Redskins vs. Giants: Studs and Duds (defense)

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Redskins Confidential,Sports,John Keim

Studs

NT Barry Cofield. Thought this was his best game of the season. Cofield was active and disruptive – he hasn’t been that way consistently enough. It’s not always his job, but the Redskins billed him as the potential top nose tackle in the NFL. So games like Sunday need to be more commonplace. He got going late in the second quarter, first coming off a block to help on a tackle. First play of the next series Cofield used a rip move to get past center David Baas, only to be slowed by Ahmad Bradshaw’s block. In the third quarter, Cofield again pressured through Baas, his swim move left Baas drowning in grass (knocked him to the ground) and hit quarterback Eli Manning as he threw. He collapsed the pocket in the third quarter. Cofield and Stephen Bowen ran two effective stunts late in the game. On the first, Cofield went to the left of Baas, drawing the attention of the left guard, who had been engaged with Bowen. Baas was still on Cofield, who was squeezing through, and Bowen looped to the middle. Cofield eventually helped Rob Jackson get the sack. On the game-winning touchdown pass, he and Bowen ran another stunt and it resulted with Bowen hitting Manning just after he threw the ball.

LB Rob Jackson. Sometimes it’s just about a few plays because one of them provides points. Jackson’s interception came right after the Redskins had turned the ball over inside the Giants’ 30-yard line. On the Giants’ first play from scrimmage, Jackson faked a rush, then dropped to the flat. Apparently Eli Manning never saw him because he threw to the (covered) target in that area. Jackson made a leaping interception that ended up leading to a field goal. He also had some good rushes, drawing a hold on left tackle Will Beatty on one play. On the series after his interception, Jackson showed his strong hands by knocking Beatty to the ground. Later in that series he beat Beatty with a spin move inside. In doing so he knocked into the left guard, freeing Stephen Bowen to get a pressure too. Manning still completed a five-yard pass, but both players had a good rush. Jackson also hit Manning as he threw on a rush early in the second quarter. Jackson shared a sack with Cofield late in the game.  Jackson also had a batted pass

Duds

FS Madieu Williams. He played it wrong. Period. That’s the conclusion of the 77-yard touchdown pass (will take a look at it in more detail below, but despite what Eli Manning told WFAN, Williams’ alignment was consistent with how he played this look throughout the game). Williams was 12 yards off the ball at the snap. He clearly was playing for a different route – Josh Wilson has Victor Cruz underneath; Williams was waiting for Cruz to break and that’s where he got into trouble because, obviously, Cruz did not. Williams did not get any depth for the first five yards of Cruz’s route. That’s a problem. Williams told me last week for my email report that he’ll often play by feel. This time it burned him. Williams played from this same alignment a handful of times throughout the game; this was the one time off the snap where he didn’t get extra depth. It cost him. Williams was mostly solid otherwise. He failed to break up a pass to tight end Martellus Bennett downfield. Was he late? Williams was aligned over the opposite hash and dropped to the middle. A faster safety breaks it up, but his recognition was correct.

CB Josh Wilson. Can’t completely blame him for the Cruz touchdown because the safety didn’t do his job. But Wilson was involved in the play. No, he did not jam Cruz on the play. I’ve talked often to Wilson about when he jams and when he doesn’t and there are some players who are tough to do that against. I remember seeing one time where he re-routed Cruz, but he did not attempt to jam him any other time. It’s usually up to the corner to decide when to jam or not – not all are comfortable doing this. Perhaps this is a play he should have gotten his hands on him a little. Anyway, on this play he wanted to shade him inside and get underneath. He did so. Wilson was fortunate not to give up touchdowns on two other plays. Cruz ran past him in single coverage, but the ball was overthrown. Another time Cruz was open at the goal line after he faked out Wilson at the line, but Eli Manning threw behind him. Wilson did intercept an overthrown ball and he did a good job vs. Cruz on numerous plays.

LB Ryan Kerrigan. Just like last week the issue isn’t that he messed up, it’s that he was too quiet. Again, he’s judged by different standards. Kerrigan finished with one tackle and no official pressures, facing ex-Redskin tackle Sean Locklear. Kerrigan had just a couple good rushes against him. Too often he tried and failed to execute his rip move and get wide. But Locklear did a good job keeping separation and getting his hands inside Kerrigan to stop this tactic. Locklear was patient. Eventually Kerrigan did better by just trying to move him back with a bull rush. Kerrigan’s first good rush came when he went inside and executed his rip move vs. the right guard. He also had a near-pressure out of a four-point stance. Kerrigan did get doubled a couple times and was chipped a couple times. But he was largely in one-on-one situations vs. Locklear and did not come through.

Notes

…Safety Reed Doughty didn’t make a play that really stood out, but he had a solid game overall. It was close to Stud worthy, but I’d like to see him make a bigger play or two. Nonetheless, Doughty played excellent coverage (there was one time he was badly juked, but Manning was targeting the other side) and was disciplined. He took away certain passes because he played them the right way, getting depth off the snap and staying over the top of the receivers.

Linebacker London Fletcher was run over by Bradshaw on the second play of the game – Fletcher hit him too high, in the shoulder pads. Fletcher also was juked by Bradshaw on a third and 10 in the second quarter, leading to a first down and eventual touchdown. The Redskins could have used those four points, no? Fletcher has spoiled everyone in this market. You think he’ll make every tackle, but he’s missing one or two a game anymore. I do think the Redskins missed his presence late in the game (though Lorenzo Alexander filled in fine). Fletcher is good at diagnosing screens. Maybe there’s something he could have said or done on the third and 15 that New York converted to make a difference.

…I wonder if rookie Keenan Robinson’s inexperience hurt him on the screen play in the fourth quarter. The left tackle passed him off, which to a more experienced player would probably signal a screen. But Robinson kept going and it was another three yards before he realized a screen was coming. New York set that play up awfully well, but this is one I question why the Redskins allowed it to happen. The Giants had just run an inside handoff on second and 20. They were being conservative. But the Redskins’ coverage gave them the screen — five defenders were at least 10 yards deep right after the snap and no one-was in the right flat (obviously protecting deeper in this situation) – and the Giants had four blockers out front to get the necessary yards.

…Defensive end Stephen Bowen was in Manning’s face when he threw the 77-yarder. Bowen did a pretty solid job throughout the game, as did end Jarvis Jenkins. The defensive front continues to play the run well as New York averaged just 3.4 yards on 19 carries. But why focus on the run at all against this group?

…The D did a good job after turnovers. Of the first three, they forced a turnover of their own twice. They did allow the Giants to score after one turnover. The fourth one ended the game.

…The officials absolutely missed a hands to the face penalty on left tackle Will Beatty, trying to block linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. It caused Alexander’s helmet to pop off. The Redskins already were penalized on the play so it would have been offsetting. But it was still another missed call.

…Manning said the Redskins played the same coverages in the two-minute drill before the end of the half as they did on the final series. To a degree they did (and maybe it’s what they’ve done in other games all the time; if so…). But of the nine plays New York ran in that two-minute situation, there were only three times in which Wilson and Williams doubled Cruz with the same look as on the 77-yard play. Wilson was aligned in deep middle (five times) more than he was over the slot. In fact, the Giants had little success with Cruz out of that look before the touchdown. Credit Cruz for throwing a major curve and catching the coverage napping.

…A look at how the Redskins handled Cruz, particularly when he was in the slot and they showed this same coverage as on the 77-yard touchdown (as you’ll see, Williams was not lined up closer to the line on the infamous play):

  1. On the second play of the game, Wilson played him in press coverage.  Doughty was shaded to that side, about 10 yards deep. But off the snap he started shuffling back and when it was clear Cruz wasn’t going to cut, Doughty was able to stay with him (with Wilson on the outside). Manning looked off and threw elsewhere.
  2. On the second play of the second quarter, Cruz was in the slot left (with the Giants at the Redskins’ 21) with Wilson over him. As on the touchdown, Williams split the receivers on the side and was 11 yards off the ball and got another yard deeper at the snap (key: he was moving and ready to turn his hips and run). Cruz gave a hard outside cut to Wilson and got free over the middle, but the ball went elsewhere.
  3. On the next play, Cruz is slot left again and Williams runs over to split the two receivers at the last second 12 yards deep. Cruz gives the same little hesitation skip step that he used on the touchdown. But Williams being on the move helped. As Cruz runs straight, Williams is shuffling back and when Cruz cuts to a post route, because Williams is in motion, he’s able to react better. With Wilson inside, Manning throws elsewhere.
  4. With 11:17 left in the second quarter, the Redskins showed this defensive look again. Williams was 12 yards off with Wilson again shading him inside. Williams got more depth at the snap, taking away anything deep and Cruz ran a short out route. Manning threw incomplete to him.
  5. On the play before New York kicked a field goal at the end of the first half, Williams was 13 yards deep with Wilson about five yards off Cruz. The Giants’ receiver made a great cut to get inside for a 14-yard catch, with nine after the grab.
  6. Wilson’s interception came out of this alignment. Cruz was not in the slot, but Wilson was aligned in press coverage with Doughty shaded to that side about 10 yards deep. He drops and heads toward the outside at the snap. However, after staying with him for several yards, Wilson handed him off to Doughty and sat down behind the tight end. Manning overthrew Martellus Bennett for an easy pick. Cruz ran the same stutter-step and go that he used on the touchdown. He did run a go-route.
  7. On the play before the touchdown, Cruz was split to the right. Williams was just outside the left hash around 14-15 yards deep, so it’s not the same look. But Wilson’s reaction was different. He was aligned in press coverage with DeAngelo Hall looking like he was in off-man vs. the outside receiver. At the snap, Hall drops to the deep third and Wilson, after making it look like he was in man off the snap, runs to the flat. Williams runs up about five yards at the snap to cover the intermediate area near the left hash.

 

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