Sunday, August 15, 2010

Steve Spurrier-like Numbers

Welcome aboard tiger

Takeaway Drill: First time out was a pretty smooth ride, record setting in fact; get used to it folks, Donovan McNabb and Mike Shanahan are real and they are here; quality depth and a tantalizing hint of rookie speed in a place where it is needed.

Quick jump to

Monday Walkthrough :: Soapbox :: Chattering Class :: Omnibus Spotlights :: Recaps and Stats

Monday Saturday Walkthrough: All of Washington practically explodes as the Redskins come out, look good, suffer no injuries and reveal depth at many positions in a record setting 42-17 blowout preseason win over Buffalo, the ease with which the Bills were dispatched leaves me nervously confident.

The Redskins get the ball to start the first quarter, Clinton Portis gets the first call, for one yard, then a Santana Moss end around for a yard, McNabb's first pass as a Redskin is a completion to Chris Cooley and the Redskins HAVE A FIRST DOWN, the rest of this drive is unremarkable and Josh Bidwell and the Redskins punt. The Bills get the ball for the first time, Kareem Moore commits a facemask giving the Bills fifteen yards, the Bills seem able to move the ball at will, on second and ten the Bills line up four wide with a tight end, Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter blitz on second down, Trent Edwards finds Roscoe Parrish as the hot man, somewhat typical of this Bills drive, after a holding penalty on the Bills twelve yards on a third and thirteen and the Bills are kicking, Rian Lindell 37 yards and field goal good, 3-0 Bills. The Redskins get the ball for the second time, Dono still on the field, false start to get this drive going, Clinton hits for six, a good run, Roydell Williams down the right side for 21 yards next, two plays later a roughing the passer penalty gave the Redskins another first down, Ryan Torain enters the game at tailback, playfake on third and inches and Dono guts it out for the first down, THEN A NICE THROW TO CHRIS COOLEY FOR NINETEEN, Clinton bulls to the five for four, on third and four Dono finds Anthony Armstrong for four, touchdown, Graham Gano extra point is good and the Redskins take a 7-3 lead. The Bills get the ball for the second time, on second and ten Trent Edwards is forced to throw off his back foot by Adam Carriker, DeAngelo Hall picks it off and returns it for 33 yards, almost a touchdown. On the turnover Washington gets the ball for the third time, Dono is out and Rex Grossman in is at quarterback, Sext Rexy gets a seven yarder to the right to rookie Terence Austin, then Ryan Torain for no gain and that is the end of the first quarter, 7-3 Redskins.

The second quarter starts with the Redskins continuing their third drive, a Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams run later and Keiland goes in for a two yard touchdown, extra point good, Redskins 14-3. Buffalo gets the ball for the third time, pretty sure it was a three and out P-U-N-T. Washington gets the ball for the fourth time, unremarkable until third and nine, Rex Grossman to Bobby Wade, bobbles the ball then pulls it in for 21 yards, then Ryan Torain up the middle for 15 yards, Keiland Williams, Anthony Armstrong and Darrel Young figure in, on third and nine Rex gets out of danger and finds Fred Davis who makes a nifty move on the left sideline and touchdown nine yards, extra point good and the Redskins lead 21-3. The Bills get the ball for the fourth time, Albert Haynesworth appears at nose tackle and is felt immediately as Trent Edwards is pressured by Perry Riley off the Albert double team, third and fifteen for the Bills, long complete and the Bills choose to punt on fourth and one. The Redskins get the ball for the fifth time, Bobby Wade draws a pass interference penalty, Devin Thomas gets into the action for eleven yards, seven yard dumpout to Keiland Williams, a long completion to Keiland was nullified by penalty, incomplete and the Redskins are punting. Buffalo's fifth possession Ryan Fitzpatrick the Harvard Hurler, comes in at quarterback for the Bills, a nice playaction on second down fooled me, I thought it was a sure safety but was an 18 yard ground gain, that is it for that drive and the Bills are punting. Washington gets the ball for the sixth time, rookie receiver Brandon Banks muffs the punt but recovers, nothing nothing nothing and the half ends with the Redskins leading 21-3.

Buffalo gets the ball to start the third quarter, the Bills sixth possession, Ryan Fitzpatrick looks good but can't get a first down and the Bills are punting. The Redskins get the ball for the seventh time, oops no they do not, Kansas State rookie receiver Brandon Banks who muffed the last punt takes this one around the right end with some wheels and a cut, 77 yards for a touchdown, extra point good, Redskins lead 28-3. The Bills seventh possession is a short run and two incomplete and a PUNT. Washington's seventh possession, Rex Grossman still in the game, Rex scrambles on third and five to keep the drive alive, a bullet to Bobby Wade, third and one to Devin Thomas for nine and a first down, a couple of inconsequential plays then deep long to Devin Thomas on third and ten, 44 yards and a touchdown, extra point good and the Redskins lead 35-3. Buffalo is struggling to exist and gets the ball for the eighth time, a good return for the Bills but useless as they go three and out. The Redskins get the ball for the eighth time, John Beck surprises into the game, he was not scheduled to play based on lack of familiarity with the playbook, it looks that way as the Redskins punt… and Ellis Lankster of the Bills muffs the punt and it is recovered by receiver Roydell Williams. Washington continues its eighth drive into the ninth drive, it is starting to get sloppy as the Redskins three and out, John Beck still in at quarterback and does not look sharp at all, Washington three and out. Buffalo's ninth possession, sloppy by Washington with a good run by Chad Simpson, then a touchdown by some guy from the Harvard guy and it is 35-10 Washington. Washington gets the ball for the tenth time with seventeen seconds left the quarter, one play and that's it with Washington leading 35-10.

The Redskins continue their tenth possession into the fourth quarter, John Beck still in the game and gets creamed then Washington punts. After a return into Redskins territory the Bills begin their tenth possession, on second and three rookie tailback Joique Bell takes the ball 28 yards through the right side for a Bills touchdown, 35-17 Redskins. Washington gets the ball for the eleventh time, wow the dropoff in talent is precipitous, I am really out of energy for this game, blah blah Redskins punt. Buffalo's eleventh possession is blah blah some new quarterback and a punt. The Redskins twelfth possession is a steady diet of Ladell Betts lookalike Ryan Torain ending with Keiland Williams through right side for a touchdown, Redskins 42-10. My wife is complaining. The Bills get one final possession, their twelfth, it seemed long but I could not tell, from the Buffalo 32 to the Washington 39 then bubble safety Lendy Holmes intercepts and that is that for Buffalo. Washington's thirteenth and final possession is a one play kneel down by John Beck, and that is all folks, Redskins win the first preseason game of the Mike Shanahan era, 42-10.


Soapbox: Well sports fans, what did we think? Last night's game featured the most Redskins points in a preseason game since 2002 when Patrick Ramsey, Shane Matthews, Kenny Watson, Rod Gardner, Jacquez Green and James Tuthill piled onto the Buccaneers for 40 points in head coach Steve Spurrier's fourth preseason game of his first year as head coach. Some company for Mike Shanahan! This game also bested the Redskins best preseason output ever, 41 points in a game I cannot confirm, if someone could drop me a comment with a reference I would appreciate it.

During Buffalo's opening drive I must say the Redskins looked pretty soft, the Bills went from their 20 to the Redskins 20 in seven plays, including a fifteen yard facemask on free safety Kareem Moore, Trent Edwards from five of six and Washington seemed back on their heels.

Then that was about it for the Bills. And here is the thing I most struck on for this game, it seemed pretty much like an effortless ass beating.

And by effortless here I mean specifically that the offense did not appear to be executing complicated plays, the playcalls did seem pretty vanilla, rather it seemed that the Redskins just were able to execute on pretty much everything they tried, the Bills on the other hand did not seem to be executing much like a professional team.

Why is this? I have two theories. First, the Redskins are just better two weeks into camp. The Shanahan system is taking hold, players understand their assignments. Upgraded personnel along the offensive line means plays get off to a better start and stay hard longer.

Second, the concept of depth is a little different with the Redskins this year. If you step back and look at the roster and where new real actual general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan have made additions and subtractions, many familiar Redskins players are now taking the field with the second or third string.

In some cases this is as it should have been, the talent level was not necessarily there for some of these players, players like cornerback Justin Tryon and linebacker Robert Henson, so they are playing where they should have been all along. Others, like nose end Albert Haynesworth and receiver Devin Thomas may not belong down there and may elevate, or not. We pretty much know Albert will be back with the starters, not so for Devin.

In any case, many players we saw in the second, third and fourth strings have plenty of real game experience, if not starting experience, so one would expect a projected backup with live games under his belt to play better on average than a backup with little or none, and for the Redskins here I am talking about guys like Chad Rinehart, Will Montgomery, Chris Wilson, Edwin Williams, HB Blades and others.

In sum, my main takeaway from this game was the Redskins can execute and they have some depth, two bedrock principles that were lacking coming out of last season.

As for rookie receiver Brandon Banks, he of the 77 yard punt return touchdown, before we get all in a tizzy over him and start celebrating his end zone dances, let us take a sober second to remember that he muffed the previous punt. It was nice though to see someone other than Antwaan Randle El back there fielding punts.

Speaking of muffs, not good for Devin Thomas to muff the opening kickoff, not good at all.

And hey, what the fuck with the broadcasts? Due to a dinner obligation I arrived at neighbor Bill's to watch the game on ShedTVTM around 8:15 pm, I found neighbors struggling to find the beginning of the game, neighbor Bill had set local NBC-4 high definition to record, that station was on blackout until 7:29 left in the first quarter and when it came back it was broadcasting in standard definition, luckily the other tuner was on NBC-4 standard definition, and we only missed the opening kickoff and first two plays of the game. Neighbor Bill is on FIOS.

Who fucked this up and what station do I need to be on to see preseason games in high definition?


Chattering Class: Mike Wise at the Washington Post makes the observation that goes without saying but bears repeating: The entire key to Washington's 2010 season is keeping Donovan McNabb healthy and upright, while I agree that is the case for the team to make a legitimate run at the playoffs in the first year of all new all everything I will also say that Rex Grossman did not look terrible in the number two spot, playing more than two quarters and finishing eleven of eighteen for 140 yards and two touchdowns, everyone loves to beat up on Rex, I think the Redskins could do a lot worse at backup. Mike also tosses a little Jason Campbell reference in there, if Dono is injured and the Redskins wind up sucking wind in 2010 we will realize how much we took Jason's durability for granted.

Tracee Hamilton, also at the Washington Post, focuses on the improvement up front along the offensive line, with three new starters, added depth and an all new blocking scheme, there is not a lot we can take as articles of faith after one game against a team that was 6-10 last season and already riddled with injuries two weeks into camp, even with the vanilla playbook for this game (op. cit.) I can swear the blocking was improved in both the run and pass games.


Omnibus: Broadcasters: Kenny Albert and Joe Theismann for the Redskins broadcast network, getting pretty tired of these guys.

Uniform watch: White jerseys with burgundy pants, this will always be my preferred combination.

So far one Buffalo drive into the game and it looks like the Redskins defense ain't that good.

In the first quarter, Redskins second drive on first down after the 21 yard Roydell Williams catch, the play was a playaction long incomplete down the right side to Joey galloway, the cameraman was fooled, when we saw the pass on replay Joe Theismann made the helpful remark that for Dono to be successful he needs to keep the ball in the field of play. Thanks Joe.

Fucking Redskins scratch off lottery commercial in the first quarter, I hate that the NFL and Redskins have gotten into the business of lottery.

Butterfingers: Redskins second drive, first quarter, Anthony Armstrong touchdown catch from Dono, looked to us like Anthony lost the ball going over the line, by the time he got it back he was down, then after declared a TD, Anthony tried to spike it… and the ball slipped from his hands. Believe me when I tell you that this will not be missed by the coaches. That's a challenge in the regular season.

Nice penetration by former Ram Adam Carriker, Bills second possession first quarter, caused Trent Edwards to throw off his back foot for an INT, DeAngelo Hall for 33 yards return.

I learned that my longtime football partner neighbor Paul has a particular Redskins shirt that he only wears for preseason games, never for a regular season game.

Early in the second quarter owner Dan Snyder made an appearance in the booth with Kenny Albert and Joe Thiesmann, what is less important is the content of this interview, what is more important is that Dan is making himself more available to media now that he is deliberately less involved in the football operations, he also talked about the improvements to the stadium for this year, including the hundred foot high definition screens in either end zone.

A little weird to see someone other than Ladell Betts wear number 46, Ryan Torain looks a lot like Ladell doesn't he?

Nice play on Redskins fourth drive, second quarter, on third and goal Rex Grossman makes a move to get out of danger, pulls the ball back and finds Fred Davis, his second or third receiver, then Fred makes a good move to get free of a tackler, touchdown. Confidence.

The way it is supposed to work: on the next drive Albert Haynesworth comes in at nose tackle, he occupies two blockers and linebacker Perry Riley comes right in for a QB pressure, incomplete by Trent Edwards.

Nice interstitial of rookie Trent Williams in the second quarter, did not pay any attention to what he said, was looking at his neck tats and his Michael Strahan teeth.

Got to say at halftime of this game, Rex Grossman looks like a pretty good option at quarterback. The Redskins were pretty much statistically dominant in the first half.

From cut to contract: Former Kansas State receiver Brandon Banks muffed the punt to start the Redskins sixth possession, then nullifies the seventh possession by returning it 77 yards for a touchdown. That dude has some wheels.

35 points: most points in a preseason game scored by the Redskins since 2002, under Steve Spurrier. Really.

Quote from neighbor Scott in third quarter, Bills ninth possession, I wonder how it feels to be a running back named Simpson in Buffalo. Talking about Chad Simpson of course.

So sick of the Papa Johns plugs in the booth from Joe Thiesmann, just stop it.

John Beck had a horrible night, I hope the coaches are able to discern whether it was John or the blocking or some other problem.

Into to Bills final possession, off the Redskins punt cornerback Ramzee Robinson grabbed the ball right at the goal line to pin Buffalo at the two yard line. Nice play.

Joe Thiesmann right sentiment, wrong statement: With XX left in the fourth quarter and discussing Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, Joe said Jim was heroic for getting New Orleans through Hurricane Katrina… in 2000. In fairness Jim was Saints head coach in 2005.

Did we see Willie Parker or Larry Johnson at all? No we did not and apparently that was by design (op. cit.) and we will see more of them in the upcoming preseason games.


The Mastermind: Even though it has been since January that Mike Shanahan became the head coach of the Redskins it was still a bit odd to see him prowling the sidelines in a burgundy logo'd shirt. His demeanor was calm and he carried the affect of a man that knows preseason games are not the end but rather the means to an end, unlike his new peer in Redskins history Steve Spurrier, who seemed to think all games were for winning. Nice to have you aboard coach.

Number Five: Same here, even though we have seen pictures and video of quarterback Donovan McNabb in burgundy and gold it was a little jarring to see him take the field in my preferred white jersey burgundy pants Redskins uniform, the guy that has made Redskins fans so miserable for more than a decade now suddenly is playing for my team. Whoa factor nine point five. As far as Dono's performance, he stayed out for seventeen plays, tossed a touchdown pass and scrambled for a first down on third and one when needed. His passing was crisp and it looks like Dono and Chris Cooley may make beautiful music together.

Silver and Back: Last night was rookie left tackle Trent Williams first time out and I must say the guy looks equipped to start right away in the NFL. Only time will tell if he can play at a high level right away, probably not consistently and if he can hack a whole NFL season, he will likely hit the wall about twelve games in and kind of disappear, to look at him though he is the physical package. For six feet five inches and 318 pounds, he looks like most of that weight is located right in the breadbox, he will knock your ass over.


Washington Post recap, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos, video highlights.

Next up, get ready for an awkward reunion as Baltimore comes to town, will Dan Snyder greet former Redskins head coach and current Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn warmly on the sidelines? Or will Dan ignore and pretend the last two seasons never happened? I hope coach Zorn gets a cheer when he hits the field, he is a good guy and got a raw deal here.

Donovan McNabb: AP photo from here. Jim Zorn tutoring Ravens quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Troy Smith: AP photo from here.