Upon Further Review: Redskins Week 1

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
1:35
PM ET
A review of four hot issues from the Washington Redskins' 33-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles:

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
Brad Mills/USA TODAY SportsRedskins QB Robert Griffin III had a shaky first game back following offseason knee surgery.
Robert’s Rust: It turns out Robert Griffin III is human after all and even he needs game action to get back into a groove. Griffin learned lessons as a rookie in the 2012 preseason about being in the pocket and dealing with the rush. He clearly was off on some throws. The final two quarters will help get his feel back. Though almost all of those passes were underneath throws, it enabled him to find a rhythm. The Redskins say they practice like it’s a game, but no experience is better than game experience. It’s not just about the physical aspects, but also the mental. Griffin said he thought he saw something else on his first interception. But replays showed the corner, Brandon Boykin, had Santana Moss covered the whole way with safety help. There was never a chance to squeeze the ball into him. When Griffin is in rhythm, he does not make that throw.

Not so special teams: The Redskins lost the field position battle because the offense struggled to move the ball and because the special teams provided no help. Returner Chris Thompson fair caught one punt at the 5-yard line (it might have been downed around there anyway) and he ran back three kickoffs for 56 yards. Those three returns left Washington with the ball at its 9, 13 and 21, respectively. A bad debut for the rookie. Punter Sav Rocca started out fine, but his 34-yarder gave Philly the ball at Washington’s 44 en route to a touchdown. And placekicker Kai Forbath missed a 40-yarder wide right -- he was 17 of 18 in 2012.

Safety trouble: With Brandon Meriweather still nursing a sore groin -- he really hasn’t been healthy at all in Washington since signing in 2012 -- the Redskins opted for speed at safety and moved corner E.J. Biggers to strong safety. It did not give the Redskins what they had hoped. Biggers did not tackle well (missing LeSean McCoy, as others did, on his 34-yard touchdown run in the third) and appeared to be out of position (he wasn’t alone) on a DeSean Jackson touchdown in the opening quarter. They did not use veteran Reed Doughty, a better tackler but not as strong in space, in coverage. Rookie free safety Bacarri Rambo also missed tackles.

Run down: Running back Alfred Morris had a terrible start with a fumble on his first series and dropping a pitch in the end zone for a safety. Morris only gained 45 yards on 12 carries. But too often a missed block caused him to cut back several yards deep in the backfield, preventing a possible solid run. On some of these plays, it would be well-blocked to where he was headed. It wasn’t just the linemen; the tight ends lost some blocks, too. Regardless, it prevented the Redskins from taking pressure off Griffin with the run.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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