Browsing all articles from December, 2009
Dec
22

Giants Game Recap: Santa Claus Isn't Real

Courtesy of riptheskull on Flickr

I remember one summer curiously asking my parents for probably about the 20th time in my young life, “Is Santa Claus real?”  When my mom told me, “Go ask your father.”  I was shocked.  She had always said yes.  My dad was doing work outside, and perhaps being detached from the holiday season was taken aback by my question.  ”Um, yeah, why?”  I told him that Mom had told me to ask him.  He then told me to go ask my mom.

I was so confused and felt that my whole life was changing at that moment, changing more than I had ever wanted it to.  After the back and forth, it was revealed to me that Santa wasn’t real and that he hadn’t been real (Saint Nicholas was real of course, but I couldn’t understand it at that moment and I don’t think I would have cared for that explanation either).  I sat there on the kitchen floor staring into the wall, wondering aloud “How is this even possible?  If Santa isn’t real, what else is a lie?”  I think I asked my mom if she was my real mom, if I *actually* lived in Maryland and if they had any other lies up their sleeves.  After all of that mess, while I’m still trying to grapple with this personal earthquake, my mom tells me, “Matthew, just don’t tell your sister.”

That’s kind of what happened last night.  Losing to the New York Giants, a divisional rival, with a score of 45-12 was bad – but what was worse is what some of us believed.  ”The Skins are getting better!” and “The offense is getting the system, it’s turning around!”  and “We’ve found our way, it’s a competitive fighting team.”  That this Washington Redskins team was competitive, that was our Santa Claus.  Last night, it was similar to finding out that Santa as we knew it didn’t exist.  But really, it was more like finding out that Santa didn’t exist while everyone in the country was watching, laughing and throwing our presents out the window.

In light of this painful but important epiphany, it’s important to understand what we do know, for sure.  As a kid I found out that I was actually a family member to the parents that had raised me and I was indeed a Marylander.  What do we know about the Redskins after last night’s atrocity of a game?

1) It was all a mirage, we do not have flying reindeer.

Beating Oakland was fun and being close to Dallas, New Orleans, and Philadelphia (to a reasonable extent) was but it doesn’t count for anything.  Many people thought we’d see the Redskins for who they really were against the Giants (optimistically believing something amazing would happen last night).  Well, the bad and good news is that we did and we do not have flying reindeer.

    • The offensive line that looked like it was coming together the last few weeks almost looked like it was TRYING to get Jason Campbell killed last night.  Not only that but rarely did you see an offensive lineman try to help him up after he was thrown to the turf.  (Hey guys, ignoring the problem, doesn’t make it disappear)
    • Defensively, with so much “talent” how in the world can you let Baby Brother Manning put up 45?!  There was no true pressure on Eli Manning for most of the night and few passes were defended.

2) Bruce Allen has to feel like he got a lump of coal for Christmas

The last few weeks the Redskins looked like a competitive team that needed direction, a stronger leader and some new play calling.  Last night it was hard to figure out which pieces to keep of this crappy puzzle.  It is oversimplifying it to say that Mr. Allen has a lot of work ahead of him.

3) Jason Campbell may not be our “Last Action Hero” but he’s a heck of a fighter.

Statistically speaking, Campbell didn’t have a strong night: 15/28 192 yards 2 interceptions, 2 runs for 36 yards and 1 touchdown toss.  That being said, he was the only one who looked he gave a reindeer’s tail during the majority of that game.  He kept pulling his mangled self off the ground, commanded the offensive unit that was betraying him and kept fighting.  That is, as Gibbs would say, “a true Redskin” in my mind, someone who doesn’t complain, doesn’t quit and gives it his all.

4) Jim Zorn is on the “Naughty List”, the debate is over

Whether there is a Santa or not, Zorn’s on the naughty list.  He’s done here.  All of the Zorn apologists and the ones’ that faintly cried, “it’s all coming together, don’t break up the system” are gone.  They are in hiding at the North Pole and no one can defend him after that debacle last night.  45-12 at home against a division rival on national television is beyond unacceptable.  It’s reprehensible and a joke.

The Silver Tinseled Lining

There are a lot of things to love about the Holiday Season, even though it felt like my life was over when I found out about Santa, it wasn’t.  I just operated differently.  Now that we know what the Skins aren’t (competitive, good, able to keep it’s starting quarterback upright for more than three plays in a row…), we can adjust our lives accordingly.  There’s a lot of work to be done for next year, and in the meantime enjoy Dallas week before they actually have to play the game.

Dec
17

Christmas comes early for the Redskins

Whether you were on your morning commute, at your workplace, or just getting out of bed, the news spread like wildfire: “Vinny Cerrato is out”.  Vinny Cerrato resigned this morning as Vice President of the Washington Redskins this morning.  I probably got four texts from fellow Redskins fans announcing an early Christmas present.  Dan Snyder has also  taken a reach back to the past and has connected someone very familiar with a winning Redskins legacy by hiring Bruce Allen (son of former Redskins coach George Allen) as his new man in command.

At first I was skeptical, as most Skins fans are with such a bold move during the regular season.  But this seems to be a serious move by Snyder.  Mr. Allen was in Tampa with Jon Gruden and is credited with putting that Super Bowl winning team together ( led by former Skin  Brad Johnson).  Other than that I was unaware of his personnel prowess but the press release by the Redskins outlines it well:

  • From 1995 to 2004 Allen was the GM with the Oakland Raiders
  • “he was part of three AFC West Championships, two appearances in the AFC Championship game and a berth in Super Bowl XXXVII”
  • From 2004 to 2008 Allen was GM with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 2005 and 2007  the Buccaneers were AFC South Championships

Questions Arise

Here’s the situation though, will Snyder step back and let George Allen do what he’s supposed to do?

Does this mean that Jon Gruden is automatically the leading candidate for hire for the Redskins Head Coach next year?

Will Allen give Jim Zorn a fair evaluation for the improved play of the team during these last few weeks.

Your Thoughts

Do you like this hire?

Same old story different name?

Extras

Dan Steinberg remembers Vinny’s “legacy

Dec
5

Five Reasons why the Redskins can't Win against the Saints

Matt may be a little too optimistic about the Skins chances with his latest article, but back here on Planet Earth the Skins have about as much chance of beating the Saints as the Detroit Lions did. Not to say I wouldn’t love an upset, I’ll be cheering for one, but I’m not delusional.

5. Injuries On Friday’s injury report both teams listed a number of players. The Saints outweigh the Skins in quantity, but not impact. A healthy Skins team would have trouble against the much better Saints; without playmakers on offense (Portis, Sellers) and defense (Hall, Haynesworth), the Skins will barely be able to hang on.

4. The Big Play The Redskins D has been susceptible to the Big Play all year. Last week it seemed like every Eagles receiver was able to get open at least once 20 yards downfield.  In the Redskins most recent win against the Broncos on November 15th, star Denver receiver Brandon Marshall was left wide open twice for Touchdown catches- one for 75 yards and one for 40 yards.  The Saints  wideout Marques Colston is tied for first for the most catches of 20+ yards with fifteen. The Saints 2nd WR Devery Henderson has eleven. Even if the Skins can keep Drew Brees off the field for the majority of the game, the quick-strike ability of the Saints is too much.

3. Too many weapons The Saints simply have too many offensive weapons. With a secondary depleted by injuries it is unlikely that there is going to be much man coverage in the Skins defensive gameplan. The problem is that their have been breakdowns in the Skins zone coverage often in the past few games. The Skins defensive players either do not know their assignments or are not recognizing when players enter their coverage area quickly enough. Either way opposing teams are getting more wide open pass catching opportunities than should be seen in a professional game.

2. The Saints blitzes will overwhelm the O-Line The Redskins have had no consistency on the offensive line this year. This week Mike Williams is back in at Right Guard after Edwin Williams disappointed last week. Not that it matters, neither is a starting caliber Guard, and to be frank, neither is most of the present offensive line. Stephon Heyer is especially suspect. If he is beat  on a few blitz packages, he is likely to get jumpy and start committing false start penalties. The Saints D is going to be in Campbell’s face all day, and he is not going to be able to establish his rhythm.

1. The Two-Minute Drill Even if the Redskins can keep this game close by some miracle, they will find a way to lose. For two weeks straight the Redskins have squandered away slim leads. If the Redskins offense is put on the field to win the game late, it won’t. Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell have perfected the art of failing at a two minute drills. I think this is a combination of the fact that Zorn gets to call the plays for the two-minute drill and the Redskins offense has no audibles. The more I see Zorn coach the more I’m convinced he couldn’t call plays for PeeWee football. Campbell is then stuck with Zorn’s idiotic calls because he has no audibles. Campbell also has to stay more collected during high pressure situations, he too often does something stupid with too little time left.

It does not look great for the Redskins tomorrow, but like all Skins fans I’ll be hoping for a Miracle.

Dec
3

Five Reasons the Redskins can Win against the Saints

The Washington Redskins lost another heartbreaker on Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-24.  For the second straight week, the Redskins were unable to win with the lead going into the 4th quarter.  As a Skins fan, when the Redskins were held to a field goal late in the 4th, you knew it wasn’t going to end well.  That’s when Washington’s defense faltered again late in the game.  Last week it was Dallas, this week it was Philadelphia.

Could it get any worse for the Redskins right now; with starters on offense falling like flies and losing to divisional rivals in painful fashion for two straight weeks?

Why, yes.  Yes it could, the undefeated New Orleans Saints are coming to town.

Even though the situation seems bleak right now, the Redskins actually could pull out a win against New Orleans this weekend at FedEx Field.  Here are five reasons to stay hopeful on Sunday:

5. The Redskins won against a very good Saints team last year, 29-24. Mind you, our offensive line wasn’t so patchwork then as it is now, but our defense actually matched up pretty well against them.  This year, the Saints have come close to losing to the Miami Dolphins and the St. Louis Rams (oh don’t we know the feeling…) but have absolutely obliterated NFC East Opponents 96-49 (the Giants and Eagles).  Looking back at the Rams game, the Saints are beatable and the Skins may be able to finish what St. Louis couldn’t.

4.  The Skins should know what Gregg Williams, Defensive Coordinator of the New Orleans Saints will be doing against them. Besides the fact that Gregg Williams will be attempting to crush his former team, Washington should know what his plan will be: to blitz.  It will happen early, often, and probably always.  The Skins defense knows how much Williams loves to bring the pressure, especially with a lead and Washington should know the types of blitzes that Williams will employ better than anyone.  Hopefully that turns into good preparation for the Skins.

3. The Skins defense is #7 in the league right now, and #1 against the pass (but an atrocious 25th against the run).  Everyone knows that the Saints offense flows through Drew Brees (27 touchdowns, only 9 interceptions).  The Skins’ pass rush may be able to hurt  Brees’ rhythm and timing.  Obviously, this theory only holds if Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall play.

2. Jason Campbell and the offensive line seem to be improving and are now working well together. The last two weeks the Skins rotating offensive line has only given up 2 sacks (1 against Dallas and 1 against Philadelphia).  Campbell last week was releasing his passes much quicker than he had earlier this year.  Whether this is because he’s got his rhythm now or because he’s paranoid his head will get knocked off (like it almost did on the last play of the game against Philly last week), the results have been positive.  This would seem to be just in time for Gregg Williams and his blitz-happy schemes coming to town.

Also, worth noting is that the “young three”: Fred Davis, Devin Thomas, and Malcolm Kelly are getting more action and have started contributing on offense.  Against Dallas they combined for 6 catches for 93 yards and against Philly, 10 catches for 139 yards.

1. The weather could get ugly, which would favor an NFC East team. The Eagles and Giants would have had a much better chance if it had been on their turf at this time of the year, rather than in a dome or before the elements come into play.  The forecast for this weekend has the game at the low 40′s and it could get dirty out there on the field.  If it is windy, cold, rainy, it will slow down the high-powered, built for indoors scoring machine offense of the Saints.  If Rock Cartwright and Quinton Ganther get their game going early, it will help the Skins keep Brees off the field as well.

Later, I will post five reasons why the Skins won’t win against the Saints.

Other Local Links & Happenings:

Jarrett Carter writes about something that will cross every Washington fan while the game is being played on Sunday, “Why wasn’t it Gregg Williams?!”.  What Would Gibbs Do?  Williams would have been the hire, we don’t know what would have happened but I’m pretty sure it would be better than what’s going on now.

Earl Boykins helped the Wizards beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 102-104 last night.  How exciting is this guy?!  His final move to win the game and beat Brandon Jennings was incredibly savvy.  The Wizards have won 4 of their last 5, by the way.  Here are some highlights (Also, Brandon Jennings is the real deal.)