1. Struggling offense.
Nobody should be surprised about the pass protection. Too many scouts and evaluators have said the same thing over the past few years: they're better in run blocking. That's not a sin; just reality. And when the Redskins face quick fronts their age really shows. However, this doesn't mean they're about to completely crack. Dallas has superior talent among its front seven than Pittsburgh. It showed last week. When the Redskins line run blocks well, it's because they're a strong veteran group; when they don't it's because they're aging.
2. Zorn's play calling.
The truth is, the OL need playcalling to bail them out of situations by either using more guys in to block or by keeping the defenses guessing. Jim Zorn was able to stay a step ahead of defenses early in the season. That's not the case anymore. But do the Redskins really have the personnel to be dynamic? No, they don't. Chris Cooley is a good tight end, not a great one. And there's no strong No. 2. James Thrash is a terrific guy and a good blocker, but they never look his way. How many teams can afford to have a No. 3 receiver who is never a target? Fix the talent base and watch the offense bloom.
The Redskins' defense has been unbelievable. They consistently hold good offenses below their averages in yards and points. That's a credit to the back four considering how little plays the front seven actually make. They lack a legit playmaker up front. Jason Taylor could have been that guy, but has done nothing because of injuries and a position switch. We thought this from the start, but his size makes him a bad fit at left end. The Redskins like an anchor there, like a Phillip Daniels, and that's probably why Demetric Evans will continue to start. The Redskins need to keep Taylor fresh by using him as a nickel rusher. But I'd also keep him upright if possible. Why not? Nothing else has worked.
4. Shawn Springs.
Hard to believe how well the defense has played with Springs sidelined, which makes you wonder about his future, especially here. Maybe it's just me, but it bothers me that he's missed so much time with this injury. Older guys heal slower. And nobody can say how bad an injury is other than the player himself. But I know that other guys have noticed what other guys have played through. Maybe that's not fair considering Springs' position relies on explosiveness. Hard to be explosive with a bad calf and if he's not then it's a touchdown the other way.
5. Fred Davis.
The Redskins say they can't trust him, but should that be a surprise? Davis was not known for being a trustworthy guy at USC – it's why one draftnik put him on a list of three guys he would not draft. And Davis showed he couldn't be trusted by going to a club and oversleeping during minicamp. It's different in that it's off the field vs. on the field, but an undisciplined person often plays that way. The Redskins, Vinny Cerrato in particular, said he talked to Pete Carroll about him in the spring and got a ringing endorsement. Another person involved in the league for three decades heard this and laughed, saying you don't go by a coach's recommendation in the spring. Many of them will be less than honest. The time to do that is in the fall when they're not thinking about the draft, but simply about what kind of player and person he truly is. Maybe Davis will develop into something. And he supposedly looks good in practice. But he needs to mature into a serious player first.
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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