1. Just in time for the late edition! Let’s just say I made the most of the Victory, and have been thoroughly enjoying Victory Monday. For those who missed it, I joined Santana Moss, Sebastian Salazar and JP Flaim on Redskins Talk yesterday evening after the big win. I maaaaaaaay have gotten a little carried away with my effusive praise for Tress Way (which led to the invocation of names like Sav Rocca, Hunter Smith and Jeff Hayes).
2. While I have taken and continue to take heat for my stubborn belief in Spencer Long, a day like yesterday makes me feel great about pumping up Jamison Crowder and Su’a Cravens all summer long. Don’t worry—it’s pretty much impossible for anything go to my head. For every guy I tout that does great, there are like five Trung Canidates. (Thanks a lot, Madden ratings. Canidate was all but unstoppable as return man and running back. He is quite literally one of the best Madden characters that ever existed, and one of the biggest mirror images in terms of video game vs. real life.)
3. Let’s talk Crowder first: I owe Kevin Ricca a round of golf (in addition to the round I owe him for already…so that’s two rounds of golf). I said earlier this summer that Crowder was a NINE targets per game player. The bet was whether or not he would get his 27 targets through the third week—he ended with 25. I lose the bet, but I think I have convinced some folks since June the kind of role Crowder has in this offense. There has been a pretty solid parade of folks on The Audible and other places that have told me I am nuts because of the presence of DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed. I ran the numbers on the slot/inside receiver role in passing-friendly offenses and I was certainly within the realm of reason on that target number, but it is the amount of passing in this offense that I think we have mostly disagreed about. Kirk is averaging 40+ attempts per game already. For those of us who would like to see more out of Matt Jones, this is a problem, but if Crowder can move the ball the way he has with the chances he has gotten, we should be okay with this. Before I conclude my pro-Crowder section, I should make sure everyone understands that I would take EVERYONE’S targets away and give them to Jordan Reed if I could. Jamison Crowder is a smart, tough, gifted athlete. His role is ideally suited to his abilities. We are watching him find open space on almost every play. When he gets the ball in his hands, he turns into a shifty return man (oh, he is also a decent return man). I might have come up two targets short on his three-game haul, but I think we are all on the same page now with regard to his extremely vital role in our offense.
4. As for Su’a Cravens (the namesake for my fantasy football team…”A Boy Named Su’a”), you all know I called for him to become a 4/4 man in his rookie year. To most people, that makes me sound like an idiot (these people have a point). Only one player did that last year, and his name is Thomas Davis—also a safety/linebacker hybrid who has settled in at linebacker in the league. Early in the game (the first Giants offensive possession I believe), Cravens just missed getting to Eli Manning in the backfield. Listen, it is going to be hard to get to four sacks and four interceptions, but one thing I told you after the draft: this kid has hands. When he leapt across the screen and won the game for the Washington Redskins, I swear there was a second of that same feeling I got when Lavar Arrington’s interception against the Carolina Panthers gave Marty Schottenheimer his first win of the season (in week six). It’s not the same because week three just ain’t week six, but it was the same in the sense that our guy went and made a play.
5. There is a difference between winning a game and the other team losing the game. Had the New York Giants marched down the field and missed the game-winning field goal, the standings would be the same, but the feeling today would be different. We have been on both sides of that, with the point being win-loss records rarely tell the whole tale. Looking at the Redskins today, 1-2 means way more than it should, doesn’t it? We have a losing record for God’s sake, and yet I can’t shake the smile. The manner in which the Redskins emerged victorious…on the road…against a divisional opponent…after trailing for much of the game, can’t help but shape our view of this team. Roughly 36 hours ago, the Redskins were winless and the smart money was on 0-3. A day later, the Redskins are in the win column and showing serious signs of life.
6. Can we please not assume the Cleveland game is in the bag? Can we please not look past a team that has a TON of talent on it (when you pick that high every year for a decade or more, you have to have talent, right)? Can we please remember that the Redskins have traditionally allowed many an unheralded player to lay down Hall of Fame highlight footage? The Browns are showing signs of competency and their coach (Hue Jackson) is not at all interested in coming to FedEx to lay down for the Redskins. This week is not about looking forward to the Baltimore Ravens. This week is not about celebrating a win over the Giants. This week is about getting ourselves ready to play the kind of team we have lost to many times over the last 20 seasons.
P.S. Thank you DeAngelo Hall. Thank you for being a Redskin, and for giving a shit about being a Redskin. I’m not done with this topic, but couldn’t let it slide off the page today.