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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 11/24/2014

Pierre Garcon: Redskins had ‘a lot’ of opportunities to score

Pierre Garcon wasn’t thrilled when Coach Jay Gruden called for him to run an end around and then fired the ball downfield for fellow wide receiver DeSean Jackson. But he put his all into it — and actually a little too much, as the throw sailed out of bounds and out of reach for Jackson.

“Not at all,” Garcon said when asked if he was excited for the chance to show off his cannon of an arm. “I was like, ‘This is where we’ve come?’ ”

Indeed, the Redskins did reach the point where, with Robert Griffin III struggling, Gruden decided to go with a gimmick play in an attempt to spark the offense.

The Redskins had a season-low 77 passing yards on Sunday; Griffin passed for 106 yards, but he got sacked five times for 29 yards. Garcon, whose numbers have been up and down this season, had three catches for 34 yards, and the normally potent Jackson had only two catches for 39 yards.

The Redskins were 2-for-13 on third downs and scored only one touchdown despite the defense forcing three turnovers.

Asked for his take on the reason for Washington’s ongoing struggles, Garcon laughed and said, “Not getting the ball into the end zone, even when it was a short field.”

He added, “Oh we had a lot of opportunities to score. We weren’t taking none. Being conservative. That’s what it is.”

The conservative approach stemmed from the Redskins’ attempt to get the ball out of Griffin’s hands more quickly to beat the 49ers’ aggressive pass rush. But the offense still didn’t click, and Garcon felt like he and his fellow wide receivers weren’t featured enough.

Griffin attempted one deep pass — to Jackson, who was in double coverage and couldn’t make the catch despite getting better position than his defenders. (On the same play, Garcon ran down the center of the field in single coverage and had his man beat). Garcon had a catch-and-run of 24 yards later in the game. But Washington crossed midfield only three times, twice having to settle for field goals, and never took a shot to the end zone during those possessions.

“Maybe throw to the receivers,” Garcon said when asked what he thought would cure the anemic offense. “Throw to the receivers. That’ll fix the problem, especially down in the red zone.”

Garcon said he wouldn’t let the lack of opportunities to frustrate him further.

“I’m going to do my job regardless of the circumstances. I’m going to keep playing,” he said before adding. “Got to have a short memory in this league. You’re playing, it’s your job, have good fundamentals, make plays.”

E-mail a Redskins question to mike.jones@washpost.com, with the subject “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered Tuesday in the Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Reid: Griffin’s time with Redskins is running out

Redskins fall to 3-8 with 17-13 loss at San Francisco | Box score

Defense forces turnovers, gives team a chance | Photo gallery

Hayward out for year | Gruden postgame quotes | Bog:  Best and worst

More NFL:  Home page | Sports Bog | Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

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The Wrap:

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 11/24/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Pierre Garcon

Posted at 10:44 PM ET, 11/23/2014

Running back Alfred Morris breaks 100-yard mark in Washington’s 17-13 loss

Yet again, Washington’s third-down conversion rate was poor, successful on just 2 of 13 occasions (15 percent). And the passing game, yet again, was inadequate, with quarterback Robert Griffin III sacked five times — hardly all of them his fault, with the pressure coming unabated.

Amid Sunday’s 17-13 loss to San Francisco, the lone bright spot on offense was running back Alfred Morris, who tallied his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season.

Morris carried 21 times for 125 yards (6.0 yards per attempt), including a tackle-breaking 30-yard gain. He also had a 1-yard burst for Washington’s only touchdown of the day after Darrel Young was denied twice in the red zone.

Coach Jay Gruden not only commended Morris for his work afterward; the coach also intimated that Morris’s production changed his thinking about play-calling going forward.

“We’ll have to rely on that for us to be any kind of successful team in the future,” Gruden said, asked about Morris’s contribution. “This year, next year, moving forward I think we have to get our running game going, and Alfred has been running really hard the last few couple weeks.”

With Griffin rushing four times for 11 yards, Washington outgained San Francisco on the ground, 136-66. The 49ers’ Frank Gore was held to 36 yards on 13 carries (2.8 yards per carry).

Morris, who hadn’t complained about his lack of carries or lobbied for more during the season’s early going, said he was thankful for the extra duty Sunday but added, “I would be a lot happier right now with a win.”

With Griffin under tremendous pressure from San Francisco’s pass rushers all afternoon, the quarterback’s best play was to hand off often and quickly.

Morris, for his part, said he tends to play better with more repetition — both game to game and week to week.

“That is just the type of guy I am anyways,” Morris said. “As the season goes along, as the game progresses, I feel like I get stronger and stronger.”

Another key, Morris said, was simply thinking less and reacting more.

“I’ve been playing this game since I was five,” Morris said. “I know how to be a runner. I just stopping thinking and stopped trying to make things happen that weren’t there.”

E-mail a Redskins question to mike.jones@washpost.com, with the subject “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered Tuesday in the Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Reid: Griffin’s time with Redskins is running out

Redskins fall to 3-8 with 17-13 loss at San Francisco | Box score

Defense forces turnovers, gives team a chancePhoto gallery

Hayward out for yearGruden postgame quotes | Bog:  Best and worst

More NFL:  Home page | Sports Bog | Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow:  @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

By  |  10:44 PM ET, 11/23/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Alfred Morris, Jay Gruden

Posted at 09:00 PM ET, 11/23/2014

Adam Hayward done for the year with broken bone near his knee

Linebacker Adam Hayward is expected to miss the remainder of the season after suffering a tibial plateau fracture in his right leg.

The eighth-year veteran suffered the injury early in the third quarter while downing a punt. Hayward leapt into the air to catch the ball, which had bounced at the San Francisco 20-yard line.

Hayward came down and immediately fell to the ground. He had to be helped off the field.

The fractured bone is just below the knee and around the top of the shin.

Hayward said in the locker room after the game that he expects to have an MRI exam to determine whether or not he has any ligament damage.

Hayward struggled to move around as he packed his belongings in his locker and put his shoes on. He had tears in his eyes and said in addition to the pain, the awareness that he wouldn’t be able to play anymore this season nearly proved equally painful.

“I feel like I’m letting everybody down,” he said. “That’s the worst part.”

The Redskins signed Hayward last spring to help bolster their special teams units. He served as special teams captain. Hayward, who signed a three-year, $3 million deal, had recorded 13 tackles.

The Redskins also lost two cornerbacks in the game. E.J. Biggers left the game with a concussion and Tracy Porter left the game with a right shoulder injury.

Porter had surgery this offseason to repair a torn labrum in the same shoulder. He said after the game that he doesn’t believe this injury is significant, but that he would have an MRI exam in the morning to determine the extent of the damage.

Sunday marked only the third game this season that Porter had played in. He has battled hamstring injuries for the bulk of the year.

E-mail a Redskins question to mike.jones@washpost.com, with the subject “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered Tuesday in the Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Redskins fall to 3-8 with 17-13 loss at San Francisco | Box score

D.C. Sports Bog: Redskins-49ers best and worst | Photo gallery

Gruden postgame quotes: ‘This wasn’t a good day in the passing game’

Redskins-49ers live blog | Maske: Super Bowl within Patriots’ reach

More NFL:  Home page | Sports Bog | Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow:  @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

The Wrap:

By  |  09:00 PM ET, 11/23/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Adam Hayward, E.J. Biggers, Tracy Porter

Posted at 08:17 PM ET, 11/23/2014

Jay Gruden postgame: ‘This wasn’t a good day in the passing game’

Jay Gruden did not seem wholly depressed during his postgame press conference after a 17-14 loss to the 49ers. While he admitted the flaws in the Redskins’ passing game, he also praised Washington’s gritty defensive showing, which kept the Redskins in the game.

Here’s what else Gruden had to say after the game:

On the offense:

“We didn’t do very well. We ran the ball pretty well. We kept the game close, and what we really wanted to do was not turn the ball over. We got some turnovers defensively, we had a great opportunity to win the game, we just didn’t to a good enough job in the passing game with our protection when we had to. We just let them hang around there and they got a touchdown at the end.”

On Robert Griffin III’s performance:

“He’s made strides ya know, but there’s a lot of other things that go into the passing game. We’ve got a rookie left tackle playing his first game with significant time on the road. So we didn’t air it out, wanted to try to get the running game going. We had positive field position and didn’t want to take any chances down the field. This wasn’t a good day in the passing game.”

“No question, we had some opportunities. I’ll check out the film, I’m not going to lay any blame to anybody just offensively. We just didn’t play good enough on third downs. Obviously didn’t convert any, and left some plays out there.”


Wide receiver Pierre Garcon left, and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III walk off the field following the loss.(Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

On how to fix the offense: 

“We gotta stay out of third and long, number one, and work on our pass protection. Work on plays that are conducive to getting the ball out quicker. Come up with some better plan. We’re putting too much stress I think on third and long on our tackles and our inside people right now and probably too much stress on Robert, so we need to do a better job offensively as play callers to mix it up and give some different looks.”

On benching David Amerson:

“We were disappointed obviously. But it was my decision not to play David. He’s going to play for us for a very long time in the future, but unfortunately it wasn’t today. It was nothing, just an in-house deal.”

On the importance of the running game, which was effective Sunday:

“It’s very, very important. We’re going to rely on that. We have to rely on that for us to be any kind of successful team in the future: this year, next year, moving forward. We have to really get our running game going. Alfred’s been running hard the past few weeks. I want to commend Alfred, the way he’s running. Ball security has been excellent, and it helps out play-actions and our boots off of that. But today, for whatever reason, our third-down conversion rate wasn’t good enough, and their pass rush was.”

On the performance of the secondary: 

“I thought it was a great performance, I’m really proud of the way they competed. They could’ve hung their head, the offense wasn’t much to be excited about, but these guys competed their butts off. Corners went out, Tracy Porter was out, Ducre was out, Meriweather had to play corner, we were all over the joint. Those guys stayed the course, they played hard, the front did a great job of neutralizing the running game and our pass rush was effective. We had guys in positions I didn’t know they played. I’m really happy with the way our defense played, and I think moving forward if we can play with that kind of effort and intensity, continue to prepare, I told our team I think some of these losses will turn to wins down the road. We just have to continue to believe, work hard, and play with great passion like our defense played today.”

“Just from the looks on the sideline, (Trent) Murphy and also (Ryan) Kerrigan, but I think Perry (Riley) and also Keenan (Robinson) did an excellent job also, both in coverage and the running game. I can’t really say anything about our defense today. There’s nothing I can say negative about our defense. I’m sure Coach Haslett will have something — he’s never happy. I’m not happy we gave up that last touchdown, obviously, but overall the way they competed was great.”

On why DeSean Jackson was returning punts Sunday:

“We know what kind of big-play player he is, and he’s not a full-time punt returner, nor does he want to be a full-time punt returner. But when you need a play, you put him back there because he’s got the great speed. Unfortunately we got the holding call and the clip on the same one, had a shot at it, but it didn’t work out.”

On Robert Griffin III’s mind-set:

“You have to have a short memory as a quarterback, both when you read the paper and from play to play, from game to game. Just because he gets sacked on one play and has poor protection one game doesn’t mean it’s going to happen the next week. So you have to trust your progressions and your routes and your footwork and just keep going. Until I see the film, I think protection was an issue, obviously, but we’ll see. I think all our guys competed today, I didn’t see any heads down, so I’m happy in that regard. But obviously I’m unhappy with the loss. We don’t get any moral victories, nor are we looking for any. We’re all very upset at the outcome of the game because we had opportunities in that game again, but we just have to figure out ways to convert some of these plays. We have to make some big plays somehow.”

E-mail a Redskins question to mike.jones@washpost.com, with the subject “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered Tuesday in the Mailbag.

More from The Post:

Redskins fall to 3-8 with 17-13 loss at San Francisco | Box score

D.C. Sports Bog: Redskins-49ers best and worst | Photo gallery

On Haslett and his performance | Fancy Stats: Not enough havoc

Redskins-49ers live blog | Maske: Super Bowl within Patriots’ reach

More NFL:  Home page | Sports Bog | Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow:  @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

Photo gallery:

By Chelsea Janes  |  08:17 PM ET, 11/23/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  Jay Gruden

Posted at 03:38 PM ET, 11/23/2014

David Amerson inactive after breaking rule; Tracy Porter to start at cornerback

Four backups will make their 2014 season starting debuts for Washington against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

With cornerback David Amerson ruled inactive after breaking a team rule, seven-year NFL veteran Tracy Porter will take over the start in a thinned defensive backfield.

Rookie Morgan Moses will get his first career start in the NFL, with Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams missing his first game since Dec. 16, 2011, as a result of a sprained knee and ankle suffered in last weekend’s loss to Tampa Bay.

Backup Niles Paul will get the start in place of tight end Jordan Reed, who aggravated a hamstring.

And Stephen Bowen will step in for nose tackle Chris Baker, still ailing with a chest injury.

Rounding out the list of inactives for Sunday are quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receivers Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson.

Porter, 28, who has battled hamstring injuries since he was signed as a free agent this spring, has appeared in just two games this season. He saw limited action against the New York Giants in Week 4 and again last week in the loss to Tampa Bay.

We are live-blogging the game here .

More from The Post:

How Haslett keeps surviving despite subpar defenses

Wise: Griffin may find it hard to repair his reputation

Redskins at 49ers: Five story lines | Game-day notes

Gruden hopes Griffin’s strides in practice show up vs. 49ers

More NFL:  Home page | Sports Bog | Early Lead | Fancy Stats | Fantasy

Follow:  @MikeJonesWaPo | @lizclarketweet | @JReidPost | @Insider

By  |  03:38 PM ET, 11/23/2014 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

 

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