1. Goal-line stands.
What the defense did on the goal-line should carry over into future games. Yes, the Browns eventually scored on their eighth attempt. But the fact that Washington stuffed them on the first four tries gave the D a tremendous boost in confidence. The D's veteran savvy showed in this area. London Fletcher's knowledge of what was coming proved vital. He never bit on a play fake, allowing him to stop a pass in the flat that many teams score on. Also, Carlos Rogers savvy showed, too. On the pass to the running back in the front of the end zone, Rogers was not supposed to be there. He was in man coverage against Braylon Edwards. But when he detected the play, he passed Edwards off to LaRon Landry and stayed on the outside. Because of it, the pass was not open (Fletcher was beaten by a half step on the play).
It's the one thing that will slow the Redskins and it has to be a concern. Cornelius Griffin is still a highly effective player up front and his shoulder is bad. The Redskins have survived Shawn Springs' absence, but for how long?
3. Mike Nolan.
He's been gone from Washington since the 2000 season, but he was considered a good guy among the media. So those of us who covered him were saddened by his firing. Nolan was a stand-up guy with the media, making himself available any time he was needed. And he never ducked a question. The=2 0players didn't always like him or respect him, but we did. Doesn't mean he was the best; but he was liked.
4. Jon Jansen.
It's about time Jim Zorn named him the starter regardless of Stephon Heyer's status. The run game has clicked since Jansen took over for the injured Heyer. It's not all because of Jansen. But he has helped open up some backside runs. He's not a perfect player and will make mistakes. So does Chris Samuels. But Jansen works more in sync with Randy Thomas, which is important considering the number of combination blocks they have to make. Thomas trusts Jansen and it shows. Heyer might deserve to start at this spot next season, but not now.
5. Close wins.
All of the Redskins wins have been by a touchdown or less. Nobody else has more than three wins by such a narrow margin. What does that mean? To the players, it means they're making the right plays at the right time. The goal-line stand was a prime example. In other games it's been a clock-consuming drive. Of course, had Clinton Portis not fumbled in the fourth quarter, they would have won by more than a touchdown. The Redskins are living on the edge a bit and don't have much margin for error. A few interceptions here and there and those close wins are tough losses. But Chris Cooley, for one, thinks there's ‘'something special'' going on. He doesn't credit the coaching; he says it's the players in the locker20room. There's a trust that's developed and that's crucial to long-term success.
John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributing editor for Warpathinsiders.com. He has covered the team since 1994. Some of his other stories can be found at dcexaminer.com
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