Media Responses to the Skins Loss
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....]
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.
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.
Matt Mosley, ESPN.com: 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.]
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.
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?
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.
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).
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