Another trip to Seattle for the Redskins, but for a change, a better flight home. The Redskins broke a two-game winning streak by defeating the Seahawks 20-17 to move to 7-4. With the Giants coming to town Sunday, the Washington Times’ Ryan O’Halloran and News 4’s Lindsay Czarniak review the win, debate Shawn Springs’ future, Jason Campbell’s sliding ability and make a pick for Sunday’s division grudge match.
1. Like a lot of Redskins wins, it wasn’t pretty Sunday in Seattle but it was a victory nonetheless. Should the win be considered a) just a win or b) a sign of good things to come?
L: It’s the holidays and I’m reserving the right to be festive and hold strong the possibility that the Redskins could be leaning toward brighter things to come. I was blown away by Clinton Portis’ performance yet again and I’m not convinced yet Malcolm Kelly is going to live up to the billing, I think the Redskins offense is getting into more of a rhythm and hopefully, it won’t be a step back against the Giants.
R: A win is a win and that’s what the Redskins needed to get against Seattle after losing their previous two games. I can’t say there were reasons presented that great things are still to come. This team hasn’t beaten anybody good in nearly two months and still can’t score any points. A couple reasons why the win could turn things around, though. Portis appears to be getting more healthy and able to handle a big-time work load and the secondary completely locked down Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
2. Shawn Springs returned to the lineup following a four-game absence to seal the Seattle game with an interception. Like DeAngelo Hall, is Springs on a tryout to determine if he’s back next year? Do you think he wants to be a Redskin next year?
L: I think he wants to be a Redskin next year but he wants to be used to his full potential and with that being said, yes, he is being closely watched. With Hall, I do think there is a surplus of talent in the secondary that won’t be necessary next year. Springs is the most talented corner on the roster, but I will not be surprised if he is spending Thanksgiving in New England or Philadelphia next season.
R: Springs is under contract next year but that doesn’t mean a lot in the NFL and if he’s cut, I don’t think he’ll be crying. The way they’re using Hall (22 snaps vs. Seattle) shows they like what he’s about and sign him. Springs is still a great cover corner but if I’m the Redskins, I can’t afford to bring him back because he simply can’t stay on the field. He ends up in Dallas next year.
3. Jason Campbell has scrambled for yards and even called his number for a few designed runs in the last two games. A good idea to make the offense more diverse or a quarterback risking trouble?
L: As long as he can learn to slide better, it’s a good idea. Zorn joked about how embarrassing Jason’s sliding has become. All kidding aside, I think it’s great he’s willing to sacrifice himself on plays like that. All the great quarterbacks do it so I think it’s just part of the game and not that far off from your running back doing nice chip blocks or using your best wide receiver as a return specialist.
R: Zorn said he doesn’t cringe when Campbell is scrambling, but I sure do. He’s a big guy and can absorb the punishment but all it takes is for No. 17 to be reckless just one time or for one defensive player looking to make a name for himself by blowing up the quarterback with a cheap shot. I don’t mind some of the keepers on short yardage because Campbell is a physical player who can lunge for a couple yards but I wouldn’t want to see it on a regular basis.
4. The Giants come to town Sunday tied for the best record in the league (10-1). How surprising are you guys that Big Blue has continued the roll that started in last year’s playoffs?
L: I’m not surprised at all. Jimmie Johnson just won his third straight NASCAR championship – that’s apples and oranges and I understand how tough it is to “defend” a championship, but I do think you have an added advantage when you have the confidence of winning a championship plus the absence of pressure that comes along with trying to obtain one. No one should be surprised that Eli Manning has led this team to a 10-1 record.
R: Honestly, I’m stunned. I picked the Giants to finish last in the NFC East. I saw them play five times in person last year and thought they were a good but not great team, one that got hot at the right time and would be hurt by losing their starting defensive ends. But their running game is better than expected and their pass rush is the best in the league. Like Lindsay said, there’s something to be said for carrying the momentum from one year to the next. Big Blue is clearly the NFC favorite to reach Tampa.
5. Both of you will be at FedEx on Sunday for Giants-Redskins. Who wins and why?
L: The Redskins will win and people will be shocked and the bandwagon will start up again. Here’s why – the Redskins are going to find a way to successfully open up the passing game. Since they last played the Giants, the running game has drastically improved and now the Giants have both facets to worry about. I think the intangibles, the pregame ceremony with Sean Taylor’s name being added to the Ring of Honor, the FedEx crowd, etc. will give the team extra emotion. The Redskins defense has proven itself. I don’t expect the Giants to be able to run the ball and the secondary will not give up big plays. Redskins 24-17.
R: The Giants are better, period. That doesn’t mean the Redskins aren’t a playoff-caliber team but they have several match up problems. They’re beat up along the defensive front seven – bad news against the Giants’ running game. They’ve had occasional trouble protecting Campbell – bad news against the league’s best pass rush. The Redskins don’t have a home-field advantage at FedEx and whatever emotion from the Taylor ceremony may give them an early boost but it won’t sustain. Giants 20-12.
BONUS 6. The Wizards fired coach Eddie Jordan on Monday. Agree or disagree with the move?
L: I agree a change needed to be made, but that’s not the answer. I like Eddie Tapscott, hope this team rebounds under him, but it’s sad that it took that move to get some of the younger guys to step up their production. However, Eddie Jordan won’t be out of a job for long.
R: The Wizards did Eddie a favor. This team isn’t going anywhere, Gilbert Arenas is a headache, the players don’t defend and the youngsters need time to develop. Granted there was no Arenas, but at 1-10, a change on the bench needed to be made. It could be a long winter for local NBA fans.