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Redskins try to turn page from Colts with ‘no-nonsense’ approach

September 18, 2018

ASHBURN As soon as Mason Foster got home Sunday from the Redskins’ 21-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, he sat down and watched the game again. Later on, after he put his two sons to bed, the Redskins linebacker rewatched it a second time.

If he hadn’t, Foster said he wouldn’t have been able to sleep. The 29-year-old needed to dissect exactly what went wrong. The Redskins, after all, were caught off guard by the loss, particularly after how well they played in Week 1.

Following the repeated viewings including breaking down the film further on Monday Foster had a better idea of what to fix.

“We’re all going to say we wish we made plays in those key situations, and we know that we’re capable of making those plays, so we have to make them,” Foster said. “If we make them, then it’s a whole different game. ... We feel that we can make more plays and put our offense in a better situation.”

The Redskins will have to learn from their mistakes quickly. Washington will now face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at FedEx Field and if the team isn’t prepared, running back Chris Thompson said, they can expect to get embarrassed again.

Teams, too, now have a blueprint on how the beat the Redskins.

On Sunday, quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts had success by releasing the ball quickly, using a series of pick and screens to gain yardage. The Colts were also able to sustain long drives of 75 yards on their scoring drives, in part, because they found themselves in manageable situations on third down.

Of the Colts’ 16 plays on third-down, eight of them happened when Indianapolis faced three or fewer yards to go for the conversion. The Colts converted on all of them, two of which resulted in touchdowns.

The Redskins offense, on the other hand, was putrid on their third-down attempts going just 5-for-15. Indianapolis’ Tampa 2 zone proved to be highly effective, and the Redskins had the middle and deep parts of the fields taken away. The run game, too, wasn’t effective rushing for just 65 yards after the team had 182 yards against Arizona.

After the game, running back Adrian Peterson said the Redskins can expect to see more of the same concepts since the NFL is a copycat league.

“I’m sure Green Bay will come in with some of the same stuff as well,” said Peterson, who rushed for just 20 yards on 11 attempts. “We’ll just be better prepared to take care of it.”

Coach Jay Gruden said the Packers run an entirely different scheme than Indianapolis, so the Redskins most likely won’t see the same game plan this week. Rodgers takes an average of 2.78 seconds to throw, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats meaning he doesn’t release the ball as fast as Luck (2.46).

But the Redskins still have to be prepared to handle pick plays and screens, which Foster said they can clean up by swarming defenders and closing windows to throw. They have to avoid third-and-long situations and find a way to get their receivers involved.

Gruden said the Redskins’ loss against the Colts was more about physical mistakes than mental ones. He emphasized the importance of physicality in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

While the Redskins were disappointed the day after the loss, Gruden said his players were already focused on the Packers.

“I like the way these guys came in [to the facility], I think they have a no-nonsense approach,” Gruden said. “They’re ready to fix things and move on.”

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