Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Upon Further Review: Redskins Week 12
By John Keim
A review of four hot issues following the Washington Redskins' 27-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night:
Coaching future: Redskins coach Mike Shanahan points to several changes as examples of how the organization is better off now than when he was hired in 2010. But unless things change dramatically, the Redskins are looking at a third double-digit-loss season in his first four. You can point to reasons why they have taken a step back after last season. A 7-9 finish after a tough offseason -- quarterback rehabbing, team unable to sign quality free agents -- would be understandable. But the Redskins have not looked like a good team in any game this season. Even if the quarterback needs to develop, other parts of the team still can play well. That hasn’t happened. The Redskins have lost four games by double digits, the same number they lost in 2009 under Jim Zorn when they finished 4-12. They’re not losing close, hard-fought games and just need a little luck. Players still support Shanahan (Zorn had little to no support), and that’s good. But everyone here still has a lot to prove.
Quarterback’s future: Regardless of what’s true or not true when it comes to Robert Griffin III’s relationship with the coach and the offensive coordinator, there’s no doubt he’ll have to rebuild his reputation as well as his game. It’s not impossible: Griffin works hard and has talent. Patience is always needed with young quarterbacks; a week ago -- heck, until around 9 Monday night -- Colin Kaepernick was a struggling young quarterback. This morning he’s on his way back. Fickle game for young passers. I’ve said this before, but it remains true: Griffin needs to have a quiet offseason. That means no commercials, no joining the owner at big events, no documentaries. Work on your game and stay out of the spotlight. You can work hard and still do all those other things, but to rebuild yourself and your game, it’s best to lay low. I have a feeling Griffin won’t mind doing so after this season. If his career ends up being a good one, it could be that this year was a turning point. There’s a ways to go before this book is completed. This chapter, however, hasn't been pretty.
Rough night: Redskins corner Josh Wilson struggled Monday night, giving up big catches to receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis. Some were in man; at least one was in zone. Boldin got free on an out route for one catch in which Wilson wasn’t close enough to get his hand between Boldin’s. Davis pushed off to get free on another and created too much separation. Another time, Kaepernick made a terrific throw that beat decent coverage from Wilson on Boldin. Overall, though, too many passes were directed in Wilson’s area. It was not a strong night. “We’ve got to be able to make plays and I wasn’t able to make plays that I definitely want to make,” Wilson said.
No offense: The Redskins’ offense was unable to do much of anything against San Francisco, which entered this weekend with the NFL’s seventh-rated defense. It’s the only team Washington has faced that currently has a defense ranked among the top half in the NFL. The Redskins couldn’t do much of anything. They ran for 100 yards on 27 carries; they had 90 net yards passing and 190 yards overall. They averaged 3.3 yards per play. This was definitely a bad matchup for them because the 49ers have an excellent front seven and speed at the linebacker position. It was a complete breakdown by the entire offense. Eight of their 12 drives lasted four plays or fewer, and it’s a huge reason why San Francisco’s average starting field position was its own 43-yard line. The Redskins started nine drives inside their 25-yard line; the Niners started one drive inside their 25.