The good and terrible from the Skins 21-17 win over the Lions.
1. Matt Jones. Good vision runner with power. He’s the heir apparent to Morris if they decide to pass on giving Morris big money in 2016.
2. Tress Way. 51.0 per on four punts.
3. Justin Rogers. Made several plays in the first half in coverage and had a sack on a blitz.
4. Trey Williams. Explosive. It’s him or Chris Thompson for the 3rd-down back.
5. Defensive aggressiveness. There were missed tackles for sure but the defense was flying around. Noticeable were Rogers, Ineacho, Amerson, Trenton Robinson, and Jeron Johnson. There were others too.
1. First-team offense. It was worse than anyone could’ve imagined. 17 total yards with negative passing yardage. No Trent Williams meant a problem on the left side in pass pro. It wasn’t the only area they struggled in pass pro but LT Willie Smith was a matador waving all interested parties towards his quarterback. Griffin was under siege but it’s not like he couldn’t have limited the damage with better anticipation. He doesn’t anticipate pressure well and doesn’t throw with anticipation. The combination of both has been his biggest problem and is a major limiting factor in him becoming a bonafide NFL starting QB. If Gruden wants to help him, he should do what the Shanahans did. Put him in the Pistol, make the defense play him as a potential runner, and watch how it reduces a pass rush. Don’t drop him back anymore, especially in the bad down/distance situations he had tonight.
2. Bad coaching in first-half. Bottom line, Gruden knew he was compromised on the offensive line tonight and he knows he’s working with a limited quarterback in the drop-back game. He should’ve helped him with early-down throws and should’ve avoided all drop-backs in bad down and distance situations. Griffin can’t be a dropback passer on 2nd and 3rd and long. He was sacked 3 times and hit another 2-3 times hard. The first sack was on a 2nd and 11. The 2nd sack was on a 2nd and 12 and the 3rd and final play for Griffin was a sack on 3rd and 16. He CAN’T be asked to drop-back and throw the ball on bad down/distance plays. Yes, that’s where the best quarterbacks in the league earn their money but he can’t do it. If you’re forced to play him this year, run screens and draws on long down/distance plays, and put the read-option back into the game plan in an effort to avoid 2nd and 3rd and longs.
3. Missed tackles early. Ineacho missed one as did Amerson and Keenan Robinson. I still liked the way the defense flew to the ball.
4. Picking up Griffin’s 5th-year option. If he continues to play and take the hits he does in the pocket, the risk of serious injury is relatively high. His build is breakable and he takes more big hits than any quarterback I can remember. The risk of a $16+ million cap hit in 2016 for a quarterback that may not be available to play is real.
1. Jackson Jeffcoat had a sack. He’s got legit edge speed. We saw that last year.
2. I liked the Skins use of timeouts on defense at the end of the first half. It’s the preseason but they’ve treated end of half situations in their first two games like the regular season and handled those situations well.
3. Kirk Cousins’ TD pass to Ross was nice but he had choices because Chris Thompson was wide open in the end zone as well.
4. FYI, Chris Thompson dropped the opening kickoff in the back of the end zone. Catching punts and kickoffs has been a problem for him.
5. There were unforced fumbling mishaps with Griffin and McCoy. Griffin, on the play he got hurt, and McCoy right before the half. Griffin had another fumble as well on his first sack. That one was recovered by one of his o-lineman. Scherff was beat on that play.
6. Cousins should get first-team reps next week in Baltimore.
7. Cousins told Tarik El Bashir on CSN last night that it’s the “coaches decision” about whether or not he’s done enough to be considered a starter. This is a different response from Cousins compared to last year where he was consistently deferential to Griffin as the starter.