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Media Responses to the Skins Loss

(By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

Ranking the post-game media reaction, from those most ludicrously, frothingly-at-the-mouth depressed about a nine-point road loss against the Super Bowl champions, to those who are perhaps less concerned about Web traffic numbers. Your typical Redskins Insider commenters, it goes without saying, could use a few straitjackets with their first happy hour cocktail this evening.

By the way, I'm not a big enough idiot to have meant (in this tongue-in-cheek post yesterday) that 'twas better to lose an opener than to win one. You've got 16 chances in this league, and every one you lose will be regretted. I just thought it was worth bearing in mind that good has followed bad, and bad has followed good, and a season-opening win can lead to Spurrier-itis, while a season-opening loss can lead to the second round of the playoffs (Norv!), or, as with last year's Giants, something even bigger. So chill out. Deep breaths. It's Friday. And anyhow, the Caps and Wizards will both start up pretty soon.

[EDIT: This really isn't meant to suggest that I think the Redskins will succeed in '08, or that any of my colleagues at this paper or elsewhere don't know far more about the Redskins than I do. I think I said 7-9 originally, and that still feels ok. And the first half yesterday was admittedly nasty. But if you had bet on the Redskins to cover--i.e., to live up to Vegas's prediction of strength--you were alive until the very last second. Anyhow....]

Five Prozacs

Washington Times columnist Dan Daly: Second quarter, 10:59 left. It was at that point Thursday night, sad to say, that the words "first pick in the draft" first popped into my head. Let's face it, folks, it's never a good sign when you start thinking about the 2009 draft less than 20 minutes into the 2008 season opener.

Two words: Atlanta Falcons. Six more: Thanks for the lift home, Dan.

Mike Garafolo, Newark Star-Ledger: Okay, I've had about enough of [Vinny Cerrato] and owner Dan Snyder telling the media they didn't offer the job to Spags in February. Last night, Andrea Kremer reported Cerrato also told him they didn't have a good feel for Spags. Baloney! You want to know what happened? Spags mulled things over for a night with his wife, Maria, and thought to himself, "Hmmm, something's not right with this job." (Yeah, I know what it was - the guys that were offering it.) So, according to sources, Cerrato and Snyder told Spags not to make them look bad when he turned down the job, which Spags never planned to do, I'm sure. So what happens? A few minutes after news breaks that Spags said no, the AP in Washington reports, according to a source (Do I even have to spell out for you who that source could have been?) both sides agreed Spags isn't ready to be a head coach. One more time: Baloney! If Spags wanted that job, it was his. And he continues to take the high road while Cerrato and Snyder are trying to rewrite their revisionist history book. Keep trying, boys. And keep trying to build a successful team with that kind of approach to things.

Um. Wow.

Four Xanax

Sally Jenkins, Washington Post: The trouble with the Washington Redskins' new identity is that they don't have a discernible one. After all of the offseason hiring and reshuffling, what showed up on the field in the season opener against the New York Giants was a shapeless and indistinct mess, recognizable only by the logos. The situation the Redskins are in has been years in the making, literally, and it has been engineered by a world-class amateur of an owner.

I love Sally with all my heart, and it's completely unsporting to publicly disagree with colleagues, so I'd only ask: what is the discernible identity for, say, the 2008 Jacksonville Jaguars or Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints, all of which are floated as possible playoff teams? Heck, what was the Giants' identity when they were 0-2 last year? You're a brave soul if you're willing to make ANY sort of conclusion about team identity after Week One, outside of Indy, New England and maybe Detroit.

(By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

Matt Mosley, After their 16-7 loss to the Giants, which might as well have been 30-7, the Redskins talked about not being able to match the opposing team's energy. How does that happen? It's the first real football game of the season, and you're playing the defending Super Bowl champs. Matching their intensity shouldn't be an issue....

For Zorn's sake, you'd like to say Week 1 might have been an aberration. But after watching back-to-back meltdowns in the preseason, I fear that we may be watching the real deal.

So, to recap, yesterday was either an aberration, or the real deal. Or, alien spider monkeys might conquer the earth using radioactive banana spears and declare Jim Zorn the ruler of Outer Mongolia next Monday. In other words, let's just hang on for one more week before lining up at the Key Bridge. [On the other hand, "For Zorn's sake!" would make a great expletive substitute.]

Three Zoloft

Mark Newgent, D.C. Redskins Examiner: The Redskins are off to an inauspicious start to the Jim Zorn era. The defending champs beat the Redskins in every conceivable way last night.

To give just two conceivable examples, the Redskins had better starting field position in drives that mattered, and they also won the turnover battle. Now, they didn't take advantage of either fact, but these are two conceivable ways in which they were not beaten.

Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports: Jason Campbell, a third-year passer who resembles the up-and-down Old Eli, didn't have a very impressive game, but the bulk of the blame should probably go to Zorn, who managed to make him look like Donovan McNabb at the end of Super Bowl XXXIX.

Zorn, never before a play-caller or offensive coordinator until Washington hired him to replace Joe Gibbs last February, is a smart man with a cool manner, and he'll surely get better fast. But the sight of halfback Clinton Portis running off tackle on first-and-goal from the Giants 40 with a nine-point deficit and three minutes remaining was disquieting to many Redskins players - and appreciated by their opponents.

Actually, "he'll surely get better fast" counts as wild optimism today.

Two Paxil

Paul Woody, Richmond Times-Dispatch: The Washington Redskins were able to avoid total embarrassment last night, and they might think that prevents the evening from being a total loss. But they would be wrong....The idea that the game was as close as the score is misleading. The Redskins defense kept the Giants out of the end zone in the second half, but they could not keep the Giants off the field.

Any loss is a total loss. And while the score may have "been misleading," as they say, 10 more points still would have meant a total win, even if it would have been misleading.

David Elfin, Washington Times: The Giants did play well, but their 16-0 lead late in the first half could have been 28-0 if they had been able to finish their drives, all of which penetrated the Washington 30-yard line.

The Redskins were impotent on offense and feckless on defense. It's hard to believe these coaches and players had months to prepare for the Giants. But then New York is now 18-8 at home against Washington dating to 1984.

Not only does the Giants' defense get no credit at all in any of these stories for keeping Washington off the scoreboard, the Redskins' defense gets no credit for keeping the Giants out of the end zone. Are only offensive players capable of being good or bad? Every positive play is offensive strength, every negative play offensive incompetence? If, somehow, Washington's offense had come to life in the second half and pulled off 10 points, wouldn't these same stories praise the Washington D for not allowing a single TD after the first drive--which, don't forget, was helped by a borderline pass interference call?

One Benadryl

The Curly R: A flaccid start to the season, no first downs in the first quarter. Only 16 net yards through three minutes left in the half. The scoring drive at the end of the second quarter produced the first non penalty first down. With Jim Zorn this team is going to be known for its offense and this was not a good start for that unit.

Excellent use of flaccid.

A shot of Crown

Mike Vaccaro, New York Post: Once the game began, there were moments when the Giants looked like Superteam and moments when they looked like they'd been introduced to each other five minutes before kickoff. They were helped mightily by the fact the Redskins looked like they'd have a hell of a time getting a first down off Appalachian State. So what does it mean?

"It's the first game," Eli Manning Eli Manning said. "It felt like a first game."

Meaning: It's all so difficult to decipher.

Might not make for great copy, but that's the truth.

Proceed Leisurely

New York Daily News: "The Giants don't do things the easy way, and the game wasn't over until the Redskins took themselves out of it by ignoring their no-huddle offense and self-destructing in the fourth quarter."

Bob Glauber, Newsday: Now, I'm not guaranteeing anything here, because further injuries can easily deplete the defense. But I am saying that this unit can still be among the best in the NFL, and that it's not ridiculous to think that another special season is possible. There is talent on the field, and just as importantly, there is brilliance on the sideline. The combination should be good enough to keep the Giants in contention.

So either this loss was years in the making and was over after a bit more than a quarter due to Washington incompetence (D.C. press), or it wasn't over until the final minutes against a Super Bowl contender (Giants press).

Least Depressing Haircut. (By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 5, 2008; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Morning Look: Where Were You Saturday?


great post

you sir are a genius

Posted by: jonthefisherman | September 5, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yes, that is a fantastic post.

Posted by: Johnnie Futbol | September 5, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Yea man, someone objectively reporting Redskins football from the Washington Post?? Dan Steinberg, keep fightin' the good fight bro. And give a nice stren kick in the head to La Canfora, that dude needs to know his role!

Posted by: BMAC | September 5, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Two Zorns way up for this one Daniel!!!


Posted by: Burg w/ a U | September 5, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Dan the spider monekeys quote is priceless and skin nation calm down for "zorns sake"

Posted by: skinny | September 5, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Take away the first quarter and was it really so bad? Watch out New Orleans!

Posted by: Nickels | September 5, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Wish we could get a thread like this on RI, not just a link to it.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | September 5, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

RI couldn't handle this scamp, Dan, very nice job, I wrote pretty much the same piece at Bleacher Report, from a slightly different perspective, but couldn't agree more.

One game.

Posted by: BluCollar Redskin | September 5, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

FYI Dan I'm a bourbon man, that Crown stuff is out of my price range

Posted by: Ben | September 5, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"Impotent on offense and feckless on defense..." Just a few consonants away from being important on offense and reckless on defense.

What the feck is feck, anyway?

Posted by: Bill Fitzgerald | September 5, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Where have been for the team that actually won a championship game? Nevermind, you are at helmet bull dog game.

Posted by: HELLOOoo | September 5, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

The out of town media don't have to have access to the Danoland facility - so they can say "truthful" things.

In this market, however, Dano has bought up most of the media to curtail dissenting views that "The Emperor (indeed) Has No Cloths".

I'm not sure what was more laughable - Zorn after the game looking as though he'd won, with his wide grin and glib attitude, or - Campbell and Portis saying they thought they played "pretty well!"

ClubMed is indeed in full swing at Danoland, yet again!

Posted by: slingshot | September 5, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

An age old question:
If feckless is lacking feck,
can one be feckfull?

Posted by: HaikuMan | September 5, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Well done Dan! Head and shoulders above any thing on the "Redskins Insider," but really comparing you and LaCanfora is like comparing apples and some fruit that cannot write but loves the Red Sox and ipods.

Posted by: Dan 4 Prez | September 5, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

SteinBog you are still the Man

by far the best thing on this Hurrting site

from tandler's blog


Doom and gloom from the Post
I expect the message board community and the postgame show callers to overreact after one season-opening loss. After the Washington Redskins' loss to the New York Giants on Thursday, the knee-jerk brigade is led by the bench Campbell contingent and running close behind with torches lit and rope in hand are the fire Zorn mob, the Portis stinks gang, and the throng that wants to send the Redskins' entire O-line on a one-way retirement cruise immediately.

What astounds me is how many sky-is-falling pieces we see in today's papers. The pros are the ones who are supposed to bring some perspective to the situation.

Apparently the editors at the Washington Post believe otherwise.

Sally Jenkins believes that she can come up with "inescapable facts" about the Redskins after one game, 6.25% of the first season under a new head coach. The Skins will have to "claw mightily to be better than a .500 team", says Jenkins, who reached this conclusion by halftime, or after 3.125% of the season.

Elsewhere in the Post, Les Carpenter had this reasoned analysis of the Skins' first play. It was a sack, the Giants' only one of the game, in fact.

Still it was a harbinger of the calamity to come, one in which the Redskins only had 11 first downs, 1 touchdown and 133 passing yards with an offense that was supposed to make everyone forget previous coach Joe Gibbs and his conservative, run-first game plans that had grown stale to many Redskins fans.

Did anyone really expect the offense to hum like a well-oiled machine on the road against the Super Bowl champs? It was a "calamity"? I'm no pro writer, but I would suggest to Mr. Carpenter that he save such words for actual calamities. In 2005, 36-0 in the Meadowlands was a calamity, at least in football terms. Last night, 16-7, even though the game wasn't that close, was not cataclysmic.

And one game, 27 passes into Jason Campbell's adaption to Jim Zorn's offense, and into Zorn's real-life experience as an NFL play caller, Jason LaCanfora found a guy who said that Campbell was doomed to fail. Quoting an NFL personnel executive (someone who, by the way, has a vested interest in seeing the Redskins fail):

When I watch that team, I think something's going to have to give. Is it the scheme or the quarterback? At some point either the coach is going to have to change what he does to fit the quarterback, or they're going to need a different quarterback. . . You can trace it all back to that, and if that doesn't work then your team is in trouble. It could take four years to dig out of something like that. If the coach doesn't have the right personnel to run his system, then you're starting over again.

So we have a season's that's over, depending on which Post scribe you want to believe, after either the first game, their first half of that game or even the first play of that game.

I'd call that static analysis, but that gives it credit for being analysis.

Why do Jenkins, Carpenter, and LaCanfora have to rush to judgment? Are they afraid that the Redskins will be 1-8 and the Post will be out of ink and paper for them to blast Snyder, Cerrato, Zorn, Campbell, Justin Tryon and Durant Brooks then?

Don't get me wrong, the Redskins and Zorn deserve all the criticism they are taking for what happened on Thursday night. They were tentative, they blew a boatload of opportunities, they were whipped on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and were thoroughly outclassed by a team that is very good, but not great.

But to think that things will stay this way, that Zorn won't adjust, that Campbell won't learn, that the quality of the opposition will stay the same, is lazy journalism at best.

Unfortunately, in these days of the Post-Redskins feud, it's what I've come to expect.

POSTED BY RICH TANDLER AT 9/05/2008 08:27:00 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

that was me

Posted by: jonthefisherman | September 6, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

He said flaccid.

I think this game is being overemphasized in virtue of the fact it was the season opener, nationally televised game, etc. You'd think a 9 point loss on teh road against the defending SB Champions in a jacked up stadium wouldn't make for such doom and gloom, especially contrasted against our 10 point loss to the Giants, at home, early in 2007, but what else are we going to talk about?

Posted by: Skin Patrol | September 6, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm an idiot, we lost by 7 at home last year.

Posted by: Skin Patrol | September 6, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I think Jim Zorn is in the wrong line of work. He should get into National Politics, you don't need any experience for that.

Posted by: JMH | September 6, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

It's aiight. Just one man's thoughts of a thousand other's thoughts....

Posted by: 4th | September 6, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

What a surprise, all "atta boys" from the RI posters who hate on Jason LaCanfora.

Steinberg, did Snyder slip you cash or a check to trash his critics?

Posted by: Not Anonymous | September 6, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Dan, we appreciate your apparent renewed interest in the Redskins blogger position, but it's been filled. Should that change, your spirited defense of Mr. Snyder and his team here has not gone unnoticed.

Posted by: Vinny C. | September 7, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I was so pleased afterthe 1st qurter that we didn't get blown out. The D made adjustments and did great, particularly being on the field all night against a bruising running game. I was surprised to see every Post article bash each facet of the skins. Offense? well yeah, it needs serious work.

Defense, without Springs?? Holding explosive teams to 16 points should be enough, if there were an offense. Did you see we had a sack? We had some pressure ?!? That was awesome! imagine that against a mediocre team! Landry was all over, Wilson's spin move on the dude Madden had just been calling the toast of the Giants o-line was excellent.
Special teams looked special too, I like Brooks' hang time.
Anyways, I expected at least 1 post piece saying the d showed promise. But finding this swampy bog piece was the next best thing.

Posted by: We werena blown out eh? | September 8, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow Dan - are you trying to get invited to some parties?

"the Redskins had better starting field position in drives that mattered"

Good point...that's almost as good as winning.

Posted by: Ross | September 8, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

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