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If this is your second time looking at this, you may have noticed I had my number’s backwards.  It was the Giants that led the Redskins by 10 going into the half, 17 to 7.  So the Redskins are pretty much who we thought they were.  But as I will expound on further down, this game really mean’s nothing, considering that they lost to the Giant’s in the opener last year and still beat our beloved Cowboy’s in week four last season.  Therefore, there really isn’t much you can take from the stats compiled in this game; especially if you consider how mediocre our otherwise capable of being dominant, Cowboys defense played against the Bucs.

The running back that seem’s to have broken the Redskins back was actually Ahmad Bradshaw, averaging 5 yards per carry on 12 attempts yielding 60 yards.  The perennial trash talker Brandon Jacobs was held to a measely 2.9 yards per carry with 16 touches totalling 46 yards.  Real quick side bar – the Cowboys, regardless of this next weeks meeting’s outcome, should be able to shut Brandon Jacobs up, albeit temporarily. On the other side of the ball, Clinton Portis had the most yard’s for the day, but was well below average in terms of production with 3.9 yards per carry on 16 attempts, 34 of which was on their first play from scrimmage; in other word’s, after his first run, he averaged 1.8 per carry.  The big question here is, is Clinton Portis that poor of a runner, or is the Giant’s run defense that stout.  Considering Portis’ career average of 4.4 per carry, I’m leaning toward’s the latter.  Of course, this could also be an indictment of the OL and/or coaching, but considering Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Barry Cofield, and Fred Robbins, with back-ups who could start for most team’s such Chris Canty and Mathias Kiwanuka, I suspect it’s mostly because the Giant’s are just that good against the run.  But getting back to the team in question…the Redskins defense, looked stout throughout the majority of the game against the run, but came up short when stop’s were crucial.  Of course, many fan’s are pointing towards the play calling of Jim Zorn, whose three back-to-back unimaginative running play’s following a goal line stand, gift wrapped a short field for the Giants, where the Giants eventually scored.

As I was digging for a description of the game, I happened upon the following, from an actual fan and since I have thing’s I’d rather be writing about and the following is about as unbiased as you can get considering it’s criticism from an actual fan, I’m going to steal it.  So, with out further ado…


“The Washington Redskins offense in week 1 looked pretty much like the Washington Redskins offense of the last two months of last season. The offense looked confused, discombobulated, and completely lacking in confidence. The team came out flat, completely unprepared to play an NFL game. That’s very poor preparation. It would be shocking, but it happens so frequently that no Redskins fan could be shocked by it anymore.

Jim Zorn was determined to rush the ball, but the Giants would not permit it. After a 34-yard run on their first offensive play from scrimmage, Clinton Portis and the rest of the running backs did nothing, gaining 51 yards on 20 carries.

Jim Zorn can talk all he likes about his increased confidence in his quarterback and offensive line, but that’s clearly a lot of nonsense. After the defense made a terrific stand to stop the Giants on 4th and 1 at the 2 yard line, the Redskins ran three meek running plays and punted, giving the Giants the ball at the 43 yard line and leading directly to a New York touchdown. In other words, the goal line stand by the defense made no difference. Why did Zorn run 3 obvious running plays when he clearly needed to pass his way out of the shadow of his own end zone. The only reasonable explanation is that he didn’t trust his quarterback or he didn’t trust his offensive line to pass block for his quarterback or, most likely, he didn’t trust either his quarterback or his offensive line. No wonder the offense appears to lack confidence. It does lack confidence.

The fumble caused by Giants DE Osi Umenyiora can be blamed on Jason Campbell, not on Chris Samuels, who was blocking Umenyiora without help. Samuels moved Umenyiora deep, well past where Campbell should have been. However, Campbell held on to the ball far too long and then showed no awareness of the pass rush, carelessly holding the ball low and behind his body. He should have stepped up into the pocket, taking advantage of the great protection the line gave him on that play. Or he should have thrown the ball away. Either way, the strip and fumble were entirely Campbell’s fault.

Redskins clock management was poor — once again. Timeouts were called because the offense was confused, but that meant those timeouts were gone when they were needed late in the game. Zorn also elected to take a holding penalty against the Giants instead of a sack, meaning that the Giants went to 1st down and 20 instead of 2nd and 15. Taking the sack was the proper way to go since the Giants were just trying to run out the clock and kick a short field goal and moving them to 2nd down gave New York less time to kill the clock.

And what about those two timeouts taken early in the second half? The result of the play after the first timeout was taken was a rushing loss of 3 yards. The result of the play after the second timeout was taken was a sack of Jason Campbell. Clearly, calling a timeout and talking things over on the sidelines did not work. That reflects very badly on the coaching staff of the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins pass defense was shredded early by New York’s undistinguished receiving corps and whenever the Giants needed a big play in the passing game, they got it from Kevin Boss or Steve Smith or someone else. The few times pressure was actually put on Giants QB Eli Manning, the defense got a good result, a fumble, an interception or a poorly thrown incompletion. But the pressure was rare and Manning had a lot of time to throw most of the time.

The tackling by the Redskins defense was poor. On the Mario Manningham touchdown [the easiest TD pass Eli Manning will ever throw], Fred Smoot missed the initial tackle, then DE Andre Carter and CB DeAngelo Hall missed tackles. Hall barely even seemed to make an effort on the play. Manningham should have been stopped short of a first down, instead he went 30 yards for a touchdown.

How Fred Smoot continues to be employed as a cornerback is a complete mystery. I’ve written about Smoot’s poor tackling, 10-yard cushions and inability to cover even #3 wide receivers, but the defensive coaching staff likes something about him. What that something is, I honestly could not say.

I’m still waiting for Laron Landry to justify his lofty selection in the first round. He got another stupid personal foul penalty early in the game and late in the game he missed a tackle on TE Kevin Boss. Landry went for the big hit — perhaps hoping to make ESPN’s SportsCenter and end memories of being used as a speed bump by Brandon Jacobs in last season’s opener [a play re-run endlessly on highlight shows]. Unfortunately, Landry mis-aimed his hit and bounced harmlessly off Kevin Boss, allowing the tight end to gain about 7 extra yards. Simply tackling Boss would have been the smart thing to do.

Albert Haynesworth played well, stuffing the run when the Giants went after him. On the whole, the rush defense was good, stuffing the Giants on two separate 3rd and 1 plays and a 4th and 1 play. The Giants running backs rushed for 106 yards on 28 carries, under 3.8 yards per carry. That’s good defense against last year’s top rushing attack. The problem was a very poor pass rush [again] and execrable tackling by the secondary.

So who was most responsible for the Redskins’ loss to the Giants? Take our poll in the upper left hand corner of the screen!  (http://dcprosportsreport.com/2009/09/quick-hitters-deja-vu-all-over-again-in-week-1.html).”
Curious about that poll?  Here are the results out of the Redskins other 23 fans (lol):  Coaching 60% with 15 votes, Jason Campbell 12% with 3 votes, Pass Defense 24% with 6 votes, Wide Receivers 0% (please don’t ask how many voted on this) and Other 4% with 1 vote.  There were actually 25 votes, but I voted for coaching and I’m sure the contributor voted accordingly.

For anyone planning on walking away from this thinking that’s two more W’s we can add to our win/loss ratio prior to the actual games, please note that regardless of how the Redskins play other team’s, they always show up against the Cowboys.  For as long as I have been trying to predict what to expect from these Deadskins, the only thing I’ve been right about is to not underestimate them.

Furthermore, Albert Haynesworth, regarless of the apology and accepted apology exchanged between he and Andre Gurode, will be looking to be vindicated.  Why?  The storyline that you don’t hear about, when the infamous face stomp is brought up, is why Albert was so frustrated he lost his temper.  The truth is, he was getting man-handled, Gurode refusing to give up any ground, despite Haynesworth pile-pusher reputation.  Any NT worth 100 million should draw double-coverage, especially from the Center.  If he doesn’t against Gurode, the Redskins, as well the rest of the nation will know he is what we all think he is:  Vastly overpaid.

And then of course there is the Cowboy killer Santana Moss.  Newman shut him down in our last meeting, but the big question is will Newman remain healthy throughout the year?  (cricket’s chirp)

All in all, the first game is somewhat of a waste of time to analyze, for several reason’s:  First and foremost, there is no game tape from the previous game to study, for the exception of preseason, where most team keep it basic so they don’t tip their hand.  Second, many player’s, particluarly the younger one’s, will get a mad case of the jitter’s, likely taking a half to really get into the flow of the game.  Third, it’s the first game the starters play for 4 quarters.  Not only are these players physically tested in terms of their conditioning, but their mind set changes when they know they have to maintain the same intensity for 1 hour.  It might not seem like much, given the relatively small amount of time transpired during each play, but with the excitement of playing and the concentration that has to be applied for each position, it can be very taxing on the body, mind and spirit of a given player.  Combine the above 3 and the result’s will vary for team’s.  The Cowboy’s were fortunately able to reign in their collective focus and put together what most of us thought they could be as a team in the 2nd half against the Bucs.  The Redskins fell flat in their opener on the road, but by week 11, the first time the Cowboys and Redskins meet, will know alot more about this team and what they are capable of.


I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.

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