Out of the Box: The day is finally at hand, the 2010 NFL season starts tonight with an epic game, Dallas comes to Washington, 8:30 pm on NBC, time to see how all this stuff really works.
Quick jump to
The Story So Far: The preseason ended two wins and two losses, there were some cuts, a practice squad was formed, defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth was almost traded. Or not, depends on who you ask, and it is looking like Albert will not start but will play lots (op. cit.) after practicing this week with the scout team which is cool because actually everyone practices with the scout team according to coach Shanahan. Quarterback Donovan McNabb thinks the Redskins cannot win without Albert. I think Dono needs to get up a baww thread.
It was a busy week in Ashburn as the Redskins readied for another regular season of games, the amount of activity and gear and logistics of running an NFL team are staggering.
Tailback Clinton Portis, once known for wearing hilarious getups and assuming fake identities, has returned to Earth from where he lived much of the past four seasons, owner Dan Snyder's butt, Clinton has lost weight, regained focus and is working on just being a better teammate this year, I really thought Mike Shanahan's arrival in Washington was going to herald the end of the Clinton era, it looks like he is ready for 2010.
When Seattle, continuing the post Jim Mora purge, released ten year veteran receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh, he of six straight seventy catch plus seasons with nine hundred yards or more in each of those years, the Redskins took a look at him, TJ would have been a good addition to the roster, ultimately TJ went to the Ravens who are now stacked at receiver.
Rookie left tackle Trent Williams got a new uniform number, he will no longer be number 72, he will now be 71, his preferred number since Trent was a kid, previously former 400 pound man and guard slash tackle reserve Mike Williams was number 71, Mike is is out this season with a blood condition, so Trent got his desired number.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb and linebacker London Fletcher were named captains in today's candidate for world's smallest surprise. Also, that story from July and August about Team Dono's business development meeting in Arlington is baaaack. It surprises me that Dono needs to sell himself at all and that he needs to have these press the flesh events, he is a known quantity and has plenty of cash, his touted advisors should have no end of opportunities lined up for him.
Curly R Aside: Nice work by the Washington Post on the big season preview special section in the paper this week and on line. Not as nice as last season's or the one before that, that is the way this business is going as shit disturbers like me dilute their market, just wanted to be sure everyone got these links: Front page, enterprise profile of head coach Mike Shanahan, a summary on the offense, one on the defense, columnist Tracee Hamilton on the difficult work of rebuilding an NFL roster, Michael Wilbon on how the start of NFL season is the new Christmas (it is), two interactive graphics, one on the Shanahan playbook and one on Super Bowl winning coaches, like Mike Shanahan, that left their teams and tried to do it with another, none ever has, here is a print edition version of this same piece. Nice looking pages with the projected starting offense and starting defense, and former Redskins beat writer and current Washington Post NFL writer Mark Maske ends on a downer with the all too real prospect of a work stoppage in 2011.
Oppo Research: The temperature keeps going up in Dallas as owner Jerral W. Jones has made it plainly clear that there is no more building, there are no more long term projects, this is it and this is now, time to win. Jerruh was critical of his team's effort early in what turned out to be a miserable Dallas preseason and the look of disgust on his face watching the Cowboys take a shellacking while looking incompetent against the admittedly now awesome Texans was priceless. I think the Dallas team is a year past its window, they may still do well in 2010, I do not think they are as good as most of the chattering class seems to think.
For his part this season, Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips, who worked with Mike Shanahan in Denver and does not think a weak preseason presages a weak regular season, thinks the Redskins in 2010 are a quote unknown unquote. Something something Cowboys, something something unknown is going to be a meme with Dallas all the way until Wade gets fired in January. Quarterback Tony Romo is similarly unaffected by the Cowboys rough preseason, making him either coolly confident or completely oblivious.
At a more tactical level, the timing of this game is good for Washington, the Cowboys come to town without both starting tackles, see Gameplan below for more detail.
Trainer's Table: The injury report is surprisingly short, quarterback Donovan McNabb's ankle is good to go and tailback Clinton Portis is feeling no ill effects from the fake injury he suffered in preseason game two. The only serious injury to report for the Redskins is safety Kareem Moore, still out with the knee injury suffered in preseason, Kareem participated in some limited drills this week, his return is still a couple of weeks out. Reed Doughty will start at free safety in Kareem's place.
Gameplan: Lots of intriguing matchups in this game, rookie left tackle Trent Williams will be going up against Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware (also here), center Casey Rabach going up against the much bigger defensive tackle Jay Ratliff. On the flip the Cowboys are missing both starting tackles Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier, expect that linebackers Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter will be working backups Alex Barron and Montrae Holland all night to expose them.
What will we see tonight from the Redskins? Hard nosed run first ball control shorten the game football like Mike Shanahan likes to play and Redskins fans love to see? Or toss it around the field spread the receivers aerial attack like Kyle Shanahan likes to run and Donovan McNabb likes to execute? Hard to know, one thing is for sure though, we will be basing every other game on what we see tonight.
Rookie receiver slash returner Brandon Banks is the only mild surprise on the inactives list, with the season starting on national television against a division rival, coach Shanahan is not going to trust the fumble prone speedster to stay calm.
My Take in 60 Words or Less: Oh am I a happy guy, football is back.
Broadcast coverage: NBC, this is a national game baby; SkinsCast weather, in the 60s, it rained earlier and now is going to be a great night for football. Gold pants tiem?
Enjoy the game, after four night games in the preseason a late start feels perfectly normal, I will be with neighbors and ShedTV, welcome 2010.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmet logos from here.