Thursday, September 4: Gameday, Redskins @ Giants

(Sorry for the delay in getting this up — let’s just say that the hotel internet and I are not exactly friends at this point.)

It’s finally time. After almost 50 days of practices and preseason games, we’re just a few hours away from the actual kickoff to the NFL season. It’s no longer about watching the guys at the bottom of the roster to see if they’re going to make it; now it’s about watching the guys at the top and seeing if they can implement the lessons of the offseason.

At the first game of the season, though, there are still not that many surprises on my list of things I’m going to keep an eye on. The biggest question is fairly obvious, it applies on some level to just about every team out there, and it runs through all of these points: can they do it?

  • Can Jim Zorn be a head coach at this level? So far, I think signs are encouraging. He, for lack of a more useful word, SEEMS like a head coach. And we should remember that success in one’s first regular season game is by no means a guarantee of future coaching success (sad memories of the one shining moment of the brief Richie Petitbon era). After the way the preseason ended, though, it would certainly be nice. At the very least, everyone will be watching to see if the offense can move the ball, find a rhythm, and avoid careless mistakes. At which point the question moves to….
  • Can Jason Campbell implement Zorn’s offense? The key word here is “tempo”. Tempo between plays, tempo in and out of the huddle, and — most importantly — tempo getting rid of the ball. Frank Hanrahan asked me about this last night on ESPN 980’s 24 Hour Pregame Show — an insane endeavor, incidentally — and I said then that I think Campbell will succeed, that Zorn has spoken encouragingly of his progress, and that even in practice he seems to be making quicker decisions. I’m still going to be watching it, though, and it will largely depend on….
  • Can Stephon Heyer perform as the starting right tackle? On a grander scale, the question is if the offensive line can stop the Giants pass rush, but I — and probably everyone else — will be focusing largely on Heyer, the surprise starter at the position as he squares off against the Giants’ Justin Tuck. On the flipside….
  • Will the defense generate a pass rush? It feels like Redskins fans have been asking this question for years now. In fact, I have trouble recalling the last time the Redskins pass rush was one of the team’s strong points. I think Jason Taylor is going to at least try to play tonight — for all the dancer jokes and Hollywood shots people take, the guy seems to take football tremendously seriously and to honestly WANT to play — and his being able to contribute obviously plays a large part in this one.

There are more questions, of course — Will the cornerbacks be able to cover? How will LaRon Landry perform with so little preseason action? And so on… — but these are the ones that have me preoccupied as this gameday gets underway.

Advertisements

20 Responses

  1. Pass rush was good in ’05, but we’ve been lacking young talent in that department for quite some time now.

    Here’s hoping Campbell looks great tonight – I think he has all of the physical tools to do it, now it’s just a question of practice and conditioning.

  2. Gints 20 Skinz 17.

    Skinz lose a close game but that does not mean the seasn is over.

    Yes I am aSkinz fan, but this is a division opponent on the road. These games are hard to win.

    HTTR

  3. I’ll go the exact opposite Skins 20 Giants 17 Campbell will show he has what it take

  4. Ok. Let me try not to let my love for the burgundy and Gold corrupt this prediction:

    J. Campbell 22/34 205 2td 1 int
    C Portis 19 car 134 yards 1td
    S Moss 6 ctchs 82 yards 1td
    C Cooley 5 ctchs 78 yards 1td

    Manning will throw 2 ints. Laron and Smooty will problem get em. May even see a forced fumble courtesy of Rocky McIntosh. Brandon Jacobs will give our defense a little trouble. Ahmad Bradshaw may break one. Plaxico will make a couple of big plays but won’t have any type of breakout game. Jason will get some heat tonight but the O line will hold strong in the 3rd and 4th quarters.

    Final score will be

    Redskins 24
    Gaints 21

    Suisham will win this one for us.

  5. “The Associated Press believes that the Redskins have an advantage because of new head coach Jim Zorn. They figure that since no one has any film on him, and a database of how he calls games based on down and/or yardage, the Giants welcome the Skins with one hand tied behind their back. Hmmm… I’m not that much of an optimist. The Giants are going to bring the “rain.” They will attack Jason Campbell from all angles to rattle him early.

    How Jim Zorn handles that pressure in his play calling will determine how well Jason Campbell fares.”

    Prediction: Skins win 16-14 (1 touchdown, 3 fieldgoals)

  6. Agree with all your questions, Matt. My biggest and most immediate question – one that will most likely be anserwered the fastest – can Greg Blache direct the defense as effectively as Gregg Williams?

    For the past four seasons under Gibbs the Skins offense had been a work in progress and it was the consistency on Defense that kept the team in the fight. Will the Defense be as consistent in 08?

  7. Thanks for the updates! Keep ’em coming!
    P.S. If you get a chance to blog about the attmosphere on the train, that would be really cool! Just what’s it like? Do the players treat it different than traveling by bus/air?

  8. Tempo, tempo, tempo, GO SKINS!

  9. Oh, and @Ahmad, I think you are off in your preditions. I see Clinton to get 135.3 yards…

  10. TO ALL YOU REDSKINS FANS OUT THEIR LISTEN UP HERE LIES THE TRUTH ABOUT YOUR TEAM YOU HAVE A TERRIBLE OWNER WHO WOULDNT KNOW A FOOTBALL IF IT HIT HIM IN THE HEAD YOUR HEAD COACH WAS A LAST RESORT WASNT YOUR FIRST SECOND THIRD OR FOURTH CHOICE AND YOUR QUARTERBACK STINKS I SMELL A 4-12 SEASON GET USE TO IT SKINS FANS YOUR TEAM SUCKS GO COWBOYS

  11. Uh, #1, can we get Mr. Collins remark stricken from the record?

    #2, pass rush hasn’t been consistent since Mann and Manley were on the ends, so really since like 1989ish… Oh well.

    The questions you raised are important though, and we shall see how it ends up going.

  12. I think we’ll know in the first ten minutes how most of the rest of the season is going to go.

    West Coast, ball movement, rythym, quick strikes, third-down conversions.

    Or, utter disaster. Followed by hooting calls for Colt Brennan.

  13. eric collins,

    first off, our owner doesn’t play football so he doesn’t need to know what one is he just hires men that do know, as oppossed to your owner that has his nose up your coaches *** . Second, how would you know if our coach was our owners first, second, or third pick? From what I know, they had him in mind from the begining and just went through the famalities of continuing with the interviews that they had already set up. As for our quaterback, I think you’re just a little afraid of how great our QB will be with our new coach. And lastly, pretty decent of you to smell yourselves going 4-12 this season and I can get used to that. :)

  14. leave it to the cowboy fans to make the effort to come onto a skins site and make a stupid ass comment like that. pretty big words for a team without a playoff win in the last 12 years.

    i dont root for anybody to get hurt, but an i wouldn’t mind one bit of tony homo gets drilled at any point this year.

  15. This cowpuke fan is a troll so I don’t… Well here it goes anyway. Romo is a choke artist which has been proven and will be again. Your guys secondary suck even with the addition of packerman Jones. TO is stuck on his crying A$$ self and you have no depth at receiver. Oh I forgot you are going to win the superbowl. Please go back to poke town. You probably never been to Texass loser.

  16. YOU GUYS ARE JUST FULL OF YOURSELVES ARENT YOU DALLAS IS A 5 STAR FRANCHISE AND THE REDSKINS WELL MAYBE A 2 AND YOUR OWNER CANT EVEN HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE FOR THE JOB AND WHILE WE WILL BE HOLDING OUR 6TH LOMBARDI TROPHY HIGH IN FEBRUARY YOU GUYS WILL BE DECIDING WHO TO PICK AT THE TOP OF THE DRAFT GOOD LUCK LOSERS

  17. Eric Collins. When Tony Romo can win 1…just 1 playoff game…maybe we will believe. Your running game is going to suck. May barely win 10 in Dallas. I believe. We will be ok. What will hurt is once other coaches learn Zorns tendencies, will he still be successful.

  18. THAT SHOWS WHAT YOU KNOW MR JOHNSON WE HAVE MARION THE BARBARIAN AND FELIX THE CAT PLUS WE HAVE THE BIGGEST OFFENSIVE LINES IN FOOTBALL MAYBE YOU SHOULD WATCH TENNIS CAUSE YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE NFL YOU FOOL

  19. AND CANT YOU GUYS COME UP WITH YOUR OWN STUFF I MEAN REDSKINS NATION

  20. Wow… Caps lock and punctuation please… Man, I can’t stand when people show their stupidity in such an obvious way. Go to school, learn your grammar and punctuation, then come back and say what you want to say in a way that you actually sound educated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: