Posts Tagged ‘Redskins’

Is Graham Gano of the Redskins the worst kicker in the NFL?

November 23, 2011

Graham Gano, the latest in a long line of mediocre kickers for the Washington Redskins, missed 2-of-3 field goals in a 27-24 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday at FedEx Field.

Dan Bailey kicked a 39-yard field goal to give the Cowboys the win in overtime.

Rex Grossman led Washington on an 89-yard drive capped off by a 4-yard touchdown pass to Donte Stallworth to tie the score at 24 with 14 seconds left. Grossman had one of his better outings, connecting on 25-of-38 passes for 289 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. Grossman also ran for a touchdown.

Jabar Gaffney contributed a strong effort for Washington with seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, the Redskins’ overrated bend and break defense allowed Tony Romo to throw for 292 yards and three touchdowns.

Gano could have won the game with a 52-yard kick in overtime, but the kick sailed to the right. In the third quarter, with the Redskins up 17-10, Gano missed a 49-yarder. Both misses were long field goals, but the fact is that Gano has been the most inconsistent kicker in the NFL during his short two-year career.

Much of the blame for the Redskins’ six-game losing streak will be again focused on the play of the quarterbacks, running game and play-calling, and rightfully so.  But the Redskins’ kicking game is once again among the worst in the NFL.

The Redskins have had six key offensive players injured for parts of the season, and three starters are out for the year. Still, if the Redskins had a better kicker, they might have another two wins.

Gano has made just 16-of-24 kicks in 2011, a rate of less than 67 percent, good for 31st in the NFL. Only Jay Feely of Arizona is making kicks at a lower rate than Gano.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Rex Grossman leads Skins to 28-14 win over Giants at FedEx Field

September 12, 2011

At least for now, Mike Shanahan’s decision to start Rex Grossman over John Beck has turned out to be a good one. Grossman led the Redskins to a 28-14 win over the Giants at FedEx Field. Grossman was 21-of-34 for 305 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

To read my article about Shanahan’s decision to start Rex on Examiner.com, click here.

Will former Skins linebacker Chris Hanburger, of Over the Hill Gang, make the Hall of Fame?

February 5, 2011

Former Redskins linebacker Chris Hanburger may be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame tonight.  Hanburger was nominated as a senior candidate.  The voting takes place today. Hanburger made nine Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro four seasons.  He was NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1972 when the Redskins made it to the Super Bowl.

Hanburger was part of teams that made five playoff appearances in seven years in the 1970s for George Allen’s Redskins.  Click here to see my article on Examiner.com.

Cooley talks about Redskins’ season, Shanahan, Dallas, and Mitchell

December 15, 2010

Chris Cooley participated in a promotional event for FedEx Office Tuesday in Washington. Photo by Mike Frandsen

I caught up with Redskins tight end Chris Cooley Tuesday at FedEx Office in Washington for a brief interview for Examiner.com. Cooley was participating in a FedEx promotional event.

Cooley, in his seventh season with the Redskins, said that the team is very motivated to play Dallas this week.

He likes the discipline Shanahan has instilled in the team and is optimistic about the future.

Cooley defended himself against criticism by former Redskin Brian Mitchell.

The former Pro Bowl tight end said he’s 100 percent healthy now and he hopes and expects to end his career in Washington.

When asked about ex-Redskin Colt Brennan, Cooley said the former quarterback is up and walking around after his car accident last month.

Click here to read the interview on Examiner.com.

Graham Gano is the latest in a long line of bad to mediocre Redskins kickers

December 15, 2010

Redskins kicker Graham Gano probably won't be signing autographs for Redskins fans next year. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Is Graham Gano the worst kicker in the NFL?  There’s no doubt that he is – the statistics back that up.  Gano has missed 10 field goals on the year, which leads the NFL.  But a more important question to ask would be:  How much better would the Redskins have been in recent seasons with kickers who were merely average or above average instead of bad?

Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gano missed two field goals that any high school kicker should make.  Either of the chip shot field goals Gano missed, a 24 and a 34-yarder, would have given the Redskins enough points to win a game that they lost 17-16.  Never mind the botched snap and hold on what would have been a game-tying extra point – the Redskins should have never been in that situation.  True, it was rainy, but those are kicks that have to go in.

In fairness, Gano did kick a game-winning 33-yard field goal in overtime to give Washington a 16-13 win over Green Bay.

This brings up an often overlooked issue:  the Redskins have had some of the worst kickers in the NFL during the Dan Snyder era, a time when NFL teams have been so close in talent that special teams can make a huge difference.  Kick returner Brandon Banks has kept the Redskins in several games this season, but during the previous decade, Washington had one of the worst kick return units in the league, and its punters were nothing to brag about either.

(This just in – the Skins today cut Hunter Smith, whose failed hold cost the team an extra point that would have sent the game against the Bucs into overtime.  Smith was one of the worst punters in the league – par for the course for Washington the last 15 years or so.  I might even be underestimating the importance of special teams.  If Skins kickers, punters, and return and coverage units were good the past decade, maybe the Skins would have even averaged 10-6 instead of 7-9.)

This inattention to detail has been symbolic of a franchise that was once known for its blue-collar work ethic, but has gained a reputation of overpaying stars at glamorous positions.

Talk all you want about Tom Brady, but he hasn’t won a Super Bowl without Adam Vinatieri.  Neither has Peyton Manning. So when you complain about questionable coaching decisions or Donovan McNabb, don’t forget double G.

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Redskins get passing grades at halfway mark; McNabb and Shanahan each get a B-

November 7, 2010

At the midway point of the season, the Redskins are 4-4 and have as many wins as they had all of last season.  Coach Mike Shanahan has improved the discipline and attitude of the players, and the Redskins are 2-0 in the NFC East.  But before calling this season a success so far, remember that last year’s team lost several close games, and when coach Jim Zorn was stripped of play calling duties, it signified Washington essentially throwing in the towel.  Otherwise the 2009 Redskins might have easily won seven or eight games.

With that in mind, here are the Redskins’ mid-term grades.  There aren’t any A’s but no units have failed either.

Quarterback: B-.  At first glance, Donovan McNabb isn’t having a great season.  His passer rating of 76.0 is the worst of his career and his accuracy has been up and down.  The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback has more interceptions (eight) than touchdowns (seven).  However, McNabb is playing behind a porous offensive line with inconsistent, inexperienced running backs and a receiving corps that is one of the worst in the NFL.  Still, McNabb’s leadership has helped Washington to as many wins as it had all of last season, and he has already become the Redskins’ best deep passer since Mark Rypien played nearly 20 years ago.  There may also be something to what coach Mike Shanahan says about McNabb being banged up and having hamstring problems, because power and accuracy on throws stem from the legs.

McNabb has also had to learn a new offense as well that is very different than the short passing game he ran in Philadelphia.  Despite media reports that McNabb will move on via free agency at the end of the year because of his recent benching by Shanahan, there’s no reason he can’t stay and in fact it would be hard to find a better option in free agency or coming out of college.

Here are a few other excerpts from my article on Examiner.com:

Wide Receivers: D. Santana Moss is a solid pro and is having his usual strong season but is best suited to being a number two or slot receiver.  Moss’ 48 receptions are 19 more than the rest of the team’s receivers combined.  Other than Moss, this may be the thinnest receiving corps in the league.

Cornerbacks: B-.  Carlos Rogers is a solid cover corner but couldn’t catch a cold if he spent the season teaching kindergarten.

Coaching: B-. Shanahan is a good football coach who wins games.  Unfortunately, his alter ego, “Shenanigan,” plays games that hurt the team.

For the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

 

Shanahan’s bizarre decision to bench McNabb still makes no sense

November 4, 2010

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan's decision to bench Donovan McNabb for Rex Grossman was unexpected, and, perhaps, indefensible. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench quarterback Donovan McNabb for Rex Grossman with less than two minutes to go and the Redskins down by six in Sunday’s 37-25 loss to the Detroit Lions was indefensible.  See my article on Examiner.com here.

It just gets curiouser and curiouser.  First, Shanny said McNabb didn’t have as good of a command of the 2-minute offense as Grossman.  Then he said something about McNabb not being in good cardiovascular shape because of injuries.  Let’s face it – the whole thing is weird.  McNabb hasn’t played that well, but the Skins don’t exactly have a good running game, a passable receiving corps, or even a solid offensive line.  And the defense gives up tons and tons of yards. (So much for the technical analysis in this article).

Maybe Shanahan is trying to show the team that no one is above anyone else.  He messed with Albert Haynesworth by not playing him against the Colts, benched Derrick Dockery, and cut Devin Thomas. And at other times during the season, Haynesworth has played sparingly, despite the fact that he has shown he can be dominant against both the pass and the run.

Washington traded for McNabb last spring for these moments, because he has been one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL for the last decade. Grossman is a journeyman, he hadn’t played in a regular season game since last year, and he is known as a streaky player.  McNabb has a reputation as a leader, and already led a comeback this season against Green Bay.  No quarterback has more 50-yard passes this season than McNabb, and with no timeouts, long passes would have been critical.

McNabb has made the Redskins a significantly better team than they were in 2009, already leading Washington to as many victories as it had all last season.

One scary possibility on this Halloween is that the decision came from up above.  Last year, in a bizarre, unprecedented move, Redskins owner Dan Snyder took away coach Jim Zorn’s play-calling duties and hired former NFL offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis to call plays from the booth.  Lewis had been calling bingo games since his retirement in 2004. If a frustrated Snyder hastily gave orders to Shanahan to replace McNabb with Grossman late in the game, Shanahan should have ignored him and dared him to fire him.

Of course, any talk of Snyder’s involvement is purely speculative, and it’s much more likely that Shanahan is sending a message to the team with these moves, that it doesn’t matter your draft pedigree, and that even McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback, can be benched for poor performance.  But it’s not loyal to your franchise quarterback to pull him late in a close game.  It’s insulting. It’s very doubtful that former Hog Russ Grimm would have made that decision had he been head coach.

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

 

Former Hog Russ Grimm gets Hall of Fame ring

October 24, 2010

Former Hog Russ Grimm was awarded his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring Sunday at halftime of the Redskins-Colts game at FedEx Field. Former teammate Jeff Bostic looks on.

Former Redskins guard Russ Grimm was awarded his Hall of Fame ring at a halftime ceremony which former Hogs George Starke, Jeff Bostic, Joe Jacoby, Rick “Doc” Walker, Fred Dean, and offensive line coach Joe Bugel attended.  Grimm, an assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals, was able to attend because the Cardinals have a bye this week.  It was a great moment, but too many of the fans left their seats at the half, which was a little disappointing.

Two hours before the game, the former players circled FedEx Field in a parade.  Shortly before kickoff, the team introduced the 62 former Redskins in attendance who played from the 1960s to 2004 as part of “Homecoming,” an alumni weekend organized by general manager Bruce Allen.  It’s nice to see the team honoring former players, because, strangely, Snyder hasn’t done a good job of that until recently.

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Redskins should not trade Haynesworth because they need better pass rush

September 20, 2010

Albert Haynesworth and the Redskins should compromise so that Albert can put on his helmet and play. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Although it’s tempting, the Redskins shouldn’t trade Albert Haynesworth.  I make the case in an article on Examiner.com.  If Sunday’s 30-27 overtime loss to the Houston Texans showed anything, it’s that the Redskins could use another pass rusher besides Brian Orakpo.  True the Skins got 5 sacks, but the Texans threw the ball 52 times, and Matt Schaub had time to throw.

And although Haynesworth is not a pure pass rusher, he can line up at defensive end sometimes and also create space for the other players like Andre Carter and Adam Carriker.

Haynesworth didn’t play against the Texans because of a sprained ankle.  It’s possible that the Redskins didn’t want him to reinjure the ankle since they’re trying to trade him.  Or maybe Shanahan was showing Albert who is the boss and punished him by not only not starting him, but not playing him.  Or maybe Albert refused to play.  Of course, this is speculation, but something about the situation doesn’t seem right.

Both sides probably want a trade, but there’s a very real chance it won’t happen if the Skins can’t get enough.  So my point is that everyone should make the best of the situation and Haynesworth should try to have the best year possible.  Line him up at nose tackle, defensive end, and alternate between the two.  Shanahan is trying to change the culture at Redskins Park, but talent is talent, and a motivated Haynesworth can make a huge difference.

To read the article on Examiner.com, click here.

Redskins should sign former Seattle and Cincinnati receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, cut by Seahawks

September 5, 2010

I just wrote an article on Examiner.com urging the Redskins to sign former Seahawks and Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who was cut by Seattle Saturday.   The Redskins are thin at starting wide receiver.  After Santana Moss, they’ve got 38-year old Joey Galloway starting.  T.J. would help out Donovan McNabb, who could use another receiver. (Has any good quarterback ever had worse luck with receivers than McNabb?)

The Skins have an average running back corps, solid but three-fifths new offensive line, and Chris Cooley and Moss are the only sure things.  And Moss has been known to miss a few games here and there because of injury.

As recently as 2007, “Houshmazilli” had 112 catches and 12 TDs. Dan Snyder and Mike Shanahan should forget about critics who would say signing Houshmandzadeh would be another free agent who is past his prime, and sign T.J. because it is best for the team.  The Skins have a tough schedule, but a shot at the playoffs because of a solid defense.  Now it’s time to shore up the offense while they still can.  They missed out on the opportunity to get Brian Westbrook.  Don’t blow this one.