Ten Spot Review: Santa Delivers for Redskins

The Ten Spot Review--Our Redskins insider knew that the Redskins wouldn't quit, but, like most, he didn't see the upset in the Superdome coming.


1. How will Jon Jansen's absence affect the offense? We thought it would have an impact, mainly because of how loud the dome would be and the fact that Todd Wade had not played all season and had never played next to Randy Thomas. We also thought the Skins would provide him with lots of help and they did. Wade was fine and showed he could be a capable backup for the Redskins. There were many, many times in pass protection where a tight end was on his side and all Wade had to do was provide help. It made it easier on him, allowing him to shake off the rust. Wade acquitted himself well, but he did so thanks to the schemes.

 2. What does this mean for Chris Samuels? We thought he had to have a heck of a day against Will Smith and for the most part Samuels did. We anticipated less help on that side, which only made sense. But Samuels was solid.

3. Are the Redskins now a dangerous team? I didn't buy them being dangerous because they had not played well enough defensively to be considered a threat for such an upset. I also wondered what the Saints had left after the Dallas game. Clearly, not much. But the Redskins showed what they can do if they don't turn the ball over. They had kept games close, but those turnovers always were a difference. Sunday, the lack of them was a difference as well. So, too, was a dropped pass by the Saints that would have resulted in a score. Then again, if Brandon Lloyd had located a deep Jason Campbell pass, that might have resulted in points, too.

4. Have guys quit? That was easy to answer before the game and even easier to answer afterward. Of course it's no. And a win like this almost guarantees no one mentally checking out of Redskins Park before the season ends. They do see a chance to build momentum, real or not, for 2007. They can't make the playoffs, but they do have a ton of pride.

5. Can the Redskins slow this offense? We said this was easy. We were very wrong. The Saints had a lot of firepower and a quarterback being touted as an MVP candidate. The Redskins had allowed opposing QBs to post an average passer rating of nearly 100 this season, the worst in the league. So why would we think it would be different? But the Redskins did an excellent job at covering their zones, staying disciplined and disrupting the rhythm of the offense. Also, Cornelius Griffin was outstanding up front, as was Andre Carter. And the secondary had its best overall game.

6. Where can Washington hurt the Saints? We thought they would hurt them offensively and it went almost exactly as we thought – though it should have been better given the production. They should have score more than 16 points. Heck, the Saints allowed 5.1 yards per carry on the ground before this game. The Redskins took advantage of that with Ladell Betts, who ran as hard as ever. We were worried about the red zone production and that turned out right. But I did think the Skins could burn these corners, who aren't fast. Sure enough, Santana Moss and Lloyd got by the DBs, with Moss scoring a TD and Lloyd apparently losing the ball in the lights.

7. Will the Redskins be more successful in the red zone? They weren't. This is one area that must change for next season. This game should not have come down to the last minute. Some of it stems from Joe Gibbs' cautious nature. I wish he'd go for it every so often, just to create a mindset of playing to win. Also, part of their lack of success, I think, stems from the lack of a true physical receiver, which takes away some of what an offense can do in this area.

8. How big a test is this for Jason Campbell? We thought it was huge because of the situation he'd be confronted with: crowd noise, not having his starting right tackle, etc. Campbell's numbers weren't great: 13 of 28 completions for 204 yards. But he came through mostly when needed, particularly on some of the crossing patterns to tight end Chris Cooley. However, he also grew a little because of his downfield throws. I love how tall he stands in the pocket and how seemingly unconcerned he is with the rush. And his pass to Moss was perfect. He throws a beautiful deep ball.

9. Will Rocky McIntosh play more? We thought he would play some and he did. He actually made one nice play, getting off a block and assisting on a tackle. He actually looked more comfortable than he did a week ago. We'd like to see even more of him this week and in the finale. They clearly want to build his confidence by playing him in spots and allowing him to be successful. But letting him fail will also help him down the road. Again, at 5-9, what difference does it make.

10. Will the Redskins win? Here's what we said: ‘'Hey, we're not Santa Claus; we can't deliver this type of gift.'' And we thought the Saints would win, 31-17. If you're honest, you had to agree with us. But shows how little we really know about picking games. Maybe the Saints had nothing left, but give the Redskins credit for how well they played, especially defensively. Griffin looks healthier than he's been and Lemar Marshall does, too. Both had offseason surgeries and have been banged up all year. It's affected their play. But stopping Deuce McAllister fell on the interior and those players, along with Kedric Golston, did the job. If McAllister had run wild, the Saints would have rolled. He did not; they did not. And suddenly there's a little momentum


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