Monday, February 28, 2011

Clinton Portis, former Redskin

The next time Clinton Portis thinks something through before saying it will be his first. Most of the opinions he expressed were basically reasonable, the problem was in voicing them out loud. But he clearly had no malice, he simply lacks the filter most of us have in the brain that says “I’m on the radio right now. I should pause and think about how this will sound and reconsider the phrasing, or perhaps leave it unsaid altogether.” Instead a thought popped up, it came right out, and in a matter of no time it was splattered all over the internet. Was that the coolest thing about Portis or the most problematic? I truly can’t decide.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Redskins position review: Quarterbacks

The next to last position preview - only special teams remains. Here's links to the earlier posts:

Defensive line
Defensive backs
Running backs
Wide receivers
Tight ends
Offensive line

Unfortunately, the main storyline of the Redskins upcoming offseason (once the resolution of the labor dispute allows an offseason to happen) will be the attempts to recover from the Donovan McNabb fiasco.

If the coaches had any lingering faith that McNabb could be an acceptable quarterback (to them), they only would have dropped him to #2 instead of all the way below John Beck to #3. On those grounds I think there is almost no chance that he is brought back, unless complications from the lockout make it difficult to get rid of him.

Regardless of which McNabb narrative you accept, the coaching staff comes out looking terrible:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Redskins position review: Offensive line

Continuing through the position reviews; after this we have only quarterback and special teams still to go (What? Of course we’re doing special teams).

Here’s the links to the previous posts:

Defensive line
Defensive backs
Running backs
Wide receivers
Tight ends

We’ll start at tackle, because we all know that while Mike Shanahan inherited a team full of holes this was probably the biggest. After finding two new starters, the Redskins managed to attain mediocrity. That happens to be an enormous improvement over 2009, but could obviously be a lot better.

Trent Williams, quite simply, played like a rookie. The most visible and recurring bad habit was that, in an attempt to gain himself some margin for error, he would build way too much depth in pass protection, thus allowing the rushers to hit him while he was still backpedaling. Obviously this robbed him of his base strength and allowed him to be easily driven back into the quarterback’s face. He also had his share of troubles holding the edge and locking on at the second level, and frequently seemed confused as to assignments. The flaws seem to be in coachable areas, and the athletic ability is there. I don’t want people to think I’m calling Trent a bust – he has a lot of ability and I’m very glad to have him. And the struggles are probably just the normal learning curve of a talented rookie. But there is a ton of room for improvement.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Redskins position review: Tight ends

First, here’s links to the previous position write-ups:

Defensive line
Defensive backs
Running backs
Wide receivers

Tight end, of course, is one of the more secure positions on the team and the one where I think most of us expect little if any offseason movement.

Chris Cooley’s stats were good – his catches and yards per catch were comparable to 2008 – and yet I think most people who watched him play would agree that he wasn’t quite up to form. The open field running ability wasn’t as evident, and of course there were far more drops than we’re used to. And while I am usually the first to criticize fans or announcers who try to read into a players body language on the field… well I make an exception here because after most plays he just seemed not quite right. The fact that he played on a torn meniscus (secret til the end of the year, perhaps because it was caused by getting beat up by a girl) in a way came as a relief, as he had had me a little bit worried.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Your Super Bowl reading list

The best stuff I've read in prepping for the Super Bowl...

Smart Football:

- You are simply not permitted to watch the Super Bowl without first reading Chris' excellent post on Dick LeBeau and Dom Capers, who working together did so much to define modern defenses and are now facing each other.

A few from Football Outsiders:

- First, they offer probably the most detailed game preview you're going to find.

- Ben Muth provides a special focus on line play.

- Mike Tanier diagrams two of Troy Polamalu's interceptions.

- Writing on the Post's Smarter Stats blog, Doug Farrar looks at a number of situational stats but leads off with, of all things, the refs that were choses for this game.

Pro Football Focus:

- Special teams, one of the few areas of weakness for both the Packers and Steelers.

- Can the Packers run it? OK, how about the Steelers?

- Roethlisberger vs. the Packers defense.

- Rodgers vs. the Pittsburgh pass rush.

And several offerings from the ever-prolific former Redskin Matt Bowen over at NFP:

- The Rodgers vs. Polamalu matchup.

- Diagramming the Packers' zone blitz.

- Five Super Bowl questions, touching on the lesser known members of the respective secondaries and the potential impact of the Steelers' loss of their starting center.

- Some suggestions for both teams from a gameplanning perspective.

From Advanced NFL Stats:

- The efficiency stats for each team compared up side by side.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Redskins position review: Wide receivers

Continuing on our position by position look at the state of the Redskins, we now move to wide receiver - the position that has been an area of need pretty much since the Posse broke up.

Question number one, of course, is what to do with Santana Moss, who is entering free agency.