First of all... yes, I'm back. Sorry about last week, my work schedule just didn't allow any blog time. However we will be back on a regular schedule now and though other reponsibilities will still occasionally get in the way of the blog it won't be as severe as it has been over the past month. The Lions game review will proceed as normal. A couple quick points on this game:
- The Redskins are 4-4. Given that most of us thought we would be lucky to be a .500 team this year, it seems rather odd that some people are shocked and disgusted that the Redskins are .500 at the Bye week. This is a flawed team that has displayed the flaws we expected to see.
- On a related note, I would like to see an end to the chatter about the Redskins "playing down to their opponent." By definition, only good teams can "play down to their opponent." I don't think there is a basis for claiming that the Redskins are convincingly better than the Lions, at least not sufficiently better that they should be expected to win and any other result can only be the result of some sort of psychological letdown. The Lions massively improved their defensive line this offseasone (N'Damokung Suh, Corey Williams, Kyle Vanden Bosch). This strong defensive line beat the pants off an offensive line which we already knew to be poor. How does our weakest unit getting beaten by their best unit constitute "playing down to their level"?
- I re-watched the first half of the Bears game this morning, and then of course the Lions game today. In both it seems there were occasional four-man fronts featuring both Haynesworth and Carriker on the same side. I look forward to looking at this more closely. Those are pretty clearly the Redskins' two best defensive linemen, and unfortunately they mostly play in different packages. I am all in favor of finding ways to get them both on the field at the same time.
- Brandon Banks was great today, but his ball security iss terrifying. In both the Bears and Packers games he lost a ball while going to the ground. Maybe they were cases of "the ground causing a fumble" and they never could have been recovered anyway, but nonetheless it raises doubts about his ability to hang onto the ball while sustaining contact. And of course he had a fumble today. One of these weeks he is going to kill us.
- The last-minute benching of McNabb is worrisome. He was certainly inconsistent in the first part of the season, but he was obviously victimized by his offensive line play at times and we knew coming in he would be the victim of random bouts of inaccuracy. But against Chicago, and continuing this week, the wheels seem to have come off. If we're up to week 8 and McNabb is not trusted to know how to execute the 2-minute offense, then there are definitie concerns with the extent to which he has applied himself to learning the new scheme. And not to make too much out of a little thing, but does his inability to adjust his footwork as the Shanahan's desire indicate a deeper lack of receptiveness to this coaching regime? This could very well all blow over, but given the uneven results so far and McNabb's still unresolved contract situation, we have to at least consider if the coach-quarterback relationship has not progressed in the way the Redskins anticipated when they traded a second round pick for the guy. I'm thinking the bye week came at a good time.