- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009

POINT-COUNTERPOINT

Each Friday, columnist Dan Daly and Redskins beat writer Ryan O’Halloran debate a football issue. This week’s topic: The Lions have lost 24 of their past 25 games, and the Rams, coming off a 2-14 season, got shut out in their opener. What can the NFL do to help out these thoroughly awful clubs?

Ryan O’Halloran: Roger Goodell should step in and transfer ownership of teams like Detroit, St. Louis, Kansas City and Oakland to individuals who have a working knowledge of how to win. Even in a system that is custom-built to be competitive year in and year out, we have teams like the aforementioned disasters and teams like Cincinnati, which hasn’t won a playoff game since I was in middle school, and Cleveland, which seems to be in Year 42 of a five-year Super Bowl plan.

Dan Daly: And the Lions, let’s not forget, have won only one playoff game since 1957 - the year of their last championship… and also the year the Soviet Union launched Sputnik. In the old days, the NFL used to give really bad teams extra draft picks - kind of like sandwich picks today in baseball. All the teams would pick in the first round, then only the five worst teams would pick, then everybody would pick in the second round, then only the five worst teams would pick again. Maybe the league could do something like that for these hopeless cases. I look at the Lions and Raiders, particularly, and I wonder whether they shouldn’t qualify for some kind of FEMA relief. The ownership has been so clueless, I’m surprised William Clay Ford didn’t say “Heckuva job, Matty” when Matt Millen was running the franchise into the ground.

RO: Goodell should have the power to step in and say enough is enough and form the Committee to Prevent Incompetence to right the ship of these pathetic franchises before the fans really become apathetic. At least Detroit, Kansas City and St. Louis have attempted to make progress by hiring football guys.



DD: The biggest problem is that in the NFL you can be historically bad and still make money. If Ford had to sell off some family heirlooms to meet the payroll, he would change the way he operates - or get rid of the team. If Goodell suggested giving certain teams extra help, I’m sure most of the owners would roll their eyes and say, “How much more can we bend over backward to help these crummy teams? We already give them the best draft picks, the first shot at guys who have been waived, easier schedules.” But it doesn’t do anybody any good when these teams are so lousy they can’t sell out their games - and the games have to be blacked out on TV. When you reach that point, I think the league has to step in.

WEEKEND PICKS

REDSKINS THIS WEEK

RAMS (0-1) at REDSKINS (0-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

TV: Chs. 5, 45

Line: Redskins by 10

Outlook: The Redskins are the week’s co-biggest favorite, an indictment of the impotent St. Louis offense, which got zero points from three first-quarter takeaways and managed only 247 yards against Seattle in Week 1. The Rams stole a 19-17 win last year at FedEx, so combine that with the Redskins’ sense of urgency and Jim Zorn’s squad gets its first victory.

The pick: Redskins 27-14

GAME OF THE WEEK

GIANTS (1-0) at COWBOYS (1-0)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

TV: Chs. 4, 11

Line: Cowboys by 3

Outlook: Both teams’ offenses eclipsed 350 yards in victories last week, but the Dallas defense was suspect, allowing 450 yards and 5.6 yards a rush and failing to sack the immobile Byron Leftwich. The Giants will establish the run with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw and keep Tony Romo and Co. off the field. The Giants have to do a better job of finishing drives in the red zone.

The pick: Giants 26-24

UPSET WATCH

RAVENS (1-0) at CHARGERS (1-0)

Sunday, 4:15 p.m.

TV: Chs. 9, 13

Line: Chargers by 3

Outlook: What’s up with this spread? Did Vegas not see the Ravens’ offense roll up 501 yards against Kansas City and the Chargers struggle like all get-out against the Raiders? San Diego is in for another long afternoon - the Ravens’ defense was in midseason form, posting three sacks, and the Chargers’ offensive line will be without center Nick Hardwick (ankle).

The pick: Ravens 22-14

INSIDE THE AFC

• Baltimore held only a three-point halftime lead on Kansas City in Week 1 before pulling away for a 38-24 victory, but the statistical disparities were remarkable. The Ravens held a 501-188 advantage in yards and an 85-44 edge in offensive snaps; the total yardage was a franchise record. But it was only December when there was a similarly lopsided result - according to the Elias Sports Bureau, New England dominated Arizona (514-186 yards, 81-50 plays) in a 47-7 rout in the Foxborough snow.

• Cleveland might have been blown out in its home opener 34-20 by Minnesota, but at least the Browns scored an offensive touchdown. The drought dated to Week 11 last year and lasted nearly 434 minutes. Former Redskins tight end Robert Royal caught a 26-yard touchdown pass.

• Jacksonville’s home opener Sunday against Arizona will be blacked out (only 2 percent of the nation will get the game), and owner Wayne Weaver needs to find a way to generate buzz. Enter Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. “Star power is incredible, and Tebow is an iconic figure,” Weaver said. “That’s very compelling. He clearly is an outstanding football player and would be an asset to any football organization.”

• Ten rookie offensive linemen started in Week 1, the most since at least 1970, according to the league office. Buffalo started rookies Eric Wood and Andy Levitre at guard.

INSIDE THE NFC

• Besides Giants-Cowboys, the most interesting NFC matchup this week is New Orleans-Philadelphia. The Saints’ offense rolled up 515 yards and faces an Eagles defense that posted five interceptions in a victory over Carolina. The Eagles could be without quarterback Donovan McNabb (cracked rib) and have lost right tackle Shawn Andrews (back) for the season.

• Part of Chicago’s problem offensively against Green Bay (besides Jay Cutler’s four interceptions) was the Packers’ work on tight end Greg Olsen. Instead of putting a linebacker on Olsen, who often lines up as a receiver, defensive coordinator Dom Capers used cornerback Charles Woodson in coverage. Olsen was limited to one catch for 8 yards.

• Former Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen was healthy but didn’t play last week for the first time in his 11-year career when Detroit stuck with seven active linemen. Jansen’s previous missed games were all because of injury.

• Some interesting roster tidbits, according to the NFL: Carolina has 13 rookie or first-year players (most in the NFC), Dallas leads in average height (6.22 feet) and weight (252.58 pounds), the Redskins lead the league in players age 30 or older (17) and Green Bay is the NFC’s youngest in age (25.7) and experience (3.81).

BY THE NUMBERS

370

Players on Week 1 rosters who weighed 300 or more pounds, including 14 from the Redskins.

MIAMI, LSU LEAD WAY

On Week 1 rosters, 250 colleges were represented. The top five and which Redskins played for those schools:

CollegeNFL playersCurrent Redskins

Miami41Clinton Portis, Rocky McIntosh, Santana Moss

LSU41LaRon Landry

Texas37Derrick Dockery, Brian Orakpo, Mike Williams

Southern Cal36Fred Davis

Ohio State36None

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