There’s not much of use Jim Zorn left us as Redskins fans – certainly not the “Swinging Gate” play – but I’ll give ol’ Zorny props for this one: “Stay medium.”
I heard way too much negativity from fans (and some media) after Sunday’s 17-10 opening day loss to the Dolphins. It’s almost as if delusion is a chronic disease amongst many Redskins faithful.
So repeat after me: “This is not our year.”
Gruden heard it too, and pushed back against it, insisting the team was (paraphrasing) “on the right track, even though you guys don’t see it.” It would help if Gruden didn’t look so shellshocked and pouty after a close loss, but I don’t get paid to be his “nonverbal” coach, so he’ll have to figure that out on his own.
Bottom line: the game was sitting right there, waiting to be won, and they didn’t get it done. There are bigger crimes in the NFL. Did anyone see what Tampa and Oakland did Sunday?
There were plenty of things to be pleased about.
The power running game under Bill Callahan was so good, it was intoxicating at times. Alfred Morris ran as if he wanted to personally shut everybody’s gaping cakeholes who can’t stop talking about our “Marshawn Lynch clone” Matt Jones out of Florida.
Morris and that o-line ran the ball right down neck of that much-hyped Dolphins front-four. So much so at times, that prized purchase Ndamukong Suh was Haynesworth-useless on the sidelines. Sure, people griped about “abandoning” the run later in the game. How many times as a fan have you heard that one? Every dick on the couch is a “run more!”/”pass more!” expert after the clock hits 00:00.
Kirk made plenty of good decisions and nice throws. Was the 1st pick brutal? Absolutely. The 2nd pick was just football happening. A superior effort by the Dolphins DB that essentially served as a punt. No harm done.
The 4th and 7 incompletion that essentially ended the game, was under the heat of a floodgate “cover-zero” blitz, and it may well be that TE Jordan Reed made an incorrect read on his route. If so, then it’s a walk-in touchdown and a 17-17 game.
Jay Gruden still lacks even basic clock management skills, and I’m not even talking about letting the clock run from 2:11 down to 2:00. That’s a true 50/50 call (and Gruden attempted to explain as much afterward). No, where he really squandered all options to get the ball back one last time, was when he called the dreaded “let’s talk about it” timeout with 2:22 to go.
Okay, just in case Jay reads this, let me explain how dumb this is. When you are trailing, you need to save all of your timeouts for defense. If you have ALL 3 in your pocket, you can slow down the clock to virtual “Matrix time” when your opponent stops you on 4th down. In that case, 3 conservative runs by the opponent, will only bleed out maybe :25 of clock. Plus, they may well be tempted into throwing on 3rd down to convert. Which gives you chances for a big play (sack or pick) or almost as good, an incompletion: free timeout!
On offense, spending your timeouts while trailing is stupid. Incompletes are timeouts. Running out of bounds are time outs. Spikes are timeouts. To spend a timeout on offense to merely DECIDE ON A PLAY…. is remote-smashingly awful. Please stop doing that. Know when you are in 4-down mode, and have that play ready to go without delay. (Hell, there’s a good chance that you going for it “in tempo” will make the DEFENSE spend a timeout!)
Okay, lesson over.
Losing DeSean Jackson to a hamstring injury stinks. Is it because he didn’t play all preseason? I have no idea. But expect him to have these injuries. He’s a Ferrari. He’ll be in and out of the shop. It’s the price of having him.
As for special teams, I have no idea why we are made to suffer like this, year after blessed year. We have a rocket-launching punter, the likes of which I haven’t seen since Reggie Roby. Was it his fault he kicked a flat-missile that screwed the coverage? Or was it their loss of lane integrity? Do we need to fire another coach? I have no answers.
All in all, it was nearly a great way to open the season. And some very credible football was played by the home team. You can choose to be mopey about it all you want, but I again remind you: “Who did you think we are? We’re a 4-win team that just started drafting in the 1st round again.”
Yes, there were a ton of Dolphins fans in attendance. This is going to be an ongoing issue at FedEx Field, for perhaps as long as the team plays there. Tickets are too easy to get. The home fanbase has decided the overland journey to that side of the market is too much of a hassle for bad football. Get over it. I think it’s a miracle there are any Redskins fans who still go and spend their good money. Only a good team – and likely, that dreamed about new stadium – will reverse this.
I was told with great glee by Al Galdi that he expected a combined 20 “zone read” plays by BOTH teams. I counted 5. On one of them, the Redskins not only had Tannehill sniffed out for a minimal gain, but they crushed him with two guys near the boundary. Why Galdi and my co-worker Kevin Sheehan LOVE this in NFL offenses so much, is beyond me. The “revolution” – if there every was one – is over. The zone-read is a formational wrinkle, that rarely gets more than 15 looks in a single game.
Dan Fouts seems like a nice fella, but he’s a comically clueless analyst. Time to retire. The field looked in pretty good shape, but I would have splurged for another coating of paint on the numbers and logo. They looked a touch faded to me for Week 1. RG3 got more airtime than any inactive 3rd stringer in NFL history. How long will that element of every TV broadcast persist? We’ll see. David Amerson can’t cover his own shadow. I’ll be shocked if he makes it to December on this roster. I’ve never seen an NFL player who looked fatter than Terrence Knighton. Not even Vince Wilfork. Knighton’s ass looks like a birthday cake shoved into a zip-lock sandwich bag.