Ten Spot Review--Skins Have Work To Do

The Redskins' season isn't lost, but if things don't improve soon it could be.

1.  Will he or won't he? No, Clinton Portis didn't. And now you have to wonder when Portis will return and what condition he'll be in when he does come back. One report suggested Portis had a bad rotator cuff. We're not certain of that, but this is a problem that won't go away any time soon.

2. Will Portis' absence cause problems? Yes. The Redskins clearly missed him, especially in pass protection. That's where we always though he'd be missed the most and he was. T.J. Duckett is terrible in protection and Ladell Betts is barely adequate.

3. Which team can least afford a loss? Clearly neither could. And it's not so much that the Redskins lost it's how they lost. They really couldn't afford to lose that way. Had they lost, but their offense had shown signs of life and it was a tight game, that's one thing. But they lost and now must face more questions about why they can't move the ball and why they keep giving up big plays and can't pressure anyone. More than the loss, it's the way they looked.

4. Can a team start 0-2 and recover? Sure. But not the way the Redskins are playing. It's too early to write them off; there is more talent on this offense than last year. They just seem out of sync offensively.

5. Is the rivalry finally back? Yes. Dallas fans seemed to revel in this one, as I'm sure no one wants to be reminded of this morning.

6. What must the Redskins do offensively? We said they needed to protect Mark Brunell and attack the deep middle. They did neither. The Cowboys routinely beat them on the edge, even when Washington kept in extra blockers. Brunell threw the ball too soon way too often, feeling the pressure before it was on him. Brunell also rarely threw down the middle, partly because Dallas took it away. Nose tackle Jason Ferguson controlled the middle for Dallas, disrupting plays without getting credit for making them. The misdirection plays worked a couple times, but not as well as expected.

7. What must the Redskins do defensively? We said pressure Bledsoe, otherwise he would pick them apart. No pressure; picked apart. Andre Carter is a one-dimensional rusher and that one dimension is not working. He's far from the only culprit, but that is what they signed him for.

8. What do you fear defensively? We said the Redskins' secondary, mainly because they were playing without Shawn Springs. And we were right, to a degree. They hit well – Sean Taylor had some vicious hits and caused Terrell Owens to drop a couple throws. But they couldn't handle Terry Glenn; he caught a 40-yard touchdown pass and drew a long pass interference penalty to set up another touchdown.

9. What are the key matchups? Terrell Owens vs. Carlos Rogers; Rogers did a solid job against him. Terence Newman vs. Santana Moss; Newman shut him down, though it didn't help that the Redskins' passing game stunk overall. Rabach vs. Ferguson; Ferguson won that battle. And the Redskins' backs vs. Roy Williams on blitzes; he didn't blitz much, it was typically the linebackers and they did hurt Washington.

10. Will the Redskins win? We said no. We were right. But it was worse than we expected. Our pick was 23-20, Dallas, mainly because of the injuries. We thought the offense would show some improvement, but we were wrong.


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