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3-and-out: Redskins-Saints post game quick hits

October 09, 2018 - 1:17 am

106.7 The Fan Redskins beat reporter Craig Hoffman was in the press box at the Superdome as the Washington Redskins took on the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 of the season. He combined his observations with post-game interviews to write his top-three takeaways from this week in football:

The Redskins had a terrible, no good, very bad day at the Superdome while the Saints had a day worthy of the record Drew Brees broke. Thoughts:

  1. The Redskins shot themselves in the foot on the Saints' first two offensive drives and things spiraled from there. They stopped the Saints on third down just three times. All three times, they committed penalties to negate their own success. First was Josh Norman, throwing Michael Thomas to the ground to draw a holding call. Next was an incredibly immature play by Montae Nicholson, shoving Mark Ingram to the ground after a play. The third penalty was a horrible call on Quinton Dunbar. He came together with Michael Thomas, who grabbed Dunbar’s facemask, yet Washington got called for holding.

    The most egregious of them all, though, was Pernell McPhee. Two plays prior to the Nicholson brainfart, Saints running back Mark Ingram fumbled. The ball trickled along the turf and McPhee trotted towards it. Not ran. Not dive as it lay there for the taking. He clearly thought the play was an incompletion and the play was over. It’s inexcusable. Play to the whistle. Want the football. It’s the kind of thing that makes coaches lose their minds.
  2. Alex Smith was terrible. The quarterback whose floor is supposed to be high even if his ceiling isn’t didn’t live up to his end of the deal. Smith’s feet were a mess. He didn’t look comfortable. It affected his accuracy. It seemed to affect his decision making. He was late on some throws. He didn’t see others. Early in the third quarter, he had Maurice Harris wide open for a touchdown and somehow wound up almost throwing a pick-six.

    Smith isn’t designed for shootouts, so this game was not his cup of tea, but part of the reason this game was a shootout was because Smith couldn’t keep the offense on the field. He didn’t help himself, even if he didn’t get a lot of help.
  3. The gameplan was…woof. The Redskins needed to run the ball and sustain drives. They came out on the first play and threw deep to Maurice Harris. Sometimes surprise is good. This was not good. At the end of the day, the job of an offensive staff is to get the ball in its best playmakers hands.

Jordan Reed didn’t have a target in the first half, though he was frequently facing double teams. Adrian Peterson was hurt early thanks to Smith laying him out to dry on a check-down, and never got going. Jamison Crowder has yet to be a consistent contributor this season.

Jay Gruden is a good coach. He is also not beyond criticism, especially tonight. To Gruden’s credit, he was playing with a stacked deck. Peterson was hurt and his quarterback wasn’t executing.

However, there’s got to be better ways to get Reed involved. It can’t always be isolating him and making him win one-on-one. Reed’s great at that, but it can be easy too. Get him on the weak side of boot action and get him an easy catch. Find ways to get him the football early and often. It simply has to be better.

Stat of the day: The Saints punted zero times.

Quote of the day: "It was a total team debauchery and I’m the one in charge of it. I take responsibility for it." –Jay Gruden

Many come to New Orleans for debauchery. This is not what the Redskins had in mind.


Follow Redskins reporter Craig Hoffman and 106.7 The Fan