- The Washington Times - Monday, October 28, 2002

Darnerien and Doering? What's that an accounting firm? When did they become the Washington Redskins offense?
The Redskins returned to their best quarterback, relied on running back Stephen Davis early, found fresh talent and unleashed the defense in a victory over the pathetic Indianapolis Colts last night. Really, Custer put up a better stand than the Colts.
The Redskins are finally maturing as then enter the softer part of the schedule. Three straight road games will probably determine whether they will be a possible playoff team when they return to FedEx Field on Nov. 24 against St. Louis. Last night proved they don't always have to look the fools.


Q: Where did that come from? The Redskins actually kicked someone else around the ballpark?
A: Maybe it was because the Redskins had 45 of the 70 greatest Redskins on the sidelines that they played their best overall game this season. (No, coach Joe Gibbs didn't sneak a few plays into the huddle.) It certainly helped that they went back to quarterback Shane Matthews. He never should have come out in the first place even if he did "need to rest." The Redskins finally learned Matthews may not be flashy, but he's the best they have and he's competent.
Q: Does this mean the Redskins are playoff contenders again? If they can just beat the bad teams the rest of the season and
A: Let's get above .500 before talking postseason. They're still only 3-4. The Redskins have a chance to reach 9-7, but they can't misstep. If Washington can beat Seattle and Jacksonville on the road the next two weeks, then it's time to believe a playoff run is possible.
Q: Is Matthews really the starting quarterback for the rest of the season or just until he tails off?
A: Probably the latter. Coach Steve Spurrier likes to play the hot hand. It worked well with receivers last night as Darnerian McCants caught a touchdown in his first game. However, it's Matthews job to lose.
Q: Given that Patrick Ramsey is considered the future quarterback, why did the Redskins abandon him? Did Matthews play that much better?
A: The opening drive showed why the move made sense. First down on the Colts 37, Matthews was flushed and threw the ball away. Ramsey would have stood in the pocket for a 7-yard loss. The Redskins simply need a more experienced quarterback right now.
Q: Who is McCants? Where has he been? Why does Spurrier keep calling him "Darterien?"
A: Ball Coach is a little rough on names sometimes, but McCants has been a sleeper who, for the last year, just couldn't get in the games. The coaches love his potential, so it wasn't surprising that he scored on a 9-yard touchdown catch after a 32-yard reception earlier in the game. Chris Doering also caught a snappy 33-yard score.
Q: Did you catch the "LaVar Leap" on the goal line? Too bad it was before the snap.
A: Linebacker LaVar Arrington took off too early on that third-and-1. The Colts scored on the next play on a sissy fake, but the re-emergence of Arrington keyed a defense that is finally playing to its potential. That means the Redskins can compete over the final 10 games.
Q: What happened to make the Redskins finally start using running back Stephen Davis? It seemed so obvious, but the Redskins didn't run him regularly until last week.
A: Spurrier entered with an agenda and was convinced his passing offense would work. Five games later, Ball Coach finally learned his offense won't work with this personnel. Not that it cost the Redskins a victory, but new coaches always seem to need a grace period before they start relying on Davis.
Q: Was that former Redskins secondary coach Ron Meeks calling the Colts' defensive plays? Why was he hiding his mouth with a clipboard?
A: The Colts defensive coordinator was probably afraid Redskins owner Dan Snyder would fire him again if he saw him inside FedEx Field.
Q: What was the stadium like for the 70 greatest players? They didn't seem that into it during the week.
A: That's because the players didn't grow up in this town. They don't know who Larry Brown and Chris Hanburger are. Michael Westbrook once blew off Charley Taylor, who was working for a local cable TV show and needed an interview. As if Westbrook could carry Taylor's shoes. The 70th selections were for the fans and it was an exciting night. The idea is still dumb, but any method that remembers the team's greatness and brings back the standout players of the past is a good move.
Q: Who received the loudest cheer among the old-timers? Was the crowd really into the homecoming of sorts.
A: It was the craziest the House that Jack Built has been in years. The grills were aflame in the dark parking lots hours before the game. They cheered the first catch by McCants and the return of guard Tre Johnson. But Darrell Green drew the loudest cheer during the halftime ceremonies. Joe Gibbs, Dexter Manley, Doug Williams, Sam Huff, Gary Clark, Art Monk, Joe Theismann and Sonny Jurgensen also caused uproars. We loved a fan's sign: "Theismann starts next week."
Q: Why didn't Sammy Baugh come? Isn't he the greatest Redskin ever?
A: Baugh simply won't fly for any amount of money period. Too bad. It would have been an awesome experience to see him. But as for the greatest, the vote here is Riggins. Call it generational bias, but how many people saw Baugh play to make a real comparison? Riggo made it fun to watch the Redskins and delivered a Super Bowl championship. Too bad he didn't make it.

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