1. Todd Wade starting.
Really, it's the only move to make. With all due respect to my Washington Examiner colleague, Rick Snider, who called for Stephon Heyer to start, it only makes sense to put someone with experience out there. Heyer played fine, but if Miami had been smart and used Jason Taylor against him more, it would have been different. Still, the kid played well in a tough spot, but the Redskins need someone there with experience. If Wade messes up, then they can go to Heyer later. But Wade knows how to play the position. That's what matters.
2. Reche Caldwell signs.
Hmmm. Interesting move, no? Clearly Caldwell is coming in to play. And that should mean less time, eventually, for Brandon Lloyd. Can't imagine it means anything else. After Lloyd dogged it on the end zone interception, the coaches had to do something. All the other top four wideouts have a role. The first two are obvious; James Thrash has value as a returner and blocker – did anyone see him take on end Matt Roth on Sunday? Few receivers can do that. Caldwell had a breakout year last year and worked out for the Jets a week ago; Dallas and Minnesota called as well.
3. Run defense.
The Redskins run defense was 10 times better than last year, even in games where they seemed to stuff the run. What I liked is what they showed Sunday: speed at linebacker. Based on the past two months, Marcus Washington is their third best linebacker. Isn't that something? The ‘backers were so fast to the ball, that the Dolphins' OL rarely had time to get to them, leaving the holes stuffed. They'll face much better fronts, starting Monday in Philly, but it was a nice start.
4. Chris Cooley.
Here's why this kid is valuable. On the 49-yard pass to Antwaan Randle El, the Dolphins had man coverage on the outside. Why? Because they doubled Cooley going down the left seam. The safety bit on Cooley, leaving Randle El all alone. So Cooley only caught one pass, but he assisted on others. Now, about his blocking. We saw his very good block on the TD run, but too many times he whiffed on others. We'll call it a work in progress.
We still don't know why Shawn Springs really didn't start. The hard part is trusting the information that flows out of Redskins Park. The Redskins say it's a simple matter of Springs having a possible hamstring issue and not breaking as fast as he used to on the ball. Springs says he's not hurt. So what's going on?
Teammates say they have no idea and some didn't even know he didn't play but approximately a dozen snaps. They say he's still their best corner. Are the Redskins toying with him? It's hard to imagine they would do that, given the lackluster coverage by Fred Smoot and Carlos Rogers. If the Redskins try to do that against better passing offenses, they will get burned. Smoot has never been a No. 1 corner and Rogers has yet to prove he is.
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