By Craig Hoffman

The Redskins beat the Cardinals in a game that should quiet the noise about massive changes to the coaching staff moving forward. Should is the keyword. Three thoughts from 106.7 The Fan beat reporter Craig Hoffman:

The Redskins won. Here is my review, in three parts:

1. The Redskins did nothing different in preparation. I think this is imperative to emphasize. It became clear as the week went on that nobody took DJ Swearinger’s comments literally, possibly including Swearinger. The Redskins didn’t need to prepare better, certainly as far as the coaching staff was concerned. They needed to play better, and they did.

“He was off raw emotion,” said Junior Galette on Swearinger’s comments following last week’s blowout in Los Angeles. “He’s a guy that’s bringing it every day. He’s really intense and he’s been doing a great job this year being a leader for us. (It’s) just raw emotion. I think you get the words mixed up sometimes.”

Jay Gruden drove the point home. “Sometimes you can prepare well and not play well,” the Redskins head coach stated from the podium. “Those are two different things. I think everybody has to understand the difference between preparing and playing well. For the most part, our guys give great effort. Sometimes we give great effort and the score does not indicate that. I’m happy the way our guys have competed, played, practice and have prepared throughout the entire season and offseason.”

2. The Redskins running game needs to be a priority this off-season. Samaje Perine had four carries for three yards in the first half. He had ten carries in the second half for 34 yards, which still isn’t great but 3.4 yards per carry is at least not offensive death. As the game goes, he gets better, but he’s got to be better early. Bad has to be three yards per carry, not one, and then he can improve from there. If that doesn’t change, he’s not the guy moving forward.

There was one Redskins running back highlight. Kapri Bibbs scored on a 36-yard screen pass, which was well designed and executed to perfection. Be on the lookout for a sit-down interview with Bibbs this week. His story is INCREDIBLE. There’s no way we’ll be able to tell the entire thing when we talk in Ashburn, but we’ll give you a taste. This is a guy you can root for, even if it’s just for the next two games.

All in all, this run game continues to be a mess. Gruden is excellent at using backs out of the backfield. Bill Callahan is in charge of the running game. If they are both back, which I would consider likely, they need to figure this out. It needs to be the #1 off-season priority offensively, and that includes help from the personnel department if they determine they need a dynamic back to make everyone else look better.

3. A thing I liked from Jay Gruden and a thing I didn’t:

I like the trick plays. I asked him about them on Friday, as in why there haven’t been any. He said they have been in the gameplan but the right situation hasn’t presented itself to run one. The Bibbs TD probably falls in that category but so does a 14 yard less on a reverse to Josh Doctson. I refuse to be beholden to the results. I liked them both. I like the creativity. I like Doctson getting an extra touch. I like showing faith in your guys to execute.

I didn’t like Gruden not calling a timeout when Zach Vigil should have won the game. The rookie linebacker appeared to intercept Blaine Gabbert, but simultaneous possession was called and thus a completion. The Cardinals did a great job of quick snapping the ball before the replay booth could stop the game. The play was inside of two minutes so Gruden couldn’t challenge. He could, however, call timeout. A timeout would’ve cost the Redskins a few seconds, but with the Cardinals ready to quick snap it would have been no more than five. With the game over if overturned, that’s worth the risk to me. Here was our post-game exchange:

Q: It looked like Vigil had that INT, but I know things were moving fast. How did that play out from your vantage point?

Gruden: Well, I think it’s got to come from upstairs because I can’t challenge it. It has to come from upstairs and it should have been challenged. Unfortunately, it wasn’t because Zach, I believe, had that pick.

Q: You can’t challenge, but you could’ve called timeout to give the booth more time. Did you consider that?

Gruden: Well, no because I need the clock to run because every second is critical in that situation. That might have been something I could have done. I wasn’t sure because I couldn’t see it either. I just saw that Zach had it. It came to my attention later on that after further replays, which we didn’t have, that he did have the interception. I would hate to have wasted a timeout and stop the clock for them had he not had the interception.

His reasoning is solid. I get it. It’s not an egregious mistake. I think most coaches would agree with him. I also think most coaches would be wrong.

Stat of the day: Cousins first-quarter TD to Jamison Crowder was the first time the Redskins scored on their first pass attempt since Nov. 18, 2012, when Robert Griffin III hit Darrel Young on their first pass against Philly. However, Cousins has done it since then. He threw a touchdown on his initial pass against Jacksonville when he came in to relieve Griffin in 2014. The receiver? Darrel Young.

Quote of the day: “Who knows how games go, man. Shoot. I learned that coming here and being a Washington Redskin. You never know what you’re going to get!” –Josh Norman upon seeing a barrage of flags fly after DJ Swearinger’s celebration penalty at the end of the game. In the end, it was adjudicated correctly as the penalty was assessed after the change of possession, but Norman wasn’t exactly confident as the refs huddled.

 

Follow 106.7 The Fan’s Craig Hoffman on Twitter.

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