You could make the case that the Redskins loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night 14-10 at FedEx Field happened in the front office think tanks of the organization, not on the field.
The Redskins clearly cannot put any pressure on the quarterback, which is hurting what is otherwise a very tough defense. They brought in Jason Taylor in the last minute before the season started when Philip Daniels went down, and no one can fault them for that move. If he was the Taylor of past seasons, that might make the difference. But he has been hurt for much of the year and so far has been a non factor.
Then, on the offensive line, they can’t protect Jason Campbell long enough to make use of offensive weapons like Santana Moss — at least they haven’t been able to in the past two losses.
You could make the case that the right moves in the draft by vice president of football operations Vinny Cerato would have won Sunday night’s game. A young defensive stud lineman taken in the first round would have given them more pass rush options. And an offensive lineman taken early would have given them more depth to spell an old offensive line.
Instead, Cerrato drafted three receivers with the team’s first three draft picks, and none of them have contributed so far. Malcolm Kelly has been hurt, Fred Davis has been invisible and Devin Thomas has been ineffective, dropping a key third down pass Sunday night that he should have caught. The weapons are no good to anyone if you can’t give your quarterback the option of time. This is why I’ve always maintained that you can win with average skill positions if you have a great offensive line, but you can’t win the other way around. Success starts in the trenches on both sides, instead of the trendy positions that get the ball.
If the Redskins season falls short of a playoff appearance — which is certainly still within their grasp and still a better outcome that most people expected this year — the failure will be with Cerrato, not rookie coach Jim Zorn.
Brock the rock
Brock Lesnar became UFC heavyweight champion Saturday night by knocking out mixed martial arts legend Randy Couture in the second round, much to my chagrin. Nothing against Lesnar, but Couture is a great athlete who overcame great odds at the age of 44 to come out of retirement last year and defeat champion Tim Sylvia. He is a fan favorite, with good reason.
I watched the fight at The Green Turtle in Columbia, and though I had picked Couture, I was like everyone else in the place when the two of them walked to the center of the ring to meet with the referee. There was a collective, “Oh my God!” when you saw the two of them standing so close. Lesnar was enormous in every way. Couture looked like a jockey next to him.
Couture’s strategy appeared to be to try to take Lesnar into the later rounds to tire him out. Lesnar had to walk into that fight weighing 280 pounds, and even though he is in great shape, to carry around 280 pounds for 25 minutes is tough. It might have worked. But once Lesnar connected with a heavy right hand to put Couture down, it was all over.
It was a brilliant move by UFC boss Dana White to match Lesnar up with Couture, though I didn’t agree with it at the time. Lesnar has enough wrestling background, as NCAA heavyweight champion in 2000, to have the tools to be a good mixed martial arts fighter even after just three fights, and he looks as if he has the heaviest hands on the face on the earth. He is a star with star power and will likely make UFC a more popular brand.
Loverro on the Radio
I will be on The Sports Reporters on Monday, Nov. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com