There were so many things that stood out in the game against the Redskins. But believe it or not, I spotted some positive things as well as not so great.
- Let's just get this out the way now. Nick Foles looked like the guy I myself complained about for months after the trade with the Eagles. My biggest issues with him has always been consistency and turnovers. While he had no turnovers he was close. He just simply dropped the ball on the opening possession without being touched. Hell, no one even breathed on him. He was so erratic with the ball for most of the game. When you overthrow one of the fastest guys in the entire NFL by 10 yards you're way off the mark. Also, before folks get carried away with how poor the offensive line played, let's acknowledge the fact that Foles was holding onto the ball for way too long. The line actually had a solid day protection wise. Foles was holding the ball looking deep far too often. He had his success last week by utilizing his intermidiate and check down routes. I saw the check down wide open and in position to get the first or at least get close 7 times and Foles never glanced at them. He was his own worst enemy.
- Now back to the line. The line was solid in pass pro, but there just weren't any lanes getting opened up for the backs. Tim Barnes and Rodger Saffold looked especially bad. Backs we're regularly hit 2-4 yards in the backfield.
- Jared Cook was never a player I wanted to see in the horns and over time he has yet to change that opinion. A grossly overrated player by Jeff Fisher, he hasn't done
shitmuch of anything. My two biggest quarrels with him has always been his half-ass routes and soft style of play. He lacks physicality in a game and at a position built on just that. Can't figure out for the life of me why anyone would want to play him as a lead blocker. It's hard to even talk about this guy without getting annoyed, yet alone to watch him playjust show up.
- Tavon Austin continues to look as if he has turned a corner. The coaching staff has to continue to get him more touches. Even with the long awaited return - for the first time - of Todd Gurley, Austin is a player that should get the ball 10 times a game on offense alone. After his first run, which really helped to get the offense going, Austin can be seen yelling at the sideline to get him the ball. On the very next play Frank Cignetti dialed up a deep post for Austin but Foles over shot him. He was wide open, beating Deangelo Hall as if he had cement feet. its obvious to see Austin has finally adapted to the NFL as he has looked good from camp, to the preseason, and now regular season. Get this man the rock and get the hell out the way.
- The defensive line had another solid outting. They weren't allowed to rush the passer the way they would have liked, but that is because of the success of the run game. The run game was having success on stretch and outside power plays. But there wasn't much to be had within the tackle box. Aaron Donald continues to shed blocks and read zones and pulls as well as anyone I have ever seen. Meanwhile Michael Brockers is feasting on one on ones. This was also the best game Chris Long has had in about two years. He was very impressive in both pass rush and run containment. The worst performance actually came from Robert Quinn.
- Alec Ogletree was the best player on the defense not named Donald. He was everywhere. He's never looked faster. He did meet his match on one play in particular when Redskins running back Matt Jones lowered the boom and put him on his ass. A few moments later the same happened to James Laurinaitis. However, he still managed to play sideline to sideline and made numerous impressive open-field tackles. Laurinaitis had an up and down day. Though I must admit there was more up than down, but those downs were especially costly. Twice he got so sucked up in the play-action that he simply could not recover in time to cover his area/man. This allowed some big gains.
- Trumaine Johnson dropped a pick that on replay might have gone all the way back for six. That doesn't make his day a bad one. In fact he looked pretty darn good with some legit air tight coverage and great open field tackling. Janoris Jenkins looked good on the afternoon except for one play. And that play was a big one. He allowed a huge pickup on a catch by second year receiver Ryan Grant. Jenkins got back to some old habits looking for a pick and broke off his coverage when the outside receiver ran a hitch. However, Johnson was covering underneath and it was unnecessary. Basically Jenkins played man while everyone else played zone. Jenkins did however have some pretty good coverage on a few deep routes later and made some really good tackles, but that one reception was a back breaker, and this one was not on Rodney McLeod.
- Gregg Williams wasn't his usual self in this one. He simply was not as blitz happy and almost looked to be playing it safe for most of the game. One thing that stood out a lot, was his playing the backers so far away from the LOS on second and third down on numerous occasions. This allowed for some easy receptions and numerous 7-9 yard gains.
- I found myself sitting and wondering what exactly Jeff Fisher says to the team before games like these. He seems to know how to get the team pretty riled up and ready to play against top level competition and/or divisonal games. But other mid to low tier teams don't get the same attention and often you find the Rams playing to the level of their opponent. The issue with that is when that opponent comes to play to your level, now their intensity is raised and you're playing catch up. Fisher deserves a lot of blame for this loss. This team was very flat and there was no real adjustments.
This game was lost because of three things, poor ccoaching, poor quarterback play, and linebackers not containing and scrapping over the top. Akeem Ayers looked horrible in run defense as did Mark Barron. In fact, most of the rush yards came when running at one of the two.
It was an ugly loss, to go with an ugly performance. The good news is, according to the Fisher's track record, fans should expect a great game against a really good Steelers offense next week.