The Redskins are no longer undefeated having lost 12-10 to the Steelers. The biggest news from the game wasn't the score, rather it was a knee injury to Jason Campbell precipitated by a Brett Keisel late-hit, which he apologized for. The good: Campbell's going to be ok, as an MRI revealed no serious damage to said knee. The large sigh you hear is the collective Redskins nation affirming still that this season is green-means-go. [Note: We selfishly claim Jason Campbell as ours and ours alone and pin hopes and dreams on this man yet forget that others love him too for good reason.]
Not all bullets were dodged. Marcus Washington dislocated his elbow, which to me sounds horribly painful:
Which it was for poor Mike Espy, who is out for the year with torn ligaments in his knee. This is unfortunate on many levels, as I loved Espy as a guy who clearly did everything he could to see field for the 'Skins. Even after the team added Corey Bradford and Todd Pinkston I still felt he had as good a shot as either of those guys to make the team, as I felt that he has a bigger upside than either of those guys anyway. His place with the team is now as questionable as ever, along with his football future. Players who are marginal to make a team on any given year have a paper-thin margin of error that either barely or does not allow for season ending injuries. A full recovery is hoped for.
Chris Mottram speaks truth to power and I am boldly agreeing with him:
Silver lining is that we've yet to give up a touchdown. This time last year we'd given up, like, 4 of them and were 0-2. If we didn't take preseason seriously last year and it turned out to haunt us, at least now we can sleep easy knowing that this team does not look completely outmatched thus far. Defining moment last year was our 3rd preseason game, when we dropped to the Patriots 41-0. This is me doing my best to build up excitement for our next preseason game, despite the impossibility of that.
Although injuries were the story of the game, very disappointing line play and running game were also of note. Don't take my word for it. Marcus Mason had the longest run of the day -- for an unimpressive 6 yards -- perhaps further justifying Ben's assertion that he deserves a roster spot. But critiquing the line and running game is all so nuanced and reasonable, I'd rather target an easier and familiar windmill: LVP goes to Mark Brunell who singularly lost us the game according to me. We're up 10-9 when he takes over and down 10-12 when he walks off. A mere field goal would've won us this game and instead he ends us with an interception. Final numbers were 5-12 for 56 yards (and a pick). 4.6ish yards per pass.
One game is not an entire set of data but it is a piece we can start using towards a conclusion, specifically whether or not Mark Brunell is the backup to Jason Campbell. Although he was the favorite heading into this game he was by no means entitled to that position. I'm less certain of his standing now more than ever especially given Todd Collins unlikely production and the fact that I still believe a Washington Post assertion from some time back that this team would not keep two veterans. But will Coach Gibbs pull the trigger on a player he has shown remarkably attached to over the past two years? I just can't see it.
Reader(s)? Where's Brunell at right now? Am I being unfair? For the record I love Mark Brunell and his awesome fu-manchu.