Game balls: Running back Trung Canidate received one from coach Steve Spurrier and it was deserved. Canidate still did a bit too much dancing, but he also did a much better job of, when there was a narrow opening, hitting it fast. And he provided big plays, with a run of 22 yards and a screen pass of 25 yards.
. . . Corner Champ Bailey. Some in the organization have started to drop hints that maybe he's not worth the money because he doesn't make game-turning plays. Well, to that we say: cha-ching. His price tag just inched a bit higher after Sunday. Bailey was rightly called for pass interference earlier in the game (he was beaten and tugged on the receiver's arm). But he more than made up for it by intercepting a pass, using the sideline perfectly as an extra defender. And he shot through the line on a sweep to cause a fumble by Kevin Faulk. Not many corners would have made that play.
And it led to a one-yard touchdown run by Ladell Betts on the next play.
Still a problem: the pass rush. Redskins end Bruce Smith talked for a while after the game about how the pass rush bothered QB Tom Brady into throwing interceptions. We disagree. He just made bad decisions because the rush, for the fourth straight game, was non-existent (on further review, we'll credit the rush in part for the Rashad Bauman pick; but that's it). One sack in 38 attempts isn't getting it done. And Brady did more than just take three steps and throw. At least half his passes were five-step drops in which he had plenty of time.
. . . the penalties. Thing is, most can be corrected. But when? If the center can't hear the signals, that's a problem but Steve Spurrier said they can use foot movement in the shotgun to rectify that (which they do on the road). Larry Moore's inability to hear the quarterback on the final series led to two false starts by Chris Samuels. But it's unbelievable that Jon Jansen had a false start on the game's first play.
Starting to flash: End Regan Upshaw had his most active game since joining the Redskins. His knee is getting healthier and he's still adjusting to playing left end -- he's always played right end before this season. But he had a pressure yesterday and also blew up another play. Also, end Peppi Zellner has proven to be a good addition. He deflected a pass, blew up a play, made a tackle in punt coverage and also blocks on kick returns.
Good lesson: Fullback Rock Cartwright scored on a three-yard run because of his forward lean. On the play, he was hit around the 1, but because his body was leaning forward as he ran, he fell into the end zone. Smart run.
Good debut: Rookie guard Derrick Dockery. I was concerned about his ability to recognize the various fronts New England uses -- it's a lot to ask for a rookie. But Dockery proved up to the task. He appeared to allow a sack and the field goal that was blocked came through his hole. Dockery might be on the bench again this week if Dave Fiore returns. But Dockery showed again why he appears to have been a wise pick. It's nice to have a young guard in the rotation, one with talent.
Small debut: Receiver Taylor Jacobs got in for one play. And that was it.
P-U award: to punter Bryan Barker. With the Redskins in need of a booming punt, the veteran unleashed a . . . .38 yarder. And it only got to 38 yards because it bounced. The only thing is, it was such a bad punt that it actually helped. Had the low punt been about 10 yards longer, it would have given the dangerous Troy Brown a chance for a big return. Instead Barker got lucky. The coaches, believe it or not, have been pleased with his performance thus far. But I can't believe they were happy about that punt.
Did you notice: Receiver Darnerien McCants staying in to pass block? He took care of linebacker Willie McGinest on one occasion. McCants said his blocking has improved dramatically.
Just wondering: if the Redskins problems on kick coverage stems from having a lot of small guys on the unit. Of the 10 covermen, nine are either running backs or receivers. Most of them aren't very big. They need another young speedy linebacker to put on this unit, someone who can blow up a wedge. If they don't beat teams with their quickness, then they get in trouble.
Analyze That: Win over Patriots
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