Redskins Final Thoughts: Week 6

Redskins Confidential,Sports,John Keim


  1. I hope you got the email report this week because you’ll see why Alfred Morris is one of my favorite players to interview. He provides terrific insight into what he does and that was evident in the report. I’ve done those reports for about a year and this past one was one of my favorites simply because of his insight. I learned long ago that good insight makes good stories. Morris provided it when discussing how he sets up blocks, etc.
  2. Like Robert Griffin III, an underrated part of Morris’ game is his smarts. Sometimes it’s a gift to not be supremely talented, forcing you to find other ways to be successful. With Morris, he is talented, but more than that he’s driven and always considers himself an underdog. Because he’s not an Adrian Peterson, for example, Morris knows he must master nuances of the game. Like being patient at setting up blocks. Like knowing when to cut. He’s not a perfect runner, but he’s really good in these areas.
  3. He and Richard Crawford are a lot alike in this regard. Crawford is not having the same sort of impact as Morris, but he’s elevated himself to this role because he relies on more than talent to succeed. Both are among the smarter rookies I’ve covered. Having those two in a class with Griffin has to make this one of the smarter rookie classes I’ve been around, especially when it comes to providing insight. It’s good for me and it’s terrific for fans.
  4. You don’t become a good player just because you can communicate well, but it is evidence of their intelligence. If you have ability, smarts and work ethic you can last a while in this league. Sometimes it’s not enough, but it does ensure that you will max out.
  5. On to Griffin’s head. Yes, he is feeling better. I know there are some who say the Redskins shouldn’t play him whatsoever. Let him rest another week just to be safe. My take: If the doctors say he’s ready and fine, then he should play. If you’re going to make him sit, I’d make it longer than a week if you really want to make a difference and be safe.  I could see a day when it’s mandatory that if you leave one game with a concussion that you must sit out another one.
  6. Two of my sons have suffered concussions, one from playing football. His lasted at least six months; my other son was fine within days. So I’m sensitive to this topic. If the Redskins made this call without a doctor’s consent, then I’d look at it differently. But it’s not their call. And when you’re around Griffin there is zero difference in him from a week ago.
  7. Nor would I alter a game plan to make sure he doesn’t get hit. You know how you make sure a QB doesn’t get hit? You don’t play him. Remember, he was only hit three or four times last week. But if Griffin is cleared and he plays, then you run your normal offense.  You don’t draft a guy like Griffin to not use his full ability. Yes, you want long-term durability. But Griffin will never be just a straight drop-back passer (even those guys take shots). He’s special because he’s multi-dimensional.
  8. Minnesota’s Percy Harvin is a tough, tough runner. I did not watch as much of Minnesota’s games as I would have liked this week, but I did see enough to watch Harvin crash through two defensive backs at the goal line in their win vs. Carolina last week.
  9. Christian Ponder doesn’t make mistakes, but the Vikings also have only nine pass plays of 20 yards or more. They truly are built on defense, a strong running game and a QB who doesn’t put them in bad spots.  And they like play-action.
  10. This is the third straight week the Redskins have faced a disruptive tackle, now with Kevin Williams. He’s probably the best all-around interior player they’ve faced, thought both Gerald McCoy and Jonathan Babineaux were disruptive.
  11. Minnesota loves to use a lot of misdirection in their defensive scheme, with how they stunt their linemen, send blitzes, etc. It’s a big reason why the Vikings only allow 3.2 yards per carry. The Bucs tried to be like this too so that should help Washington. Remember against the Bucs how they often had a tight end or receiver line up about a yard or so behind the tackle-guard area to help as a blocker? Not sure if they’ll do that in this game, but it is something they did vs. Tampa that they haven’t done against anyone else.
  12. Also, to slow an end such as Jared Allen, you must make him hesitate. How? Zone read passes; fake end arounds (and real end arounds, just not with Leonard Hankerson). Bring a tight end or back from the opposite side. Allen presents problems because he’s a little more unpredictable than most ends; he has a lot of moves and he’s good at setting them up. It’ll be a challenge for Trent Williams.
  13. Both starting quarterbacks in this game complete a lot of passes – Griffin ranks first in the NFL at 69.1 percent; Ponder is second at 69.0. But neither forces passes, which is why they’ve combined to throw only three interceptions in a combined 297 pass attempts. They’ve also combined for just 10 touchdowns.
  14. It’s about time the Redskins won at home. Eight in a row? Disgraceful.
  15. Mike Shanahan said this about Santana Moss, but sometimes coaches just say things. However, when he said earlier this week that Moss is a guy who doesn’t worry about stats, I absolutely agree. You can’t say that about many wideouts. Moss and Clinton Portis came out of Miami at a time when there was a certain Hurricanes mindset (shared of course by the late Sean Taylor). They did everything they could to win and that was their concern. It hasn’t helped the Redskins win a ton of games, but it’s why Moss continues to play and contribute. He also lost a good 15 pounds after packing on too much weight a couple years ago. He altered his offseason habits – when and how he started training — to stay in better shape.
  16. This week’s Redskins mailbag.
  17. Shanahan told a good little story after practice about when he first met the Nationals’ Jayson Werth. Turns out Werth was 2 years old at the time and Shanahan happened to be at his house. What he remembers is a kid who was able to throw with either hand and could dribble a basketball. Shanahan was amazed. Because Werth’s mom’s name is Kim Schofield, Shanahan didn’t realize who Werth was until a couple years ago when reminded by Bob Slowik.
  18. Now you know.
  19. Now I’m done.




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