Three Downs from the Skins/Giants: D.C. Edition
Wow, has there been anything more head hanging than watching a Jason Campbell and Jim Zorn-led offense the past few games for the Skins? Consistently running Clinton Portis into the teeth of the defense and seeing Campbell miss on potential big plays has become common place in D.C. You know how the Friday the 13th movie had like 20 parts to it? Well Sunday’s game against the Giants was like part 35 of the Skins’ dismal offense movies. Of course I managed to take three things away from the game, some good, some bad, and some ugly so without further adieu.
Play calling! During the first few weeks of Jim Zorn’s ‘08 inauguration season, he was lauded for his unpredictability and crafty play calling on his way to a 6-2 coaching debut. Since then, well … let’s just say the magic has disappeared. Sunday against the Giants, Zorn called a trick play on the second play of Washington’s first possession that took the team out of scoring range. A running play on 3rd and 8 in the middle of the third quarter could’ve been blamed on Zorn or an audible from Campbell but nevertheless, it was a horrible call. A fake field goal attempt shortly before half gave the Skins their first points of the game but the trickery wouldn’t have been needed if not for some uninspiring calls around the Giants 8-yard line. Campbell catches his fair share of criticism about the struggles of the Washington offense but the game plans that Zorn has been drawing up should be the first target under the gun.
New $100 million acquisition Albert Haynesworth was gassed a few too many times for my liking. Haynesworth is a big man at 6-6, 350 lbs so seeing him on the sidelines sucking wind shouldn’t be surprising but when a team breaks the bank for you and appoints you as their savior, seeing that so-called savior on the sidelines during meaningful plays is a tad bit discouraging. Haynesworth crashed the pocket and commanded a double team on a few series, flashing glimpses of his dominance but far from the MVP-like force he was a just a couple of seasons ago. There’s no player on a squad that can afford to play the double role as the highest-paid and least conditioned. Ask how well that worked out for Kobe and Shaq. So-so efforts when it comes to preparation have the potential to divide a locker room depending on the person who’s giving the so-so effort. When it’s your highest-paid player giving the so-so effort, the consequences could be devastating. Stay tuned.
Make no mistake about it, Washington got hammered through three quarters and 13 minutes on Sunday. Even with a dismal showing, a late touchdown gave the team the chance to take the lead with a possible onsides kick recovery. Although the ball was controlled by New York, a Redskin recovery would’ve made things quite interesting. Sunday’s game was hard to judge. Watching the game you never really felt like Washington was in it but with less than two minutes left they still had a chance to win the game. Which leads to the following belief: If the Giants are the primary pick to win the division, then Washington isn’t that far away. A couple of tweaks to the game plan, a couple of capitalizations on big plays when they’re available and some inspired play would go a long way in D.C. I just hope Campbell and Zorn are around to see it.
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