Redskins Debate, Week 9

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\ The Redskins returned to work today to start preparing for Sunday’s game at the New York Jets. A win in the Swamp and the Patriots’ game is just a loss; a loss to the Jets and that means the Patriots exposed the Redskins’ warts.\

\ Both games are part of this week’s debate with Lindsay Czarniak from NBC4.\

\ \ Holy smokes, what in the name of George Allen happened Sunday in New England? The Redskins lost to the Patriots 52-7 and did next to nothing in all three phases of the game. You guys were both in Foxborough. What was the most alarming part of the loss?\

\ Lindsay: That Tom Brady didn’t turn into Clark Kent walking off the field. Just kidding, but I am both super impressed and alarmed that he really is that good at quarterback. To see how fast he conducts his offense in person is pretty amazing. Really, the part that is still bothering me is how the Redskins defense couldn’t stop the short yardage plays that seemed to keep the Patriots thriving. Brady kept the Redskins secondary deep and then just operated like a surgeon in close proximity. \

\ Ryan: That the Redskins couldn’t slow down New England’s offense even though the Patriots ran about five different plays. The entire arensal wasn’t on display. More than 75 percent of Brady’s passes traveled less than 10 yards. I love watching Brady play in person because I never did get to see Joe Montana play and they’ve drawn comparisions. The Redskins missed too many tackles, didn’t account for the dump-off passes to the running backs and couldn’t generate a pass rush. Looked a lot like 2006, didn’t it?\

\ \ Not only did the Redskins lose the game, they also lost cornerback Carlos Rogers to a season-ending right knee injury. How much will this hurt the team’s secondary?\

\ Lindsay: Carlos has obviously taken criticism, but he was showing improvement as a vital part of the secondary, including 25 tackles and his first career interception returned for a touchdown. It’s gonna hurt because of Rogers’ other half, Fred Smoot, is also nursing an injury and sat out last game to not rush it back too fast and avoid increased injury. I don’t feel as confident with those they use as replacements and I don’t believe the Jets are going to be an accurate measuring stick. \

\ Ryan: It’s a big loss because, like Lindsay said, Rogers appeared to have turned the corner this season. He’ll always be a risk-reward corner who is prone to illegal contact penalties but he had done a nice job not allowing the downfield completions. Smoot’s hamstring is going to be a season-long issue — he’s expected to play Sunday. After Springs and Smoot, there should be concern. Pierson Prioleau is a safety who will need to cover the slot receiver, Leigh Torrence is unproven and David Macklin is a veteran who, before this week, was unable to get on the field.\

\ \ Running back Clinton Portis continues to struggle \0x2013 he remains without a 100-yard game this season. Should Gibbs/Saunders engineer a change in starters to Ladell Betts?\

\ Lindsay: Yes. First, I am disappointed that Betts isn’t getting many carries in general, starter or not. I don’t think it’s helping that he has so much time between when his number is called. I don’t see it as a demotion if they switch it up a bit because everyone knows Portis is the guy and he’s said himself they are a two-headed monster. Whether it’s a bit of injury or not, Portis isn’t showing that spark right now and Betts isn’t getting a fair chance relative to his production we\0x2019ve seen. And, yes Ryan, I do think part of the running games’ lack of production is the offensive line issues. \

\ Ryan: An admission — the offensive line has played a part because the Redskins simply can’t run to the right side with any effectiveness, which eliminates any deception if they play-action to that side. Last year, at 3-6, Gibbs did the bold (and right) thing, benching Mark Brunell and handing the keys to Jason Campbell. This year, at 4-3, Gibbs should do something bold (and right) this week, start Betts, give him 25 carries and see if he can spark the running game. He’s an up-the-gut runner and that’s where the Redskins’ line strength is right now. Portis is more of a get-to-the-edge runner and teams are keying the left side.\

\ \ Next up are the 1-7 Jets in the Swamp on Sunday. The teams haven’t played in the regular season since the Laveranues Coles/Santana Moss trade in March 2005. Who has gotten the better of the deal?\

\ Lindsay: The Redskins got the better part of the deal. Santana Moss is more impressive and I think that would be more of a clear cut answer if the Skins offense weren’t seemingly so conservative. After all, that’s why Coles wanted out in the first place. I want to see more aggressive play-calling because I feel like it’s a waste of talent if the offense continues to struggle to find an identity. \ Ryan: The knee-jerk reaction would be the Redskins because Moss made such a huge impact in his first season (2005) with 84 catches for 1,483 yards and nine touchdowns. But since Week 1 of last year, here’s the comparision — Coles has 133 catches for 1,571 yards and 12 touchdowns: Moss has 75 catches for 1,038 yards and six touchdowns. Granted, Moss is the better deep threat, which is what the Redskins needed at the time of the trade. I call it push. As for Lindsay’s point about more aggressive play-calling, I totally concur but defenses have to respect the Redskins’ run game in order to leave the deep ball open.\

\ \ Who wins on Sunday \0x2013 Redskins or Jets? And, who wins the marquee game of the regular season \0x2013 Patriots or Colts? \ Lindsay: The Redskins will win because the Jets have a new quarterback in Kellen Clemens and because of the loss they had last week, this game now has entirely new importance. They need this game because of the road ahead. I still can’t believe I picked the Pats by a field goal last week. I just didn’t think Brady could be so dominant against the Redskins defense. That being said, I can’t see Brady losing. I just can’t see it. It’s like a lighthouse in the fog, you know its there, but you just aren’t gonna find it. I know the Colts defense has improved and Peyton Manning is a star but the Patriots are on an entirely different level. I pick Patriots and no, it’s not even close. \ Ryan: The Jets stink.They’re 30th on offense, play a 3-4 defense when their personnel suggests they should play a 4-3, have lost their best defender (Jonathan Vilma) for the season, just switched quarterbacks and their best receiver (Coles) got his bell rung last week. But I’ll go Redskins 16-12. Gibbs is going to be wound tight as all get out this week — he knows a loss to the lowly Jets and the wheels will be off the bus. I was also wrong about the Patriots-Redskins game last week — I picked New England by only 19. This week, they beat the Colts 45-37. This is the kind of game that Belichick overhauled his receiving corps go, to win a shootout over a team with similiar offensive firepower. What’s at stake is who gets to host the Super Bowl, er, the AFC championship game.\ \ November is a great month for two concerts at the Verizon Center. Which one should be taking top billing: Van Halen Thursday night or Bruce Springsteen’s two night engagement Nov. 11-12th?\ Lindsay: No question, Bruce Springsteen! Van Halen’s great but there’s just something about the Boss. My producer has seen him over 160 times\0x2026 that\0x2019s scary but I’ve reached a new level of respect for Springsteen because of this. Thunder Road, baby!\ Ryan: I’m loyal to The Boss, seen him live only three times (Richmond 2003, Cleveland 2004, Norfolk 2005). Fave Bruce song is “Ramrod”. Van Halen would be a great show, though. Never seen Diamond Dave and Co. in concert before but I’m not sure my ear-drums, already damaged from having to work in the Redskin Park media room four days a week can take those kind of decibels.\ \

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