1. It feels like everyone is beating up on Reed Doughty this week and I have to say I think it is a bit unfair. Like many backup/role players in this league, he has a limited skill set. But what Reed does for the Redskins, he does well. He is an above average tackler, plays very competently close to the line of scrimmage and he has been one of our better special teams performers. More than anything else, Reed Doughty has been there for us going on six seasons now. The Washington Post reported that Doughty has played with 17 safeties since joining the team. Without listing them all, I think it is safe to say that most of those players were considered starters ahead of him. Yet time and time again, Reed has found himself in the starting lineup for one reason or another. Case in point: LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe are the "starting" safeties on this team, yet there was Reed Doughty on the field with the one's on opening day. As a backup in 2010, he started nine games.
My point is that Doughty has not been Plan A for a while, but we have not had the luxury of going with Plan A for years. Doughty's biggest problem--in my opinion--is that he finds himself on the field so often, he gets criticized for not being as good as we think our starting safety should be. He is not our starter. He is our backup. And if we are going to be fair, he is almost everything we can possibly ask for in a backup (the box next to "coverage skills" goes a bit unchecked, but Reed would be the first to admit that is not an area he is strong in.) He is one of the hardest working professionals on our roster. He has proven a willingness and desire to do everything in his power to help his fellow position players, at the potential cost of his own job. Reed understands his role, and his dedication to being ready to step in when the team needs him makes him invaluable to a young team like ours.
You can argue that our defense takes a hit when he is back there, but that is the same hit most teams take when the backup is substituted for the starter. We have all taken turns throwing stones at this franchise for enduring players like Albert Haynesworth. Now that our roster is noticeably younger and more impressionable, we need men like Reed Doughty in our locker room, helping to foster a high-character, hard-working culture. I recall speaking to Reed this summer on Pickled Hogs Radio. We mentioned the unforgettable play two years ago when LaRon Landry got posterized by Brandon Jacobs, and how lucky Reed was for not having to stand in front of that train. His testy response still resonates, as it came into sharper focus after the game on Sunday. Doughty said, "I guarantee you LaRon wasn't afraid of Jacobs or of being run over, and neither am I. In a situation like that, if you're the first one there, you're just trying to slow or stop the runner, knowing your teammates are on the way to help bring him down." On Sunday, I watched as Reed took a hell of a shot from the very same Jacobs as one of the "first ones there." He held on and his teammates helped bring the bruiser down. It's funny how powerful words become when they are backed up by action. Some day--perhaps soon--Reed Doughty will no longer be ahead of any safeties on the depth chart. Like many players who have played in the "League", his services will be abruptly labeled Unnecessary. Until then, we as fans need to match our words with our actions. We have asked that our roster be primarily comprised of team-first men that boast high character and strong work ethics. Reed Doughty is not the perfect player, but he is pretty damn close to being the perfect teammate. In my book, that is something worth celebrating.
2. Roster depth is a funny thing...over 1,000 players were dumped two weeks ago. And yet, in a way, every team has a Reed Doughty. For some, an old veteran that a coach just can't say goodbye to might be their Reed Doughty. For others, a promising rookie might be their Reed Doughty. For us, Reed Doughty is a heady, scrappy safety. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, fans of the Washington Redskins can embrace their own personal Reed Doughty, who also happens to be the actual Reed Doughty.
3. Men with limitations but men you find yourself repeatedly relying on during games...these are the guys who determine the outcomes of contests. The quality of a team's depth often determines how far it can go inside of a season. As much as I do believe we should embrace Doughty more, the reality is that our current depth does not match up to a team like the 2010 Green Bay Packers. To be fair, that goes for a lot of teams.We are getting there.
4. Speaking of getting there...Chris Neild gets us there a lot faster. You have to love the contributions from our rookies.
5. I guess it's true when they say that you could call holding on every play--especially when Brian Orakpo is rushing the passer. I know I might be a bit biased, but he really looks like he is being held rather regularly.
6. The missed field goal was hard to stomach, but Graham Gano's high, angled kickoff that fell just outside of the end zone and buried the Giants deep in their own territory was a thing of beauty. It even checked up and took a funny bounce that I am sure made Tom Coughlin shart himself.
7. It looks like we are getting another defense this week that we should be able to succeed against. The Cardinals just gave up 477 yards to a rookie quarterback. That is what they call a red flag.
8. I would expect to see a lot more screen passes to Tim Hightower against the Cardinals. My bet now is that he has over 100 yards receiving in this game.
9. Jason Campbell, Stephon Heyer and Rock Cartwright all play for the Oakland Raiders. Two of them are team captains. The other committed back-to-back false start penalties and was benched before halftime last night.
10. I think Chris Cooley gave us a glimpse of what most of 2011 will look like from him. His injury is a long-term healing project. He can't worsen the injury or rehab by playing, but he won't be 100% until next September. One thing we know he can do is dominate underneath. At the very least, he could open up some space for Fred Davis up the field. I guess that makes me not in the camp of activating a healthier player in his place.