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Skins-Eagles Wrap
by Kevin Sheehan
Dec 20, 2014 -- 8:44pm
ESPN 980

The good, bad, and more from the 27-24 upset win over Philly.

Good:

ESPN 9801.  They came to play.  For a 2nd straight week, the team really competed with nothing on the line.  Sure they gave up a 3rd and 25, 3rd and 15, etc., but on both sides of the ball and on sp teams, they really came with a ton of fight.

2.  1st & 2nd down offense.  The Redskins generated 240 of their 305 yards on 1st & 2nd down.  They averaged 6 yds per 1st & 2nd down play.  The stayed away from too many 3rd-downs.  That was the key to their success on offense in 2012 and it was a big key to their success today.  The Redskins' had several drives where 3rd-down was barely a factor.  On two their 9 total drives, they didn't face 3rd-down at all.  On one of their drives (a 12-play drive), they faced just one 3rd-down and that was a 3rd and 4.  And on their final drive, they didn't face a 3rd-down that mattered.

3.  Good balance/play-calling.  29 runs & 23 passes took the pressure off the quarterback and kept them in good down/distance all day. 

4.  Baushaud Breeland.  His interception was THE play of the game.  He's been really good all season long and appears to be a star-in-the-making.  He's just as good in the run game as he is in coverage and he makes plays on sp teams as well. 

5.  Jackson & Garcon.  Philly single-covered Jackson which allowed Griffin to take and complete some deep shots.  Meantime, Garcon is tough to handle after the catch.  The hitch to him on the final drive was a 6-8 yd play that Garcon turned into a huge 23-yarder.  It was nice to see the read-option/play-action "drift" route back in the mix.  That play was a staple in 2012 and they connected on it today in the 3rd quarter.  With those things said, it looked like Garcon didn't do a good job running a route on the play where Jenkins nearly had a pick-6.  Yes, Griffin stared it down but Garcon seemed to give up on the route.

6.  Philly penalties & missed field goals.  The Eagles missed two 2nd-half field goals and were hit with 13 penalties for 102 yards.  Six of their penalties resulted in 1st-downs for the Skins. 

Bad:

1.   3rd-down defense.  The Eagles converted 9 of 16 including a 3rd & 12, 3rd & 25, 3rd & 16, 3rd & 7, and 3rd & 8.  I hated all the zone coverage especially in the 1st half.  Breeland is better in man coverage. 

2.  Field condition.  Why is this field always a mess late in the season? 

3.  Skins' last kickoff.  The "squib" attempt went badly.  Forbath's kickoff hit one of the Eagles up front which gave them a Hail Mary shot at the 50.

More:

1. Griffin did a nice job making plays while managing the game.  With the exception of a delay of game penalty that appeared to really anger Gruden (looked like Griffin tried to audible too late in the play-clock), Griffin seemed to do a good job of getting out of the huddle and getting to the line of scrimmage with time to spare.  He also got the ball out quicker as a passer than he has recently.  I liked his willingness for a 2nd straight week to run for yardage.  He was a solid B-/C+ today.  There appeared to be some missed opportunities and the interception appeared to be a bad read but Griffin made more good plays than bad.

2.  The Redskins ran some read-option/play-action looks.  However, those plays would work much better if Griffin had a few runs on read-option style plays.

3.  The 2 Ryans.....Kerrigan forced another fumble...the 15th of his career.  Clark was a tackling machine.  Clark is much better around the line of scrimmage than he is in coverage.

4.  Two of the Skins' 3 sacks came from Jackson Jeffcoat and Trevardo Williams.

5.  Andre Roberts had a decent kickoff return but also had a huge 3rd-down drop.

6.  Philly had the option of letting the Skins score a touchdown with roughly a minute left in the game and 2 timeouts.  It was the "odds" play but Kelly probably thought a field goal had a chance to miss.  That part of the field is where his kicker had missed twice.



Smell Test #17
by
Dec 19, 2014 -- 1:33pm

WHAT'S THE FRIDAY FOOTBALL SMELL TEST?

It's a contrarian handicapping philosophy. I look for the games where the public is convinced they are right about a point spread and I go the other way. Have fun and as always, this is for entertainment purposes only.
 
PREVIOUS YEARS
 
2006-- 60.4%
2007-- 56.6%
2008-- 63.1%
2009-- 57.5%
2010-- 48.8%
2011-- 48.7%
2012-- 54.1%
2013-- 47.4%
 
THIS YEAR
Last Week: 1-2
Overall:  57-54-2
 
SMELL TEST PICKS FOR WEEKEND OF 12-20-14

Sunday, December 21, 2014
 
Falcons +6
Chiefs +3
Jets +10


Skins-Giants Wrap
by Kevin Sheehan
Dec 14, 2014 -- 6:09pm
ESPN 980

The good, bad, and more from the 24-13 loss to the Giants.

Good:

1.  Effort.  At 3-10, the team DID come out with energy and they made the game a scrap from the outset.

ESPN 980 2.  Defense.  One of the better days of the year until the "Odell Beckham Jr. Show" in the 4th quarter.  Towards the end of the 3rd quarter, the Skins had only given up 10 pts and 101 yards.  The defense did a great job against the run all day long and came with two 4th and short stops.  Ryan Clark had a few positive plays including the stop on Beckham's 4th and 1 run.  Clark has been awful in pass coverage all year long but has been decent in the run-game.  Trent Murphy is very good against the run. 

3.  RG3's confidence.  He played with a level of confidence we haven't seen this year.  He was far from perfect but when he was put in good situations, he excelled.  The best situations for him are early-down play-action throws and bootlegs.  While he struggled at times from the pocket on obvious passing downs (some of that because of poor pass protection), he did make some very good throws from the pocket including the 3rd and 6 to Roberts from deep in their own territory where he appeared to go through his entire progression before coming back to Roberts at the end.  That was easily one of the best 3rd-down pocket throws he's made this year.  He made some good quick decisions which resulted in some big plays for Thompson and Redd out of the backfield.  The 3rd and 3 throw to Redd on the final drive of the first half was decisive and the right play.  I loved the off-schedule plays he made with his feet especially the run in the 3rd quarter which ended with a late-hit penalty out of bounds.  He kept pumping the ball while on the run which was yes, Aaron Rogers-esque.  His willingness to make a play today was impactful.  The negatives continue to be holding onto the ball until receivers are open rather than throwing receivers open.  Additionally, he still doesn't seem very excited about keeping the ball on read-option plays even when it's the correct read.  His first series included a RO play that looked like a 10+ yard run if he kept it instead of leaving it with Silas Redd. 

4.  Breeland's future as a cover corner.  Ok...I get that it wasn't a smooth day for Breeland.  He was called for 5 penalties and got beat once or twice for sure.  With that said, he was matched up at times with one of the best young receivers in the league (Beckham Jr.) and he was right there most of the day.  He made a great play on a 3rd and 7 against Randall in the 2nd qtr and another on Beckham Jr in the end zone.  At least one of those penalties (the P.I. on a ball that was uncatchable) was a horrible call.  I like the way he plays and I liked a lot of the plays he made today.

Bad:

1.  Head coaching loss.  Jay Gruden had a bad day.  It began with the decision to activate just 2 QBs when his starter was far from a lock to make it through the game physically.  Even before McCoy reinjured his neck, his throws were inaccurate and lacked any zip whatsoever including the first play of the game where the ball was lobbed out to Jackson.  Gruden's team lacked discipline from the start where Breeland got the first of his 5 penalties on the first snap of the game.  The Skins committed a total of 10 penalties for 135 yards including 30 of those on the end-of-half debacle where Gruden's team came unglued on what turned out to be a correct call.  His play-calling on the final two drives of the game where he asked RG3 to throw from the pocket exclusively was recipe for failure.  He knows it, the team knows it, and Griffin knows it too.  Not one screen was called with the Giants pinning their ears back and coming hard.  And then, the final drive.  Wow!  Can't remember the last time I saw a team down 11 pts with 1:30+ in the game quit.  Gruden threw in the towel.  I thought it was disgraceful.  He said he thought Griffin may have been banged up so he decided to run the clock out.  As it turned out, Griffin was fine.

2.  Red zone offense.  The Skins got there 4 times and scored one TD.

3.  EJ Biggers.  He can't cover.

4.  Penalties.  10 for 135 yards cost them. 

5.  Sp Teams.  Another big return allowed.  Parker's 45-yd kickoff return set up the Giants first-half TD.  There was also another penalty on Sp Teams.  They lead the league in those.  There was also a near disaster on a dropped punt snap by Tress Way.

More:

1.  The RG3 touchdown at the end of the first half overturned by replay was correctly called according to Mike Pereira on FOX.  It was also a play that was an all-or-nothing play.  When he decided to run, it was either TD or likely nothing.  The clock ran out on the play although it looked like there should've been one second left.  Even with a second left, the play resulted in a touchback.  Meantime, Gruden said he didn't know Griffin had lost control of the ball before crossing the goal line and he also said he didn't know that Moss had been ejected.  Why wasn't this communicated to him from the coaches' booth?

2.  I didn't have a problem w/Gruden accepting the offsides penalty against NY at the end of the first half.  It was a decision between 2nd & goal at the NY 2 OR 1st and goal at the NY 4.  I prefer the extra down vs the 2 yards in that spot.

3.  Giants did a nice job by catching 2 punts inside the Skins' 10.

4.  There were two horrible calls that went against the Skins.  The P.I. called on Breeland in the 3rd quarter was brutal.  They also missed an obvious facemask on Griffin in the pocket.  They also clearly spotted the ball poorly on a 2nd-down run by Andre Williams...giving him a 1st-down at the Giant 34 rather than what should've been a 3rd and1 at the 33.  The Giants scored on that drive to make it 24-13.

5.  It was nice to see the reaction to Griffin's first TD pass on the sideline.  Gruden, McCoy, and Cousins all there to make him smile.

6.  The 4th and 2 timeout was called because it looked like there was a mix-up on where Jackson was supposed to line up and the play clock was winding down.



Skins-Giants Preview & Pick
by Kevin Sheehan
Dec 14, 2014 -- 8:58am
ESPN 980

The Redskins will beat the Giants if...

1.  they cover the tight end.  Giant tight end Larry Donnell has 6 TD catches this year.  Half of them (3) came against the Redskins back in September.  Tight ends have faced little to no resistence from the Redskin defense all season long.  If it continues, the Skins are in trouble.

2.  they get stops on 3rd & long.  3rd & long against the Redskins this year has been too easy for opposing offenses.  The Skins are 24th in the league in overall 3rd-down stops but 29th in 3rd & 7 or longer.  The lack of a pass rush without blitz pressure combined with horrible coverage has made them vulnerable to big plays no matter down and distance.

3.  offense can throw the ball effectively.  The Giants will likely do what the Rams did.  Look for them to pack the box, stop the run, and force Colt McCoy to beat them with quick-decision throws.  Colt seems to know where to go with the ball but isn't always accurate.

Prediction:

Giants 27-21.



Smell Test #16
by
Dec 12, 2014 -- 8:15am

WHAT'S THE FRIDAY FOOTBALL SMELL TEST?

It's a contrarian handicapping philosophy. I look for the games where the public is convinced they are right about a point spread and I go the other way. Have fun and as always, this is for entertainment purposes only.
 
PREVIOUS YEARS
 
2006-- 60.4%
2007-- 56.6%
2008-- 63.1%
2009-- 57.5%
2010-- 48.8%
2011-- 48.7%
2012-- 54.1%
2013-- 47.4%
 
THIS YEAR
Last Week: 2-2
Overall:  56-52-2
 
SMELL TEST PICKS FOR WEEKEND OF 12-13-14

Sunday, December 14, 2014
 
Bills +4.5
Redskins +6.5
Chargers +4


Redskins-Rams Wrap
by Kevin Sheehan
Dec 07, 2014 -- 4:35pm
ESPN 980

Some good, mostly bad from Skins 24-zip loss to the Rams.

Good:

ESPN 980 Galleries1.  Ryan Kerrigan.  Some very good pressure and 2 sacks when the game was still 6-nothing.

Bad:

1.  Coaching.  The offense didn't have any answers to anything the Rams did on both sides of the ball.  It's just incredible that 3rd and longs are completed so easily against this team.  Tight-ends are always open on 2nd and 3rd and long.  It's clear that the defensive coaches haven't figured out how to fix that.  Special teams were awful.  They've had some decent days on coverage but Tavon Austin lit up the Skins like all the Chiefs did a year ago.  The 2-point conversion was so easy it could've been converted by a 10-year old.  Zuerlein's missed 2 FGs and a PAT should've given the Skins some momentum but nothing seemed to give them life today.

2.  Offense.  206 total yards, 3-12 on 3rd-down, 7 sacks, 27 yards rushing. 

3.  Colt McCoy.  He's just not the guy.  I see very little from him in terms of long-term "starter" potential here or anywhere.  He is inaccurate even when he completes balls.  He's small in the pocket and not elusive enough against a defense like the one he faced today.  I know he faced an uphill battle today against a very good St. Louis defense and nothing from the running game but he didn't make one play the entire day.

3.  Running game.  Impossible today against the Rams and the coaches couldn't figure out how to complete enough passes on early downs to loosen the defense up.  Morris' 8 carries for 6 yards has to be a career-worst.

4.  Sp teams.  Rams averaged 35.8 yds per punt return and scored a TD.  Skins averaged 1.5.  The Tress Way fake punt should've worked but Way cut it back to the middle when there was plenty of running room to the outside.

More:

1.  Ryan Clark had one 15-yard penalty on a defenseless hit and should've had another on a sideline hit on Tre Mason.

2.  Redskins had terrible starting field position.  7 of their 10 drives started at their own 20 or worst....the other 3 inside their own 32. 

3.  I'd like to see another starting QB next week in NY.  I don't really care who it is but I've seen enough of McCoy for now.  He's an NFL back-up.  Skins need to see more of Cousins or Griffin.



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