- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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Observations on the offense after re-watching the Washington Redskins' 38-20 loss Sunday at Green Bay:
1. Has rookie tight end Jordan Reed replaced Fred Davis? It was clear that Reed was the man in the second half. How much so? Davis only played five snaps in the final two quarters compared to Reed’s 21. For the game, Davis played 16 snaps to Reed’s 29. Meanwhile, Logan Paulsen played eight snaps in the first half and 17 in the second. I did not see Davis much after his second-down drop in the third quarter (the pass was a bit wide, but looked catchable). He also missed a couple blocks, including one that sank an outside zone run by Alfred Morris. The details of the game have hurt Davis in the past; if they continue to do so it will cost him playing time now that he has a young challenger -- and that will cost him money in his next contract.
2. I love that Reed catches tough throws, like the one in the end zone for a touchdown. He also can make athletic catches -- going up high for balls -- that other tight ends would have a tough time making (like the one along the sideline in the fourth quarter on an out route). I also loved how he dusted one defensive back while running his route -- the former basketball player using basketball moves to juke an opponent and create two yards of separation.
3. Left tackle Trent Williams had a fantastic game. It wasn’t as if he was locked with Clay Matthews the entire game, but Williams was not beaten by him in their matchups. There were a couple times when Matthews had Williams leaning, but still could not get inside because Williams was too strong. Williams also had the drive-block of the year, moving Johnny Jolly about 10 yards downfield on a 32-yard Morris run. Williams did allow a pressure on which Robert Griffin III was hit, but overall played very well. He needed that game after a bad first game for him. Kory Lichtensteiger also had a strong game, especially as a run-blocker. He also picked up Matthews on one stunt and knocked him to the ground.
4. Center Will Montgomery was consistent last season; he did not have a good game Sunday. Moved back; did not get to other blocks (sometimes because linebackers seemed to be lining up closer to the line -- three or four yards off). He was flagged for a facemask penalty as well as a peel-back block. There is too much pushback at times; it is not just the interior -- sometimes it’s the backs, too. Yes, there was pressure on Griffin, but considering the 40 drop-backs and the number of extra rushers, the fact he was only sacked once isn't bad.
5. The run game showed major signs of life, and had the game been remotely close, it would have showed even more. Morris gained 64 yards on two of his carries, but still managed 11 for 43 yards on his other runs. Seven of those 11 runs were for 4 yards or more.
6. In the second quarter, Morris gained nine yards on an outside toss to the left in which he pressed the outside, drawing the linebacker wide. Morris cut back -- and wasn’t hit for seven yards (this was from Washington's balanced pistol look, with a tight end to one side and a fullback to the other of Griffin; it forces the defense to stay balanced). Next play: Morris gained 32 yards on an inside run to the left. Montgomery was moved back and Morris bounced off him and cut back to the left (getting a great block by Darrel Young, a good seal block by Lichtensteiger, then help downfield from Pierre Garcon). There was no movement up front; Morris set this up. On a 32-yarder in the fourth, Morris set it up by again pressing the outside, then cutting up. Montgomery held his block and Morris went untouched for the first seven yards.
7. Garcon had a terrific day, and one difference between him and the other receivers is the ability to use his body to shield himself. On one slant in particular, that made all the difference. Garcon can create it even when covered -- and that helps with a quarterback who doesn’t always throw with great anticipation. Smaller receivers are open, but the window closes sometimes because the ball is thrown late.
8. Garcon also blocked very well, as he often does. I still find it amazing that he’s the only Redskins wideout in the past 18 regular-season games to surpass 85 yards receiving. Garcon competes hard.
9. Third downs killed this offense in the first half. The Redskins would not have won this game with a better first-half showing from the offense, because Green Bay could have scored 50 points. But it would have been a shootout for a little bit. The offense went three-and-out only twice, but in the first half managed more than one first down on just one of five drives.
10. The Redskins ran an unbalanced line on at least two occasions, with Tyler Polumbus lining up between Williams and Lichtensteiger. It didn’t do much. I won’t write a lot.