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Redskins week 2 preview: Houston Texans

By Evan Bliss

Attention and excitement shifts from last week’s final-play victory over division nemesis Dallas to that other team in Texas, the Texans. Didn’t overthink the whole “team-naming thing” I suppose.

Oddly enough, the Skins have quite a bit in common with the Texans. Both see-saw between potential and inconsistency, talent and injury, and are coming off of big Week 1 wins against division rivals. Houston’s win over the Indy “You call him Dr. Jones” Colts probably being the bigger of the two. If both teams are vying for legitimacy, this game, yes a Week 2 game, is a must win.

Battle #1: LT Trent vs. RE Mario. Trent held his ground against Ware, he’ll need to do the same against Mario. Prediction: Williams wins this battle.

Battle #2: SS LaRon Landry vs. RB Arian Foster. Foster’s 3 TD 200+ yard performance earned him AFC Player of the Week. The 3-4 defense is built for the SS to wreak havoc, and Landry wants 30 tackles. Prediction: “Foster, Texan for bruised.” 

Battle #3: FS Reed Doughty vs. QB Matt Schaub. More like a slaughter than a battle, Schaub’s ability to sell the play-action and Doughty’s ability to bite on it every time causes me great discomfort. Prediction: Kareem Moore starts at FS Week 3, healthy or not.

Battle #4: CB DeAngelo Hall vs. WR Dre Johnson. Big test for Hall, but both are playmakers and game changers. Too close to call, but Prediction: lots and lots of dirty smack talk.

Keys to the “V”: Control the line of scrimmage and win the turnover +/-.

*Portis needs to flash out of the gate, not in the locker room, and he’s gonna need some holes. LE Barwin’s out, OLB Cushing’s out, run right Clinton, run right.  

*LBs hitting their gaps, getting to Foster behind the line of scrimmage then bringing him down. He’s a big boy that needs some wrapping up after the hit.

*D-Coordinator Haslett needs to call a schizophrenic game. Schaub’s not as comfortable with the 3-4, the more he has to think, the more he’s going to stink.

*12th Man. Hopefully the Skins didn’t get spoiled by their fans last week. Houston won’t get the reception Dallas did, nobody does, but the franchise hasn’t been around long enough for us to build up any meaningful disdain. Afternoon games are always quieter than night games because you can see the person to your left, and they might know someone you work with.

It’s a shame this is a Week 2 matchup. It’d be much better watching these two teams battle it out with the playoffs on the line, but it should still be a telling game of which team is the legit contender, and which team’s got a bit more growing pains to endure.

Washington wins this game, but they need to play 60 minutes of inspired and violent football for the second straight week. Seeing will be believing. HTTR!

By Box Seats blogger  | September 17, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  | Tags:  Redskins-Texans  
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Next: A preview of Maryland vs. West Virginia

Comments

(For the love of all things good in sports and football .. Washington Post, please find bloggers who know what they blog about).

*Problem 1: "Oddly enough, the Skins have quite a bit in common with the Texans." Yes, how odd these teams have things in common. Or, not so odd when you consider that former Texans coaches Kyle Shanahan, Richard Hightower, Matt LaFleur, and Ray Wright are all on the Skins' staff now. And the Skins are running Houston's offense. And the Skins have ex-Houston QB Rex Grossman. And Texans Coach Gary Kubiak is a Mike Shanahan disciple. .

*Problem 2: "Battle #1: LT Trent vs. RE Mario."
Mario Williams moves around a lot. It's too simplistic to see this as Trent vs. Mario. RT Jamaal Brown will see plenty of Mario as well. And I imagine lots of help will be sent in Mario's direction. But even if Mario was the kind of player who stayed on one side of the line, you can't just say Trent will win without explanation. I mean, I guess you can, but a 7-year-old can do that too. Do you imagine it's satisfying for readers that you pronounce "Williams wins" with 0 rationale?

* Problem 3: "Battle #2: SS LaRon Landry vs. RB Arian Foster."
NO defense plans for the strong safety to be the key to stopping a running back. Sure, a safety can be used as an extra man in the box, and Laron is like 1.5 men. But if Laron is the main guy on the Skins to tackle Foster, the Redskins defense has lost. Wow, I can't believe you chose a safety as the key guy in the battle to stop a running back. Might as well type, "I don't understand football. At all. Code red me Gomer Pyle style." Is your plan for Laron to injure Foster early in the game?

* Problem 4: "the play-action and Doughty’s ability to bite on it every time."
Are you basing this generalization on Doughty's play last week vs. Dallas? He gave up the touchdown pass on a bite, true, but that was one play in the first game of the season. If you've followed the Skins at all the last few years, you may have noticed that Doughty is an unusually smart and disciplined player, which is why coaches like him. But you're right, on the one play you noticed last week, Doughty bit on play-action. Apparently this, rather than his career arc, is sufficient to establish a pattern.

* Problem 5: "Keys to the “V”: Control the line of scrimmage and win the turnover +/-."
Amazing specificity, you really get the dynamics of the Skins-Texans matchup. It's not like this key -- control the line of scrimmage, win the turnover margin -- applies to every game ever played in the NFL...

* Problem 6: "Schaub’s not as comfortable with the 3-4."
Interesting point. Lavar Arrington notes on his blog that Schaub "has had success against the 3-4 defense, winning 4 out of the last 4 games." Notice how Lavar not only makes a point, but provides some evidence for it. If you used things like evidence you could say more things that are accurate. It's a simple premise really. Try it for future posts.

Posted by: SkinsFaninCanada | September 17, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Let's revisit your post, and my objections to it, now that the Texans game is over.

1) I noted that your characterization of Mario vs. Trent was too simplistic. Specifically, I wrote: "Mario Williams moves around a lot. It's too simplistic to see this as Trent vs. Mario. RT Jamaal Brown will see plenty of Mario as well."
VERDICT: Mario Williams beat Brown, not Williams, for his first sack.

2) I suggested it was silly to characterize Landry vs. Foster as a key battle. Specifically, I wrote: "NO defense plans for the strong safety to be the key to stopping a running back ... Wow, I can't believe you chose a safety as the key guy in the battle to stop a running back. Might as well type, 'I don't understand football. At all.'"
VERDICT: Foster rushed 19 times, and Landry is credited with just two half-tackles against Foster. So .. the Skins lost this key battle, yet somehow held Foster to only 69 yards rushing. Guess the safety wasn't so important for stopping Foster after-all.

3) I suggested you over-generalized about Doughty's susceptibility to double-moves. Specifically, I wrote: "Doughty is an unusually smart and disciplined player, which is why coaches like him. But you're right, on the one play you noticed last week, Doughty bit on play-action. Apparently this, rather than his career arc, is sufficient to establish a pattern."
VERDICT: Doughty led the Redskins in tackles against the Texans, and bit on 0 double-moves despite Schaub's 52 pass attempts. Doughty's worst moment was giving up a TD reception to Johnson despite perfect coverage. Johnson outjumped a less athletically gifted Doughty, which is unfortunately also part of Doughty's reputation (i.e., smart, disciplined, not super-athletic).

4) You said Schaub is not as comfortable against the 3-4, I disagreed. Specifically, I wrote: "Lavar Arrington notes on his blog that Schaub 'has had success against the 3-4 defense, winning 4 out of the last 4 games.' Notice how Lavar not only makes a point, but provides some evidence for it. If you used things like evidence you could say more things that are accurate."
VERDICT: Schaub mustered 497 passing yards and 3 TD passes on his way to a 5th consecutive victory against a 3-4 defense. I say score this as Schaub being comfortable against the 3-4.

Moral of the story: Your observations about the game between the Washington Redskins and Houston "We Have Problem" Texans were, well, problematic. Fancy writing and pop-culture references do not mask ignorance of a subject. Don't pretend to know what you don't.

Posted by: SkinsFaninCanada | September 19, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

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