Three Downs from the Skins/Lions: D.C. Edition

stephen rileyCorrespondent ISeptember 28, 2009

Let the picket signs and radio calls begin. Jim Zorn is officially on the hot seat in the nation’s capital. Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions knocks the Skins down to 1-2, trailing the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Even though Detroit pulled off the upset, the victory shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone associated with Redskins. Detroit, who came into the contest on a 19-game losing streak, narrowly loss to Washington last year 25-17 so seeing the Lions beat them this year shouldn’t come as a shocker.


First Down

Jim Zorn is not a head coach. PERIOD! To be a head coach in the NFL you have to be one of either three things: a tactician, a motivator or a player’s coach and Zorn is neither of which. His play calling is mediocre and his decision making is questionable. He’s not a rah-rah guy and some of his star players have already gone through the war of words with him. Zorn’s decision making was at its purest form again on Sunday when the head man chose to wipe away a fourth down and long field goal attempt to give the Lions another shot at converting a first down.

With the Lions driving late in the first quarter, Detroit’s attempt on a 3rd and 4 was unsuccessful but an offensive pass interference call gave Zorn the option to push the Lions back farther away from scoring range. Zorn elected to give Detroit the ball back on a 3rd and 13 rather than allowing them to try a long field goal attempt. Rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford then ran 21 yards for the first down before finding Bryant Johnson on the following play for a touchdown.

Winning in the NFL is hard enough. Battling two coaches in one game is nearly impossible. It’s not Zorn’s fault that Stafford completed a deep pass to Johnson for the opening touchdown but it was his decision to take the Lions’ field goal team off the field and give Stafford another crack at things.


Second Down

Rookie Brian Orakpo is going to be a dynamite pass rusher for the Redskins. Orakpo playing outside linebacker might not be his strong suit but lining him up to rush the passer caters to his strengths. Orkapo displayed his speed and quickness when he swept around from the left side of the offensive line to take down Stafford in the third quarter. Orakpo belongs on the line rushing the passer, not floating off the line guessing whether it’s a run or a pass. When the Redskins get into their games against the Giants, Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, rushing the passer is going to be one of the first assignments on the agenda. Having Orakpo playing to his strength is going to be essential in scheming against the better quarterbacks of the league. We’ll see if the coaches take advantage of what they have in Orkapo. Stay tuned.


Third Down

London Fletcher doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the better middle linebackers in the league. 18 tackles against the Giants and 16 the other day against the Lions prove that if there’s one guy who comes to play on Sundays, it’s Fletcher. Fletcher has been one of the better players for the Redskins for the last few years now and it’s about time he gets his recognition. If nobody else will give it to him, I will: Fletcher, you’re awesome, keep doing the dirty work and try to keep inspiring the troops on the defense. They’re going to need it for what’s going to be a long season.