September 19, 2010

Redskins Vs. Texans: Postgame

My apologies. I was too busy to update the fourth quarter at Fedex, but I have some postgame thoughts here for you after a gut-wrenching overtime loss the Redskins should never have had to experience.

Also, here's my postgame report with reactions from the Redskin players on SB Nation DC.

1. The Redskins interior blocking will need to improve drastically. 18 net yards rushing is not going to cut it. Somehow, the Redskins were able to compete today, but they really had zero success running the football. The scheme is fine; it's more the fact that there's not enough adequate personnel to execute it.

Clinton Portis spoke about what changes need to be made in the ground game. "Right now as an offense we are throwing the ball around; you just have to be patient," he said. "I think we just have to be consistent. We were picking up chunks, but we need to capitalize in the red zone because we can move the ball up and down the field."

The Redskins did have a pair of drives stall in the first quarter after two first down runs deep in Texans territory failed to produce yardage, leading to second and longs, and subsequently, field goals. The first came on the Houston 24-yard line where Portis ran for no gain. The second came from the Houston 11, and Portis carried the ball for minus-four.

The Redskins need better execution on the ground; simple as that.

2. The defense will take time to install. There are moments when they look like world-beaters with timely pressure, but ultimately they are missing several pieces and still need time to adjust to a complex 3-4 scheme. The team had five sacks and countless other hits on Matt Schaub. But they also gave up 497 yards passing and at times struggled to contain the stretch run and protect the cutback lanes.

The 'Skins did make good adjustments against the run in the second half, but that was also due to the fact the Texans had to abandon the run game when they went down by three scores.

The secondary will be happy to have Kareem Moore back. LaRon Landry has been phenomenal, but Reed Doughty isn't a full time centerfielder over the top. It showed today in the second half as he was torched repeatedly.

3. Donovan McNabb is very good. While Jason Campbell was benched at halftime in Oakland, McNabb had 239 yards passing in a half. He ended up with 426 yards and a touchdown and played a tremendous game. Remember, McNabb has dealt with a mediocre running game for much of the past five years in Philly. This is nothing new to him.

The Redskins have finally found themselves a top-notch NFL starter at QB and what a difference it makes.

4. The secondary targets stepped up. Joey Galloway, Anthony Armstrong, Fred Davis, Mike Sellers, Keiland Williams, and Roydell Williams all chipped in to help with the passing game. Eight different players caught passes, and McNabb praised the efforts of the air attack.

"Like I said last week, I enjoy giving everybody an opportunity to contribute," he said. "Today we had that opportunity to do that. We had some big catches from [Anthony] Armstrong as well as Joey [Galloway], Santana [Moss] and [Chris] Cooley, and including Fred [Davis] into it. Anytime you can spread the ball around and get different guys involved, teams have to watch everybody. You can't just key in on one or two particular receivers, everyone got involved today and made some plays for us."

5. My offensive player of the game is McNabb. The Redskins only punted once in the first half and scored 20 points. They slowed up in the second half, but he made several big throws; one was just off the mark to Galloway (Galloway had an opportunity to catch it, but it was a tough play downfield), the other was a huge third down conversion to Moss for 22 yards called back for holding on Stephon Heyer.

McNabb also led two other potential scoring drives, which ended in missed field goal opportunities. The progress from game one to game to was impressive. Now it's simply a matter of staying consistent.

6. My defensive player of the game would be Landry. He plays an undisciplined game, but the Redskins have found the perfect way to utilize his aggressive athletic ability at the line of scrimmage. Landry had 11 tackles, a sack, one pass defensed, and several QB pressures. He also managed to hit both Carlos Rogers and Reed Doughty while flying in for several of his patented kill-shots.

His impact today went beyond the impressive stat line. He harassed Schaub consistently, and made several good stops against the run. He did over-pursue in the ground game in the first half, but he rebounded in the second and filled his lane against Arian Foster, shutting off the cutback lane.

Landry was disruptive all game long and when he had  to miss several plays in overtime, the Redskins clearly missed his presence on the field. Schaub completed a long throw to set up the game-winning field goal with the rough and tumble safety on the sideline.

More to come later. My column for SB Nation DC will come out tomorrow so look for it.

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