Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Week 3: In. Ex. Cusable.

How does one rate these Redskins after Sunday's performance against the New York Giants? I dunno--there were flashes of brilliance, determination, and will-to-win. There were also blindingly stupid displays of arrogance and lack of concentration. Hmm...

Gotta quote Pops once again, who said in the 4th quarter, "At least this will teach the Redskins a lesson: you can't beat yourselves and expect to win." I'll concur and point out the obvious reasons the Redskins lost. There are, in my estimation, two.

Reason #1: 17 penalties for over 140 #%#$#$#!! yards. That's stupendously bad. Tragically bad. Fatally bad. These were not ordinary, garden-variety penalties. Oh no. These beauties took points OFF our side and GAVE points to their side. Literally, in some cases. We have Jeremiah Trotter to thank for his bonehead unnecessary roughness shove after the play was very over, allowing the Giants to continue after failing to convert 3rd and 24. That drive took a relatively close 14-3 game to 21-3 before the half. Darnerian "I Forget I'm Not Terrell Owens" McCants was nice enough to also get a taunting call on a potential scoring drive. Son, that was a routine catch.

But the biggest boneheads of the game have to be the aptly-named Offensive Line. If it wasn't a holding call taking Rod Gardner's touchdown off the boards, it was another call stalling the game-winning 4th quarter drive which ended with a field goal. Drives went from 1st and 10 to 1st and 15 to, eventually, 3rd and 22. Ridiculous. I stopped counting the false start and holding penalties at six.

Who's to blame? Players? Coaches? Lack of concentration or a lack of discipline? Both? Blame it on Isabel? I'll hazard a guess here: blame the players at the time of the penalty, blame the coaches ultimately. Everybody gets caught up in the moment--there was a chap two rows up from me, big as a nose tackle, who was livid throughout the second half. He slammed the seats in front of him, he took every setback personally, he hollered colorful language. We swore he would spontaneously combust. But that's okay--he's a drunk Redskins fan. Our receivers, linebackers, heck, EVERYBODY is a paid professional who should be expected to conduct themselves like one, and it's inexcusable for them to be so busy celebrating, protesting or fighting that they harm the team. The Redskins' heads were not always in the game, and that reflects on Spurrier and Co. They are undisciplined at the worst times, and it will be the death of the our season if it continues.

Reason #2: 30 minutes of good play, 36 minutes of poor play by the defense. Smoot and Bailey may be hailed as great corners. And they might be. But on Sunday they and the safeties got burned early and often on simple out routes and deep passes from Collins. They could not cover Jeremy "Homo" Shockey nor anybody else who dropped into the flats. (The Giants also had a curious weakness, to crossing routes. I think we gained over 100 yards on the same play to Coles and Morton.) I remember Dad getting frustrated with how soft Fred Smoot was covering his receiver. Sure enough, next play, pass to receiver, first down.
Granted, most of that was in the first half. And they did a phenomenal job of shutting down the marginal Giants offense so we could come back. But Lord knows the Redskins cannot keep spotting teams more than 10 points and expect the offense to have the gas to pull out another weekly miracle. We looked tired in the overtime session, so tired that the 12th Man, whipped into a frenzy, couldn't help.

How 'bout that offense? Patrick "Pharoah" Ramsey once again showed that he is for real, and that Coach Steve "Superior" Spurrier made the right choice. Sure, he had some questionable throws into coverage--the Skins' first touchdown was tossed right into double coverage. (Luckily for us later in the game that the Giants defensive backs don't catch too well.) But Ramsey looks sharp, even when he's scrambling for his life. His quick pass to beat the blitz set up the tying field goal. The all-important 2-point conversion near the end of regulation was, dare I say, Favre-ish. I like this kid, and if we can limit the number of blindside sacks he takes through the season, we could end up with a Pro Bowler. You heard it here first.

Joining him in Hawaii should be Laveranues Coles. (I am NOT naming my child "Laveranues." Is this like the masculine "Laverne?") This man is money, the deep and speed threat that we haven't had in Washington since, well, Gary Clark or Charlie "Fun Bunch" Brown. (Bonus points if anybody remembers Mr. Brown.) Coles is tough, has good hands (yeah, he had some early drops), and you can take a risk and just try a go route with him. He makes Gardner and the rest of the receiving corps more dangerous. Worth every penny Mr. Snyder's giving him.

I still like the play of our Special Teams. Chad "Scatback" Morton was but one man away from breaking out a punt return touchdown, and he makes wise decisions on fair catches. No fumbles yet this season. Can't complain there. John "TajMa" Hall missed two kicks. I heard somebody on talk radio complain. F'crying out loud, they were from 53 and 48 yards! He made the ones that we REALLY needed in crunch time, okay? I'll take that any day of the week. Twice on Sunday.

OFFENSE: B (This game would've been over in regulation with the Skins winning by 10 if it weren't for penalties.)
DEFENSE: B- (Nobody but the Giants believed they would score in OT after how the Skins' D performed. Imagine our surprise.)
COACHES: D (The playcalling was fine; those offsides/false start/holding/personal foul penalties reveal a flaw in leadership.)

Next Up: New England Patriots. Looks like (and I'm just saying what NFL PrimeTime tells me) they're hurting with a number of injuries. Even if they were at full strength, I wouldn't care. I root for the Skins, so Washington wins 24-14.

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