Saturday, August 21, 2010

Redskins vs. Ravens

Pre-season game tonight, 4th time in 5 years the two teams have faced.

Last year Baltimore ran over the Skins while Washington laid a goose-egg.

This year, the feeling is different with both teams. The Ravens add another dimension to a high-powered offense with a solid receiving corps, particularly my most underrated player in the league, Anquan Boldin, and wily veteran Dante Stallworth. The passing game struggled in recent years due to lack of depth at the position. Behind Derrick Mason, the group was in a constant state of flux, also hurting the group was the oft-injured Todd Heap, who is as dynamic a threat receiving as most Tight End's in the game. This year, bolstering the group has made Baltimore seemingly a juggernaut on paper, and if the receivers can contribute even to 75% of their usual prowess, the offense will be that juggernaut.

The Redskins, however, have a new attitude they've not had since Joe Gibbs... and perhaps since Gibbs' first run as Head Coach, rather than his last. Shanahan has brought a positive atmosphere to the Burgundy and Gold, and now this "on paper they belong in the Super Bowl" team could hopefully live up to that potential on-field. There are still questions in pass-protection, but McNabb's ability to scramble pretty much negates a lot of those weaknesses... and at wide receiver, where young talent continues to not rise above seemingly-mediocre talent in front of them. But the fact that there are two outstanding pass-catching Tight Ends in Chris Cooley and Fred Davis, and Santana Moss wherever Kyle Shanahan wants him to line up, really should make it easier for the receivers lined up opposite to post solid numbers. Young Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks stand a very good shot at coming up on the roster given their solid camps and versatile talents. Defensively, Washington might be better than the top-10 team of 9 of the last 10 years... which gives the offense a huge boost to their chances.

Tonight, the Redskins face a test... of a playoff "lock" in Baltimore. Tonight, we truly start to see what this team is made of. Tonight, Washington Redskins must be Braves on the Warpath... and fight, for ole D.C.!!!

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