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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

Redskins Colts Recap: What it Means for the Redskins Going Forward

After an exciting win against the Arizona Cardinals, many Redskins fans thought this was the season. Unfortunately, week two proved believers wrong as the Redskins fell to the Colts, 21-9.

In week one, AP let the world know that he isn’t the washed up running back everyone thought he was. He ran all over the Cardinals with 26 carries for 96 yards and two receptions for 70 yards. With a performance like that and his mindset on being best RB of all time, fans and opponents alike probably assumed he would keep the train rolling. However, the Colts had other plans, with an answer to everything the Skins threw at them.

What went wrong

Indianapolis held Peterson to 20 yards from 11 carries. That’s just not a winning formula. In fact, the Colts held the Redskins to zero touchdowns. Scat-back Chris Thompson has established himself to be a threat out of backfield in the passing game; with 92 yards on 13 catches. But he couldn’t do anything to get the run game going, with one yard on four rushes. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder led the Redskins’ rushing game with a stellar 29 yards.

Rookie Colts linebacker, Darius “The Maniac” Leonard, was key for the Colts in shutting down the Redskins’ rushing attack. With 18 tackles (15 solo) and a sack, Leonard single handedly tore apart Washington’s run game. The Maniac tied the record for most tackles in a game by a Colt since 2014.

Although the Redskins passing was nothing awful, as Alex Smith threw for 292 yards on 33 completions, he also didn’t provide any scoring despite his efficiency. He threw multiple dimes in tight situations, but also spent a little too much time in the pocket. He was sacked three times, an all-around bad performance from the o-line.. All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams was called for multiple false starts. Along with the weak o-line performance, Redskins receivers dropped six balls, several of which could’ve been scores.

“We had no chemistry today. Including me as a play-caller. Inside zone didn’t work. Outside zone didn’t work. We got sacked twice on our play passes for goodness sakes.”
-Jay Gruden

On the other side of the ball the Redskins were able to maintain a solid pass defense, holding Luck to 21/31 for 177 yards. DJ Swearinger was on fire, with two picks. While two of the three touchdowns for the Colts came from passes, the Redskins did just as well as the Colts did on pass deflections with a total of five. As it seemed against the Cardinals, the Redskins have a tough pass defense but the star QB and WR duo Luck and Hilton exposed some possible weak spots that need to be fixed before week three.

The run defense seemed to struggle as Jordan Wilkins ran 10 times for 61 carries, complemented by another 31 yards from Marlon Mack and a TD from Nyheim. Mason Foster(linebacker) lead the Redskins tackles with a total of 11, which was only one more than what the defensive line had all together. Along with minuscule amount of tackles, there were several occasions where the d-line was slow off the snap and let Luck have a little too much time. This cannot be allowed against Green Bay.

What needs to happen to beat Green Bay

After both a great opening performance and a less organized second week, the Redskins coaches and players can clearly identify weak and strong points within the teams dynamic.

Earlier in the preseason the Packers were rated as the top run defense in the NFL. This will especially affect the ‘Skins, as they’ll have to shift priority away from handing the ball off as often. Alex Smith is going to have to get the passing game going early to get some momentum, especially against their poor pass defense. Smith will need to utilize Jordan Reed’s big body up the middle, along with some sneaky bubble and wheel routes by Chris Thompson. Richardson and Doctson will have to also continue to open up quick and deep routes on this Green Bay defense.

As seen against the Colts, the Skins receivers had a hard time pulling in catches and holding onto them as they got closer to the endzone. Smith will have to spend time with the shallow receiver corp finding out what works best for both and executing important plays when it come to driving to the field and finishing. If the Redskins are able to move the ball through the air, they will also get a chance to give Peterson the ball on the ground and break through some holes.

Defense has not shown too many flaws this year, but guarding a quarterback as legendary as Aaron Rodgers is biggest challenge the Redskins defense will face so far, and maybe all season. Tight pass coverage will be needed when Rodgers throws down the field, along with a strong pass rush. The Redskins’ defensive line and linebacker corp will have to stay consistent as the run game is clearly not the biggest threat the Packers have to offer. The defensive line will have to spend time on getting quicker off the line and laying pressure on Aaron. Da’Ron Payne and Jonathan Allen are key to blocking the middle while Kerrigan, Ioannidis, and Hood will have to get around the O-line quickly and show pressure to Rodgers.

Overall, this game can go either way depending on Redskins ability to figure out why they did so poorly week two on offense and adapt to the strongest run defense in the league.

Free agency

Along with making adjustments to both sides of the ball, the Skins will have to reevaluate their roster as injuries have already impacted an already thin receiving corps. Along with receivers, the o-line depth may need to be expanded to achieve a consistently talented lineup when Williams or Scherff goes down, as they did all last year and already this year. The Redskins have already made a move on free agent wideouts Breshad Perriman and Michael Floyd, who have both shown flashes of being legit contributors, but have some improving to do before they start seeing targets.

Possible FA acquisitions

Dez Bryant WR: Dez would secure a starting role and give the Redskins another deep / end zone threat. Having Bryant would become the biggest threat to the back 7 and would open up space for fellow receivers.

Jeremy Maclin WR: Although he has seen some hamstring problems and decline in production in recent years, he would serve fine as a depth filler. Redskins are no stranger to injuries and letting Maclin sit for some of the season and giving reps when it matters could be crucial.

Luke Joeckel OT: Former Seahawks Tackle might not be seen as talented as other starting lineman for the Redskins, but again Williams and Moses have seen injuries already this season giving more depth to the offensive line.

Eric Winston OT: While it might be in the end of his career, but that means less money and more experience for the o-line in general. He could serve almost more as a coach to fellow players and be used on the practice squad.

-Cole

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