Tuesday Nickel: Hall Gets the Boot, Novak In

The Tuesday Nickel Package--Our Redskins insider analyzes Novak-Hall, Brandon Lloyd, Gregg Williams and other key topics.

1. Nick Novak is signed to replace John Hall. The Redskins always liked Novak because of how he handled clutch kicks in his five-game stint with them last season. So when he came in Tuesday, he was the front-runner to win the job. But from what we heard it would not have mattered who was the favorite, Novak kicked the best of a group that included Todd Peterson, Jose Cortez and Tyler Jones. Hall's ouster had to be tough for Joe Gibbs, who was very fond of him. But three seasons of leg injuries is just too much.

2. Why can't the Redskins beat a cover two? On Sunday, the problem was an inability to run the ball. The way to get a team out of a cover two is by having success on the ground. But New York's front seven did a good job of preventing that from happening. And if the Redskins don't run well, teams will stay in that all day long. The other way to beat it is with big plays underneath, but that didn't happen either. It's not as simple as saying, 'Throw the ball downfield!'' It's a process. And the reason Washington had success against Jacksonville is because they followed that process, leading to a diversified attack and much success.

3. The Redskins' defense is far from elite. And that's not about to change. Right now, they're a mediocre group with a sometimes-diversified attack. They miss too many tackles; they apply no pressure and they give up big plays. Shawn Springs' return will help and it will put certain players back into roles they're more comfortable with. Better coverage by the corners will allow Adam Archuleta to play up more, where he's better. But the Redskins need more consistent linebacker play and more pressure from the front before they can start to climb back up.

 4. Gregg Williams needs to be more accountable. After games, the defensive coach is rarely found by the press, especially after losses. He speaks to Comcast because they have a deal with the Redskins. He asks for accountability from his players. That can't be a one-way street. One respected veteran said it doesn't bother him, so why should it bother anyone else? But I do know it's not the behavior of someone who again wants to be a head coach. It was telling Sunday: Al Saunders was surrounded by a group of reporters after his offense hung up three points while Williams left through a side exit.

5. Where is Brandon Lloyd? This one confounds me. The Redskins traded draft choices for him and he has only six catches for 75 yards? Santana Moss calls that a good half for crying out loud. Lloyd is clearly getting tired of answering questions about his productivity, declining to answer questions on a couple different occasions Monday. Lloyd has talent and produced in San Francisco in a much worse offense. Because he's more of a downfield guy, it takes more time to get in sync with a new quarterback, especially one who is sometimes reluctant to throw downfield. Still, I would have thought he'd be more productive at this point.


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