The Washington Redskins are just as much if not more of a mess than the New York Giants this season; the two divisional foes face off in New York this Sunday. The Redskins are 3-10 and the Giants are 4-9 as this is a essentially a battle to not finish last in the NFC East. The Redskins are in their first year under Jay Gruden, who made a name for himself as the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator.
The Redskins were hoping for a breakout year for their franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin however missed time because of injury; when he returned he was benched due to inconsistency. The Redskins have shuffled between Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy in what can only be referred to as the most disappointing quarterback group in the National Football League.
The Giants are coming off an impressive 36-7 destruction of the Tennessee Titans. They hope to have a similar result against the Redskins to continue the momentum to end the season on somewhat of a better note.
McCoy took the reigns last week against the St. Louis Rams. It did not go well for the Texas Longhorns’ legend, another disappointing moment in his NFL career. McCoy only managed to throw for 199 yards and had 2 interceptions. He has poor footwork and is almost clumsy under center. He also has a propensity for throwing the ball too high and getting receivers clobbered.
Dec 7, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; St. Louis Rams middle linebackerJames Laurinaitis
(55) and defensive endRobert Quinn
(94) sack Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy (16) during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
McCoy takes a beating also, who does not have a quick release. His small stature does not help him get any quicker at reading defenses, something he does about as well as a fish would do out of the water.
Instead of allowing McCoy to drown in his inability, the Redskins allow him to rely on short passing and screens.
This would not be a problem if he had a timely release or if he was at all accurate.
I will give a quick break down of all three quarterbacks before I continue; the Redskins may not even be sure who they should start.
Griffin has so much ability as it’s truly baffling why he does so poorly. The Redskins’ chosen savior has been a disappointment despite having a hope inspiring rookie season. He relies too much on his legs, if his first read is not there his strategy is basically run around until something good happens.
Injuries have taken away Griffin’s explosive athletic ability and exposed his less than nuanced quarterbacking skills.
Cousins is the one that shows flashes of brilliance. When he is not throwing interceptions he is actually a half decent passer.
Cousins is the most accurate and most technically sound quarterback the Redskins have. Cousins throws a good deep ball.
The big problem for Cousins is his inability to avoid mistakes. Football IQ seems to be the biggest problem for the whole bunch of Washington Quarterbacks.
The Redskins do the bulk of their work in three packages. The primary personnel group is the 11 personnel (1 back, 1 Tight but they also run a fair amount of 12 personnel (1 back and 2 Tight ends) and 10 personnel. They rarely use a fullback and a tight end occasionally plays that role.
One brilliant play call was motioning the full back to the strong side and using the play action as misdirection out of the strong i-formation. Washington only had 11 rushing plays against St. Louis and two of them were McCoy scrambles. The team trailing is customary and the Redskins will abandon the run at times to play catch up.
The Redskins like to get cute with it, there are many pre-snap motions. One motion that caught my eye was shifting the outside receiver next to the slot into a stacked look. This look is often just window dressing, trying to make the defense think a bit too much. One play they used this look to create space for a receiver screen.
Another shift of note was when they lined up a receiver and the running back in the backfield and motioned them out as receivers on opposite sides of the field. The one play they used this resulted in a deep interception down the seam but it was definitely a notable pre-snap movement.
The Giants will have to be careful not to overreact to all the pre-snap motion as much of it is intended to either slow the defenses reactions or get defenders out of position.
Dec 7, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running backAlfred Morris
(46) carries the ball against the St. Louis Rams in the first quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The Redskins use a zone blocking scheme in their 22nd ranked rushing attack. Alfred Morris is capable of the big play but needs to do a better job finding the cut back lanes.
The Redskins run the ball well averaging a respectable 4.2 yards per carry however only 6 teams have less rushing attempts than them.
This is very indicative of their overall problems, if you make them one dimensional the Redskins struggle. To stop the run, the Giants may want to use defensive line slants to the strong side. Penetrating the point of attack is the best way to stop this run game as long as you have guys defending the cutback.
The Redskins secondary is awful, if the Giants protect Manning, he will get some major work done.
The Redskins like to mix up their defensive fronts.
They are a base 3-4 team with the nose guard over the center, but they also incorporate an even front using one of the outside linebackers as a defensive end. The defensive linemen are space eaters but they also get good penetration.
The Redskins powerful front 7 can be tamed with screen passes, especially by tunnel screens. The Redskins give up the deep ball frequently and struggle to cover tight ends.
Prediction: Giants Win 31-17
Jul 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin answers questions from media during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants are a better team than the Redskins, without question. The Redskins are a complete mess right now devoid of any hope. The Giants have found their stride in the last stretch of the season.
Even in losing efforts against the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars, the Giants have had moments of great football. I think Eli Manning will shred this secondary and the Giants will put up enough points to outscore Washington.
My prediction however is based more on my lack of confidence in the Redskins than an undying belief that the Giants will play good football.