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What if?


Art

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I think each of us in our hearts knows that much of our success this year and into the next couple of years lies in how Patrick Ramsey develops as a player. That shouldn't be a secret to any of us. Any consideration for where we stand as a team in comparision with the rest of our division is measured against the natural, correct hesitancy to appoint Ramsey as the answer.

We don't know if he is that. We hope. We have positive signs upon which to place that hope. My question is what if he answers those questions and this year throws for Bledsoe or Manning like numbers in their second seasons? Not an expectation here. Merely a hypothetical.

As much of the hesitancy on our parts and skepticism from the media is centered on the open question of what Ramsey can be, if he can be all we hope and even a bit more -- with a 4,500-yard season as Bledsoe had in his second year -- is there really a negative gap between the Redskins and anyone in the division?

As it stands today you look at Philly and you know they have advantages at running back and safety. You give them a nod on the interior of the defensive line. You'd say they have a bit more proven production and are better set tight end, though the latter is not really a crucial thing in our offense.

Right now you'd certainly say we have clear advantages wide receiver and linebacker by a wide margin. We appear better off along the offensive line, with a bit more youth and upside and depth than they have. We are clearly more proven in the return game where we have one of the game's best.

In many areas we have a balanced conversation when looking at the teams. At corner they are getting a little older, but can still play. We have the best single corner in football, along with another young guy who some here question more than others, but in total, it's a pretty even match. We have solid depth at defensive end, but they spent a high pick on a talented guy who helps them depth wise and perhaps gives them a star.

Given this assessment which some may not find fair despite my efforts at being fair, the real difference between the Eagles and the Redskins is McNabb is a true leader and playmaker. Not a great passer, obviously, and even a sub par Ramsey may be expected to throw for more yards than McNabb. Still, the measure for McNabb is not simply his ability to throw the football, but it is in his overall leadership and competence that in order for us to match we'd need more than just a push in passing yards.

We'd need a 4,000-yard passer who is clearly a shining light now and a clear leader for the future. Am I wrong to think that if Ramsey is the answer that the rest of the division may be looking up to find us and not down in a very rapid fashion?

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Barring unforeseen circumstances, I think that's dead on.

Of course, if the defense slips substantially, whether due to injury or Edwards being a poor gameday tactician or whatever, having a 4K passer isn't going to help much. And, if those 4K yards are accompanied by sloppy ball protection, it doesn't matter.

But, if we can presume status quo for defense and the running game, no undue injury hardship (which goes for every team), and merely a push in the turnover department, the Redskins will be right in the mix if Ramsey is a consistent 250-300 yards a game passer.

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Every team in the NFL is a Super Bowl team from Feb.-Aug., but I think that your breakdown hit the nail on the head. I do, however, think that Philly has the edge over us not only in the starting QB position, but also the reserve QB spots, as made clear when McNabb went down last season and Detmer and Feeley went on to go 5-1 or something ridiculous like that. Although I think that Rob Johnson is an upgrade from both Wuerffel and Matthews, I'm not sold on Johnson's patience in the pocket, (a.k.a. ball$), to let things develop without tossing a pick, a trait that Ramsey has and Spurrier loves. Philly didn't hop on the back of McNabb last year as they had in the past and came out on top of the East again, that wasn't by accident. Andy Reid coached and called plays to his players strengths, even when his stud went down, and I think that we could have had more success last season if Spurrier did the same thing, he was telling bi-plane pilots to fly F-18's last year. But, I believe that with the upgrades this year we should see what Spurrier's system can really do in the NFL, and I think that Ramsey will be able to guide us to a winning season, (10-6 w/ perhaps a wild card spot realistically, 11-5 and the NFC East optimistically).

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I know it sounds crazy but it's not the offense I worry about, it's the defense.

We are just so desperately thin on the Dline that I can't help but imagine at least a few games slipping away because of it. We could see more 31-27 games than we'd like to imagine. With the pass rush being the major culprit for our defeat.

While I can't quantify it, I expect Ramsey to be very able this season. I certainly don't expect a Manning-like 4500 yard second season but something like Trent Green had last year with Kansas City. About 3500 yards 26 TDs but a few more picks, around say 19 or 20.

I know we'll take care of the ball better than we did last year but I think this offense is just sort of prone to mistakes. So if we can cut the the turnovers from 40 (man that's awful) to around 25, we should be in business. 25 is still a few more than you would like but you can definitely live with it.

The problems start if we turn the ball over closer to 30 times. I just don't see us having the Tampa or Baltimore caliber defense to bail us out time and again. There really will be very little margin for error on offense this year with the inconsistency we will have on defense.

That's the big reason I hesitate to give us 10 or 11 wins. Unless we play absolutely flawlessly on offense, I just don't see it happening. Considering the average age of our offense, I think that's a expecting a lot. But I'll predict 9 wins in 2003 and one of the top "up-and-comers" for 2004.

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Dirk,

To be honest, it's not the depth of the defensive line that worries me. Not only do we have far better depth than we had a year ago, but we have far better depth than most teams in the league. We have players with starting experience filling in behind our starting players. That's an improvement from where we've been. Hell, if you were to line up Smith, Zellner, Haley and Cowsette I'd be concerned, but, when that's the four guys in reserve, I'm not that concerned.

Though we share a common worry over the state of our defensive line as it relates to having a true playmaking force, I think the incredibly fine depth we have will allow a rotation that will improve each player we have in the game. This, to me, is a wonderful thing. We also agree that a pass rush is going to be our biggest downfall and my worry remains around how much we can expect out of the front in terms of consistent pressure on the quarterback.

But, depth-wise, I'm somewhat surprisingly contented.

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Originally posted by Art

...But, depth-wise, I'm somewhat surprisingly contented.

I am not sure if this came across in my transcription of Coach Nunn's interview, but he echoed this sentiment in many different ways. He mentioned his confidence in the rotation of Peppi, Bruce, L. Jackson, and Regan. Also, he emphasized the need to keep guys fresh & healthy for the whole season, which is alot easier to do when your bench is deeper.

If the guys we brought in stay healthy for the year, I suspect that the Skins have the defensive talent to be alot more effective in both run-stoppping and pressuring the QB than many are giving us credit for.

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I probably should have clarified this. I meant "thin" in terms of top level talent - the kind that wins games for you. This is most evident in the pass rush that you need to win games. You just have to have it to put the nail in the coffin. I am not so sure we have ANY players that can do this for us in 2003.

While our 5th, 6th, and 7th Dlineman may be more talented than the players in those same slots from the past few years, the starters aren't necessarily better and may in fact, be worse. This area was a concern last year and with another draft in the books that neglected Dlineman once again, the concern grows larger once again. We also lost a guy named Daryl Gardener.

Hey, maybe we are really going to feature the back 7 the way Baltimore did in 2000. They weren't great on the Dline by any means, though they were deep. I believe they only had 35 sacks or so that year. But they were simply inpregnable vs. the run. And they had Mike McCrary and Peter Boulware coming from each side on the pass rush. I don't see anyone on our roster who can rush the passer like those guys did in 2000. Until I do, the defensive line will be a concern and we WILL have trouble closing out games.

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I tend to agree that we are neck and neck with Philly IF Ramsey has a year like that. I get worried though that something won't pan out! It always seems like our front office does a decent job of filling holes thru free-agency and something just doesn't work.

A huge example that sticks out during the Norv years it was a D that was near the bottom vs. the run in 97 going out and getting 2 money DTs....only to see our D not improve vs. the run.

Another example was in 2000 when we shored up our D to add to a playoff team and then our special teams fell apart to cost us a few games. I'm not saying this will happen again but it's just tough for me to admit that anything is a given (even something like Champ having a good year) because over the past 10 something has backfired to cause us to stay mediocre.

Don't get me wrong, I have no reason whatsoever to expect anything to go wrong if Ramsey tears up the league...but I can't help but think that punting or DT play or safeties will cost us 2 or 3 games and we'll stay in the 8-8 realm.

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the other thing that is overlooked is how the O-line gels. Most of our turnovers last year were directly attributable to us getting pressured up the middle. while we have the talent, it will take time for the interior guys to get comfortable playing together. will this be ironed out in the preseason, or will it take 4-5 games?

our D will be solid--i am not convinced that we can get enought pressure from our 4 down linemen, but if we release the LBs and actually disrupt as we have the talent to do, the D will not let us down.

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If this team is successful in all aspects special teams and defense, Ramsey will not have 4,000 yds because of the short field provided to him

Is a 65% completion rate too much to expect?

However since those things are not likely to be the case I can see him have a 3400 season since we are a pass first team and for every miss the hits downfield will put him in position to make our fantasy football followers happy.

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If Ramsey plays great, to me, the biggest difference and question mark remaining would be playoff experience. Most of our players are lacking in this area....something that cannot be said about Philly.

Furthermore, it still remains to be seen if our coaching has improved. We'll need growth there to advance. The playoff comment also applies to coaching (even though Reid did choke in the NFC Championship).

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A few things. First of all, if Ramsey throws for big numbers it could mean our offense is clicking on all cylinders and we have the top offense in the division. It could also mean that our RBs are no good, we get behind a lot and Ramsey has had to pick up the slack. Even in the latter case I'd say we should at least be a wildcard, however. Our WRs and line are too good to not produce with solid QB play.

I'm not sure that catches us up with the Eagles, though. In addition to McNabb, the Eagles advantage in the division, really, is coaching. Specifically, at defensive coach. Edwards is a rookie DC. He's unproven, and there's no guarantee he'll get as much out of his guys as Johnson gets out of the Eagles defense, no matter who has the better talent.

If Ramsey breaks out I think we have a darn good shot at overtaking the Eagles. But there are other factors to consider.

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We need to look very closely at coaching here, as well. Both in terms of the Redskins themselves and any comparison with Philadelphia.

Philly has to be given the edge there as of today. They seem to love to play for Reid. And they're coming off a run of success under him. They have an indentity, they believe in what they're doing, and they have been fine-tuning it for several seasons now. They believe in themselves on the field and off, and that translates into that "athletic arrogance" that Joe Gibbs used to talk about.

Whether the Redskins begin to develop that as a team under SS remains to be seen

If Steve Spurrier is anywhere near the coach many of believe him to be, we should begin to see very clear signs of it early on – likely as early as the first couple preseason games. We'll see it in terms of crispness getting units on and off the field. In terms of not wasting time outs. In terms of not committing brain fart penalties that kill offensive offensive possessions and extend defensive ones.

This team SHOULD improve markedly over last years' just in terms of organization, discipline, familiarity, etc., due to having been together for a year under a new system ... and that's before taking into consideration the FA and draft additions. And btw, the mild concerns I have over "chemistry" with this bunch due to all the new faces are tempered go a great degree by the fact that the vast majority of this team in fact was here last year, and finally knows what the hell is going on. At least they better. :)

Couple the expectation of increased performance due to the some long-needed continuity to the additions of talents like Coles, Thomas, Bowen, Morton, Jacobs, et al. ... and then add to the mix the growth in understanding of and adaptation to the league that I fully expect to see from Steve Spurrier ... and I can see liking our chances to make some noise.

And if ... a big if, admittedly ... Ramsey and Spurrier BOTH make the kinds of strides they seem to be capable of ... the NFC East will know about it by midseason.

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Originally posted by Dirk Diggler

We are just so desperately thin on the Dline that I can't help but imagine at least a few games slipping away because of it. [/b]

It's not that we're thin, it's that we don't have any proven studs. Let's look at who we've got in the stable at this point:

Wynn

Noble

Big Daddy

Haley

Bruce

Upshaw

Jackson

Did I leave anyone out? Anyway, seven veterans all with significant playing experience and adequate numbers is more than a lot of teams can boast on their d-line as far as depth. what we don't have is that monster, that homerun hitter, that one guy who offensive coordinators gameplan away from.

So, in my opinion, it's not our lack of quality depth, but our lack of playmaking ability up front that will be our major problem this season.

We're going to have to find a pass rush from somewhere, more than likely from Lavar, which will take him out of the picture as far as ballcarrier pursuit goes, which i think is his best attribute. The D-line should be fine against the run, but those third and mid range situations will really hurt us this year.

BUT, if the Offense is scoring 20 points a game, then the D should be just fine b/c teams will have to throw it down field and test Champ and Smoot.

Worst case scenario in my mind is that the O sputters and we're caught in tight games throughout the whole season in which our D will be relied on to stop a driving opponent.

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I agree totally that the Eagles have a substantial advantage in coaching, especially with Johnson over Edwards. I think our staff is as good as any and I like Spurrier calling plays more than Reid, but, the Johnson factor is there. As much as Johnson remains one of my favorite coordinators, I think something was exposed in him toward the end of last year that surprised me.

The Eagles clearly pulled back. They were not the same aggressive defense. They were not playing down hill. I remember the announcers in their playoff games keeping a chart for how often the Eagles blitz. And in one stretch it was some astounding number that had me wondering if Mike Nolan took over his body because they'd gone like 45 plays without changing things up, and the Bucs were cutting them up, exposing their weaknesses because they had time to do so.

Now, my question is whether that was a sign of Johnson himself tightening up in the playoffs or Reid directing him to be less aggressive to protect against the big negative play which was Norv's mantra to his coordinators.

I do agree that a serious problem could arise if Edwards is overmatched and doesn't get his guys into the right position to succeed. I just find the chances that Edwards is totally not ready to be less of a potential issue, but, that is largely simply from taking a positive vibe from many of the quotes attributed to how he plans to change some of what we did last year.

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Quoth mphillips16:

t's not that we're thin, it's that we don't have any proven studs. Let's look at who we've got in the stable at this point:

Wynn

Noble

Big Daddy

Haley

Bruce

Upshaw

Jackson

Did I leave anyone out? Anyway, seven veterans all with significant playing experience and adequate numbers is more than a lot of teams can boast on their d-line as far as depth. what we don't have is that monster, that homerun hitter, that one guy who offensive coordinators gameplan away from.

So, in my opinion, it's not our lack of quality depth, but our lack of playmaking ability up front that will be our major problem this season.

We're going to have to find a pass rush from somewhere, more than likely from Lavar, which will take him out of the picture as far as ballcarrier pursuit goes, which i think is his best attribute. The D-line should be fine against the run, but

those third and mid range situations will really hurt us this year.

Word.

:)
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I think all this could be irrelevant if we don't hold on to the ball. We pissed away many games last year because someone like D Mac (who I think will be good), Lockett, or Davis would make a play then cough the ball up. The offense constantly put the D in bad field position situations. Combine that with poor special teams, field position was a big factor in many games.

That being said, Davis is out. But Trung is in and he has been known to cough up the ball. Lets hope that upgrading the line will result in fewer turnovers from the quarterback. If so, the turnover ratio ought to improve some, and thats worth an extra win or two at least.

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You all have made good points, and are right to discuss them first as they are our primary areas of concern. Let me add another: running back.

I'm thrilled that we have Spurrier-styled RB's, but the problem is that none of them are really proven over the course of a season as ball carriers. Canidate and Betts have impressed me, but neither has been a go-to guy. Watson seems like a 3rd down back at best, and Morton looks like more of a scat back. While their performance and even health are tied in large part to the o-line's success, the fact is that we need someone to not only emerge, but also to stay healthy for us to succeed.

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Some have alluded to this, but I don't think anyone has stated it outright.

One of the primary reasons that the Eagles succeed on offense is due to consistency. 10 of 11 offensive starters are returning and 9 of the 11 have played together for 3 or more years. The offensive line has been together, for the most part, since 1999 and are all signed through two more seasons.

On paper, the Redskins look to have an impressive offensive line, especially at tackle, but they will need plenty of time to learn to work together. Offensive lines aren't built during free agency, minicamps or preseason. It takes a lot of actual game experience for the line to begin to gel as a unit under any offensive system. The positive aspect for the Redskins is that they have significantly upgraded the caliber of the players at interior line. They will continue to get better as the season progresses.

On defense, the Eagles have lost a bit to free agency, a lot due to their own blunders. They return an excellent secondary, with a proven 2nd year player in Michael Lewis, and a good defensive line. They are deep at DT. They will definitely miss Douglas, but like Monte Kiffin, Jim Johnson has the ability to put another cog in the machine and get similar performance. LB remains a question mark, but not a huge one. For the second consecutive season, Carlos Emmons is the only returning starter at LB. We'll see how things work out this year.

Special teams are key for the Eagles entire game plan. Punter is a question mark, though PR/KR really isn't. Brian Westbrook will fill the role left by Brian Mitchell adequately.

The intangible element remains McNabb. Even with his "average" offense, he puts points on the board. A lot of times it isn't pretty - but they still count on the scoreboard.

I keep hearing two things from the Eagles players going into the season. First, they are outspoken about the front offices' strategy concerning over-30 players. This is obviously a legitimate concern, but it can be addressed in the coming months. The second thing that is quite clear is that they are pi$$ed they lost the championship game. That's good news. A concern was the team's motivation after consecutive championship game losses.

Here's to a fun season in the NFC East. :cheers:

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I pose this question. Does Ramsey need to be a leader or playmaker? Most say that Jansen is the offensive leader on

the Redskins. I kinda like having Jansen as the leader. I

just want Ramsey to show poise and confidence in the huddle.

The big difference in us and the Eagles might boil down to team

chemistry. We seem to finally be building on something. The Eagles on the hand has shown signs of coming apart, since

so many left via free agency.

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Originally posted by riggins44

On paper, I think Art is dead on. On paper, back in 2000 we had

a Superbowl. I'm more interested in the final product and how

we play as a team.

In 2000 we had Norv Turner driving the ship, and he can barely drive a nail without smashing his thumb.

I agree with almost all of the points made here. it's been one of those things I had been telling myself to be careful about it, but as a person with an objective eye, and a person who knows a bit about thegame, I can't help but see potential for success.

The way I see it, unless Ramsey tremendously fails, the team should be better./ If he merely plays adequately, the team will be better. if he plays up to the potential I saw in him, then the possibility certainly exists that the Redskins could be a force to reckon with.

I really am not all that impressed with the rest of the division. I know the Eagles have gotten within sniffing distance twice in a row now, but so what. Other than a blowout in Spurrier's second ever NFL game, we've played tight with them. We've had Arrington shut McNabb down, so we know it can happen. Last year in the second game Ramsey played pretty well vs their defense.. (altho i think the eagles had laid down a bit..) I don't see where they have gotten any better.

The Giants i keep hearing batted around as the team that can take the division. Pfah. The Redskins can play with them, too. There is no one element that the Gimps have that we can't match other than QB. Maybe RB, I like Barber, but our own run game is such a mystery we dont know how well it may stack up. TE, yea, but the Skins don't really use one.

The Cowboys with Parcells should be better, but this year is a year to apply brakes to the skid, rather than actually try to turn it all around.

In other words, If Ramsey plays well, hell yes the Redskins can win the division.

~Bang

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Really not much to add on my part. Ramsey's performance will key the offense.

But turnovers will be key to how the season goes as will injuries...

I've not seen it mentioned, but when considering what kind of numbers to expect from Ramsey, think on last years numbers. Between Ramsey, Weurfel, and mathews they had over 3500 yds. last year. Is it not reasonable to expect AT LEAST those numbers this year? He does know the offensive system better and has better talent surrounding him.

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