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Redskins Fans Can Take Some Positives From The Packers/Lions Game


kleese

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I observed two things during the game in Detroit that I take as potentially having a positive spin for Redskins fans.

1. A QB playing at an elite level makes all the difference. I started a long thread on this earlier this year that generated some good debate. Ironically, my example was that if Aaron Rodgers got hurt that the Packers would be a 4-12 team. Many argued that they also had great coaching, good enough role players, defense, etc to be respectable without him. At the time, I obviously had no idea Rodgers would get hurt.

Now we see what they are. Awful. They have gone from a SB contender to a non competitive team that might not win one game without him. The change is THAT dramatic. Same cast, same OL, same scheme, same coaching. Remove the elite QB and they are garbage. I wonder why their OL is suddenly being manhandled? Why can't Nelson catch a pass? Why is their defense getting ripped?

It's all because Rodgers masks those issues when he is in there. He delivers the ball a split second faster, makes the right read, keeps the ball moving, keeps the WR involved, opens gaps for the run game, protects the defense by asking less of them, makes plays when the play call fails, etc etc

My greater point here is that even with all our holes, if we make ZERO changes this off season but RG finds himself, then we could improve by leaps and bounds. If he is able to regain his explosion and confidence and he is able up focus all off season on quarterbacking, that alone might be enough to get us back into contention. Bottom line, if RG is fully "right" by camp next year, our entire outlook will be different regardless of other changes.

2. The Lions made the playoffs in 2011. They then had one of the worst records in the NFL in 2012, getting wasted late in the year on a few occasions. In 2013, they are on course to win their division for the first time in over 20 years.

Over those three seasons, little has changed. They didn't make sweeping changes or suffer massive injuries between 2011 and 2012. And they didn't do it between 2012 and 2013. The cast has pretty much been the same from the playoffs to the depths of despair and now back (maybe) to the playoffs again.

Sometimes, things just don't go right. You get off to a bad start and can't pull out of it. Hard to explain.

I'm a Reds fan in MLB and the same thing happened. We won our division in 2010 and 2012. In 2011, we stunk and weren't even in contention down the stretch. No management or coaching changes in that span and no major roster overhaul, but there was a 20 win difference between 2011 and 2012.

Point being that our terrible season isn't necessarily a sign that 2012 was a fluke or that we need to start over again. I actually think the Lions are a pretty good measuring stick for us. Mirroring their results wouldn't shock me--at least gives us a something to point to.

Of course, if the RG3 of 2012 no longer exists--if he isn't physically capable of returning to form, then yeah, we are in big trouble. But I'm not ready to go there yet.

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The OP's premise is on point and very relevant to Skins' struggles this year. Its all about the QB and this has never been more true than in today's NFL. I look forward to continued development by Griff and the staff going into next year. 

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With RG3, I think it's important that we "go back in time" so to speak, when thinking about his future.  I mean, back when he was drafted.

 

By every account, from every person that knew him, calling him an achiever was an understatement.  An over-achiever.  Even the experts who made very clear that he was not coming from a pro-style offense, and with very little drop back passing reps, said he would have no problem becoming any kind of QB you want.  He's not just a flashy athlete, he's a very special person.  He could be the best QB, best lawyer, best freaking foosball player, whatever.  A person that thrives on challenges, and goes into superhero mode when the pressure's on.

 

I still have no doubt that is what he is.  With all offseason to prepare, he came out and lit up the Saints.  Then learning how to deal with only a couple practices for the next opponent, there were struggles.  We PRAISED the Shannahans for giving him the opportunity to succeed despite bumps in the road.  As a ROOKIE, he took those opportunities, those play calls, and made it work, but it did take a few weeks.  More than a few really.  This team was BAD at 3-6 last year.

 

Now, the coaches are going in a new direction, which IS best for Robert.  A new challenge, some new pressure.  And guess what?  He's allowed to be pissed about it.  We all saw him literally shake his head in frustration before a snap a couple weeks ago.  Part of him knew if he could just have a couple plays from last year, he could get the first down or whatever.  But he's got to get these reps in this style, it is going to be difficult, and he is going to get pissed.

 

Now, with all that said, talk about being handicapped...First and foremost, the injury is a big part.  It's a modern miracle he's playing at all.  Then there's the Oline.  The Shannahan's barely called any of the drop back plays we're seeing AT ALL last year.  A WHOLE SEASON.  I've mentioned/threatened to spend a bunch of time making .gifs that show Robert dropping back vs other teams in the league to show just how different it is.  It's crazy you guys.  Aaron Rodgers couldn't make these decisions quick enough.  This offensive line cannot create a pocket.  (think of how easy this makes it for other teams...their simplest stunt move will work).  Which brings a dilemma:  Is it worth it to keep trying this anyway, to give Robert the reps?  Reps that might even become more useful since it's 'training at the hardest level'  (pocket passing without a pocket...imagine when he DOES get a pocket)......OR is it a waste of time because 1-the team is losing, embarrassingly, and 2-instead of helping, it could stunt his growth as a pocket passer.  I think #2 is a stretch, but the team simply cannot lose this badly, this embarrassingly.  

 

Sunday Night is actually a big milestone IMO.  If we continue to see this futile effort of trying to make a pocket for Robert, and it fails...again...then I'm officially done with the stubbornness of Mike Shannahan.  This team needs to play to win.  If he's really tanking the rest of the season simply to give Rob more reps as a pocket passer, I'm just not cool with that.  There are plays that can get Robert on the move, and our great running game makes that even more easier.  There's a potentially winning formula here, and Shannahan knows it.  For him to ignore it means he's given up trying to win, and essentially telling the fans they don't get to watch any more winning efforts until next year.  Not cool.

 

Kleese, I got way off track lol....  You make a great point with this thread.  However, we are a unique circumstance.  My point, (before I ranted) was that I have no doubt Robert can be a great drop back passer, and we shouldn't worry about that.  But while other aspects of the Packers team is exposed without Rodgers, our other aspects are simply too bad to count on, no matter who the QB is.  The Lions know what they are doing with Stafford and co., same with the Packers.  We're still trying to figure out what to do, so if the Lions are a measuring stick, we should actually be worse off.  Which I'm not sure if we are... the Lions DID have a pretty god awful season that one time, but they still knew what they wanted to do.  

 

I guess I should be glad Shannahan is so decisive in the direction he's taking, but man is he toe-ing the line.  He knows he can do different things with Robert, and he talks so much about "what gives us the best chance to win".  I think he's going against his own philosophy.  If he truly wants Rob to drop back, he has to have a pocket.  This futile effort to try anyway creates some doubt for me.

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I agree kleese.  I thought we could win the division because the other teams would be average this year, but I'm not shocked that we went the other way considering how Griff has performed since the injury.  How people can bail on him now is beyond me.  

 

I asked in another thread if he was gonna get rid of the brace next year.  Is he?  Didn't he say somewhere that he wanted to?  It is hampering his movement, though I'm sure his movement is limited with or without it right now.

 

We go as Griff goes.  That's the nature of this league today, and I don't see it changing.

 

Another thing I learned from watching the Packers game, is that Detroit could be a legit contender if they'd take better care of the ball and cut out the knucklehead plays.  They've got a lot of talent on that squad.  I usually toss a few bucks at superbowl longshots, and I'm sure they'll make my list this year.

 

I recently moved and a couple of my best "new" friends are Packers fans.  We watch the games each week, and they pull for the Skins and I pull for the Packers.  I didn't have the heart to tell them that I've been betting against the Pack hard the last three weeks.  They are putrid without Rodgers.

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Even the Bears with decent play from their back-up QB aren't as good without Cutler.

 

I said in other threads, you have strengths and weaknesses. If you can ma e a strength an elite one, it masks a lot of weaknesses. That's why I'm still in favor of Shanahan, because the offense he has built has a great foundation and has already been elite and can be still. He needs a new DC and ST coach badly. 

 

Take this same team next season. 100% RG3 w/ offseason work, 2 new competent guards, a decent 2nd WR, and a new DC that can get the unit to rank in just the 16-20 range only, and we're easily playoff contenders/division leaders. As I keep saying, if RG3 never has that injury and gets a full offseason of work in, then right now we're a top the division and there are zero talks about blowing it all up.... but people need targets for their frustrations over poor team record this season. 

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It was said ALL offseason by many here and generally agreed upon that as RG3 goes, so go the Redskins.

 

Well, Griffin hasn't had a good year (mainly due to injury recovery and learning a new set-up on the fly), so the Redskins aren't having a good year.

 

Not that it is all his fault (I personally don't assign any fault to him because of what he had to go through), but there seemed to be a ripple effect or domino effect (pick one :) ) to his sub-par play.

 

I think he will be much better next season as he'll be that much further removed from his knee injury and have a full offseason of work. What changes (if any) will be made on the team around him, well, we shall see.

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I don't buy it. Yes a team goes as the QB goes, but I'm not using III's injury/recovery as an excuse because while he has struggled this year he has also looked very sharp in some games. We've been one of the healthiest teams in the NFL and we **** the bed.

 

I don't quite understand. We have played well offensively when Griffin plays well. That's more or less the point of the thread.

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Yeah, when RG3 is healthy and playing well, we can win games, but we do need to make significant changes to the team.  We need to build more like the Chiefs, Seattle, Carolina and San Fran with a stronger defense and special teams.  We should let RG3 become more of a game manager and let him grow naturally from there.  Don't misunderstand what I'm saying.  I'm not saying he is simply a game manager.  He has elite talent, but he is young and we shouldn't be built by putting all of our eggs in the RG3 basket.  As he is managing the game, he will get into rhythm and his elite talent will create big plays.  It's hard to do this now because our defense is so bad, that we can't depend on them to stop anyone.  Our special teams is historically bad and we always have terrible field position.

 

My concern is that if Shanahan stays, he will not find an upgrade at Def Coord.  I don't trust his coaching hires, especially after the Burns debacle with special teams.

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Yeah, when RG3 is healthy and playing well, we can win games, but we do need to make significant changes to the team.  We need to build more like the Chiefs, Seattle, Carolina and San Fran with a stronger defense and special teams.  We should let RG3 become more of a game manager and let him grow naturally from there.  Don't misunderstand what I'm saying.  I'm not saying he is simply a game manager.  He has elite talent, but he is young and we shouldn't be built by putting all of our eggs in the RG3 basket.  As he is managing the game, he will get into rhythm and his elite talent will create big plays.  It's hard to do this now because our defense is so bad, that we can't depend on them to stop anyone.  Our special teams is historically bad and we always have terrible field position.

 

My concern is that if Shanahan stays, he will not find an upgrade at Def Coord.  I don't trust his coaching hires, especially after the Burns debacle with special teams.

Well its been well documented that team Shanahan is trying to convert Robert to a pocket passer, and I have no doubt Robert could attain that expectation, the questions are:

 

1) Will he survive the learning process ? 

 

2) Will this coaching staff revamp the OL so that there are bigger bodies, and are more attuned to pass blocking ?

 

As most knowledgeable fans know, our OL is not built for pass protection, but more for the ZBS.

 

It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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Good post kleese.

 

I always laugh when people say "Defense wins championships." Defense doesn't win jack anymore, it's all about great QBs. If your QB is great, or is capable of playing great in stretches(Eli, Flacco), you got a legit shot to win it all. No QB, no chance.

 

Reg. the Lions, the only real change they made was bringing in Reggie Bush. We could use a Bush like presence, except at WR, someone with speed and explosiveness who can take any ball to the house at any time. I think our coaches were banking on Robinson being that guy but he just hasn't developed much.

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Good post kleese.

 

I always laugh when people say "Defense wins championships." Defense doesn't win jack anymore, it's all about great QBs. If your QB is great, or is capable of playing great in stretches(Eli, Flacco), you got a legit shot to win it all. No QB, no chance.

 

Reg. the Lions, the only real change they made was bringing in Reggie Bush. We could use a Bush like presence, except at WR, someone with speed and explosiveness who can take any ball to the house at any time. I think our coaches were banking on Robinson being that guy but he just hasn't developed much.

It is a QB driven league now, but you do have to have a good defense if you want sustained success.  The only way you win without a defense is if your offense is an unstoppable juggernaut like Denver.  An unstoppable juggernaut usually has a top QB, like a Peyton, Brady, and Brees. 

 

Do you think Seattle would be any good if they had our defense?  Do you think KC would have a winning record if they had our defense?  Do you think San Fran would be any good if they had our defense?  How about Carolina?  Do you think they would be 8-3 without their defense?

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Y'all just keep telling yourselves it's just the QB. This teams issues are deeper than that.

 

:rolleyes: That's not what is being said in here. What's being said, and pretty clearly, is that solid QB play masks weaknesses. It did for us last season, it normally does for the packers. Both teams lose that effective, consistent QB play and the whole thing unravels. Do we have various areas to work on? Absolutely. Literally nobody is saying otherwise, so I have no idea what post you're opinion is based off of. Will a 100% RG3 mask weaknesses that the team is unable to fully address (you know, since every NFL team has them)? I'd say that's a safe bet.

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:rolleyes: That's not what is being said in here. What's being said, and pretty clearly, is that solid QB play masks weaknesses. It did for us last season, it normally does for the packers. Both teams lose that effective, consistent QB play and the whole thing unravels. Do we have various areas to work on? Absolutely. Literally nobody is saying otherwise, so I have no idea what post you're opinion is based off of. Will a 100% RG3 mask weaknesses that the team is unable to fully address (you know, since every NFL team has them)? I'd say that's a safe bet.

Well, who didn't know that? Take Brady or Brees away from their teams and I'm gonna guess they will lose a few games. And even if RGIII does come back 100% healthy, THIS team will find a away of messing up. Remember, even with an healthy RGIII, we STILL started 3-6.

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1) the offense is not struggling because Griffin 'isn't right' Griffin is struggling because of lack of development as a passer, gameplan and play calling.

2) did the Lions have league worst defense and special teams because of coaching and personnel selections made by the HC/GM?

1. That's an opinion that I believe is partly true. I think RG is struggling to figure himself out a d the coaches are struggling to figure him out and it has been a bad combo. I grant you that improved personnel and a better plan would have helped this year, but I don't think there is a staff out there that would have had major success with RG in any system this year. Without Rodgers, McCarthy and company can't even field a competent unit. It would be one thing if they had a dip, that would be expected. But they've totally crashed and burned.

2. Lions fans absolutely wanted sweeping changes after last year both in the FO and on the sidelines. The same staff that went to the playoffs then fielded a miserable season and are now fielding a very solid season.

I'm actually not necessarily in favor of bringing Shan back--- if he's lost them, he's lost them and it needs to end. Just pointing out a similar case.

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2. Lions fans absolutely wanted sweeping changes after last year both in the FO and on the sidelines. The same staff that went to the playoffs then fielded a miserable season and are now fielding a very solid season.

I'm actually not necessarily in favor of bringing Shan back--- if he's lost them, he's lost them and it needs to end. Just pointing out a similar case.

 

Lions fans I know still want Schwartz gone.  The Lions have a lot of talent, but Schwartz's game management skills are awful.  He's cost them two wins this year and nearly cost them the Bears game.  

 

Shanny's equally bad at managing a game and understanding situational football.  Plus his coordinators have no feel for calling a game.  That's why I want him and his staff gone.  

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The Lions see-saw records the last 3 years can be pretty much addressed by looking at the TO ratio.  A large part of that is their fumble recover rate.

 

In 2011, they recovered 66% of the fumbles in games that they played in (+.7 TO/g).  Last year that number went down to 30% (-1 TO/g).  This year it is up to 40% (-0.7 TO/g).

 

This isn't the case for the Redskins.  Both last year and this year we are in the high 60s in terms of their fumble recovery rate.

 

Detroit has also altered their secondary year to year, partly due to injuries.

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