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Thoughts on Redskins vs. Rams

The Washington Redskins have reached a point in this season where something needs to happen… after the loss to the Rams, these guys need to gut-check, go out, and execute.

I’ll start off with the strong, and work my way down:

Santana Moss – man, what more can you possibly say about this guy? Since his move to the Redskins, when he’s on the field, he dominates! He’s a great route-runner, great after the catch, great speed, and he may have the surest hands on the team (and that’s something considering we’ve got Cooley out there as well). He got penalized big yesterday for a crack back block, but he’s a receiver who is smaller than almost every defensive player in the league and he put his body on the line. 100+ yards, a TD… great outing by Moss.

Clinton Portis – I’m confused as to why the Shanahan’s felt the need to withdraw Portis from the game yesterday. He was making the most of his opportunities, and is a far better pass-blocker than anyone (receivers, backs, linemen) on our team. He was having a terrific day on the ground (especially in the 2nd quarter), and his removal makes me wonder if that rumor I heard of a possible trade package of he and Haynesworth has any truth to it.

Ryan Torain – While I had wanted to see more of Portis, Torain showed the talents needed to play in this offense, and had real good burst and downfield speed. While it wasn’t 200+ yards and a win, Torain’s running style looked very similar to Arian Foster’s early performance. I’m still shocked by the abandonment of the run in the second half… Torain and Portis together were having a monster day and the run is what got us BACK into the game in the first place.

LaRon Landry – I’m excited about Landry and our future with him. He’s been returned back to doing what he does best, and in my opinion, he’s the Defensive Player of the Year this season. Landry has been terrific, doing all of the right things… and he’s a guy who is not satisfied with any of the things he’s been doing, he wants to do better.

Carlos Rogers – He got a bullshit pass-interference call, but he did really jockey for position on it. Aside from that, I liked where Carlos’ game was yesterday. He gave up a couple good routes, but I saw guys give up a couple sloppy routes as well…

Graham Gano – He rebounded from the horrible kickoff and had an alright game. He definitely had a lot on his plate, having to punt the ball as well after the loss of Bidwell to a pre-game injury.

While the defense is being criticized, I see a lot of potential in this 3-4 defense. And it helps to build into a 3-4 rather than build for it and put 3-4 guys into a 4-3. We knew we wouldn’t find immediate success, we don’t have all of the pieces, but we’re on our way, and that’s the most important. Gregg Williams had a bottom 1/4th of the league defense in the middle of his top 10 defenses because of some very poor fits. But I will find a fault in scheme… Kareem Moore, coming back from injury, was playing awfully close to the line whereas Landry was playing deep… on run plays. I noticed Moore either missing tackles or absorbing blocks and Landry was left in man-to-man on a receiver… umm… role reversal? I will, however, give Haslett the benefit of the doubt in throwing Moore into the mix to get him used to contact again. The INT was a great display of what Moore brings though, and he’ll start jacking people up soon enough… again, he JUST returned from a knee-injury… even Peyton Manning looked a little shook when he returned from a knee surgery.

DeAngelo Hall talked a WHOLE lot this week about the weaknesses in the defense and covering the top receiver and he’d make plays but give some up. The Rams’ second TD came on a bootleg in the redzone… Hall was covering the tight end and broke off of his coverage to come up and stop Bradford from running it in. My problem with this decision is that we had (I believe Alexander) come up in front of Bradford. Hall’s decision to run up was idiotic at best… you have to trust the man in front of you to stop the runner… especially when it’s a QB behind the line of scrimmage and you know you’re on an island with the tight end. Hall bailed, and where he probably could have made a play, cost us a play. He fell repeatedly on the turf yesterday, though he did make a couple good tackles as well.

We need a nose-tackle. I really like Bryant in that spot, and then a rotation of Haynesworth, Golston, Carriker, and Daniels at DE, but Haslett seems intent on using Haynesworth and Kemoeatu at the position. We’re not absorbing blocks up front, which is leaving McIntosh and Fletcher being hit by linemen on every play, instead of getting to play their role of coming free through the gaps.

A problem with officiating: on the play before DeAngelo Hall’s fumble TD against Dallas, and the last play of the game, Orakpo was put in a chokehold and drew holding penalties. The same act, 9 or 10 times, in the previous two games… I’ve seen Orakpo put in a chokehold and drawn NO penalties. Now either the refs are screwing us, or the rule has been changed without us knowing, to allow people to put pass-rushers in a sleeper-hold. Teams are getting away with the worst kind of holding, and it’s costing us.

We need a big receiver. I wanted to believe last week that we found a way to get things clicking, and that guys were on their way to making plays… but what they proved to me yesterday is that they’re not consistent. McNabb wasn’t pinpoint accurate, but he put the ball in great position plenty of times, and nobody but Moss and Cooley were coming up with the football. Whether it’s Thomas, or trading… or even if we have to commit to waiting for the offseason and/or draft… something about the WR’s needs to be addressed.

Lastly, Devin Thomas has been electric returning kicks… but if he doesn’t start hitting the hole, bouncing back to OPEN field… I’m going to be upset. Also, if I see him stiffarm another linebacker into oblivion just to be smashed by a kicker on a tackle… I’m going to have to wonder what the hell his pretty-boy-swag is all about!


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