Robert Griffin III dominated Philadelphia both running and passing. Getty Images
I enjoy watching my team win, and on that basis, Sunday's 31-6 thumping of the Philadelphia Eagles was fun. But having a good time doesn't mean shutting off the brain, and Redskins weaknesses were on full display.
Pass Protection -- Don't let Robert Griffin III's gaudy passing numbers distract from the reality that he was running for his life far too often. He completed 14-15, but the only reason he had time to throw was because of his preternatural escapability that left pass rushers grasping air.
Pass Rush -- They generated four sacks, but it took an array of blitz packages, a rookie QB making his first start, and a tattered offensive line missing three starters. Even with all that, the Redskins still couldn't generate consistent pressure without blitzing.
Too Many Stupid Penalties -- After taking 13 penalties for 80 yards, the Skins are back on top...as the team with the league's highest penalty rate. This is the kind of thing that's going to bite them at a critical moment -- as it's done already this season.
Coverage -- Brandon Merriweather tantalized for a half, but is now gone for the season with a torn ACL. Philly receivers got open against the Redskins coverage unit, but Nick Foles couldn't deliver the ball effectively.
Defenses May Be Figuring Out Skins Running Game -- Philly has been mediocre at defending the run, but actually did a good job controlling the Skins ground game. Washington had too many unsuccessful runs, and had their yardage total propped up by Griffin. Which leads me too...
The Redskins Offense Is Over-reliant on Griffin -- Griffin is a terrific player, and that's a good thing for the team's future. In the short-term, their reliance on him is potentially worrisome. Everything they do is predicated on his unique skill set. His running ability distorts defenses, forces defenders to think, opens up receivers downfield (backfield fakes freeze linebackers), and creates running lanes for Alfred Morris and other ball carriers. I'm happy to have such a dynamic weapon on the field, but what happens if he gets hurt? I'm not even talking "knocked out of the game" hurt, but just "slowed down" hurt.
The Return Game Stinks -- Brandon Banks is on the roster to be a game breaker in the return game. But, he's an all or nothing proposition, and nothing has been the norm. This season, 35 players have at least 10 punt returns. Banks ranks 29th in yards per punt return. Thirty-nine players have at least 10 kickoff returns -- Banks ranks 24th in yards per kickoff return. This isn't a category that regularly decides who wins or loses, but the Skins are giving up field position every week because Banks is ineffective.
Here are a few things I liked in Sunday's win:
Griffin is crazy good. Fast and elusive, he's also a strong, accurate and quick thrower. And he's decisive. I'd still like to see them reduce his running load, but the Skins FINALLY have a star.
Barry Cofield had his best game of the year. He was going against a rookie and an old guy who just got back in the league, but still...Cofield pressured Foles, performed well against the run, and set up teammates to make plays.
The Redskins receivers didn't drop any passes. Just the third time this season they didn't have any drops.