Yeah Mark, we're all looking over your shoulder
So Howard Bryant, Jason La Canfora and Wilbon all were down the Redskins in their fourth and final preseason game, but Camille Powell was upbeat about the Ravens. From where I'm sitting, I saw what looked more like a conventional, plain-vanilla, hold-it-close approach to this game, and I am not as miserable about this one as I was about the Jets and Patriots games.
Lots of technical performance material to review in film from this game. The Ravens managed to score, after two Redskins penalties moved them from a long field goal attempt to a 4th and 1, which they made and then scored on a good-looking McNair pass. Cooley dropped a crucial pass on 3rd and 1, but then the 2nd team d-line sacked Boller, who's preparing like he's the starter, on the next offensive play. Later, Ade Jimoh dropped a surefire interception.
But, Betts and Duckett both looked good (maybe that is going to be a good 1-2-3 combination) and by scrub time, the 3rd string O-line was pushing the Ravens scrubs around, blowing holes for AJ Harris and Nehemiah Broughton (sadly, this is likely the last time they'll be named in a Curly R post). At least that's something. And no injuries. At least that's something.
Cutdown aside: I hope Jimmy Farris and Mike Espy make this team. Every year, there's a feel-good story about some player on the bubble, trying to crack a crowded depth chart at some skill position (anyone remember Mark Stock?). With Santana, Randle El and Brandon Lloyd going 1-1-1, I hope there's room for these guys. David Patten, you're lucky still to be here, and James Thrash, it's been a good ten years rooting for you or reviling you (with the Eagles). Sayonara.
Money quote from Wilbon:
What [all the ex-players Wilbon talked to for this piece and can barely resist dropping their names] all feel is that the Redskins have too many players in the prime of their careers who know how to play and too many coaches who are certain they know exactly how to get a team ready for the season. Nobody I've talked to who works anywhere in the NFL believes the Redskins are going to stink it up in the regular season. The defense is too good, they say. The offense has a great balance potential of run and pass.Problem there is we've been here before: 2000. Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Irving Fryar, Dana Stubblefield, Dan Wilkinson. These guys were supposed to be veterans who didn't need motivation, just an objective (the Super Bowl). That was supposed to be the 'at last' moment for Norval, the season when he could say finally that he had the talent he needed to win big. He got fired.
Is Al Saunders protesting too loudly about keeping the playbook a secwet? I hope this is not the return of Rod Dowhower. Next stop: Minnesota Vikings.
Mark Brunell, and this look was before the game: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP