Analyze This - New England

The Redskins fared better in Saturday's 20-13 loss to New England than they did in the preseason opener. But that's not saying too much. Still, there were more positive signs out of the Patriots' defeat. Unfortunately for the Redskins, there's still too much negative. And that doesn't include tackle Brandon Noble.

SIZZLE:

. . . Punter Bryan Barker. Chewed out for a poor kick from his own end zone vs. Carolina, Barker responded with a 45-yard punt from a similar spot against New England. That kick won him the job, at least over Brent Bartholomew. On Bartholomew's first punt, he hit a long, high kick down the middle of the field. But he kicked it into the end zone.

. . . Running back Trung Canidate. Up and down; up and down. That's how Canidate is. Saturday, he was up, hitting nice holes fast. He even lowered his shoulder on his 6-yard touchdown run, just like he should.

. . . Running back Kenny Watson. He ran hard, gaining 62 yards on 10 carries and made this an interesting competition.

. . . Fullback Bryan Johnson didn't drop a pass and threw at least two excellent blocks, including a kick-out of a defensive back on Canidate's run. Johnson also threw good blocks on Rock Cartwright's fourth-down runs.

. . . Receiver Laveranues Coles. Man, does he get wide open or what?

. . . Tight end Robert Royal had a good night blocking, opening holes for Canidate on at least two occasions, including the touchdown. But, in truth, Royal was only OK.

. . . End Bruce Smith wasn't terrific, but he showed that he's still the Redskins best pass rusher. Which is the problem. But Smith also is capable of making plays away from him because of his quickness. It's the runs right at him that'll prove troublesome.

. . . Linebacker Jessie Armstead was very active.

. . . I like the way the offensive linemen can get out front to block on a screen. Randy Thomas threw a nice block to spring Canidate on a 13-yard screen play.

. . . Center Lennie Friedman was OK against the second unit. Had a nice block on a fourth and one. He probably moved ahead of Wilbert Brown.

FIZZLE

. . . The audibles. Why do the Redskins not audibilize until five seconds are left on the play clock? That only leads to problems. They either end up with a penalty or a hurried play. I like audibles, but not rushed ones. Rob Johnson audibilized in a hurry once, bobbled the snap and got sacked.

. . . Quarterback Patrick Ramsey must learn when to hold the ball and when to throw it away. On a first down in the red zone, it's an absolute no-no to try and fling the ball out of bounds while falling to the ground. It led to an interception. Those plays are killers. Ramsey doesn't have to play it safe, but he does have to be smart.

. . . Safety David Terrell. Like him personally and think he can help a team, especially on special teams. But he makes the same mistakes and it constantly costs the Redskins. His angles are too flat, which is what happened on the 85-yard touchdown pass. Problem is, no other safety has played well enough to unseat him.

. . . The Redskins still commit too many penalties (13) and drop too many passes and miss too many tackles. They even had five penalties on special teams. Five! For a team that won't overwhelm opponents with its talent, they must improve in each of those areas to contend for a playoff berth. If they don't, the postseason will again be a dream.

. . . Right tackle Jon Jansen did not have his typical solid game for the second straight outing. He's too good to be worried, but it is surprising.

. . . The defensive line, save for Smith, is incapable of putting on much pressure without the help of blitzers.

. . . Center Wilbert Brown did OK blocking (though not as well when he played guard), but his shotgun snap was terrible.

''Wilbert seems to have some glaring mistakes during the game,'' Steve Spurrier said.

No kidding.

. . . Receiver Patrick Johnson fumbled a punt and dropped a certain touchdown pass. One coach told me he'd probably make the roster if only because of his special teams play. He hasn't earned a spot with his play at receiver.

. . . On the 42-yard kickoff return, Leonard Stephens missed the tackle and Kevin Ware blew his lane, allowing the returner to bounce outside for a long run.

NOT PANIC TIME:

. . . For the offensive line. They're having problems with the blitz, but that's not a big deal. Yet. The line barely game planned for two teams that like to blitz, which leads to more pressure than is welcomed. Game planning will cure these woes.

. . . The special teams coverage has been bad. But, the only positive is this: of the 10 players on the field for the two long kickoff returns, including the touchdown, only one might make the final roster.


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