John: 1) Can we do an analysis and see how many hits Bob is taking compared to how many hits Rex took last year through similar games? I am really starting to worry the amount of hits he is taking will add up quickly and = an injury. What are your thoughts?
2) Who do you feel can have a positive impact at ROLB in replace of Orakpo? ALSO, this injury is beginning to be chronic for him. Could it be a career threatening injury?
Thanks for the great coverage.
Amani in LA
Amani: Thanks. 1) We? You mean me, right? Unless we can Skype or something and go over it. What time works for you? OK, in all seriousness no I can’t do that. Don’t have enough time in the week. I understand your desire, though, with it: Just because Griffin is running, does that mean he’s taking more hits? The problem is you have to qualify each hit. And not every hit feels the same or is in the same area. Tough to quantify. Their body types are dramatically different, too. So even if (we) found that they were hit about the same, I’m not sure what it would mean. Do pocket hits carry more weight because they’re often blind-side hits? What if Griffin runs 10 times, but only really gets hit a couple times because he either went out of bounds or slid? It is potentially an issue, but let’s see how the next couple games play out. One thing I’d like to see him do a little more is when he breaks contain on some plays and if he doesn’t have a lot of room to run, just dump it off to a tight end or a back.
2) I think Rob Jackson is more capable than Chris Wilson, who is known as a pass-rusher only. In the past there wasn’t a lot of confidence that Wilson could do much else or knew how to do much else. We’ll find out. Both can rush the passer and have excellent hands. Career threatening? I’m not qualified to say. But I know the way he plays and when he engages and tries to reach for ballcarriers with one arm, it puts himself in a vulnerable spot. I think everyone will be a little nervous next summer. Let’s hope it heals well.
John: I have a question about the rules. On that Morgan unsportsmanlike play, if he had had enough yardage for a first down, would the result of the penalty be a first down or still fourth? Thanks a lot, and keep up the good work.
Jim: Thanks. It would have been a first down because it came after the play. The kicker of it is, Morgan’s first mistake was turning outside. If he turns inside he picks up the first down. I still wish they had let Griffin try to pick up the first down on fourth and 16.
John: I get Danny has a good reputation, he’s a colorful quote, his players love him and that they are good at kick coverage. We all know about their 7 blocked kicks in recent games. However, in my opinion there is more to critique and that is they don’t make big plays. The Redskins seem to never block a kick or for matter even threaten to block one. While other teams in the league will throw an innovative wrinkle out of the blue like an onside kick early in the game or fake a kick and run for the first down. The Redskins don’t.
Might it be telling than on the blocked punt that Perry Riley gave up too early on his blocking assignment to jump to coverage. Is it possible that Danny Smith stresses coverage a lot and conversely the Redskins don’t focus the same energy on protection or creating game breaking plays?
Mike: No. The players know their first job is to protect and then release to cover. His players strongly stick up for him and those who have been around him a while do so with passion. They talk about how well-prepared they are (hold your comments, I know what you’re going to say; just telling you what the players say). Those who have coached with him do so as well. Talked to one evaluator this week who said he was a good coach. All these questions are being asked because everyone sees the same issues with the blocks and it makes you wonder. And after a while I know there’s a feeling: doesn’t matter that it’s a different person, it keeps happening. As far as the wrinkles, they have them but it’s not always up to the coordinator to call them. The head coach decides when they do certain things.
John: If the defense continues to struggle this season do you think Shannahan might fire Jim Haslett and replace him with Raheem Morris before the season ends? Not many teams have the luxury of having an assistant coach with the defensive credentials of Morris. While I am very upset over losing Orakpo and Carriker, at least we Skins fans can be happy that we are set at the most important position, Quarterback, for a long time. Finally, does Orakpo’s injury threaten his career or production? This is 3 times that his left pectoral muscle has been torn or injured. I’m sure that’s very troubling for Orakpo and everyone else.
JKC: If the defense has a bad year then anything is possible. But it’s too early in the season for speculation. But just know that Mike Shanahan had four defensive coordinators between 2000-08 in Denver. As for Orakpo, as I stated above, I’m not qualified to say and I haven’t heard that it was. But it did bother him all summer. Having that injury is tough for a linebacker and Orakpo in particular because of how he sometimes has to reach for a ballcarrier. Leads to issues. But, yes, the bright side for Redskins fans is No. 10.
John: I already asked the Danny Smith question for your Q & A. But one other thing, D. Hall said yesterday on the air, that certain players lost their edge coming into the Rams game — saying they were patting themselves on the back all week for the Saints win. Carriker said they weren’t that strong Thursday in practice leading to this game. I recall last year when they went 3-1, a reporter who covers the Giants predicted their collapse saying that the Redskins don’t deal with prosperity well. I am the same person who last week in your Q & A said this smells like a Redskins loss — because they were favorites and were coming off of a big win. I get yeah they just aren’t good but watching this team it seems odd they have a hard time winning 2 games in a row in particular if they are playing a bad team.
Mike: Yeah that was troubling. It’s amazing how a team that won 11 games in two years could feel that way. Maybe it was Hall who felt that way. I don’t know. In the past they couldn’t beat some of the bad teams because they were one, as the record suggests. I have seen times where they couldn’t handle the prosperity and that is real. During the Jim Zorn era after his first four or five games I remember Clinton Portis and Randy Thomas taping a segment for some show. Portis kept saying, “Championships.” I thought: too soon. The collapse started a couple weeks later. I wouldn’t say they couldn’t handle it last year. When they were 3-1 it was a bit of a soft record and the toughest part was upcoming. Plus their lack of depth (and playmakers) exposed them.
John: Why do the Redskins only have 5 DL active on Game Day? The Carriker injury left them with only 4 DL for the entire game. That’s asking too much from them. I think that this was over looked by everyone as a reason why the defense wasn’t as good. (other than the loss of Orapko/Carriker)
Tom: Part of the problem is that Chris Baker hasn’t been healthy. Actually, that is the problem. He’s healthy now, but keep in mind that often times last season they only had five DL active so I don’t know tht this will change. It’s always tough when you have to deactivate guys and many things get taken into the equation: what is their role if they’re not playing from scrimmage? Where else do you need to keep guys? What if they had six DL active, but one less lineman and then had an O-lineman get hurt? Risks all around. Carriker’s injury was horrible timing. But, no, I don’t think that was the reason the defense didn’t play well. Lots of coverage issues, missed tackles. They definitely missed those players but I’m not sure how having Baker active would have made a big difference. They needed Carriker.
John: Seeing as though Garcon, our #1receiver, is still limited in practice, would it be wise to look into bringing in another POTENTIAL #1? I was thinking maybe Plaxico, TO, or even Chad Johnson?
Bryan: If they were potential No. 1s, they wouldn’t be on the street. All are several years removed from that status. They’d have to learn a completely different offense and then you’d have other issues to worry about with each one. Considering Garcon should be back soon (maybe not Sunday), you’d end up cutting a player for someone who probably wouldn’t contribute much. It wouldn’t make sense. Receivers at this age rarely do anything but continue a downward slide.
John: You know I love your game analysis. So let’s see how you are with the latest Redskins soap opera. When Raheem Morris was signed last summer, fans and bloggers predicted Jim Haslett was a short timer on the last year of his contract. Wednesday, Hogs Haven reported Mike Shanahan took the defensive play calling away from Haslett during the Rams game and gave it to Morris in the fourth quarter. Then, Shanahan pulls a McNabb and announces Haslett’s contract was extended last summer after questions about his status as DC. Is Haslett on the bubble? Is Morris likely to replace Haslett in the near future or at the end of the season? How will the latest saga of the Redskins soap opera end?
Marc: Not sure I’d call this a soap opera just yet. Many people poked around after that blog posting, but nothing has been found. Considering Shanahan’s history with defensive coordinators, I think those guys are always on the bubble. And I know Morris was hired without Haslett’s input. In fact, nobody on that staff was directly wooed by Haslett. He has none of “his guys”. That’s a tough spot; the others are all loyal to the head coach. Gregg Williams’ staff had his guys, for example. It’s natural to speculate that Morris eventually will have that job if the D doesn’t go the way Shanahan wants. But it’s too early to know which direction this will go.
John: Is the speculation true that Shanahan relieved Haslett in favor of Raheem Morris for defensive play calling later in the game?
P: Here’s what I know: Many reporters, including myself, have asked numerous people on this and nobody has given even a small hint to suggest that it’s true. Doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened (or that people have stopped asking). What I learned long ago is that bloggers have relationships with players, too, — whether as friends, drinking buddies, whatever — and hear things. In the past they had no forum to express what they learn and now they do. Sometimes players let their guard down more with “fans” than with media. Actually, that’s definitely the case. And sometimes people (players, coaches) exaggerate a situation, too – vendetta, bravado, whatever; I’ve also seen that plenty of times over the years. What happened in this case? Don’t know. I learned long ago never to dismiss anything when it comes to this franchise. But all I know is that I haven’t heard anything to substantiate the blog.
John: An ideal NT in the 3-4 is a run stuffer and disrupts the pocket. Should the Skins move Cofield to DE, and start Chris Baker at NT? At times, Cofield is a non factor(see Ram game). I do think Cofield could hold the edge as a DE should in a 3-4.
Brian: I think Cofield could play end, but I’ll take the strong NT first and foremost. The 3-4 doesn’t work without it. I don’t know how Baker would fare because we’ve only seen him in preseason games vs. backups. He looked good early in camp then leveled off. He has a lot to learn about playing nose at an NFL level. But if something else happens at end in terms of injuries, I wouldn’t be surprised if something like this happens. Cofield did take some reps at this spot during practices last season.
John: Love your stuff. I’ll keep it quick: The Rams (not even arguably) have a worse QB, worse offensive line, worse wide receivers and tight ends then New Orleans. I would even say that the Saints running game is on par or better than the Rams. So why did we not play the same type of defense in St. Louis? In my mind, if man coverage and pressure beats Drew Brees, why didn’t we go in with the same gameplan vs. Bradford? We brilliantly craft a gameplan versus Brees, and just chuck something out for the Rams…just doesn’t make sense.
Chris: Tough to use the same game plan from week to week. It’s as much about the matchup with the receivers and even what teams like to do in the run game (some of the Rams’ big runs occurred vs. man coverage; on Daryl Richardson’s 53-yarder, for example, Ryan Kerrigan was in man and was run out of the play, or at least put in a bad spot to make one. On Steven Jackson’s 20-yard run, D Hall was in man and went with the fake end around, leaving the outside open and no force guy). Point is, they did try man – most of the first quarter was spent in man coverage. The Rams moved the ball then, too. It’s a major misnomer that they only played zone . Clearly something didn’t work because the Rams moved the ball all game, but they had issues in everything they tried. That’s the bigger worry.
John: With the injury to Adam Carriker, do you think the Redskins will bring up Doug Worthington to the 53 man roster? If Orakpo is out for an extended period of time, any chance they try to sign Markus White off the Tampa Bay practice squad?
Jeffrey: By now you know the answer to this one (his question was asked the morning after the game). I left it in to let everyone know how on the ball you were. I liked Worthington this summer; he plays with a lot of power and stays low consistently. He’s a good fit as a 3-4 end, but he’s just not that quick. White is interesting. In the preseason he was inconsistent (thought he had his best game in the finale against Tampa Bay, which they signed him to the practice squad). White looks the part, but I’m not sure how wise he is at the position yet.