Out of the box: Spare parts, playcalling by committee and a badass defense come calling as the Redskins travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles, 1pm ET on FOX, hanging on in quiet desperation just about covers it at this point.
Quick jump to
The story so far: Well it may have been a first last week, against the Cowboys the Redskins played well enough to win... and lost. Contrast that notion with all the other bad losses and weak wins, only the Broncos game stands out as another solid overall performance, oh last week my kingdom for one of those missed field goals.
And now the story moves on to Philadelphia, closing out the division series for the year. The Eagles are legitimate contenders looking past Washington, and the Redskins are... what?
Beat to shit? Playing out the string? Laughable? Scrappin? Hard to say any more, there have been so many injuries, so much damage to team pride, a revolving door among the offensive starters, playing poorly against bad teams, playing well against good teams, Redskins fans simply have no idea which way is up, like in the movie we are just trying to follow the bubbles to the surface.
Players insist there is no division between the offensive and defensive teams in the locker room (ibid.), we have little choice but to take their word for it, it seems at this point like it would be tough for the defensive players not to be fucking pissed at the offense, Washington held Dallas scoreless into the third quarter and held Tony Romo's receivers without a catch through three quarters and the offense could not even score a single touchdown.
In football news the team is all the way down to the bottom of the depth chart at tailback, Rock Cartwright will make his first start since 2003, Clinton Portis still experiencing after effects of his concussion suffered two weeks ago and out for the game. Fan favorite Marcus Mason is back (ibid.), after getting spite-cut in the aftermath of the Kansas City debacle Marcus has been unsigned and working out, here at Curly R we would like nothing more this week than to see Marcus come in and run the ball well against the Eagles, Rock is going to get his due and he was not without excitement last week; I still persist that Rock is not an every down back, I guess we get out own Rock Cartwright laboratory in which to test this theory. Depth chart junkies will note that Marcus was ahead of Rock on the team's depth chart right up until Marcus was cut (op. cit.).
And the Redskins may have yet another new starting right guard, Edwin Williams is getting the call over former 400 pound man Mike Williams, Edwin will be the team's fifth starting right guard this season: Randy Thomas, Chad Rinehart, Mike Williams, Will Montgomery. That head coach Jim Zorn selected Edwin and Mike over Will Montgomery is a testament to how fucked up things are on the line this season, no one can make a decision and that may be due to an abject lack of real talent.
In coaching news secondary coach Jerry Gray interviewed this week with the University of Memphis for their vacant coaching position, and was reported widely, including here, as having the job all sewed up, Joe Gibbs recommended coach Gray for the position and FedEx chairman and founder Fred Smith's son is a quarterback at the school, FedEx is of course the signatory sponsor of Redskins Stadium and Fred is good friends with team owner Dan Snyder. Last night we learned Jerry would not be the next head coach of Memphis (op. cit.), instead the team selected LSU running backs coach and former Memphis tailback Larry Porter. Coach Gray aspires to be a head coach and hopefully it will work out for him when the right opportunity appears.
Curly R aside: I am beginning to agree with Joe Theismann, the Redskins playcalling process is completely fucked. Someone out there has drawn me up a wire diagram showing the relationships between Sherman Lewis, Sherman Smith, Chris Meidt, Jim Zorn, the running game, the passing game, the two minute drill slash hurry up and the fourth down calls. A fundamental problem with this process is that some or all of the parties in the playcalling process have a reason to make themselves look valuable. Therefore the success of the team, while generally on the critical path of successful playcalls and execution, is not technically the highest goal for everyone. Talk about needless overcomplication.
Curly R aside continues: No you dumbasses, the NFC Beast is not the worst division in the National Football League, three teams are above .500 and the fourth just held the first to seven points. Look around and tell me if the Bills, Jets and Dolphins help comprise an AFC Least that is better than the NFC Beast. Granted when I try and go into other divisions it makes the Redskins look bad but you get my point. If the Redskins had an offense that ran off a lawnmower engine they would be at least 6-4.
Oppo research: It is the Eagles, what do you need to know? Tailback Brian Westbrook suffered a concussion against Washington in game six, missed two games, then got another concussion against San Diego, he is out and his career may be in question. We will be seeing LeSean McCoy at tailback, we saw lots of him last time.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb is in perfect form and has receivers to work with. On defense the Eagles are the third ranked team in the league in sacks (op. cit.), they will be coming for Jason Campbell.
This will be a tough opponent.
Trainer's table: Well it was kind of a crappy week as far as injuries go. Tailback Ladell Betts tore his anterior cruciate ligament and his medial collateral ligament, he is done for the season (op. cit.), that puts Rock Cartwright into the starting spot, a man that has not started in the backfield since 2003.
Right guard Chad Rinehart was also placed on injured reserve, he broke his fibula last week against the Cowboys, that leaves the right guard spot in some question, the aforementioned former 40 pound man Mike Williams is back from his sprained ankle and is available, coach Zorn is going with Edwin Williams (op. cit.), that position is all jacked up, see Story So Far above.
With Ladell and Chad, and rookie fullback Eddie Williams who broke a fibula in practice the Friday before the Cowboys game, the three latest players to go on to injured reserve, those guys are gone and we can stop worrying about them, of greater concern is the players that have survived and whether they will play (op. cit.).
Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is still bothered by a sprained ankle, his absence last week, at least in the first half of the Cowboys game, was huge, with Albert out of the lineup Dallas ran at will, at one point running six straight times, until Marion fumbled the ball. In the second half the Redskins adjusted and managed to shore up the run defense, Albert is questionable for today's game (ibid.).
And on that fumble play, cornerback DeAngelo Hall sprained his knee, he is out for this game, meaning benched cornerback Carlos Rogers must return to duty (ibid.), which he probably would have anyway, and likely will be paired up with Fred Smoot (op. cit.).
Here is one from the Department of No Fucking Duh, so it looks like the skirt blowing optimism over tight end Chris Cooley's broken ankle possibly healing faster than expected is finally deflating (op. cit.), even Chris himself is admitting he is probably done for the year and why not, if you were him or his agent or if he was your meal ticket would you want him to hustle back to get on the field and play for a 3-10 team? Hells no, the team will be shutting Chris down onto injured reserve in a week or two and that will be that.
It is getting difficult to discuss Redskins injuries in a concise fashion.
Gameplan: After the mirage that was the Broncos game the Redskins are back to an offense that cannot play its way out of a paper bag, a tailback who has not started a game in the backfield since 2003 and maybe their fifth different right guard. I think the gameplan is pretty obvious at this point, hope you come out any given Sunday style and have a good game.
On defense, the unit is weakened with injuries to key players, even so it should be decent, at this point Redskins fans are just kind of hoping there is not a humiliating blowout waiting for them this season.
My take in 60 words or less: Contending division rival on the road. Tons of injuries. Truckloads of uncertainly and a guaranteed housecleaning in January. No shot at a win. Nothing to lose. Go play some football.
Washington Post interactive gameday, keys to the game, key matchups, Redskins roster. Broadcast coverage, most of the nation will be watching this game, this may be the Redskins' widest 1pm coverage since the start of the season.
Enjoy the game, I have an 8am departure from Alexandria to Philadelphia with lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery, we are off to our 21st of the past 22 Eagles-Redskins matchups played anywhere, this will my 19th straight rivalry game, this streak stretches back to 1999.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmet logos from here.