Friday, November 04, 2005

Redskins/Eagles Preview

Boy, am I glad I didn't make a prediction about the Giants game. I don't remember ever seeing the Redskins play that poorly--not even when they were a bad team. I had planned on writing a preview of the game, but I ran out of time. I was planning to write that NFC East games are always tough no matter who is playing. No matter how much better one NFC East team is relative to another NFC East team, the games always seem to be hard-fought battles. But, I was also going to say the Redskins are better than the Giants, and I still think that is true. Before I move on to Sunday’s game against the Eagles, I will give a postmortem on the 36-to-Nada (ZERO, Doughnut, etc.) game.

Three things killed the Redskins in that game: Wellington Mara, Antonio Pierce, and Tim Hasselback. That’s right, I said Tim Hasselback. Although Pierce played well, it’s what he provided off the field that counted and the same is true of Mara and Hasselback. Pierce and Hasselback were calling out every play the Redskins ran and Mara’s death provided the emotion. (I read some research somewhere about how people are generally good a timing their deaths for tax purposes. If that's possible and you were Mara, would you want your death to inspire the team for the Redskins game with the division lead at stake, or for the 49ers game? When you add in the extra home game, you have to say lady luck is shining on the Giants this year.)

Last year Pierce and Hasselback were the quarterbacks of the Redskins defense and offense, respectively. They knew exactly what the Redskins were doing on almost every play on Sunday. That is an advantage that cannot be discounted. Prior to the game, I didn’t believe that it would make that much of a difference, but the main contributors on the Giants (e.g. Tiki Barber, Shockey, et al) all said it did. Next time, the Redskins will be ready for it and the emotion of Mara’s death will have subsided. And, the next time they play in Washington.

On to the Eagles. What should Redskins fans expect from their team this week? I think the team was embarrassed last week. I think that the coaching staff was embarrassed. You can say the Eagles were embarrassed last week too, but at least they scored some points. The Redskins have something to prove, and not just because the Eagles have been division champs for the past four years. The Redskins need to prove to themselves that last week was a fluke.

This coaching staff will get it done. I think a small part of the problem last week was that the team was looking ahead to this week. I think the Redskins had Sunday, November 6 circled on their calendar for a long time. I expect the Eagles to get a heavy dose of this:


Post a Comment

<< Home