Monday, December 13, 2010
Awful Weather, Awful Finish
Just a quick few thoughts on the Redskins game yesterday.
a. I am not in the least bit "mad" about how they lost, because winning and losing has become secondary right now, as this team needs to begin a long, sustained, assault on rebuilding from the ground up. I want this team playing good football right now, and improving. I didn't really see that yesterday, even before the final pie in the face.
b. How can any rational observer have much faith in Shanahan? If Jim Zorn had done what Shanny did at the end of the half, we'd be screaming bloody murder. But what? Just because Shanny has two Elway led Super Bowl trophies from the 90's we're supposed to genuflect? Screw that. Judge this coach, like you would any other coach. By what you see, not the resume.
c. And speaking of what you see, I see a guy in Shanny is not much of a "coach" on the sidelines. Maybe I just miss all of his episodes of teaching and coaching, but all I really see is a lot of "bossing" and scowling. I guess that's his style. We'll see if it works.
d. So far, Shanny has shown that he's not very good at player personnel (examples cited already, ad nauseum), he's not much at motivating players for big games (witness Divisional souffles vs. Philly and New York as of late) and he certainly is not very good at game tactics (witness Sunday, as well as some other examples from this year). So what then, is he good at? I have yet to see anything major about Shanny as a Skins boss that has even mildly impressed me.
e. All of that said, please do not mistake my criticism as a recommendation that he be fired. Not at all. He needs a full 3 years to show me something. My point, is that right now, I have zero confidence in him. It doesn't mean he can't build that confidence. But any faith one has in Shanahan has to be of the blind variety.
f. When I hear that McNabb had to split reps with Grossman on Friday in practice, and when Moose Johnston referred obliquely to how "McNabb clearly had something weighing on his mind" when they held the typical game announcer meeting before Sunday - it means some dark storm clouds are on the horizon. I don't like the feel of this.
g. And for the record, AGAIN. I am 100% in favor of bringing McNabb back next year at his insanely steep price of 12.5 mil (plus the non-refundable $3.5 deposit already paid). Because when you make this kind of move, you are committed. To bail on it now, would be a disaster. Yes, even with McNabb's bounce passes. Does anybody who watches the NFL think that would magically disappear? Grow up. It comes with the package.
h. Shame on FOX for badly botching the down situation at the end of the game. They were dead wrong, from the start. I went back on my DVR and noticed that the Fox yellow line was placed incorrectly at the TWO, and not the three yard line. This began the series of screw ups. How is it, that a veteran network announce team, with a PXP man, a color analyst, a sideline reporter, and I am sure at least ONE spotter with binoculars, misses this crucial fact so completely? They had three downs to realize the down marker on the field was out of whack with their own magical TV "lines." Fundamentals, folks. If network TV crews don't get it that telling viewers definitively what DOWN and DISTANCE it is on every play, then none of the other jib-jabbery means a thing.
i. Danny Smith for the Skins is a very likeable, gum chomping fella. I believe he knows how to coach special teams. But seeing how he was the only major holdover from the old regime, and seeing how uneven-to-god-awful the specials have been this year, I wonder if he's teflon coated. Again, I am not saying he should be fired. I am just wondering, at what point does he pay the price? Never? Wondering.
j. True, Orakpo is getting held damn near every passing play. But complaining about it like the Skins did, both Shanny and #98, after a loss like that, just makes you look weak. Make your point, and move on.
k. Ryan Torain is an awesome runaway dump truck going downfield. But I think he's way too injury prone to depend on him as a #1 back. I'd still keep him on the roster, but you just can't go into a season with him on top of the RB depth chart.
l. Final, hypothetical, philosophic question. The stadium appeared to be (generously) 60-65% full yesterday. Which given the season, and the weather, was understandable. But I was wondering: if the team was itself 7-5 and fighting for a wildcard berth, how many more fans would actually GO to the stadium and risk pneumonia before Christmas, knowing they could watch on TV, and how many would simply say: "I can't wait to root like crazy for this team... from HOME!"