Redskins Blog: Skins vs. Steelers Bold Predictions

Who will make a play against the Steelers? Plus goodbye to Ola and a look at Big Ben.

To leave comments and view archives, go to this blog's mirror site at http://redskinsblog.blogspot.com

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

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 27, 2004

Redskins Gameblog Returns on Sunday

I kind of enjoyed doing the blog "live" during last Sunday's game and, since me enjoying it is the sole criteria for something being done around here, I'm going to do it again. I'll update quarter by quarter or more frequently if events warrant doing so.

The only glitch last week was that the mirror site at http://redskinsblog.blogspot.com was down for much of the first half and I was unable to post there. Hopefully, that won't be an issue this week and all will go smoothly, but it's out of my control. If it does, the quickest and more reliable place to get updates is at the place the Redskins Blog proudly calls home, http://warpathinsiders.com

Redskins vs. Steelers Bold Predictions

Last week, I went over some of the reasons why some fans thought that the Redskins would be able to win in Philadelphia last Sunday. There are some similar theories floating around out there this week:
  • Ben Roethlisberger is a rookie and he's due to have a rookie-type game—While earlier I said that I wasn't drop-dead impressed with Big Ben, this is more wishful thinking than logical analysis. In fact, one could argue that he had his rookie-type game last week when he took seven sacks, many of them not the fault of his line but of him holding on to the ball for too long, and fumbled once. His 15 for 21 passing for 138 yards looked like a rather efficient 6.6 yards per attempt, if you count in the sacks and the 54 yards lost on them the Steelers gained just 3.0 yards per pass play. Still, Roethlisberger had no interceptions and a similar performance could well be good enough to beat the Redskins.
  • This is a nothing game for the Steelers—If you're going to lose a game, and this team isn't going to go 15-1, the out of conference variety is the best kind to lose because it hurts you the least in the tiebreakers for home field advantage. Certainly, nobody thinks that Pittsburgh will go out and lose on purpose or anything like that, but Bill Cowher may want to pull back on the reigns a bit for this one. Again, this is wishful thinking. The Steelers will be more than ready enough to play.
All that being said, I think that the Redskins do have a chance in this one. The game matches the first- and second-ranked defenses in the NFL. That should equal a low-scoring affair and if that's the case Washington will always be no more than one play away from being in it or even from winning it.

The question is, where will that big play come from?
  • Clinton Portis?—Although the Steelers have a tough run defense, Rudi Johnson did have some degree of success against them last week. Portis could bust one, but he'll need more than the 17 carries he's had each of the last two games in order to do it.
  • Patrick Ramsey?—As discussed in this space earlier this week, he'll need Joe Gibbs to take the shackles off if he's to make a game-winning play. I think that Gibbs will to some extent, but it's not like Ramsey will be out there pitchin' it around much.
  • Sean Taylor?—He has a pick in each of the past two games and last week he showed some great RAC ability. It's only a matter of time until the gets one and takes it to the house.
  • Marcus Washington?—No doubt that it's in Gregg Williams' game plan to have Washington spending a lot of time in the Steeler backfield. Perhaps Washington can get the defender's triple play and sack Roethlisberger, strip the ball away, and score a touchdown.
Out of these four, I'll pick Taylor to make the big play, but I still don't think it will be enough. The game will be competitive into the second half but the Steelers will hang on.

Pittsburgh 20, Washington 16

Audios Ola

When you watch Ola Kimrin, who virtually just gotten off of a plane from Sweden, kick two field goals that provided the game-winning margin in a 13-10 win over the Bears you have to wonder why the Redskins shelled out a $1.6 million signing bonus to John Hall before the 2003 season. Of course, we got the answer over the course of the next few games as Kimrin couldn't hit consistently from outside of 40 yards. The problem didn't seem to be leg strength as he was rarely short on his longer attempts, but accuracy as they were wide of the mark. His longest field goal was 41 yards.

Kimrin was released yesterday after the team confirmed that Hall's groin pull had healed. As most kickers do, Kimrin took the news well.
I thought he (Hall) would be back after a week so I can't really complain. I would like to have a better percentage, but hopefully I showed something. Maybe I'll get a shot somewhere else.
It's that potential "shot somewhere else" that keeps hope alive for kickers across the nation. Whether he returns to his native Sweden or hangs around stateside, Kimrin undoubtedly will try to get his hands on whatever film there is of his kicking and study his technique to see if he can uncover the flaw that sends his strong kicks off line. He'll have his friends avoiding him as they know he's going to beg them to serve as his holder while he works the kinks out. Given his performance over the past month it's unlikely that his "shot" will come this season, but his agent will be hard at work trying to get him a spot on a training camp roster.

Big Ben

I got my first extended look at Steeler rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger this past Sunday during Pittsburgh's game against Cincinnati. And while the Steelers won the game I didn't think that Roethlisberger was all that impressive.

It isn't that he doesn't have his strong points. He's very poised, has great size and an excellent arm.

However, he doesn't appear comfortable at all throwing from the pocket, an odd phenomenon considering his 6-5 height. He's rather roll out and throw on the run. That's fine as far as it goes, but you can't live on that forever, at least not if you're going to be an elite quarterback.

In addition, he took seven sacks against the Bengals, who don't have a great pass rush. Some of those sacks helped push his team from the red zone to out of field goal range.

Before any Steeler fans out there jump on me, I think that given the fact that he's a rookie, one who held out of camp for a while to boot, he's progressing very well. While getting sacked to push your team out of field goal range is a rookie mistake, well, he's a rookie and such things are to be expected. Given the Steelers' record it's clear that he hasn't made very many fatal mistakes.

Still, if I'm Gregg Williams I am focusing on stopping Deuce Staley and then on making Roethlisberger beat me from the pocket.

To leave comments and view archives, go to this blog's mirror site at http://redskinsblog.blogspot.com

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