The Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) head to Washington for the first time since 2004 this Sunday, with the Redskins featuring a new era offense with a quarterback that could be significantly talked about for many years. Hopefully he's the guy that everyone talks about after they've completed their Andy Dalton praises, but based on the kid's personality that we've seen at SB Nation and his raw athletic ability, the Redskins have something special.
Taking a very generalized view of the Redskins offense against the Saints and Rams, it appears that most of the offensive philosophy attacks the outside with quick passes and even some designed runs. Is this by design, higher percentage passes to get Robert Griffin III comfortable, or part of an option read before the snap?
We're still figuring out what Shanahan is up to ourselves. In the week one win at the Saints, Shanahan had RGIII throwing loads of short passes early simply to get him in a rhythm. Also, all of our wide receivers are guys that excel in yards after the catch. Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Aldrick Robinson. Get the ball over to them and let them do what they do best. RGIII went 8-8 and a TD to start the game. Last week versus the Rams, we saw the play action excel and RGIII showed his touch on deep passes.
DeAngelo Hall appears to be playing a significant amount of snaps at nickel, usually rotating with safety DeJon Gomes, covering the slot receiver. Though the Bengals receivers tend to move around, Andrew Hawkins plays the majority of his snaps at nickel. Brandon Meriweather is hoping to play his first game against the Bengals this weekend. How much of an improvement will Meriweather’s return give the Redskins defense, specifically in pass coverage?
Meriweather shouldn't add much. In Haslett's scheme, the SS plays inside the box a lot to help rush and make tackles. Then there's a zone scheme behind him. The SS drops back sometimes to help disguise things. The reason Meriweather got cut from the Bears and Pats is because he was so bad in coverage.
The Bengals have the 30th ranked defense in the NFL but the Redskins are currently ranked 28th. What would you attribute to being the biggest concern on defense?
Without a doubt it's the secondary. The Redskins got rid of both (average at best) safeties last year, Laron Landry (injured UFA), and OJ Atogwe (cap casualty). With the cap penalty Goodell put on the Redskins, after the Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan signings, not much was left. So, Shanahan went dumpster diving in former Bengal, Madieu Williams, and Bear/Patriot, Brandon Meriweather. Madieu is a shell of himself and is never around the ball.....ever. It feels like Skins are playing 10 vs 11. Meriweather hasn't played regular season ball yet, but backup Dejon Gomes has played admirably. Honestly, I think he should keep the job. Losing Orakpo is back-breaking. Not having the dual rushing threat means an extra second or two on several pass plays (at least), which is a nightmare scenario for our sub-par secondary.
The Bengals have historically used the blitz, especially from the secondary, to generate a pass rush. How would you rate the offensive line and general pass protection schemes for the Redskins?
Tell (Bengals defensive coordinator Mike) Zimmer he might want to rethink the blitz. Here's RGIII's stats vs the blitz this year:m13-15 for 316 yards (21.1/attempt), 3 TD's - 158.3 QB rating. Our offensive line is not spectacular, but they do enough where it's not turnstiles like in the Cerrato era. Left Tackle, Trent Williams, is elite and playing at a Pro-Bowl level. RGIII's elusiveness helps immensely.
Griffin has only been sacked twice this year. Is that the result of a singular reason or the combination of RGIII’s elusiveness, offensive line pass protection or quick passes?
I'll take "D"...all the above. We've seen him scramble out of a mess when the pocket collapsed. We've seen him deliver the pass and take the hit. He's very conscious of not making the big mistake, which is evident since the Redskins are +5 in turnover ratio (3rd best in the NFL).
Rookie running back Alfred Morris leads all NFL rookies with 185 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Give us an idea of what to expect with the sixth-round running back.
You almost forget Alf is out there with all the misdirection plays going on with RGIII. As a coordinator, Kyle Shanahan has consistently been top 5 in the NFL every year in pass attempts. Alfred Morris is a very hard runner. Here's an example of him trucking Lance Briggs in pre-season. Morris won't be taking a 60-yard run to the house, but he will get 6-15 yard gains in chunks when least expected. He LOVES contact, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a few Bengals' defenders fixing their helmet on Sunday.