Don't worry, I know it's too early to call the Redskins the "team to beat in the NFC East." And yet, our wins over the Eagles and Cowgirls have really boosted the profile of a team that just a week ago laid down to the Rams. Such is life in the NFL in 2010 it seems. The good news for us is that by no means could you call the Redskins a "peaking" team. We still have plenty of things to work on and we need only check the film of the last month to see how close we came to being 0-4.
Ten Yard Fight -- 10 Chances To Make One Good Point
1. If we go without Clinton Portis for a few weeks, I am fine with Torain leading the way in his absence. We should be attacking this schedule in chunks. Let Torain take the brunt of the battering for a few games or so and let CP get healthy. If and when he gets his groin and/or ankle issues under control, I look forward to unleashing a healthy Portis on our next slate of opponents. Shanahan loves it when he is shifting from one running back to another (not that we have had that conversation). His track record of playing musical running backs is fairly solid. Let's hope Torain can stay healthy for 3-4 games and run hard during that time. When Portis feels closer to 100%, I would absolutely start him. For this offense, I think a healthy, fresh set of legs is more important than "going with one guy for the duration." If Torain is knocking it out of the park and is still healthy when Portis is ready to go, give Torain a breather. Both of those guys have had injury problems, so anything we can do to increase the probability of having at least one of them healthy come December will be huge.
2. I will not name names in this space but I have heard a few Redskins fans calling for Rex Grossman. This is just one man's opinion, but here goes: We do not have another quarterback on our roster who is even HALF as good as McNabb. Be careful what you ask for...if we have to roll with Rexy, it will get dicey.
3. If the NFL Films segments on the Redskins this season are a fair representation of what goes on over on our sidelines, then it would seem Mike Shanahan is doing a lot of play-calling on offense. I am fine with that. What I want to know is who is responsible for our offensive halftime adjustments? Except for the Rams game, we have seemed to enter our contests so far with a decent gameplan that has generated yards, first downs and points. Before we argue about exactly how strong we look in the beginning of games, can we at least all agree that our offensive production appears to decline in the second half? Defenses have gone into the locker room at halftime and made adjustments to what we are doing. Am I missing something or does it look like we just keep to our first half script in the second half? I don't even want to necessarily debate what adjustments we have and haven't made. I want to know if it is Mike or Kyle who is leading that process at halftime. If it is Mike, maybe he needs to delegate. If it is Kyle, we could be in trouble.
4. The last time I brought up Mike Sellers here, I found a very split room. Big Mike remains a favorite of mine and is highly thought of by many fans. Even though that tipped ball he gift-wrapped for the Eagles late in the game was unforgivable, he still made a couple plays. Part of what makes Sellers so effective is that when he is in there, defenses think "run", and so he ends up being more open more often as a result. His tips and bobbles also contribute to the defense's lack of confidence in him as a primary passing target. It is easy for me to suggest that Fred Davis should be stepping into that role more just to get him more reps on passing downs. But of course defenses would respect Davis a lot more than Sellers so maybe he doesn't run free like Sellers sometimes does. It is probably fair to assume Sellers is a better blocker than Davis, though how big that gap actually is remains unknown to me. Before the end of the season, my hope is that either Sellers eliminates the kind of mistakes he has made in the first few weeks or Davis gets on the field on way more downs. I think both of these work for us.
5. Wait a second...I thought the Giants sucked?!?!
6. The Detroit Lions decided to throw the ball against Green Bay. Shaun Hill aired out 53 balls, breaking Britney Spears' previous record of 51. The Green Bay defense has figured out--over the last year--how to play the run out of the 3-4 set. I have to believe that the Shanahans are busy working on a game plan that will test the stamina of Don Burgundy's arm. I predict 45-50 passes attempted by #5, in what could very well be a repeat of the Texans game from a couple weeks ago. Aaron Rodgers was held to under 200 yards passing by the Lions, which stunned me. On one hand, you would like to keep the ball out of Rodgers' hands, and a solid running game would help that out. On the other hand, we will need to score close to--if not more than--30 points to win this one. Start stretching out that shoulder D-Mac.
7. It is not even fun anymore to make fun of Carlos Rogers' lack of catching abilities. Did you see that New England linebacker last night? Rob Ninkovich made a pair of interceptions around the same depth as that Carlos Rogers chance was against the Eagles. Except that Carlos' opportunity was a thousand times easier and would have sealed the game as soon he took possession.
8. Our next three opponents--Packers, Colts and Bears--all looked very vulnerable this past weekend. The Bears in particular looked like they are in serious trouble. Imagine if Todd Collins is at the helm when we play them in three weeks? That would be awesome. I am not suggesting we are better than any of these teams, but based on the way they played this past weekend, they are all beatable.
9. We need Trent Williams to get back into the fold as soon as humanly possible. I would not suggest he comes back early and risks further damage, but he might be the best player on our team. I am amazed we won without him to be very honest. If the 2010 Redskins are going to make any noise in January, it will only be with Williams in the starting lineup. I understand they are treating him with kid gloves right now--understandable given the investment the team has made in him. Here's hoping TW turns the corner on that toe injury in the next few days.
10. Well, well, well...Albert Haynesworth showed up on Sunday. Shanahan called it his best performance of the season (what is this, the New York Times Broadway Review?) and credited the holding penalties he drew with helping the team get the win. It is official...up is down, black is white and right is left. Haynesworth and Shanahan don't hate each other anymore? Am I supposed to not hate on Haynesworth anymore? Am I supposed to be happy that he is a playmaker right now? I care about wins as much as the next guy, but am I crazy for still harboring some resentment for the guy? When I see #92, the first thing that comes to my mind is still "douchebag." Does anyone know how many sacks/tackles for a loss it takes to wash away the stank of "douchebag?"
Overtime with Bill Rohland and Danny Rouhier
Listen tonight at 7:15 PM for Kevin to man the weekly Hogs Haven spot on the Overtime show on 106.7 The Fan. Shanahan called them the "feel-good hit of the summer" after he reviewed Haynesworth's performance. Please join me in congratulating Danny Rouhier on finding a girl who has agreed to marry him. I have it on good authority that he did NOT employ the Steve Spurrier "cheap and available" philosophy in his search for a bride. Rather, he went with the Vinny Cerrato method...he picked out about 100 girls but only one of them was actually worth holding onto.