The biggest news of the game was arguably JC's impressive though brief performance in the 1st half, going 5 of 5 for 54 yards and his first touchdown in 2007. There was ample opportunity to test his injured knee, and it held up:
Our other quarterback, Jordan Palmer, didn't look so hot. He went 2 of 8 for 10 yards with an interception which was converted, right then, for a cool touchdown. A pick six + 1.25 yards per pass does not = roster spot. It does, however, equal a zero passer rating. Unfortunately for Jordan, due to cruel circumstance and bad weather, this was also his first and last opportunity to show the team that he deserves to play professionally. With a sample size being so limited, his margin of error was paper thin to begin with, and he did not acquit himself well whatsoever. Bring me the head of Casey Bramlet.
Good on Antwaan Randle-El for his "dusey" (though I think it is spelled doozy). What we didn't have last year, and may not have right now, was a 2nd wide receiver. The coaching staff has made clear through action that Brandon Lloyd isn't that dude. Antwaan Randle-El has yet to prove he's the dude either, but a couple more 23 yard touchdown receptions would go a long way towards making me feel better about him opposite Santana Moss. The worst part about now having that 2nd target isn't that you don't have a guy who can reliably keep the defense honest (though that hurts, no diggity), but rather that if your starter goes down you literally have 0 WRs who can become targets consistently. Chris Cooley is a beast and mitigates how damaging that could be, but still I don't think we survive long without Santana Moss should he get injured. Mix in a young quarterback who probably needs his receiver more than, say, Peyton Manning.
The preseason is over and went considerably better than last year. You never like to close up with a convincing defeat though the players we wanted to see do well, did well. 2-2 is not 0-4 and thus I don't have to bend myself into a pretzel trying to torturously reason away pitiful on-field performances because it's like, just the preseason man. We played a good exhibition NFL season. The Eagles and Giants did not, both finishing 1-3. The Phins were a respectable 2-2 but all I see was a bunch of struggling from their quarterbacks; John Beck was sacked 10 times? That's more than our entire team. Me suspects something gone wrong on the Dolphins line worth exposing in week 1. I'm going to stop there at the risk of talking about a team I know very little about. For more info on the Dolphins, head over to our very own The Phinsider which is one of the most successful NFL blogs on the network. Great work is done there.
A brief note as I wrap this up. One of the few tangible benefits of blogging, I mean besides the women, the cars, the duffel bags filled with cash, the fame, the Behind The Music special, is that every blue moon a Hogs Haven reader(s) will email me to say what is up and perhaps keep me informed on what is happening in the Redskins world. My eyes cannot be everywhere at once and so I am at the mercy of others for nearly all my information. And analysis as well, since I'm not terribly insightful. In any event, a reader who predicts us at 11-5, now a friend of mine, pointed me towards the Football Outsiders 2007 NFC Over-Unders. Somehow I missed this which is shocking, really, because I spend a lot of time on that site and preaching their greatness to you, I'm sure to the point of annoyance. But I'm consistent: FO is great. They raise the level of football analysis beyond what you'd find elsewhere and do so using a complicated but justified system of their own device. More than any other source, when I read from the Outsiders that the Redskins have deficiency X, I sweat. Conversely, more than anywhere else, when they say positive things about the Redskins I take that to heart. Pete Prisco, who is a fine football writer for the most part, doesn't motivate me one way or the other whatever he says about my 'Skins. It is inconsequential. Football Outsiders are of consequence. And they say:
PFP 2007 Projection: 8.2 Wins
I'm going to say that the Redskins not only hit their Over, but they host a playoff game. Why? A lot of things. Their third-down performance on defense is going to improve, and they've upgraded their weaknesses with the additions of LaRon Landry, Fred Smoot (who is at least better than Mike Rumph, for sure) and London Fletcher-Baker, plus the return to health of Cornelius Griffin. On offense, while Brandon Lloyd will continue to be Brandon Lloyd, the Redskins will have had a full year to digest the Al Saunders offensive playbook, with Lewin Career Forecast favorite Jason Campbell behind center from training camp on. While we're not sanguine on Clinton Portis' chances of staying healthy for a full year, he'll be able to split time with Ladell Betts. I may be a fool, but I think that I'm buying low here on an underrated team.