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Redskins' scoring merits second look


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This is a few days old, but I didn't see it posted. Sorry if I missed it somewhere.


By Vic Carucci

NFL Insider

(Aug. 15, 2002) -- First impressions of the first impressions that NFL coaches and players have made with their new teams this summer:

Will Steve Spurrier have the last laugh on the many skeptics who doubted his "Fun 'N Gun" offense would work as well in the NFL as it did at the college level?

Maybe. I was one of the skeptics, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least having second thoughts about my initial opinion.

The natural urge is to dismiss the 75 points Spurrier's Washington Redskins have scored in two preseason victories as meaningless, because, after all, the games don't count. But that wouldn't be a fair or balanced perspective. If the Redskins had been shut out against the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, a lot of us would be quick to say, "I told you so," despite the fact those outcomes wouldn't count, either.

Preseason or not, Spurrier and his pass-crazy, high-scoring scheme have delivered as advertised. Granted, because it is preseason, neither defense they faced designed a specific game plan to stop the "Fun 'N Gun" or spent more than a single practice preparing for it. But those still were NFL-level athletes on the other side of the ball, and they are no more anxious to be embarrassed in August than they are September through January. Allowing a combined 798 yards and eight touchdowns is as embarrassing as it gets.

If nothing else, the Redskins have given their fans cause for excitement, which, ideally, is something all teams would like to achieve in the preseason after the top two items on their priority list: Stay healthy and evaluate young players. Seventy-five points in two games might have been routine for Spurrier's former employer, the University of Florida. You have to go all the way back to 1972 to find the last time the Redskins scored 30 or more points in their first two preseason games.

Spurrier has been saying all along that he can win with the quarterbacks he has. The rest of us have been rolling our eyes. But Danny Wuerffel, Shane Matthews and Sage Rosenfels have made the most of the repeated times they've been asked to throw the ball.

I suppose I should have expected as much after my visit to the Redskins' training camp last month. On the first day of practice, Spurrier was kneeling at midfield as he rubbed the factory coating off new footballs to help insure that his quarterbacks would have a good grip. And after only one workout, receivers Jacquez Green and Reidel Anthony, both ex-Gators along with Wuerffel and Matthews, told me that it wouldn't matter who won the Redskins' starting quarterback job because all Spurrier-made passers can run the system to perfection.

I'll see what September brings before admitting I was wrong about this one … or saying, "I told you so."

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Hmm ... is that the sound of a bet being hedged?

Nah, couldn't be. :)

Amazing thing, though: over and over during the last 2 weeks, the talking heads have brought up how the defenses the Skins have faced so far haven't "game planned" against SS ... yet nary a one has mentioned the converse -- that SS hasn't "game planned" against them, either. I find that odd, somehow.

Looking ahead to when the games count, I have to say that in a matchup of game plan vs. game plan, I'm feeling pretty good about our chances most weeks. On BOTH sides of the ball. And in the matchup of actual play-calling during games, and adjustments during games ... I'm feeling VERY good. Haven't felt this way since Joe and Richie prowled the sidelines.

Of course, it's only preseason, and I wouldn't want to go overboard, so don't quote me on that. Gotta hedge my bets, after all.

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Om- certainly agree with you there. Everyone basically seems to be saying that SOS can win a game if he and another coach just grab some players and head out to the sandlot for a pickup game. Once the planning comes into action, people are anticipating a different game altogether and life will be difficult for SOS.

I like to borrow a phrase from Lee Corso:

"Not so fast my friend..." :cool:

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the NFL media makes its judgments on the talent here based on two assumptions that are erroneous:

1. The stats from last year under Marty Schottenheimer are an accurate gauge on what a number of our players other than Davis can do.

2. The Tampa Bay Bucs' with their 3 coordinators in 3 years knew how to use Jacquez Green and Reidel Anthony and they just failed to show any NFL ability.

The truth is Gardner, Lockett, Bryan Johnson and others never got a chance to shine here last year because of the awful performance of the quarterbacks. Cumulatively, George and Banks were the lowest rated tandem in the NFC. The team was forced to run the ball and count on the defense to win games during that streak to get back to respectability.

As a result, the stats from the receiving backs, wide receivers and tight ends were unusually low by NFL standards.

In regards to Green and Anthony, you can make a case that Dungy and his coordinators didn't really know what they were doing in Tampa. Dungy could run a defense in his sleep, but the Bucs had 3 coordinators and 3 starting quarterbacks in 3 years.

Nothing worked. The team gave up on Trent Dilfer and he went on to win a Super Bowl in Baltimore. Then they turned to Shaun King, but never gave him enough time to develop as a starting quarterback. You don't put a 24 year old kid out there and expect him to make no mistakes and be playoff caliber right off the bat. Indeed the Bucs may have ruined King.

And THIS is the team that decided Green (#2 pick) and Anthony (#1 pick) couldn't play in the NFL?

I would submit that Green's two seasons of 50+ catches show he can indeed play in the NFL :)

Anthony had a nice sophomore campaign with 50 catches but then went into the doghouse after fumbling on a key reception that turned into the winning points for the Vikings.

Now, I don't know if either receiver is ever going to make the pro bowl, but I also don't think that after the NFL rated both players coming out as being potential playmakers that Spurrier is a fool for bringing them in to give them a chance to live up to that billing.

Amazing how Seattle is given credit for having a receiving corps with Koren Robinson but John Clayton doesn't think the Redskins have anything at WR despite the fact Gardner was also a high pick and outproduced Robinson on the field last year.

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The natural urge is to dismiss the 75 points Spurrier's Washington Redskins have scored in two preseason victories as meaningless, because, after all, the games don't count. But that wouldn't be a fair or balanced perspective. If the Redskins had been shut out against the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, a lot of us would be quick to say, "I told you so," despite the fact those outcomes wouldn't count, either.

At least this guy is honest enough to admit it. Imagine the uproar if the 'Skins were shut out the first two games, or if the scores were reversed??


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Right on the money! I'll just add that the most important talent on the field walks the sidelines. A fact I discovered back in the days of Gibbs and Parcells. Both of those guys constantly beat teams with better skill players by putting the talent they had into the best position to win.:cheers:

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I would make two clarifications of your comments:

1) Although TB had 3 offensive coordinators during Greens tenure, they looked eerily the same year after year. Another thing is under Dungy, TB signed some other proven offensive skill players that HAD put up numbers elsewhere but they were never very productive when they came to TB. Only Keyshawn with his superior size was productive at all. Bottom line is that no matter what OC or player was plugged into TB's system, the "O" always looked the same. It was only toward the end of last year that people began to seriously question why this was happening that Dungy finally admitted that he wouldn't let these offensive coordinators run THEIR schemes. They ran his...he's a control freak. That was the last nail in his coffin at TB. Dungy's scheme was described in detail (notice is didn't say detail(s)) by some of his players and I think it would best be described as the "Braindead Offense" Watch him this year and you'll see a pretty good offense begin to underperform. Anybody that judges offensive personnel by the way they performed in that scheme is misguided.

2) As per the article and the theory that defenses have yet to gameplan against Spurrier's offense does not respect the possibility that Spurrier can gameplan his offense against those defenses. If Spurrier's offense works in September, then we'll probably hear that it won't work against "good" teams. Then we'll hear it won't work well in the playoffs. If he wins the SuperBowl they'll say it was lucky and won't happen again or try to give credit to the players etc etc etc blah blah blah.

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Originally posted by Smootylicious

"If the Redskins had been shut out against the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, a lot of us would be quick to say, "I told you so," despite the fact those outcomes wouldn't count, either."

This guy's a straight shooter. Kudos; nice thread.

I thought that was a pretty bold statement as well. Even though we tend to think of the media as a whole in their collective bias against us and SOS, we have to remember that there are good people in the media out there.

At least he said he'd wait until the regular season to reserve judgement so I'll give him points for that at least.

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the NFL is the ultimate bandwagon league.

you go 8-8 you are a bum. if you go 13-3 the next year and win the Super Bowl all of a sudden you were a 'team on the rise' whom the writers could 'see coming together during that tough initial stretch' :laugh:

all you have to do is go back to what was being written about the Rams in 1998, the Ravens in 1999 or the Patriots in 2000 to see how 'insightful' these sages of the gridiron were.

how many of these insiders thought the 5-11 Rams would rise to prominence?

how many thought the Ravens would go to a Super Bowl?

how many thought the Patriots would even be a playoff team in the near future?

I have to admit the Patriots completely took me by surprise last season. To me their talent had 6-10 or 7-9 written all over it.

But then again I don't go to training camp for ONE day like John Clayton does and then pronounce that the team is or is not going to be a challenger :)

Of course if you gave me $150-200K a year to do nothing but follow the NFL and read 8 hours a day on the subject, I might have a few more insightful comments to make :laugh: :laugh:

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Bulldog is right on. Everyone assumes we suck because our qb's are nobody's, or receivers did nothing under Marty blah blah blah....

Now, Kurt Warner is the qb god, I remember when trent green when down....... tears from vermeil.... the media..... there goes the season. In this league, everything depends on what you are trying to accomplish. What if Dan Marino was drafted by the Buc's? Whole different history there.

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