Thursday, November 7, 2013
Redskins notes: Beware of kickoff returns
By John Keim
Minnesota returner Cordarrelle Patterson is a dangerous kickoff returner. He averages 36.7 yards on 22 returns, with two touchdowns -- and a long of 109 yards. Patterson will return the ball from any distance in the end zone. The Redskins, for example, typically won't return the ball if they're more than five yards deep. The Vikings' punt returner, Marcus Sherels, averages 16.2 yards per return. Jerome Simpson is the big-play receiver, averaging 15.4 yards per catch.
The Redskins' offense has shown more signs of their 2012 form in recent weeks. But one thing they have yet to do is score a touchdown in the first quarter. Both of Washington's first-quarter touchdowns have come off DeAngelo Hall interception returns; the offense has contributed two first-quarter field goals. Regardless, the Redskins have not scored a touchdown in the first 15 minutes in five games (since Hall's pick versus Detroit). According to ESPN Stats & Information, that's one game shy of the longest such streak of a Mike Shanahan team. Sadly for Redskins fans, his longest stretch occurred in 2011 when they went six games without a first-quarter score.
Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan on the hits Robert Griffin III took last week running the option: "You want to try to avoid those hits as much as possible. There's a fine line between that. However, we didn't do any of that stuff vs. Denver. We did a lot of passes, and I feel he got hit more than he had all year. And I felt last week was the least he's been hit all year, so I think it worked out all right."
Kyle Shanahan said it's tough to put in new plays for a Thursday game, without having a real full practice during the week. He said they did do it last season for the Thanksgiving Day game at Dallas. "You've got to put some stuff in, you just can't go out there and just run everything that they've seen before, but you've got to count on your players a lot," Shanahan said. The reason? They don't get as many reps of a particular play -- in a shortened week you might get one rep against a certain look, but perhaps not against an alternative look. It makes it tougher.
More Kyle Shanahan. This time on fullback Darrel Young and his three touchdowns versus San Diego. It was not a sign of things to come as much as it was taking advantage of what a team does, or doesn't, do. San Diego did adjust to Young on the touchdown he had in overtime. "DY made a real good cut and then hit a front side and ended up getting the touchdown on the winning drive on really the toughest look," Shanahan said.