Sunday, September 20, 2009

Redzone Debacle

The "boo-birds" made their first appearance today at FedExField, on the first game of the year. Rightfully so on the heels of the awful redzone play-calling that has plagued this team over the past few years. During a game in which the Redskins walked up and down on the St. Louis Rams, the offense came to a grinding halt on all 5 occasions that they made it inside the redzone. 3 times they settled for field goals, once a fumble, and the last a turnover on downs.

The last two trips into the redzone, Jim Zorn ran all run plays that were subsequently stuffed at the line of scrimmage forcing the 'Skins to kick a field goal on one drive and turn the ball over on the 3 on the other. What bothers me and every other fan was the fact that Jason Campbell was responsible for driving the team down the field only to be handcuffed and forced to hand the ball off when the team desperately needed a touchdown. I didn't mind going for it on 4th down but the fact that Jim Zorn did not give the offense many options to score puzzled me. If Campbell rolls out he has a two way go in which he can throw to one of three receivers or run the ball in. Yet time and time again run plays to the right side of the line were called and St. Louis stopped them all.

I don't know if Zorn is trying to appease Clinton Portis or if he really felt that he'd pull one over on Steve Spagnolo by running the ball on every single down. This play calling is what the "boos" were directed at and rightfully so. Still a win is a win and the fact that at the end of the game the fans still booed Zorn is a little embarrassing but that just shows the frustration of the fans.

Next week the 'Skins go to Detriot and an offense game plan like this will result in a loss that will send this town into a frenzy. Sports radio this week will be abuzz with talk of canning Zorn for his simple-minded approach to the redzone and everyone will wonder whether anything will change for this week. After 18 games of the same thing I wouldn't look for anything to change at this point and I may soon be preparing to rev-up the new coach bus that Snyder is sure to be piloting.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Try at the 'Skins Final 53

With cuts looming this week as teams around the NFL have to get to the final 53-man roster, I'll take my shot at predicting the final 53 of the Redskins. Here is the breakdown of how I think they roster will shake out.

QB - 3
  • Jason Campbell

  • Todd Collins

  • Colt Brennan

There has been much controversey surrounding this position since the offseason and much of it surrounding the incumbent starter Jason Campbell. In his latest outing JC showed he was far and away the starter by leading the team to a halftime tie with the Patriots. The real battle was originally to be for the backup spot with Brennan and Collins duking it out for that spot but as the preseason went on Brennan's real battle was for a roster spot at the thrid-string with Chase Daniel. The only reason Colt stays is that he's more attractive on the waiver-wire than Daniel and has more experience in this offense.

RB - 5
  • Clinton Portis

  • Ladell Betts

  • Rock Cartwright

  • Mike Sellers

  • Anthony Alridge

Most of these spots were thought to have been locked up all the way through camp, but when the 3rd preseason game came around and Marcus Mason once again flashed his ability someone's spot seemed to be in jeopardy. Some thought Cartwright could become a casualty and other thought Betts would be. After thinking about it long and hard and seeing Mason's lack of pass protection skills I decided that Betts was too important to the offense and Cartwright too important to special teams to be let go and thus Mason gets his walking papers once again. In Mason's place will be Anthony Alridge who by some accounts is Vinny Cerrato's guy and could make the team because of that. Alridge does have amazing speed and if he sees time in a game he could be that game breaking running back the 'Skins haven't seen in years.

WR - 5
  • Sanatana Moss

  • Antwaan Randle El

  • Malcolm Kelly

  • Devin Thomas

  • Marko Mitchell

This is a make or break season for the two 2nd-year players in Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. Kelly has shown a grasp of the offense this year and could unseat Randle El for the #2 spot which could benefit this offense with ARE in the slot. Thomas is still raw but has the talent to contribute if he can learn the offense. The suprise in this group could very well end up being Marko Mitchell who has shown thus far that he can play at this level scoring two TDs on fades. Is Mitchell the missing redzone piece for this offense or is he just a "one-route" wonder? By keeping Mitchell, this group becomes much younger and much more inexperienced making the TE position that much more important to this team.

TE - 3
  • Chris Cooley

  • Fred Davis

  • Todd Yoder
This was the easiest group to pick out with Fred Davis showing flashes of skill with some ball handling issues. Cooley will be the go to man for this team but Davis will provide the offense another wrinkle in two-TE sets with athleticism. Yoder has been a great blocker as well special teams contributer.

OL - 9
  • Chris Samuels

  • Derrick Dockery

  • Casey Rabach

  • Randy Thomas

  • Stephon Heyer

  • Jeremy Bridges

  • Will Montgomery

  • Mike Williams

  • Chad Rinehart
The most scrutinized group in the offseason because of its lack of depth and inability to finish out the season strong last year. I imagine that the team will retain 9 lineman keeping Mike Williams as a project. They've been strong this preseason but one injury to a starter up front could be devastating. Keep an eye on Chris Samuels because I have a feeling that he may be on his last legs eventhough he is considered the best lineman of the group.

DT - 5
  • Albert Haynesworth

  • Cornelius Griffin

  • Anthony Montgomery

  • Kedric Golston

The biggest offseason acquisition sits here and he should be a force up front creating opportunities for the backers behind him and the ends to either side. All the interior lineman in this group have playing experience and all should contribute substantially.

DE - 4
  • Andre Carter

  • Phillip Daniels

  • Renaldo Wynn

  • Jeremy Jarmon

While there are only 4 listed in this group you can really consider it as a 6 people deep with two draft-picks, Jarmon and Orakpo, 3 vets, Carter, Daniels, and Wynn, and a young wild-card who is a speedster off the edge in Wilson. This may be one of the deepest positions on the team.

LB - 7
  • London Fletcher

  • Rocky McIntosh

  • Brian Orakpo

  • H.B. Blades

  • Chris Wilson

  • Cody Glenn

  • Darrel Young
There are 7 listed here but two of them will also see work at defensive-end in Orakpo and Wilson. Relatively young and inexperienced I think this group is two injuries away from being in big trouble. Keeping Cody Glenn as a guy who can fill in both inside and outside is a risk because he is a rookie and very raw. Darrel Young will be a special teams player that the coaches like. Orakpo will be interesting to watch to see if he develops into an outsidebacker because it will be a big adjustment for him.
CB - 5
  • DeAngelo Hall

  • Carlos Rogers

  • Fred Smoot

  • Kevin Barnes

  • Justin Tryon
Keeping only 5 may be a risk the Redskins have to take to fill needs at other positions. I think that Byron Westbrook is the last player left off on the defense and even though we haven't heard his name too often this preseason, as a DB that means you are doing your job. The back end of this group is young and raw which could pose problems should the D-line not be able to get pressure again.
S - 4
  • LaRon Landry

  • Chris Horton

  • Reed Doughty

  • Kareem Moore
Strong group with two young studs in Horton and Landry but lacks the center fielder that Sean Taylor was. Landry will fill that position as the ball-hawk deep though he may be better suited playing up on the line. Horton played well last year and supplanted Doughty as the start who also has experience playing.

K - 1
  • Shaun Suisham
The battle between Suisham and Dave Rayner never materialized during games and in practice the two were practically identical. Based on Suisham's familiarity with long-snapper Ethan Albright he gets the nod.

P - 1
  • Hunter Smith
Only punter on the roster is an upgrade at the revolving door that this position has become over the last few years.

LS - 1

  • Ethan Albright
Savvy vet has been a mainstay on this team over the last few years.