It's hard work being a Washington Redskins fan. A full-time job that doesn't pay well, offers limited benefits and takes a serious toll on your health.
Yesterday's game against the Broncos in Denver was proof of that.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Redskins led the Broncos 21-14. Peyton Manning finished a drive that carried over from the third quarter to tie the game, and then the Redskins finished their responding drive with a punt from Sav Rocca that can be better described as pressing the red self-destruct button.
Here's my six-pack of notes on a truly upsetting Monday morning following a 45-21 Redskins defeat.
1. Kyle Shanahan
This won't be a popular opinion amongst Redskins fans, but I'm one of the guys who isn't completely irate about offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and his choice of play calling.
With the game tied at 21 in the fourth quarter, a better pass from Griffin to Joshua Morgan, or a catch by Aldrick Robinson instead of a drop, and we're probably changing our tune about the offense. But when the plays are called (plays that I found to be well-thought) and they don't work, many of us automatically assume it was a bonehead play and that Alfred Morris requires an additional four carries.
That said, I certainly don't believe Kyle Shanahan had his best day.
What happened to that Turbo offense? The offense that gets the ball out quick behind a porous offensive line and that helps to establish some rhythm for a quarterback that has struggled all season with his accuracy.
What happened to letting Griffin run the ball? The Redskins offense is effective when Griffin presents a threat to run. We didn't see an ounce of that in yesterday's game. Instead, Griffin stood behind the line and took shot after shot after shot.
Now is a good time to look for the opinion of those people that argued Griffin shouldn't run because he needs to avoid being hit. Against the Broncos, Griffin stood in the pocket and was pummeled.
2. Offensive line
We can talk about how bad the offensive line is, but is anyone really surprised?
This unit isn't built to operate as a traditional dropback unit, so when you don't capitalize on your quarterback's running ability and play-action pass, your offense becomes one dimensional and it makes life easier for opposing defenses.
If you want to get the most out of this offensive line, run the ball, establish play action and get the ball out as quickly as possible on regular dropbacks.
But it doesn't stop there...
3. Lack of separation
Although some acknowledged that Redskins receivers got open and Griffin just missed them, I still don't believe this pass-catching unit gets anywhere near the separation they need to be a threatening bunch.
Aside from Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed, this Redskins offense has zero pass-catching playmakers. And when you combine a bad offensive line with a lack of separation from your receivers, that makes things extremely tough on your quarterback.
I'm not implying that Griffin is the victim here. Clearly he's been inaccurate and indecisive, leaving a lot of work to do moving forward. But there's no question he needs more tools around him. Joshua Morgan, Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson (potential is there) and Santana Moss aren't cutting it.
Again, if Joshua Morgan hauls in a mediocre throw, or Aldrick Robinson doesn't drop a 25-plus-yarder in the fourth quarter, we're talking about this offense in a slightly different light. Hell, we may be talking about a different outcome in the game.
And these drops aren't just from yesterday. This is a real problem for this offense.
5. DeAngelo Hall
Two interceptions, one returned for a score.
It seems like we say this every week, and that's because it's true: DeAngelo Hall is having arguably his best season as a pro.
6. Jim Haslett's second-half adjustments
One of the prices you pay when facing a top-tier quarterback like Peyton Manning is leaving the middle of the field open as a result of playing two deep safeties. The quarterback is then smart enough to find the spots in the middle and hit his receivers.
But if anything was obvious about the Broncos offense yesterday, it was the fact that Peyton Manning struggles to throw the ball downfield. His passes lack velocity and get tons of air underneath of them, making them easier to make a play on.
Despite his 354 yards and four touchdowns, Manning didn't complete a pass over 15 yards in the air (by my count). Aside from one pass in the first half when Manning hit Welker for about 15 through the air and over the middle, Manning missed on every long pass attempt.
And with that, Jim Haslett needs to take advantage. The Broncos outmatch the Redskins in terms of playmakers to defensive backs, and their only hope was to get after Manning and look to rattle him.
Additionally, the game-tying touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter was enough to throw your television out the window.
The Broncos come out on 4th-and-goal from the half-yard line, and the Redskins call a timeout. The Broncos then come back out, show a look and then shift to three receivers on the right side—a trips formation the Redskins seemed to have trouble guarding all day.
Not only was this frustrating to see following a timeout, but the Redskins also failed to adjust pre-snap, instead trying their hand at having two defenders guard three pass catchers on the right side.
A pick here, an out there, and it ended as the easiest score the Broncos had all day.
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