Join Date: Dec 2005
Re: Reason for (Cautious) Optimism
Originally Posted by Mattyk72
The latest from Trevor Walters:
For the first time since their playoff victory in TampaBay during the playoffs following the 2005 season, the Washington Redskins walked off of the field Sunday with a victory in their pockets. With a 31-15 triumph over the woeful Houston Texans, the Redskins made their first tangible step towards fulfilling the massive expectations that have been set forth for them both internally and by their fans. While Houston is a team that the Redskins should beat, there is something to be said for winning the games that you’re supposed to win. Good teams do that, and they also win on the road. Washington did both of those things this past Sunday, and they did so in rather impressive fashion.
Reason for (Cautious) Optimism
In truth, the Redskins provided more competition for themselves than the Texans ever could have. As has become custom, the Redskins were whistled for 12 penalties, not counting another handful that were declined because there were multiple infractions on the same play. In terms of yardage, the distance the Redskins amassed in penalties was slightly more than the career high tally reserve tailback Ladell Betts registered on his 16 carries. It goes without saying that this is an area that Washington must correct if they are to duplicate Sunday’s result against the tougher teams that lie ahead on the schedule, but what isn’t as obvious is whether or not such issues can be resolved. The big question coming from the 31 point outburst Sunday afternoon is how much of the scoring can be attributed to the opponent, and how much is reflective of an increased comfort level with the offense? The opposition notwithstanding, the offense was splendidly balanced, at least until the game neared an end and more run plays were called to help bleed the clock dry. Of course, the efficiency of the offense can’t be praised without giving all due credit to quarterback Mark Brunell, who responded to numerous calls for his job with a record setting performance. Brunell seemed to flawlessly execute Al Saunders’ offense, seeming more like the “savvy veteran” of 2005 than the “washed up senior citizen” that he resembled only days earlier. But just as the offensive explosion must also have an asterisk given the opposition, so too must Brunell’s day be analyzed with a grain of salt. Brunell made precious few throws that traveled over 10 yards in the air, with most of his 261 yards coming after the catch on screens and check-downs. His jersey can also skip the washing machine, thanks to a superlative effort in pass protection from the offensive line. So pessimistically, if you give him plenty of time, Brunell can accurately hit the receiver less than 30 feet away. Optimistically, he takes what the defense gives him and gets the ball into the hands of his playmakers. You can chose which description best suits your personal opinion, but as always, the truth most likely lies somewhere in between. The best news to come out of Houston – other than the victory of course – is that star halfback Clinton Portis returned, and did so with an emphatic bang. There appeared to be no new setbacks with regard to his injury status, and the outstanding performance of his backup Ladell Betts enabled him to take a large chunk of the second half off. His shoulder is going to be a source of constant concern as the season progresses, so each week that passes without a setback is critical for his long-term availability. The game was not without its low points, though. Each team’s opening drive looked eerily similar to those from Washington’s two prior contests. While the offense would eventually take command of the game, the defense continues to be as enigmatic as it has previously been dominant. Still without top cornerback ShawnSprings, the secondary continued to struggle in pass coverage. Adam Archuleta, never known for his cover skills, has done little to alter his reputation in the first three games. The corners that have seen the brunt of the action – Carlos Rogers, Mike Rumph, and Kenny Wright – have been inconsistent at best. In Eric Moulds and Andre Johnson, the secondary faced a challenge that was much more difficult than did the team as a whole. Moulds and Johnson are an outstanding pair of receivers, and their success (combined 15 catches for nearly 180 yards) demonstrates the strides that the secondary must make down the stretch. The amount of pressure Washington placed on the quarterback was as negligible against the Texans as it had been in weeks past. Andre Carter, rescued from San Francisco to liven up a dull pass rush from the front four, has done little to merit his billing as a disruptive force. The one lineman who has spent time in the opposition’s backfield is rookie Kedrick Golston, who transformed himself from possible training camp casualty to consistent contributor in his short time in D.C. Golston and Lemar Marshall shared credit for the Redskins’ lone sack, and Golston also recovered his first career fumble when Texans quarterback David Carr put it on the ground after being flushed from the pocket. The game ball this week goes to Clinton Portis, whose performance, and mere presence, fueled the 31 point offensive outburst. Portis lead the team with 78 yards receiving, most of which came on a Mark Brunell shovel pass, and chipped in with another 86 on the ground. The latter is a figure which would have been much higher had he not been rested in favor of Ladell Betts late in the game to rest his shaky shoulders. His two touchdowns raises his total for the young season to three, which is an impressive number given Portis only has 30 total touches thus far. His quickness and vision makes the draw play a vital weapon, not only for the yardage it accumulates, but for the pressure it takes off of Mark Brunell by reducing the defense’s appetite for the blitz. Winning is a lot like pizza; it doesn’t matter where it comes from, it always hits the spot. While it can’t be forgotten that the Texans were lining up on the other side, it is still noteworthy for any team to put up 30+ points and win on the road. The gameplan set forth by Al Saunders had the Texans defense confused all afternoon long, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention again that Mark Brunell’s execution of it was very nearly flawless. The healthy return of Clinton Portis was, and will be, key as the season progresses. Washington will visit the other end of the defensive spectrum Sunday as the third-ranked Jacksonville defense comes to FedEx. The execution will need to be on a par with this past Sunday’s game if a similar result is to come from the Redskins’ tilt with the Jaguars.
Check back in next week for your weekly Redskins football fix. Hail to the Redskins!
Wow! There are so mny reasons thay I categorically disagree with your summary. If you want to talk penalties than that is a different topic. Numero uno your grievances against our team. Wins are wins and losses are losses. Do we get a half win for beating Houston?
Now, down to my nitty gritty. You give your game ball to Portis....Jansen could have ran the holes he made. Did you miss El's blocks too? Absolute, there is a need for maniacal play out of our D that we have not seen.