Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Redskins Progress

Redskins 20 - Seahawks 17
I owe Santana Moss a huge apology. When the Skins traded for him, I believed they took a step down in talent to get rid of a headache. Laveraneus Coles came to Washington from the Jets with the reputation as a speed burner, the guy who would stretch defenses and occasionally bust a big one. He did have some success under Spurrier, but one season under Joe Gibbs and he wanted out.

Were I the general manager, I would not have traded or released him, no matter how unhappy he was. The cap hit was too high and the Redskins had enough of that. I read somewhere that Washington's payroll included $16 million for players no longer with the team, highest in the NFL and a legacy from Little Danny's free spending ways. Coles made a lot of money to play, so play. But Joe Gibbs made some commitment to him, so Coles goes back to the New York Jets and Santana Moss comes to Washington.

"Oh wow," was my underwhelmed expression. The Moss who excited fantasy footballers was Randy, not Santana. Randy was the Moss who gathered no stones. Santana was usually way down on the list of desired fantasy players to draft or start. Without distinctive accomplishments that would get fantasy points, Santana was seen as a number two or three back. The Jets seemed altogether too anxious to part with Santana to get Laveraneus back.

Joe Gibbs and his staff held that Moss was his kind of player for his kind of offense. He averaged 18 yards per catch. OK Joe, if you say so. The coaching staff made a number of puzzling changes. Antonio Pierce was a real find and he wanted to stay here, so he said. It seems he also wanted to be paid and his price was out of line. Pierce was the perfect example of my proposition that stars emerge from the system. When you get 'em, you keep 'em. Pierce escaped to the Giants.

Fred Smoot was a fan favorite. With Champ Bailey and Smoot, Washington had the best corner back tandem. They could cover any receiver one-on-one and allow a lot of flexibility in the defense. Bailey made it clear that he had no taste for the instability in Little Danny's organization and wanted out. Smoot said he wanted to stay, but wanted to get paid. Now he's in Minnesota. Bad news, bad news. What are these guys doing?

It seems that Coles, Pierce and Smoot have been replaced most adequately Moss, Marshall and Harris. The Patriots, Eagles and Broncos (maybe) manage their teams with the system supreme and the players as interchangeable parts more or less. They eschew the star system. It appears the Joe Gibbs-led Redskin organization is moving in that direction.

The Skins showed something fans wanted to see, not perfection, but progress in the passing game. Mark Brunell threw the ball accurately. The receivers, especially Santana Moss, caught the ball consistently. The ground game was effective, 'though not spectacular. The offense gained over 300 yards and controlled the clock for 39 minutes. Brunell's intercption came when a pass deflected off of Clinton Portis' outstretched hands and right into a Seahawk player. Freak play. Brunell moved in the pocket enough that the receivers could get open. He once kept a drive alive by scrambling for 18 yards. The passing game brought Chris Cooley and Robert Royal into the mix. Brunell connected to seven different receivers. His touchdown pass went to the fullback. Mark Brunell performed as he did in preseason and that presents new issues for opposing defenses. Progress.

The defense played well until the third quarter. Sean Taylor did not play thereafter. According the the Washington Post, Shawn Springs did not play during the Seahawks last drive, when they woulda/coulda/shoulda won. The Hawks offense could do nothing for most of the game until those two were out of the lineup. Then, they moved the ball. The defense is not as effective when those two, especially Taylor, are out. Depth may be a concern. If Josh Brown, a good kicker, makes that last kick with one second to go, the Redskins lose this one.

When I worked at Montgomery Ward, one of the vice presidents was fond of saying "sales cure everything." In sports, winning does the same.

1 comment:

faith said...

RSS Feed is Up
RSS Is Here! Yes, you read that right - Public Eye finally has its very own RSS feed .
Nice going! You have a super blog here! I have a games and download site/blog. It pretty much covers games and download and games and download related stuff. Check it out, if you have the time.