Observations from last night:
When you add it all up, the Redskins are a horrible football team. Mosley made the observation that the Redskins are starting three offensive linemen who probably shouldn't even be in the NFL. What I was surprised to realize last night is that with a functional O-line, this would be a shockingly different team. If you swapped our O-line for that of, say, the New York Jets, Washington would actually have a wildcard contender again this year. With Heyer and Williams at the flanks, though, and Jason Campbell under pressure from above to take more risks, expect at least two turnovers per game at the QB position from here on out.
The coming out party for Fred Davis, though, is a step in the wrong direction. Jaworski lauded Davis' natural athleticism and abilities. Among the abilities I saw Davis demonstrate last night:
1. the ability to catch 80% of the passes that hit him in the numbers.
2. the ability to belly-crawl like he's in 'Nam for a yard with no one around him instead of getting up and running with the ball.
3. the ability to keep his feet after a blitzer has brushed him aside like a bead curtain.
4. the ability to celebrate a garbage-time touchdown like it was the last out of the world series.
Davis got open a few times and Campbell found him, but Davis can't block and couldn't pull down the circus catch that would have kept the skins in the game instead of eventually fumbling at 4th and goal. Going forward, if we're still playing to win with Cooley out, we will need to see a lot more Todd Yoder.
Things to like:
1. Jaworski actually made a decent football point about a football player named Albert Haynesworth (Football!). There is a reason why Andre Carter is suddenly a sack machine and Kyle Vandenbosch is suddenly average. Haynesworth is earning his money. The skins D-line is applying pressure without the blitz for the first time in a very long time. It's starting with our hundred million dollar man.
2. Rock Cartwright is playing like a man possessed- he is shaking off defenders in the open field and delivering devastating hits in kickoff coverage. Clinton Portis, who has no explosiveness left, knows how to follow his blockers, but the Redskins have no blockers apart from Sellers. They need someone carrying the ball who can elude a few would-be tacklers. When the Skins realize this and start handing off to Rock, he is going to make some plays.
3. Without an uncharacteristic choke by Antwaan Randle-El and three bad snaps by usually consistent Casey Rabach, the Skins would have been in this game. Outside of Stephon Heyer holding for dear life on to anything he could, the Skins also committed very few penalties.
4. Jason Campbell threw accurate passes all day. Yes, he held the ball too long, got stripped, and looked awful in the pocket. His ball, though, was beautiful. He completed 67.4% of his passes and watched four perfect strikes bounce off the hands and chests of his jittery receivers. There was no run game and no protection, yet Philly still couldn't harrass him into chucking a prayer for a pick.
The sad truth is that instead of Hogs, JC jas piglets on roller skates. If the Skins hoped to contend at all this season, they should have done any deadline deal they could for help on the line. They didn't. Left Tackle having become a marquee position, I'm betting Snyder figures out a way to trade for an over-the-hill name like Walter Jones in the off season. The headliner can hopefully lead a fresh group with at least two lower-profile free agent vets (think Chad Clifton, Ben Hamilton, Chester Pitts) and two rooks. Unfortunately, neither of those rooks will be named Okung or Williams, because the skins will let JC go and take a new 1st rounder instead of resigning him cheap and building him a house.
Though it's painful to watch, there is STILL a lot to like about the Washington Redskins. Having judged them completely unwatchable last week, I am optimistic now that loyal watchers are going to be rewarded with some fun flashes going forward. Redskins fans haven't had an exciting defensive line to watch for more than a decade. This line is electric (and we'll see a lot of it).