Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Redskins-Jets: Thrown for a loss

My impressions of the Redskins - Jets game:

Antwaan Randle-El: Wow! Double wow! After the game, Twaan was effusive in his enthusiasm. He suggested that fans not worry about preseason performance; the team would be alright when they unveiled the real offense. Maybe, but Vince Lombardi, not to mention Joe Gibbs, wouldn't agree. Lombardi believed you played the way you practiced, preseason games being practice. Lombardi said excellence is not a sometime thing; it's an all the time thing. But, Twaan can catch some ball!
Mark Brunell: completed three passes for 45 yards. Forty-two of those yards went to Randle-El on two big plays. ooooooooohh-kaaaayyy!
The Running Game: The Skins gained 84 yards rushing, 29 yards of which came from Mike Sellers on three plays. Rock Cartwright and Nemo Broughton gained 20 and 16 yards on six carries each. The Skins bring in TJ Duckett in a trade with Denver/Atlanta. Duckett is a big, between-the-tackles runner. Sellers showed something in the Jets game, so I'm surprised to see Duckett. He can't be here just for short-yardage plays. Could be that the coaches want to protect Clinton Portis from big hits on power runs by using big back Duckett instead. Or, maybe, just maybe, Portis won't be ready to start until later in the season.

As a Michigan State grad, I'm glad to see Duckett on the roster. Either Cartwright or Broughton appear to be in jeopardy.
The Running Defense: What defense? Even in preseason, how could the Redskins D allow anyone to gain 216 yards on the ground? We are not speaking of LaDainian Tomlinson or Shawn Alexander. We are saying the New York Jest, whose leading rusher was a nobody named B. Smith who ran a reverse play 61 yards for a score. Discount that play, and the Jest still gained 153 yards on the ground. You play with a lead, you keep the ball on the ground. You want to get back in the game, you stuff the other team's rushers. The defense didn't do it.
The Special Teams: Last season, the special teams were plagued by an inability to stop big plays. The Jest's 87 yard kick-off return exposed the same weakness.
Todd Collins: I left the stadium in disgust at the end of the third quarter and missed Todd Collins' competitive effort. He completed 12 of 18 passes for 114 yards (47 percent of the passing yards gained by the Redskins) and a touchdown. He threw an interception as did Jason Campbell. The number two quarterback position is still up for grabs.
Game Management: The Jest controlled the ball for over 37 minutes. Very, VERY unGibbls-like. I call them the New York Jest because in this game I keep wanting to say surely you jest!
Joe Gibbs: After the game, the coach-in-chief said "Where the offense is concerned and the defense is concerned, I'm concerned." I'm concerned that he is concerned.
Clinton Portis: After his injury, CP questioned the value of exhibition games, specifically his role in them. I beg to differ. The Redskins' performance these past two weeks shows that the starters need repetition. The offense gained 565 yards v 609 yards by opponents. They managed a paltry 114 rushing yards against 326 rushing yards by the Bengals and Jets. There is no Super Bowl in this performance. Teams don't go all out to win in the preseason; but they shouldn't look this bad either.

There is something else at play here and it could be complacency. After the Redskins crushed San Francisco last year, they went to the Meadowlands, where the Giants handed them their heads. Wellington Mara's death was widely cited as an inspiration for New York. It could also be that the Skins relaxed after the 49er game, believing themselves to be better than they were. That's human nature. This has the same feel.

Fans and bloggers, like me, have hyped the Skins the entire off-season. It could be that the players are buying the hype too much. Dangerous. Hype is for the out-of-shape, fat guys like Master4caster. The players better not be drinking this Kool-Ade. I suspect the coaches are gently reminding them of that this week.

"Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing." -- Vince Lombardi


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