Friday, November 27, 2009

WAS Preview


The Skins come to town on Sunday for a big game. It's big for us because we're in the middle of the playoff chase. It's big for the Skins because it puts them one step closer to ending this nightmare season.

Things haven't gone well for WAS, but the wheels have started to come off recently. Last week they outplayed Dallas for at least 55 minutes, but gave up a late TD and lost 7-6. PK Shaun Suisham came into the game having not missed a kick all year. He missed 2 in that game, including one that would have put the Skins up 9-0 midway through the 4th Qtr.

Injuries are getting out of control. RB Clinton Portis is still feeling the after effects of a concussion. Backup Ladell Betts hurt his knee Sunday and he's done for the year. CB Deangelo Hall might not be able to play this week. STer H.B. Blades is dealing with a knee injury. Albert Haynesworth missed last week and might miss this game. The Skins lost another OL when Chad Rinehart got hurt last week. That's now 3 linemen on IR this year. FB Mike Sellers battled a hamstring injury in practice. He'll probably play, but that's something to watch.

WAS also remains a dysfunctional team. We recently found out that coach Jim Zorn and playcaller Sherm Lewis barely talk during the week. Wow, that's just no way to run a team. On gameday Lewis calls the plays from up in the box. He sends the play down to offensive coordinator Sherman Smith. If it is a pass, Lewis makes the specific call. If he wants a run, Lewis just tells that to Smith and then Smith calls the specific run play. What could go wrong with a system like that?

Defensive assistant Jerry Gray is wrapping up his time in WAS, but for a good reason. He's getting ready to take over as head coach at Memphis. That has to have some effect on him.


We already know the Skins pretty well so I'm just going to cover a few players.

RB ROCK CARTWRIGHT --- He may not be the biggest guy or best athlete, but he's a quality football player. Rock took advantage of extensive playing time last week. He had 13 carries for 67 yards. He caught 7 passes for another 73 yards. He's totaled 190 yards of offense in the last 2 games combined.

QB JASON CAMPBELL --- Up and down year. Hasn't led the team to many points or wins, but his numbers aren't nearly as bad as you'd expect. Jason is completing 66% of his passes. He's got more TDs than INTs. His rating is 86.1.

TE FRED DAVIS --- We knocked Chris Cooley out in the first meeting and Davis has been the TE ever since. You may remember that he really struggled as a blocker in that game. Davis has done okay as a receiver. He's got 23 catches on the season and one TD.

WR DEVIN THOMAS --- He's been a major disappointment in his year and a half in the NFL, but I saw some real good signs last week. Thomas did a good job in covering kicks on STs. He also took over as KOR when Rock became the full time RB. Devin took one KO back 38 yards and showed good effort and toughness on the return.

OL --- Veteran Levi Jones has taken over at LT. He's been serviceable so far. Edwin Williams took over at RG when Rinehart got hurt. He's a UDFA from Maryland.

DT KEDRIC GHOLSTON --- He started in place of Big Al last week. Quality backup/spot starter. High motor guy with some quickness. Has a sack and 2 TFLs on the year.

DE ANDRE CARTER --- He's still playing at a high level. Andre has 8 sacks, 5 TFLs, and 3 FFs on the year. His speed gave us problems in the last game.

FS LARON LANDRY --- He's been very up and down this year. Last week I thought he played really well. Landry helped to control the middle of the field. I don't think WR Roy Williams enjoyed spending time with Landry on Sunday.

CB --- Last week Fred Smoot, aka SmootSmack, and Hall were the starters. Carlos Rogers will take the place of Hall. Carlos hasn't had a great season. He'd been recently benched in favor of SmootSmack.


If you remember the first meeting, our offense came out red hot. There was a good flow to things and then Westy got hurt. Our offense never really felt the same after that. With him, we ran 9 plays for 123 yards. Without him we ran 47 plays for 139 yards. Ouch. That's hard to believe. We didn't have one offensive snap in the Red Zone in the entire game. Also hard to believe.

WAS did win vs the Broncos two weeks ago and last week held Dallas to just 7 points. The Skins know how to play defense. They normally give us a hard time. Any reason for optimism this time around? Yes. Our OL is coming off their best game. We're pretty healthy up front and the rotation at RG is over. We're sticking with the best 5. In the first game we had several missed assignments on run plays where defenders went unblocked. Now that we're getting some continuity up front those kinds of mistakes are going away.

Our running game was huge last week. We had 30 carries for 157 yards. Set the numbers aside. We ran the ball well on the go-ahead drive. The winning TD was a run. The blocking by non-OL last week was good. LeSean McCoy ran really well. The coaches also seemed to figure out what plays were working for him and stuck with them. If we can run the ball like that this week, we'll win.

Donovan McNabb has played really well in the last 5 Qtrs. We'll see if that carries over. We have done a lot of no-huddle in that span. No reason to back off that. WAS isn't the deepest team because of injuries. Going no-huddle can wear down their players. Remember, no-huddle doesn't mean hurry up. It simply means that you get to the LOS without huddling and that means players aren't coming on or off the field. You go with who's out there.

DeSean had a big night in the first meeting. He ran for a 67-yard TD. He caught a 57-yard TD. Those plays really made the difference in us winning and losing last time. We can't count on getting the big plays on Sunday. That's why the running game is so crucial. We also must do a good job on 3rd downs. We were just 4 of 15 the first time around. Back to DeSean for a second...he had a long PR TD last year in one game. He should have had a long TD catch in the second game (drop in the EZ). He had big plays earlier this year. DeSean's speed and explosiveness are a problem for the Skins.

WAS is pretty erratic on offense. They scored 17 on us. They had the bye week and then put up 17 at Atlanta. WAS scored 27 points in an upset of Denver. Last week they had 6 points at Dallas. I think our defense can control their offense. The key is limiting their running game. Against Denver they ran for 174 yards. Don't let them run and they will struggle to sustain long drives and score touchdowns.

In the first game we limited Portis to 43 yards. Campbell threw 43 passes. That's the kind of imbalance you want. We got good pressure on Jason (at least 6 sacks). Some of that was the DL, some was from blitzing. We scored 13 points of turnovers in the first game. It will really help if the defense can force several turnovers in this meeting.

Will Witherspoon had a huge game. He picked the batted ball and ran it back for a short TD. He also had a sack and was all over the field. Akeem Jordan played well at WLB. Injuries will change things up at LB this time around. Spoon slides out to the weak side. Trot will start off in the middle. He played well last week. His knee was bothering him Thursday night, but hopefully will be okay for Sunday. Joe Mays will be mixed into the lineup. He'll obviously play more in passing situations.

I'm not sure what to say about the secondary. We'll have to see how Asante and Sheldon hold up. Sean Jones will need to be aware of deep passes. He likes to be aggressive, but Moss has deep speed. If he gets by a CB we need Jones to be able to get to him and make the play. Don't let the Skins have a long TD. Stop the guy, even if it is at the 1-yard line. Make them earn TDs.

WAS does a great job of covering kicks and punts. DeSean is an elite return weapon. He had a 29-yard return in the first game. Macho has looked good as the KOR. He'll have his work cut out. Last game we didn't have a KOR go 20 yards. If Blades misses the game that would help us out. He's a very good STer for them.


Cliff said...

There's no way we lose this game, right?


Edward said...

Interesting article/stat nicked off the message boards, nicked from pro football weekly.


In December, When the weather gets nasty and the stress mounts, even the best QB's can struggle, In fact as you are about to find out, some of today's premier signal callers have. But there are plenty who rise to the occasion in the late stages of the year. And of our top 25 ranked QB's, nobody has done more so than Donovan Mcnabb.

It comes as a slight surprise that Mcnabb has the best December numbers among active QB's, especially since he plays in cold conditions. But the numbers dont lie. Under our ranking system, Mcnabb is ranked #1 in our list, In 25 December contests, He has thrown for over 40 TD passes (43 Td passes, 17 int's) and has run for four more touchdowns as well. And while many of his big December games came earlier in his career, He hasn't exactly slacked off lately, putting together some big late season outings.

Barely trailing Mcnabb, is Peyton Manning, with Cutler and Warner near the top. We love Drew Brees, and even though he never is at his best in December, he still top 10 on our list.

On the flipside, one guy that has failed to deliver is Tony Romo, in 13 December games, he has 14 TD's and 19 int's Ouch! Something about the end of the year football brings out the worst in Romo. Although better then Romo, the same can be said about Eli Manning and his 22-21 TD-INT ratio in his 23 December contests.

Top 10 December-Playoff QB's

Games PFW Rating

1. Donovan Mcnabb 25 16.2
2. Peyton Manning 48 15.5
3. Shaun Hill 7 14.6
4. Jay Cutler 14 14.2
5. Kurt Warner 31 14.0
6. Ben Roethlisberger 21 13.9
7. Aaron Rodgers 5 13.8
8. Carson Palmer 15 13.5
9. Drew Brees 31 13.4
10. Matt Hasselbeck 33 13.3

Bottom 5

1. Matt Cassel 7 9.8
2. Eli Manning 23 9.1
3. Kyle Orton 10 8.7
4. Joe Flacco 4 7.3
5. Matt Shaub 12 6.8

Cliff said...

Interesting. Do you have a link to the EMB thread?

Edward said...

Should be the first post on that page.

I made a contribution to the blog, yay! haha