Seahawks Insider

The 5 spot: Redskins in focus

Post by Eric Williams on Jan. 4, 2013 at 9:01 am with 16 Comments »
January 4, 2013 9:01 am
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III watches during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Landover, Md. The Redskins won 28-18, securing a playoff berth. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mike Jones of The Washington Post, who expertly covers the Washington Redskins, has been kind enough to answer five questions on that team heading into this weekend’s NFC Wild Card game.

You can follow Mike’s coverage of the Redskins on the web and via Twitter.

Check out the Q&A below.

1. From a distance, Robert Griffin III has had a very efficient performance as a rookie, finishing with 3,200 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and a 102.4 passer rating. He also topped the league in rushing yards with 815, and was voted a team captain. What are the key reasons for his impressive play so far this season?

Jones: Griffin has exceptional intelligence and a tireless work ethic. He came in for the rookie minicamp and asked coaches to dump the whole playbook on him and he has soaked it up like a sponge. His coaches describe him as a “natural-born leader.” He didn’t come in with a sense of entitlement, but instead earned his teammates’ trust by leading by example. A perfectionist in the classroom and practice field, Griffin has achieved more in his rookie season than even his coaches imagined.

2. Along Griffin, running back Alfred Morris has helped create a nice, 1-2 punch offensively for Washington. Just a sixth round pick, Morris emerged as the starter and finished second in the league in rushing (1,613 yards). Why is Morris such a good fit for Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme?

Jones: Morris is a hard runner, who takes the ball, follows the line while running with his eyes, and then sticks his foot in the ground and makes that cut toward daylight. He doesn’t dance around. Instead, he hits the hole and lowers his shoulders and powers through contact. The first man to him rarely brings him down. Morris is always fighting forward for extra yards, and always seems to find a way to fall forward rather than backward when he is tackled.

3. Washington’s defense seemed to struggle early this season, but appears to be playing well during the seven-game winning streak. What’s been the difference?

Jones: Jim Haslett has continued to work to find ways to mask Washington’s deficiencies and come up with more creative pressure packages and coverage schemes. Players took a hard look at themselves at the bye and came back with a sense of urgency and have done a better job of grasping their roles. Outside linebacker Rob Jackson challenged Haslett to put him in more pass-rushing situations and has taken advantage of the opportunity by generating more pressure. Nose tackle Barry Cofield and defensive ends Stephen Bowen and Jarvis Jenkins have gotten more comfortable in the scheme and are playing without hesitation.

4. Turnovers have played a key role in Washington’s success this season. The Redskins have a +17 turnover differential, and have corralled 21 interceptions this season. How much is that a point of emphasis for Shanahan’s team?

Jones: It’s what Haslett preaches over and over, and his players have done a good job of studying and recognizing their opponents’ tendencies and anticipating where the ball is going. Mike Shanahan came to Washington wanting to run the 3-4 defense because of the potential for more big plays and turnovers, and finally, the Redskins are getting those.

5. What do think Washington has to do well in order to win on Sunday?

Jones: Griffin has to have a better passing game than he did against the Cowboys, but Washington can’t get away from Morris. That balance on offense has been the key to their success because it keeps teams from being able to key on one area. Their offensive line has battled some injuries, but needs to be at their best against a very talented group of Seattle pass-rushers. On defense, the secondary can’t afford to have any letdowns and revert to their old ways. Washington’s defensive players say their goal is to bottle up Lynch, which they know is no easy task, and then force Wilson to have to shoulder the load. From there, look for Haslett to disguise coverages and try to find ways to confuse Wilson, forcing him into turnovers.

Interviews, Opponents
Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. Clemons + Irvin > OT Tyler Polumbus

    Rice + Tate + Baldwin > CB Josh Wilson

    Seahawks D speed > Redskins D speed

    Advantage: Seahawks

  2. pabuwal says:

    Griffin is the same one read QB he was at Baylor. I’m surprised he’s had so much success with it in the NFL and for an entire season.

    I think Shanahan is squeezing every bit of performance he can out of him this year at the expense of his long-term development by running the Baylor offense without any attempt at expanding it to incorporate more pro concepts.

    I would like to think Griffin’s reversion starts on Sunday, but that’s the fan on me talking.

  3. Some great analysis lately from old-TNT-homey Mike Sando

    Griffin and Wilson Since Week 8

    3rd down
    Griffin: 59.9
    Wilson 89.5 (#1 in NFL)

    Red zone:
    Griffin: 79.9
    Wilson: 99.3

    Fourth Quater:
    Griffin: 52.1
    Wilson: 94.9

  4. chrisj122 says:

    Mike Who!!???

    Go Hawks!!!!!!

  5. chrisj122 says:

    Rice should be able to abuse the Redskins secondary, but he has to more than he did last week.

    I guess it all starts up front with O-line.

  6. madpunter88 says:

    I will be at the game sitting in Section 120. Any other Seahawks fans attending or know of any pregame Seahawks tailgates?

  7. Stats can be so misleading. Lost in Sando’s excellent stats is the fact that both qb’s missed time in the fourth quarter in several games, RG3 due to injury, and Wilson because his team was blowing the other out, we werent throwing the ball, and then he was taken out so Flynn could get some time.

    I think its clear that Wilson has outperformed RG3 the last 8 games, but how much of that is due to RG3 injury, and the difference in the teams around them?

    Its kind of like all those people who didnt realize Sean Alexander easily would have ran for 2,000 yards in 2005, and had a good shot at breaking Dickerson’s record, but Holmgren pulled him from many games in the fourth quarter, and once just after halftime. Also, Alexander had a bunch of carries in some fourth quarter games that were just to run the clock out, and hurt his yards per carry. I think he even sat out vs GB, is that right?

    My point is that analyzing stats properly takes a lot of work, and just using select stats is like lying.

    Regarding both teams, IMO, the Skins have a better o-line, esp in pass pro, and a better WR corps. I love Tate and Baldwin, and I like Rice and our TE’s, but they just dont seem to gel as well as I’d like as a whole; they arent greater than the sum of their parts, whereas Hankerson, Morgan, and Garcon fit perfectly in that offense, and thier TE’s too.

    OUr defense has been giving up yards in the fourth quarter, Washington’s has been brutally tough. Despite losing thier top two DE’s, they can pressure the qb. We havent done that in awhile. It makes me nervous.

  8. Alexander sat out the second half of the Green Bay season finale in 2005. He fumbled as he was heading into the endzone in the first half which cost himself a TD from that record breaking year.

    Griffin is a QB who is going to have to get used to playing hurt in the second half of seasons if they continue with the Baylor offense. He’s straight line fast but not elusive (so he takes a pounding unlike Wilson) and he’s nowhere as thick as Wilson is.

  9. Dukeshire says:

    While Griffin ran essentially a spread offense at Baylor, he was a vertical passer, not the typical horizontal thrower we generally see with spread concepts. The passing concepts were straight up NFL. And their use of play-action is something Shanahan has always used, and is using now. Despite the false-narrative, Baylor’s offense with Griffin had far more similarities to the NFL than many are willing to acknowledge.

  10. STTBM, I think the real reason Holmgren pulled Alexander from all those games back in 2005 is he didn’t want him breaking Dickerson’s record only to listen to BobbyK ranting year after year that it was really Steve Hutchinson who deserved the MVP.

  11. Ewalters7354 says:

    Actually Alexander broke the running record against the Pack.Holmgren was hesitant to put him in but eventually did.

  12. Stevos–hahahaha!

    Imagine if Alexander had gotten hurt because Holmgren DIDNT pull him from games we were blowing out or the Pack game…he had to pull him! But thats just it, as Ive said elsewhere, stats are tricky and can be used to prove false points, and real analysis demands more than just Stats.

    Alexander would have made the HOF if not for the lis franc injury stealing his speed/elusiveness, and his big contract ruining his passion for the game. Hutch may make it, but injuries cost him a lot too, late in his career. He certainly wasnt a 9-10-time Pro Bowler like Tez or Walt.

    I cursed the man, and dubbed him the Ice Fisherman when he left Seattle. And while he did play in the playoffs eventually, he never made a Super Bowl and is unlikely too, if he even comes back for more next year. May he enjoy Ice Fishing in Minnesota or whatever they do in Tennessee, since as usual he aint in the playoffs, and Seattle IS!


  13. SandpointHawk says:

    Re: Hutch ~ Seven time Pro Bowl & five time All Pro first team is certainly nothing to laugh at. But going home to play for the home team has to be every players dream and Ruskell is the idiot in this history lesson for undervaluing the market.

  14. He sucks for only playing in the Pro Bowl 7 times.

  15. LBCHawk says:

    Well, I hope someone else noted how bad our defense was in 4th quarters and overtime in Sando’s article. Giving up over 80 QBR in those situation is ridiculous!

  16. Bobbyk–Never said he sucked, just that he should rot in hell. His last Pro Bowl or two were totally bogus too, just like Jeff Saturday’s this season. My point was simply that a) We hates him, preciousss, and b) he’s not a shoo-in for the HOF.

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