Redskins Thumbs Up Thumbs Down: Week One
It was an ugly first half. Very ugly.
For the first half, I was beginning to wonder if I was even watching an NFL team. Fortunately for Redskins fans, they got a bit of confidence back as the Redskins offense finally clicked, defense settled down, and the Redskins out-scored the Eagles in the second half, only to fall 33-27, after trailing 33-7.
A loss is a loss. Very true. However, it was a bit comforting to see Robert Griffin III grow more confident and look more like the RG3 of last season in the second half, after a rather rusty and tentative first half. Unfortunately for Redskins fans, it gets no easier on a short week. The Redskins travel to Green Bay to face the Packers on Sunday. With the possibility of not having Ryan Kerrigan in the lineup, confidence in that game is not real high.
On to this weeks Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down. As a reminder, there may be more possibilities at each designation. However, we limit ourselves to two based overall performance and impact on the game in its entirety. We encourage dissent. Comment right here and share your opinions right at the bottom of this post, or, if you prefer, go to our Facebook Page and comment on the posted article there.
Perry Riley/Ryan Kerrigan: Washington’s defensive performance was quite bad. They often looked confused, bewildered, and ill-prepared for the Chip Kelly offense. That’s on Jim Haslett. Multiple coverages were completely blown and the Redskins displayed some of the worst tackling I’ve seen in a few years. However, Ryan Kerrigan and Perry Riley performed well. Kerrigan once again got his hands on the football, swatting down a backwards pass by Michael Vick on the first drive that led to a DeAngelo Hall 75 yard TD return. Kerrigan finished the game with 8 tackles, 7 of which were solo tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 QB hit. Unfortunately, he left the game early with concussion symptoms that could have a huge impact. Riley was even better. He is proving to be one of the most underrated defensive players on the Redskins. The former fourth round draft choice compiled 15 tackles, 8 of which were solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 QB hits, and 1 sack. Riley was one of the only shining stars on a defense that put up an overall dismal performance.
WR Leonard Hankerson: Is Hankerson establishing himself as a top threat in Washington? Hankerson was on his game in the second half, grabbing two fourth quarter touchdown passes from Rg3. Overall, he led the Washington offense with 5 catches for 80 yards with 2 TD receptions. Hankerson’s last TD catch was quite nice and pulled the Redskins to within striking distance of the Eagles. Her deserves a Thumbs Up.
Rush Defense: There are a ton of choices under Thumbs Down. One of the biggest problems last night was horrible run defense. The rush defense was shredded by the Eagles running attack for 263 yards and an average per carry of 5.1 yards. It has to be alarming consider that the rush defense was not all that impressive in pre-season either. Besides complete bewilderment in the first half on whether Kelly was going to run or throw, much of Washington’s run defense problems came from poor tackling. Mike Shanahan was not shy about the poor tackling performance in his post-game presser. If the Redskins tackle like that all season, expect a losing record.
Secondary: What a horrible performance. Coverage was horrendous and tackling was even worse. The Eagles premier receiver, DeSean Jackson, was wide open on at least three occasions. How is that possible that he is not picked up? On a critical third down late in the game, Michael Vick found a wide open Jason Avant for a first down. Again, not a single player near Avant. Washington’s secondary was horrible last year. I really do not see much difference this year, except, they appear to be even worse at fundamental tackling. Rookie Bicarri Rambo had a rough debut, missing tackles and getting beat on routes. DeAngelo Hall is DeAngelo Hall. Hall is becoming known as an overrated, loud mouth. It’s quite embarrassing to see a player show so much arrogance with very little or nothing to back up the arrogance. Yes, Brandon Meriweather is out. You ought to be used to that by now. Certainly, one would think, the Redskins secondary should have adapted quite easily to not having Meriweather. Regardless, I said it in the season predictions and repeat it here, one of the biggest losses this year will prove to be fourth rounder Phillip Thomas.