Ten Spot Review: Problems Remain

Ten Spot Review--There were some reasons for hope as the Redskins went into Philly, but the game went just like so many others have this season.

  1. How effective will Santana Moss be? We thought he would be OK and that his hammy would hold up. But he only finished with 17 yards receiving and was hardly either a focal point or overly effective. It was not a good day for him.
  1. Has the swagger returned? We thought it had to a degree, but were not yet sold. One win does not a season make and the swagger only returns in full when a few wins are strung together in a row. It turns out any talk of a returning swagger was misplaced. Instead, the defense allowed Philly to control the game early on and they made dumb penalties, again, and the offense continued to look uneven. This does not mean they're finished. Heck, we think they'll win Sunday. They'll remain alive for a few more weeks because the rest of the schedule is not as daunting as it appeared to be a few weeks ago. But the Redskins have offered little evidence to suggest they could do more than finish with seven wins.
  1. Did last week's win turn Washington around? We said not yet. Mainly because we were not sold on the defensive effort and were not confident in the offense. Alas, we were right. It's silly now to talk about why the defense allows big plays. They do so because they're a bad defense. That sin was evident against Dallas and again Sunday when Donte Stallworth sizzled Sean Taylor on an out-and-up move. Taylor is far from an elite safety. A presence? Yes. Elite? Ha.
  1. Is this the week for turnovers? We said sure why not because at some point the turnovers will happen. Keep saying it every week and some day you'll be right. Alas, there was Marcus Washington dropping a gift interception; there was the front rarely pressuring the quarterback and there was a fumble being snatched mid-air by Correll Buckhalter en route to a 37-yard touchdown. And no forced turnovers by Washington. Again, there's a reason the Redskins don't force many: the defense is bad.
  1. How dangerous are the Eagles? Clearly, they were very dangerous. They were too good to lose four in a row and the game played out that way. We thought they were highly beatable because they have many holes. But they have an explosive quarterback – who did not have a great game save for a couple throws – and a terrific running back who did have a good game.
  1. Who should the Redskins' offense target? We said the linebackers and, for a while, we were correct. The outside ‘backers aren't that good and Washington got on the edge and hurt them in the flat on passes. But eventually the linebackers turned it around. Jeremiah Trotter and Co., snuffed out the wide runs and made enough plays to hurt Washington.
  1. What should fear the Redskins' offense? The potential for a pass rush, we said. Right again. Philly blitzed effectively enough in key situations to hurry Mark Brunell and force incompletions. We thought how the Redskins handled the blitz would determine how the game went. The Redskins did not allow a sack, but that's a hollow victory. Why is it that other teams blitzes get to the quarterback, but Washington's do not? Just asking.
  2. What about the Redskins' defense? The fears centered around the obvious: Donte Stallworth, Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb. Westbrook and Stallworth hurt Washington in a big way, combining for well over 200 yards of total offense. McNabb was OK, but short-hopped too many throws. We did not think Troy Vincent was the answer to the deep woes, but he played fine. It was Taylor, the most researched draft pick in history, who once again failed. But, hey, he got some good licks in, right?
  1. Who will have a big game? We thought Chris Cooley would. His routes had improved and the Eagle ‘backers were not great in coverage. But they mostly held him down as Cooley finished with just three catches for 39 yards. We thought he was going to have his best game this season. Wrong. Wasn't all his fault; he almost caught a pass from Antwaan Randle El, but Brian Dawkins swatted it away at the last second.
  1. Will the Redskins win? We said no because too many of the same problems remained, starting with the defense. To initiate a turnaround, one side of the ball has to be playing consistently well. That is not the case, which is why the Redskins have exactly the record they deserve. My overriding thought was this: No way does Philly lost four straight, especially playing at home. But, silly me, I thought it would be much closer, like a three-point win, 24-21. Turns out I gave the Redskins too much credit, ignoring that it was an NFC East road game. In those games, Washington has now been outscored 73-16.

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