Sunday, January 29, 2012

Senior Bowl Thoughts Part 1: Slight Frustration and Rant

(Coach is not going to like what I say here)
Before I start let me just say how much I normally enjoy the Senior Bowl. Normally, I could care less about the final score. It's an evaluation of good players going against equally good players. I'm not rooting for a team; in this case I'm rooting for the players and how they'll look at the next level. This year was different because I had a team to root for.....the South. Obviously, I'm rooting for the Redskins to win here and to see how the college all-stars fit in the Mike Shanahan/Jim Haslett schemes that we watch every Sunday.

It lessened my enjoyment of the Senior Bowl.

I know that these players have only had a week together. I know that mistakes will be made. This is common in all-star games of this nature. Bad snaps, poor timing on routes, blowing coverage is all common because these players have limited time to gel as a team and won't be doing so ever again (barring multiple players getting drafted to the same team). So I can't blame either the coaches or the players for these expected errors.

That said, the Redskins led South team played pretty poorly tonight. Matter of fact, in certain aspects they looked a helluva lot like the 2010 and 2011 Redskins.

This scares me a great deal. I know this is just one game.....a meaningless all-star game where more is learned during the practice sessions than the actual game. If somebody ever left a comment on IIWII, I'm sure that's what I would get back on my concerns. That's true. But I saw many things that are making me question if the Redskins team is ever going to get any better even if the talent level gets better. I mean it's a fair statement to say that the Redskins had the better roster of talent. They had the better D line, better QB prospects and better corners. Most other positions were mostly pushes or slight edges to either side.

Here's just a few things that I noticed that makes me concerned:

1. Red Zone- The Redskins failed multiple times to score in the Red Zone. Players had minimal separation and it really didn't seem like the South team could do much of anything once they got there. Also, key mistakes (sack, penalty) seemed to happen at the worst moment once they got into the Red Zone. The result? Field Goals. Also, the run game sputtered as soon as they got to the 20.

2. Defense- It's hard to blame Haslett here because the D could only run a few packages/coverages and could not blitz. But I noticed a few times where the defense would give up a big play on 3rd downs which kept drives alive and led to scores.

3. Special Teams- Mike Shanahan said himself that they didn't do much with 'teams this week. I won't blame Danny Smith for the Isaiah Pead's returns. Normally, the Redskins coverage teams are some of the better units in the league. I will blame Smith for the pitiful performances by the return teams though. I'm watching Chris Rainey, the fastest player (probably) in the game run right into a pile of defenders for minimal gains. It reminds me of a similar player who's pretty darn fast that gets the same result for the Redskins and makes me wonder why we can't see an Isaiah Pead like performance? After the 2011 season the mere mention of Danny Smith raises my this post is pretty tame.

There was some real sloppy play in this game by the South side. This was particularly surprising because the South had the best looking practices during the week. High energy, high tempo practices that impressed the announcers and the viewers at home who had a chance to catch these practices on NFL Network. It was alarming and frankly as a Redskins fan it pissed me off a little. For the last few decades years I have been convinced that the organization was in need of a serious overhaul at the top and through Shanahan this team was heading in the right direction. What they needed was a new infusion of talent and youth on the roster. That includes improved starters and depth. I was okay with the coaches with a few exceptions. Now I'm starting to wonder if this staff can get it done.

That's bad. I've been pretty high on Mike Shanahan since he became the HC of the Redskins (Ed. Note- to be honest when I thought it was coming down to Gruden or Shanahan, I wanted Gruden). So much so that I have threatened to give up my season tickets if owner Daniel Snyder got impatient and fired him. I'm still sticking with Shanahan and his staff but there is a slight bit of doubt starting to creep in and it's not going to go away until the Redskins start playing again.

Or at least until training camp starts..........

More Senior Bowl coverage and commentary coming soon.

1 comment:

Billfishead said...

Sorry I missed watching it, then again maybe not. Got all the updates I needed to come to the same conclusion. I would agree that it's pretty scary that the South team resembled all of the bad traits of the 2010 - 2011 Redskins. Certainly does give one something to think about over the next few months. Then again I could have done without the thoughts.

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