly penalty. Pathetic. This is the worst special teams unit in the NFL and one of the worst in franchise history. The special teams coverage units gave up an 86 yard punt return for a TD and a 90 yard kick return to put Dallas in the red zone, which they eventually scored. Redskins lost to Dallas by 15. 14 of those points can be directly attributable to awful special teams. The kick return team average 20 yards per return and just 4.3 yards per return on punts. Pretty damn pathetic. Listen, I did not want Danny Smith back. However, I must admit, I did not think things could get worse than special teams under Smith. I was wrong. Way wrong. And, unfortunately, it gets worse. The best player on special teams coverage, LB Brian Kehl, was injured and was out for the second half. If I am Mike Shanahan, I am thinking about a statement. That statement would be firing Keith Burns. Will it help? No. But, for at least one day, it may help lower the collective blood pressures of Redskins Nation.
Pass Protection: The Dallas Cowboys are so banged up on the defensive front that they were holding raffles for roster spots. Yet, for Washington, those raffle winners dominated the line of scrimmage. The Redskins are healthy and returned all offensive line starters, so naturally, given the messy state of the defensive line for Dallas, you would have thought the Redskins would have worn down Dallas’ line in the second half. Yet, seemingly, it was Washington’s offensive line that tired and broke down in protection. You are a liar if you said pre-game that Dallas’ defensive line was a concern. That was a concern to no one. The interior of the line was the worst. The Redskins two guards, Kory Litchensteiger and Chris Chester, were nothing short of awful. Before this game, it was easy to spread praise over the season Litchensteiger was having and the success the Redskins run game had running to the side of Litch. Yesterday was the exact opposite. Chester is even more concerning because he has been horrendous all season.
Pass Coverage: We worried all week about pass defense and worried very little about pass protection. Seems that should have been flipped. Washington’s pass defense was not perfect. There were open receivers and an abundance of poor tackling. But, with this defense, that is too be expected. The pass defense overall did a pretty decent job. Kudos to CB DeAngelo Hall. Yes, we said that. Hall had a nice game covering Dez Bryant much of the night and holding Bryant to 5 catches for 38 yards. Hall also recovered from a blown coverage by Brandon Meriweather to break up a TD in the second half with a nice pass deflection. For some reason, Hall seems to rise to the level of play we expect from him when this team plays the Cowboys. We just wish we got that performance the other 14 weeks of the season. The pass defense held Tony Romo to just 170 yards passing just one week after he threw for over 500 yards against Denver. The Redskins got one pick on Romo, a deflected pass by Josh Wilson that was picked off by Rob Jackson. For one week, the pass defense gets no blame on this loss, that blame rests solely on pass protection and special teams.
Rush Defense: Think the pass defense was pretty good? The rush defense was even better. The Redskins held the Dallas rushing game to just 48 yards on 19 carrier, an average of less than 3 yards per carry. Sure, the Redskins knocked starter DeMaco Murray out of the game. That is not an advantage with this team. Usually when this defense knocks out a starter, they get shred by the backup. Not last night. Dallas had absolutely no rushing game because of super stout rush defense. Kudos to another solid game from ILB Perry Riley. Riley racked up a sack, 5 tackles, 3 quarterback hits, and 2 tackles for loss.