Monday, September 24, 2007

For the Redskins defense

I just can't wait to read my favorite Redskins blogs over the next two weeks. After blowing the Giants game and opportunity, the comments will be ripe and richly deserved. And the best part is that we have two weeks for it all to sink in.

Not to worry, Redskins fans. The team is favored to beat the bye by four points; same as they were favored to beat the Giants.

Among the anguished newspaper columns about the game was Mike Wise's No Offense Taken. Wise reflects what surely is felt in Redskinnation today, but he makes some statements that I take exception to. So, I'm going to stand in defense of the Redskins against Wise's charges.

CHARGE: ". . . it's hard to fathom why throwing the ball to Mike Sellers in the flat from the one yard line makes any sense with a shot at overtime on the line . . . ."

DEFENSE: NOT GUILTY -- In 2005, Sellers scored seven touchdowns, all of them through the pass. One of the criticisms of Al Saunders last season was his poor use of Sellers, especially in the red zone. Sellers, along with Chris Cooley is exactly who the Skins should look for when close to the goal line.

Execution of the play is fair game, but the play call was a good one.

CHARGE: "It's harder to understand the reasoning behind not having Clinton Portis on the field for the final three plays on offense."

DEFENSE: NO CONTEST -- Apparently, the TV commentators suggested that Portis was benched because of a fumble earlier in the game. I didn't hear the comment, but if anything, he might have been benched for throwing the ball after a play. That drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Joe Gibbs demoted Brandon Lloyd for tossing his helmet late last season. Derek Frost got a stern talking-to after similar conduct. Both of those incidents resulted in penalties. Coach don't play that.

Wise does make the point that Portis should have been in the backfield for at least one of those plays. Coach can say that both Portis and Ladell Betts are equivilent, but they are not. Betts is a bruiser, and a fast one. Portis is a scorer. He is the Mr. Touchdown of the team. Send a play through the middle of the line? OK, use Betts. Running to the perimeter? Absolutely use CP.

CHARGE: "The Redskins were out of timeouts, but Campbell inexplicably spiked the ball with 1 minute 15 seconds left -- plenty of time to get to the line of scrimmage and not waste a down."

DEFENSE: NOT GUILTY -- This is not inexplicable at all. The coaches called for the spike. First down was as good a time to do it as any.

When you are a running team with no timeouts [as Wise said] and with intent to run the ball from the one, you are going to spike the ball sometime in the series. Gibbs wanted the jumbo package in the line-up. And the offense needed to get itself together and set for the play. That's a lot going on with the clock ticking. Bearing in mind the confusion and penalties at the end of the half in the Eagles game, stopping the clock to take a deep breadth on first down was a good call.

Wise might have questioned why the Redskins used all three timeouts before the two minute warning. Or, why a running team can't run a bleeping yard with the game on the line. Those are less defensible [and I hope someone asks the question]. That wasn't his charge, so I'm not answering it here.

CHARGE: "They [the Redskins] had every opportunity to put a woozy team away with a roundhouse right. The main reason they could not is because the offense failed to bring the hammer down and finish the job the defense started."

DEFENSE: uh, Guilty, your Honor.

Frightfully Funny
Philadelphia's surprisingly easy win over Detroit comes as no surprise to me. Detroit took one look at the Eagles throwback uniforms and died of laughter.

Bad Karma
I had a fleeting feeling before the game that it would be a rough day for the Skins. For one thing, they were the unanimous favorites to win. I just don't think the team can take that kind of press[ure].

And why the 1970-71 throwbacks? They are knock-offs of Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers uniforms. You don't see the Packers, who won yesterday, wearing imitation Redskins uniforms.

The Skins went 15-12-1 in that get-up, including George Allen's first year record of 9-4-1. When Allen's 11-3 team went to the Super Bowl the next season, they were in an early version of the current uni's.

Make those fake Paker uniforms go away.


b. said...

good post

just one thing. the redskins actually did have one timeout after the 2 minute warning. they used it just before the penalty and fourth down.

Master4Caster said...

My bad. Thanks.