The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
For the first time I can remember this season, the Redskins didn’t announce any new injuries after the game.
Gruden: “Injury wise, we don’t have really anything to note. Morgan [Moses] just got banged up in the rib and then tweaked his knee a little bit but he came back in and finished.”
Defense & Offense
The defense held the Giants offense to 3 points.
After putting up 30 points in back-to-back weeks, but losing due to defensive inability to stop the opposing offense, this was like bizzaro-world. The Redskins offense did some things well, like 100 yards rushing by Perine and over 100 yards receiving by Crowder.
I think you have to understand the NFC East and what it’s all about and the way your defense is playing. It was probably a more conservative game plan approach for us with the new center and left guard. For the most part, we wanted to get our running game going. If you had to punt in a game like this and play field position, it’s not the end of the world because our defense was playing so good. We’re not interested in stats here. We’re interested in wins. Thankfully, the defense played a great game and that was kind of the gauge if you could watch the game you could see the offense wasn’t moving the ball very well for the Giants and field position was important.”
Samaje & the run game
Gruden: “We needed to stick with[the run]. We couldn’t throw the ball every down against these guys. They gave you multiple fronts. They’ve got [Jason] Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon – they’ve got a good pass-rush, a good blitz scheme. We had to get the running game going. We were kind of shuffling some linemen with Morgan coming out. [Tyler] Catalina had to play right tackle and we had a new center, so we had to get the running game going. We had some big hits and Samaje [Perine] ran the ball outstanding today. The line and tight ends blocked very well, so it was a big help for us.”
“His vision was really good today. He had some outside zone hits. He stuck his foot in the ground. He was very decisive with his cuts today. They’re not all going to be there. Not all pretty. I tell you what, he ran hard today and had great vision, exception of a couple loss-of-yardage plays and a holding call. He had a great game. Great game.”
Cousins: “Samaje Perine ran the ball really well. He had explosiveness, was really sudden, ran with heavy pads and he has a good forward lean to him. I don’t know what suddenly got going in the second half, but we had a couple of drives where we were able to repeat run plays over and over and get productive yards, productive gains, and it made a big difference in the outcome.”
Playing with a lot of brand new Redskins on the field
Gruden: “I think [Bergstrom] did good [starting at center in place of Roullier]. He’s been here a bit longer now. We kind of knew it was going to happen. He was going to start. He did good. Arie [Kouandjio] battled at left guard and did some good things. Zach Vigil stepped in at linebacker and did an excellent job playing linebacker. Josh Harvey-Clemons came in and played some pretty good linebacker play. I was impressed with the newcomers that stepped in there and played along with the veteran guys who had to carry the load. Ryan Kerrigan had a couple sacks. Kirk [Cousins] played well. Jamison Crowder stepped his game up. Josh [Doctson] had a big catch. Josh Norman, D.J. Swearinger, you know, the usual suspects played well. They had to.”
Kirk: I don’t really know that was the offensive line in a couple of [tonight’s sacks]. In a couple of them we may have gotten beat. It’s a mixture of reasons we took them tonight and I’ll go back and look at some and see if there’s anything I can do, but for the most part they have a good pass rush, they spend a lot of money to have a good pass rush and so they’re going to get theirs too, they get paid and they made some good plays tonight as well.”
On the loss of Chris Thompson for the season
Gruden: People don’t understand how important Chris [Thompson] is too. So you want to stay in the second down and try to grind the ball out and [take] a pretty conservative approach sometimes on third-and-12. But moving forward, we’ll have more time to get ready for the next game, which is great. We’ll have a full week for Dallas and 10 or 11 days for the next game after that.”
Kirk: “I’ve said to myself many of times in game plans, in practices, and in games, ‘Boy, if we lost Chris Thompson, that would be really, really hard.’ To lose him and to have a short week just felt extremely difficult.
I was very impressed with Byron Marshall – the way he has picked up the system this quickly. I thought he handled it, he was very composed – obviously the interception was a tough play. He’s got some juice to him and he can help us.
Samaje [Perine] obviously has stepped up the last two weeks. You know, on a short week it is very challenging and there were several plays that I would chalk up to the fact that they were sloppy because it was a short week.
We just didn’t have the reps that we needed to on these plays and didn’t have the feel for them that we would normally have going into a game and some of those mistakes happen on a Wednesday and Thursday and don’t happen on a Sunday, but on a short week you saw them happen on a Thursday night and I’m just glad we found a way to win.”
Doctson didn’t dominate against the Giants, but he played well and filled a key role in the offense.
Kirk: “I’m really excited about his development. I think it’s still a work in progress. I think that he gives us an element in the pass game that I don’t feel like we’ve had in the past and I also feel that he has a unique skill set in it of itself that it’s not like every receiver we have has it. So, we’ve got to put him out there, we’ve got to use him and give him opportunities, and I’ve got to throw the ball with accuracy so he can make those plays. We’ve got a long ways to go to develop him into the receiver we need him to be but he’s certainly on his way.”
Kirk: “Jamison [Crowder] and I have had a good rapport since he showed up as a rookie. In 2015, he had a ton of production. Last year he had some incredible games. There were times when even with Pierre [Garçon] and DeSean [Jackson] we would walk away from a game saying, ‘Crowder may have been our best receiver today.’ He’s very talented. We’ve just got to get him opportunities. There was a couple of routes where we gave him the freedom to choose how he wanted to run it and we just got to make sure he’s running it the best he can every time because when he does, great things happen.”
I didn’t check the official stats, but watching the game, I counted 2.5 sacks for Ryan Kerrigan. He was probably the player of the game. He hit a milestone by getting to 7.5 sacks in each of his first 5 years. I believe the list of other players to do so (again, not fact-checked) is: Demarcus Ware, Jared Allen, Reggie White — perhaps some others.
Kerrigan is sure to go down as one of the great all-time Redskins — a draft pick who plays at a high level year-in-year-out, but because of his quiet demeanor and the Redskins lack of team success during his career here, very few people who aren’t Redskins fans (or at least NFC East fans) know his name.
There was a Junior Gallette spotting in this game — I think he shared a sack with RyKer (again, no time to check the stats today to make sure I’m right). Junior also got a key pressure/hit on Eli late in the 4th quarter to help kill a Giants drive.
Playing on vet minimum, Junior has provided reasonable value this season as part of the OLB rotation, but this was the first game that I saw him obviously impacting the opposing offense. Hopefully, it’s a promise of more to come.
Another outstanding (in a bad way) special teams play today when Pete Robertson, one of the newest Redskins, scooped up a Tress Way punt at the Giants 7 yard line and ran it into the end zone, while his teammates tried unsuccessfully to stop him.
Gruden: “Yes, that was a head-scratcher. I’ve never seen that one done before. Pete [Robertson] I think got a bit anxious and thought the play was dead and just kept running for some reason. We’ll correct that. This was his first game as a Redskin, he was excited. I liked his energy though. He had a great tackle in the first kickoff. We’ll teach him.”
And there was the strange 'we're punting. We're going for it. Oops! we're punting play".
Gruden: “Yeah, it’s a football-folly accident right there. We had a fourth down and one – we were going to go for it. We had our personnel group out there and we had to run the play and one of our guys was missing. He had his shoes off on the sideline. We weren’t aware he had something wrong with his foot. We didn’t get the memo that he was not in the huddle so we had to let the clock run out, which was fine. We took a delay of game, punted, backing them up and the defense got a stop.”
My Redskins-first-home-game-on-Thanksgiving story
I normally would have been teaching a class on Friday morning in Bangkok, which is when the game was played.
But on Friday morning, my girlfriend — who is a nurse — was receiving a certificate & transcript at at a ‘graduation’ ceremony that followed a 4-month full time neurology course that she just completed last week, so I swapped classes with another teacher so I could attend and act as the official photographer for my girl.
We crawled out of bed at my home at 5 a.m. and took a taxi to her place so she could get her hair done ‘special’ and get dressed in the special nurses uniform that Thai nurses wear to ceremonies. By 7:30, we were at the venue, and spent 30 minutes taking photos (Thais love photos like bees like honey). Around 8:15, she told me that she had to go in for the ceremony at 8:30 a.m., but that it would be a bunch of boring speeches delivered in Thai, followed by 60 nurses receiving their certificates and transcripts one-by-one. She figured it would take around two hours. Worrying that I would be bored, she asked if I wanted to go in the event hall, or simply wait outside in the lobby.
I took the lobby option.
She went inside just 3 minutes before kickoff, allowing me to do something I’d never done before — I watched the Redskins-Giants game on my mobile phone using GamePass.
I was able to watch the entire first half uninterrupted, which — if you saw the first half, you will know — was no great treat.
She came out of the ceremony just about the time the second half started, and I had to start taking pictures again.
Her family arrived shortly after — mom, a sister and two very young nieces - and her sister brought a nice camera. I let her sister take over the photography duties, and I went to the corner with my phone. I was able to watch the third quarter in fits and starts.
At one point, my girl asked me to take some pictures of her with her family, I watched the start of the Redskins offensive play — Kirk threw a short pass to a receiver who didn’t catch it — then walked over & took the camera from her sister, then glanced back at my phone. Perhaps two seconds had elapsed, and I was shocked to see a Giants player cross the goal line, and an official signal a touchdown!
It took a millisecond for my brain to process that the incomplete pass that I had just seen was actually a pick-six. I still haven’t seen how that play unfolded; I’ll watch it tonight after dinner.
It was hard to follow the flow of the 4th quarter, but I caught all of the highlights live. It wasn’t a pretty game, but then there are no style points in the NFL.
Because of the ‘graduation’ ceremony, we didn’t go out for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday night. Instead, we are enjoying a special Friday night Thanksgiving buffet here in Bangkok - something that is pretty common that we do nearly every year — so I’ll get my turkey AFTER the games.
I’m happy about the Turkey day results — the Lions & Cowboys took losses while the Redskins picked up a conference win. Now we have a week to get ready for Thursday night in Dallas!
Grade the OFFENSE
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Grade the DEFENSE
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Grade the SPECIAL TEAMS
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