Saturday, September 30, 2006

Jaguars @ Redskins: It's a generation thing!

OK, so I published most of this before. It's still a compelling backdrop to the Redskins-Jaguars game and worth repeating.

Mark Brunell was a hero in Jacksonville. Then he got hurt. The new coach and new management handed the starting job to Byron Leftwich, who never gave it back. Brunell was relegated to the bench where he rusted. Then a rusty coach gave Brunell a shot at resurrecting his career and stuck by him when no one else did. The result was Brunell's 2005 campaign (3,050 yards, 23 TDs, 10 Interceptions, 85.9 QB rating).

I don't think Brunell has a vindictive bone in his body, but pride will drive him to show well against his old team when the Jaguars visit FedEx. The knock on Brunell is his age and sturdiness. But young Leftwich suffered injury late last season and missed critical games. He lacked sharpness in Jacksonville's playoff game and it cost them. His youth would have cost them anyway. Yet, nobody questions that Leftwich is the guy for the Jaguars. Virtually everybody fears that Brunell is too old to start for the Skins. Enough, already! At age 36, Brunell is one year younger than John Elway was when Elway won his first Super Bowl. He's adapting to Al Saunders' version of the Coryell system, although it's been more of a transition than expected.

The GenX (Brunell) vs. Hip Hop (Leftwich) thing flavors an excellent match-up of playoff teams.

Running Redskins! The most aggressive way to attack the Jaguars front seven is to run the ball. Running gives the offensive line the initiative. They can attack Jacksonville's burly linemen, while minimizing penalties. If the Skins are forced to pass block, to play catch-up for example, the advantage goes to the Jags.

Run the ball, win the game. I like the Redskins by five.

For a full game preview, check Hog Heaven.

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