An interesting (albeit completely anecdotal) fact about last night’s game: everyone I’ve talked to today who missed the first quarter thought the Redskins looked so-so, but not like something to inspire insane panic. This measured reaction has been nicely offset by people who DID see the first quarter, many of whom walked away incredibly concerned. (Including me, I might add — it doesn’t come through as clearly as I expected it to, but I was deeply unhappy through that part of the game.)
Plenty of those folks are still actively worried. Here’s a quick sampling:
Sportz Assassin at FanHouse:
I left this game extremely unimpressed with Jim Zorn. I know it is early on (first game and all) and he must be given some time to install his offense. I get that. But the playcalling and clock management were horrible … and there are enough veteran coaches on that sideline that know better.
Chaz at the Player Hater’s Ball:
Here’s all I have to say: It was as much of a drubbing as any 16-7 game can be. The offense looked terrible, Jason Campbell looked almost as clueless as Jim Zorn, Chris Cooley was unused and the offensive and defensive lines looked every bit their age. Throw in a no-show from Jason Taylor and most of the secondary (who were only busy when they were dropping picks), and it’s pretty amazing the ‘Skins had a chance to get back in the game.
Lee Gibbons at The Redskin Report:
It was an ugly opener for the Redskins. Offensively there just isn’t much to build on. Jim Zorn is going to have to loosen up his play calling and let the offensive line and Jason Campbell earn their pay cheques. Its just one game, but until the offense can show even a smidge of potential, its hard to feel positive going forward.
Chris Mottram at The Sporting Blog:
New York totally and utterly dominated the contest. But it’s hard to say if this is because they’re just that good or the Skins are just that bad. I’m gonna lean more towards the latter for now and just hope the Burgundy and Gold can pull out at least a handful of victories this season.
MWP at Sons of Washington:
I’m hoping the overall effort on display last night isn’t indicative of what we’re in for this season, because if it is, it’s going to be a long one.
It’s the mainstream media, too. I linked to Dan Daly’s column earlier today, but at least one other writer was in a similar headspace.
Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post:
Yet the Redskins were never even close to winning this game. In fact, they were clearly overmatched by halftime. The statistics reflected a landslide that could and should have been much worse. The Redskins gained just four first downs to 14, and gave up 241 yards while gaining just 51 themselves. The Giants did not punt in the entire half — every possession ended in a score. It was just that three of those four possessions ended in John Carney field goals.
Most of these points are accurate reads of the game, at least from a certain point of view, and they’re hard to argue with. When the bus pulled away from the stadium last night, I was pretty firmly of this opinion.
But here’s the thing, and this goes back to the people who missed the first quarter of the game: the rest of the game really wasn’t THAT bad. Oh, it wasn’t particularly good — I’m not leading some sort of pollyannaish, “Hey, there was a lot to like from that game” charge — but I’m also not ready to hit the panic button just yet. It was a loss, and nothing more or less significant than that. Plenty of people put forth this view, too.
DW at Riggo’s Rag:
You probably don’t want to believe it yet, but it you go back and look at the tape again (for those who haven’t burned it), the Skins were beaten by the little things last night. The good thing about this is that a good chunk of them are fixable, coachable errors.
Ben Folsom at The Curly R: (who also has my favorite picture of the game)
Redskins defense does its job, offense has not enough flashes to matter; Plaxico Burress is still a stud and Brandon Jacobs is goddamn hard to tackle; special teams shine; mechanics and injuries are mattering.
Skin Patrol at Hogs Haven:
We lost 16-9 against the Super Bowl Champions in their house filled with nearly 90 thousand motivated partisans. Is that really so horrible? I don’t know that it’s any worse than losing to the Giants 24-17 in our own house, which is what we did early last season and still managed to make a success out of the entire affair.
BurgundyNGold at Hail Redskins.com:
Fear not, Redskins faithful, this team will get better. Whether or not Jason Campbell is the long term solution under center, he will get better in this system. The offensive line will get better in the new pass blocking schemes. The defensive front four will get more pressure than last year. And while Greg Blache may not learn from his mistakes, Jim Zorn will.
And this, as you’ve probably gathered, is the side that I was surprised to find myself on this morning. Here’s what I think happened to me as I watched the start of that game: during the first quarter, the Giants marched down the field, converting third downs like there was nothing to it and finishing with a touchdown. Then the Redskins went three and out themselves, and I think in my head, I decided that this wasn’t just a rough start to a game but a continuation of the previous two preseason debacles. And I think that impression colored everything that came afterward.
After that initial touchdown drive, the defense held the Giants to field goals on two trips inside the ten, followed by a second half shutout with two sacks and an interception. Or, for example, Jason Campbell. No, I’m not going to argue that he looked terrific. That would be completely ridiculous. But even in a really mediocre-to-poor performance, he was sacked only once, didn’t fumble, and threw no interceptions. These are minor compliments in the face of an offense that could barely convert third downs, but it’s still not the debacle described above.
It was a loss, and — offensively, at least — not one that offered much to be excited about. But I’m going to hold off a few more games before I really start to worry.
Filed under: Training Camp 2008 |