1. The Redskins rallied past Tampa Bay to improve to 2-2. They barely beat St. Louis. They needed a second-half comeback to beat the Bucs. How possible is that the Redskins just aren’t very good?
L: I think this team can be as good as it wants to be. The tools are there but that’s why I’m interested to see how much of a wakeup call the first half of last week’s game really was. In Detroit, I used the analogy that I felt like maybe it’s going to be the situation where you realize “Little Suzy just isn’t going to be good at gymnastics.” But after seeing how they rebounded in the second half last week, I no longer think that’s the case.
R: It’s entirely possible that the Redskins are exactly as bad as they’ve played through the opening quarter. Leaks have been sprung throughout the roster and can’t be plugged in the immediate future. If Lindsay is right, the Redskins will carry the second half comeback into this week’s game at Carolina. If they don’t, they’ll continue to be an inconsistent mess.
2. Jason Campbell rebounded from a three-turnover first half to throw two third-quarter touchdowns. Did the quarterback show some character in shrugging off the boos or is there cause for long-term concern?
L: No question about it and that’s why I think that he can be the guy that makes a difference for this team. I do think he’s a very good quarterback and I would rather have Jason than Tony Romo under center. I think the ability to not get rattled mentally is something that can be invaluable if Jason continues to show improvement. I am looking to see if he takes more shots downfield and also, what Sherman Lewis has to say about his development.
R: Campbell definitely showed some moxie in shrugging off what was the worst first half of his starting career to make several good decisions in the second half. The cause for long-term concern are the pieces around Jason. He was sacked twice in the first three snaps and that seemed to send him off the rails for the next few possessions. Campbell will only be good as the players around him.
3. On Thursday, the Redskins said defensive coordinator Greg Blache would not be answering questions the rest of the season. Why is Blache being allowed to not be accountable?
L: He obviously feels strong enough about his reasoning because he is a very rational person. Because I know him to be a fair, thorough individual, my thought is that he either doesn’t want to worry about saying something that could get him in trouble (in other words, he is fed up with things not necessarily having to do with media). It’s disappointing because he is the leader of the unit and because his insight is valuable.
R: Even by the Redskins’ low standards, this was a pathetic display on Thursday. The team is purposely skirting the rules by having Blache – the “leader” of the defense – make a useless and bogus opening statement each week before sending Jerry Gray to the firing squad. This season is going to get worse before it gets better and now that Blache has used a cop out “personal reason” for dodging the media, he leaves it to his players and his assistants to answer questions. That’s the opposite of being accountable and the opposite of being a leader.
4. The second-year, second-round draft picks – Davis, Kelly and Thomas – have a combined 10 catches. Is there any reason to think they’ll contribute anything this year?
L: I think we’ll see something from Kelly first. It seems right now they aren’t getting separation that they need and Kelly alluded to that describing his minor hand issue (tendon) that he is notably playing through but that is obviously causing him a great deal of pain on the field.
R: There’s no evidence to think the trio will contribute anything other than mistakes. The Davis pick will always be a mystery because there was no need for another tight end when Chris Cooley will always be ticketed for 75-80 catches. Kelly played 50 snaps last week and didn’t have a catch. And Thomas can’t get on the field. The thing with Kelly and Thomas that is becoming evident is they don’t have the speed to get open.
5. The Redskins head to Carolina Sunday and the 0-3 Panthers will be coming off a bye and playing for their season. Who wins?
L: The Redskins win because they are tired of losing, they are tired of having bizarre changes occur because they haven’t gotten the job done as a team. By that fact, I mean the addition of Sherman Lewis. I hope it helps turn things around and his eyes are a difference to the offensive woes but I think this group is talented enough to be very successful … it’s just that we haven’t seen it yet.
R: Carolina is playing for its season so it will be desperate. But the Panthers also aren’t any good on offense. The only reason I think the Redskins will win is that the defense will force Jake Delhomme into a key interception. And then we’ll get to ask Greg Blache about it after the game. Or not.
6. BONUS. With the majority of teams 25 percent through their regular season schedule, who’s the surprise team and who’s the most disappointing non-Redskins team?
L: The surprise team for me is Minnesota – I didn’t doubt that Brett Favre had it in him but the guys like the energizer bunny of quarterbacks and I can see why Brad Childress and company wanted so badly to squeeze every last drop from a guy that clearly still has his motor. Biggest disappointment, the Tennessee Titans – what? I can’t believe they haven’t brought in Vince Young with a winless record.
R: My surprise team is Denver. The Broncos are 4-0, including wins over Cincinnati and Dallas. But the stunning part of their record is that they’re stopping teams. Mike Nolan has turned around the defense. I agree with Lindsay on Tennessee but I’ll throw in Carolina (0-3) and Miami (1-3). The Panthers and Dolphins have dug themselves into a hole that will be difficult to get out of.