These are the top five good and bad observations from the Redskins vs. Vikings game. With the win, the gold (good) comes first.
1- Kirk Cousins- Good or bad the QB play is where we will start. Kirk seemed to have a little more emotion throughout the whole game. He was very decisive with his reads and was threading the needle into tight coverage when needed. No one is perfect, he missed an open Crowder on their first 3 and out. It appeared he made up his mind before the play on the deer fade to Pierre. But he made the plays the team needed. He definitely played his game and led the team to a huge win to keep up in the NFC East.
2- Ty Nsekhe – I definitely have to give credit to this guy! It’s a tall task to fill in as a backup. It’s a taller task to fill in for one of the best at his position, while handling it like a boss. Trent is a team captain and he definitely let the team down but Ty has been huge filling in for both Trent and Morgan Moses throughout the year. But LT is a premium position and he handled it well, he did not allow Everson Griffin, who is a heck of a player, any sacks. Big game from Ty, the Redskins definitely need 3 more just like this in Trent’s absence.
3- Pass Catchers- This year has been a heck of a year for 2nd year WR Jamison Crowder, who had himself a pretty good rookie year for a guy drafted just to be the punt return specialist. Already over 100 receptions in his 2-year career, this guy is becoming 1a to Jordan Reed’s 1b. Pierre had some big catches, he did his normal “Mr. Reliable” tough catch thing. Vernon Davis has apparently found the fountain of youth and he looks very good and you can see him having fun and making a difference for this team. Not only are these guys catching passes but they are blocking down the field and it’s a group that exemplifies the type of effort that could possibly have this team in the playoff race. This group was missing the electric, D Jax and still didn’t seem to lose a step in this one.
4- Preston Smith- I think every fan and coach have been hard on Smith, waiting to see the flashes of the late run player from last season. He showed up in a major way in this game, from early plays against the run, to his pick where he showed blitz and backed right into the lane. 2 sacks and a pick is a heck of a way to step up. Hopefully this is just the beginning for the young talent out of Mississippi State
5- Dustin Hopkins- I said 2 weeks ago after his worst game as a Redskin’s that I felt he would be fine and I wasn’t going to hit the panic button. Sure enough, he showed up with his normal automatic self and made 4 field goals in the second half. His kickoffs are constantly out of the end zone and he has been awesome to date.
The Burgundy (Bad)
1- Kendall Fuller- I hate to put a rookie as my first negative observation, especially for a guy that I feel has been solid or better since stepping on the field. This is the type of thing that can happen with the defensive scheme design. Stephon Diggs had himself a day, mainly against Fuller who I have to commend for playing him tough later in the game. Fuller got caught opening his hips a few times by Diggs.
2- Defensive scheme- It seems like at times the CB’s are playing man, and Breeland and Norman have been lights out, then they switch to zones with jams off the line and that’s effective. Then they go into the soft zone and teams just run 10 yard curls and outs and just get a free 8 to 10 yards. This is me digging because I thought overall play was good but I just noticed at the end of both halves, this was the design and that was really the only time Minnesota’s offense really moved.
3- Red Zone offense- Whether it’s a scheme, play calling, or execution issue, this will from now on be the #1 if they don’t start scoring inside the red zone. Teams with the type of talent and weapons that this team has, there’s simply no excuse. Too many trips in this without 6 to take the next step in this league.
4- Rookie play time- Sua Cravens in my opinion has earned more playing time! Personally, I think they should get a few packages where he lines up in the box but as a Safety. He has been effective as an inside backer but I think he has shown that he belongs on the field and I think allowing him to play another natural position with similar responsibilities. Fuller has gotten good time, as has Kelly. But they have a Rookie DL who I thought was solid in his limited action early in the year who hasn’t dressed since week 4. Maybe he isn’t where they want him but I always like to see rookies sprinkled in to get their feet wet and just see if any can flash.
5- Ryan Kerrigan- This is simply more about the fact he didn’t do more against a backup than actually making mistakes. He was close and caused Bradford to step up or over into pressure a few times but you think about Kerrigan you think backup right tackle; you think Kerrigan you think at least a sack if not two. Always steady and a heck of a football player, but this type of match-up is a feast type of game where Preston shined, Ryan should have had a similar impact against this offensive line.