I've learned that Washington fans have an incredible amount of resiliency and fortitude. I'm sorry, I mis-wrote that. Washington fans have the innate ability to flip from supremely confident world-conquerers, to terror-stricken self-loathers at the snap of a football. As the most capable fan around, I find this frustrating.
I'm not going to recap this game saying "It's only preseason, it doesn't even count!" or "All hell has broken loose! Women and children to the life boats! Abandon ship! The Redskins are terrible once again! This season is finished!" Thats what the guy in your office who is a Level 8 fan did (See this for reference).
What we're going to do is look at the things you're supposed to look at during a preseason game, and throw in a few pop-culture references to keep the casual reader entertained.
How does the offensive line look? How's the defense look? What young wide receivers are making an impact? What are areas of improvement? How does Mike Shanahan get his skin to look so leathery?
Unlike Sport's Junkie Eric Bickel, from 106.7 The Fan, I'll actually answer these questions instead of writing a blog simply posing them, seen here. That was the least effort put into a blog since Jason "Lurch" Bishop, of The Fan, wrote this.
Here we go.
Offensive Line Play- Painful. It was like watching a TBS marathon of J-Lo movies. The Skins made marked improvement along the offensive line in the offseason, but there are still some holes as the new group of "Hogs" learn to play together. I don't blame the line that much, the Ravens have a stellar group of linebackers and Terrell Suggs continuously beat rookie left tackle Trent Williams off the ball. I do blame Larry Johnson, however. He was as useful as a dead fish blocking in the backfield. Pathetic. In true Washingtonian fashion, I'll overreact and say, "CUT THAT GUY!"
Let's also not forget the impressive defensive line the Ravens have in Haloti Ngata and Big Boy Terence Cody. That's like trying to stop a pack of hippos with a feather duster and beef jerky.
Boring Stat- The Redskins had 25 yards rushing in this game. Larry Johnson averaged .5 yards per carry on 8 attempts. HALF A YARD!? On 8 attempts!?! Cut that guy.
Defensive Team Play- I liked what I saw from the defense this game. We're still having trouble stopping the run, but that will work itself out as we get more familiar with the 3-4 defense. It was good to see LaRon Landry making a few plays now that he's playing Strong Safety instead of whatever that knucklehead Jim Zorn was doing with him. Everyone copy this paragraph and save it to your computers. This is the first (and likely last) good thing I've said about LaRon Landry.
Also of note, London Fletcher is as impressive as ever. He's the Bruce Willis of this team. You figure, "Hey, he's about a hundred years old. He's probably lost a step. No big deal if he bombs this week." Then, BAM! You remember why he's one of the greatest at what he does.
I'm just saying, you throw a hair piece on Bruce Willis and I'm convinced he can beat Zeus in an arm wrestling contest.
Boring Stat- Landry led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo) this week. And Al Haynesworth, when not busy standing up after the snap and watching the action from the middle of the field, accounted for 1 tackle, which was a sack. See! If you only applied yourself Albert...
Young Talent- If you have watched one second of Redskins preseason (which I know is asking a lot from some of you), you know Anthony Armstrong's name. He had a touchdown last week, and was the most reliable wide receiver this week accounting 4 catches for 89 yards. He gets me excited at the possibility of not seeing Malcolm Kelly's name on the roster this year.
We didn't get to see much of Ryan Torrain this week (1 carry, 2 yards), but Keiland Williams continued to look good in his limited action, at least while catching passes out of the backfield (3 catches for 39 yards).
Boring Stat- I gave you enough stats in that paragraph, so instead: The odds you'll die from your underwear catching on fire is 1 in 30,589,556. So, you know, thats one less thing to worry about.
Area of Improvement- We MUST keep Donovan McNabb clean. He's gotta be protected because we all saw how inaccurate he was throwing under slight pressure. He was hit a few times and was icing his ankle after the game. Not great signs. We gotta take care of him.
Boring Stat- The Ravens hit the quarterback 7 times, resulting in 4 sacks.
Ultimately, this is what I think happened in the game. We failed to score on our first drive, even after converting three 3rd downs and hitting Fred Davis in the hands in the endzone. Then the momentum shifted when the Ravens earned 51 yards on a fake punted putting them on the 1 yard line. They scored shortly after.
Football is a game of momentum, and one huge shift in it gets the Redskins playing from behind and making mistakes. McNabb and the starters only had two more drives to rectify the situation, which was insufficient and with the final score it looks like the Ravens whooped us.
You give Fred Davis some hands, and let Gano hit the FG he missed and the first half ends 13-13 instead of 13-3.
Just some thoughts. Let's not overreact next time, ok?
Oh, and if you're looking for an opinion on the latest Haynesworth/Shanahan drama I'll let Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post do the talking.