In today's Thursday Line, we identify a few of the areas that will be most telling of true culture change in DC this upcoming season.
Over/Under: Dan Snyder filmed walking into the locker room with the team at the end of a game - 1.5
I am going with the Under here. I think when we beat the Cowgirls, there is a good chance Snyder will be working his way to the locker room at the final whistle. You can say what you want about Snyder, but he absolutely cherishes wins over Dallas. I don't think he will get caught screaming things like, "When we play physical we win!" as he did two years ago, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt on one locker room appearance. Keep in mind, this locker room appearance Over/Under specificallyapplies to right when the team gets in there. I don't think Shanahan wants anyone but the players and the coaches in the locker room immediately after games. And I think that somehow this message will get through to the owner, in the most polite way. But if we smash Dallas on opening day...I would think Shanahan lets it slide (before making it clear it should be the rare exception and not the rule.)
Over/Under: Fake Field Goal Attempts - 1.5
Would the lack of any fake field goal attempts this season be a true sign of culture change? No. I am taking the Under because I think in the course of a season, every head coach (uhhhhhh...every rational head coach) probably has one fake field goal in his pocket. One. Not one per game. Not one per half. Not one per drive. One per season. Oh, and for most coaches, if you line up for a fake field goal, and the other team calls a timeout, that counts as the "one" on the season. Without Hunter Smith in the mix, I am not sure how we could score anyway.
Over/Under: Fair Catches By A Returner Before Returner Is Replaced - 6.5
This is the "straight-outta-my-5-hole" number of the day. The point is, Shanahan won't be happy with a punt return game that consists of nothing more than hand-waving and catching balls. If that were the case, Bruce Allen would be interviewing sorority girls for the job. So if a guy stands back there and fair catches 6 in a row, I bet they get somebody else back there to take some more risks. Sure, there are punters capable of getting 6 perfect punts off in a row, but it is more likely that at least one of those kicks will have some return potential...I got the Under.
Over/Under: 40+ yard completions in 2010 Donovan McNabb - 18.5
A few stats for you to help you make your decision here: McNabb had 17 completions of 40 or more yards last season (led the league) and Jason Campbell had 8. Matt Schaub, Kyle Shanahan's quarterback last season had 15, and he led the league with 4,770 yards passing on the season. So this number is set perhaps too high for most of you out there...I will take the Over on this though and I'll tell you why. I think the Skins will look to go deep WAY more than they have in the recent past. McNabb is capable of not only throwing a decent deep ball, but if the pocket breaks down, he can use his feet to buy time for the receiver to get into the pattern. Jason Campbell, while athletic and mobile, seemed to rule out the deeper patterns as soon as there was any trouble in the backfield. McNabb won't do that. Also, if you have been watching the last few years, you have seen Santana Moss routinely get open downfield, only to not get the ball thrown to him. As much as I loved JC, this was my biggest complaint. Moss is a talented, professional route runner with the speed and ability to get deep on guys. McNabb will take a considerable amount of shots with Moss going deep this year. The combination of McNabb's increased accuracy on the deep ball, Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and the ability for guys like Cooley, Davis, and Thomas to get yards after the catch lead me to think that McNabb will lead the league once again in 40+ yard completions.