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Blognostications

2011 - Week 2 vs Arizona Cardinals

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Week 2: Redskins vs. Cardinals

First, I must start by saying that it feels great to be on the winning side of a game with the Giants. For the most part, our guys played great on all sides of the ball, and look to be the most cohesive team we’ve had in over a decade. We still have weaknesses to work on, but nobody builds a champion overnight.

This week we have the Arizona Cardinals coming to town. Not a team that strikes fear into opponents or fans when they appear on the schedule, and this season will be no different. They have something solid in Kevin Kolb, and a top 3 receiver in Larry Fitzgerald. How we fair in this game will depend completely on limiting the success of these two players.

Redskins on offense

QB: Rex Grossman got off to a slow start against the Giants, but he looked in the mirror at halftime and decided it was time to bring sexy back. He lit it up the rest of the game, and the strong finish helped propel us to the win in a game many expected us to lose. Thanks to our great defensive play, the fumble was nothing more than a hiccup and quickly forgotten. Kudos to Rex Grossman for silencing the critics for the first time in his career. This week, Rex will be out to prove that last week was not a fluke, and we will do so in convincing fashion when he puts up another 300 yard game. He will catch the secondary off guard, as they will not be expecting good Rex to show up in consecutive weeks.

RB: Tim Hightower was refreshing Sunday. Sure, he didn’t break any records, but he was solid and consistent. When he had the ball against NY, we never worried that he would be a drive killer. Look to this week to be his first breakout game with the Redskins, where he will come out and strap on his running legs against his former team. He has a strange mixture of half finesse, half bulldozer and half speed at the exact right moment. I am aware that is three halves, but that’s exactly how it will feel for the Cardinals defense when he breaks off 140 yards against them and throws in a couple of TDs just for show. He will get going early and often, and by the fourth quarter he will be letting the backups play, because that’s just the kind of guy he is – always willing to share.

OL: Trent Williams, why don’t you love me anymore? You got pushed around like a Kindergartener last week, and I was embarrassed for you. Hopefully you have gotten past whatever you stepped in before the game, and you come out this week and show us why we drafted you in the first place. Even though the line broke down with ease on the left side last week, this week will be a different story. The Cardinals will not have the heat to bring our line to their knees. Our front will see a moderate improvement this week, as we push around the defensive front of the Cardinals. Grossman will not be sacked, and will rarely be hurried and barely get his uniform dirty.

WR: Santana Moss is still our most reliable guy. While I don’t mind this fact, he needs to have some pressure relieved. Anthony Armstrong is the best receiver I have ever seen at getting open and getting hit in the hands. As soon as he can get past his case of the Carlos’, he will be a top threat in this league. His speed is impressive, as is his ability to get by the defender and be in the perfect position to break a game open. Look for him to improve slightly this week, but he will still have a drop in the endzone.

TE: Put me on the trade Chris Cooley while he still has value bandwagon. Anyone who didn’t believe Fred Davis was a stud, cannot possibly still have doubts. He made me completely forget about Chris what’s his name, and I am as big a Cooley fan as you can find. Fred Davis provides one thing Cooley can’t at this point – youth. That is something we need to move toward, and Cooley is not getting any better or younger from this point on. While he won’t be the highlight reel he was last week, expect the Fred Davis show to continue this week. Big blocks, big catches, big smiles. By the end of this game, everyone currently holding out hope for Cooley to take his top spot back will be looking the other way like they don’t know him.

Redskins on defense

They are who we thought they were: Reed Doughty has to go, plain and simple. In a great game that impressed in many areas, he was the heel he always is. There is nothing that should make the coaches like this guy, but he still got the nod over Horton. I have stated many times this was a major mistake, but you have to have faith in the hopeless when they’re all we have. Every week, Doughty proves that he is the player we think he is – slow, boneheaded, totally inept. His only appearances were failures last week, and you can expect more of the same this week. In case you don’t know which one is him – he’s the guy always laying on the field shaking his head when the opponent is doing their TD dance.

Invisibility cloak: Our corners and safeties impressed by being invisible last week for the most part. While not made for tv flare, it is a good sign. When you aren’t seeing our safeties and defensive backs, it is for no reason other than the fact they are doing their job. This week we will see more of them, as they will give us a curtain call with multiple interceptions. Arizona doesn’t have the tools the Giants do. We took away those weapons, and we will take away these.

Where did you go: Orakpo? Brian Orakpo? Has anyone seen Mr. Brian Orakpo? Oh well, he doesn’t hear me…..Ryan Kerrigan, go eat that QB for me. Orakpo will be a no show for week 2 as well, but he will return to prime form shortly. In the meantime, enjoy the rookie.

Stonehenge: Dear Carlos, we don’t miss you. Sincerely, everybody. We intercepted Eli Manning one time Sunday. That’s two more than we would have had if we still had Carlos.

Special Teams

I am willing to venture a guess that I am one of the only members of Redskins Nation that has been heaping praise on Danny Smith and his unit for the past several years. As you saw, his unit was solid once again, as they will be again this week. Brandon Banks might even break one loose just for fun. Just hope he keeps it in his hand when he breaks the plane this time, no need for theatrics.

Gano: I hope to one day call you Ga-YES. You need to work on that.

Summary

The Good: Improvement. For the first time in a long time, guys all over the field made big plays. Look for that to carry over to this week.

The Bad: Being the Redskins, we have to stick with tradition and have a kicker who can’t make the easy stuff. Look for more of the same when Gano struts out this week. He will make one, but only one.

The Ugly: Logan Paulsen. Seriously, have you looked at that guy?

It will be a fun afternoon to be a Redskins fan. If there is any team we have ever owned, it is the Cardinals. We are 52-18 all time at home vs the Cardinals, and this week will be no different. We have 7 consecutive wins against Arizona. That kids, is what fans of other teams call a streak. The last time we lost at home to the Cardinals was 13 years ago. We have shut the Cardinals out more than any other team in our history (20% of all of our shutouts), including 9 times here at home. Although 16 of the last 23 games against the Cardinals have been decided by a TD or less, it’s time to break the habit. We are due for a blowout. The closest this game will ever be is right now. Points will go up early and often on both sides of the ball in a display we haven’t seen since 2005 when we beat the 49ers 52-17. The only thing that will keep this game from getting that out of hand is when John Beck makes an appearance in the 4th quarter to give Rex the rest of the day off.

Remember, we handled the Giants very effectively. We were an Anthony Armstrong and Reed Doughty away from blowing them out badly. This week, we pull it together a little tighter, and against a weaker team.

Redskins: 38
Cardinals: 10
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