The Redskins have managed to do just about everything wrong that an NFL team can do wrong in their first two games. Two of the sins them have committed are fundamentals that should be drilled into players’ heads from the first day of OTAs—penalties and missed tackles.
Washington has had 17 accepted penalties. That’s tied for sixth in the league. They have had 153 yards of gains taken away due to laundry on the field.
Mike Shanahan noted that against the Packers there were four special teams penalties, two of them coming on one play. “We have some unnecessary penalties because of being aggressive and you have to keep your poise,” the head coach said on Monday. “We want to work on that, to try to eliminate those silly mistakes. You can’t beat yourselves.”
Not keeping your poise is a mental mistake. Not being able to wrap up and tackle is playing with a lack of fundamentals.
According to Pro Football Focus the Redskins have 30 missed tackles. They had three on one play, a simple short pass to Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley. That turned what should have been a short gain into a 27-yard romp down the sideline. Six days earlier it was Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy slipping through tackles on his way to gaining 184 yards.
“What we're going to do is go back, you always work on assignments, gap responsibilities in the running game,” said Shanahan. “Sometimes when you do miss a tackle or two you have to get help from the secondary.”
At this point in time, one issue is that CBA regulations allow only 14 practices in pads per season and full tackling in practice really isn’t good for the health of your team anyway.
“You can't really practice it a lot, you're only allowed have the pads on one day a week and normally we don't take people to the ground,” said Shanahan. “But what you do is have a sense of urgency and the gap responsibilities and practice those.”