Redskins-Dolphins film review: Offense

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Chester anchored fairly well in pass protection, but as one of Mike Shanahan’s hand-picked acquisitions up front, he needs to be part of the solution for the running game’s problems.

LG MAURICE HURT: Injuries obviously have forced Hurt into the lineup before he’s ready. It’s not his fault he’s the Redskins‘ best option at left guard right now. He did, however, surrender a sack in the first quarter. He stood too tall in his set and lost all his power. DE Jared Odrick used an inside move to get to QB Rex Grossman in 2.5 seconds.

Dolphins DE Jason Taylor sacked Grossman in the fourth quarter by rushing past Hurt. When CB Will Allen showed blitz on the right edge of the defense, LT Trent Williams fanned outside to block him. That left Hurt to block Taylor, but Hurt didn’t make the same adjustment Williams did. That’s Hurt’s inexperience showing.

With LG Kory Lichtensteiger out for the season, Hurt needs to improve over the final seven games. Again, it’s not his fault that he’s starting, and he is going to struggle at times, but he needs to get something out of this opportunity. Let’s see whether the sacks and pressures start to decrease.

TE LOGAN PAULSEN: Paulsen is on this list for one play: His holding penalty in the first quarter negated a 1-yard touchdown run that would have given the Redskins their first lead in four games. Hand placement has been one of Paulsen’s major points of emphasis since arriving in the NFL last season, and his was poor on that play. Dolphins S Yeremiah Bell got his right hand inside Paulsen’s left hand and into Paulsen’s chest. That left Paulsen with little recourse when Bell disengaged. Paulsen grabbed Bell’s jersey, making it easy for the official.

It was somewhat reminiscent of RB Tim Hightower’s 1-yard touchdown run around the left edge against the Giants in Week 1. The Giants wanted a holding call against Paulsen, who blocked LB Michael Boley on the second level. They didn’t get it, but replays showed they had a case.

K GRAHAM GANO: Gano earned his share of game balls during the first half of the season because of his consistency kicking field goals, so he has to end up here for missing two. The wind (19 mph at kickoff) significantly affected all kicks toward the west end zone at Sun Life Stadium, but he has to help the point-starved offense — even if it’s a monsoon.

OBSERVATIONS

• QB Rex Grossman played well, but his few mistakes were so costly they outweighed the positives. On his dagger of an interception at the 5-yard line with the Redskins driving to take the lead, he stared down WR Leonard Hankerson. ILB Karlos Dansby read where Grossman was going with the ball the whole way. I wonder, though, if WR Jabar Gaffney had continued his slant across Dansby’s face whether Dansby would have gone with Gaffney enough to open a sufficient window for Grossman to get the ball to Hankerson. When Gaffney broke off his route, Dansby drifted into the ball’s path.

Several of Grossman’s throws sailed high. Hankerson’s length covered some of those up, but it was a problem on several plays, including a third-down throw that WR David Anderson dropped in the first half. Grossman also underthrew TE Fred Davis on a deep ball in the second quarter. Davis sneaked out the front side on a play-action keeper, one of the best plays in Kyle Shanahan’s playbook, but Grossman didn’t get the throw out in front of him. Davis had to slide, and it allowed the linebacker time to catch up to Davis and get his hand in to break up the play.

Grossman also appeared to miss a fantastic touchdown opportunity early in the third quarter. When the Dolphins blitzed seven on third-and-goal from the 5, they left the middle of the field exposed. WRs Hankerson and Gaffney were open on slants underneath the inside receivers on their respective sides, and Grossman could have unloaded hot to either one for a score. Instead, he lobbed a fade to Davis on a corner route, and it was incomplete.

Overall, though, Grossman proved he gives the Redskins the best chance to win, as Mike Shanahan says. He was poised, and many of his throws were on time and in rhythm. He generally did well recognizing soft coverage and taking what the defense gave him.

WR Leonard Hankerson would have received a game ball if he hadn’t slipped out of his break on a second-quarter pass that resulted in an interception. QB Rex Grossman’s throw was on time and accurate, but Hankerson just lost his balance. He had a great game otherwise, but such mistakes are killing the Redskins right now. Staying balanced is part of quality route-running, and Hankerson’s breakdown cost the Redskins a scoring opportunity.

Otherwise, Hankerson was a true bright spot. His ability to catch passes within a wide radius of his frame helped clean up some of Grossman’s high throws. He ran a great route to get open on the 22-yard catch that preceded Grossman’s second interception. He ran vertically to 12 yards, where he opened CB Will Allen’s hips to the outside with a hard step with his left foot. That turned Allen around while he cut sharply across the field and separated. And he came back to the ball in the air.

That play showed why Hankerson ascended the depth chart in recent weeks. For an offense in desperate need of hope, it’s a shame his progress will be delayed.

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