Sunday, November 15, 2009

Game 9: Redskins (2-6) vs. Broncos (6-2)


Out of the box: The 2009 walk of shame continues as the Redskins host the Denver Broncos, 1pm ET on CBS, they way I figure it Washington has a chance to win this game just based on the law of large numbers.

Quick jump to


The Story So Far: The march to irrelevance continues into its ninth game, now with more sideline fights. I saw the same play and replay as everyone else (op. cit.) and what I saw last week against the Falcons after safety LaRon Landry's late hit on quarterback Matt Ryan was two things: cornerback DeAngelo Hall not getting out of there in an expeditious fashion and a lack of Redskins teammates rushing in to bail him out. I would counsel though that the lack of teammates coming to break things up is not so much a comment on how the players feel about DeAngelo, rather it is a comment on how unmotivated the team is to do anything, they are as depressed as their fan base. DeAngelo came in and stirred things up when he did not have too (op. cit.) and then whined about it and the Falcons head coach took a chance to take some bitterness out, both kind of punk moves. Nice move by defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth at the end of the scrum, he came right in and moved the whole pile. LaRon and Albert were both fined for their effort (op. cit.).

And how does a game like last week's happen? One team, with a week off plays another that was on a short week and gets creamed in the first half, five sacks of quarterback Jason Campbell and it took an epic halftime screaming match by offensive line coach Joe Bugel and head coach Jim Zorn to get them to play like men. All this is so last week, about the last game so why bring it up this week? Because the sideline scrum and the getting pushed around are not signs the team is quitting, but rather signs the team lacks discipline and basic fundamentals.We cannot even really get to the talent issue at this point.

In non football news, head coach Jim Zorn has entered the bunker and former Super Bowl 26 MVP Mark Rypien's exhortations notwithstanding, things are not getting better between the team and the fans, so lame was Redskins owner Dan Snyder's media availability at an out of town charity event, and so softball were NBC 4's Lindsey Czarniak's questions at that availability that Redskins fans are left wondering if team management even cares. Hall of Fame freight train John Riggins continues to be an unabashed critic of the owner and despite the appearance of circumstances, I approve.

In football news, the battle for right guard is back open, Will Montgomery started the past three games, Joe Bugel lobbied for Chad Rinehart to get another shot and they competed this week, Chad eventually won out and will be back at right guard today.

While it seems like meteor sized pieces of the season keep raining down all around Washington, hints are beginning to materialize there may be new management at the end of the season (op. cit.), meaning shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato. And why the hell not, everything over the past two seasons, from Jim Zorn to drafting all receivers last year to the fresh set of eyes this season to handing the playcalling duties to a total stranger, is all traced back to Vinny. As someone once said on HBO's great The Sopranos, someone's gotta go.


Curly R aside: As the Redskins have continued to spiral downward and inspire nothing but ennui in their fanbase I have seen anecdotally more and more pleas for someone to please take my tickets, or stories of people refusing free tickets or people simply not using their tickets and staying home to watch a real football game on TV. Well one local business is doing its best to turn Redskins tickets back into hard currency, American Service Center is running a promotion whereby if you turn in your unused Redskins tickets, and the team is not called by name in the commercials, ASC will credit you face value of the ticket off the price of a new Mercedes and donate the tickets to Boys and Girls Clubs.



Oppo Research: This year's Broncos bear at least a passing resemblance to last year's Redskins, a brash and inexperienced head coach coming in to replace a legendary face of the franchise and then getting out of the gate on a hot streak. Will the parallels continue? After coming out of the gate six and oh, Denver has lost two straight, has been outscored 58-17 in those two games, and quarterback Kyle Orton throwing three interceptions against the Steelers last week. The league may be catching up with Josh McDaniels.

This game also marks the first meeting of tailback Clinton Portis and cornerback Champ Bailey, Washington's 1999 first round draft pick out of the University of Georgia, since the 2004 blockbuster trade that swapped them, the Redskins and Broncos played in 2005 but Champ was injured and did not play. Clinton has all but become the greatest Redskins ball carrier ever and Champ has gone to four Pro Bowls, I think the trade was a wash in principle, with Denver getting a slight advantage in the deal as they got a second round draft pick in the deal that they ultimately used on tailback Tatum Bell who was a workhorse for the Broncos for the better part of three seasons.


Trainer's Table: It's bad, the injury report has pretty much taken over the daily agenda at Redskins Park.

Tailback Clinton Portis suffered a painful looking concussion, taking two Falcons helmets right on the hat and knocking him out of that game, he wants to play but needs medical clearance and may miss more than one game, in his place tailbacks Ladell Betts, and to a lesser extent Rock Cartwright, did a great job carrying the load, Ladell will be the go to guy this week as Clinton will be out, which should be fine since Ladell already takes most of the snaps in practice because Clinton so rarely practices. I wonder if Ladell has a great game behind this same shitty offensive line if we will have ourselves a backfield controversy.

The list of injuries from the Atlanta game goes on, safety Chris Horton suffered a ligament tear in his big toe and will miss the rest of the season, the team put Chris on injured reserve on Wednesday. With Chris' absence, regular free safety LaRon Landry may move up to play some strong safety closer to the line and second year reserve safety Kareem Moore may play some at free safety (op. cit.). LaRon has had a hard time so far this season but I am not about to write him off, he seems to be playing a little like Sean Taylor did in 2006 and like Sean did LaRon can snap out of it. Rookie free agent safety Lendy Holmes was signed to the roster to replace Chris after the temp punter was released (ibid., see below).

Former 400 pound man guard-tackle Mike Williams also suffered a ligament tear, in his ankle, he is in a boot after surgery and is expected to miss at least two weeks (ibid.). With Mike Williams out Stephon Heyer moves back to right tackle (ibid.) which is where he started the season before he moved to left tackle after Chris Samuels was injured in game five against the Panthers, so Stephon is now his own backup. Newly signed tackle Levi Jones moves to left tackle until Stephon gets hurt and then Levi will play both left and right tackles at the same time.

Punter Hunter the Punter Smith is good to go, the team waited until the last minute to make a decision on his groin, they released last week's temp Sam Paulescu.

There is simply no depth left in the team, and they know it (op. cit.).


Gameplan: This game will be all about pass rush, with both the Redskins and the Broncos strong on the defensive line and susceptible to sacks along the offensive line. Down the field the Broncos have two excellent receivers in Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall which will test Washington's defensive secondary. Somehow the Redskins are currently leading the league in passing defense, I have no idea how that stat is true. Shit tackling must improve (ibid.).


My Take in 60 Words or Less: Everything sucks. Can't wait to see the demonstrations of fan unrest in the stands.


Washington Post interactive gameday, keys to the game, key matchups, Redskins roster. SkinsCast weather, it is going to be a beautiful day, it might even be too hot in the sun. Broadcast coverage, a huge geographical area out west commensurate with the Broncos market, very tight local coverage on the east coast.

Other previews: Mark Newgent at Redskins Examiner has his regular exchange with the Examiner columnist for Washington's opponent.

Enjoy the game, at this point I do not even know if there is anyone out there to hear my signal, all appears to be madness, there will be more pain, then stillness.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmet logos from here.