Games against the Rams and the Bengals revealed how opponents will attack the Redskins.
Attack Robert Griffin III from the edges.
Attack the safeties.
The outdated cliché was run the ball; stop the run. Now it's pass the ball; stop the passer.
Football is a game of blocking and tackling, said Vince Lombardi. The Redskins have trouble with both.
We entered the season with doubts about Washington's secondary. So what happened? Two of the veteran solutions imported by Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett are off the field. Tanard Jackson is suspended for at least a year and Brandon Meriweather has been injured.
I like that Shanahan turned to young DeJon Gomes to fill the void. That strategic move can help now and in the future. Veterans like Madieu Williams can help for now. Both moves – starting youth or starting vets – can be risky, but the fact that Gomes has a greater potential makes him the way to go. I applaud Coach Shanahan for taking that direction ... even when we see Gomes getting beat deep by AJ Green on the opening play of the last game.
In the long view, Washington is haunted by the ghost of Sean Taylor and mystified by the medical choices of LaRon Landry.
So what does Shanahan do now? Why, sign running back Ryan Grant, of course. Before Redskins fans go bonkers, remember the lesson of Kenny Wright (2006). In a disastrous season, with grizzled Joe Gibbs calling the shots, Washington favored "proven talent" over youthful development. With Shawn Springs out, the Redskins turned to veteran cornerback Kenny Wright who was proven not very talented. All the Twittercisms applied. We were all OMG, WTF and we LOL'd to keep from crying.
The 2006 season was caused a series of dumb front office decisions. That's too deep a discussion to get to here, but if you are curious, find an old copy of Pro Football Prospectus 2007 and read the chapter on the Redskins. The punch line is that Gibbs did not have young players under development and was stuck with the likes of Wright.
I have no idea whether we prosper with Gomes, but I like what Shanahan is doing. Don't pick a warm body to fill a hole at safety and steal game reps from developing players.
But ... but, but, the 'Skins just signed RB Ryan Grant with Roy Helu and Evan Royster on the roster. Um, WHAT? The difference is that Tristan Davis, who might have been promoted from the practice squad, is on Injured Reserve. Helu has been limited all season and suffered turf toe in Sunday's game. Royster has a strained patella tendon.
Their actual condition is all a big secret, but the fact that Ryan was signed while he was working out for the Bears suggests things are worse than anyone is saying.
#Redskins' Helu to IR— Zac Boyer (@ZacBoyer) September 26, 2012
There are questions about the Redskins training staff. We'll know in a few weeks if these guys area any good.
Kyle Shanahan accepts NFL fine
We criticized OC Kyle Shanahan for losing his head over calls by replacement officials and drawing an unsportsmanlike penalty at a critical point in the Bengals game. We are sticking by our contention that it was poor leadership on his part. Coaches cannot hector players for losing their heads when they do the same. (Perhaps players lose their heads because coaches do the same.)
Young Shanahan manned up to the offense after the league office docked him $25,000. At his pay, that's the equivalent of a parking ticket, and just might be an acknowledgement that Shanahan had reason for his wrath.
Missed and wrong calls by game officials are part of the football atmosphere now. Players and coaches have to stay focused on the mission. The replacement officials will get better given enough time. Teams know how to "work" the officiating crew. The initial response by everyone is to exploit lapses by officials to wage guerilla warfare on opponents.
Owners are not the only group charged with protecting the shield. It falls to players, too. They have to be more professional because game officials are not. That includes professionalism at working the officials for unfair advantage. It's how the game is played.
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Image Source: September 15, 2012, Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America via zimbio.com.