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There were very high hopes for Patten going into this
season. He had come from New England where he had helped the Patriots win three
Super Bowls in four years. An intense individual, he stood out in practice as a
true professional and he fashioned himself to be one of the team's leaders
both on and off the field. All seemed to be going well until they actually
started playing games.
On a few occasions, it looked like he was starting to get
untracked. He caught seven passes against Denver plus he had a nice TD grab
negated by a questionable pass interference call. But in the next five games he
caught just eight more passes total. He complained to the media about not
getting enough passes thrown to him after the Giants game, an odd complaint to
make right after he dropped a couple of passes in that contest. Two weeks ago
against the Eagles he was shut out and he caught just one pass against Tampa Bay
last week. Now his season fades to black.
When asked last year, Joe Gibbs said that the final chapter
of Mark Brunell's Redskins career had not yet been written. If you ask him the
same question about Patten, he'll probably say the same thing.
There is a lot of talk about the current Redskins who
played for the team under Norv Turner when he was in Washington. On the other
side, however, there are two Raiders who were Redskins when Turner was here. One
is tight end Zeron Flemister, who appeared in five games in 2000, Turner's
last in DC. The other is guard Brad Badger, who had a rather tumultuous year in
the second of his three seasons on Washington.
Bader was drafted in 1997 in the fifth round out of
Stanford. He started one game at right guard in his rookie year. Then, in 1998,
Turner got the notion that the 6-4 Badger would be a good fit at the most
critical position on the offensive line, left tackle. In a damn the skeptics and
common sense move, Turner forced the square peg into the round hole. The
Redskins started the season 0-7. Turner made his noted proclamation that "What
we do works." Well, it wasn't working at the left tackle position, to say
the least. Badger soon was moved back inside where he belonged. He is now
Turner's starting left guard.
Williams' reputation for being a defensive genius is being
sorely tested. For a year and a half here his defenses were able to compensate
for the inability of the defensive line to generate a pass rush by throwing an
array of blitzes at the opposition. The other teams have countered. "They
are over-coaching the fact that they want the ball out fast," said Williams,
"which is okay, as long as [we] minimize any type of gain when the ball does
come out fast."
Perhaps Williams has a
different definition of the ball coming out "fast" than I do, but I didn't
see Chris Simms doing a lot of three-step drops. Time after time, he was able to
camp out in the pocket. Some of the 18.6 yards Tampa Bay made per completed pass
came from running after the catch, but not many of them.
What I saw was blitzers
running right into blockers. This isn't new, it's been going on all season
to one degree or another. The opposing offensive coaches now know where the pass
rush is coming from and they are very effective in countering it with their
blocking schemes. It's up to Williams to change the blitz packages around and
make it so that the other guys don't know what's coming.