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Thoughts on last night’s game and the Skins

Hog Fever

Vescere bracis meis
Joe Gibbs Club Member
Jul 15, 2009
Reaction score
Bryson City, NC
I watched Wipeout with the kids until 8:35 last night because I wanted to avoid the talking heads and the “extravaganza” leading up to kickoff. Call me a curmudgeon if you want but my tolerance for that stuff these days is down to about 45 seconds tops.

Anyway, aside from watching the game itself and trying to calculate in my head how it affected my Fantasy Football teams I wanted to size up the competition. Both of these teams are early favorites in the NFC to at least make the playoffs and some folks have them picked to do better that that.

I wasn’t all that impressed. Aside from the Saints first drive there was a lot of sloppy play, questionable play calling and missed opportunities. Yeah, I know it was real pro football so I should just shut my mouth and enjoy it, but somehow I was expecting more. Perhaps I shouldn’t have had my expectations set so high for the opener.

That brings us to our beloved Skins. We have no idea what team is going to show up Sunday night but I doubt it will look like the team we see in week 8. I’m not making excuses before the kickoff even happens but there are a lot of questions and the sloppy play last night by two “contenders” has frankly scared the crap out of me. I just hope there are enough good plays (for us) to cover up for what is likely to be a shaky start.

You say “Relax Hog, it’s the first game of the season. The Cowboys’ offense has looked like crap in the pre-season.” Yeah, I know, but their situation is a little different from ours. They’ve proved that (although Romo is a choker) they can put up points in the regular season. McNabb hasn’t seen full speed action in weeks and even then it was limited. That should be offset somewhat by his experience, just like Favre….. bad example. The Cowboy defense (although overrated IMO) has proven that they can play well in their 3-4 scheme. We on the other hand have a lot of talent but it’s a new scheme and it will take time for our guys to stop thinking and start playing. That’ll take four or five games I’m guessing.

I just have questions, questions that won’t be answered by this first game, win or lose and I can’t stand it. I want this game badly. Not just because it’s the Cowboys, which would normally be enough, but for all of the other reasons as well. Not the least of which would be that it would set a new tone for the whole organization. We need this a lot worse than the Boys do, even if this is “just” the opener. Am I putting too much on just one game? Perhaps. I just know I didn’t feel this way last season. This season I have expectations. Is it Sunday yet?
Hog Fever said:
I want this game badly...Is it Sunday yet?

Anticipation, Anticipation...Is making me late...Is keeping me waiting

[media] [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoLoyg3JKRQ[/media][/media]
HF, I agree that last night's Viking/Saints showdown left me flat. Lackluster and actually boring with far too many mistakes and questionable game planning.

However, about Sunday, it is also going to be the first game for Dallas also, and they're the ones getting all hyped-to-death. They'll have nerves to contend with too.

You are absolutely correct, I believe, that the Skins are still in the learning curve on both offense and defense which is one thing to keep in mind just in case we don't emerge with a W Sunday. The conversion from thinking about what you are going to do and it becoming automatic may take, I think, from 4 to 7 games. I believe it's very plausible that we'll peak during the second half of the season which is both good and bad. First, it's better, I think, to end a season playing well-remember how everybody felt after the crushing downfall of two seasons ago?-which is good, but second a lot of the learning will be taking place playing the "monsters"-the Colts and the Packers but we should be pretty much together when we go up against the Vikings although from what I saw last night that might not be quite as much of a challenge. Unless things change fairly quickly and dramatically, Favre is going to be doing a lot of second-guessing of his latest unretirement.

One more thing about Sunday that's been written about-an advantage the Redskins will definitely have.


The Cowboys have no idea what this Redskins team is going to be like.

Hell, we don't have any idea what this Redskins team is going to be like.

I can't wait to find out, either.
I think you guys pretty much nailed it. There is alot of uncertainity about what we might see this year. That can (not guaranteed to) work in the Skins favor, ecspecially early on.
Lets hope our defense doesn't get mauled in the running game. I'm hopeful we bend but don't break while this 3-4 transition gels. Some turnovers would be great! On offense? Our Oline should be better than last year...the question is by how much? Qb is certainly an upgrade...can we keep him healthy is the question. If the Oline plays at least average that would be a great improvement. I believe Portis has plenty of gas in his tank actually my concern is whether he can stay healthy.
The one thing I consistently saw all preseason was the defense's inability to seal the edge against the run. The DE's and OLB's were either out of position or just sealed off, and it seemed opposing offenses could pretty much pick up 5-10 at will running at the DE's outside shoulder.

The only time I saw any apparent adjustment by Haslett to cure that was against Arizona in the finale, playing all backups against the Cards' starters. They actually seemed to stiffen up some there...but the side-effect seemed to be leaving the flats and underneath passing routes absolutely uncovered.

Whether it's a physical problem with the OLB's (the Carter Conundrum) or the DE's, or just a learning curve in the new system, we won't know for a while. But we'll know by the third quarter if we have the ability to at least control the running game, even if not stop it altogether.

If I had to pick one worry area above all other heading into Dallas, that would probably be it.
With a new HC, DC, QB and ATT (attitude!) it's a new era for the Skins. We all desperately want to start off this new era with a win, mainly because it's against Dallas but also because we want proof that things are better than they were.

We saw glimpses in the preseason where we played pretty much without schemes. The unknown is, are those schemes gonna work? I'm guessing they will eventually but I've been trying to force myself to not get too wrapped up in the hype and the promises that "we ain't seen nuthin' yet". The reason for that is what Om alluded to.

With a couple pieces missing from their O-Line, along with a new LT, Dallas doesn't know what to expect from Haslett's Defense so my expectation is they will test the edges and run the ball quite a bit behind that suspect O-Line. Maybe they can pass-block and maybe they can't but they are big. They will try to use that size to their advantage and pound the ball, mixing in play-action passes, screens, slants and mostly 3 and 5-step drops in order to ensure Romo stays upright. I also expect to see a little Wildcat from Dallas in order to change things up.

Most of these things were weaknesses for our Defense in the preseason. I would consider Haslett to be a genious if he knew all this was coming and had an answer for it. I'm not going to hold my breath though. I expect them to move the ball up and down the field during the first half. The key will be keeping them out of the endzone and Haslett being able to make adjustments that work.

Offensively, our running game will probably fare a little better than it did last year against Dallas but we'll HAVE to have a balanced attack. Historically, McNabb has been hot and cold against Dallas. When he's had time to throw against them, he's been pretty effective. When he's been rushed and sacked a lot, he'll fold. Kyle Shanahan HAS to find a way to keep the Dallas Defense guessing. McNabb HAS to stay upright and execute and the receivers HAVE to hold on to balls and not drop passes. McNabb hates that and seems to deflate whenever it happens.

I expect another typical nail-biting game with the big keys being Time of Possession and Turnovers. We'll likely need to won BOTH of those battles. Regardless of the outcome, I'm pretty certain I will be reaching for my post-game Motrin.
Earlier today I saw another in a long line of season-end standings predictions.....this one had us at 6-10. I'm sorry.....I may be the only one......but I have a REALLY difficult time believing that no matter how rough around the edges we may turn out to be this season that we'd have only TWO wins more than in last year's disaster. I mean, look at it.......we have a pro-bowl caliber QB and many other solid players on both sides of the ball. Some returning from last season...many new. There is certainly enough talent to put at least a COMPETITIVE team out there......perhaps even a winning one. Taking it a step further.....I think you have to give some small amount of a nod to what seems to be an experienced and proven to be successful group of coaches on our staff this season. Even if this transition goes slowly.....I can't see less than an 8-8 season.

Many times over the course of the last 5 years I've found myself exploding with frustration over the fact that our offense couldn't seem to find a way to get the ball downfield. Win or lose, I longed for the days of a 45-37 loss....anything that showed that we at LEAST had a little life in us. Wouldn't be a win, but at least it'd be entertaining and give us some hope for success down the line. All those 27-3 losses simply showed (to me) the shortcomings of our offensive scheme and - more prominently - the shortcomings of our quarterback. Those of you in the Fantasy Football league may notice that I picked up Janikoswki as my kicker. There's was thought behind that. I'd be willing to bet that the Raiders leave a lot of drives dead between the 30's and that they end up with a lot of FG attempts rather than TD's.....just like we did.

Meanwhile, though our offense and defensive schemes were "vanilla" all preseason.....one thing I DID notice was a propensity to throw the ball downfield and stretch things out. Though we may not have completed everything, there were certainly many attempts and many successes. I have a sense that Moss will have a great year.....and that McNabb is gonna keep us in games perhaps we may otherwise not have any business being in.

Win or lose, gentlemen, I believe that it's gonna be a very different brand of football out on that field than we've been used to for so many years.

It's gonna be exciting......it's gonna be terrifying........it's gonna be flipping GREAT!

PS This was kind of a sudden stream of consciousness thing......sorry for any typos and random, misplaced thoughts.
LSF, first, I like the stream-of-consciousness stuff (just ask Om!), it feels more like being in a conversation.

You touched on one thing I'm looking forward to-I have lamented the plain-Jane, predictability of recent Redskin teams and really like the idea of uncertainty in opposing teams unsure of what to expect next as a competitive advantage.

I'm also sticking with an 8-8 prediction for the season, and will stay with it regardless of Sunday's outcome. I expect there will be those who will jump into instant pessimism if we don't win-everything sucks, the new coaching staff sucks, McNabb sucks, the Oline/Dline/LBs/CBs/whatever sucks-and of course those who will predict 11-5 and an automatic playoff berth with home field if we win-but that's just part of the psychology of being a fan and is normal.

We're going to be better than we've been in a while on both offense and defense-perhaps not at the high level some might like-but noticeably better.

And I'll be ok with that-not giddy, perhaps, but I'm close to phobic about emotion-based optimism or pessimism and thus try to keep things a bit muted. I am, however, quite open to being pleasantly surprised.
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last year the bums put up 24 combined points against us. not exactly mind blowing. and 17 of them came at the end of the season when we were just whipped, zorn was done, portis was drama, etc.

im not scared of their offense and im not worried about what they THINK they are.

I like the way you think! Let's just shove it down their throat. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.
last year the bums put up 24 combined points against us. not exactly mind blowing. and 17 of them came at the end of the season when we were just whipped, zorn was done, portis was drama, etc.

im not scared of their offense and im not worried about what they THINK they are.

I like your confidence Mike but this is NOT last year's Defense. Blache obviously believed in a bend-but-don't-break philosophy because that's what we always did. We didn't gamble much or take the ball away very often but we also didn't give up a lot of points. We seldom got blown out.

We can't just come out and say this year's Defense is or will be better. We just don't know, especially since we still have several members of last year's 4-3 Defense attempting to learn how to play a 3-4.

Based on preseason, Dallas' offense doesn't look scary but, and I hate bringing up the "p" word, it has as much potential to be successful as the Skins' defense does.

Preseason is SUCH an unknown. It's impossible to tell, at this point, just how close to the truth preseason performances are. In the case of the Vikings and Saints, the opener didn't look all that different from their first-team preseason performances. I pray the Skins look better than theirs.
The score will be 24-17, which way I don't know, the only way either offense gets more than 24 points is if both defenses don't play each other like usual. This is a rivalry game still. Even when teams have been historically bad teams, the majority of our games against Dallas have been close for awhile. I don't see that changing and I also believe that we can put up points on Dallas with real QBing. I can also seeing us losing 24-10 and us getting a gimmee touchdown in the final seconds making it 24-17. So at the end of it all, it's going to be a crapshoot, I don't think at this point in time, theres a team in the NFC east that scares anyone.
One more quick note about the Vikings/Saints game.

The most memorable part for me?

The Dan Snyder-Jerruh Jones Papa John's pizza commercial. Too cool for words.:cool3:
I'm looking forward to the first of 4 Redskins games we get LIVE. Good timing for week 1 as the broadcast starts at 10am (Monday).

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