Earlier this week we wondered why Carlos Rogers ain't got such great hands and the impact that could have on us defensively. I contemplated that his dropsies could account, over a healthy season, for something like two fewer turnovers per year.
The team is doing something about it, or trying. Per the Official Site:
The Redskins continue to find inventive ways to end the trend of dropped interceptions.
After Thursday’s practice at Redskins Park, the defensive backs gathered at midfield to catch a series of rapid-fire passes from quarterbacks.
The defensive backs had to stand with their backs to the quarterback and then abruptly turn around to catch the ball from 10 yards away.
Carlos Rogers had no trouble catching the footballs in this drill although Fred Smoot did. Considering the former has had a whole lot more difficulty catching footballs in actual games than the latter, that raises some questions about how effective this drill is in improving their hands. Smoot may not have the best hands in the NFL, but they are certainly better than Carlos Rogers' (hands).
Greg Blache had the money quote:
“If we don’t, then we will be flirting with disaster,” defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. “It’s rare when quality quarterbacks give you that opportunity. When you pass them up, the football gods go against you.
Blache continues to be, by far, the most profound coach on the staff. Looking forward to this weekend's game, Drew Brees isn't going to give us many opportunities to steal his balls, yuck. Did you know, for instance, that Drew Brees is 6th among active (14th all time) QBs in interception % behind only Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia, Tom Brady, Steve McNair, and Philip Rivers? His career 2.7% int % is scary good.
So if not on interceptions, how are we supposed to beat New Orleans? Tandler says:
The Redskins offense can't start off slowly again this week. A sack on the game's opening series would quickly get the team into a "here we go again" frame of mind. A couple of three and outs out of the gate will bring out a strong undertone of boo-birds. A slow, hesitant pace, even in the early going, will rekindle thoughts of the "what, me hurry?" offense the team displayed in the fourth quarter in the Meadowlands.
This doesn't meant that Campbell needs to launch a deep one to Moss on the first play or that Portis needs to break off a long one in the early going.
Actually, throwing balls deep balls more (and thus earlier and oftener?) is precisely what Clinton Portis wants, per DC Sports Bog:
"You know, I think Jason should just go out and continue playing his game and let it loose," Portis said. "Once he make a mistake I think he get into that idea of he let us down. He's not letting us down. Give us the opportunity to win. Go out and sling the ball for 70 yards when it's a slant. Shake off [the play] at the line, call a go route.
"If I've got Santana Moss out here one-on-one, then, you know, I'll deal with coach yelling at me from checking out of that play when I get back to the sideline, compared to 'Oh, I want to do it, but I don't do it, [and] all the sudden we punting the ball off.
Uhh, that actually makes a lot of sense to me. I've maintained for some time now that Jason Campbell's best asset as a quarterback is his long pass, which he throws about as well as anyone in the league. We have wide receivers designed for precisely those kinds of routes (small but fast Steve Smith types in Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El) and yet I'm not seeing us take advantage of that. And while it may be true that a robust passing game makes it much easier to run, not all passes are created equal in this regard; backing up those safeties with liberal use of deep passes could go a long way towards opening up the 15+ yard runs that get fans out of their seats.
Really, what's the worst that can happen? It's not as if this offense is exactly clicking. We have a quarterback who can launch the ball very effectively and a WR who can run a 4.3 40. Forget the finesse, let's try some old fashioned you go deep and I'll heave it. Pass and pray might even please the football gods.