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Old 05-22-2005, 12:46 PM   #1
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TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

To me it's as pointless as Power Polls and Draft Report Cards, but it's May so it's discussion fodder..
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BURNING QUESTION

Will the offense be more effective this season?

The line should be better, but blocking alone will not bring points. The passing game has to improve, and the team has to make opponents pay for stacking the box. Wide receivers Santana Moss, David Patten and Taylor Jacobs must take their games up a level for the offense to threaten defenses. But when you count on veterans to do things they haven't done in the past, you are bound to be let down.

WHAT'S NEW

Coach Joe Gibbs knew the 2004 season was going to be hard. But even when he said that -- and he said it often -- his Hall of Fame aura was such that people discounted that as modesty.

But Gibbs had been gone from the NFL since 1992, and the game had changed and the way players were acquired and paid had changed dramatically. Few thought it possible for a Gibbs-coached team to lose 10 games, but it happened. You can look it up. Now, Gibbs is relying chiefly on the "we're a year older" philosophy to get the team back on a winning track. He and his coaching staff know their players and the league better -- and the players have a clearer idea of what is expected of them. But it's going to take more than that to turn this team around.

For the second year in a row, Gibbs has created a quarterback controversy -- and that takes a toll on a team. The only area on offense that can be called improved is the line, where right tackle Jon Jansen returns from injury and former Ravens center Casey Rabach was added. That hardly seems to be enough to overcome the talented, aggressive defenses the Redskins will face again this year.

Gibbs says he is in this for the long haul. That's good because it's going to be a long haul to get this organization back to the glory days he so fondly remembers.

GAME PLAN

Gibbs is patient, low-key, calm at all times -- and extremely demanding. He firmly believes that things must be done his way for his offense to succeed. There is no doubt that he runs the show, and he does not put any one player above the welfare of the team.

Gibbs still believes in the one-back offense with maximum pass protection, and he is not going to change now. What he does plan to change is the quality of the blocking, which he believes will improve performance. Gibbs will continue to use motion and formations in an effort to get favorable matchups for his blockers and playmakers.

One minor change will be in the running game. Instead of running "40-gut" and "50-gut" up the middle, Gibbs will have his blockers stretch out so that Clinton Portis will be able to glide to his side, then cut back into the best hole he finds.

New quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave brings the concepts of the West Coast offense with him. The Redskins are not going to become a West Coast team -- Gibbs believes in a solid protection front with fewer hot reads -- but some aspects of the West Coast will be incorporated. Plays that give quarterback Patrick Ramsey the opportunity to make a quick read and quick pass will help him.

Few things will change on defense. Assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams tries to generate maximum pressure at every opportunity to keep opponents off-balance. The lack of a pass-rushing end means Williams again will have to create pressure with linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties, but few defensive minds in the league are as capable of devising such schemes as well as Williams and his staff.

Williams' style of coaching mirrors his style of defense. He is aggressive, stays on the players and makes corrections on the field immediately.

Greg Blache, the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, has a great eye for detail, is meticulous in his planning and does an outstanding job of getting points across to the players. He, too, is demanding and unafraid to pull any player who is not buying into the program.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYERS

OLB LaVar Arrington: Keep an eye on Arrington, not just to see if he has completely recovered from his knee problem of 2004 but also to see if his contract disagreement with the team carries over to his on-field performance. His knee should be well by the time the regular season starts. His attitude might never be the same again. Arrington missed all but 12 games last year. When used properly, he is a devastating force. He is best suited to play off the line, where he creates havoc for any player who comes into his area. But Arrington has not been used that way since 2001. Instead, coaches prefer to send him after the quarterback. That inflates Arrington's sack total, but it doesn't get everything from a player of Arrington's ability.

WR Santana Moss: The receiving unit was a weak link in the offense last season, and it doesn't seem to be improved much, if at all. Moss takes over the No. 1 job from Laveranues Coles, for whom he was acquired. Moss, who is smaller but might be a bit faster than Coles, has been plagued by injuries in his career. If healthy, Moss has the speed to get downfield and make big plays.

OLB Marcus Washington: He was everything the team hoped he would be and more last season after the team signed him as a free agent. The Redskins knew he had pass-rushing and run-stopping skills, but his ability in coverage surprised and delighted the coaching staff. Washington can play either outside spot and probably could step into the middle and excel if needed. He has speed, power and smarts, and he's a sure tackler. He will be counted on to build off of last year's performance and has a chance to become one of the elite linebackers in the league.

DAN POMPEI'S TAKE

Anyone who can figure out the Redskins' plan should immediately alert team owner Dan Snyder so he will know as well. Prediction: 5-11 (fourth/NFC East).

FANTASY SOURCE SPIN

Stud: Portis. With the team tailoring the offense to accentuate Portis' strength -- his ability to glide to the side, then cut through a hole -- he should return to being a top-five fantasy back.

Sleeper: TE Chris Cooley. The H-back was master of the red zone in his rookie season, catching six TD passes, and should be a force inside the 20 again. He is a great fill-in starter for bye weeks.

Stumbler: Ramsey. When he took over for Mark Brunell last year, he was not impressive. Gibbs could be forced into using Brunell if Ramsey struggles.

FALL FORECAST

Offseason moves have left the team treading water instead of moving ahead. The receiving unit isn't much better, and Ramsey practically received a "no confidence" vote from Gibbs. The offensive line will be better, and that should mean increased protection for Ramsey and more running room for Portis. But that is not enough.

The team needs big plays and a significant boost in points from the offense, and there is no evidence either will occur. With that in mind, there probably won't be vast improvement over last year's 6-10 record. A third-place finish in the division and an 8-8 record is possible if things break right.

Paul Woody covers the Redskins for the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch and Sporting News.
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Old 05-22-2005, 03:53 PM   #2
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

5-11 is a bit of a stretch in my mind. I don't think we'll make the playoffs, but the following factors make me nonetheless optimistic: Gibbs' smarts, work-ethic, adaptability; the rest of the coaching staff (notably Williams, Buges, and Blanche), the defense (Arrington, Daniels and Rogers should offset the losses of Smoot and Pierce); Jansen and Rabach sure as hell help our O-line; the use of more zone blocking and the iintroduction of the shotgun formation; and although we have no true #1 wideout, we have solid depth at WR between Patten, Moss, Jacobs, Thrash, and McCants.

So while we might have only slightly improved on paper, as us Redskins fans know, improving on paper is hardly a deciding factor in a team's W-L record. The intangibles - locker room chemistry (the whiners have left the building and Portis seems to be a real positive force), a good coaching staff (which we certainly do not lack), and a good offensive game-plan (which I am confident Gibbs will create) are the keys to our team.

Moreover, I don't think the Eagles have gotten much better in the offseason, the Cowboys have gotten better (AND much older), and the Giants essentially have a rookie, albeit a talented one, under center. I don't think the NFC East is going to be that much more challenging than it has been.

PS - I think Woody has finally come out of the closet and admitted that he is a crack-smoking, heroine addict. If Ramsey falters, Brunell might come off the bench? Is he f'ing nuts? I will only lose faith in Gibbs if he puts Brunell in if Ramsey falters. Brunell isn't getting any younger and we sure as hell know he can't put together a win. If Ramsey falters, put Rogers or even Tupa or Gardner in....PLEASE don't let #8 back onto the field.

Last edited by Sheriff Gonna Getcha; 05-22-2005 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 05-22-2005, 03:58 PM   #3
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

Can we at least wait until training camp gets underway for predictions? LOL, just ridiculous
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Old 05-22-2005, 04:11 PM   #4
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

yes Matty you'd hope that you at least the players break a sweat before a prediction is made........but hey they are doing the same thing we are on this board aren't they


5-11?????????? I hope that's NOT accurate................
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Old 05-22-2005, 05:02 PM   #5
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

Quote:
Can we at least wait until training camp gets underway for predictions? LOL, just ridiculous
Which parts are ridiculous, and basing something off training camp is worse than pre-season. It's called a prediction, it's a best guess. He says his prediction and he says why he thinks it will happen. It's certainly within the realm of possibility, and he makes a few good points. It's ridiculous to wait for training camp, or later, to make a GUESS as to how a team will do during the season. We'll probably have a thread doing the same damn thing within a month or two.
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Old 05-22-2005, 06:27 PM   #6
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

What's ridiculous to me is making predictions in May. At least wait until the players start camp and some real hitting begins. Hell, why not start making predictions for 2006 while we're at it??
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Old 05-22-2005, 06:46 PM   #7
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

Because the team is damn near set for 2005. What do you expect to change between now and training camp in July?
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Old 05-22-2005, 06:50 PM   #8
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

For one thing: The June 1 cuts, you never know what additions/subtractions we might make then
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Old 05-22-2005, 07:37 PM   #9
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

I don't NECESSARILY think it's too early to make predictions. Unfortunately, the pre-season and camps rarely are good measures of how a team will do in the regular season. I honestly don't think anyone can make a good prediction until week 6 of the regular season. Anyone remember how the Pats didn't look all that hot in the preseason, got spanked in the Week 1 game against in the Bills, and weren't SB favorties in 2003? Oh yeah, then they won the Super Bowl.

I really think that after the draft takes place, making predictions isn't that ridiculous.
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Old 05-22-2005, 07:38 PM   #10
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

Quote:
Originally Posted by TAFKAS
For one thing: The June 1 cuts, you never know what additions/subtractions we might make then
I can pretty much tell you which starters are getting the ax - Barrow, Morton, Gardner. As for acquisitions, I don't think we have the space to sign any starters. So, I agree with Daseal.....our roster is pretty much set.
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Old 05-22-2005, 08:10 PM   #11
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

What's going to change? Plenty, once camp gets going competition for roster spots heat up, jobs are won and lost, we'll be able to see how the offense is coming along, how Ramsey looks, how the new guys are fitting in, how healthy guys are, etc.

Sorry but making predictions in May is just kinda silly to me. So much can, and usually does change between now and September.
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Old 05-22-2005, 09:05 PM   #12
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

Last May who would have predicted us being upset that we would have to let Antonio Pierce get away?
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Old 05-22-2005, 09:13 PM   #13
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Post Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

Bears
Cowboys
Seahawks
Broncos
Chiefs
49ers
Giants
Eagles
Bucs
Raiders
Chargers
Rams
Cardinals
Cowboys
Giants
Eagles

I think I could guess more than 5 wins out of that schedule, but Matty's right. It's only May. People get hurt (i.e. Winslow), traded, or cut. It's to early to make a good guess, but what else is there to do?
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Old 05-22-2005, 09:56 PM   #14
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

Too tired to read all the way through but, not completely sold that these guys know much about the team. 5-11 huh? I doubt these guys are under 5' 11''. No offense to my vertically challenged compadres here.
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Old 05-22-2005, 10:02 PM   #15
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Re: TSN Preseason Support Group-Redskins

Things can change and so yes, it could be too early to make a prediction. But people are injured (i.e. Arrington) or cut (i.e. last year's starting TE Rasby) midway through the season. If you say you can't make a prediction because of cuts, trades, or injuries, you could never make a prediction.

I personally think it's kind of crazy to say it's too early to ridicule someone who says we're going to go 5-11. Maybe I'm just a little too optimistic.
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