A Hard Day For Redskins Fans

If you liked punting, then Sunday's game was for you. Because the Redskins did punt well. Thus concludes the positive statements about that debacle. About the only other nice thing to say is about the fans, who shelled out money and sat through that sloppy effort -- a game that seemed to show how far the Redskins have to go to become good.

Any questions: For anyone thinking Tim Hasselbeck could somehow mount a challenge to Patrick Ramsey next season, forget it. Hasselbeck is what he is: someone who could develop into a nice backup. He's not as bad as what he showed Sunday, but he's got a long way to go. Yes, he doesn't get sacked as much as Patrick, but he also can't make the same passes. He also gave in to the pressure by throwing high passes off his back foot, a dangerous combination.

Keeping count: For those into stats, Hasselbeck is the 89th starting quarterback who has attempted at least 10 passes in a game and finished with a 0.0 rating. That's not the kind of group you want to be in.

The worst: That was clearly the worst loss in Steve Spurrier's tenure here. Last year's loss in Jacksonville was bad because, at the time, the Redskins were playing well and still fighting for the playoffs and a boneheaded game plan robbed them of a chance. Sunday was just horrible, from the weather to Hasselbeck's outing to Troy Hambrick's running wild to getting blanked so bad by a hated rival.

Good outing: Rock Cartwright again showed he can run the ball pretty well. It helped that he was used a lot on draw plays. But he also showed he could break tackles. He's not a threat catching the ball out of the backfield, which is a big reason he'll never be more than what he is.

Adjust: The Redskins seemed surprised that Dallas rarely blitzed them Sunday, after doing so often in the first meeting. They were all ready for a similar tactic, but the Cowboys fooled them by keeping their safeties back. What amazes us is that Washington figured they'd run the same defense. They should realize by now that teams adjust and don't always use the same strategy. That is, most teams don't because it seems that the Redskins do. Hasselbeck also forced some fades against cover two, which is a no-no unless you can make a perfect pass.

Telling: The defensive coaches need to quit getting blamed for what happens on that side of the ball. Because the defense actually did its job for most of the game. They wore down, but they certainly gave the offense plenty of time to get its act. And here's what I saw a couple times: the Dallas offensive linemen would barely block the Redskins' linemen, scraping them as they hustled out to the linebackers. They did this on basic runs up the middle, telling you how little they thought of this line.

Done: End Bruce Smith barely played in the second half. Not that we cared to find out why, but here's the likely reason: one, he can't play anymore. But, two, because Dallas wanted to run the ball a lot and Smith can't play the run. Also, we're guessing the coaches can't wait to get him out of the building.

Enough: Some players just can't take it anymore. After the game tackle Jon Jansen and corner Champ Bailey, both of whom answered questions briefly then bolted. There's nothing left to say at this point and both have said a lot already.

Still waiting: The Redskins still haven't contacted the agent for Champ Bailey. Here's the thing, if the Redskins wait to negotiate after January, they'll hurt themselves. Not just because Bailey might be less inclined to re-sign. But because if they wait to sign him in January, they can only spread the deal out over six years. If they get it done in the next two weeks they can spread it out over seven.

About time: Receiver Cliff Russell finally appeared in a game. Alas, it was on special teams -- we know the coaches feel he has potential in this area as a coverman. But his only impact was getting flagged 15 yards for grabbing a facemask.

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