The Redskins’ misdirection plays from the option also worked well. Kyle Shanahan’s package of plays for speedy wideout-returner Brandon Banks didn’t do much for Banks (he finished with negative yardage rushing), but Banks was a great decoy on some of Griffin’s runs.
Garcon, who was signed in the offseason to stretch defenses, has been a nonfactor for most of the year. At times, Kyle Shanahan basically used Davis as a wideout. Davis has the size and speed to win individual battles against smaller cornerbacks.
In the first quarter, Griffin and Davis combined on two short slants that resulted in first downs. The calls on safe passes helped Griffin gain confidence passing early in the game.
Mike Shanahan has instructed his son to use Moss selectively in an effort to help the 12-year veteran remain in good form for the entire season. In the second quarter, Moss ran a sharp, mid-range route and Griffin found him for a 30-yard gain.
Targeted four times in the game, Moss had four receptions. He’s becoming a security blanket for Griffin but is not being overused. That’s exactly what Mike Shanahan wanted.
Applying some pressure
Give defensive coordinator Jim Haslett credit for making an adjustment that enabled the Redskins to harass a quarterback.
Haslett has tried many things to improve the team’s ineffective pass rush, and he turned to Lorenzo Alexander against the Vikings. The special-teams standout has played all over the offense and defense, and he’s now a backup inside linebacker. Haslett hoped Alexander could provide a spark off the bench if he had a bigger role on defense, and he responded with 11
2 of Washington’s four sacks.
Only coaches and players were aware of the change in the game plan. After Alexander’s big game, everyone knew how the move turned out.
The Redskins improved to 3-3 because Griffin returned to the lineup even better than he was before. Griffin is smarter now, which makes him more dangerous. As if the NFL didn’t already have enough problems trying to stop him.
For columns by Jason Reid, visit washingtonpost.com/reid.