Browsing all articles tagged with Mike Williams
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.

Sep
3

Skins vs. Jags preview

Well, there’s quite a bit going on right now with the Skins.  Let’s see we’ve got

  • the Washington Post exposé on ticket sales to brokers

    • Jason LaCanfora contributed to this article.  I kind of get the feeling his mood towards helping out with this article would be… I don’t know, ecstatic?  You remember the “tampering” debacle right?  Check out The Player Hater’s Ball for a completely logical and agreeable take on that situation.
  • the WaPo piece on Skins suing grandmother’s (and others) who can’t pay their season tickets.  I know it’s sad, but these folks need to get representation for the breach of contract claim by the Skins.  Reading this article, it sounded like a lot of these six year deals sound sketchy.  When you are getting sued: GET A LAWYER.  And yes, I know many can’t afford one, there are attorneys who will take some of these cases pro-bono.  
  • Dan Snyder is rated as the 8th best owner in the league by Yahoo! Sports.
  • Marcus Mason won’t be picking up the phone when it comes time for roster cuts (nice article by Mike Wise)

Oh yeah and we’ve got the last preseason game against the Jaguars!

Clearly tonight’s main focus is going to be on the performance of backup quarterback wannabes Chase Daniel and Colt Brennan.  Jason Campbell is expected to play a series or two and Todd Collins isn’t going to playing at all.  Brennan is probably behind in this battle because of his interceptions in the red zone (and last week on the goal line that ended in a touchdown for the Pats).  Chase Daniel did well in his limited time when he played two games ago.  

So, what are you looking for if you’re Jim Zorn or the Skins coaching staff?  I would say these four keys are the best way to analyze this qb position.  I’ll grade Colt and Chase on these factors tonight:

Athleticism- Daniel has shown his ability to scramble for first downs and make tough throws this preseason, but Colt has also shown his moxie for eluding the pass rush while working with the 2nd and 3rd team units.  This is important considering the OL’s penchant for injuries and the uncertainty of Vinny Cerrato’s willingness to build this unit through the draft.

Accuracy- Clearly Chase Daniel’s stats are more impressive thus far than Colt’s, but we’ll see how they match up during the course of an almost entire game.

Decision-making- This has been Colt’s downfall so far this season.  Forcing passes he may have made last preseason have turned out as interceptions this year.  Taking a sack on third down that pushes Suisham’s ever decreasing range is also not going to help him win this spot.  Look for passes thrown away if receivers are too well covered.  I know it’s not pretty and may end up like Campbell’s 1 for 7 against Pittsburgh, but that’s probably better than a pick 6 for these two qb’s to get a spot.

Coachability/Adaptability- This one will probably not be able to analyzed that much from the game.  But here’s the situation, obviously Collins goes into the game if ever something happens to Campbell.  Colt or Chase are unlikely to see the field this year in the regular season unless calamity  or conscientious development occurs.  That means that the coaches are looking for someone to groom and develop in the Zorn system.  Colt/Chase doesn’t need to have everything sorted at this point, but must be able to have the above mentioned 3 factors plus the patience and humility to be “coached up” (sorry for the Spurrier phrase).  Colt appears to be making strides toward this direction after previously being thought of as having too much “swagger” (personally, I don’t like how Reid classifies it as swagger.  I mean really can one have too much swag?  No, it’s impossible. Swag does not equal arrogance.  Swag=confidence.)

Also Look For…

Marcus Mason or Aldridge to make plays and force the coaches to figure out a way to keep them.

A Punt Returner who gets more than 6 yards.

Marko Mitchell to close out a stellar preseason and work his way into the lineup (possibly supplanting Thomas as the number 4 eventually?  Yeah, I said it!).

How BIG MIKE WILLIAMS performs tonight, playing in his first preseason game (finally!  I am excited to see him play though, for real.)

Your Thoughts

What will you be looking for tonight from the Skins?

Who do you think will be the Skins backup QB behind Collins? Are you a member of Church of Chase or the Cult of Colt?

 

ALSO DON’T FORGET WE’RE ON TWITTER: http://twitter.com/dcsportsjam

Aug
27

Steelers vs. Skins Notes and Training Camp News

On Saturday night the Skins beat the Steelers, 17-13.  The starting offense scored a field goal with a Shaun Suisham chip shot while Chase Daniel threw two TD passes.  Here are some things I noticed from the second preseason game, broken down per unit:

Starting Offensive Unit-   The sky might not be falling after all.  The offensive line was impressive in their time on the field for the second consecutive preseason matchup.  While there probably has been less game-planning by their opponents, the Skins have faced two of the top defensive teams in the league and Campbell has yet to feel major pressure.  Not only that, but the Skins ground game was successful on their first drive.  Portis had 5 rushes for 26 yards (5.2 yards/carry) and Rock Cartwright had that sweet punt fake run as well.  The O-line appears to be “gelling” and with Heyer now solidifying the RT spot, the focus is now on who the backups will be.  Jason Reid of the Redskins Insider thinks big Mike Williams will be a backup this year for sure, but he hasn’t been in a preseason game yet, so I’m not so sure.

Starting Defensive Unit- Orakpo is going to be a freaking beast.  That’s all I can say about him that really summarizes his play.  He lifted a 304 lb. offensive lineman off the ground on one play while rushing Charlie Batch.  He consistently got to the Steelers backfield and was seen wherever the ball was.  I can’t wait to see him play (especially against the Cowboys) this season.  The whole defense played pretty well, including DeAngelo Hall (even with that bogus penalty for unnecessary roughness called on him on the first drive).  

Special Teams- The kicking position is still unsettled, but Dominique Dorsey had some shifty moves as a punt returner.  

Other units & Notes: Todd Collins looked great with the exception of an interception (which I think was actually Devin Thomas’ fault for not going after the ball on a slant route).  Collins has grasped the Zorn offense and played well enough in the two preseason games to be the No. 2 QB this year.  That’s it.  Game over for that spot.

Marcus Mason played well again, but he’s got to figure out the special teams thing so he can make this roster.  I really hope he does because he’s got great speed that the Skins could use as an alternating look between Betts and Portis.  Reed Doughty has been looking really solid, both in tackling and in coverage.  

Chase Daniel appears to be beating Colt Brennan right now for the final QB slot (I would say due to his play in these preseason games and not because of Colt’s out of control “swagger”).  Somehow Colt has taken a step back from last year’s amazing preseason performance, even with a year under Zorn and his system.  Watch for Colt to improve against the Patriots this week.  If he doesn’t, I don’t think he’s got much longer in Washington (again, hard to believe with how well he did last year, but Chase looked great when he scrambled and threw those two touchdowns).  

Marko Mitchell, the 7th round pick from Nevada looks like a stud.  He’s making plays every day in practice and so far, in every preseason game.  Chase Daniel and Mitchell was the connection for the second touchdown of the night for the Skins.  I honestly can’t remember  the last time the Redskins even attempted a lob/fade in the back of the endzone.  Seriously, when was the last time that even happened?  Michael Westbrook?  Alvin Harper?  Cerrato may have a serious knack for picking the 7th rounders that make an impact.  Mitchell will most likely not only make the roster but get some time this year.  Yeah, I said it.

Aug
13

Top Five Things to Watch for in Skins v. Ravens

Thursday night is finally upon us and the Redskins will be matching up against their beltway non-conference, non-annually played, non-rival !  Even though this is just a preseason game.  It’s another step closer to the regular season.  There are many things that will need to happen for the Redskins to be successful this year, among them: Campbell’s growth in the Zorn offense, Haynesworth living up to his monstrous contract (though slightly lesser than T-Suggs contract with Baltimore) and how the offensive line protects Campbell.  Unfortunately, because it is the first preseason game you won’t see any of those things.  Campbell is likely to be in for one series, Haynesworth (along with other some other starters including Portis) aren’t playing, and the offensive line (Randy Thomas) will not be at full strength.  But, don’t you worry avid Redskins fan!  There is still plenty to watch and learn from tonight’s preseason matchup.

Here’s a run of our Top 5 things to watch for:

5. Offensive line play- Last year the Redskins selected Chad Rinehart (Left Tackle from Northern Iowa) with a third round draft pick and expectations were high for him to be a quality reserve for the offensive line.  It didn’t pan out that way, and he struggled to be effective last year when his number was called.  His explanation?  He was intimidated by the players he faced in the NFL and was stuck imitating others instead of playing “his game”. Injuries happen and have already started to swipe at the starting O-line, so Rinehart will most likely be called upon during the regular season.  Hopefully he will start reclaiming that swagger in the preseason to gear up for the rest of the year.

Of course Right Tackle is the biggest question mark on the O-line, so watch tonight how Heyer, Mike Williams and Bridges fare against a very challenging Ravens defense.  Although they won’t see the first team defense for long, the Ravens have consistently had one of the strongest defenses in the league the past decade and you don’t have that type of consistency without depth.  The race at who will start at RT starts tonight.

4. Just for Kicks- Shaun Suisham has a competition this year for his job at kicker (Thank goodness). Dave Rayner and Suisham will battle it out all preseason long, probably by switching up half’s of the game.  I am not sure this is really a competition, but I’d be shocked if Suisham wins it. Apparently he’s been spending time in the offseason working on things, so maybe he’ll come out and not be the league’s worst kicker. That’d be great.

Oh yeah, we also have a punter that (supposedly) is decent.  I’m actually looking forward to seeing our first punt tonight to see if Hunter Smith can help us forget about the whole Frost/Brooks fiasco from last year and the Plackemeir band-aid. Smith apparently has some pretty sweet sneaks too.

3. Cult of Colt vs. ToddBall Who will be the Number Two QB? One thing you can bet you’ll see this preseason is a heated position battle for the number 2 quarterback spot behind Campbell.  Colt Brennan had an incredible preseason last year going 36 for 53 for 411 yards 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions (also leading all rookies with a QB rating of 109.9 in preseason games).  Todd Collins will most likely put up a good fight, with him also having the advantage of being in Zorn’s system for a second year.  Last year Collins seemed to be out of place while trying to adapt after being in Al Saunders style of offense for nearly a century.

2. Who’s going to be Z-Man’s Z Receiver? This is it, Devin Thomas vs. Malcolm Kelly. Can these second year receiver’s stay on the field and actually contribute this year? Thomas is starting tonight with the first team offense at the flanker position, opposite of Santana Moss.  But both Thomas and Kelly will receive major time tonight and will be challenged by the Ravens secondary.  Their success this pivotal to the success of Campbell.  Look for Campbell and Thomas to get comfortable with each other.  Some early chemistry building could go a long way if Thomas can stay healthy.

1. Orakpo’s debut.  Brian Orakpo was selected 13th in the first round by the Redskins this year and is going to be playing a mix of the SAM LB position (where Marcus Washington played) and Defensive End (where he wreaked havoc in college while playing for Texas). Orakpo’s been exceeding expectations throughout camp, impressing Samuels and Blache with both his natural talent and his quick learning of the defensive system. I don’t want to jinx anything but I think Orakpo could be a dominant force when paired with Haynesworth and Andre Carter.  Tonight we’ll be able to see Orakpo w/o Haynesworth’s help (hopefully not the case very often during the regular season).

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Also watch for these tonight: The competition for punt returner, Kevin Barnes’ debut, Marcus Mason’s last shot and Chase Daniel’s first time against NFL players.

May
30

Jansen Cut, Skins Right Tackle Competition b/w Big Mike, Heyer and Bridges

Jansen Cut Today

Career In DC.

This morning Jon Jansen was cut by the Redskins after Zorn didn’t see Jansen in the Skins’ future plans.  Snyder flew Jansen into DC from his Michigan home to tell him of the situation in person and Snyder offered Jansen the chance to retire a Redskin.  Jansen rejected it and preferred being cut.

Jansen was here with the Skins for 10 years and had a pretty solid career here.  The past few years he had injury problems but it was hard not to like him.  He was drafted by the Skins in 1999 in the 2nd Round out of Michigan and was steady for the majority of his career.  If you remember, Jansen has been a major force to be reckoned with on the O-line for the majority of his career, especially in the running game.  Last year he was benched before the season started in favor of Stephon Heyer.  After Heyer got injured last season, Jansen found his way back in the lineup and held onto the position for the remainder of the year.  Out of 126 games Jansen played in, he started in 123.  Also how can we forget when he battled on the front lines with not one, but TWO broken thumbs?!

The Reasons.

Injuries and Youth-  As noted above, Jansen has had injury issues the past 4-5 years.  After rupturing his achilles tendon in 2004, fighting with 2 broken thumbs in 2005,  and other injuries the past few years, Jansen’s body has taken quite a toll.  The Skins want to get younger on the offensive line and you can’t develop potential star Stephon Heyer if he’s second string.  Jansen wasn’t keen about being benched last year in favor of Heyer (how could a warrior such as Jansen ever be fine with losing a spot?).  Zorn and Joe Bugel apparently tried to work him as a center and guard as a backup option but didn’t like what they saw.

What do the Redskins Gain and Lose?

Gains

  • Roster Spot and Extra Evaluation time- The release of Jansen allows for Offensive Line Coach Joe Bugel to spend more time evaluating new potential answers for the spot, Jeremy Bridges and Mike Williams or Stephon Heyer.  This also allows the Skins another spot to use on the roster before cuts come later in the offseason.
  • A Younger Line- The Skins are aging on the Offensive line and many believe that even though it’s a tough thing to lose Jansen, this is a step in the right direction.  Guys like Stephon Heyer and Chad Rinehart should get more playing time.  Heyer earned it in his first year and has put in some major work this offseason to make sure he’s ready to roll.

Losses

  • Veteran Leadership- Jon Jansen was a 10 year pillar on the line for the Skins.  Always the fighter and warrior, his grittiness earned him the nickname of “Rock“.  He also hated to lose more than most on the team.  It’s too bad the Skins didn’t get further with him here in DC.
  • Salary Cap Flexibility- There have been different reports on the effects of Jansen’s release.  We’ll see what the specifics are but it appears that the Skins are going to take a hit by cutting him.

What now?

For the Skins-  The fight for the Right Tackle spot gets a little less crowded but not less competitive.  Zorn is keeping an open mind  and I think he’s hoping to see Mike Williams drop some more weight to be a real factor.  If I had to bet money on it, I’d put my money on Heyer.  

For Jon Jansen- Jansen scored a deal with the Detroit Lions hours the same day he was cut by the Skins.  This is a great situation for both sides.  Jansen gets to finish his career in Michigan and the Lions get a veteran guard with some fight still left in him for the veteran minimum.

Thanks Jansen for your hard work and blue-collar approach to a tough job, good luck in Detroit, they really need your help!