Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ernesto is coming!

With news that the remnants of Hurricane Ernesto will hit the DC area tomorrow, Washingtonians are doing what we always do when bad weather is imminent, crash the grocer for bread, milk, water and toilet paper. Why do we do that?

It could be pouring rain when the Ravens come to FedEx tomorrow night. We know now that the Skins don't seriously prepare for exhibition games. They don't even run a vanilla offense. They run high school generic that the players practice for one day, sorta, and will never use again. Bench the starters. Go buy your toilet paper. Leave it to the rain to stop the Ravens.

I can't make the game, so I gave my tickets to my pastor. He was very excited. He has never been to a Redskins home game. I feel I should apologize.

Bless me, father, for I have sinned ....

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Saunders: We're heading down the right path

With the natives restless, deputy head coach Al Saunders offered reassuring words to the fans about the progress of the team. In a Washington Post article by Howard Bryant, Saunders points out that "The Redskins' offense may appear to be struggling, but it hasn't in the three games used any of the dynamic offensive formations and schemes it uses every day in practice." What you are seeing, even in the Patriots game, is the process Saunders has gone through to establish the new offense. "We've had too much success in this offense, in San Diego, St. Louis, Kansas City over the past 26 years to not be confident of this process."

He asks for fans to chill! You ain't see nothin' yet.

The team asks for patience and they will get it. However, it's not the 0-3 record that has fans almost up in arms, its the trend. The Redskins performance has regressed since the Bengals game. You like to see game by game progress and your first team moving the ball, basic things, you know, like blocking, tackling, running, catching. Saunders says the Redskins practices are geared towards the September 11 home opener against the Vikings. And the preseason games are not.

So, chill!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Stallworth flies with Eagles is reporting that the team acquired Donte' Stallworth in a trade with the New Orleans Saints. The Eagles gave up a fourth-round draft pick and linebacker Mark Simoneau to seal the deal.

My co-worker Jason, who has carried Stallworth on his fantasy team the past two seasons, is unimpressed. "The Eagles are grasping," he says. "When Joe Horn was out last season, Stallworth had a major opportunity to step up. He did not. He's like Taylor Jacobs with an attitude." He was surprised that the Eagles picked up Stallworth with disgruntled receivers Jerry Porter and Deion Branch available. Even with the upgrade of McNabb as quarterback, Stallworth is no better than a number three receiver on a fantasy roster. On a real roster, Donovan McNabb, preseason 112 QB rating, was said to be delighted by the move.


Patriots Replay

With a day to reflect, the summarized the good and the bad of the Redskins-Patriots game.


  1. No turnovers
  2. Jimmy Farris put up good numbers as receiver and may push James Thrash for a roster spot.
  3. Adam Archuleta on special teams
  4. Rocky McIntosh's fumble recovery, and Safety Reed Doughty's forced fumble
  5. Receptions by Buck Ortega, Jesse Lumsden and Stephen Harris


  1. Porous run defense
  2. Special teams shaky
  3. Twelve penalties
  4. Seven sacks

You can see the full article by clicking here.

Gandhi said "you have to be the change you want to see in others." In challenging the players to examine their performance, Coach-In-Chief Joe Gibbs has been taking a look at himself. "So it starts with me. I need to do a good job of analyzing myself and how I can help the football team. We're in a tough situation right now having lost three games the way we did. I need to look at that and say 'How can I help'?" Gibbs is second guessing the amount of game planning (one day) they've done for each opponent. He also said he could have made more decisions on how the team practices, implying that it's been too light. The players need to go through a similar individual assessment, he says.

Rather than point fingers or call out individual players publicly, Gibbs speaks in terms of "all of us together" to solve the team's problems. He adds "I think we have a lot of character on our team, and we are being tested. I think when you go through tests like this, you find out what you are made of."

In calling for the players to be accountable, Gibbs holds himself accountable first, then says he'd rather go through adversity with this group of players and coaches than anyone. Who wouldn't want to play for this man?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Redskins - Patriots: What the @#$%!

What we have here is failure to execute: failure to block; failure to catch; failure to make stops; failure to make field goals; failure to score!

In preseason games, you don't pay attention to the score, because the team doesn't go all out to win. You pay a lot of attention to the performance of individuals and units. You want to see cohesion and productivity. Effective play in preseason gives confidence of effective execution of real game plans when it counts. So what did we see in tonight's 41-0 drubbing by the Patriots?

The defense gave up 465 yards, including 93 rushing yards and two scores by rookie Patrick Cobbs on 13 carries. THIRTEEN CARRIES! Take away Cobbs' carries and the Patriots still gained 90 yards and a score on 25 attempts (3.6 ave.). Tom Brady (17 of 30 passes, 231 yards, 1 TD) dominated the defense who could bring no pressure (no sacks) on him.

The offense failed to execute - anything. The first team produced a paltry 59 total yards offense in the first half. The Skins were held to 150 yards for the game and only 74 yards rushing. The leading rusher? Jason Campbell who scrambled for 26 yards on two attempts. When did we become Atlanta or Philadelphia? It's not good when when our quarterback is the leading rusher. Take away Campbell's rushes and Redskins runners managed 48 yards on 16 attempts (3.0 ave.). You need better production even in preseason against an elite team. Is there any wonder that the Skins conjured up TJ Duckett when Portis was injured? One positive - no interceptions. Seven negatives - the O-line allowed seven sacks.

Why is John Hall still on this team?

The Redskins own web site offered this assessment: "The Redskins will certainly have to develop a rhythm offensively, become more stout on defense and shore up special teams to compete better when the games matter." Truer words were never written.

Both Al Saunders and FB Mike Sellers in a post game comment said that the new offense hasn't been seen in the preseason. Well, here's a math formula: superior game plans + poor performance = losses. Winning performance can't be turned on and off. Even in losses, you see competitive effort from winning teams. The underlying assumption of all the Redskins expectations this season is that the team would pick up from where it left off last December. This team doesn't hold a candle to the Redskins team of December 2005. If anything, they've regressed from preseason week one.

Coach-in-chief Joe Gibbs is a proven motivator and team builder. Even after tonight's game, his comments focused on "all of us together." He will bring out the "we" attitude of the team to work through this. They've got their work cut out.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Duckett Conspiracy

They told us the Redskins were in good shape at running back, even with Clinton Portis' injury. Al Saunders raved all off-season about Ladell Betts. Then BAM! Here comes T.J. Duckett.

Stunning. The move was so out of left field, to use a baseball analogy, that Master4caster struggles to grasp the meaning. This is Washington, so there must be a conspiracy.

  1. Portis is more hurt than they are letting on. Misinformation is an NFL tradition that predates even George Allen, who was paranoid about everything football. Shoulder dislocations are the type injury (I read long ago) that heals but stings like heck with every new impact, that is to say, on Portis' every play. He's stalwart enough to play with pain, but we are talking a nineteen game season here. The Skins lost the Seattle playoff game last season partially because Portis was worn out. And he was healthy then. TJ is here for the heavy hitting for the first four-to-six games so that Portis can heal completely. Call it the Save Clinton Until the Playoffs theory.
  2. The "Ladell is really good" talk was just hype to draw trade offers. When the chips are down, as they are now, maybe Betts and the rest of the crew aren't up to championship snuff. Jason LaCanforia reported in The Post that all of the running backs were shocked at hearing the news and confused about their status. Call it the Truth is Out theory.
  3. They planned this all along. Coach-in-chief Joe Gibbs is quoted in the LaCanforia article as saying "the trade was not completed solely as a precaution in case Portis' injury lingers." "Solely" implies that there were other considerations cooking before Portis injury. CP is a great talent, but more in the vein of Joe Washington than John Riggins. Duckett, all 250 pounds of him, is the type of big back that Gibbs always used to bludgeon defenses by running through the line. Add to that Gibbs' insistence that all of the current backs have a role, and Master4caster concludes that this is not a stopgap move. If CP is not asked to be the power back all the time, then he can be free to make those outside sweeps and receptions for big yards-after-the-catch that he did with Denver. Call it the Let Clinton Be Clinton theory.
  4. A version of the Let Clinton theory, is the Confound the Opponents theory. How do rivals prepare for the Redskins running game now? If they crowded the line with eight defenders like last season for Portis, do they defend with nine with Mike Sellers and Duckett in the backfield? With only a safety on Santana Moss? What if it's Sellers and Randle-El in the backfield? If Brunell hands off the Randle-El, is he running or passing? What if Portis or Randle-El line up in the slot? A linebacker will cover them. Does that free Duckett to crash up the middle? Duckett's addition does for the running game what Brandon Lloyd and Randle-El does for the passing game. Clever.
  5. With uncertainty about Brian Westbrook and questions about Corell Buckhalter, the Eagles look to add a big back. They are talking to Stephen Davis and were nosing around Duckett. If you are Gregg Williams, who do you least want to see in a green jersey, Davis or Duckett? Lets throw a monkey wrench in Philadelphia's plan. Call it the Die Eagles Die theory. If true, that means the division race has already begun.
  6. Ladell Betts is playing in his contract year. So is Duckett. It's unlikely the Skins keep both on next year's roster, but by playing one off against the other, and limiting their carries, the Redskins gain negotiation leverage. Call it the Aren't We Being Clever theory.
  7. Then, there is the Denver is Really Stupid theory, best expressed by Ben Folsum's Goodbye Ladell article at The Curly R.

TJ Duckett was the eighteenth pick in the first round of the 2002 draft. He was selected after a successful college career at Michigan State. However, he never cracked the Atlanta Falcons starting line-up, losing carries to the versatile Warrick Dunn. Duckett is something of a scoring machine with 31 touchdowns in 39 games.

At State, Duckett, ran for 3,379 yards on 621 carries (5.4 ave.) for 29 touchdowns. He might have broken all of MSU's rushing records had he not left campus a year early for the NFL 2002 draft. He needed 1,509 yards to break Lorenzo White's career yardage, and 833 yards to eclipse older brother Tico's career yardage. Known as "The Diesel" in college (he won't be called that with the Redskins), Duckett rarely caught passes out of the backfield. He only caught 29 passes for 233 yards with the Falcons. In the "it's a small world" category, older brother Tico Duckett spent a short time on the Redskins roster, but has no stats to show for it. TJ also rejoins college teammate Lamar Marshall, Redskins middle linebacker.

While Duckett is the stronger ground pounder, Betts has caught more passes out of the backfield and contributes on special teams. Betts' versatility could be more valuable to the Redskins, while Duckett, like Chris Carter, only scores touchdowns.

The Skins go into tonight's exhibition game against the Patriots with lots of questions. John Keim summarized it best in his article in The Examiner. It's about time for the team to answer, to show that they are taking this preseason as seriously as New York and Dallas, both 2-0 at this point. Keim's piece can be found here.


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


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Smack spoken here.

Fantasy football has many features that appeal to its fans. It widens interest beyond the home team. It lets dedicated fans showcase their ability to assess talent. It emulates a GM’s task of building a balanced team and a coach’s need to manage a roster. Trash talk and insults to the lineage of fellow owners are also part of the game. It’s a testosterone thing, made easier when leagues are face-to-face affairs of buddies and co-workers. Sadly, it has become a lost art in the internet age. This is fantasy football people! Smack is supposed to fly.

With the internet leagues forming, Master4Caster has searched to the end of the Internet for trash talking study guides. Some of the best -- or worst -- are presented here for your learning pleasure.

You have a modest little team, with much to be modest about.

If you win 2 of your last 5, you can rename your team the 4&9ers.

My mom always told me, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. But then my mom never got to got to play your sorry-ass team.

And your cry-baby, whiny-assed opinion would be …?

If you flush your team, it may go away.

Time for your medication?

That’s OK, keep picking. Someday you’ll make an intelligent choice.

Take notes so that you'll know how to win next year.

Are you gonna try and beat me with THAT line-up?

That defense couldn’t cover a bed with a blanket.

Vegas only favors me by 21 points this week. Boy it hurts to lose my stars on their bye weeks.

Somehow you managed to eek out a win, but you have never been good with numbers - that's why they made you the boss.

As my team sits atop the league standings, teams envision something must be astray. They can't imagine that their weak ass teams could be their fault. must be luck, must be a leap year, must be collusion.

Oh sure you want all my talent for the crap you have.

I could make a monkey of you with that pick. But, why should I take credit.

Maybe you should stay with poker. You only lost $100 in that.

I suppose you could still win, provided Travis Henry scores three touchdowns over 50 yards.

Wow, you seem to have the market cornered for overweight aging running backs.

I can see why you traded out of the first round with your history of picking bad players.

Besides the fact that person retired in the off-season, that pick was a steal.

Some of the above was compiled by David Dodds in 2001. See his article at for the art of smack.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Why fantasy football is better than sex

With fantasy football, you don’t wake up in the morning after a hard night of drinking, look over and shout "My God! What have I done?"

You don’t need Viagra to play Fantasy Football once you reach fifty years of age.

You don’t get to draft Terrell Owens in the second round during sex.

In fantasy football you can score many times in one afternoon. With sex you score once and sleep the rest of the day.

In fantasy football you can have as many teams as you like. Try that with partners and sex.

It’s not often you get to talk trash to your buddy after a great night of sex. Fantasy football demands that trash be talked early and often.

With fantasy football, you can trade an under-performer for a $2 transaction fee. It costs MUCH more to dump your spouse.

In fantasy football, you hope to score with Mike Anderson and Tony Banks. With sex, you have no chance to score with Pam Anderson or Tyra Banks.

With fantasy football, you can express manly interest in guys who are tight ends.

On the other hand, penetrating defenses, finding the slot and going long are MUCH more fun in sex than in football.

Some of the above was borrowed from an article by Chris Smith published on in 2001.

A college football lineman married one of the team's cheerleaders. The coach said, "You're such a big guy--why did you marry such a petite woman? She's no bigger than your hand." "That's right, Coach," replied the lineman, "but she's much better!" From

The thrill that comes from winning a (soccer) World Cup bet causes the heart to beat at an average rate of 120 beats per minute. According to the American Heart Association, during orgasm your heart rate ranges from 90 to 145 beats per minute, with an average of 115 beats per minute. From


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bengals Game Impressions

My impressions of the Redskins - Bengals exhibition game:

Clinton Portis - AAAAAAARRGGGGGHHH !!!
Todd Collins - ooooooh - KAAaaay ???
Bengals Defense - I drafted these guys for one of my fantasy leagues. Well alright!
Jason Campbell - big gun and tight spiral; athletically gifted; promoted to #2 tonight
Bengals scrubs - much better than the Redskins scrubs
Marvin Lewis - should have been Redskins head coach with Spurrier the offensive coordinator. Snyder wasn't the only owner to blow this, but he was the one who handed the reins over to a not-ready-for-NFL college coach instead of a successful, proven up-from-the-ranks coordinator (Lewis). Of course, Snyder would not have afforded Lewis the hands-off treatment given to Gibbs. His interference would have slowed development of the team. Gibbs would have become head coach at Atlanta and acquired Mark Brunell, trading Michael Vick to the Jets. But, I digress.
Rocky McIntosh - active; all over the field; good stops; LaVar who?
Derrick Frost - 5 punts, 46.6 yard average, progress.
The Game - Team needs work. Not surprised about the offense. They will need all four weeks to get the Al Saunders' fundamentals right. But the defense didn't dominate as they did last year. For all the noise about the offense, the D is the heart and soul of this team.
Bengals - Good showing at all levels. This shows the importance of coaching continuity.
Clinton Portis - aaaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhh! The skins without Portis are a playoff team, but not a Super Bowl team. Joe Bryant at points me to information about Portis' injury, shoulder subluxation.


NFC East By The Numbers: Wide Receivers

Funny thing about Terrell Owens. The more controversial his actions last year, the greater his abilities were described by sportswriters. Before 2005, Owens was considered on a par with Randy Moss and Marvelous Harrison. The way people gushed about him during his suspension, you'd think he was the greatest receiver to ever wear pads. Really? Better than Jerry Rice? Certainly best in the NFC East, as shown by career stats of East receivers.

Receivers are ranked by receptions, yards and touchdowns. With longevity, Owens has more of those than any NFC East receiver. And Owens manages a touchdown every seven times he catches a pass. Only Santana Moss, with one score for every 8.4 catches, approaches Owens. So, do we compare Owens to Rice? Maximum Jerry caught 1549 passes for 22895 yards and 197 touchdowns over twenty-one years. He averaged 14.8 yards per catch and one touchdown for every 7.9 receptions.

Whoa! Owens' averages are on a par with Rice. Glad I drafted him for my fantasy team. There is one way they do not compare and it is huge. Rice the Great was the ultimate team player. Whatever his frustrations, I'm sure there were some, it never erupted in the corrosive way that Owens the Whiner does. I don't have to worry about team cohesion in fantasy football. Intangibles only have weight in the real game.

Reggie Brown is included on this list instead of Todd Pinkston because Philadelphia treates him like their number one receiver. They touted him, not the oft-injured Pinkston, when they exiled Owens last year. In half a season, Brown showed flashes of what he can become.

See also The Redskins Report ranking of NFC East receivers.


Clarrett Explained

Maurice Clarett's story rivals any Greek tragedy. Sportswriter Scoop Jackson's article explains Clarrett better than any I've read.

Fatherless and unguided.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

All of my heros have been Redskins

Another Native American group is making a federal case of "Redskins" as the name of Washington's favorite sports team. They seek to remove trademark protection from the use of the Washington Redskins name and logo. I hope they lose.

Say Redskins to me and to a lot of other people around here, and neither Sitting Bull nor Geronimo come to mind. Clinton Portis and Joe Gibbs do. I think of my boyhood heros Bobby Mitchell, Charley Taylor and Sonny Jurgensen; and of my father, the hero who first took me to Redskins games. Ask someone in Washington to finish the phrase "dirty, stinkin' _______," and you'll get "Cowboys," not redskins. Not all cowboys, mind you; just those dirty, stinkin' Dallas people.

"Washington Redskins" does not mean what the plaintiff say it means. They refer to an archaic meaning from an unsavory aspect of America's past. In doing so, they discount the current use of the word. Sports teams, particularly football teams, are named for predators (Lions, Bears, Eagles), criminals (Vikings, Raiders, Buccaneers, Outlaws) and the heavily testosterone-laden (Bulls/Texans, Cowboys, Rams). The Washington Redskins assert that the name evokes a warrior spirit and this in a time when Native American warriors are thought of in a more positive light. The Washington team has studiously distanced itself from the antics of some it's more strident fans.

Many team names have issues. I met a woman from Sweden who could not understand why anyone would to refer to themselves as a viking. The connotation in Scandinavia is far different than here. Pirates and Buccaneers were the scum of the earth. I keep waiting for someone to accuse the Washington Wizards of Satanism. It's not all in the name. Minnesotans do not advocate raids on the coast of Europe. The people in Tampa Bay do not plunder ships. The Washingon basketball team does not worship the Devil, even when they play like hell. Technically, it's the Bison Bills (I just threw that in). These names mean nothing except to convey a fighting spirit. I want to be a Redskin. I'm not good enough, but if I were, I'd wear the name like a badge.

Word meaning evolves. I hope and trust that the courts weigh the modern connotation of "Redskins" along with what it used to mean. As to the logo, it is no more offensive than US government currency.

Losing the name means losing "Hail to the Redskins." That's too much to ask.
Other Bloggers' Opinion:
Anti-Redskins - the Curley R
Pro-Redskins - The DC Universe


Taylor Misunderstood

A line in a song from WEST SIDE STORY goes "we ain't no delinquents, just misunderstood." The same could apply to Redskins safety Sean Taylor, according to a story on Michael Smith's lengthy article "Taylor Has Strong Support System" describes Taylor's hitting abilities (big), his troubles (bigger) and his support by his teammates and coaches (the biggest). Linebacker Marcus Washington calls Taylor "Meast," half man, half beast. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams simply calls Taylor the best player he has ever coached. They say that with his talent, and with listening to his coaches, he could do for the safety position what Lawrence Taylor (no relation) did for outside linebacker.

Deep beneath his thuggery, he's a real nice guy. Really, he is.


Monday, August 07, 2006

NFC East By The Numbers: Running Backs

The standard measure of running back efficiency is "rushing yards per attempt," with the benchmark being four yards per attempt. The back who exceeds four yards per attempt is an effective rusher. A journeyman achieves around 3.5 yards. Get less than that and a back better be good on special teams. Bill Walsh changed the rules with the west coast offense, where wide receivers caught for short yards in situations that once were the province of rushers. Concurrently, running backs emerged as primary receiving targets in hopes they would use their skills to gain yards after the catch.

The west coast changed the way backs are valued. While there will always be a place for a Jerome Bettis type ground pounder, twenty-first century backs are measured by total offensive yards. The table below compares career total offensive yards (total offense = rushing + passing yards) to total touchdowns. By this measure, Clinton Portis is a beast, taking the fewest yards to score of any back in the NFC East. Brian Westbrook is a close second. Half of his touchdowns have come through the air. Andy Reid is a Bill Walsh disciple, so Westbrook's numbers are no surprise. Portis does not play in west coast offense. His performance is an eye-opener.

Of course, no one is going to call Tiki Barber ineffective, despite needing more yards to score than his peers. Like Walter Peyton, his performance is due to longevity and steady improvement. The nine year vet has increased his rushing average in each of the past three years (4.4 rushing yards per attempt in 2003; 5.2 yards per attempt in 2005.) and he scores a lot.

The table below ranks NFC East running backs by offensive yards per score. The lower the yards to score, the more effective the back.

Related article: See The Redskins Report running back ranking here.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

NFC East By The Numbers: Quarterbacks

Mark Brunell and Drew Bledsoe are too old. Eli Manning is too young. Donovan McNabb suffers Post T.O. Stress Syndrome and has no one to throw to. The consensus of message boards and blogs is that every NFC East quarterback has major issues. However, it was the old guys who made it through last season, while McNabb was out by mid-year. No one to throw to? Without McNabb and Terrell Owens, the Eagles came uncomfortably close to knocking the Redskins out of the playoffs. Eli Manning is at the point where young QBs begin to thrive.

Football is the most team-oriented of organized sports. Teams work to maximize their strengths and minimize weaknesses. The outstanding coaches of the NFC East will work game plans to do exactly that, especially where their quarterbacks are concerned. Bledsoe, Brunell and McNabb are proven. They can get it done. Manning will not hurt his team in 2006. No weak quarterbacks here. Move on, folks.