Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Skins v Vikings: Quick Hits

1. The stadium was loud last night and it was the perfect setting to unveil Saunders' new offense. Clearly, it was a different offense than the one the Redskins showed in the preseason, not only in its formations, movement, and the way they spread the ball around to multiple weapons, but also in its effectiveness. Sure, sixteen-points in one game do not sound like much, but it is infinitely more than zero-points in four preseason games.

Again, the coaches did not lie when they said they only used two-percent of the playbook in the preseason. As the skill players get used to the playbook, the offense will perform much better than last night; let's hope it doesn't take too long;

2. The offense missed Clinton Portis. I love Betts and Cartwright and I cannot wait to see Duckett get in the game, but Portis is the star. Let’s hope he’s ready for Dallas on Sunday;

3. The defense played way below expectations. They put no pressure on Brad Johnson and could not stop half of the third-and-long plays. Those are killers. Williams's usually blitz-happy defense only blitzed on three plays the whole game. The Washington Post speculates it was because Williams did not want to leave Carlos Rogers in man-to-man coverage. Given that Rogers was atrocious yesterday, I can understand why. Shawn Springs was out and will be out for probably another three weeks after offseason abdominal surgery. Springs is a great corner and a team leader and was missed, but Williams is smart enough to figure out a way to compensate. This defense is much better than the way it played yesterday;

4. The unnecessary roughness call on Sean Taylor in the fourth quarter was ridiculous. Replays showed the ball was still playable when Taylor put the hit on and Taylor hit the receiver with his shoulder, not his helmet. Taylor has a target on his back since the spitting incident in Tampa Bay and last night’s officiating crew was the same as the one in Tampa that day. At the very least, if they are going to call it on Taylor, then they had to call it on the Redskins’ last drive of the game when the Vikings defender made an even more egregious hit to the Redskins receiver, or in the first half when Santana Moss was nearly decapitated. Had they called it on the last drive of the game, the Redskins tying field goal attempt with seconds left would have been a chip shot;

5. The difference between a win and a loss last night was the Skins failure to punch it into the end zone from inside the ten-yard line on two different drives. One failure came when Moss was nearly decapitated in the end zone. If they made one of those they would have walked away with a win;

So the bottom line is this: The offense is much better than they are getting credit for and the defense is much better than it played last night. This coaching staff will soon get both units to perform at a high level.


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