A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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  1. #1
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    Default 2010 Special Teams Debacle

    Smith has been the ultimate survivor. He has made it through several transitions in coaching staffs and is consistently held up by the organization as a guy other teams would like to have.

    How much influence Smith has on ST personnel is a question, my guess being that he has input and probably did have a bit more influence with Shanahan this first year as he was familiar with the returning talent.

    Shanahan of course has the final call.

    Well, I could see something like today brewing as I watched games this year where the ST failed to execute returns, coverage or conversions.

    And it finally happened.

    But 10 points lost due to the ineptitude of the special teams, with NONE of those points coming off of a straight return?

    Must be a record

    3 points off the muffed squib kick by Chris Wilson.

    6 points off 2 missed field goals by Gano on a day when his counterpart made his attempts.

    1 point off a botched snap and exchange between Sundberg and Smith.

    That's more than half the points the Redskins were able to earn in 31 minutes of ball possession on offense.

    Pathetic.

    But on a team that starts off the year with 39 year old wide receivers and 37 year old defensive ends, you really wonder how a veteran coach decides on special teams that he is going to not resign Albright at 38 or keep Dearth at 32 and go with Nick Sundberg, a 23 year old with no NFL experience, as the long snapper and Graham Gano, a 24 year old former UFL refugee, as the starting placekicker.

    Shanny had it the wrong way.

    You WANT to have a roster of 23 and 24 year old wide receivers and defensive ends and 37-38 year old kick specialists.

    The specialist positions, punter-long snapper-kicker, are ones where players need to be clutch coming cold off the bench. The pressure is there on every play, without the opportunity in many cases to make up for a poor mistake in execution.

    The Redskins have made a lot of mistakes in personnel this season, including who NOT to keep in re the Haynesworth controversy, but on Special Teams it appears there was an AWFUL LOT of wishful thinking in re the performances of Sundberg, Gano and others.

    Gano is now the lowest rated kicker in terms of FG percentage in the NFL.

    Sundberg inconsistent snaps have cost the team in games against Houston and Indy already this season and then we have today.

    The fumble by Chris Wilson on the squib kick is perhaps the most inexcusable blunder. Wilson is a veteran player who has spent several seasons on special teams.

    The first rule for the up backs on teams is to ensure you make the catch and secure the ball on a squib or on-sides kick.

    Any potential return yardage is strictly secondary as the squib usually puts teams at the 30-35 yard line even with no return at all.

    Why Wilson didn't simply cradle the ball and get down is a question. No doubt he was intent on trying to make a big play like Brandon Banks would.

    But some of this comes down to coaching too. It's akin to edge rushers anchoring their end of the line against bootlegs and misdirections.

    When coaching is effective, players keep to their responsibilities.

    Shanahan said today that Gano 'is young, and is consistent in practice for us'.

    Well, that's great. But it hasn't translated into games.

    If his two misses today were an aberration he wouldn't be at the bottom of the NFL rankings after 13 weeks.

    How you can continue to support Sundberg with his inconsistent performance as the snapper is another question that will need to be answered.

    You have to hold each individual on the team responsible for their performances.

    It's time that Shanahan gets real about the potential for special teams to be an achilles heel for the team and address some of these personnel issues.

    The only thing that has worked out on special teams in 2010 is Brandon Banks and even Banks has made questionable decisions recently in trying to return punts inside the 10 yard line and kicks at the goal line.

    Sometimes a touch back to the 20 is the best outcome.

    These are coaching issues.
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    All i can say is RAIN. It's obvious TB was better prepared for it being from FL. We looked like we've never seen a wet football. I'm going to layoff the coach/player/team evaluations till the 2012/2013 season, or atleast try to. I'm all out of excuse's or reasoning.

    I will say this, outside of the Titan's game we haven't played one game as a unit with mistake free football. I'm pretty sure McNabb threw an int even in that game.

    Edit: sp
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    they sure didn't play like it in the first half

    Tampa came out flat and was ripe to be beaten and a confident team playing at home and operating with better skill WOULD have blown these guys out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog's Twin View Post
    they sure didn't play like it in the first half
    I was mainly talking about the snapper/holder/kicking debacle. You can use wet balls in practicing the snap and hold with kicks. After that ordeal, i wounder if they did.

    Gano, cost us that game anyway you cut it. No excuse what so ever for missing that 2nd FG att. If i was coach i would have a hard time keeping him around after that. He hasn't been that bad for us actually, but i still hold my breath every time he kicks it.
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    he almost missed the extra point as well on the first touchdown.

    overall, I agree but still point to the miscue by Chris Wilson that resulted in 3 points for the Bucs and the lack of responsibility of Brandon Banks in taking returns inside the 10 which gave the Redskins the ball at the 14.

    it's a SYSTEM wide failure.
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    One last comment about Gano. I absolutely hate that little routine he does after he makes one. I feel like filling up a swimming pool with gasoline and throwing him in after today.
    Last edited by Go Deep; 12-12-10 at 09:02 PM.
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    James Madison

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    Danny Smith agrees with BT:

    Danny Smith added: "People are gonna call for Graham's head. ...If anybody needs to lose their job, it's me. It's certainly not one of those guys. They're both young, promising people, who have an opportunity to be the best at what they do. And I certainly accept the blame and hope that I receive the blame for this one."

    http://www.hogshaven.com/2010/12/13/...ets-in-a-fight
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    OLine. DLine. Secondary.

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    James Madison
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    OLine. DLine. Secondary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog's Twin View Post
    they sure didn't play like it in the first half

    Tampa came out flat and was ripe to be beaten and a confident team playing at home and operating with better skill WOULD have blown these guys out.
    Gibbs I would have just kept running the ball. Unfortunatley in the world we live in, we had no Joe Washington's or Gerald Riggs to take up the slack when our #1 RB got tired. A #1 RB that would probably be a # or #3 on other teams mind you

    We just don't have the people to play in this league
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarge View Post
    Gibbs I would have just kept running the ball. Unfortunatley in the world we live in, we had no Joe Washington's or Gerald Riggs to take up the slack when our #1 RB got tired. A #1 RB that would probably be a # or #3 on other teams mind you

    We just don't have the people to play in this league

    bingo....which is why it's so important if that reality has finally sunk in and motivates a different personnel strategy. Whoever posted that Lombardi article the other day (BT?) hit a home run.
    Last edited by fansince62; 12-13-10 at 10:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog's Twin View Post
    Smith has been the ultimate survivor. He has made it through several transitions in coaching staffs and is consistently held up by the organization as a guy other teams would like to have.

    How much influence Smith has on ST personnel is a question, my guess being that he has input and probably did have a bit more influence with Shanahan this first year as he was familiar with the returning talent.

    Shanahan of course has the final call.

    Well, I could see something like today brewing as I watched games this year where the ST failed to execute returns, coverage or conversions.

    And it finally happened.

    But 10 points lost due to the ineptitude of the special teams, with NONE of those points coming off of a straight return?

    Must be a record

    3 points off the muffed squib kick by Chris Wilson.

    6 points off 2 missed field goals by Gano on a day when his counterpart made his attempts.

    1 point off a botched snap and exchange between Sundberg and Smith.

    That's more than half the points the Redskins were able to earn in 31 minutes of ball possession on offense.

    Pathetic.

    But on a team that starts off the year with 39 year old wide receivers and 37 year old defensive ends, you really wonder how a veteran coach decides on special teams that he is going to not resign Albright at 38 or keep Dearth at 32 and go with Nick Sundberg, a 23 year old with no NFL experience, as the long snapper and Graham Gano, a 24 year old former UFL refugee, as the starting placekicker.

    Shanny had it the wrong way.

    You WANT to have a roster of 23 and 24 year old wide receivers and defensive ends and 37-38 year old kick specialists.

    The specialist positions, punter-long snapper-kicker, are ones where players need to be clutch coming cold off the bench. The pressure is there on every play, without the opportunity in many cases to make up for a poor mistake in execution.

    The Redskins have made a lot of mistakes in personnel this season, including who NOT to keep in re the Haynesworth controversy, but on Special Teams it appears there was an AWFUL LOT of wishful thinking in re the performances of Sundberg, Gano and others.

    Gano is now the lowest rated kicker in terms of FG percentage in the NFL.

    Sundberg inconsistent snaps have cost the team in games against Houston and Indy already this season and then we have today.

    The fumble by Chris Wilson on the squib kick is perhaps the most inexcusable blunder. Wilson is a veteran player who has spent several seasons on special teams.

    The first rule for the up backs on teams is to ensure you make the catch and secure the ball on a squib or on-sides kick.

    Any potential return yardage is strictly secondary as the squib usually puts teams at the 30-35 yard line even with no return at all.

    Why Wilson didn't simply cradle the ball and get down is a question. No doubt he was intent on trying to make a big play like Brandon Banks would.

    But some of this comes down to coaching too. It's akin to edge rushers anchoring their end of the line against bootlegs and misdirections.

    When coaching is effective, players keep to their responsibilities.

    Shanahan said today that Gano 'is young, and is consistent in practice for us'.

    Well, that's great. But it hasn't translated into games.

    If his two misses today were an aberration he wouldn't be at the bottom of the NFL rankings after 13 weeks.

    How you can continue to support Sundberg with his inconsistent performance as the snapper is another question that will need to be answered.

    You have to hold each individual on the team responsible for their performances.

    It's time that Shanahan gets real about the potential for special teams to be an achilles heel for the team and address some of these personnel issues.

    The only thing that has worked out on special teams in 2010 is Brandon Banks and even Banks has made questionable decisions recently in trying to return punts inside the 10 yard line and kicks at the goal line.

    Sometimes a touch back to the 20 is the best outcome.

    These are coaching issues.
    I'm with ya. Not that he was doing anything on regular plays but I'm still; scratching my head on the Devin Thomas cut. I'd have cut him at seasons end because his contract didn't match the production, but he was always VERY good for us on ST. I see no benefit to having cut him earlier. Why?

    Cut the dead weight fine, but why cut someone when there is no replacement mid season? I also have a hard time believing they couldn't have found a way to get him the ball more in games. He was able to execute just fine in Pre-season. Granted I know the differences but it's not like our WR's have stickum hands, they probably couldn't have done much worse. Even if it was a discipline action, it seems Shanny is willing to cut off his nose to spite his face just to prove that he's the man at times. That cut screamed miguided intentions to me.

    Smith...I hear ya Bulldog. How does this guy keep getting re-hired?
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  12. #12

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    Special teams were a disaster yesterday. But that's not a chronic problem with this team. We won games earlier this year exactly the same way we lost this one. That's really the problem. As a team we are not improving over the course of the season. We have yet to play a solidly in all three phases of the game. Yesterday it was just special teams' turn to let us down.

    And yes, you can argue that special teams cost us 10 points, but that's not exactly right. If we had made the first two FGs of the day does anyone think we go for it on 4th and goal from the one? Probably not. We probably kick that FG and go up 9-0, and then the whole course of the game changes, and we might have still lost. I know we are going to be pulling our hair out for awhile after this one, but I don't know that it's any one specific area of our game that's killing us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry View Post
    Special teams were a disaster yesterday. But that's not a chronic problem with this team. We won games earlier this year exactly the same way we lost this one. That's really the problem. As a team we are not improving over the course of the season. We have yet to play a solidly in all three phases of the game. Yesterday it was just special teams' turn to let us down.
    Yep, McNabb stunk it up too
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  14. #14
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    Watching George Allen and Joe Gibbs over 20 years here provides enough evidence that special teams is more about 'want to', desire and coaching. The most talented players are rarely exposed to special teams duty long-term unless it is a guy like Woodson on punt returns, etc.

    To continue to have Banks' returns called back because of illegal blocks (often away from the play!) and the fumble yesterday on the squib kick are PREPARATION mistakes, they are not mistakes borne of a lack of talent.

    Special teams outside of Gano and Sundberg IS eminently coachable.

    You may not be able to coach Gano into converting 45 yard field goals in the fourth quarter but you CAN teach guys on punts and kicks to stay away from obvious penalties on returns.
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