By Kevin Ross II
The Redskins displayed their most lethargic effort of the season, as they were trounced by the visiting 49ers by a final score of 27-6. The special teams again gave up big chunks of return yards, the defense focused on stopping the run but couldn’t imagine defending the pass, and the offense was simply dominated by the 49ers defense.
On a miserable Tuesday for Redskins nation, this is how the DC football team grades out after being handled by San Francisco.
Robert Griffin III Grade: D-
The offense has problems that extend far beyond the naked eye, but the most glaring problem that the offense faces is at the quarterback position. Griffin has the potential to be one of the most dynamic quarterbacks that the game has seen, but right now he’s simply not healthy. Griffin has been inaccurate at times from the pocket, but the biggest drawback in Griffin’s game is his inability to create and extend plays with his legs.
Last season when the pocket broke down, Griffin was able to elude the rush for a few critical seconds which allowed receivers to get open. And if the receivers could not gain separation, Griffin would turn up field for a positive gain. However, this season’s version of Griffin can’t outrun or elude defenders. Griffin is often ran down from behind, and is simply not fast enough to avoid linebackers and defensive lineman. The 49ers did a great job of keeping Griffin in the pocket, and running him down for vicious hits on the sideline if he did escape the pocket. Robert Griffin is not healthy enough to elude the rush, and the young quarterback must learn to throw the ball away.
Kyle Shanahan Grade: D
Last season offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan proved to be an innovator as he took the league by storm with his play-calling, and his fancy new zone-read attack that kept defenses in conflict. Shanahan was typecast as a play calling savant, or as some simply said a chip off the old block. Many point to Griffin regressing from last season’s success, but the argument can also be made that Kyle has severely regressed as well. The league has caught up to the read option system, and Kyle Shanahan has not produced a counter punch. Shanahan sometimes appears to be lost as a play caller as he reverts to calling the same plays over and over; if it wasn’t a run to Alfred Morris, it was a quick screen to a receiver. The Redskins seemed to only call a few plays and the 49ers were all over it. Kyle Shanahan needs to improve at his job.
Mike Shanahan Grade: C-
Mike Shanahan’s job status is a major topic of conversation everyday in Washington DC. Should his contract be extended or should he be fired? As a coach on Sundays Mike Shanahan is certainly adequate when it comes to clock management, challenging calls, and making quick decisions. He’s a great game day coach who rarely makes the wrong decision. But Shanahan has failed to produce a consistent winner, and he has failed at building a championship level coaching staff. Mike Shanahan must be held accountable for the failures of Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett and Special Teams coach Keith Burns. Both were handpicked by Shanahan, and both should be fired at the end of this season.
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Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.