Beware of the…Redskins?
September 12, 2010 19 Comments
The Washington Redskins may not have provided us with the most dominating performance of the NFL’s opening weekend but it was indeed a noteworthy performance.
Take a look at the box score from Sunday night’s game and you might be unable to comprehend how in the world the Redskins were able to steal a 13-7 victory against a supposed high-octane Dallas Cowboys offence. However, throughout the game much of the Redskins squad showed that they may be a team to be reckoned with as the 2010-11 season moves along.
Wait, seriously??? Yes folks, I am talking about THE Washington Redskins.
Let’s start with one of the most talked about acquisitions during the offseason.
Although Donovan Mcnabb threw for under a 50% completion rating at 15 of 32 for 171 yards and no touchdowns, there were times when the 34 year-old Donovan actually looked like primetime Donovan. He was moving around much better in the pocket than we have seen in the last couple of years, which could partly be due to Mcnabb’s conscious effort to reduce his weight over the offseason. He was sacked only once in the game, had a nice run for 17 yards in the first half and Mcnabb showed off his arm with some crisp passes to Santana Moss and Chris Cooley throughout the game. Some positive signs from a supposed aging quarterback.
Now we should all know that a quarterback is nothing without some help from his offensive line, and this Washington O-Line anchored by rookie left tackle Trent Williams gave Mcnabb very ample protection throughout the night. Even Though Trent Williams did give up the Cowboys only sack of the night — to Demarcus Ware mind you — and was called for a crucial false start with his team 3rd and 2 late in the 4th quarter, the Redskins staff must be flying high after making the choice to take Williams over Seattle Seahawks first rounder Russell Okung.
It might be a cliché but defence does win championships and the Washington Redskins defence stepped up big time in their season opener. I don’t really care that the Dallas Cowboys offence looked not much better than it did during its four pre-season games. When your offence features Tony Romo under center, 3 quality receivers in Miles Austin, Roy Williams, and Dez Bryant, and 3 quality backs in Felix Jones, Marion Barber, and Tashard Choice there has to be something on the other side of the ball that is making your offence look rather ordinary. It was no fluke that a defence led by the 13 tackles of Laron Landry held the Cowboys to only one touchdown all night. Not to mention scoring their team’s only touchdown. Even the $100 million man Albert Haynesworth was showing some serious fight in the second half. I’m not trying to say that the Washington Redskins are going to win a championship this year but the defence was definitely a big plus Sunday night.
I’m not sure how many times I heard Cris Collingsworth say “This looks like a Mike Shannahan offence” throughout the course of the game but make no mistake, a Mike Shannahan run team is going to be run a whole heck of a lot better than one run by Jim Zorn.
Throughout his time in Denver, Mike Shannahan made his backfield of nobodies into somebodies. His current feature back, Clinton Portis, rushed for over 1500 yards in his two seasons in Denver under him but was traded for star cornerback Champ Bailey. With the Redskins Clinton Portis having averaged around 1100 yards a season and about 4.1 yards per carry in his time with Washington, it is probably an understatement to brand Portis as a disappointment so far. And even though he is reaching the twilight of his career at the age of 29 and had a less than stellar evening rushing 18 times for 63 yards, Portis did give us some signs that he could return to his old form. One instance that comes to mind was when Portis moved the chains on 1st and 10 but the play was negated due to a Chris Cooley illegal motion call. However, the very next play 1st and 15, Clinton Portis executed a “Mike Shannahan” cutback play to perfection as he ran for 16 yards and the first down.
In a division that sports the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, and the Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins are not going to have it easy this season. And just because they won a game that they probably shouldn’t have is not the reason why people should start jumping on the Redskins bandwagon. Sunday night’s game provided Washington fans with more than just a 1-0 start to the season. It provided Washington Redskins fans to finally believe that their team may actually be turning a corner.
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