To Hell With The Redskins
I think my word order is off kilter from Washington's team song. But what do I care? This is the UT-OU of local NFL ball. And I've had to sit around all offseason thinking of that smug look on Daniel Snyder's face after the Skins swept the Dallas Cowboys.
And could the setting be any more fitting? Week two in a night game with John Madden and Al Michaels in the booth. I'm sure you recall last season's matchup at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys up 13-0 with about five minutes left. The defense seemingly bailing out the offense on a mediocre day. Until Mark Brunell hits Santana Moss on two unlikely bombs to steal the game that is. The defense had collapsed and, while we wouldn't know it for a few weeks, it was an ominous sign of how the season would end.
So vengeance is on the mind. We've been waiting for this matchup, more than the October 8 matchup in Philly. And the week 1 debacle doesn't make a guy feel good about's what to come. Besides, 0-2 is a difficult hole to climb out of to be a contender. Sure the Cowboys became the first team to start 0-2 and win the Super Bowl back in 1993, but that was with a certain group called the Triplets and one of the NFL's dominant defense ruling the field. So many reasons you have to win this game.
So is there hope the Boys will beat the Skins? I think so, despite the fact I still pick this team to be just out of the playoffs, and here's why:
The T.O. Factor
Okay, so other Powerhouse writers have their nipples in a twist about the guy. But he showed last week why he is worth the risk: 5 catches, 80 yards, and 1 TD. And that was with limited training camp reps. Expect him to only to get better.
Okay, so they got beat up last week. We may find out that Jacksonville is more than just a good team as this season progresses, however. And it's a young group that still needs some time to gel. After all, it's most veteran member, Greg Ellis, just moved to a new position this year, so things may be tough early, like they were half the first month of last season.
The Injury Report
Clinton Portis is doubtful and the Skins are missing two starters in the secondary. That means the clearly aged Mark Brunell won't get any help from the running game and Drew Bledsoe will be aided by open receivers.
And why they won't win this week:
Lack of Pass Rush
Did you happen to notice they still struggled to pressure the passer last week? Did you notice DeMarcus Ware barely sniffed at Byron Leftwich's jersey all game? Brunell may be aged, but let him sit in the pocket all day and he'll find a receiver.
The pass blocking was improved last week. But, the run blocking sucked meaning this team can be made one-dimensional which never bodes well for any team.
I know with a depleted Washington secondary and improved pass blocvking, Drew should be poised for a big game. But did you see Bledsoe against the Redskins last year? He was horrible. With the talent in the front seven, the Skins will continue to apply pressure, forcing Bledsoe into the kind of throws he made against Jacksonville last week with little pressure being applied.
There it is. I'm just not an optimist about this team like the national media is. I think Drew Bledsoe provides another mediocre outing leading to a 16-13 loss and serious speculation that Tony Romo takes the reigns after the bye week. But, as I said, there's hope I'll be proven wrong.