Friday, September 21, 2007

Skins 20 – Eagles 12

Quick Comments

I love how everyone on this team willingly does the little things that lead to wins. Did you see Santana Moss level the defensive back when Campbell scrambled down the right sideline for a 20-yard gain against the Eagles? Did you see Clinton Portis when he nearly decapitated the Eagles player that intercepted Campbell’s pass?

How about in the game against the Dolphins when Portis launched his body at the Dolphins Lineman who was pursuing Campbell and knocked him five feet out of bounds? (at 20 seconds) How about last year in the preseason when Portis made a tackle after an interception and separated his shoulder? Moss is a superstar receiver. Portis is having a Hall of Fame career. Most players like that avoid contact. Gibbs kept Portis out of the preseason precisely because he knows he cannot stop Portis from playing the game the way it is supposed to be played, which risks injury in meaningless preseason games.

Jason Campbell took a HUGE step forward on Monday night. I’m not saying he will never have another bad game, but he proved he can handle a lot of pressure this week. It was his first Monday Night football game. It was his first game against the Eagles in Philadelphia and his first win against the previous year’s division winner. He has shown since his very first game that he gets it. He knows that his job is to get the ball downfield. There are a lot of QBs in the NFL that never get that concept. Oh, they talk a good game, but when the pressure is on, they run. Campbell waits. He waits as long as possible for his receivers to get open and then he’ll step right into a defender to deliver the ball. The 18-yard pass to back-up Tight End Yoder that set up Portis’s touchdown run is one example of many excellent decisions in his brief career. He scrambled away from Kearse and had some running room but Yoder was a little farther downfield and he delivered on the run for an 18-yard gain.

Yes, Campbell threw a pass that he should not have thrown and it was picked, just as he did against the Dolphins. Yes, Antwaan Randle El made an acrobatic catch on a ball thrown behind him and prevented another interception, similar to a ball he got his hands on last week to knock down and prevent another pick. Yes, Santana Moss was so open on a play in the fourth quarter that it looked like pre-game warmups. One of the best things about his game is his ability to learn from his mistakes and then not let them affect the next play. Campbell is going to be a top-five QB in this league for a long time.

Another OL Injury
Randy Thomas is the second offensive lineman to go down in as many weeks and he is the second from the right side of center; that worries me a little. I’m not worried because the Redskins lack depth. I’m worried because that depth is being challenged. They won’t DL Thomas unless they are out of the playoff hunt so Thomas could come back in December. Until then, they might have to play fourteen more games with backups on the right side, backups that cannot afford an injury.

The call on the field was a fumble when the Eagles receiver lost the ball. Replays showed the ball moving around in his arms before his knee hit the ground. The ball hit the ground after his knee hit the ground, but it was coming out already. Isn’t the rule that refs need indisputable evidence that the call on the field was wrong in order to overturn it? Where was that evidence? That took points off the board for the Skins.

The Back 7
I love the way Fletcher, Landry and McIntosh are playing. They have made the defense a top unit again.

Charles Barkley
At one point in the telecast on Monday night, the players were lining up to run a play. The reason that I know they were lining up is that I heard the crowd noise become loud. Unfortunately, viewers did not see the players line up because they had the cameras on Barkley and Kornheiser and Tirico in the booth. They spent the entire third quarter talking to Barkley on mostly non-football related nonsense at a crucial point in the game and went back to the field very late for each play. They did not once mention the importance of what was happening on the field. That was one of the worst performances I have ever seen.

This Week
The Skins play the Giants this week; another big, division game. The Skins are wearing their throwback uniforms, which are the same uniforms that they wore when I first became a fan. I think the Skins will beat the Giants this week like those 1970s Skins teams beat the 1970s Giants.

The Giants secondary is pretty bad. They cannot cover Tight Ends. I learned on Monday night that only Antonio Gates has more TDs than Redskins Tight End Chris Cooley since Cooley came into the league. They cannot cover Wide Receivers. Moss loves to play against NY teams. This may also be the week that Reche Caldwell gets some playing time.

Joe Gibbs is not taking this game lightly. His message has gotten through to the players. Portis said the all of the right things this week. Gibbs kept repeating that the Skins lost twice to the Giants last year. The Redskins can smell a great season and I think they will go full speed in every minute of this game.

If they win they will go 3 – 0 overall and 2 – 0 in the division. They would then only have to go 8 – 5 the rest of the way to meet my preseason prediction.


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