October 30, 2009

Snyder Bans Signs at Fedex Field

So we are officially the Lions of 2009.

Dan Snyder is banning all signs from Fedex Field for the rest of the season.

Danny Boy is getting tired of the criticism so he just pretends it's not there. Good move. Things are getting ugly here.

Apparently those bringing signs will be forced to throw them out before entering the stadium, and those who sneak them in will be kicked out of the game. 1984 anyone?

Anyway here's Charles Robinson's piece on the situation.

The Worst Team In The NFL? Say It Ain't So 'Skins

Jason Smith of ESPN Radio sounded off on the Washington Redskins following an abysmal Monday Night performance against Philly.

"The Redskins are the worst franchise in football...They have become a punchline."

Smith went on to describe how the other bottom feeders have it better than us.

While I believe we have the talent to regroup and be a contender in a few years (if we stick to a solid plan that relies on the draft), Smith is right about one thing.

This year, there might not be a team as bad as the Washington Redskins. Nothing goes right for them. Momentum is never sustained; they don't play well with the lead; and they don't know how to bounce back from adversity. The list is endless.

Still I look at the front seven on defense, and there is hope. This front seven is really good. They are beginning to establish a strong pass rush, they control the line of scrimmage, and they hit well.

That's something to build around. Unfortunately, that's the only bright spot, and it doesn't hide the poor play from the rest of the team.

Yet Smith might have gone overboard by proclaiming the 'Skins to be in the worst shape of any team in the NFL. The Rams and Buccaneers both lost to Washington and have looked downright awful. In fact, they have even fewer prospects than the Redskins do.

Conversely, the 'Skins have a payroll that dwarfs those of the other NFL doormats. They have signed big name players and given fans big time expectations in the process. The results haven't lived up to the yearly hype.

Just three play-off appearances in ten years and only one postseason win (17-14 over Tampa, savor that 'Skins fans). That isn't exactly good.

This is a dark year for DC football, and finally the fans have had enough. They want blood. Not just Jim Zorn's blood, they want Vinny Cerrato's; they want Dan Snyder's.

Smith saw it plain as day on Monday. The Redskins were unmasked to the nation as a bunch of clueless, uncaring clowns in cleats.

Until the 'Skins shake off the stench of mediocrity, that's all they'll ever be.

October 22, 2009

Thursday Afternoon Scoops

Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio says Joe Gibbs could be pondering a return to the Redskins in a Bill Parcells style role. It seems to be pretty far-fetched, but then again Danny is a predictable little guy.

Update: PFT just discovered that a Gibbs return appears doubtful according to a source close to Gibbs.

After further browsing, I have here another link on Gibbs becoming team president from Redskins Insider. Bobby Beathard gave a resounding endorsement of Gibbs, saying he would do well as team president.

This story appears to be making its way through the media, and so I'm going to see it as a possibility. In the very least, I would bet Snyder approached him about it. And why not?

Gibbs would be perfect for damage control and he would be perfect for the job of finding the new head coach. His charisma would help lure in talent while his football sense would actually mold the talent. And he could possible do it as a part time consultant.

Sounds better than a lot of other options.

And the sad story of Chief Zee unfolds courtesy of the Washington Post's Courtland Milloy. This guy really hasn't been given the comforts he deserves. The Ultimate Superfan.

How's this for another glimmer of hope. Adam Schefter actually thinks the 'Skins head coaching job is, and I quote, "desirable!" It's all about the uncapped year, baby.

Finally, Albert Haynesworth and Clinton Portis missed practice again. Portis is really banged up and I don't know if he'll be at 100% again this year. Haynesworth could be one of the most talented bums ever.

Chris Horton and Kareem Moore both missed practice as well with an illness. As far as I'm concerned I didn't like seeing so little of the dynamic Horton last Sunday. I don't get why he's in the doghouse. He's a great tackler and is reliable in pass coverage (with the exception of that pass interference call in Detroit, which could be why he's been benched).

October 21, 2009

Wednesday Morning Links

Marcus Mason was released along with fellow RB Anthony Alridge today.

My question is: Then why the hell did they make the final roster in the first place. OK, only Mason made it, but Alridge was cut and then BROUGHT BACK. Does the front office have any clue?

I'm assuming they kept them around for a purpose other then cutting them six weeks into the season. Or maybe I'm wrong.

Point is, teams need to make sure they are utilizing every spot. They can't waste spots by keeping the wrong players or just leaving good ones on the bench. Training camp should give you a good idea of who to keep. Unless you're Vinny.

At least the 'Skins signed Levi Jones who has a lot of much needed experience at tackle. The other signee was unknown RB Quinton Ganther.

I was emailed a great link on John Kent Cooke who opened up to Mike Wise of the Washington Post. Makes you think about what could have been if Danny Boy had been beaten out by the rightful heir.

There still would have been plenty of tradition left. Instead it's all gone and it's much like starting from scratch.

And finally I stumbled upon a nice little Snyder bashing site entitled Impeach Dan Snyder. It's riddled with sarcasm and Snyder mockery. Hell yeah.

That's it for now. Let the negativity continue.

October 20, 2009

Campbell To Remain Starter

A league source has just informed NFL Network's Jason La Canfora (formerly of the Washington Posts' Redskins Insider) that Jason Campbell will get the nod in this week's Monday nighter against the Eagles.

Just as I expected. Campbell will keep the job until his contract expires at the end of the year. It's a good move (can't believe I'm saying this) and really the only move. Todd Collins isn't the answer and the 'Skins have no other young QB (thanks to Jim Zorn's general retardedness).

As much as the prospect of drafting Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy sounds good, I firmly believe we should make a play for someone like Jeff Garcia or another veteran who can keep things together while the 'Skins put an elite O-line in place.

Think about it, McCoy or Bradford wouldn't last a second with our current blockers. Why waste a pick on a tackling dummy?

Build the trenches first and you'll find that many more passers will succeed in your offense.

In the mean time, why is Jim Zorn still on the payroll?

October 19, 2009

Lewis To Call Plays

So Sherm Lewis, fresh off a five year retirement from the NFL, will be calling this next week's game vs. the Eagles on Monday Night. Talk about pressure.

Reports came in minutes ago from Ryan O'Halloran from the Washington Times via Twitter. According to a team source, Lewis will be calling the plays.

It's to be expected as there was really no one else to give it to. However, I don't expect much improvement as Lewis has only been here for a few weeks. In short, this yet another move that won't get the team even remotely close to the right direction.

And the disaster continues...Will anyone want to coach here?

October 18, 2009

Different Players, Same Story...

So the game blacked out in the third quarter; I wish it had stayed that way.

Losing 14-6 to yet another winless team doesn't inspire any confidence. Jim Zorn shook things up, benching Jason Campbell, and it made no difference (unless you count the one deep pass to Santana Moss).

Clinton Portis was benched/injured and being on the bench lit a fire under him, for one play.

So two positive plays were just about all the offense could muster, making it another painful day of football in our nation's capital.

So Zorn made some changes, but what's to come of them? Will he be fired this week? Will Campbell remain the starter?

Well, the 'Skins' front office has already made a move. Zorn was stripped of his playcalling duties an hour ago according to Redskins Insider. It is unknown who will replace him.

My guess is either Sherm Lewis or Sherman Smith. Lewis was recently brought in as an offensive consultant while Smith has been the offensive coordinator since Zorn's hiring.

Lewis is unfamiliar with the roster, but has an impressive resume in comparison to Smith's.

This move indicates that Zorn is most certainly on his last legs. If there were a suitable replacement option, Zorn would have already been gone. Smith isn't the answer and Greg Blache is too inept to even speak to the media much less run a team, leaving Lewis and offensive line coach Joe Bugel.

Bugel has been a head coach before, but in reality, this season is over and the 'Skins will likely hold off on making changes until season's end when Mike Shanahan comes calling.

As for Campbell, his fate was sealed today when Todd Collins entered the game. Campbell is in the final year of his contract and has shown no signs of consistent improvement during his tenure here. He may very well remain the starter this year, but there is no way the 'Skins will spend the money to resign him.

To me, Campbell is still the starter. There's no future with Collins, and Campbell has more physical tools. Quite frankly, it's a moot point with the way this team plays, but Campbell should be the guy for this year.

So it's all about next year. Despite the mediocrity in past years, we've never had to say that this early in a season.

October 11, 2009

Zorn On Thin Ice

Jim Zorn is approaching the twilight of his short term with the Redskins. Following yet another loss the critics came out in full force.

Dan Steinberg, the mastermind of the Washington Post's DC Sports Blog gives the rundown of all the haters who have Zorn on their hit list.

Of course it's easy to bash a coach for losing a game, but when you watch the 'Skins games in full it becomes even easier. This team could easily be 0-5 at the moment. Credit the Rams and Bucs for being that much worse.

The offense had scoring drives of 13 and one yards. They scored three points without the help of turnovers and failed to move the ball much anywhere.

The defense played its best football of the season until the fourth quarter when the time of possession differential allowed Carolina to control the line of scrimmage.

Again, no effort, no heart, and no win.

2010 never looked so good.

Danny Boy Contacted Shanahan?

Yet another sign that Jim Zorn has been a lameduck since last year. Hell, he might have been a band-aid all along. I believe it.

Here's the scoop.

It's sad that Snyder is so hungry to win with big names that he's wasted an entire season waiting around for Shanahan. And now we add the Holmgren rumors...

There's a reason why Bill Cowher has denied interest in the 'Skins. It's because he has no interest in this dysfunctional franchise.

It's also funny that even though it appears Snyder gave up on the season before it even started, he still paid big bucks to stars. Doesn't make sense. If you have no faith in your team, why kill your salary cap by signing two players?

Now that's rebuilding Snyder style.

Anyway, Panthers will pull this one out. Sherm Lewis won't help much and Clinton Portis will stab Mike Sellars in the back. OK, I was lying about the last part.

Panthers 23-20.

October 8, 2009

Redskins First Quarter Review

We have made it through the first quarter of the NFL regular season and There's quite a bit to analyze when it comes to the Washington Redskins. Little of what we've seen has been positive, much has been disappointing.

Some of the stats are misleading. The 'Skins are fourth against the pass, but they haven't been nearly that good. And the have yet to play a good QB after Eli Manning dissected them in week one.

The offense is ranked 15th in total offense with 325.2 yards per game, and yet when it comes to scoring points they rank 27th with just 14 points per game.

The defense only gives up 16.8 first downs per game (only eight teams are better). However, they have surrendered first downs on 43% of all third down conversions (eighth worst in the NFL).

The 'Skins are also losing the time of possession battle. They allow opposing offenses to control the ball for an average of 32:17 per game.

The time of possession battle is a big one for the Redskins. Their offense needs the ball a ton in order to generate scoring. Without establishing a rhythm, most offenses sputter. This one is non-existent.

Two things kill momentum and rhythm more than anything else. Turnovers and not possessing the ball. The 'Skins have struggled in both areas. They have turned the ball over seven times through four games, and Jason Campbell has fumbled the ball a total of seven times (two lost).

So to improve their fortunes, the 'Skins have to make the following adjustments:

1. Get The Defense Off The Field

The defense isn't playing up to par. They aren't aggressive enough and they don't play with much swagger. They show a lack of discipline in zone coverage and haven't controlled the line of scrimmage consistently.

Look no further than their 22nd ranked run defense. They have given up 512 yards at 4.3 yards per clip well above last year's average YPC. For those of you keeping score at home that's 128 rushing yards per game.

That kind of run defense isn't going to allow you to control the football. The front seven has some work to do.

2. Protect The Ball And QB

Jason Campbell is in a shaky state right now. The coaching staff has little confidence in him, and every mistake just makes the playcalling that much more conservative.

Campbell hasn't been great with the ball in his hand this season. His seven fumbles are an NFL high and in 2007 he had the same problem (eight fumbles lost).

Even if the 'Skins can recover the fumbles, the play is still wasted; yards are still lost. That's unacceptable considering the offense has enough moving the chains from ten yards away.

Part of that is due the offensive line. The line is beat up and several players are new to the starting lineup. This leads to some issue in protection as the line has given up eight sacks on Campbell.

Still the line isn't as bad as last year, and I see this line as a group of overachievers thus far. So the emphasis is really on Campbell to protect the ball.

If the 'Skins continue to turn the ball over you can say goodbye to any shot at winning the time of possession battle let alone getting into a rhythm. Things are just too uneven, and that leaves little margin for error.

3. Create Sacks And Turnovers

Coming into the year, many thought our offense was bad, but no one criticized the defense. Little did we know the 'Skins defense wasn't going to live up the hype.

Fortunately, defensive coordinator Greg Blache has 12 more games to pull it together. He has a lot of work.

For starters the defense is ranked 12th (and that's only due to the inflated pass defense ranking). That might seem ok, but the defense made upgrades after finishing fourth last year. So it isn't so good.

Now I'd settle for a top 15 defense if it meant we were flying around, creating turnovers, and generating a consistent pass rush. We aren't.

This little stat says it all. Just 7.38% of opposing team's pass plays end in a sack or INT. That's 20th best in the league. That's not what Dan Snyder was hoping for when he inked Deangelo Hall and Albert Haynesworth.

So that's what the 'Skins need to improve. Trust me there's more (like scoring in the red zone, establishing the run, fixing up playcalling, and scoring in general), but we've been over it quite a bit.

What about the positives you ask? Well there's a young nucleus forming on defense.

Bookends at DE. Brian Orakpo and Jeremy Jarmon both have been great the past few weeks. Orakpo has a pair of sacks while Jarmon has one and a forced fumble. If Haynesworth sticks around a full four years, that defensive line might shape up.

Also, the 'Skins have seen solid play from Chris Horton at SS. I know he has been inconsistent in pass coverage, but it's just his second year. And he's a great tackler.

Rocky McIntosh, Hall, Carlos Rogers, and Laron Landry might all turn out to be core players as well, but I really think a more aggressive approach would suit them. Landry has big play capability, but Blache's schemes limit that. I know I hate on Hall, but he gets INTs which is something the rest of the Redskins secondary doesn't do.

Justin Tryon and Kevin Barnes are two other young CBs with potential. Tryon finally had a big game last week, notching a sack at nickel corner while Barnes is a rookie who will be a physical CB in a few years.

With the defense showing some promise, the pressure is on the offense. What is there to salvage as a positive?

Antwaan Randle El has been solid from the slot with 13 catches for 158 yards. Most his production was from the first two weeks (ARE was held without a grab last week), but he has still shown an ability to get open and gain some yardage after the catch.

However, the lack of a true number two is plaguing Campbell. Santana Moss has stepped it up, but we all know he is an inconsistent receiver at the number one spot. Malcolm Kelly has been a big disappointment and Devin Thomas doesn't fit either.

So what about Marko Mitchell? The guy was the best player in the preseason and he has size, speed, and toughness. With the lack of production we are seeing from Kelly, I don't see how Jim Zorn has anything to lose by playing Mitchell.

But getting back to the positives (hard to find them on this offense), Chris Cooley is yet again the only solid threat week in and week out. And still, the coaching staff fails to pick up on this and use him often in the red zone.

Cooley, in the seam, from 15 yards out. We saw in New York and we saw it last week. It works.

Another thing I like is the 'Skins trying to establish the short to intermediate passing game to set up the run. They did it in Detroit and it worked well save for the fact they couldn't finish in the red zone and didn't run it enough in the second half when the box was opening up. But that's a start.

If the 'Skins can control the clock in the first half through the air and keep it close, the running game will be there in the second half. That is when the box opens up and defenses wear down.

Through the first quarter of the season, the football hasn't been pretty, but somehow Washington sits at 2-2. They have a few more soft opponents and then embark on a rough journey through the NFC East and NFC South.

I'm not expecting much from the 'Skins. They haven't played well yet and both wins were against the dregs of the league by the skin of their teeth.

Despite this gloomy outlook, I desperately want see some intensity. The team is going through the motions right now, and that reflects on the entire franchise. The coaching staff needs to find a way to be more motivational so these guys will play with some pride.

If that happens, we could end up pleasantly surprised come January.

October 1, 2009

Time For The 'Skins To Step Up This Week Vs. Bucs

With a veritable firestorm surrounding head coach Jim Zorn following the Redskins 19-14 loss to the Lions, it's time for him to take a long, hard look at his formula because something is obviously not clicking.

The offense has stalled at all the wrong times while the defense isn't even close to being as good as advertised. Special teams? Well at least Hunter Smith is punting.

The coaching staff hasn't been very prepared to say the least. Their psyche is anything but stable at the moment and you can see it with their conservative approach. They are so scared of blowing opportunities that they don't even create them. One thing goes wrong and the team packs up for the day.

That kind of gameplan may keep things close, but it doesn't lead to the play-offs. It leads to 8-8; or worse.

So Zorn needs to make a move and get serious. His back is against the wall, and now he knows it could be only a matter of weeks before he's shown the door.

Usually teams will rally during the toughest times, but the Redskins don't seem to fit the prototype. They remind me of a team that gets slammed through the wall.

Zorn isn't winning any popularity contests with his most important players (Jason Campbell and Clinton Portis) and that won't help the lethargic locker room. He needs to find something to jolt this team out of its coma...and fast.

His defense, expected to be the anchor, has been floundering all season. They are ranked 15th, giving up 325.7 yards per game. In addition, they can't get off the field early in games, which cause two problems.

First, it keeps the offense from establishing its gameplan early; something that happened in the Giants game. With the way this offense has struggled, the defense can't let opposing offenses sustain so many first half drives.

Secondly, it leads to a deficit in time of possession, which wears out the defense late in games. We saw this in the Lions' games as the defense couldn't come with key stops on Detroit's final two drives.

Opposing offenses have converted 51% of their third down opportunities against the Redskins, which is a league worst. And Washington's defense has been on the field for an average of 32:41 a game (good for seventh most in the NFL).

Individual play hasn't been much better on defense. Albert Haynesworth has freed up London Fletcher, but other than that has done very little. In fact, the entire front four has struggled to stop the run on first down.

The 'Skins are 22nd against the run, and have surrendered 100-yard rushing games to two backs in the past two games. That a huge dropoff from the top-five run defenses of the past few years.

The secondary is 11th against the past, but they have left plenty to be desired. Deangelo Hall has been beaten routinely while aside from Chris Horton, the other defensive backs have been lackluster.

The defense has been incredibly disappointing thus far and yet I see it as being the fault of Greg Blache.

Blache's gameplan has failed to utilize the Redskins strengths. They don't blitz off the edge and they fail to shoot the gaps. Tackling is non-existent while the coverage schemes are soft.

Defense has been the Redskins' bread and butter for years. For a solid turnaround, Zorn needs the defense to play more aggressively, and Blache needs to be the one to make that happen.

Offensively, Zorn simply has to go for broke.

He is scared to let Campbell run the offense in the redzone. And it shows.

Two 4th-and-goals from inside the five. Two stretch plays? That's the worst play in the book in a short yardage situation. It takes light years to develop and the blocking must be flawless.

If you don't want Campbell to throw it, at least give the running game a chance up the middle. Better yet, throw it.

Zorn might be scared to throw because of dropped passes, but it's worse getting stuffed on 4th-and-short multiple times.

So the offense can move the ball at will, but if they can't get over the hump in the redzone, that's not much of a positive.

They have strengths. They do a good job establishing the short to intermediate passing game at some points. However, they don't utilize the running game once the passing game starts clicking.

Throughout the second half the the Lions were respecting the Redskin WRs. The box was less cluttered, meaning there was running room for Clinton Portis. However, the 'Skins only handed him the ball 12 times on the game.

Portis isn't the back he once was, but with just seven in the box, he can wear down defenses while taking pressure off of Campbell. Zorn failed to realize this last Sunday.

As far as the passing game is concerned, the 'Skins have done a miserable job getting the ball consistently to Chris Cooley. He disappears in long stretches, and they never use him in the redzone (aside from that one halfback option pass...yuck).

So things aren't too hot for the 'Skins as they prepare to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. However, Zorn has caught a break as he is taking on a team with even more problems than his Redskins.

Still, he can't breathe easily, another loss will up the pressure that much more.

Time to dig deep. Time to just win.