Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Final Thoughts on the Opener

(We saw this way too many times on Sunday)

First Thing,
Somebody- Dan Snyder or anybody in the Redskins organization, if Roger Goodell or anybody in NFL headquarters thinks about having the Skins open at Giant stadium again for the next 50 or so years do me a favor: get a copy of the Sunday NY Times or the Washington Post......roll it up and bop said person in the head. Back to back years opening at the Meadowlands sucks (I'm saying it politely as possible) and if the Ravens can avoid playing the Steelers in a home opener, then the Skins should be able to avoid playing the Giants on the road in week one, especially after two years in a row up there.

Second Thing,
Barring a playoff game up there, this will be the last time the Skins will play at the Meadowlands.
Ever. (You can't see this, but right now I'm jumping up and down and shaking my fist and screaming yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!). I hate the Meadowlands. The Skins generally suck there (unless the Skins are being led by a career back up and the spirit of Sean Taylor) and I won't miss it one bit.

Here's the deal on the game. After two days of reflection, nobody really should be angry about the result. It's the same result we've seen the past few years by the Skins against the Giants. They bring their B game. While in many series, you get a tough back and forth battle between two NFCE juggernauts, the Skins have a few series where they make major errors that cost them the game. The Giants are a better team right now. That's the facts. They know how to win and find ways to do so, the Skins still haven't figured that out yet.

The big problems of 2008 still are here in 2009. The D can't get off the field. While they improved in the 2nd half of the game ( 1/5 2nd half, 5/8 1st half Giant 3rd down conversions), the Skins allowed to convert many of their 3rd downs. In many cases, they were 3rd and longs and yet the team failed to get to Manning or stop the pass. There was minimal offense and when the Skins were driving, they found ways to kill the drive. The Randle-El trick play sack, the Campbell INT, the Campbell fumble. The Skins still can't continue and finish drives. There was still a lack of pass rush and I don't put the blame on Haynesworth. The guys around him have to take advantage of the 1 on 1 match-ups. It didn't happen nearly as much as you would expect. When Haynesworth is out, then you have to blitz or send in more than four guys. Right now nobody is scared of the Redskins front four, especially when Haynesworth is out.

Jason Campbell was up and down and his opportunities to make such mistakes are running out. The fumble was on him, not Chris Samuels (although you'd like Samuels to keep Osi as far away as possible). The INT as well; Campbell should have just run, pick up 4 yards and live to fight another day. Jason did have some good throws and made a few plays that he wouldn't have in the past. Great example was the busted play to Betts for 23 yards. Campbell fumbled and in 2008 would have tried to throw the ball away or just taken the sack. This year he knew where Betts was and made a play. That said, I don't get why he checked out of a pass on third and long and went off tackle to Betts. That never works, especially against the Giants. Campbell will have to play better if he wants to stay in DC.

I still put this game solely on Zorn. I like Zorn, I think he's a good teacher and a knowledgeable football guy. However, his playcalling didn't make much sense. Runs up the middle on first down weren't working....so he does it over and over again. Why wasn't Kelly, Davis and Thomas used more? Is it Campbell not throwing to them or is it Zorn not trying to get them into the game? Why haven't we seen Campbell try to run a fade route inside the 20? Where were the quick slants and screens to keep the pressure off Campbell with shorter passes? If Moss is being shut down why isn't a bigger WR taking his place? I thought the playcalling was pretty lousy. It didn't help Campbell or Portis at all.

Like I said. The Giants capitalize on the Redskins mistakes and find ways to win, the Redskins don't. Here's the plays that changed the game:
1. Manningham's TD: Three key missed tackles by Smoot, Carter and Hall. You just don't see the G-men do that.
2. Campbell's fumble: scooped up for a TD. The Redskins get a fumble recovery and a INT and neither if memory serves led to a TD.

Now could you imagine if the Skins were up and the Giants scored on a fake FG.......Skins would fall apart, wouldn't they? That's my point.

You could add some more and I'll mention them later, but you see what I mean.

Ok, now to get to my favorite part of game recaps: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

London Fletcher- 18 tackles. The man is just everywhere on the field.
Albert Haynesworth- Made some big stops and did everything that you'd expect/want the man to do. The Giants only had success running the ball when they went away from him or if he was out.
Chris Cooley- 7 catches, 68yds, 1TD. Cooley did what he does best, make catches. The good news is that he's already tied his touchdown number from 2008.
Antwaan Randle-El- 7 catches, 98yds. With exception of the option play mishap, Randle-El excelled as the #3 WR. If only Brandon Lloyd could have been a decent #2 *sigh*
Hunter Smith- Highlight of the game was the fake FG and TD run by Smith. It's a sad, sad day when your MVP is your punter (of course, his punts need to be better 32yd average is lousy). Kudos to special teams coach Danny Smith for catching the flaw in the Giants and using it to score a TD.

The Bad

Very poor playcalling- It was predictable and the Giants stopped it pretty easily.
No run game- Outside of the 1st big Portis run, there was no run game. This is a huge concern as this team will need a 1,300-1,400 yard season from Portis if they are to succeed in 2009. Jason Campbell has been a big issue, but the Redskins run game is still it's bread and butter.
Bad Tackling- Wonder why London Fletcher has 18 tackles? Because nobody else can apparently tackle. Get back to basics guys!!!!!!
Penalties- Laron Landry, wise up and knock off the late hits. I get why you do it. Sean Taylor also did stuff like this in his first couple of years to scare guys. You're now in your third year and it doesn't make you look scary, just not smart. Knock it off. Haynesworth also had a penalty that helped the Giants get three points.
Poor Corner Play- Corners looked lousy this week. DeAngelo Hall in particular, but he also admits he played poorly.
Santana Moss- A complete non-factor in this game, has got to do more to help Campbell have some weapons.
The Young Guys- Orakpo, Thomas, Kelly, Davis all pretty much non-factors in this game. Kevin Barnes wasn't even active. These guys need to step up and play.

The Ugly

With this game it's so hard to throw out excuses. This is the second year of Zorn. The second year of Campbell playing in Zorn's system. Most of these guys have been here since last year, so this team should be better. Sadly, the 2009 opener looks a great deal like the 2008 opener. I also wonder if the Skins really are a better team this year. Are they contenders or are they a middle of the road team that will beat teams they should usually, struggle with teams that are as good or better than they are, maybe pull an upset and probably blow a game they should win.

So What Does This Mean?
The Redskins are 0-1 and 0-1 vs. the NFCE. That's all for now......but the team better start to show improvement because Dan Snyder and the fans of the team he owns share one thing in common: they have little patience for failure and even less patience when they've given this team another chance to succeed without radically changing things.

No comments:

Post a Comment