The Story So Far: The Redskins continue to play close games against good opposition in a season that was supposed to be a sixteen game preseason for the Real Mike Shanahan Redskins, instead this team looks like it could actually contend in 2010. And most of the teams so far on the schedule have featured high powered offenses or deadeye quarterbacks.
Into this mix come the Bears this week, with none other than almost Redskin Jay Cutler at quarterback. Hilarity will ensue.
Recapping the week in Redskins football, I think the big story was the alleged shouting match cornerback DeAngelo Hall and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett got into over coverages, assignments, DeAngelo does not seem to think he and his unit mates have the freedom they need to make plays. For his part, Jim Haslett played it down, saying these types of discussions are routine. This is the second time DeAngelo has gone rogue on the team's defensive strategy, last time DeAngelo said he was going to ignore coaching calls and cover opponents' top receivers himself on every play. It is worth noting that the game following this proclamation, against the Rams, the Redskins lost and DeAngelo played poorly.
tailback Ryan Torain looks like he may be serviceable in the backfield, with Clinton Portis' future with the team not certain Redskins fans should look at every game as an audition for the team's next back. Ryan is a big back and gets most of his yardage after contact, time will tell if his body can hold up, and or if he is a product of the running backs are fungible Mike Shanahan philosophy of football. Personally I still go back to training camp, I thought Ryan was better than every other back besides Clinton, yet Ryan still got cut and spent two weeks on the practice squad before getting promoted and now like wow he is the starting tailback.
With all the focus on player concussions and head trauma in the news it was probably not a great time for tight end Chris Cooley to get bopped on the head, we found out after the Colts game that Chris took a shot in the first half, then returned before pulling himself from the game, he sat out two days of practice then was back and is expected to play.
Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth did not play against the Colts, he returned too late in the week from the funeral for his brother, or his head was obviously not in the game, take your pick of stories, now the NFL trade deadline has passed and Albert and the team have ten games to figure out if there is a relationship there. I am disappointed the team did not manage to get rid of Albert, for all we have heard the team was never shopping him realistically, rather was looking for a trade value so high that only a dumbass team would go for it, part of me is still surprised Vinny Cerrato did not sneak back into the complex at Ashburn and try to trade two first round picks back to the team for Albert.
Rocky McIntosh, linebacker, enigma or both?
The last time these two teams met was the bitter cold game thirteen of the 2007 season, quarterback Jason Campbell went down with a broken kneecap, Pride of Walpole Todd Collins came in relief and the Redskins won 24-16 to keep their slim playoff hopes alive in the aftermath of Sean Taylor's death and what would become Joe Gibbs' last season as head coach. Todd is now Jay Cutler's backup in Chicago.
Curly R Aside: I know coaching is coaching, that all players, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning included, need coaching even when they are at the top of the profession, I get that, take a look at what is happening with Brad Childress and Brett Favre, I have always thought that coaching for an advanced player such as Donovan McNabb was essentially limited to getting him familiar with the offensive scheme and continual feedback on reading defenses. When I read this week that the Redskins were coaching Dono up on his motion and mechanics I thought that was a little silly, the dude is in his twelfth year of doing this professionally, at this point he is what he is and making him feel like he is being coached up just because he is with a new team or the coaches want to assert themselves is a way to piss him off. That said, if he is complacent in his mechanics or quote trying too hard unquote in his rush to get familiar on the fly with the offense, then perhaps he needs it.
Oppo Research: Chicago is summed up as a team with a dangerous quarterback, failing offensive line, inconsistent receivers, a solid running game, a ferocious run defense and questionable pass defense. Jay Cutler has been eat to shit, three weeks ago he was sacked nine times in the first half and left the game with a concussion, if you give Jay Cutler time he will burn you, if you get to him you can stop the whole offense cold.
Trainer's Table: As indicated above, tight end Chris Cooley suffered a mild concussion in the Colts game, he drilled Wednesday, practiced Thursday and should be good to go for the game.
Linebacker Rocky McIntosh, who missed the Colts game with a concussion suffered in the Packers game, should be back this week.
Tailback Clinton Portis is still out with his groin tear and is still weeks away from return.
Gameplan: On offense Washington will be facing a ball hawking Chicago defense, with as little momentum as the Redskins have been able to apply consistently when they have the ball, I expect to see sluggish offense and a lot of punts, capped by hopefully just enough Donovan McNabb theatrics to win the game.
On defense the Redskins are facing a team that cannot pass block, Jay Cutler has been sacked 26 times so far this season, and that has a great running game, there could be problems. Washington is established as a great pass rushing team that can apply pressure though gives up more yards than any team in the league. In the run game the Redskins are ranked near the bottom of the league at 24th, I think this means the Redskins blitz heavily to try and stop the Bears passing game before it can get started, forcing the Bears to win on the ground.
My Take in 60 Words or Less: Two teams with weaknesses matched to strengths, I think we see fireworks today.
LaVar Arrington's keys to the game: Offense / defense / special teams; Inactives: tailback Clinton Portis, left guard Derrick Dockery, cornerback Kevin Barnes, tailback slash kick returner Chad Simpson, linebacker Perry Riley, nose tackle Anthony Bryant, defensive end Jeremy Jarmon and third quarterback John Beck. This is Derrick Dockery's third straight healthy scratch, the team is trying its best to move on at left guard.
Broadcast coverage, by land area this is the biggest broadcast of Fox's early slate today.
Enjoy the game, for the first time in a month I will be back on ShedTV. Maybe with a whiskey.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmet logos from here.