Things have been pretty down around here this week. It’s as if we had lost to a 1-5 team starting a rookie QB. No one seems to be able to stop talking about the QB situation. And no one, aside from Steve Czaban seems at all confident that Beck will do anything other than direct our season into the toilet. Then the sharks in the media, smelling blood in the water, have begun to question Shanny’s decision-making process about QB since he took command of the sinking ship that was the Redskins after Zorn and Cerrato had led us adrift into a gulf filled with icebergs and malicious sperm whales. As I wrote at the time of the trade, I thought bringing on McNabb and dumping Campbell was a mistake. Shanny and the boy genius should have given him a chance. And of course, they compounded their mistake by trading picks for McNabb. However to their credit, they cut their losses as McNabb, based on last year here and currently at Minnesota, has truly lost his game. This year, as I have said, I don’t think we are really going to see either QB win us any games. Grossman’s mistakes have played huge roles in our two losses and had one play which almost cost us the Rams game. As I wrote, I think it’s time for a change.
But change scares people. The best description I’ve heard about Beck is that he is the fire extinguisher for all Redskins fans. Up until now, he was always there, sitting in a nice pretty glass, only to be used in emergency and likely to save the day. Well now Shanny and the Boy Genius have broken the glass. The fire is blazing and we are wondering whether our quarterBeck, all dressed in red, will save our season from burning away into a molten pile of ash and dust.
I don’t know, but I think he will lead us to victory against Carolina. (You may be thinking to yourself, “But this idiot has picked the Redskins to win every week. His pick means nothing. ” To which I respond that I am winning 60% of my predictions which is better than most degenerate gamblers in Vegas or in Arlington for that matter). No one around here or in Carolina thinks the Redskins will win. Vegas has us as 3 point underdogs against a 1-5 team. Last week we were home dogs to a talented Eagles team that was trying to save its season. Well, Carolina’s season is already lost, especially since they play in probably the toughest division in football. So what does all this mean?
That we are the least respected 3-2 team in NFL history.
Why all the disrespect? All the so-called experts which predicted the ‘Skins to finish with no more than 3 victories all season are going 50/50 on picking the ‘Skins and Panthers. Well, one reason is that our offense has been creeping along slowly towards the bowels of ineptitude the last three weeks. The fact that that we are 1-2 in these last 3 weeks, and have not scored more than 17 points, is a credit to our defense which has not allowed more than 20 points. In fact, we turned the ball over 4 TIMES last week and only lost by 7.
Our defense is good. Our offense is not. We rank 6th in overall defense and 3rd in points allowed. We are tied for 1st in forcing the most fumbles and are 1st among teams that have only played in 5 games in sacks. We are only -3 overall in turnover ratio which is not good, unless you think about the fact that our QB has turned the ball over 11 TIMES in 5 games, meaning we have already created 8 takeaways.
So, while the Panthers have weapons, I think we will be able to contain their weapons because unlike Philly, they don’t have multiple weapons at each position. They have one excellent receiver, Steve Smith, who will receive double coverage. The Redskins should be able to continue their harassment of opposing QBs. The only thing is that Cam, (by the way, if you have not heard Deion Sanders exclaim “cam” while commenting upon Carolina highlights which, I found out from lovely wife, is his spoof of the 80′s singer Guy’s “Jam” , it is definitely worth checking out. Hopefully most of the highlights of Carolina will be of Cam’s mistakes), does well under duress due to his ability to create extra time with his feet and throw the hell out of the ball. I would like to see Josh Wilson, not D-Hall, be assigned to Steve Smith this week due to Hall’s injuries to his big toe and knee.
Kerrigan and our LB’s have shown themselves to be good at covering tightends. Only Jason Witten has had a strong game against us to this point from that position. The ultimate key will be shutting down the running game which is something we have done fairly well in our 3 victories and very poorly in our 2 losses. If Cam is forced to win the game alone, I don’t think he can do it.
Carolina’s defense on the other hand is not that good. Statistically, it is the worst run defense in the league. (We’ve heard this story before). With our new offensive line though, it seems unlikely that we will be able to dominate on the ground, but we will have to stick with the run. And this time, I really mean stick to it. Falling behind 20-0 in the 1st half last week was not a reason to abandon the run. Being behind 20-6 was not a reason to abandon the run until halfway through the 4th quarter. Things move quickly in the NFL. If we fall behind on Sunday by more than 1 score, the boy genius has to learn patience. The ultimate key will be mixing all 3 backs in there to keep the defense on its toes. Running is about desire and timing and if you the defense thinks that you are willing to run even when it’s not working all that well, any offense will have a distinct advantage.
I think it’s easier to make your debut on the road instead of at home at QB, especially if you’re green as our quarterBeck is. I do expect good things from him though. Having Armstrong will allow us to stretch the field and take advantage of Beck’s arm, which while it may not be that strong, is certainly stronger than the chubby arm of Rexus.
Special teams may be where this game is won. Specifically, I’m talking about on punt returns where Carolina is giving up the most yards/return in the league on punts and ranks in the bottom third on return yards on kick-offs. This could prove to be the game that Banks breaks one for a score or to set up an easy score and that may be exactly what our anemic offense needs.
While the previous 5 games have pitted current, prominent Redskins playing against their former team, this game pits the Redskins up against an very unenviable record. We are 0-4 in our last 4 games against rookie QBs: We lost last year to Bradford, two years ago to Stafford, 3 years ago to Flacco and in 2006, we lost to Vince Young. That’s not a good streak. Last week, we were unable to erase the past. But this week, history will not repeat itself. Redskins win 20-17.
Double vision: When things settle down in my life, I will start to write more about the Caps. But hell, what else can we want. A veteran goalie who looks like the real deal, 4 lines contributing at both ends of the ice, a 6-0 start and we have beaten both the Flyers and Penguins on the road. Sweeeet!