Washington Redskins Have a Different Play-Caller, but Get the Same Results
When a man with a résumé that includes Super Bowl rings is plucked from his retired Bingo duties in Michigan to come back and call plays for a hapless team, drastic changes can't be made overnight.
As bright a mind as Sherman Lewis, 67, has possessed in helping to call plays for NFL legends like Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, and Brett Favre, there's no way he can immediately help improve a depth-less roster that he has had no hand in arranging.
In order to get things done correctly, I'd assume that Lewis would have to call his own plays and use terminology and schemes that worked for him in the past. To me, that could confuse even the smartest of veterans on the Washington Redskins, who were getting used to the playbook jargon of Jim Zorn, and before that, Al Saunders and Joe Gibbs.
Again, I am just an average sports watcher, which means that I don't know offensive plays like "51 Ace 749 East" or "Original Houston Veer."
But I do know that if your quarterback cannot hold the ball properly to avoid getting stripped, your offensive line looks sloppy and thin, and your running backs can't get much yardage past the line of scrimmage, then whether Lewis or Zorn is at the helm doesn't matter.
The results will remain the same: one touchdown pass in the red zone, one field goal. (There was another touchdown pass, to tight end Fred Davis, but that was late in the fourth quarter, with the Redskins playing catch-up.)
Three-for-12 in third-down efficiency, three fumbles lost, 62 total yards rushing, 3.3 yards a carry—poor statistics, which were similar to Philadelphia's.
But the difference was that the Redskins failed to capitalize on good field position or pass/run in a simplified West Coast offense, whereas the Eagles made the bigger, better plays when they needed to.
And even when the Eagles' offense sputtered, their defense and special teams, especially their defense, came through and provided the spark to win 27-17 in a game that wasn't as close as you might think.
When you have a player in Antwaan Randle-El, who was dynamic as a Pittsburgh Steeler, but is floundering as a Redskin, dropping punts and putting the opposition in good field position, you need to replace him permanently with Santana Moss and DeAngelo Hall.
When you have a defense easily fooled by slant-and-go routes, then there needs to be changes in the secondary.
And when you have an unreliable quarterback who has a strong arm, yet tends to wind the ball up too low, you need a change there, too.
Although I've been a Campbell backer for a while, tonight's game drew the line.
My mind goes back to being in the passenger seat of a friend's car a few months back, when he said something to me that only resonated recently: Jason Campbell plays scared.
He does. In fact, I once saw the line break down and Campbell succumbing to the pressure and being sacked. He didn't try to fight it or avoid it.
He just accepted it like that classmate years ago who, uninterested in tag during recess, decided to be "it" and just sat down without looking to stretch the game any further.
Campbell did nothing to protect himself like running to the sideline or sliding down. He looked simply like a crash test dummy with that lifeless, laissez-faire attitude, the same expression before and after the collision.
And the most embarrassing thing about his giving up was this: Before "Monday Night Football" commentator Mike Tirico or Jon Gruden could analyze that snafu, I distinctly heard a disgruntled female fan shout out: "Campbell, you suck!" Ouch.
(I kid you not. You can go and YouTube it if you want.)
True, the Washing Post states that Campbell "finished the game completing 29 of 43 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. He had one interception and fumbled the ball once. Campbell was sacked six times."
Yes, he only had one interception, but that was returned for a pivotal touchdown. And his fumble gave the Eagles another chance to score.
Campbell has a 85.8 rating, and over 1,400 yards this season. Yet here’s the glaring part: Since Campbell was named starter, he has been one of the most fumble-prone quarterbacks in the league with 31 total, 12 lost.
With such constant inadequacy on Campbell's part, I cannot see how a team already lukewarm toward him will feel the urge to re-sign him this offseason. He's not good enough to be labeled "franchise QB."
Sadly, this was a game where Sherman Lewis taking over plays brought no positive results, and predictably the Redskins could not win big against a dominant Philly team in front of millions on "MNF."
To top that disheartening news, the Redskins' reliably fun, blogging, Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley suffered a fracture on the right side in the lower leg/ankle region in the second quarter. Depending on the X-ray results, this broken ankle diagnosis sounds pretty much like he's done for the rest of the season.
If you were on the I-95, with bumper-to-bumper traffic due to several cars heading to FedEx Field or saw lots of home team fans there in front of cameras though, you have to have felt sorry for those that made the trek to Landover, Maryland.
You must have felt sorry for them not because they're fools, but because you must have seen how faithful these fans remain to a franchise that hasn't really reciprocated the love.
For the past 10 years, the franchise has done them a disservice.
And it's not right that hard-working people are still buying tickets, paying $20-plus to take a shuttle from the parking lot to the stadium, and coughing up extra money in concessions and merchandise—only to get rear-ended by an organization that doesn't look cohesive on the field or in the skyboxes.
On a night where longtime Redskin special teams player Brian Mitchell was inducted into the Redskins Ring of Fame, I felt like I was looking at an unpolished product throughout.
Faulty ownership, ridiculous management, inexplicable coaching, and sloppy personnel will result in losses like the one tonight.
You hope for the best, but under this current formula, if you can call it one, you can only see yourself at the bottom of the NFC East division for years to come.
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