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Hot streaks versus consistency. Will the 'skins figure out how to be a good team?


Burgold

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Most of us remember five in a row or we don't go!  It was thrilling, exhausting and a point of honor that we toughed it out.  We also went on another hot streak winning four disperation games during the Gibbs era to make it in.  In both cases, we petered out, too beat up and possibly mentally worn down once we got in the playoffs.  Last year felt different... Yes, it took seven to get to Heaven, but even though we lost early in the playoffs... it really seemed that the team was still there, but that we just couldn't come back from the reinjury.  It wasn't the exhaustion of a long death march to reach the playoffs, but rather, the fact that RGIII's knee was just a matter of time.

 

Still, the question becomes can the team turn the corner so that we do not need these amazing winning streaks.  It has to take a toll knowing that you have no margin for error.  Making the playoffs was great, but now that that's done how do we became a constant.  It's good that the team knows it can button up and win when it has to, but does it know how to be a top team because if it can figure that out... then this team will go far.

 

If we continue to be a team that relies on sprints we will fall short.  I think that is the question for this year.  It's not will the saftey play improve, will RGIII stay healthy, can Orakpo bring it, or who is the right tackle, but rather... has this team learned to maintain focus so that it doesn't need to go into desperation mode.  Has it figured out how to be a good team?

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Well, I think you have to look at the overall make up of those teams and what the problems were.  

 

1) Most of the 2005 and 2007 team were veteran players - the average age of the team has gone down considerably since both of those runs (Fletcher aside :) ).

 

2) We had zero depth on those teams - last year we WON with depth at some very important spots on defense and have seemingly improved at those positions.

 

I understand that you are talking about mentality, but what, one or two players are still around from that time and no coaches?

 

Good write up but I think we will be just fine.

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I think the veteran/depth aspect is a very good point.  One of the reasons those two teams may have worn down was not only the pressure of having to be perfect and fight tooth and nail for so many weeks, but because Vinny only built front lines and so if anyone fell or got injured or simply needed a breather the 'skins were out of luck.

 

It will be interesting though to see how/if the Redskins take that next step and if they can actually be a "good" team.

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Last year seemed different.

 

In 2005 and 2007, the Redskins were average to good teams that took everything they had to make the playoffs, and didn't have a lot left when they got there.

 

They were more than that last year. Yes, the Redskins needed a seven game win streak to get in, but it felt more like a turning of a corner with RG3 rather than a gasping sprint to the finish line.

 

Several analysts had said at the time that the Redskins were playing some of the best football in the NFC at the end of the season. They didn't seem to be out of gas. Before RG3 got hurt, it looked like the Redskins were going to blow the Seahawks into the Potomac River. His injury derailed all that, IMO. :(

 

My feeling is the Redskins HAVE turned a corner... they did so after the bye week last season. I don't think they will need a winning streak to get in this year.

 

Let's hope I'm right. :)

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Besides the 2005 and 2007 teams being old and not having depth as many have pointed out, they didn't have an elite qb, which we finally have in rg3. In 2005 we had an injury riddled Brunel and in 2007 we had Collins lead us on the winning streak when Campbell went down with an mcl sprain in the Bears game.

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Most of us remember five in a row or we don't go!  It was thrilling, exhausting and a point of honor that we toughed it out.  We also went on another hot streak winning four disperation games during the Gibbs era to make it in.  In both cases, we petered out, too beat up and possibly mentally worn down once we got in the playoffs.  Last year felt different... Yes, it took seven to get to Heaven, but even though we lost early in the playoffs... it really seemed that the team was still there, but that we just couldn't come back from the reinjury.  It wasn't the exhaustion of a long death march to reach the playoffs, but rather, the fact that RGIII's knee was just a matter of time.

 

Still, the question becomes can the team turn the corner so that we do not need these amazing winning streaks.  It has to take a toll knowing that you have no margin for error.  Making the playoffs was great, but now that that's done how do we became a constant.  It's good that the team knows it can button up and win when it has to, but does it know how to be a top team because if it can figure that out... then this team will go far.

 

If we continue to be a team that relies on sprints we will fall short.  I think that is the question for this year.  It's not will the saftey play improve, will RGIII stay healthy, can Orakpo bring it, or who is the right tackle, but rather... has this team learned to maintain focus so that it doesn't need to go into desperation mode.  Has it figured out how to be a good team?

I'd say that only a couple of teams a decade didn't do well because they didn't get on a hot-streak and probably only a couple of teams in the last 40 years went all the way without getting on a hot-streak.  The 5-in-a -row thing was still made possible because the team got to that point and could do it.  Same with the 7 last year (also consider that in hindsight, we only needed to go 6-1).  The Gibbs 1.0 teams that went deep into the playoffs got on a hot streak and in 1985 and 1989, we got on streaks too late while in 1988, we just never did.  Its not so much getting on a hot streak but being good enough to weather the cold streaks.  We will never not need hot streaks, just better be able to deal with cold streaks.

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Most of us remember five in a row or we don't go!  It was thrilling, exhausting and a point of honor that we toughed it out.  We also went on another hot streak winning four disperation games during the Gibbs era to make it in.  In both cases, we petered out, too beat up and possibly mentally worn down once we got in the playoffs.  Last year felt different... Yes, it took seven to get to Heaven, but even though we lost early in the playoffs... it really seemed that the team was still there, but that we just couldn't come back from the reinjury.  It wasn't the exhaustion of a long death march to reach the playoffs, but rather, the fact that RGIII's knee was just a matter of time.

 

Still, the question becomes can the team turn the corner so that we do not need these amazing winning streaks.  It has to take a toll knowing that you have no margin for error.  Making the playoffs was great, but now that that's done how do we became a constant.  It's good that the team knows it can button up and win when it has to, but does it know how to be a top team because if it can figure that out... then this team will go far.

 

If we continue to be a team that relies on sprints we will fall short.  I think that is the question for this year.  It's not will the saftey play improve, will RGIII stay healthy, can Orakpo bring it, or who is the right tackle, but rather... has this team learned to maintain focus so that it doesn't need to go into desperation mode.  Has it figured out how to be a good team?

  The 5-in-a -row thing was still made possible because the team got to that point and could do it.  Same with the 7 last year (also consider that in hindsight, we only needed to go 6-1). 

I'd quibble with that one.  We were 3-6.  That is hardly getting yourself in position, that is fighting your way out of a corner.

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Most of us remember five in a row or we don't go!  It was thrilling, exhausting and a point of honor that we toughed it out.  We also went on another hot streak winning four disperation games during the Gibbs era to make it in.  In both cases, we petered out, too beat up and possibly mentally worn down once we got in the playoffs.  Last year felt different... Yes, it took seven to get to Heaven, but even though we lost early in the playoffs... it really seemed that the team was still there, but that we just couldn't come back from the reinjury.  It wasn't the exhaustion of a long death march to reach the playoffs, but rather, the fact that RGIII's knee was just a matter of time.

 

Still, the question becomes can the team turn the corner so that we do not need these amazing winning streaks.  It has to take a toll knowing that you have no margin for error.  Making the playoffs was great, but now that that's done how do we became a constant.  It's good that the team knows it can button up and win when it has to, but does it know how to be a top team because if it can figure that out... then this team will go far.

 

If we continue to be a team that relies on sprints we will fall short.  I think that is the question for this year.  It's not will the saftey play improve, will RGIII stay healthy, can Orakpo bring it, or who is the right tackle, but rather... has this team learned to maintain focus so that it doesn't need to go into desperation mode.  Has it figured out how to be a good team?

  The 5-in-a -row thing was still made possible because the team got to that point and could do it.  Same with the 7 last year (also consider that in hindsight, we only needed to go 6-1). 

I'd quibble with that one.  We were 3-6.  That is hardly getting yourself in position, that is fighting your way out of a corner.

But your quibble wouldn't alter the point that it is not hot streaks (you want and need those) that are at issue but your ability to deal with cold streaks (either to position yourself to recover from them or nip them in the bud).  We were still in control at 3-6 (that is self-evident) and, thanks to the Giants, could have backed in.  Fighting yourself from a corner does not change the fact that hot streaks are always going to be (and always have been) a requirement if you wish to be a good team.

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Injuries have too much say in the conversation, and they're unpredictable.

Depth is a luxury, and often means the difference between consistency and streaks.

 

To my eye, we look to be developing depth  right along with starters, and that should go a long way to consistency

 

~Bang

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Definitely seems to be better depth as others have pointed out...not to mention that it seems far more of the key players on the current Skins team were drafted by the team rather than brought in through free agency. In 2005 our starting QB, RB, #1WR were free agent acquisitions...Except for Pierce, I think our entire front 7 on defense were free agents as well lol (I don't count LaVar since he was injured most of the seasn). I'm probably old school in thinking that a team with its roster foundation in drafted players can weather storms better than one with its foundation in acquired free agents.

 

As they say, you win with starters in September and October...you win with depth in November and December.

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One thing I've liked is that the depth that we're developing is not locked in..  it's not forgotten in other words. 
For example, previously we suffered through a few years of watching Stephon Heyer come in and get abused when the inevitable injury happened on the line. As if the staff was happy with what they had in him, and content to not make him prove he deserves the job. he proved otherwise,,  and that will happen in a season,, sometimes the nerxt guy isn't any good. But he isn't retained the following year like Heyer was.
This administration won't put up with it. He wouldn't be here as depth for long.  

we've used free agency and draft to build below the starters.

 

~Bang

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That's probably fair.  Maybe the question is how to have the hot streaks while limiting the cold streaks or the periods of lost focus.

Nice initial write-up Burgold.  For me, I think a team/organization that has "arrived" does not go through "cold streaks"  The best of the best essentially have entire seasons with only the occasional hiccup.  (loss)  11-5, 12-4, and 13-3 records means there were no "streaks" of losses, and they consistenly generate winning seasons.  You don't lose more than two games in a row.  You don't go through any 1 and 3 stretches, or 2 and 5 stretches etc, and then have to "win out" or close to it to get in.    Sure, teams overcome these kind of things all the time, and some even win Super Bowls.  The Giants are experts at it, and once you are in, anything can happen....but the really dominant teams.  New England and Pittsburgh for example...teams that contend year in and year out.  They don't have "cold streaks."  They have losses scattered amongst 3 and 4 game winning streaks.

also, I do feel as if the Redskins are headed toward that kind of dominance again like we enjoyed from the Allen years through the Championship years of Gibbs.  Again rejoining the New Englands and Pittsburgh as a dominant contender every single season, with only the occassional season of no playoffs.   

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This issue of consistency may have its origins in the offensive line's coaching, physical conditioning and youth.  It wasn't an all pro unit last year, but it was remarkably consistent and free of injuries.  When was the last time we had an offensive line like that?

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I think some of you guys are underselling the 05 team. That was an excellent team. They started 5-3 but had some real hard luck losses. Other then the 36-0 game in New York, every loss could have easily been a win. IIRC PFT had us as a top 5 team in DVOA that year even when we were 5-6. If that team had RG3 they probably win the NFC.

 

 

I do hope though that we can be better this year and not have to win every game at the end of the year just to get in. Teams that have hot streaks heading into the playoffs tend to drop off. If you look at the last few Super Bowl winners, they all had at least one or two losses in December.

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Excellent post, Burgold.  I think that it's different with this team as the other two streaks were to make the playoffs; this one was just the switch going on.

 

At 3-6, you're not really chanting, "Seven in a row or we don't go!" when your coach is saying that the rest of the season will have a heavy dose of evaluation as to who wants to be here next year.  The switch just went on, and it never went off until the knee injury.

 

I'm extremely excited for this team, and I think that we'll be parading down D.C. by the end of 2014.

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IDK we need a new D Coordinator my opinion.  We will still be a streaky (not sure if this a word) team.

The run defense was fine, it was the lack of a pass rush D that killed the production of the secondary. We have Jenkins, Jenkins, Rak and Kerrigan. I think you are about to see what Haz can do with the DL/LBers in place to run the system, let alone the safety playing deep won't be Madieu Williams. 

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Couple things:

 

1) I think the 05 team needs more credit. Everyone talks about the Carlos Rogers dropped pick. Everyone talks about Brunnell limping down the stretch. But didn't Randy Thomas go down for the season in that final Cowboys game? I don't think we were ever the same after that. We were a legit team that year.

 

2) This is, for the moment, still a team that plays entirely up to or down to the momentum they're currently riding. I attribute it mostly to very emotional players (Hall, Morgan, Williams) as opposed to clinical players (Polamalu, Reed, Hampton, Welker, etc). We have guys who bleed for the win or loss and take it very personally. I LOVE this, but it also means that the fow of the game affects them greatly and they struggle to change the flow when it isn't in their favor. RG3 is the only one who currently looks at the scoreboard down 4 with 5 minutes left and cooly says "We got this" the way clinical players do. But I'm confident that he'll rub off on our young guys and they'll mature into clinical players. 

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Having a legit starting qb is the diference maker. Not to diminish the efforts of the rest of the team, coaches etc. But RG3. plain and simple is the huge part of the equation towards being a contender/legitimacy.  This is, from what I can see, a competently run organization now. With a healthy RG3 we beat Seattle...pretty confident in that notion.

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 If the Redskins are to be consistent, then it will be due to change.

 Yea, it sounds strange, but constant change in the offense and defense will produce a great season. 

 The teams that start out like gangbusters and fall flat the 2nd half of the season are teams that do not adapt to change; the Redskins have been guilty of this a number of times. Opponents gameplan against us, and running the same thing over and over plays right into their hands. For the most part, opponents will play into it, while keeping the game close. When crunchtime comes, thats when opponents change, and catch others off guard. Its relatively simple; teams cannot show the exact thing week after week and not expect opponents to realize and adapt to it.

Last year was an eye-opener for the league; the Redskins went from being the doormat to being a legitimate threat; ask Baltimore and Dallas. This year teams will focus on RGIII Morris and Garcon; its time othwers step up their game. Its also the time when Mike and Kyle can tweek formations and use them in situations to catch opponents off guard. If not, it might be a long season.

And of all things, this year's Redskin team cannot simply walk into an opponents field and expect them to lay down, like the Rams and Panthers, which were both very winnable games, but a lack of assertiveness by some players gave them a false sense of entitlement...

 

SIC

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I like that point.  I remember the first 6 games of Zorn as coach.  We did great.  Then, when d coordinators adapted he was stuck.  He had no plan b.  Once plan A was figured out he was dead in the water.

 

Consistency doesn't mean standing in place.

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I like that point.  I remember the first 6 games of Zorn as coach.  We did great.  Then, when d coordinators adapted he was stuck.  He had no plan b.  Once plan A was figured out he was dead in the water.

 

Consistency doesn't mean standing in place.

Rarely in the NFL can you pinpoint and say a team won/lost because of this 'one' issue. And while I'm sure Zorn's lack of experience was a factor, an equal if not more important factor was the lack of depth that led to Stephon Heyer and Levi Brown being the starting tackles. Then the near mutiny of Portis, which fostered the complete undermining of Zorn's authority. The meddling and incompetence of the front office. Then the injury to Portis. Those are all factors.

This current Redskins team has improved across the board and that will be why they will develop consistency.

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