I did a team preview of the Redskins back in Week Seven so I’m not going to bore you with another run down on their players. However, we were able to interview the guys over at RiggosRag.com to get some insight on Sunday’s upcoming matchup with the Redskins. It’s lengthy but definitely worth the read. We’d like to thank them for their participation and recommend checking out their site for any news concerning their beloved ‘Skins. They also asked us a series of questions so make sure to head over to their site and check out our responses.
BirdsFan.com: These two teams have already met this year, what do you think the biggest difference is for the Redskins between then and now?
RiggosRag.com: Confidence. The Redskins now have had two games in a row where they’ve outplayed their opponent. Granted they only won ONE of those two games, but really both games were more convincing than any of the other Redskins performances this season, including their wins over St. Louis and Tampa Bay. They’ve gotten their act together, at least a little. I’m not saying that the Redskins are now suddenly good; I’m saying that they’re no longer competing with the Browns for the “Crappiest team in the league” award. They’ve gone from very, very bad to just bad. With hard work and dedication, they might strive to reach “average” in a week or two.
Of course, Oakland is a bad team too, and look at what they did to Philly.
BF: As a Redskins fan, what do you think the biggest difference is in the Eagles since the last time we’ve played?
RR: The Eagles are very bipolar. They’ll look inept one week and then destroy a good team the next. Last time the Redskins played the Eagles, the Eagles looked decent. With luck, we’ll see the inept team come out this weekend.
BF: Sunday’s 7-6 loss to Dallas has to be a real heartbreaker. What do you think contributed most to this loss?
RR: Most? Poor coaching and lack of depth in key positions. But if you want to look at specific events and decisions that contributed to the loss, I’d have to say missing that first 39 yard field goal at the half. That one really came back to haunt us. If the Redskins had made that figgie, everything else would have been so much simpler. But since they missed it, they went for a 50 yard field goal late in the 4th and whiffed it and gave up great field position. Some people argue that maybe they shouldn’t have gone for the field goal. I’m not sure that would have mattered. Anyone who saw that game knows damn well that the Cowboys could have gotten another 20 yards on that last drive. They were marching down the field with impunity, so punting wouldn’t have helped much. Of course, I suppose they could have gone all Bill Belichick and gone for it on 4th and 2. The problem with that is, this is the Redskins and with Jim Zorn coaching, he invariably calls for a stretch play on 4th down and short. And it never works. So we’d be exactly where we were except people would now be yelling at Zorn for going for it when he could have won with a simple field goal.
No, I think that for the Redskins to beat Dallas in that stadium, they needed to be up by more than one score. They missed that chance when they whiffed on the field goals (twice) and they lost the game because of it. It’s that simple.
BF: You guys entered the game Sunday without Clinton Portis and lost Ladell Betts during the game. Will either play against the Eagles? If not, do you think Rock Cartwright can shoulder the load without them?
RR: Betts is out for the year with a torn MCL and ACL. Portis is reportedly out for this week’s game as well. Knowing Jim Zorn, Portis has been assigned Aroma Therapy treatment for his concussion. You are going to face the fearsome might of Rock Cartwright! I think he did fine against the Cowboys and he’ll do fine against the Eagles. Portis wasn’t exactly tearing it up this season before he went down. Betts looked good before the injury but the performance of the offensive line is far more critical than the Betts versus Cartwright issue (or even Cartwright versus Portis for that matter).
BF: We hear a lot about the Redskins possibly making plans to bring in a new quarterback. What are your thoughts on Jason Campbell and do you think his time is just about up in Washington?
RR: Jason Campbell is erratic. He’s like McNabb without the upside. He’s not very accurate and he fumbles the ball constantly for some reason. He doesn’t make great reads. At his best, he’s average to slightly above average in the NFL. At his worst, he’s downright awful. His worst quality in my mind is that he’s anti-clutch. The moment the team needs him to make a play to win the game, that’s when he falls apart. Once a game gets out of reach, he’ll start doing miraculous things and get some great garbage time touchdowns…until the game starts getting competitive again in which case he’ll figure out a way to lose the game. He plays just well enough to avoid looking terrible when he loses.
Can he have success on another team? Maybe. If the situation is right and the team doesn’t need to rely on him too much, he would be all right. With better pass protection and lots of good wide receivers, I’m sure he could enjoy some success. But it won’t be because of him so much as it will be because of the talent that surrounds him. I don’t know if the Redskins broke him or if he was never going to make it, but he’s never going to be a top quarterback in the NFL.
BF: What didn’t the Redskins do against the Eagles the last time they played each other that you think they will have more success at this time around?
RR: The Redskins will definitely need to block, pass, run, catch, and tackle better than they did last game. It would also help if they could shore up special teams a little. Seriously, they need to shut down the big plays; the defense really let the Redskins down last time and that was a bit uncharacteristic of them.
What the Redskins need most, however, is help from the Eagles. McNabb is their greatest asset and their greatest weakness. If he’s on he’s great. If he’s having a crappy day, he’s wretched. And when he’s wretched in Philly, you fans become an asset to us, because you’ll turn on McNabb quite happily and suddenly it’s a Home Field DISADVANTAGE as the boos come out. If the Redskins are going to win, it’s going to be with help from you Eagles fans and with help from Mister McNabb and Mister Andy Reid.
BF: What is the Redskins biggest weakness that you think the Eagles may have the opportunity to exploit?
RR: Their head coach is in over his head and lacks the support of his owner and GM. He’s predictable. The Redskins are going for it on 4th down? Oh gee, look! It’s a stretch play! Everyone in the freaking stadium knows what’s going to be called and it never works. And time outs? Who needs them! It’s not like they could be handy at the end of the game or anything. Watch the game and every time they show Zorn’s face you’ll see that befuddled and slightly constipated look he gets on game day. The man is lost.
BF: If you were making the offensive and defensive game plan for the Redskins, what would you be focusing on doing?
RR: Shooting myself. Seriously though, the defensive line is fine. I wouldn’t really change anything except maybe make Haynesworth do some serious cardio until he can stay in the game for three consecutive plays without needing to be hooked up to an oxygen tank for the rest of the quarter. Keep McNabb pressured so he has an off day. Don’t let the big plays have time to develop.
The offensive line is showing some signs of improvement as well. They beat up the Denver defense, especially on running plays. They held up reasonably well against a big Dallas line. For the piecemeal talent that the Redskins have out there on the field, I’d be pretty happy with what they’ve given us over the last two weeks. So whatever they’ve been doing, I’d keep doing it.
BF: Here’s a fun one. What are your thoughts on Dan Snyder? I know a lot of fans absolutely hate this guys guts. I’d love to hear you weigh in on this one.
RR: I don’t hate Dan Snyder. I hate that he won’t hire an experienced General Manager and that he wants to try to run the team like his own personal fantasy football team. Dan Snyder is a lot better than many team owners out there (I’m looking at you, Browns and Raiders fans). He’s willing to pay money to field a competitive team, and that’s absolutely a critical component to any winning team; he just doesn’t know how to put the money to good use and he won’t stay the hell away and let football guys make football decisions. The real problem is that he hasn’t been demonstrating a capacity to learn from his previous mistakes. Also, it doesn’t help that one of the things he *IS* good at is finding new sources of revenue for the team, generally by fleecing the fans somehow. There are also some minor insults to fans like the lack of simple amenities at the stadium (no constant scoreboard to show other games that are playing; lack of porta-potty’s for the tailgaters; no signs allowed in the stadium, etc). High prices, poor service, and a crappy product is going to get any fan base pissed off. He can have two out of the three, but all three is too much for even the most devoted fan base to swallow.
We’ll see what happens this offseason. If Vinny Cerrato still has a job with the Redskins, I think the team will lose a lot of fans. At least for a little while. A big name signing in the offseason isn’t going to cut it this time. Some real change needs to happen.
BF: What do you think will be the overall outcome of the game on Sunday?
RR: I think it’s entirely up to the Eagles. They are the better team this year, period. If the Eagles play well they’re going to win. If they come out and McNabb has a rough night like he occasionally does, then the Redskins could pull out an upset. I doubt it’ll happen though. Though it pains me to say it, I have to predict: Eagles over Redskins 21-10. My only solace is knowing that in our loss, would help you usurp Dallas as division leader, which is a marginally more tolerable situation for us Redskins fans.