A few quick thoughts after rewatching the starters and second offense of the Washington Redskins vs. Cleveland:
The third-down protection is an issue. Roy Helu missed one blitz pickup (but did get another), preventing Robert Griffin III from getting any juice on an already late throw. Helu also dropped a pass. Evan Royster at least fared well in this role, catching one pass by beating a defensive end in coverage as he should. Royster appeared to handle his blocking assignments fine. His lack of speed hurts, but he has been solid this summer. Nothing flashy, just solid. Royster scored from the 2-yard line, despite getting hit there by the linebacker
Still hate the turnovers. If you're wondering why they're harped on it's because of how damaging they were in 2013. Each quarterback threw a pick, and there was a careless fumble. Yuck. No, I did not expect to somehow like them a day later.
I like how Silas Redd runs and it’s interesting that he’s constantly working ahead of Lache Seastrunk (though the latter must improve his all-around game; he’s not special enough as a runner not to). Redd gets extra yards after contact on runs up the middle; got 3 extra yards on one run because he lowered his shoulder and drove his legs to break a tackle. Redd pressed the hole well on a 10-yard run, getting the inside linebacker and a backside lineman to overcommit and then cutting back. I like him
Did not like the sequence at the goal line at all, but I liked that the Redskins tried to power in for a score. Need to see what they can do. The Browns did an excellent job getting penetration from multiple spots, -- and it didn’t help that twice when Chris Chester pulled he stumbled after tripping over center Kory Lichtensteiger’s foot. Not sure why, but that’s what happened and it prevented him from arriving with any power
Also didn’t help that Trent Williams’ man got penetration inside as well as the defender against tight end Niles Paul; that’s a big line for Paul to handle, especially if he’s not a little lower. And on the fourth-down run had Williams gotten a little more of the linebacker then Morris might have scored as he broke free from the linebacker (Karlos Dansby) racing from the inside
The Redskins have a few players adept at getting yards either after contact (Morris) or after the catch (Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson). Jackson creates space with the threat of his speed, which is why safety Donte Whitner was 9 yards off him on one route. Jackson, from the slot, ran a short route and gained 7 yards after the catch
Morris’ fumble was inexcusable. It’s the sort of sloppy play that killed this team in 2013. Not much more can be said about it. But I like watching how well he runs with vision -- he’s able to see down field, set up blocks accordingly and cut. Did so on an 11-yard run in which he stuttered slightly in the backfield to see if a potential cutback lane would open. It sort of did, but there was trouble at the second level and Morris stayed on his path for an 11-yard gain.
I know Jon Gruden pointed this out on TV, but it’s hard to run against that Bear front, with the center and both guards having defenders across from them in an eight-man box. But the blocking from the tight end and fullbacks was not as good as last week. Thought Darrel Young blocked well in the opener, but not Monday night
Ryan Grant consistently creates extra space with his subtle moves, whether on routes or, as when he caught the ball by faking an outside turn and cutting back inside. I’m curious to see how he develops and want to see him consistently against higher quality corners.
Kirk Cousins did a solid job, though the turnover was bad and those have been an issue for him dating to college. But he mostly threw in rhythm and was decisive. I pinged him for one incompletion to Aldrick Robinson, throwing off his back foot. However, after watching it again (but without talking to anyone about the play on Tuesday) it almost appeared that Cousins initially anticipated a different route, perhaps a slant, and had to adjust and wound up throwing off his back foot.
Cousins threw behind Aldrick Robinson on one boot. But had he not done so, it might have been intercepted. The key here: Robinson made a good catch, reaching behind him, in traffic (three defenders who quickly converged). A good, tough grab.
I know there was pressure through Chester and Lichtensteiger on one play -- Chester set for an outside rush and his man came inside -- but overall the line did its job in protection against a good and aggressive front. Some of the pressure occurred with Griffin using 3.3 seconds to throw the ball (as on the completed out to Jackson on the opening drive). He left the pocket after 3.4 seconds on another play -- no one was open. The second line did a good job working against some of Cleveland’s starting defense and the Browns recorded two sacks despite some overloads and fire zone blitzes. I liked for the most part how the guards, Spencer Long and Josh LeRibeus, worked to the second level.