Nine points has never looked so bad

As promised, I have a few things to say about the Redskins’ opening day loss to the Giants. In some sense I’m still in shock. You know how some teams have a great game plan, but just don’t have the personnel to pull it off? And some teams have all the talent in the world, and just keep banging their collective head into the wall? Last night, the Redskins displayed the worst of both worlds. They had neither the talent nor the plan, and the result was much worse than the score indicated. The two things that top my list of inexcusable faults are the tackling and the punting on fourth and short. The Redskins didn’t tackle. At all. Nearly every guy on the team managed at some point to get bowled over by Brandon Jacobs. Eli Manning made the linebacking crew look silly on his touchdown run. The punting was ridiculous. Not the performance of our rookie punter – he was fine. But the decisions to punt. I’m not a big fan of the punt in general. Sure, it has its place. But with less than three to go, I’d like to see coaches go for it more often than not. So what did Jim Zorn do? I lost track of how many times he punted on fourth and one or two. When the Redskins needed a change in momentum and they had the ball near midfield, did he challenge them to win the game? No, he gave it back to the Giants. Punting on fourth and one from your own 40 while down two scores in the fourth quarter is putting a big sign on your forehead that says, “I’m trying to keep this game close because I’ve given up on winning”. The only thing that saved this game from getting completely out of hand was Eli Manning’s lack of talent and Tom Coughlin’s stubborn refusal to run the ball. When your running back is averaging over five yards a carry and you have a lead, why would you even consider passing the ball? As a team, the Giants averaged 4.8 per carry, and that’s including Eli, credited with -1 yards on two rushes. If your average two rushes result in a first down, you never trail in the game, and you still call 35 passes, you’re a moron. The Redskins’ lesser sins were in abundance, as well. I’m not sure why no one except me has ever noticed that Randle El is a terrible punt returner, but someone should really tell Zorn that. Watch every punt returned for a touchdown in the last 20 years. If more than one in ten involved as many changes in direction as the typical Randle El return, I’ll eat my hat. And it’s not like he doesn’t have a role model – Rock Cartwright is one of the most consistent kick returners I’ve ever seen because he gets the ball, finds a hole, and RUNS FORWARD. I don’t know why we didn’t cover Plaxico in the first half. A miserable throw from Eli when he was wide open probably cost him a touchdown in the first quarter. He consistently had no defenders anywhere near him as he caught pass after pass. I know Shawn Springs is out, and we lost Fred Smoot late in the game, but no one playing for an NFL team should get beaten that badly, every time. Now, the good news – the season has to go up from here! Also, we can look forward to the Giants returning to Earth after their Super Bowl win – if they had played a real team today, they would have lost. Badly. Jacobs will not continue to rush like that. And most offenses are not nearly that ineffective. So there’s still hope. And we still have the Tony Romo December meltdown to look forward to. The NFC East is still wide open.

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