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WT: 2 and 0, baby


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2 and 0, baby


By Jody Foldesy


Holy smokes, here come the Washington Redskins. After a disastrous first half in which the Atlanta Falcons often seemed to be sitting in their huddle, the Redskins put together a sharp second half to secure their second win to start the season.

Second win? Who knew? The Monday Morning Quarterback wouldn't have been surprised if Win No. 2 came sometime after the bye, given a brutally difficult start to the schedule. Instead, the Redskins are 2-0 for the first time since their last Super Bowl, dusting off fond memories of Joe Gibbs as they upended the team he now partially owns.

The offense is explosive. The defense can be devastating. And the special teams ... well, OK, they still mostly stink. But the Redskins are on the rise. Even if they're still not scaring most teams around the league, they're not scaring us, either. It's a happy day to wake up in Washington.

Q: Woo, hoo. This is the best we've felt since our last Swedish massage. How soon till the Super Bowl?

A: We'll admit, the Redskins are showing a lot more resiliency than we ever would have guessed. The game was all but over in the first half when Atlanta got another sack-fumble while leading 17-0. We thought they could have stuck the ball in a baby buggy and skipped into the end zone. Instead, Washington stiffened on defense and gave its offense a chance to get back in it. A lot of NFL teams wouldn't have won that game.

Q: So how many points are the Giants taking next week?

A: Don't go that far. The Redskins' performance was littered with more errors than a second-grader's first composition. A dozen penalties and a half-dozen sacks mean an "L" more often than not. Afterward, Spurrier was pleased with his guys coming back but still in disbelief they could be so mistake-prone. Don't start dipping into the kids' college fund to bet on these guys.

Q: But you have to change your outlook on the first seven now. What are the odds of being over .500 at the open date?

A: Actually, not that bad. The Giants are beatable, the Patriots could be in trouble and the Eagles have major holes. Washington could take two of those games and then limp through the Bucs and Bills to reach the bye 4-3. The important things is that they've taken advantage of two crucial breaks (Chad Pennington and Michael Vick being out) in the first two weeks. You can't let those opportunities get away.

Q: All we need now is Kerry Collins in a body cast and Tom Brady with Montezuma's revenge. How much effect did Vick's absence have?

A: A huge one. Vick's presence would have totally changed the way Washington's defense played. LaVar would have been shadowing Vick all afternoon, and it's almost certain the explosive young passer would have busted a few big ones when the Falcons' offense was really hitting the skids in the third quarter. Containing a mobile passer remains a big concern for this slo-mo defensive line, and we'll see how it does in three weeks against the Eagles.

Q: Patrick Ramsey looked like he was a segment on "America's Funniest Home Videos" in the first half. Whap, whap, whap. Is his shoulder sprain anything to worry about?

A: It could be. Club officials were concerned he wouldn't be able to return in the second half after taking that fifth sack in the first. Yeah, we know that sounds like liner notes from "The Practice." The question will be how much Ramsey can practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He shrugged off any pain yesterday, but coaches won't risk too much this early in the season.

Q: Would Washington be in trouble if he's out?

A: Would D.C. put a speed camera in your driveway if it could get away with it? Of course. Spurrier still isn't comfortable with Rob Johnson, and frustrations over the whole Danny Wuerffel issue could bubble back to the surface. And beyond all that, Ramsey has been darned impressive in two games so far, showing remarkable precision in his downfield throws to Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner. Washington needs this kid.

Q: At least Spurrier seems to have the whole run/pass thing down. Is his play-calling all right this season?

A: Absolutely. Spurrier has made a quantum leap from last season. As a rookie coach, he made decisions first without enough thought about consequences then with too much consideration about public reaction. Now, he's doing the best thing for his team on a case-by-case basis. Example: Yesterday he punted on fourth-and-3 from the Falcons' 46. Bryan Barker pinned Atlanta at the 5 and two plays later Jessie Armstead recorded the huge sack-safety. A year ago Spurrier goes for it on fourth down and Atlanta gets great field position.

Q: Who should start at running back? Trung Canidate or Ladell Betts?

A: We'll agree with this ride-the-hot-hand thing until we see one guy really pull away. Canidate was mostly average in the opener though he finished well for nice overall statistics. But yesterday, he was very solid and looked much quicker to the hole. And Betts took a little bit of a step back. The second-year player might still need a bit more seasoning before he can become a feature back. For now, we see no reason to sit one guy or the other.

Q: A lot was made of the noise at the Georgia Dome. How bad was it?

A: We've heard a lot louder. St. Louis' dome definitely is tougher to handle. It's understandable that Washington had miscommunication on the offensive line, but we'd still like to see the big-name (and highly paid tackles) do a little better job of recognition and pointing things out for their teammates. Chris Samuels could have let Canidate know linebacker Sam Rogers was coming on that sack-fumble early in the second quarter.

Q: What's wrong with the special teams?

A: Perhaps too many young faces, perhaps a casual indifference, perhaps inadequate coaching. One thing's for sure: Washington's high-profile signing of Chad Morton has been of no consequence so far. John Hall has been great and Bryan Barker hasn't been bad, but the offense and defense will start suffering soon if they don't get some support.

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