Monday, October 29, 2001

To quote Marty Schottenheimer: "We are on a f---in' roll!"

That's what FOX caught Marty saying quite loudly after Westbrook's TD reception, and I have to agree--to a degree. For the first time this season, the Skins' offense/defense/special teams played a full game. The defending NFC Champions arrived in DC, and--what's this?--Tony Banks threw the long ball and--what's this?--Stephen Davis got his 100 yards, and--what's this?--the special teams scored for us!

It wasn't last week's jaw-dropping spectacle, but it was a solid win against a very good team. Yet I kept getting the feeling that this was a completely different team than the one I watched stink up the joint for five weeks. Yeah, they made their mistakes (can we save our timeouts until the end of the game for once?), but everybody was hustling. Check the punt return coverage on Metcalf's TD--you saw players running full speed to block downfield. It was beautiful.

It was as if somebody told Marty during the fourth quarter of last week's game that if the Redskins didn't score points NOW, he'd be out of a job by November. Really. I don't care what Marty said during the postgame: since the 3rd quarter vs. Carolina the Skins have not been playing West Coast offense. This was Redskins football--long passes and tough running with sweeps (whatever happened to the counter-trey we used to be known for?). Davis looked like Riggo out there in the 4th, wearing down the demoralized Giants D. That's exactly how Riggins used to get his 100 yards a game, and unlike some commentators, I have zero problem with that. So kudos to Team Schottenheimer for not doing what most figured they'd do. (I know what you're thinking, and no, I still don't like him.)

Defense needs some help, no doubt. Look, I like Darrell Green as much as the next fan, but Amani Toomer smoked him for 8-10 yards whenever he wanted to. Beyond Toomer, though, most receivers from the backfield were wide open in the flats for easy gains. When we blitzed, Kerry Collins had plenty of time to get his passes away. Arrington is still a beast, and Bruce Smith still is giving 100%, but we need to apply pressure better on QBs. But hey, the D bent but didn't break, stopping the Giants when they absolutely, positively, had to. Boy I wish we still had Ray Rhodes.

Eric Metcalf = Butter. Immediate impact player. Rest of the special teams tackled with purpose. Good stuff Sunday.

Now this NFC East race is getting interesting. What a gallery of losing teams. If you think about it--and I do--the Skins still have to play the Cardinals twice, Dallas in DC, and the Eagles twice. And none of them are looked better than the Skins on Sunday. Hmm...
OFFENSE: B- (Hey Tony, you should not SLEEP until you learn the rest of the playbook.)
DEFENSE: C- (Oh, I long for the days of Carrier/Sanders/Bailey/Green.)
Sp. TEAMS: A- (Aside from marginal punting, they did everything you could ask.)
COACHING: B (Psst, Marty! Whatever playbook you had in the offseason--burn it. Now.)

Mr. Jones

PS In Fantasy Football news, my Young Avengers team humbled Wesley's WesLaw team 130-78, with my defense still to play tonight. I don't mean to rub it in (OK, I do), but my 4 reserve players had more points than his starters. There ought to be laws against beating people this bad. Oh, that's right. There are.

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