Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat. Questions, comments, casserole ideas? Hit us up on Twitter at @ryanwilson_07.
This is about more than RG3
There will be no second-half run to the postseason for the Redskins this time. A year ago, Washington stumbled to a 3-6 start and then reeled off seven straight victories to take the NFC East and earn a playoff berth. Now, they're just a 3-8 team coming off another demoralizing loss and facing the reality that they might not win another game this season.
The latest humiliation came on national television Monday night at the hands of the 49ers. Washington's offense oscillated between predictable and inept while the defense made Colin Kaepernick, who had struggled for much of the year, think it was 2012.
Meanwhile, Redskins second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III was 17-of-27 for 127 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He also took a beating, mostly because offensive tackles Trent Williams and Tyler Polumbus had no answer for Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks, but also because RG3, who might weigh 200 pounds with that bulky knee brace, stubbornly refused to slide, go out of bounds before a big hit, or avoid defensive linemen and linebackers in the middle of the field looking to rearrange his body parts.
And one of the few times Williams did manage to stay in front of Smith this happened:
And that, in a nutshell, is a microcosm of the Redskins' 2013 season (shows self out).
Upside: The unfortunate crotch-shot proved to be a Twitter boon (via Sports Bog):
seperating the man from the ball IMO pic.twitter.com/5gK0lsHYkD— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) November 26, 2013
Well there goes RG4.— Sneekis (@SneekisTs) November 26, 2013
So now what? After the laughing (to keep from crying) stops, where do the Redskins go from here? We've written previously about how the decision to trade up for Griffin before the 2012 draft means that the organization has few short-term options to fix this mess. And with needs up and down the roster -- including, possibly, head coach -- there's little reason to think an offseason of "working harder" or "getting your mind right" or "praying 24/7" will make the Redskins suddenly competitive.
A year ago, coach Mike Shanahan threw up his hands and the team won seven straight. Monday night, he said his team was "embarrassed" by the 49ers and added, "We haven't got dominated like that since I've been here.” That's noteworthy if for no other reason than in Shanahan's four seasons in Washington he's 24-35 and is plenty familiar with losing.
In related news: Remember when people dismissed the idea that Mike Glennon was more advanced than RG3 as an NFL quarterback? In Sunday's win over the Lions, Glennon completed 14-of-21 throws for 247 yards, two touchdowns -- including an 85-yarder in the fourth quarter -- and no interceptions.
The takeaway remains unchanged six weeks after we first wrote about the struggling 2013 Redskins: This isn't about Griffin, per se. He's a young quarterback, recovering from a serious injury, and still growing as a player. This is about the consequences of betting the farm that he would magically mask all the team's other problems. And 11 games into the season, the Redskins look like they're a lot closer to rebuilding than reloading -- except that they're already out of ammunition.
Put another way: When Papa John's abandons you all, all hope is lost:
Best game summary pic.twitter.com/dTyTw0HolA— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) November 26, 2013
Wes Welker, WR/PR - Broncos
If nothing else, credit Wes Welker for taking the blame on the Broncos' sideshow punt return efforts in overtime Sunday night against the Patriots. Of course, if he had just signaled for a fair catch and, you know, caught the punt, Sunday's outcome might have turned out differently. Instead, this happened.
Then again, maybe Welker didn't want to risk trying to make a catch in such a critical situation. He had at least two drops at wide receiver during the game, and according to ProFootballFocus.com, Welker has seven drops on the season, which ranks ninth in the league.
Oh, and there's also this from Week 1:
Situation aside, Welker's muffed punt against the Ravens is infinitely worse than Carter's gaffe against the Pats.
Welker's still a good player and a valuable part of the Broncos' offense. He's just not the force he once was. It happens.
Yes, we know, the Chiefs were without Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, two of their best players, for the second half of Sunday's game against the Chargers. But that still doesn't explain the decision to play bump-and-run coverage in the game's biggest moment.
With San Diego trailing 38-34 with 31 seconds to go and the ball at the Kansas City 26-yard line, Philip Rivers walked to the line of scrimmage to see the Chiefs defensive backs in the face of the Chargers' wideouts. Which meant that wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu just needed to beat cornerback Sean Smith at the line of scrimmage and the end zone would be wide open.
“They say it's a game of inches; we were off by an inch right there on the coverage,” coach Andy Reid said. “We had a man over the top of him and a man underneath him and Philip hit it right in the right spot.”
That's not exactly true. The deep safety never really provided over-the-top coverage. Here's what Rivers saw at the snap:
Which led to this (notice that the safety is out of position to help Smith, who had already been beaten):
"You have to blame the coach in this situation," NBC studio analyst and former NFL safety Rodney Harrison said Sunday night during the network's pregame show. "Why are you in bump-and-run coverage? Play outside technique, [instead] three guys are wide open."
Former NFL head coach Tony Dungy added: "With no timeouts, get back in the end zone and make them catch it in front of you."
"Unbelievable," Harrison concluded.
Ed Reed, S - Jets
“I'm not going to pin it on any one individual,” Ryan said after the game. “Certainly not on one guy. Certainly not Ed Reed. He'd probably be third on that list, in all honesty.”
Bad news: It sure looks like Ed Reed got beat for a 66-yard touchdown.
You can decide for yourself:
Notice that Reed is still looking back at Flacco as he's about to unload a 66-yard bomb to a streaking Jones:
And here's the .GIF:
If Reed has deep half-field responsibilities and Jones runs right past him, we're not sure how it's not his fault.
“I never really saw the ball,” Reed admitted. “I should have played it different. I probably should have just grabbed Jacoby and took the pass interference instead, given the position I was in. ... “I mean, they had the wind; it's just that simple. It was like, here comes a shot....What would you do? I tell one of the fastest guys to just run deep and locate the ball, and that's what he did.”