Notice placement of quotation marks. If I wasn't clear enough, this was not much of a game, largely thanks to the Washington Redskins.
I just watched Joe Gibbs' press conference (streamed live over at the Official Redskins Website and I want to quickly point out the confusing contrast between this last game and the New York game. After the Jets loss, Coach seemed very upset and frustrated with the level of play in our 27-14 loss. Perhaps because it was a home game, perhaps because it was against the miserable Jets, perhaps just because, that sense of urgency and frustrationg was lacking in both the postgame interview as well as this recent press release. One of the reporters asked why and Gibbs essentially said that he's just as upset now as he was then. I'm not entirely convinced but I have no way of knowing what goes on in his head (nor will I question it, since he has 3 more rings than I do). Readers: any idea why the dramatic change in demeaner?
As far as the game we looked terrible on both sides.
Our defense gave up about 460 yards. 300 in the air (which is too many) and 170 on the ground (which is too many). We had a few starters out of the game but that's still no excuse. Nor does it bode well for us should a few starters miss regular season games (as Shawn Springs is expected to).
Individually I don't think I'd have time to explain all the missteps. Carlos Rogers is playing tight coverage... way too tight. He had a pair of pass interference calls. Shawn Springs is out so he's our number one CB for the next month. He needs to play better.
Kenny Wright missed an easy tackle and was a non-entity in coverage.
Adam Archuleta led the team in tackles, but he also probably led the team in missed tackles.
Andre Carter has been consistent throughout the preseason in that he has consistently been unimpressive. His speed off the line was in question before the Patriots game, and nothing he did during suggested any change. He was brought in to improve our pass rush and has not touched a quarterback yet.
The entire unit is still giving up too many big plays.
New England went right after our safeties, a position we should be strong at, with Tight End Ben Watson. We had no answer nor did we adjust, which means he finished a preseason game with an impressive 97 yards (and a touchdown).
Any good news?
Not really. Rookie McIntosh recovered a fumble, which is helpful.
Starting offense once again failed to produce a scoring drive for the third straight game. Again, consistency is not something that has been lacking this preseason.
Our starting line, which has been good at pass protection these past two games, gave up 3 sacks. Our backups didn't do much better, as both Collins and Campbell were sacked twice a piece. We were consistent (theme?) in that our line got no push up front.
No running backs distinguished themselves, as I had hoped. Duckett had 4 carries for 8 yards. I know we brought him in as a short yardage threat, but this is not exactly what I had in mind. Betts was also unimpressive, though a little better: 7 carries for 25 yards. Our leading rusher on the day was Jason Campbell with 26 yards.
Jimmy Farris pulled in the passes thrown his way but also had a false start. When you are battling for that 5th WR spot there isn't much room for error. None of the receivers had particularly large games. Then again there were only 140 someodd yards of passing to go around. If it's any indication of how badly this offense played, loyal Hogs Haven reader Burgundy and Gold pointed out to me earlier today that in the Redskins game review at the official site, Chris Cooley was listed as player of the game -- he had 21 yards on 2 reception.
Any good news?
Jason Campbell led the team in passing and, as I pointed out earlier, rushing. He didn't throw any picks, nor did anyone else. The team did not have any turnovers (which is unusual given the score). Other than that the offense played much like a team that scored 0 points might.
Mike Espy was unimpressive on kick returns and averaged less than 20 after 6 opportunities. He probably will not make the team. Punt coverage was ok, not that it mattered much because Derrick Frost can't actually punt the ball consistently. It's hard to tell how good our kickoff coverage is, since the Redskins kicked off once at the beginning of the game and never had the chance to do so again. However, the Patriots did pick up 36 yards on that one return which is more than they should have. That's bad news. And they blocked an Adam Hall field goal attempt. They had way too much penetration then any winning team can expect to give up.
Any good news?
Still, it's just a pretend game and the results don't matter one bit. I wouldn't say I'm concerned, because Gibbs has a history of underpreforming in the preseason and, let's be honest, if you are going to recognize serious flaws in the football team it is best to do so in preseason conditions. But after last weeks debacle against the New York B Squad, and Joe Gibbs angry press release, I was really hoping that our team would come and play with a sense of urgency. By all indications from the coaching staff they practiced hard all week yet that failed to produce results. This is the worst loss Gibbs has experienced in his comeback to the NFL and, frankly, I think it's one of the most lopsided games in the past 5-6 years. Cookie to anyone who can find the last time we laid down this bad.
All that said and despite my clear frustrationg with the game, try not to take too much away from it. The team certainly can't look any worse than they did last night and if anyone can turn around a struggling team it is Joe Gibbs. Both Gibbs and Saunders flounder in preseason but preform when it counts. The defense will remain one of the best in the league, despite the 41 points New England hung on us.
It's still just pretend football.
Keep in mind that last year after going 4-2, the Redskins dropped 5 of the next 4 games (including the 0-36 embarrasment at the hands of division rival Giants as well as a familiar 3 game losing streak) yet rallied to win the remaining 5 games to make the postseason. Hopefully our preseason woes will reveal the character of this football team which I still maintain is strong. Joe Gibbs has turned it around when it matters most and will do so come the beginning of the season. Better to suffer the bitter taste of defeat when the results don't matter.
Hope everyone had a better weekend than the Redskins. Cheers.