First Reaction To The Redskins Debacle

Steve O Speak

I am sure I will have quite a bit more to say after I re-watch the game, but let me just start off by saying that this game was flat out embarrassing. How does a professional football team coming off a bye go and play that bad at home?

First, let’s get the excuses out of the way:

The Offensive Line DID NOT Lose us the Game: The O-line last night was far from perfect, and they did give up a couple of sacks, as well as commit a couple of penalties. But this wasn’t even close to their worst game. It is by no means a top notch unit, but their play did not cost us the game.

Albert Haynesworth DID NOT Have a Bad Game: I was amazed to hear both fans and radio announcers on the drive home from the game try and lay blame at Albert Haynesworth’s feet for yesterday’s loss. Huh? Our newly signed $78 million dollar man, Donovan McNabb, threw 3 picks and had a passer rating almost equal to the Eagles point total, and we are going to blame Haynesworth? From where I was sitting Haynesworth was the only defensive player who you could say had a good game. Unfortunately the Redskins coaches still continue to misuse him. By the time of his first play the Eagles were up 14-0, McNabb had thrown an interception, and the Eagles were on the Redskins 24 yard line. And what does Haynesworth do? He shakes off two blockers and stops Jerome Harrison for no gain. That might have been Haynesworth’s only tackle, but he caused plenty of pressure, and was consistently double-teamed. Big plays such as Carter’s sack or McIntosh’s hit (which helped cause Vick’s first incomplete pass), happened in part because of the penetration Haynesworth got forcing Vick to step into other defenders. You can blame a lot of defenders for last night’s game, but Haynesworth isn’t one of them.

Shanahan’s Benching of McNabb Led to Last Night’s Performance: I will hope that logic sets in and people and pundits don’t try to blame Shanahan, by saying that the lasting effects and controversy of  his benching of Donovan McNabb two weeks ago is the root cause for last night. Ignoring the fact that McNabb just signed a 5 year $78 million dollar extension, which should close any ‘ill effects’ discussion, there is no reason to believe that ‘the benching’ caused last night’s performance to occur. These guys are professionals and I find it hard to believe that even before the extension was signed there was any real tension. McNabb and Shanahan are both to blame for last night’s loss, but the blame stops short of what happened two weeks ago.

Who Is To Blame:

Mike Shanahan: Ignoring the long term planning faults of Shanahan such as roster construction, bad drafting etc., Shanahan did not have a great game. First thing that shocked me was the fact that they once again, only had two running backs active. What made it even worse than when he did that in the Lions game is that they both weren’t healthy. Torain has been coming back from that hamstring injury, and was basically a game time decision. Well low and behold they make him active and during warmups he gets injured and he can’t go. I mean that is a joke really and Shanahan is lucky that the defense was so horrible that the running game didn’t matter. What would have happened if it was a close game and the Redskins needed to run out the clock that entire 4th quarter, but only had one healthy running back?

Shanahan also needs to take the blame for this loss more than perhaps any other. The Redskins were coming off a bye week and they were at home, and yet it was 35-0 before the Redskins even showed life. Now I realize that Kyle is the play caller, but I’m guessing that they scripted at least their first two drives before the game (I’m hoping that three straight runs aren’t the response to an 88 yard TD pass, or three short passes were the response to 14-0), so Mike Shanahan had to know what was coming. They had two weeks to prepare for the Eagles and that was their play call?? I just don’t understand, you just sign a ‘Franchise’ quarterback for 5 more years, and you bring back Jim Zorn as a play caller??

I think it was just an awful game plan and preparedness by the team and that blame really begins and ends with Mike Shanahan.

Jim Haslett: As ill prepared as the offense was after a bye week, the defense was worse. As soon as the Eagles won the toss, I said from section 130 that Vick was going deep to DeSean Jackson, how did Haslett not see that coming, when I think every Eagles and Redskins fan did? Whether it was going to be pay back for injuring Vick, beating them in Game one, showing up McNabb, or the pregame ‘fight’ between the teams, you had to know the Eagles were going to go for the jugular. And as bad of coverage as it was by Landry, exactly what defensive scheme did you have that had Jackson on Landry one-on-one??

The other thing Haslett did was trying to consistently stay with the base 3-4 formation (i.e. not getting Haynesworth in until the third possession). You have the most athletic quarterback in the league and you keep you best defensive lineman off the field? How does that even begin to make sense? Those base 3-4 linemen are built to stuff the run, not push the pocket or chase Vick down (which was made clear with disastrous results). Vick looked perfect out there running and passing, and that was simply because the defense was ready and didn’t have the personnel to stop him.

I’ll get to other comments about the game, team, and this contract extension later.

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