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Thoughts at the bye: defense is carrying this team


TheLongshot

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I know I haven't posted much this year. Between the lockout taking me out of the football mood, and the inability of me to read this board at work the past few months, I haven't visited here as much as I used to.

But, given that I just caught up with the games that have been played (was out of town for the Arizona game, and a work function kept me from following the Rams game), I wanted to talk a bit about our team.

After the preseason, I had said that while I didn't think our defense was quite top 10 yet, I felt it was close. So far, the season has played that out. Kerrigan has been everything I expected him to be and more. Things seem to finally be clicking with this 3-4 defense. The only real reservations I have is that the corner selection isn't superb and that this defense hasn't been tested against a really good offense yet. Really, the best offense we have faced so far is the Giants, and they didn't play one of their best games when they faced us. The Cowboys could have been a test, had they their full compliment. The Eagles will be the first real test for this defense.

As for the offense, I'd say that it has been adequate so far. The strength is with the running backs. I had some doubts about letting Portis go, but that kinda went away when we acquired Hightower. While he isn't Portis, he's been a good enough all-around back to pick up the slack for what I felt Helu and Torain weren't ready to hold up on their own. I think I like Torain playing the Marion Barber role of coming in and getting 10-12 carries with the defense softened up. I still think Torain is an injury concern long term, and limiting his role will get more out of him. Helu makes for a nice changeup and has a good feel out there.

The OL is starting to come together. I still think there are still pieces missing (I don't view Brown as any more than a stopgap), but it should be OK with this team.

The biggest liabilities on this offense right now is at QB and at the WR position. People got excited about the WRs this offseason, but so far they have been somewhat pedestrian. Moss and Gaffney are solid possession receivers at this point in their careers, but Armstrong has struggled and no one else has stepped up to provide the explosion that is needed. I'm not sure that player is on this team right now.

As for Grossman, he's solid until we get to those 4-5 plays in the game when he makes a dumb**** throw. It has been pretty consistent so far this season, so I don't expect it to change. Also, I have little confidence that when the chips are down and we need that one drive to win that he's capable of delivering it.

Gano so far has proven his critics wrong and has been fairly reliable. (Only one of his three misses is on him, in my view.) Sav Rocca has been awesome, so far putting in a career year. The kick return team has struggled somewhat, not really getting Banks much room to move there, but I see Banks better as a punt returner anyways. I would like to see Paul or Helu get some reps back there, but it is unlikely.

As for our prospects, it actually gets tougher from here. The Panthers, 49ers and Bills don't look like the pushovers that they looked like before the season, and the Jets and Patriots will be tough games to win. You'd think that Miami and Seattle should be gimme games for this team, but you never know considering how tight the Rams and Cardinal games were. Personally, we are still a ways from being a playoff team, and I wouldn't remotely talk about that until we get into December. There is still a lot this team needs to prove.

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Real honest write-up Jason, that pretty much nails everything; and one of which I'm pretty much in total agreement with. (Save for I see more problems with the O-line as a whole going forward against better D fronts, and would add the OC as still a big part of the O's continued state of flux.).

Good work man, and try get on as often as 'real' life allows. I don't always mesh with your views. But I've always appreciated, understood and respected them.

Hail.

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I'm still not confident in this defense. A lot has been made of the yardage total against the Rams, but that was a function of their own incompetence. They had receivers running open and deep and could have easily put up 400+ if they had been in any kind of sync. Good job against the run, though.

The Dallas game was where my real disappointment stems from. No consistent pressure against a suspect OL. Not so good a job against the run, allowing Felix Jones to gash them on several occasions. I've never seen an offense in as much disarray as Dallas that day and yet they still managed to win the game. End zone or no, six field goals is six fricking field goals.

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I think that's a very fair point Spear man, and something a lot of folks don't want to address in the 'feel good' nature of the 3-1 start. (That could well of been a 1-3 start but for a few bounces of the ball in the other teams favor.). The D, like every other aspect of this team, is still a big work in progress. Their gona' have their up's and downs as we go. But it's sure headed down the right road, and is greatly improved as a unit.

The worry for me, with such an aneamic O, is how they'll hold up against better opposition, When your offense struggles to put up any more than 17/18 points, it's a HECK of an ask to expect the defense to continually carry you through 16 games.

Hail.

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It's funny how scales shift. Before preseason, I was expecting a dreadful team and so, seeing a team that's above average is enough to satsify me momentarily. I still don't think we have the group to make it to the Superbowl, but we are competing hard and we are doing enough to win when we have the opportunity... except against Dallas where in a competition of who could shoot themselves in the foot most, we lost.

Still, I'm overall very pleased with the D. Okay, with the O, and satified by the improvements in coaching and personell. If it continues, next year is our year.

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Still, I'm overall very pleased with the D. Okay, with the O, and satified by the improvements in coaching and personell. If it continues, next year is our year.

Absolutely man.

There's only so much you can do in one off-season. And this past one, they decided to go D heavy, whilst still collecting young O guys for the future. I fully expect the next to be O heavy and add the QB, linemen and maybe big play wide-out to take this onto the next level.

From the very start of the new regime I had us being able to seriously think about challenging for the divison and post-season play in year four. If we get the right pieces on offense next spring, things could well be a year ahead of schedule.

Hail.

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It's funny how scales shift. Before preseason, I was expecting a dreadful team and so, seeing a team that's above average is enough to satsify me momentarily. I still don't think we have the group to make it to the Superbowl, but we are competing hard and we are doing enough to win when we have the opportunity... except against Dallas where in a competition of who could shoot themselves in the foot most, we lost.

Still, I'm overall very pleased with the D. Okay, with the O, and satified by the improvements in coaching and personell. If it continues, next year is our year.

Agree completely. Our 2012 Super Bowl run has already begun.

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I really believe that Shanny and Allen are building this team properly. I am still a believer in the old adage of Defense wins championships. With Shanny being an offensive minded coach, it impresses me even more. The pieces they have added are really meshing together well. I really like Kerrigan a lot, but he isn't the only one. Kerrigan feeds off Rak and Rak feeds off Kerrigan. The D just plays well together as a unit. It's become a very blue collar defense. The sum of the parts is much better than any individual part. People keep talking about individual players, but it's not like that. Carriker allows Kerrigan more space to keep that engine running and the same goes with Bowen and Rak.

I expect next year that the Skins will concentrate on the offense more in the draft and free agency. This defense will have this year to jell. For the most part they are still young. I can see a potential SB run in two years. Let the offense jell next year and we are right up there. Anything we get from now until then is just bonus and playoff experience if we can get there.

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Defense has been B+ to A-. WIth one F- play against Dallas. (I don't disagree with the play call, but that's for another day.)

Offense has been C. However, at times, it's been an A, and at times it's been an F. They are so violently inconsistent on offense, it's unbelievable. And the majority of that is on Rex. Because he's wildly inconsistent.

Special Teams is a C. The first two games were pretty good, the last 2 no so much. To many foibles, blocked kicks, fumbles, penalties, etc. And Banks hasn't gotten his groove on in a while.

Rex is lucky that the team is 3-1. Because if he was playing this way and the team was 1-3, Beck would be starting the Philly game. But they're not, so he's not.

They HAVE to get more consistency on offense. They can't afford the complete brain freezes that they seem to have in every game. They cannot turn the ball over as many times as they do.

I think now having Torain back involved in the game plan, with Hightower probably getting his mojo back a bit, and then still having Helu out there, they really can scare people with their ability to run the ball. Maybe not "Chris Johnson" type run the ball, but at least know that if you line up with a 7 man front, this team can and will pound it right at you with pretty good success. That means dropping another guy into the box. That means that the passing game should get either softer zones or more man coverage, and they should be able to make plays.

I love the direction this team is going. I still think they are talent wise an 8-8 team, who can get unlucky and go 7-9, or get lucky and go 10-6. They do have some very winable games on their schedule, and at least so far they have proved that they are winning games they are favored to win.

The teams I would expect for them to beat at this point are: Carolina, Miami, Seattle, Minnesota. If they simply hold serve on those teams, they already have 7 wins. If they go 3-3 in the division, which is really possible, then they are up to 9 wins.

Again, the team has 8-8 talent. But they really could go 10-6.

The game that I'm actually eying at the moment as the "oh no they didn't!" game is the New England game. New England is giving up 427 yards per game. Now, they get 504 yards per game, or something like that. But, this could be a good match up game. If the 'Skins offense could hold serve, and play well against a no-so-good defense, and the way to beat Brady is to beat his brains out, this could be an interesting game. The game plan will clearly be to bring pressure right up the middle the entire game. Sure, I'm sure Brady and Welker will beat Hall for at least 2 80 yard TD plays. But if I was going to look into the future to pick one game where the skins could pull the unimaginable upset, this would be the game. (Or they could lose by 50. :) )

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The way I see it, we've essentially had one good Rex game and two bad Rex games(the Zona game was kinda both so we'll label it as average Rex). Despite that, we're still 3-1. We're due a couple of good Rex games, especially when you look at the Ds we're set to face the next few weeks. Three of our next four opponents: the Eagles, Panthers, and Bills, are pretty bad defensively.

Speaking of defense, ours has been very good, but is still vulnerable to the big play and if we don't get pressure, our secondary is extremely beatable. If our pass rush is off, we are gunna get burned. And the same three teams I mentioned above all have excellent offenses that are capable of putting up big points.

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I think now having Torain back involved in the game plan, with Hightower probably getting his mojo back a bit, and then still having Helu out there, they really can scare people with their ability to run the ball. Maybe not "Chris Johnson" type run the ball, but at least know that if you line up with a 7 man front, this team can and will pound it right at you with pretty good success. That means dropping another guy into the box. That means that the passing game should get either softer zones or more man coverage, and they should be able to make plays.

Yeah, I think if I'm an opponent, looking at the Skins O, what I see is "If I don't put 8 in the box, then they're gonna shove it down my throat. If I do put 8 in the box, then Rex might beat me, and he might not."

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It's funny how scales shift. Before preseason, I was expecting a dreadful team and so, seeing a team that's above average is enough to satsify me momentarily. I still don't think we have the group to make it to the Superbowl, but we are competing hard and we are doing enough to win when we have the opportunity... except against Dallas where in a competition of who could shoot themselves in the foot most, we lost.

I always thought the doomsayers who believed the Skins were tanking the season were wrong. I expected that Shanahan would have a more competitive team than last year's team. The question was how competitive.

I really believe that Shanny and Allen are building this team properly. I am still a believer in the old adage of Defense wins championships. With Shanny being an offensive minded coach, it impresses me even more. The pieces they have added are really meshing together well. I really like Kerrigan a lot, but he isn't the only one. Kerrigan feeds off Rak and Rak feeds off Kerrigan. The D just plays well together as a unit. It's become a very blue collar defense. The sum of the parts is much better than any individual part. People keep talking about individual players, but it's not like that. Carriker allows Kerrigan more space to keep that engine running and the same goes with Bowen and Rak.

To me it is impressive because in Denver, defense was always an Achilles Heel of those teams. I still don't think Shanahan is a master of selecting QBs (offensive guru, sure. QB guru? A bit more questionable.), but he at least quelled the concern about defense.

I expect next year that the Skins will concentrate on the offense more in the draft and free agency. This defense will have this year to jell. For the most part they are still young. I can see a potential SB run in two years. Let the offense jell next year and we are right up there. Anything we get from now until then is just bonus and playoff experience if we can get there.

I still think we are a ways off from having the offensive talent. I'm not a believer in Rex being the guy, and we have yet to shake the curse of being able to draft our own quality WRs.

The way I see it, we've essentially had one good Rex game and two bad Rex games(the Zona game was kinda both so we'll label it as average Rex). Despite that, we're still 3-1. We're due a couple of good Rex games, especially when you look at the Ds we're set to face the next few weeks. Three of our next four opponents: the Eagles, Panthers, and Bills, are pretty bad defensively.

After watching him for a few games, it isn't about "bad Rex" or "good Rex", but what he is. It seems like he consistently makes those bad throws. It is just a question of if the defense is good enough to make him pay for those mistakes and if Rex makes enough good plays to offset it. Also, he's a QB who needs some good pass protection or else he will cough it up at times.

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I always thought the doomsayers who believed the Skins were tanking the season were wrong. I expected that Shanahan would have a more competitive team than last year's team. The question was how competitive.

I never believed them either. In the off season, I figured we were a 7-8 win team that might pull another W or two with luck. The lockout did make me unsure of what would really happen.

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