Sunday, September 11, 2005

Skins Preview?

Okay, I know I promised a detailed preview of the Redskins before today's opener. Unfortunately, work took too much of my time this week after a brief family vacation over Labor day weekend. But, here is a short version of the longer piece I expect to write next week.

The Redskins WILL make the playoffs this year. I could leave it at that, but I'll whet your appetite a little more with the three main reasons:

1. Joe Gibbs has been successful in everything he has attempted. Whether it's coaching in the NFL and playing in five NFC championships in ten years, winning four NFC Championships and three Super Bowls; or it's winning the national senior handball champion, or it's winning two NASCAR Winston Cup Championships, Joe knows success. That kind of success requires a strong intellect, great people/managerial skills, and the ability to adapt. Those qualities do not evaporate simply because you have "been away from the game." He is eager to prove his critics are wrong;

2. The defense is outstanding thanks in large part to Greg Williams, one of the best defensive minds in the game. This is a defense that now gets LaVar Arrington back after missing virtually the entire 2004 season. LaVar is to this Redskins team what John Riggins was to the early 80s teams. They missed him immensely last year;

3. The offensive line is the best in the NFL. They have two young, proven pro bowlers on either side of center (Samuels (LT) and Thomas (RG)), a new young but proven starter at center (Rabach), and a young and exceptionally talented left guard in Dockery who played superbly in his rookie season last year and will step it up this year. Bugel thinks Dockery is the most talented lineman he has. This is a unit that gets a young Jansen back at right tackle after missing the entire 2004 season with an achilles injury. This unit is coached by the best offensive line coach in the game--Bugel--and it could have four starters in Hawaii in February.

These offensive lineman are ALL in the prime of their careers and the odds are pretty good that they will stay healthy and peak together. But the most important impact that they will have is not opening holes for Portis, althought they will do that with alacrity. No, the biggest impact they will have will be in keeping Ramsey standing tall in the pocket all year. Ramsey's confidence will grow with each game until he reclaims the fire that we saw in his eyes in his first two seasons.

Ramsey has already shown some of that brilliance in a preseaon that has brought all of his critics out. He may have been a bit sloppy in the preseason, but one statistic tells an important story. He threw for over 8 yards per attempt and his wide receivers avergaged 19 yards per catch. They did not stretch the field like that last year, but they will this year. That will force the safeties to play deep and will open up a ton of running room for Portis.

Joe Gibbs knows success.


Post a Comment

<< Home