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    • By Destino in ES Coverage
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      Good afternoon Redskins nation!  I’m in beautiful Landover, MD with Spaceman Spiff who has been pulled away from Instagram models and tailgating and sent down to the field to do what he does best (roll around in the mud).
       
      Let’s get down to business...  Can we block them?  There are other story lines entering into this game but worrying about them feels largely academic.  The Texans have two terrifying pass rushers and the Redskins intend to block them with optimism and underdog stories.  Alex Smith isn’t a statue but he does take time in making decisions and getting the ball out.  This combination looks disastrous.  The sort of thing that has us all after the game consoling each other with things like “well, it was just a bad matchup" and “we caught them at the worst possible time.” 
       
      Or... we could walk away wondering just how the heck this team managed to pull off another improbable win.  Last week the gave up something like twelve thousand yards of offense to the Bucs, I’ll have to check those numbers to be sure, but only three points.  That’s not supposed to happen.  Maybe we can enjoy an outrageously unlikely result again.  Not probably, not likely, but you know... maybe.  I’m saying there’s a chance.   
       
      I’m here for that chance.  (and you know... the free food and climate controlled free seats) 

      1st Quarter Update
      Redskins are running their bend and break defense, and I’m not sure a little over three quarters is enough time for the Redskins offense to close a 10-point gap.  I’m having flash backs of week nine, but having human emotions is considered “disruptive behavior.”  I'm fine.  Everything is fine. 
       
      That Quinn celebration, whatever that was, was the highlight of the 1st quarter. 
       
      2nd Quarter Update
      Is there a better way to start a quarter than by scoring a touchdown?  There is, if you follow that TD drive with a forced turnover on defense.  Things are looking good! 

      So much for that.  A great start was quickly ended up canceled out by the Redskins offense.  With a chance to take a lead Alex Smith throws a pick six in the red zone and takes the air out of the stadium.  He followed that up by throwing another interception on the very next drive.  Alex Smith almost made me forget about Vernon Davis dropping that pass.  Almost. 
       
      Texans missed a field goal attempt and the lead remains frozen at 10. 
       
      This quarter feels like a giant blown opportunity.  
       
      Halftime Update. 
      I should have stopped at one hotdog.  I deserve this.
       
      3rd Quarter Update
      You know the feeling where you say and think all these bad things about a player and then he breaks his leg and you immediately feel bad about it?  I live there now.
       
      Colt McCoy has freed me from that place of sadness! 
       
      As much as I love this defense, they have to start forcing teams to punt at some point.  Is there a stat for defense tha thas forced the fewest punts?  We have to be near the top of that list.  Texans have punted just once today.  Holding them to three was good, though.   
       
      The lead is down to six and Colt McCoy has arrived to save us.  (Please let that be true.) 
       
      Personal Note:  Someone just stomped, loudly, out of the press area like a while muttering at his phone.  Laughter and comparisons to toddlers followed him.  The media's laugh is an evil laugh!  Good times. 
       
      4th Quarter Update
      Colt has brought us back.  Welcome to the first lead change of the season, Redskins fans.  You like that?!  (Yeesh, was that always so lame?)  I guess you could say Adrian Peterson contributed by actually scoring the touchdown.  I bet Colt told him to score though, so you have to factor leadership into things.
       
      Once again, the defense cannot force a punt, hard to feel great about holding a team to a field goal when that field goal gives them the lead in the 4th quarter 
       
      Remember that whole "can we block them" thing?  The answer was absolutely not on the Redskins 2nd drive of the 4th quarter.  Watt and Clowney each sacked our man Colt, and ended that drive before it really had a chance to begin. 
       
      Horrible, no good, very bad holding called on Norman gifting Houston a first down at the worst possible time for it.
       
      Colt chooses to throw deep at an inopportune moment resulting in a 60+ yard attempt for an injured kicker.  Heartbreaking end to a game that cost this team entirely too much (via injury) yet still seemed to be within reach several times. 
       
      I'm off to the post game press conference and locker room, check back later for updates.
       
      Final Thoughts
      I’ve always found it preferable to watch my favorite team simply get destroyed, than to feel that they were the better team and still managed to lose.  The Redskins gave this game away with mistakes in the 2nd quarter.  Fred Davis makes a routine catch and Alex Smith doesn’t throw a pick six, and the scoreboard shows at least 7 fewer points for the Texans.  Even if the Redskins had settled for field goals, that’s a 13 point swing in 2 point game.   
       
      Losing the game wasn’t even the worst part.  Losing Alex Smith, for at least the remainder of the season, is likely enough to push the Redskins past the point where they can continue toughing their way through key injuries. 
       
      We'll all feel better after a win against the Cowboys next week. 
       

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MRMADD

Defense Next Year

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Defensive Depth Chart:

DT Gardner, ___, Powell, Cowsette

DE ___, Wynn, ___, Smith, Jackson (if healthy?)

LB Arrington, Armstead, Trotter, Mitchell, Pierce, Marshall, Mason

CB Bailey, Smoot, Bauman, ___

S ___, Ohalete, ___, Lott

So we'd need a DT, two DEs, a CB, and a couple of safeties. What am I missing? Is Mitchell gone?

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What about Terrel at the fourth CB spot. Being able to play both S and CB is a big bonus on the depth at the positions.

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I want to upgrade David Terrell as much as the next guy, but to say he can't serve even as a backup FS/CB after doing OK in a starting role the past two years is ridiculous.

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Terrell should be on this team. People are using him as a scape goat for our defensive problems. He is a decent player, especially as a 4th corner as we saw during the two previous seasons. You don't get rid of young, versatile, cheap players. He has also shown his value on special teams.

Since when does he miss many tackles? This is an unfair criticism of Terrell. He isnt a tackling machine, but he puts people on the ground when he has the chance.

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Terrell is a great player to keep around. He can backup safety and corner spots and he was a special teams stud. If he wouldn't mope about getting benched, he'd immediately be our best special teams player. You don't let players like Terrell go because they haven't proven to be dominating starting level players. He has a role and has starting experience.

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Argghh. I think we can get his production out of a lot of stiffs on the street. He's a restricted free agent -- let him go. If he's gotta stay, I hope he's deep on the depth chart, or just playing lots of special teams.

The bottom line is that Terrell is a mediocre player. Not terrible, but not very good. I'd like to see us find an above-average player back there.

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Terrel is a way below average starting FS, which is exploited even more in a system like M. Lewis', where the safeties play a vital role. However, he would make a very good dime CB, and a good backup safety. He's fast, and decently strong, but he lacks awareness, which is deadly for a FS.

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I'm glad nobody's penciled in Big Daddy. Our interior defense seems better....significantly better...without him. I like Powell's enthusiasm (anyone else expect a taunting flag on his somersault?).

I had hoped that Bruce Smith would retire. He's looked much better toward the end of the season, but he's so inconsistent. I hope he'll retire after he gets his 3-4 sacks.

Safety is where we need immediate help. I'd like to trade down in the first and look at Julian Battle out of Tennessee.

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I don't mind Powell starting next year. When he started this year he played well. Look what he did against Dallas. He led the team in tackles. He could be very good for us next year.

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Mitchell is gone. He will be an UFA. I don't think we have a chance to keep him b/c he will want starter $$ and will want to start on another team. He's proven that he is a starting level LB in this league. I'd like to keep him, but............................

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Re our "significantly better" interior line w/o Big Daddy, could it be due to the suck-job teams we've played since he went out with an injury?

I want him back. He is solid, and a true team player -- he's already re-negotiated his contract several times to help us out with the cap. Plus he's only 28 or 29 -- still young for a DT.

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I'd love to have Big Daddy back. Gardner and Wilkinson are huge in the middle -- and yes, Big Daddy does make us better. Don't judge your interior defensive line by their play against the Texans and Cowboys. Those are two of the worst offenses in the league.

That said, I don't think he'll be back.

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DW was there on Turkey Day when Dallas ***** slapped us right up the middle all second half when the game was on the line. The only difference between that game and yesterday was that Solomon Page was out yesterday along with DW.

So we can say that Carl Powell is better than their backup OG. But we should also be able to say that Page is better than DW. And Page, while a pretty decent player, is no Pro Bowler.

We need Pro Bowlers on our lines. DW was close a couple of years ago but is known league-wide for being a "bust." Gardner played at that level this year and is the best DT we've had since Dave Butz. Whatever the staff did for his back should be commended. The others are just OK.

DL and OL are the guts of the team. I was glad to see Carl Powell step up yesterday. But he's an OK player on an OK DL- and that's not getting it done.

Charles Mann was a 3rd rounder and Dexter Manley a 5th. They were the two best DLs we have drafted (in my memory). Dave Butz, the 5th pick in th 1973 draft, came from STL.

We can get Pro Bowlers in any round. Let's not settle for less ...

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I like Big Daddy, but we need some youth-get a FA or draft pick to put next to Gardner-keep Powell to rotate in/keep 'em fresh- keep Wynn on one end and 1st round draft pick(if not on DL) or young FA for other end. Bring in Ladarius in on third down. Put Bruce in 10 times a game to keep him fresh and give someone else a breather and get the sack record as a Redskin and retire as a Redskin.

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Mitchell is a wonderful backup player. We are lucky we had him when Trotter went down. But, by no stretch of the imagination did he outplay Trotter, be it significantly or even slightly. Mitchell managed a solid 19 total tackles (including assists) in his four starts. He certainly didn't and doesn't make the number of plays Trotter made in the defense. In Trotter's four full starts immediately preceeding his injury against Dallas he had 36 total tackles. Trotter was only just coming on in the defense and making an impact. Mitchell certainly didn't have the impact on the game that Trotter was starting to have, though he is well suited for his role and did a good job, in general, of making the proper read to feed the running back to the proper gap when he'd take on blockers. Trotter still had some trouble with that even as he started to lift his game.

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