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Redskins vs. Rams checklist: More misses than hits

In the aftermath of Sunday's loss to the Rams, let's revisit the Redskins' keys to the game and see where they succeeded and where they failed. We'll start with the offense.

Establish a ground attack: No. The Redskins started off the game running with success. Clinton Portis got his touches and ran for 44 yards, but that would be it for him. Ryan Torain came in and ran for 46 yards; both backs had seven carries apiece. Net rushing on 17 attempts was 116 yards. Coaches seemed to be trying new things with new people in this game.

Strong game from the offensive line: No. They did a better job run blocking but still did not show the ability to be consistent. They made too many mistakes and were penalized on several key plays, giving up valuable yardage in a close game.

Find secondary receivers: No. Donovan McNabb did use other receivers outside of Santana Moss, but did not use them as frequently as he should have. Tight end Chris Cooley should have received more touches earlier in this game.

Don't allow the Rams' defense to gain confidence: No. The Rams knew they had to keep the Redskins offense in front of them. In other words: Do not let a big play occur; do not let the pass plays get behind them. The Rams were able to limit the Redskins' big-play ability, which played right into the hands of the Rams. The longer the Rams were able to execute the game plan successfully, the more confidence they gained.

Now let's look at the defense:

Stop Steven Jackson: Yes. Jackson left the game early because of a groin pull. Keep in mind he had rushed for more than 50 yards and a touchdown when he left the game, so give credit to the injury bug for lending a hand. What's sad is a pair of reserve backs were able to come in and make some clutch runs for the Rams when they needed it.

Force Sam Bradford to beat you with his arm: No. The pressures were not effective enough to rattle the rookie quarterback. The game plan was clear for the Rams: Throw short passes in the seams or right smack in front of Bradford's face. He was able to execute his assignments well enough to put up 30 points.

Generate multiple turnovers: No. It looked as though the defense would generate more than one turnover in this game. But after an early Interception by Kareem Moore, there would be no more.

Finally, let's look at special teams.

Play consistent: Yes. Graham Gano filled in as the punter after starter Josh Bidwell was injured in warm-ups. Gano did his best filling in as the punter averaging 24 yards on the day. He was also consistent in the kicking game, making all three field goal attempts.

Coverage teams: Yes. They played a solid game all day long and even got a fumble recovery.

Return game: yes and no. Yes for Devin Thomas, who gave the offense solid starting field position all day long. Phillip Buchanon did not and fumbled a return that could have been a costly turnover.

To summarize this game, the performances by the coaching staff and players were poor. They let a struggling team find confidence in their game plan and allowed them to execute it well enough to pull off an upset. It can't come as a surprise when the same penalties are committed, the same mistakes are made, and the continued indecision by Coach Mike Shanahan and company continue.

Time to regroup and re-evaluate how this team is preparing. These next 3 games are against really good teams. The Redskins can't win if they continue to coach and play this way.

By LaVar Arrington  | September 27, 2010; 12:11 PM ET
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Next: Redskins-Eagles keys to the game: the offense


My question is this, are these games fixed? Lavar you played can you plese answer this question. Is the outcome already determined?

Posted by: Baller1122 | September 27, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Hard Hits should be required reading for all Skins fans. They suck and LaVar tells you why.

Posted by: cbtole2 | September 27, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Anyone see who missed the tackle from the safety on the Steven Jackson touchdown run? They never showed the replay but that dude went for the lights out hit and missed badly. Another example of going for the big hit and not wrapping up.

Posted by: rfe18 | September 27, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if the expert Lavar, still thinks is boy Dbag Hall is a shutdown corner or that this defense is HIS team? Maybe he should try shutting his mouth and he may be able to shut down an average receiver some day, moron!

Posted by: cm88 | September 27, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

This was one of the worst coaching jobs I have seen. Portis was playing well so that took him out, why?

They hit the bomb at the start of the second half and run the ball badly three strait play, why?

The had 5 or 6 sacks last game but only 1 against the Rams, why? They did not seem to alter the defense to what the offense wanted to do, why?

They only threw to Cooley about three times, why.

On a crucial third down play they called a pass to Williams that only played sparingly, why?

The coaching staff looked as if they were experimenting with play calling and personnel. Is the game the place to do that? And finally they are having taken three excellent players, Orakpo, Carter and Pro Bowl middle linebacker Fletcher and neutered them, why. The result is that they have taken a top ten defense and made it the worst in the league.

Posted by: chuckh1 | September 27, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Greg Balche looks like Buddy Ryan compared to Jim("i'm in charge here")Haslet,the 3/4 scheme seems ill suited for the personel we have on this defense, and Mike Shannahan needs to come off his high horse and give Devin Thomas a shot,you've got a QB that has a clue why not give him some real weapons to work with, and how does Mark Clayton end up on the Rams without so much as a look from this team?

Posted by: dargregmag | September 27, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

If they put more effort into the actual play and less into the celebrations and chest thumping after minor victories:

A) like spinning the ball on the ground after a 1st down

B) dancing and posturing to the crowd and the other teams' sideline after making a stop (not necessarily a possesion ending stop either).

C) and worst of all, there should never be any endzone dancing or trash-talking when your team is still BEHIND on the scoreboard.

I'm all for showmanship and gamesmanship, but until you can back it up, why not just act like you've been there before?

Posted by: drakejordan | September 27, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

well where do I start? Listening to the players comments after the game, as usual after they get owned they are talking about "how great a team we are". "We are so talented". After watching these same jokers produce the same results for years reguardless of the coaching staff I have determined that most of the REdskins players are ego tripping quiters that give up as soon as they start getting beat. They seem to have it in their heads that they are special or something. These guys havn't done a single thing in years. Why not at least admit who and what you really are? Then maybe they could start playing for real without the ego tripping. It's like they think they good or something? I mean who the hell postures like a god every time they make a mundane play? Message to skins players. You are old, slow, and mentally weak. Beat somebodies **s and then start dancing around like you did something. Where's a Ray Lewis type on this team? The only stud is Laundry but he has to pose like an idiot even when he gets burned! Who are these guys? And why the hell do I keep watching them p**p themselves year after year?

Posted by: jacksonalex | September 27, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Lavar throw the pads back on man we need you!!

Posted by: jacksonalex | September 27, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

re; Portis falling down.
This is no mystery and I am surprised folks are acting as confused as to what they see when he does this. It's what I first saw the Rams 98 make famous. They go down when it appears no more yards can/will be gained and live to fight another play. I am not making an excuse for it just making an observation. This has saved the Redskins more times than anyone is wuilling to admit. The way we refuse to aquire adequete back ups imagine if CP does go out for the season. The tackling in the NFL (and spilling over to college) has become very malicous. They pretend to be naive but there is an extreme amount of horse collering and bending guys that are obviously pinned by the legs. I know its football and a rough sport but thats my two cent.

question to Lavar;
Lavar, as a defender when an offense has been killing you all day with the short to intermediate pass(let alone thats been one of our weaknesses for many years), shouldn't there be a point when the zone or space tightens or collapses down to that problem area.

Bradford didn't attempt to go deep. When he threw a little further than that 10 through 17 yard area, those were the incompletions. Isn't that how defenses completely destroy our offense? Knowing that we can or will not throw deep?

Would will rather lose the game "not getting beat deep" or is there a point when you gamble a little and step up on those passes?

Posted by: gmac78 | September 27, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse


I noticed against Houston, Jim Haslett focused on putting pressure on Schaub but failed to do so against a rookie QB. Obviously you lose coverage when blitzing constantly and you give guys like Schaub a chance to take advantage of that. Was he scared that Bradford would exploit the lack of coverage?

We put no pressure whatsoever on this kid. Why were we using the 4-3 more in this game? To please Haynesworth? I understand the injuries on the D line but still stick to what your defense has been practicing. We got to the QB in the last 2 games by using a 3-4 and bringing safety and corner blitzes.

We have a talented secondary that could not cover one of the worst offenses in the league. The whole game was lost because of our inability to pressure a rookie QB. Plain and simple.

Posted by: toddajacob | September 27, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Bradford saw the where the skins were sending pressure from and indentified the soft spots in the coverage ( before the snap ) He threw the ball to quick for any pressure to be effective. It was pretty impressive for a rookie but I'm tired of the Skins beeing the cure-all for struggling opponents.

Week one against Dallas, Romo covered up for there injured o-line by throwing those quick plays. The Skins have got to be able to adjust to things like that eventually.

Posted by: gmac78 | September 27, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Lavar your reports are the best we have gotten in years. Love them all. You hit the nail on the head every week. Glad to see you added the Head Coach to the list again this week. We all know thats were it all starts. Please send Mike a copy of Hard Hits this week to Mike Shanahan because he has never read one. He needs to read one to see the things that you don't seem to miss. Another thing Lavar. Most head coaches in this league have a clipboard on the sidelines from time to time. Why doesn't Mike have on. Andy Reid in Philly does and they are playing well. Ryan in NY has one and they are 3-0. Bill Belichick does and they are 2-1. Is Mike too trusting of Kyle to have a clipboard and Haslett who has never had a top ranked defense in this league. Time to regroup Mike.

Posted by: creepyjackolopeeye | September 27, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Let's just face it, This team just flat out stinks.Do you obviously think they were a playoff team?? They will get there butts handed to them in the next 3 weeks. Andy Reid will run up the score on this team nextweek. You heard it here Philly will post +50 on this half ass defense nextweek,And prove to everyone why he gave up on Donovan. Trust me.Our problems run so much deeper then this.All I heard was OMG we beat the Cowboys, They were the next crowned Super Bowl Champs. We are good. Forget it I see a 5-11 on the horizon.I cant give up anymore Sundays to watch this horrible team.Although I will watch the Philly game nextweek to see if Shanny has any balls to protect his new QB,I hope they plan on Airing it out the entire game. Oh thats right we only have one W/R,and TE to throw to, Give me a break Lavar is a straight shooter,His posts will get more and more revealing by seasons end.

Posted by: sharptown1 | September 27, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I can see LaVar's friends and family are back submitting comments again.

Posted by: sjp879 | September 27, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Can we get Spingarn on the schedule? the only goo thing that came out of that game was seeing fat cooley get jacked up like a beiatch on the last play of the game and gimp off the field pouting that they got smoked by bum street!!!

Posted by: doyouktt | September 27, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

re comments from drakejordan:


New rule: no celebrations until your team makes the playoffs!

POSER is only one letter different than LOSER!

Posted by: nb888 | September 27, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

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