1. It’s probably just easier to say that quarterback Kirk Cousins gets the ball off a little faster than Robert Griffin III right now and let it go at that. But I’ve got a stopwatch and I’m going to use it, so…. Of the 13 times Griffin dropped back, he held the ball for at least 3.2 seconds seven times. Two of those were boots and another time came on the third and five run in which he picked up the first down. But, of Cousins’ 23 drop backs he held the ball for 3.2 seconds or longer only three times – and one came on the bootleg pass to Niles Paul for a touchdown.
2. Credit the second offensive line on the 49-yard scoring pass to Aldrick Robinson. Took Cousins 3.25 to unload the ball and he wasn’t touched. A very clean pocket, enabling him to stay calm and step into the throw.
3. These numbers say a couple things. One, Cousins is more decisive right now, though they weren’t facing the same sort of rush or defenders and that plays a big factor. Still, it’s clear that Griffin remains a work in progress in the pocket. What else should he be after two preseason games? He did not play in an offense like this in college. Both QBs face adjustments, but this is one area Cousins had an edge entering the NFL. Also, Griffin’s mindset is to hit the big play. That means he’ll hold the ball a bit longer and with his speed he knows he can escape situations (though it will be harder in the NFL). And, once more, we haven’t seen the full range of Griffin’s plays, nor will we until the season begins.
4. The sack/fumble was not necessarily a case of holding onto the ball way too long (it took only 2.38 seconds). But that was a case of needing to take better care of the ball. It’ll take him some adjusting to learning what he can get away with in an NFL pocket.
5. Why the run game must produce better: Of the seven third down situations faced by Washington’s No. 1 offense, four were for five yards or more – and three were for at least 12 yards. First down plays were an issue, too, though the stats were skewed a bit by two plays. The Redskins gained 42 yards on nine first down plays (excluding an end of the half kneel down). But 32 of those yards came on two plays. The other seven first down plays managed 10 yards (yeah, I guess you could have figured that out on your own).
Consequently, Griffin dropped back to throw 13 times; five times it was at least second and 9 or more and three times it was third and four or more. He completed three of those passes for 22 yards (he was sacked once and another pass resulted in a pass interference penalty). On third downs, Griffin was two of four for 24 yards and first down.
6. Meanwhile, Cousins faced third and three or shorter on four of his six third downs. And of his 11 second downs, seven were second and five or less. Does that make a difference? Well, Cousins was six of six passing on second down for 67 yards and four of five on third down for 79 more.
7. I liked that when the Bears walked up a safety, Cousins at least three times checked to a run to the other side and away from where they were outnumbered. Also liked how calm Cousins was on one pass to tight end Logan Paulsen. Tackle Tom Compton was beaten wide and the end reached out and hit Cousins’ helmet. But Cousins never flinched, stayed calm and inched his way up and delivered a strike to Paulsen (who is a tough guy and excellent on those seam routes, in case you haven’t noticed). It was clear that Cousins got into a good rhythm and threw with confidence like on the pass down the left side to Robinson, between the corner and the safety. Perfect timing. And again on the back-shoulder toss to Robinson in which the ball was out before he turned around.
8. Anything more on RG3 can be found here.
9. Liked Dezmon Briscoe’s size and strength; enabled him to hang onto that touchdown pass. The ball was a little low (but not a bad toss) and Briscoe was hit just after grabbing it, but he hung on for the score. I didn’t like that Briscoe went about three-quarters speed on the out pass to Paul on the last play of the third quarter. Briscoe, on the same side as Paul, had already let up on his route as the ball is being thrown. But on the next play Briscoe blocked down hard on the linebacker, sealing the edge on a Tristan Davis run around left end.
10. Tyler Polumbus had a Jammal Brown type of game. Did enough well to help – had a good block vs. Julius Peppers on Alfred Morris’ second carry of the game. But he also had one tough two-play sequence. First, Idonije beat him upfield and then cutting inside for pressure. On the next play, Shea McClellin spun inside him and drew a holding penalty. He was OK on cut blocks, though there was one that he missed in the first quarter in which the linebacker made the tackle. And he did trip over rookie Adam Gettis twice on stretch zones to the left (Gettis was on the ground after trying to cut block). But those were tough to avoid.
11. Speaking of Polumbus, Chicago’s Chris Conte had a bit of a cheap shot on him. After a Morris run, Polumbus was standing near the pile with his back to the defense. The whistle had not yet blown, but the play was clearly over and Polumbus had relaxed his body. Conte raced up and hit Polumbus from behind. No flag.
12. Gettis, who started for a second straight game, had an up-and-down night. Last week Josh LeRibeus talked about the need to be a little more patient on his punches and Gettis appeared to have similar issues. On the third play of the game he was too aggressive with his punch and allowed inside pressure. On the next series he lunged at Israel Idonije and allowed him to get outside. Gettis was 50-50 it seemed on his cut block attempts. Another time on a stretch zone to the left, as Gettis reached tackle Brian Price the defender’s helmet was lower than Gettis’ chin. Tough to win that way. It’s not as if Gettis didn’t play well at times. He did. But there’s a big gap right now between he and starting guard Chris Chester, as there should be when it comes to a fifth-round pick and NFL veteran.
13. The Redskins used three tight ends eight times in the first quarter and none in the second. Go ahead and win a bar bet on that fact.
14. After the game I thought Trent Williams had some issues with Peppers. While Peppers did get him on occasion it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The Bears used Peppers on both sides and there. Williams wasn’t dominant, but he didn’t have a bad game.
15. Paul dropped another ball (behind him, but still catchable), but did catch four for 25. As a blocker, he was fine. He did have one issue with Derek Walker on one run, failing to hold off the defensive end on the backside.
16. Paul told reporters afterward that he felt more comfortable getting off the ball at the snap in the Tiger position, unlike a week ago. Indeed, just went back and checked the first time he was in Tiger vs. Buffalo. Griffin was in shotgun formation and Paul didn’t move until after Griffin had caught the snap and took a step back. Nothing like that happened vs. the Bears, though there was one time in Tiger in which he was the last man to move off the snap, but it was with Griffin under center.
17. I loved how Alfred Morris ran on his first carry; tough not to like. The first guy he trucks? Linebacker Lance Briggs.Just a good job of staying low. There are times when Morris cuts in the backfield yet doesn’t slow down; happened in the second quarter on a play in which Will Montgomery was moved back several yards when reaching to his left for the tackle (a tough reach). Gettis fell on his cut block attempt, taking out Polumbus. Trent Williams was pushed back a little bit and Fred Davis was too high to absorb any contact with Briggs. Morris was forced to cut early, but because he never stutter-stepped, he was still able to get a yard.
18. Tristan Davis was fine; thought initially he rounded off too many cuts. After watching the game again I’m not sure that’s the case or at least not as often as it first seemed. Davis got to the line fast, though there is more shuffle in his step than, for example, in Morris’. Davis had mixed results in pass protection, missing a linebacker once because his head was down. But he did an excellent job picking up the linebacker on an out route to Robinson and again on the 19-yard pass to Briscoe.
19. Some curious blocks by the tight ends, specifically Paul and Chris Cooley. On one play Paul was helping the tackle, but left to help a back on the edge. The tackle, Willie Smith, clearly didn’t expect him to leave. Earlier in the game Cooley was by Fred Davis as he blocked Idonije. Cooley sort of lunged at Idonije but didn’t really help and let go. Idonije eventually got around Davis and forced the sack-fumble of Griffin.
20. Some other thoughts on linemen: Willie Smith had a solid game, though he was bailed out a couple times by Cousins’ quick decisions. Smith looked better than he had much of the summer… Tom Compton was a lot like last week, playing fine but having some issues with more athletic moves/players…Josh LeRibeus did not look as lost as he appeared a week ago, but he’s still adjusting to the speed of the linebackers when reaching the second level. On one carry, though, he tried to reach the linebacker, but he was aligned three yards off the line and was too quick. LeRibeus failed to give Compton sufficient help on one rush vs. speedy Shane McClellin. LeRibeus recognized what was going on, he just didn’t react fast enough. … Maurice Hurt was Maurice Hurt. A mix of everything. … Too often one of the front line would get moved back, disrupting the stretch zone runs. There still seem to be some missed assignments with the combo blocks, knowing when to peel off and where to go.