Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 17, six days before the Redskins open their home season against the Bengals.
Not playing the percentages
Josh Morgan made a big mistake at the end of the Redskins’ game when he threw the ball at the Rams’ Courtland Finnegan, costing his team 15 crucial yards at a critical time of the game. But that mistake was compounded by another one that followed immediately.
The penalty set up a fourth and 16 at the Rams 44. Mike Shanahan decided to send in Billy Cundiff to try a 62-yard field goal rather than going for the first down. That was the wrong decision.
Cudiff’s kick was well short and well wide right. But it wasn’t the wrong call just because it didn’t work. It was wrong because they had a better chance of making the first down than they did of Cundiff making the field goal.
Shanahan said after the game that he figured that Cundiff had a shot at making the field goal because he consistently boots kickoffs through the end zone. But that is with a tee and without the need to worry about the mechanics of the snap and hold. Cundiff’s career long field goal is 56 yards and he kicked that in 2005. Mark Brunell was the Redskins’ quarterback that season. Since then, Cundiff’s long is 51 yards.
We’ll be generous here and say that Cundiff had a five percent chance of making the field goal. The chances of making a first down on fourth and 16 were much better.
Since 2010, teams have gone for it on fourth and 16 or more 48 times. They were successful seven times, about 15 percent of the time. Add in the fact that the Redskins have a dynamic player at quarterback, albeit a rookie, and the smart move would have been to put the ball in the hands of Robert Griffin III and tell him to get the 16 yards.
Letting the points soar
Remember all the talk of the Redskins being a top-10 defense this year, maybe even a top five? Well, they have a long way to go after giving up 63 points in their first two games.
These are not new problems. If you go back to last year, the Redskins have allowed 31 points or more in six of their last seven games. If you force your offense to score in the mid-30’s in order to just have a chance you aren’t going to win many games.
Yesterday they couldn’t hold leads of 14-3 and 21-6.
I will be live blogging Mike Shanahan’s news conference this afternoon where we should be further word on injuries to Adam Carriker (knee) and Brian Orakpo (pectoral muscle/shoulder). It also will be carried on Comcast SportsNet.
11:00—Open locker room
3:00—Mike Shanahan news conference
In case you missed it
RG3 passes the test in Redskins’ loss
Days until: Home opener vs. Bengals 6; RG3’s first division game @ Giants 34; RG3 vs. Cam at FedEx Field 48; Thanksgiving @ Cowboys 66