Category:NFL
Posted on: October 19, 2009 10:57 pm
 

The captain goes down with the ship

In the nautical community the captain always goes down with the ship, even if the designers didn't build the ship correctly or the first mate is sleeping on duty as the ship careens into an iceburg.

Nfl teams are very similar in this regard.  No matter what the actual problem is the Coach and QB take all the blame.

Due to these tried and true customs Jim Zorn will now manfully remain on the ship while everyone else is scrambling for a lifeboat.

Zorn has made some puzzling coaching decisions.  But Zorn is a likeable and talented coach who may still have a bright future if he can wipe away the stink that the Redskins have smeared on him.

I truly believe that this is a talent issue much more than it is a coaching issue (although why a coach wouldn't attempt a 53 yard field goal on the last play of the first half is beyond me).  It has everything to do with this offensive line.

Last year with a healthy line the Redskins started 6-2, Portis was league MVP, Zorn was rookie coach of the year, and Jason Campbell had not thrown a pick.  Same coaching staff.

Then the best linemen got banged up.  All of a sudden Portis couldn't run, Campbell was hurried into mistakes, and the points dried up.

Washington went into the off season knowing that the line needed an overhaul.  They not only refused to draft anyone, but they refused to resign Pete Kendall, cut John Jansen, and let Jason Fabini go in free agency.

They let go of three very solid players and replaced them with no draft picks and a guy who was out of football for two years in Mike Williams who had to be put through the NFL's version of Biggest Loser just to get fit into an extra large lineman uniform.

Four games into the season guess what happens?  The two best linemen the Redskins had are lost (possibly forever) with injuries.  Now five out of Washington's best players on the line from last year are gone.  They are replaced by a second year former fourth round draft pick with no experience(Rhinehart), a Buffalo Bills castoff who the Redskins did not resign three years ago because he was the worst starting linemen they had(Dockery), a journeyman who has started four career games before this season (Montgomery), and a former first round pick who hasn't payed since 2005(Williams).

Only center Casey Rabach could start on any other NFC East team.  Only Buffalo has a line as bad as the Redskins' line this year.  They have a lot of talent at wideout and running back as well.  They are also 2-4.

Vince Lombardi could not win with this line.

But of course it's all Jim Zorn, Jason Campbell, and Clinton Portis' fault.

The only coaching change that could help Washington this year would be if the Redskins lured away the entire Minnesota Vikings starting line and made them Player/Coaches.

But that's OK.  Blame whomever you want to.  There is plenty to spread around.  JUst realize that any coaching change made this season is similar to putting a band-aide over a severed femoral artery (Sean Taylor RIP).
Category: NFL
Tags: Redskins, Zorn
 
Posted on: October 19, 2009 12:39 am
 

Pa-Thetic

In case you missed the title of this article let me state it again: Pa-Thetic.

 

The Washington Redskins proved today beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have an offense that can not play on an NFL level by losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 14-6.

 

That’s the Chiefs that hadn’t won a game in nine previous attempts.

 

That’s the Chiefs that came into this game with the worst defensive unit in the entire NFL statistically.

 

That’s the Chiefs that lost AT HOME to JaMarcus Russell and the Oakland Raiders.

 

That’s the Chiefs that made Kevin Kolb look like Donovan McNabb.

 

That’s the Chiefs that made Miles Austin look like Jerry Rice.

 

That’s the Chiefs that were the last team to have the ineptitude to lose to the Detroit Lions (that is, until, you know, the Redskins lost to them this year).

 

That’s the Chiefs that……………well, you get the picture.

 

I am going through such pains to remind people who this team that the Redskins lost to actually is because their defense didn’t look like Kansas City today.  They looked like an all star team comprised of players from the ’85 Bears and the 2000 Ravens.

 

Please don’t be angry Chief fans.  I am just stating facts.  I will not write the pathetic line that I have heard over and over from the Redskin locker room that we lost to a team that we should have beaten.

 

That is a lie and a cop out.  The truth is that the Chiefs deserved to win that game and at this point are a better team.  The Chiefs dominated the Washington offense and deserved to win the game.

 

Read what I have written carefully.  It is the truth.  The Redskins’ current offensive lineup is not capable of exposing the worst defense in the league.

 

The sad thing is that a very good defense is going to waste in Washington.  I truly believe that the Washington defensive unit could take at least ten teams in this league to the Super Bowl.  Any team that could score 20 points on a regular basis would win 12-14 games with this defense.

 

Word came down after the game today that Jim Zorn has been relieved of his play calling duties.  While I am glad that some form of reprimand was carried out somewhere on this team I have little faith that it will make a difference.

 

At this point there are too many areas to point fingers at.  The Head Coach is probably the right place to start, but anyone who thinks that the problems end there is delusional.

 

I really considered going down the entire Redskins organization from the owner, personnel, coaching staff, roster to the practice squad and listing who I would get rid of and why.

 

I still may at some point this year, but for now let me state the obvious.

 

The season is over and the time to rebuild the offense is upon us.

 

Yes we are 2-4.  Yes we have a long season in front of us.  Yes miracles do happen every day on the lifetime network.

 

Get real people.  This offensive unit peaked in 2005, had a slight rebound in 2007, and had a total meltdown in 2008.  This unit is not one piece away.  Its best players are entering the twilight of their career.  Two of them may already never play again in Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas.

 

If this team wants to do anything productive to build towards future success it will go young and bench the veterans.  Who cares if it looks ugly?  How much worse could this offense do than six points against the Chiefs?

 

If Colt Brennan hadn’t been put on IR and Chase Daniels hadn’t left I would say go with one of them.  As it is we might as well play Campbell, because Todd Collins is not the future and proved today that he has lost so much mobility and arm strength that he can’t physically make 35% of the plays that most QB’s are required to make.

 

The O-line is already playing the young guys due to injury, so not much change will happen there.

 

Santana Moss is one of my favorite players.  But he is getting older and is not a part of a successful future for this team.  Bench him and Randle-El and play the young guys.  At least then they can be evaluated and we can see if they should be part of this rebuilding phase or not.

 

Chris Cooley is still young and can be a part of this team’s future.  Keep him in.  But also give Fred Davis a chance to show what he can do (besides fumble).

 

Clinton Portis has been the heart and soul of this team for six years.  This isn’t really his fault.  He is still the best option the Redskins have.  But he is getting older and will not be around long enough to endure a two-three year overhaul.

 

Therefore, he must sit down next to Ladell Betts and let Marcus Mason and Aldridge show if they should be considered as part of the future of this franchise. 

 

As far as Rock Cartwright is concerned, I would release him tomorrow.  He will never be a vital player and his on field strutting and off field comments are not needed in any way.  The Skins should cut him so that they don’t have to keep releasing Renaldo Wynn every week to make room for a substitute punter.

 

I know it hurts, but Redskin fans have to look at this situation objectively.

 

Will a coaching change during this season turn this team around?

 

Are Portis, Moss, Randle-El, Collins, Betts, Samuels, Thomas, and Cartwright players that are young enough to endure a rebuilding process or good enough to change the direction of this season.

 

The answer of course is no.

 

The season is lost.  It’s evaluation time.  Let’s find out who has a future and who doesn’t.

 

P.S.-If I were Dan Snyder and I really loved the Redskins I would sell the team immediately and try to buy a rival franchise.  With one move he could help the Redskins and destroy a rival team at the same time.  Jerry Jones seems to be doing that already in Dallas, so Snyder should focus on acquiring either the Giants or the Eagles.

Posted on: October 17, 2009 7:34 pm
 

Much needed advice for the Skins

Our favorite source of Sunday heartburn and indigestion returns to Fed-Ex field Sunday to play the lowly Kansas City Chiefs.  They will match up against their record setting sixth consecutive opponent without a win this year.

 

They have two choices.  They can rise to the occasion or set a new low in fan and player morale.

 

Since it seems that the Redskins need help from anyone who is willing to give it, I thought that I would give the coaching staff several strategies that could help them avoid another embarrassing loss to a winless team.

 

The first thing that I would do is leave seven players in pass protection at all times.   Todd Yoder would draw the start at tight end and play the majority of the game to help block.

 

Due to recent injuries to two of the Skin’s best linemen the Redskins are forced to start four players who did not see significant action last year, including two players who haven’t started a game in years.

 

If given time Jason Campbell has proven that he can make plays, but this lineup will not likely give him that time, despite facing the leagues worst defense.  We saw how this unit made a horrible Tampa Bay unit look like they were the championship unit of the Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks’s heyday.

 

The Redskins must protect this makeshift unit and give Campbell at least enough time to scan through his progressions.

 

Leaving Yoder in to block and using Clinton Portis in all passing situations will let the Skins benefit from having their best blocking tight end and running back on the field.  This will limit Campbell’s targets but give him enough time to have a chance of actually finding them.

 

Keeping Yoder in the game would in theory limit Chris Cooley’s playing time.  But if I were Zorn I would go with my three best receiving threats most of the game to maximize the effectiveness of the limited amount of receivers that will be sent out into formation.

 

In most scenarios I would use Moss, Cooley, and Randle-El as my three targets.  I would also look to line Cooley up out wide and keep Randle-El in the slot to maximize the huge advantage the Redskins have against the Chiefs’ nickel back.

 

The Chiefs have been horrible all year defending the slot receiver, including Miles Austin’s ten catches for 250 yards last week.  Randle-El may not be a great receiver, but he is at least as good as Austin.  The Redskins should seek to force the Chiefs into the same scenarios that they were beaten on last week and every week this year.

 

On goal line formations I would substitute Malcolm Kelly for Randle-El to give the Redskins the option of the lob.

 

The defensive unit has been pulling its weight for the most part.  But they have many injury concerns on the front line this week.

 

In order to increase the line’s effectiveness and give them another healthy body to help in the rotation I would play Brian Orakpo on the line the entire game.  The Redskins are deeper at linebacker this week than they are on the line and this move would help solidify their front while putting the best combination of talent on the field.

 

If Campbell is given the protection he needs to make decisions and the defensive line can play well despite its injuries the Redskins should win this game.

 

If they don’t make the correct adjustments to minimize the weaknesses within their lines this could turn into another very long afternoon for Redskins’ fans.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 4, 2009 5:27 pm
 

Shaun Suisham was the game's MVP

I don't trust they guy.  I never feel confident when he kicks.  I didn't even want him back this season.

But I must admit that Suisham saved the game today.

When punter Hunter Smith got hurt early in the game Suisham came in and delivered.  His first punt was a crucial fourty yarder out of his own end zone.  He also made a great angling punt at the end of the game to push the Bucs behind their twenty.

His punting average was under 40 yards and some might think that isn't good.  For an emergency punter that is excellent.  If anyone wants to see what could have happened go to youtube and search for a video entitled "bad day for Joe Theisman".  Theismann got forced into punting duties when his punter got hurt against the Bears in 1985 and his first punt went exactly four yards off of the side of his foot from the exact same part of the field that Suisham kicked from.

Suisham also kicked a 42 yard field goal amid swirling wind conditions that caused the Bucs to miss two forty yard kicks.  He also put a kickoff through the back of the end zone.  He is usually short on his kickoffs, but he was great today.

He did have a point after attempt blocked, but if you look at the play it is clearly the result of a lapse in blocking assignments.  The snap, hold, and kick were perfect.  Adam Viniateri coundn't have gotten that kick off.

Congratulations Shaun Suisham.  I hope this game helps to build up your confidence and you continue to perform in the clutch down the stretch.
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 29, 2009 9:58 pm
 

Greg Blache is the real reason for loss

Following one of the most embarrassing losses in recent franchise history Redskin nation will be looking many places to heap the blame.  Coach Jim Zorn and quarterback Jason Campbell will probably bear the majority of it.

 

While they certainly played their parts in Sunday’s debacle the person that deserves the most blame is defensive coordinator Gregg Blache.

 

For a person who has such a good coaching resume and led the defense to a very good showing last year he really showed an amazing lack of understanding of basic football concepts.

 

Gregg Blache gave rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford the time to gain confidence.  Every basic coaching course will teach that the best game plan to use against an inexperienced quarterback is to bring heavy blitzes and force him into making a mistake.

 

Gregg Blache must have skipped the introductory coaching classes.

 

Most coaches will study game film to determine what formations have been most effective against the Lions this year.  New Orleans and Minnesota certainly provided enough of a blueprint.  They pressured Stafford into five interceptions and allowed only one touchdown pass.

 

Gregg Blache must have skipped the film session.

 

Instead he decided that playing prevent defense the entire game would be more effective.  He was right.  His scheme certainly prevented a Redskin victory.

 

This may have been the worst defensive coaching job I have ever witnessed.  He rushed four people almost the entire game.  He had speed rusher Brian Orakpo playing coverage over 60% of the game, including the critical 24 yard pass play on the Lions’ last drive that helped them seal the victory.

 

He had the cornerbacks playing eight to ten yards off of the receivers on several third and two situations.  How does that make any sense to anyone?

 

The Lions were certainly grateful.  When Stafford saw the amount of space that the Redskins were giving on these plays he checked down to easy three yard button hook pitch and catches.

 

I have never witnessed a defense play as conservative against a rookie quarterback in my life.  The Redskins never came close to getting any pressure on Stafford with just four pass rushers.  As a result Stafford had time to find the seems in the secondary.

 

I don’t care if you drop back eleven players into coverage.  A professional wide receiver will eventually get open, and a professional quarterback will eventually find him.

 

Gregg Blache wasn’t the only person who was at fault yesterday.  He was just the most glaring reason for this loss.  Here is a list of (dis)honorable mentions.

 

Fred Smoot:

 

You should be ashamed of yourself.  You were scared to hit a rookie quarterback! 

 

On a third and thirteen on the Lions’ first scoring drive Smoot had a perfect shot to tackle Stafford short of the marker and force a field goal.  Instead he threw a timid alligator armed attempt at a tackle with his eyes closed that I had previously only seen performed by wide receivers who are scared to catch a pass over the middle.

 

The result was that Stafford flew by him and Detroit scored a touchdown later in the drive.

 

Smoot and fellow cornerback DeAngelo Hall bear a striking resemblance to Deion Sanders (minus the interception returns for touchdowns).  This leads to a question that is equally as confusing as the question of why a coach wouldn’t blitz a rookie quarterback.

 

Why do you play defense if you are scared to hit someone?

 

Clinton Portis:

 

Hey Clinton, the game was yesterday, in case you forgot.

 

I know that the offensive line isn’t opening up holes very well and that Portis isn’t being called on very much.  But when he did get carries he showed no burst or power.

 

The Clinton Portis that I am used to seeing is a player who excels at getting underneath tacklers and falling forward for four yards even when no hole is open.  That guy didn’t play yesterday.

 

From his body language to his facial expressions it was very evident that Portis is very angry with the coach, the scheme, and his reduced role in the offense.  It is clearly affecting the way he plays.

 

I’m not sure which reality is correct, but either choice is a bad one for the Redskins.  The choices are either that Portis is disgruntled and playing without heart, or that age and wear are finally catching up to him.

 

Either way I wouldn’t be surprised if the Redskins go in another direction at running back next year.  The 1400 rushing yards Portis needs to become the all time Redskins rushing leader are looking like a pipe dream.  That in itself is an amazing testament to how low this team’s expectations have become.

 

Jim Zorn:

 

Decisions, decisions.

 

It’s amazing how often early coaching mistakes come back to haunt a team later in a game.  If you take back Zorn’s decision to go for it on the first drive instead of kicking a field goal and his decision to accept a penalty instead of making Detroit attempt a fifty yard field goal the Redskins win the game.

 

Zorn’s two crucial errors cost the Redskins seven early points.  They lost by five.  You do the math.

 

Ladell Betts:

 

How does a player who gets paid millions of dollars to spend his life concentrating on being the best football player he can be not understand basic football concepts?

 

Like getting out of bounds to preserve time during end of game scenarios!

 

Betts did this not once, but twice.

 

The first time was during the Redskins’ final scoring drive.  Betts caught a pass near the sidelines, had the first down, but decided to turn up field to gain one extra yard instead of getting out of bounds.  As a result roughly 30 critical seconds were lost.

 

The second play occurred at the end of the game.  Betts caught a lateral, ran beyond the first down marker, and had time to step out of bounds with two seconds left.  Instead he ran right into the waiting arms of two Detroit defenders.

 

I know the second situation was a tough play to make, but good players make those smart decisions.  The ones who can’t usually end up as backups on a 1-2 team that looks to be one of the league’s worst.

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 29, 2009 9:55 pm
 

Redskin fans must be realistic

Every fan in Redskin nation had every right to want every coach and player fired, the team sold, relocated, and renamed, and FedEx Field burned to the ground last Sunday.

But now that we have had a chance to cool off a little let's honestly look at our choices.

No interim coach has ever made a deep playoff run in the NFL.  I'm not sure if any have even made the playoffs (let me know if one has).

On the opposite note, there have been many coaches that have lost two out of their first three games and went on to turn their season around and win a Superbowl.  The most recent example is Tom Coughlin and the Giants two years ago.  He was just as ridiculed and despised by Giants fans early in that season as Zorn is this year by Redskins fans.

Now he has a key to the city.

I'm not saying that Zorn is likely to turn this team around, I'm just reminding people of the reality of the Redskins' situation.  If you are going to fire someone you better have a better person waiting to replace him.

Firing Zorn would effectively kill the season.  Let's not be too hasty.  After the next three weeks we will all see if Zorn should be fired or not.  Until then keep your expectations low but hold on to what is left of your optimism.
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 25, 2009 7:41 pm
 

Play calling advice for the Redskins

The word is out and the news is spreading.  Washington is ripe for a Lions upset.

 

This is the theme that has been bandied about every major sports show or website over the past week.  If you are judging the Redskins based on their play so far this season you could probably arrive at the same conclusion.

 

On paper there is no way that this happens.  But games aren’t played on paper.  If the Redskins don’t break out of their current scoring slump and keep giving teams such as the Lions chances to steal a win this season defining upset could become a reality.

 

This would be devastating to the Redskins.  If they have any hope for challenging teams in their division they must win games like this.  I have come up with some tips that could help them break out of their slump and finally allow me to relax in the fourth quarter of a game.

 

First of all the Redskins need to spread it out in goal line situations and give Campbell the freedom to make decisions.  So far this year it is evident that the Redskins’ offensive line is not a dominant unit.  The two tight end heavy formations that the Redskins are known for haven’t been giving Portis or anyone else the push to get the tough yards.

 

 A change of strategy is in order.  Spreading a defense out with three or four receiver sets will do many things that could help this team.  Clinton Portis had his greatest success running for a zone blocking scheme in Denver.  Spreading it out gives Portis more cutback options and space to create.

 

A spread formation dictates that the defense must switch from goal line packages to nickel coverage.  This puts a less powerful team on the field and could help give the Redskins the push that they need in the running game.

 

Spreading it out also takes defenders away from the line of scrimmage and could create opportunities for Campbell to use a QB draw.  Even if a draw is not designed it would give Campbell more space to improvise if a play breaks down.  Campbell’s mobility hasn’t been effectively utilized in the red zone and this could be the formation that may best utilize his instincts.

 

Going with a multiple receiver set allows the big targets like Malcolm Kelly and Marko Mitchell to get into the game and help give the Redskins the goal line play making ability that they were drafted to provide.  The Redskins wanted the size advantage.  Now that they have it they should use it.

 

The defense played much better last week as they actually managed to create pressure without using all out blitzes.  That must continue this week.  Pressure creates mistakes.  The Skins must keep Stafford uneasy the entire game.  If they do the turnovers will follow.

 

Many people think that DeAngelo Hall is the Redskins’ best cornerback.  While he is their best playmaking corner Carlos Rogers is actually a better cover corner.  Rogers needs to draw the assignment against Calvin Johnson, but Gregg Blache would still be wise to double team him.

 

The Skins should let Hall play the opposite side, where he can’t get burned deep and will be in the best position to make big plays.

 

The Redskins took some of my advice to heart last week, and the result was a win, however ugly it seemed.  If they can make these new changes it might save them from the most embarrassing defeat imaginable.

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 22, 2009 5:31 pm
 

I support booing and Twittering.

Robert Henson is a rookie.

 

Robert Henson got angry by the way that 90,000 Redskin fans booed the team many times during their win against the Rams.

 

As a Redskins fan who has attended many games at Fed-Ex I have a unique opinion on this incident.

 

Fans ARE fickle.  They can boo at inappropriate times.  Many fans do not understand the game very well and boo when they have no reason too.

 

However, in this case they had every right to boo.  The performance by the offense and certain coaching decisions were very deserving of boos.

 

I am glad they booed.  That is a fans right.  If I was there I would have booed too.

 

Heck, I was sitting at home and I booed.  They just couldn’t hear me.

 

Having said that I think that Henson has every right to respond to it and be angry.  Maybe it will motivate him and his team mates to play better.

 

It makes me sick that he was basically forced to apologize.  He obviously meant what he said and has every right to express his feelings.  Apologizing for saying something that you don’t believe is wrong is much worse than saying something that you believe in that may offend people.

 

It’s a free country (or it used to be).

 

I support the fans’ right to boo, and I support Henson’s right to post an angry twitter about it.

Category: NFL
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com