NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell shares his observations of the upcoming opponent through the tape study of the team's previous game. Here are Cosell's notes from Washington's 32-21 loss to the New York Giants in Week 3. Fran Duffy's Eagle Eye in the Sky will feature the All-22 of Washington's offense on Thursday.
Ten Observations Of Washington's Offense
1. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has a bad tendency to drift back, and try to escape from the pocket out the back when he feels pressure or when his internal clock goes off. That's a problem!
2. Cousins was not a precise ball location passer in this game. He will have to be to become a quality NFL starter since he has some throwing limitations due to arm strength.
3. Cousins does have deceptive movement skills to make plays outside of structure on occasion. Want proof? Look at the 20-yard completion to tight end Jordan Reed and the 15-yard pass to wide receiver Jamison Crowder in the second quarter as good examples.
4. Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara's first quarter interception was clearly the result of film study. Washington's staple through two weeks had been bang play-action off quick five-step drops with the inside slant throw. From 10 yards off coverage, Amukamara took a hard inside technique reading both Cousins and wide receiver Pierre Garcon. Amukamara read the route and jumped the throw before Cousins released the ball. It was a pre-determined throw by Cousins.
5. The 18-yard completion to wide receiver Andre Roberts on third-and-1 in the second quarter was an excellent route concept to attack boundary lock Cover 3 (or man outside and Cover 3 inside). Washington lined up in a 3x1 set. As the isolated receiver, Garcon immediately ran the underneath drag to remove the locked man-to-man corner. Roberts, the slot corner from the trips side, came on the crosser. The underneath defender to the single receiver side (linebacker Devon Kennard) does not recognize that route from the other side of the formation and the single-high safety cannot react until the ball is thrown. This was a well-designed route concept to break down the coverage.
6. Washington showed a 3x1 set out of 11 personnel with tight end Jordan Reed as the isolated receiver to the boundary. The Giants matched up with safety Landon Collins when they played man free. Cousins underthrew an open Reed on go route versus Collins from the Giants' 26-yard line in the second quarter. Reed easily beat Collins off the line of scrimmage for what should have been a touchdown.
7. One thing Reed has shown consistently through three games is he can beat linebackers in man coverage. He beat Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas for a 15-yard gain in the fourth quarter.
8. The Giants showed double coverage on Reed in the fourth quarter with Collins and linebacker Uani Unga. It was part of a man free concept behind a four-man rush. Cousins wanted to go to Reed but the double took it away and the inside pressure forced a hurried incompletion.
9. Left guard was a problem for Washington all game. Starter Shawn Lauvao suffered an ankle injury in the first half and was placed on Injured Reserve.
10. Washington's running backs overall did a good job in pass protection. Chris Thompson and rookie Matt Jones stood out. The Giants did get Thompson with a double A-gap blitz in the fourth quarter when he whiffed on a blitzing Casillas for an 11-yard sack.
Five Observations Of Washington's Defense
1. Through three games, Washington has the lowest blitz percentage in the NFL versus opposing QB dropbacks, only 11.7 percent.
2. After cornerback DeAngelo Hall got hurt early in the third quarter, Bashaud Breeland replaced him on the outside in both base and the subpackages. The primary subpackage was nickel, with Will Blackmon in the slot.
3. Washington also showed a dime subpackage with Blackmon as the sixth defensive back. At times they matched him man-to-man on tight end Larry Donnell.
4. Washington continued to utilize rookie Preston Smith as an outside linebacker in the base 3-4, and as an edge rusher in the nickel.
5. Keenan Robinson was the only linebacker on the field in Washington's dime. He's a plus athlete with speed and range.