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Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins. Get details and order at http://GutCheckBook.com
November 5, 2004
Announcement: A Mirror Image
I've started up a mirror site for this blog at http://redskinsblog.blogspot.com. Everything that is published here is going to be there and vice versa. Then why go with the mirror site?
The mirror site is set up for blogs. Your best source for Redskins information and analysis, WarpathInsiders.com, from where my ramblings originate, simply isn't set up to be able to manage a blog in the way that Internet users have become accustomed to. It's the same case for our fine syndication partners such as Yahoo! and Fox Sports.
The main features that I wanted from a blog site were a clean archives format and the ability to leave comments (and, oh yeah, I wanted it to be free). Google's Blogger.com site filled the bill very well.
So, should you want to go back and see what I've had to say about this or that earlier this season, you can easily find that in the mirror site's archives. And, even better, should you want to clarify, discuss, ask a question about, or comment on something in the blog, you have an avenue to do so. While those of you in the Warpath Insiders community have been able to do both, this opens those features up to the syndication partners as well.
The site is not yet 100% set up as far as the archives go. The past several days are on there and I'll continue to backfill over the next week or so until everything in the vast, six-week history of my ramblings are in there.
Note to the Warpath Insiders community: Of course, you can continue to comment on the blog on the CPND Board, but the archives will be accessible only on the mirror site.
Much thanks to Punishment at Warpath Insiders for giving me the leeway to write the blog and give it a second home and especially to you, the readers, for making all of this worthwhile.
Again, that mirror site address is http://redskinsblog.blogspot.com.
While I was on the way home from Sunday's game, I was listening to Frank Herzog's radio show. One thing that Herzog kept railing on was Mark Brunell's quarterback rating of 66 for the day. That is a pretty bad rating, but thanks to Rat Boy, Webmaster extraordinaire at Warpathinsiders.com (from where these ramblings originate), here is the difference between what his rating would have been without that cheap penalty on the touchdown to Portis:
With Penalty: 25/44, 56.82%, 218 Yards, 4.95 YPA, 2 TD's, 2 INT's, 66.29 RatingOf course, he's adding in the yardage and TD for the Portis play, taking out the interception that came on the very next play and assuming that Brunell throws no more passes on the day.
Now, without that penalty:
26/45, 57.78%, 261 yards, 5.8 YPA, 3 TD's, 1 INT, 87.36 Rating
A rating of 87 on the season is pretty good; you're in Favre, Brady, and Warner territory there. A 66 for the season you're, well, Mark Brunell.
Jaws on Redskins O
Ron Jaworski was the "Five Good Minutes" guest on PTI tonight and Wilbon and Tony K asked him about the Skins' offense (emphasis added in both quotes):
I though when Joe came in he did the right things; he got Clinton Portis, he got Mark Brunell, he had Rod Gardner and Laveranues Coles. But this offensive unit just hasn't come together. The one thing I do see, and this is where Joe is going to have to adapt to the present-day NFL, I don't see enough short passing. He's back to those old days where it was a seven-step drop and you waited for things to happen down the field. You can't do it with this offensive line. I think he's got to go back to the three-step and five-step passing game and get the ball out of Mark Brunell's hands quicker and I think that's the adjustment he will make in the second half of the season.Even given the loss of Jon Jansen the offensive line has been a major disappointment and a lot of Brunell's problems can be linked to his need to throw under pressure. If this is true—and with Jaws you know that he's basing what he says on having looked at films and isn't just talking off the top of his head—it's a shame that Gibbs can't run his offense because of his offensive line. The unit doesn't need to be rebuilt but it could be upgraded at center and certainly better depth is needed (not an easy thing to acquire in today's NFL in any case, much less when you have so much cap space allocated to "stars").
In any case, the line should shut up about coming up with a catchy nickname until they actually accomplish something.
Then Tony asked if Brunell should be benched and Patrick Ramsey brought in:
Certainly the leash is becoming a lot shorter. Patrick Ramsey is a guy who has tremendous upside and I've always liked (him). As you look at Brunell right now, if he doesn't play better, you're going to have to make the change to Patrick Ramsey and start looking to the future.Does giving Ramsey a shot necessarily mean that the Redskins are throwing in the towel on the season? I don't think so. He can win games now.
Mort on Spurrier
On NFL Live, Chris Mortensen was asked if Steve Spurrier would get another shot at the NFL since he's decided not to return to the University of Florida:
If the Miami Dolphins fire Dave Wannstadt and call Steve Spurrier and say, listen, we want you as our coach, I think it's going to be tough for him to say no. I think he still wants to prove he can win in the NFL, there are still some NFL executives that think he can win in the NFL. But I don't know that he's number 1 on the Dolphins' list, their general manager said he is not monitoring the situation, so there's still a question if the door is actually going to open for him.Mark Schlereth then said, "I can't imagine anyone in the NFL giving Spurrier a chance right now." He cited the Ballcoach's lack of willingness to do what it takes to prepare (meaning that Spurrier wouldn't put in the time needed to get the job done) and his choice of a coaching staff was highly questionable (meaning that he hired a bunch of college guys when he needed some pro experience).
I've heard these of these "NFL executives" who think that Spurrier can cut it in the pros before. It's my guess that they are among the Dan Snyder haters in the league who just think that he was in the wrong situation. While it's true that the Redskins organization isn't the model NFL outfit, nobody can make a reasonable case that Spurrier wasn't given what he needed to win.
November 4, 2004
The "Streak" is Over
This morning at about 11:30 Eastern time, the coincidental string involving the results of the Redskins last home game before the quadrennial Presidential elections and the results of those elections ended when John Kerry called George W. Bush to concede the election to the incumbent.
As has been chronicled ad nauseum here and elsewhere, the Skins' loss should have foretold a Kerry win. The streak is dead. Thank God (or, more appropriately I guess, thank Ohio) that we don't have to go through hearing about all that again in four short years. I mean, Nightline sending a reporter and crew out to Redskins Park? The number on story on Olbermann's Countdown? Come on.
And few reporters bothered to get it right; the streak involved the last home game before the election, not the last game anywhere. It got a bit ridiculous and quite annoying.
Speaking of streaks. . .
Skins Own Lions
The Redskins beat on Detroit like the Lions are rented felines.
On October 3, 1965, the Lions beat the Redskins 14-10 at Tiger Stadium. After that, the Redskins got more than even; they ran off a streak of 18 wins against them before losing 15-10 to them in the Pontiac Silverdome 15-10 in 2000. Included in that 18-win roll were 10 wins while Joe Gibbs was coaching.
A lot of fans tend to look at a streak like this as a fluke but, while certainly you have to have some breaks go your way to maintain a streak like this, as we'll see in a minute, this streak makes perfect sense when you look at the records of the two teams.
In the 17 seasons during which the teams have played since 1965--they played twice in 1991, so it's 18 games in 17 different seasons--the Redskins aggregate record is 170-101-1, a .634 winning percentage and the Lions' is 126-142-3 for a winning percentage of .470.
The only two times that a Washington win over Detroit could be considered an upset were in 1970, when a 6-8 Redskins team beat a Lions team that finished 10-4 and in 1995 when Darrell Green intercepted a pass in overtime and ran 10 yards into the end zone for a 36-30 win. Those Redskins finished 6-10, the Lions 10-6. The '97 Redskins wound up a half game worse than the Lions team they defeated and in every other season the Redskins have been anywhere from one to eight games better than the Lions at the end of the year.
The streak was in its greatest jeopardy on November 3, 1990 with about ten minutes left in the third quarter in the Silverdome. Barry Sanders had just broken up the middle for a 45-yard touchdown and the Lions had a 35-14 lead. Redskins QB Stan Humphries had set up the touchdown run by throwing his third interception of the day. Humphries had had started in place of an injured Mark Rypien so when Joe Gibbs looked down the bench he saw third stringer Jeff Rutledge. He told Rutledge to start warming up.
Rutledge quickly led the Redskins on a 63-yard TD drive that pulled the Redskins within 14, but the Lions got three back on a field goal on the last play of the third quarter. It was 38-21.
Then Washington got two strokes of good fortune. First, Eric Williams sidelined Lions quarterback Rodney Peete after a hit. Second, Wayne Fontes got brain lock. OK, Fontes getting brain lock wasn't good luck, it was one of the natural advantages of playing against a Wayne-Fontes coached team.
Regardless, during the entire fourth quarter, when just a couple of first downs strung together would have clinched the game for the Lions, when he had Bob Gagliano at quarterback, Fontes did not once call the number of his emerging superstar running back, Barry Sanders. Through three quarters, Sanders had 10 carries for 100 yards. When the game ended, Sanders had 10 carries for 100 yards. Unbelievable. After a Chip Lohmiller field goal that made it 38-24, the comeback began in earnest.
With 8:41 to go, Washington took over at its own 20 and moved smartly down the field, taking seven plays to score, a drive finished off with a 34-yard TD pass to Gary Clark. Detroit could only manage to burn two minutes off the clock and punted with 3:24 left. Washington got the ball at its own 15. Rutledge converted three third downs in moving the ball downfield, completing 8 of 12 passes, the last to Clark moving the ball to the Lions 12. Washington called its last time out with 24 seconds left. The Posse of Clark, Art Monk, and Ricky Sanders was having one of its best days ever, on the way to combining for 32 catches for 432 yards. So it was going to be four shots to the end zone to tie the game, right?
But Gibbs had seen something in the films that somehow made him think that the slow and not-so-nimble Rutledge could score on a quarterback draw. Remember, the team had no time outs left and the up the middle play would certainly burn all but a few of the remaining seconds. Rutledge seemed to take forever to make his way to pay dirt, but he did and the score was tied at 38.
Each team had a possession in overtime before the Redskins started their game winning drive. The big play was a 40-yard Rutledge to Monk connection on third and fifteen at the five. Nine plays later, Lohmiller was perfect from 34 yards out 9 minutes 10 seconds into overtime and Washington had a 41-38 win.
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