- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2009

When the Washington Redskins’ 9-7 eyesore/abomination against the St. Louis Rams was mercifully over, the “Best Fans In Sports” let them know how they felt about the 1-1 record, four empty red zone trips and occasionally shoddy defense.

They booed.

“We want them to support us in every situation regardless, but that’s not realistic,” linebacker London Fletcher said.

To the players and coaches, the win was good enough because it was exactly that - a win. To the paying customer, style points are important, and the Redskins scored a big goose egg in that department Sunday.

Robert Henson expressed his displeasure with the fans via his Twitter account, questioning their choice to boo the team and calling them “dim wits.” (The inactive rookie linebacker later apologized.)

But even after the “win,” there are several issues that still need to be ironed out.

Q: Wow, now that was ugly. At what point did you think the Redskins were in serious trouble of being upset by the Rams again?

A: When the Redskins’ first trip inside the 20 resulted in a field goal. Everybody who follows the Redskins knew that was a sign of things to come - a game of a lot of yards but not a lot (if any) touchdowns. The Redskins put together drives of 83, 64, 74 and 76 yards only to come away with nine points.

When Santana Moss lost a fumble late in the first half, the game officially became a nail-biter. Several players said last week their 2008 problem was playing down to the competition. That happened Sunday, unless of course the Redskins are just not very good.

Q: What was the main issue once the Redskins got inside the 20? Execution? Playcalling?

A: Everything. Blocks weren’t finished and passes were dropped, but Jim Zorn’s red-zone playcalling should invite criticism.

Between the 20s, Zorn seems to have a lot of trust in Jason Campbell (even running a little no huddle), but once in scoring range it’s like he wants to do everything but put the ball in his quarterback’s hands.

An example: Campbell threw 25 yards to Antwaan Randle El (to the St. Louis 7). The next three plays were Portis run left for no gain, Portis draw right for 2 and Portis tailback pass that was incomplete. Not good.

Q: Staying with the offense, it looks like right guard Randy Thomas is out for the season. How do the Redskins try to replace him?

A: Thomas told teammates he tore his right triceps in the second quarter. In 2005, he tore his left triceps and was limited to three games.

The replacement will be Will Montgomery or Chad Rinehart. The team doesn’t seem inclined to bring back former left guard Pete Kendall. Montgomery replaced Thomas against the Rams, and unless the film shows he was overmatched, he’ll likely get the first chance to seize the job.

Losing Thomas is big because it means the Redskins are a run-to-the-left team until Montgomery or Rinehart establishes himself as a player who can open holes. It was clear the Redskins’ offensive line depth would be tested, but this early?

Q: Shifting to defense, what were the positives from the Redskins’ perspective?

A: A couple things. They tackled better, and they concentrated on playing football and not chirping with the opponent.

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (three tackles, one quarterback hit, one batted pass) and linebacker/pass rusher Brian Orakpo (two QB hits) were more active, and linebacker Rocky McIntosh was all over the field even though he posted only five tackles.

Q: Everybody in the locker room had to be saying a win’s a win and so on. Do you share the same opinion?

A: Sort of. The Redskins absolutely needed to win this game, and when the standings are posted Monday, it’ll say “Washington 1-1,” not “Washington 1-1 - and inept in the red zone.” It’s going to be a heckuva lot easier to concentrate on improvements this week instead of having to relive what would have been another miserable defeat to the Rams.

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