- The Washington Times - Monday, September 25, 2006

Even though the Redskins finally entered the win column on Sunday and Mark Brunell completed his first 22 passes … and Clinton Portis ran for 86 yards and had a 74-yard reception … and the defense tightened up after the opening drive, don’t get too giddy just yet.

If the Redskins can somehow find a way to beat Jacksonville on Sunday, then it’s time to feel optimistic. The best thing for fans coming out of the Houston win was Portis’ return. The guy’s a superstar, period.

The defense still needs.

Other Monday morning observations:

• Stick a fork into Tampa Bay. The Bucs are 0-3 — with two division defeats — and quarterback Chris Simms is out indefinitely after having his spleen removed. Carolina saved its season and is 1-2. The NFC has six 1-2 teams. The 1-2 Giants have bigger problems than the Redskins. New York should be 0-3 heading into its bye this week, but the Eagles handed them a Week 2 victory. Philadelphia (2-1) remains my favorite in the division because its offense is great and should make up for Jevon Kearse’s absence.

• This week’s Jacksonville game is at 4:15 but don’t expect CBS to send its A team. The main doubleheader game is New England at Cincinnati.

• Best game this week is the Sunday nighter — 3-0 Seattle at 3-0 Chicago. Another interesting game is 2-0 San Diego at 3-0 Baltimore. The worst game is 0-3 Cleveland at 0-2 Oakland.

• I knocked Houston off my list of NFL stadiums I hadn’t been to. My stay was exactly 24 hours — checked into the hotel Saturday at 9 p.m., flight took off Sunday night at 9 p.m. The town is spread out and the cab ride from Reliant Stadium to Bush Airport was $64. The stadium was impressive. The press box was on the eighth floor (about as high as the Meadowlands) and you could see every play developing, unlike the closet that is the FedEx Field press box. The only disappointing and surprising thing considering that Texans owner Bob McNair is first-class all the way was the dining. Times columnist Dan Daly correctly described the pregame fried chicken as “Swanson-like. I think it’s still defroasting in my stomach.” The halftime food was a hunk of meat they called a hamburger. The post-game was well, chips and queso at the Chili’s inside the airport. Overall grade for stadium: B (because of the food).

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