Redskins at the bye week: first-half surprises
Given that it's the bye week, I thought that with all of the interesting conversations surrounding the Washington Redskins, I would do a series of posts breaking down the team at the halfway point of the season. The first will focus on the surprises so far.
A 4-4 record. My first surprise would be that at this point of Jim Zorn's first year as head coach he was 6-2 and Mike Shanahan is 4-4. I'm a bit surprised that Shanahan doesn't have a more impressive record at this point, but, then again, the Redskins have played tough teams all year and have done pretty well even in losing efforts.
What I will be watching for is improvement in the second half of the season. Zorn ended up going 2-6 in the second half of his first year, finishing the season with 8-8 record, which in my opinion is a respectable record for a new head coach. But we all know what happened in the next season. It will be interesting to see if Shanahan can be better than 4-4 in his next eight games.
His team is still in the running for a playoff spot and has a chance to win the division. Shanahan has shown some flaws, in my opinion, but it doesn't change that he is a proven winner. It will be interesting to see if the methods that he is using will ultimately turn this team into a winner.
Donovan McNabb. McNabb has been less than impressive all year. If you were to tell me before the season that by Week 8 Shanahan and McNabb together would not be producing an explosive offense, I would have called you crazy. Well, what's crazy is that it's true. McNabb has not been the QB we watched lead the Eagles to the playoffs pretty much every year. It seems as though he has been slow to pick up the new offensive scheme that he's in this year, so much so that it led to him being benched for a possible game-winning drive last week, and replaced by Rex Grossman.
If this team wants to sniff the playoffs this year, McNabb will have to improve. He has some tough odds he has to overcome to be better, such as a not-so-surprisingly horrible offensive line. The line just don't seem to be able to block well enough to give McNabb a fair chance to read his targets and make a throw. McNabb also does not seem to be on the same page as the offensive coordinator. It would appear that what Kyle Shanahan is trying to get McNabb to do in his scheme is not working. There will have to be adjustments made to fit McNabb's strengths, not trying to force something that isn't working. The improvement of play-calling and blocking could play a big part in McNabb's much-needed improvement.
LaRon Landry and Albert Haynesworth. Landry has gone from the cellar and being the punch line of jokes to being a possible league defensive MVP. Last season he was called double move because he kept getting burned by it. Well, he was being played out of position. Landry is a ball hawk and needed to be put at strong safety to utilize his aggressive nature, not free safety, where it's more about reading and pass coverage. He has benefited from Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense by being able to come down hill on runs, blitz the line of scrimmage on any given play, and disguise what he's doing, allowing him to also be more affective in pass coverages.
Haynesworth playing inspired football two games in a row, who would've seen that coming? With all the drama that played out with Haynesworth before the season even began, that alone was enough reason to believe he would not be productive for this team. But it got even worse when the season started. It got to the point that I don't think many people thought he would even be a member of the team beyond the trade deadline. Well, not only is he a part of the team, but he is playing football like the guy who earned a $100 million contract.
Brandon Banks. Banks a big man in a small body who has resurrected the days of Brian Mitchell with his explosive return ability. This team has not had this type of return man since Mitchell. The Redskins have gone through many -- Deon Sanders, Mike Bates, Eric Metcalf, and Antwan Randle-El just to name a few -- but none has had the impact that Banks has had since being given full-time return duties for both punts and kickoffs.
These are my midway point surprises, what are yours?
Posted by: BeatDontStop | November 3, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sjp879 | November 3, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: biffandchet | November 3, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: alit1 | November 3, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: emiller2212 | November 3, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Sigma60 | November 3, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Skinsforever47 | November 3, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AdamCr | November 3, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: luvdc808 | November 3, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JonesDT | November 3, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JonesDT | November 3, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: pauls4111 | November 3, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: zap123 | November 3, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: FootballCardSnatcher | November 4, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: clandestinetomcat | November 4, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dwilcox2 | November 4, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: neil64 | November 4, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jdb70 | November 4, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: southportwave | November 4, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dannykurland1 | November 4, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: pjsharpe19 | November 6, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Riggo2 | November 8, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: boodahbear823 | November 8, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse