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Posted at 3:53 PM ET, 11/16/2010

I wanted to be there, but...

By Stephen L. Carter

I made a fantastic decision this past weekend. I decided that I had too much work to make the trip from Connecticut to Washington to see the Eagles game. I gave my season tickets to friends. When I turned on the television Monday night, I regretted my decision for about five minutes.

Oddly, despite the record-setting debacle, I am in no mood to dump on the Skins. They fought hard against a far better Eagles team that had drawn up the perfect offensive plan. The Redskins' offense played reasonably well. (Only two other teams have hung 28 points on Philly this year.) The defense, although out-coached, also did not quit (with one exception, to which we will come in a moment).

I quite sympathize with the difficulty of preparing for Michael Vick. Washington often used LaRon Landry as the “spy” to follow Vick, but then would drop London Fletcher into deep coverage. Hmmm. A hole in the middle of the field, and a safety not as fast as the quarterback he is supposed to pursue. One might guess that there would be an opening for Vick to run. Presumably, the Skins decided to give away those Vick runs, not wanting him to beat him with his arm – just the opposite of how defenses used to play him in his Atlanta days, when opponents wanted to make him throw. In any event, the plan the Skins chose can’t work if your secondary can’t keep up with the receivers.

Of course, Vick had plenty of time to throw for most of the game. Part of the tribute goes to the Eagles’ offensive line. But we rushed the passer poorly. Here one must single out for censure the shameful lack of effort by me-first Albert Haynesworth who, having been knocked down while rushing the passer, failed to get up, and allowed Vick to complete a touchdown pass while practically standing beside him.

As to the Redskins offensive line, it remained as permeable as ever. Donovan McNabb made some amazing throws, but he also made some truly terrible ones. Nobody could pass well with unblocked defenders constantly hanging onto him. Still, some fans are screaming that McNabb didn’t deserve the contract extension announced just hours before the game. Not a problem, given that it isn’t an extension at all. The time to extend McNabb was in the pre-season. As my buddy Gregg Easterbrook noted in his TMQ column over at ESPN: “When well-run pro sports franchises trade a bundle for an aging star, a new contract is agreed to before the trade is announced.”

That the Skins didn’t do that suggests that they are only renting McNabb for a single autumn. If the team looked like a playoff threat, he would be the right quarterback to have around. 

As it turns out, they will need to rebuild, probably for several years. Although I admire McNabb and would rather he stayed, I suspect the Redskins will rebuild around someone else.

By Stephen L. Carter  | November 16, 2010; 3:53 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins, Stephen L. Carter  | Tags:  Redskins, Stephen L. Carter  
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