August 8, 2008

Go Buffalo

All right, about the PETA thing.

From what I’ve seen, Redskins Nation by and large seems pretty darn pleased with what happened Sunday night against the Colts.

Not me. Like I said, I’ve been sacrificing live chickens. *

The one thing I did not expect the Redskins to do Sunday night against the Colts was look good. I had hoped, at best, they’d not look like every reasonable fiber of my being thought they should: raw.

Seriously, do the math.

The rookie Head Coach, Jim Zorn, debuting on national television as a head coach at any level, and calling plays to boot, breezes through the game sans delay penalties, sans communication issues, sans visible deer-in-the-headlights or “oh shit” moments. Instead, units shuttle on and off the field crisply, people are where they’re supposed be, clock management is seamless … and the team wins, deservedly. All in all, the new coach looked every bit as comfortable and in command as the future Hall of Fame coach standing across the field.

This has me worried.

Add to that how the new-car-smell Washington offense kept the Indianapolis defense on its heels and guessing (mostly wrong) all night. What’s up with that? The Rookie Head Coach was just a few weeks into installing an entirely new offense. Reason dictated there would be gaffes—major ones.

You know … time-outs burned as play clocks wound down … quarterbacks turning left, handing off to running backs who have gone right … receivers reading Go routes just as quarterbacks release Outs (to the merriment of defensive backs running pick-sixes back the other way) … offensive guards expecting the carnivorous linebacker sailing past their ear to be picked up by the tight end, who, instead, is studiously drifting into the secondary looking for the seam … and like that.

But no. Instead … 19 for 22 passing for 216 yards. 3 TD’s. No picks.

156 yards rushing.

66% (2 for 3) red zone efficiency.

Overall, crisp and, dare we say it, professional looking.

19 for 22? The young starter, Jason Campbell—fresh off injury and hip deep into learning his 57th offensive system in 8 years—went 5 for 5 and a highlight-reel score. And the only reason he didn’t lead the team to scores on both his drives was the aging right tackle (bless his heart—more on that later) who got smoked by a backup DE and forced the young starting QB to eat the ball, effectively ending the second and final drive of said starter’s evening.

Better not have any passes hit the ground Saturday, Jason. They’ll think you’re slipping.

And let’s not even get started on Colt Brennan. Seriously, there’s been enough written about that fella this week already. Still … 9-of-10 for 123 yards and two scores? In his rookie debut? Try and top that this week, rook.

Hey, at least Todd Collins had the good sense to look awful. He seemed unsure, skittish in the pocket, a little soft on that one Out route, and … oh. Went 5 for 6.

I take it no one told these gentlemen about setting bars.

And would someone please explain to me what the offensive line was thinking in the running game, blowing up the middle of the Colt defense all night and allowing new cult hero Marcus Mason to hit the century mark (I’m rounding up—I like the kid). We’re not supposed to have OL depth, you know. Now people will expect that kind of thing … heading as we are into week 2 of the preseason … on a team with a new coach … and a new offense … and … you get the drift.

So yeah, I’m worried. And I’ve been doing rain dances in Skins garb and handing out rabbit’s feet all week, encouraging fellow Skins fans to worry with me.

Way I figure it, what we need the team needs to do Saturday night at FedEx against Buffalo is seriously stink up the joint. I mean really rot. Throw picks. Negate big plays with bonehead penalties. Go 3-and-out, a bunch. Get trampled defensively with starters playing on the line. Waste timeouts. Look sloppy, slow, disinterested and, above all … lose. Maybe even big.

Because if you don’t, and instead you go out and look like a crisp professional football team again … and the QB’s are smooth and successful again … and the running game rolls again … and the sideline looks cool and organized again … and god forbid you win again … things are going to get out of hand.

We don’t need that.

We need the media snickering at us. We need our more vocal endearingly negative fans (the ones that call themselves “realists”) to dominate the conversation. We need the Rookie Coach to have gobs of “Men, we seriously need to work on X” material to keep practices hopping, players sweating and the media happy.

Exceed expectations? Please. The Redskins ground them into fine powder, sprinkled them over fine tobacco and torched up. That won’t do. It’s too soon … way too soon.

Go Buffalo.

* Attention PETA: it’s a joke.



Tidbits:

Mr. Dungy,

On sides kick? No-huddle offense? Due respect sir, but unless that was some inside-joke, haze-the-rookie-coach kind of deal … truth is I don’t know whether to laugh with you, or at you. Maybe I’ve missed the explanation this week. Hope so. And hope it was a good one. Otherwise … boo.

*

Until they closed the game out strong, one happily negative thing I couldn’t help notice (by that point I was looking for stuff) was how easily the Colts converted third downs against the defense.

Shudder. Bad recurrent dream there.

*

Going to be watching Jon Jansen in pass pro very, very carefully the rest of preseason. I know it’s dumb to read much into two series in the first preseason game, but sitting here today I’d not be surprised to see Jon lose the starting RT spot before opening day. That bad sack allowed Sunday wasn’t anything new or unexpected, unfortunately.

I’ve been afraid his best days were behind him for a couple years now. Up in New York there’s a front four waiting on us opening night that eats people. Here’s hoping they don't look at Jon right now and see fresh meat.

*

Hail.

6 comments:

The FedEx Field Führer said...

While I don't want the Bills to win, I agree with your principle 100% Mark.

Redskin fans are always quick to fall in love with the underdog, and I wonder if that stems from Gus Frerotte in 1994.

Jason Campbell was perfect.

Collins, as you noted 5 for 6.

Im a realistic homer, if there is such a term, but I still need to see alot more from #5 before I annoint him the next Tony Banks

LizKauai said...

Best article I've seen yet! But then, I'm a -what did they call us?- oh yeah, kool-aid drinking, pineapple female homer (who has no place talking about football in the presence of men), so feel assured that even if you saw what you saw, there are plenty of people who saw otherwise so the secret may still be safe!

Unfortunately, the NFL scouts may have gotten a glimpse of what we wanted to hide until the season started.

Please pass the chickens.

Rich said...

Mark

Love the writing, and I really hope you find time to do it more often.

I find your humor and insights a great read and your writing style flows easily.

Keep up the good work!

kekoa22 said...

Watch out for lizkauai! She may be mistaken for a lot of things, but she can take you down in a heart beat if you want to match wits with her on Colt trivia!

Don't even think about making any bar bets with her or challenging her to finding 'Skins football links you've never heard of.

Need a sweet-sounding Nat'l anthem singer? Call LizK! Need a great sports photographer? Call LizK. Need a journalist who can get to the point? Call LizK.

Go ahead...I double dare you!

Aloha!
Kekoa

Mark "Om" Steven said...

Chris, long time no talk. Appreciate the patronage, brother.

Liz, thanks so much for the comments and for linking in. Had me going for a bit with the sudden surge of visits from the Aloha State. Unfortunately, I'm fresh out chickens with which to make soup. On the bright side, I'm having some serious buffalo wings tonight. ;)

rich, just having fun and indulging my Inner Skin. You know how it is ...

kekoa, why in the world would I want to challenge her? Seems to me she's one of the best friends this humble little blog's got.

Cheers.

LizKauai said...

OK... shhh... kekoa... yikes! Trying to fly under the radar here...

So- OM... not bad, eh?
Looked good but not TOO good. ALMOST lost but not all the way lost...

Enough snazz to walk normally down the streets of DC but enough humility not to require a larger baseball cap.
Preseason balance in the Force.