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A Case For The Lions (Kinda, Sorta)

I'm trying to concoct a way the Redskins could lose this game. Now, surely, it can happen. But to me the game would have to be straight from the Rams template - special teams breakdowns, mass turnover issues, dropped interceptions - and taken to extremes that would land it somewhere in the top three all-time in NFL follies. I'm talking dudes scoring TDs against their own team, some sort of bizarre collision along the sidelines that sends Z-Man batty and has him calling plays in Spanish ... Weird stuff.

I can't make a case for the Lions defense on any level. Their performance, by and large, has been reprehensible. If you rank dead last in most major statistical categories with November creeping upon us, well, you are who we thought you were. They aren't getting it done in any way, shape or form, and it's not like they have a handful of playmakers who are at least providing a bunch of takaways or scoring defensive touchdowns to at least balance some of the overall poor play on that side of the ball.

On offense, the running game has been better in the last few weeks and Calvin Johnson is a mega-star in waiting. He had a rough transition last year, but with Roy Williams traded (and people may point back to that deal, bringing in three picks from Dallas, as the start of a turning point for this miserable franchise) this is clearly his team now. He is putting up huge numbers while being the recipient of some of the most brutal quarterback play in the league. Now, sure, some of this is coming in garbage time, but this guy is a beast with size, speed and hands - and he seems to have learned a whole lot more about the game in this his second season.

Carlos Rogers will have his hands full. If Dan Orlovsky can heave the ball in the general vicinity of Johnson, there's a decent chance the guy will make a play on the ball. I expect to see a lot of what we have seen recently - a single high safety, LaRon Landry, shaded a bit to the side, where the top receiver (in this case Johnson) is playing and eight in the box to stop the run. I figure they blitz Orlovsky a fair degree, with Horton and Landry taking some turns there, and show more of Marcus Washington coming off the edge.


The only way I see the Lions making a game of it is in a shootout of some sort, because the Skins are going to score points. Maybe Johnson has a truly heroic day and the Skins simply can't stop him. Something akin to the Plaxico Burress show from Week 1, only with, like, eight more catches, a few more TDs, 200-plus yards. Under that script, yeah, the Skins could be in trouble.

But even for all of the mistakes they made against the Rams - a team with far superior individual talent at critical positions - it still took a 50-yard kick at the end of regulation for the Skins to lose. Four turnovers against the Lions still might not be enough.

I'm not saying this is a guaranteed blowout. It could be close and interesting. But at some point, the Skins' all-around superiority will take hold, and they would have to dig themselves a heck of a big hole.

Now, for full disclosure, I was chatting a bit with Peter King, and he thinks the Lions are playing very hard, are on the cusp of their first victory and that this is a big-time trap game for the Skins. Only one of us can be right. One man will emerge from the steel cage with his body, and reputation, intact, and the other will be buried. Let the best man win.

(In all seriousness, Peter could totally be onto something here, and admittedly, he has seen more of the Motown Mopes than I have. And maybe they make a last stand and a statement Sunday. But my gut tells me no and, well, given the girth of my gut, it's hard not to listen to him (her? it?).

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 22, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
 
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Next: Steady Eddie, er, Jason (Campbell)

Comments

maybe 2st I DONT CARE IF I'M 2ND HI MOM
HI MOM

Posted by: poolman1200000 | October 22, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

HI MOM
HI MOM
HI MOM
HI MOM
SO I WAS 1ST, JUST WANTED TO THANK A COUPLE OF PEOPLE. MOM,DAD,JASON AND MOST OF ALL THE YOU GUYS. BEING FIRST IS A GREAT THING DON'T LET OTHERS TELL YOU OTHERWISE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: poolman1200000 | October 22, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Every game is a trap game against this team. We have been keeping it close and one little slip up will lose it for us.

Posted by: TeeSkins | October 22, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Now that's the good old Jla...insightful, calm, cool, and collected. He even let his funny side show!

Welcome back, Welcome back.

Posted by: dbussjd | October 22, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Again, because of the Rams loss, I don't see this as a trap game. The Skins now know what happens when they don't focus and play quality football. (And for that matter, last week's stinker against the Browns, should really drive that point home.) If the Skins were coming into this game 6-1, I would agree that this is a trap game. But at 5-2 after a loss to the Rams and an awful win against the Browns, I don't perceive this as a trap. This would be a good victory to grab heading into a Monday night game against Pittsburgh.

Posted by: CDon | October 22, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The new GM for the Lions, got a great deal from the Girls, hopefully for his sake he will use the picks more wisely then Millen did.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 22, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Now I don't want the boys getting over confidant but the skins need to get focused

Posted by: alex35332 | October 22, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Did you not learn from the Rams game? You totally jinxed us with that one. We need to assert our dominance from the get go.

Posted by: Rypien11 | October 22, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

It very well could be a trap game. if not for the ram's game, i believe it would be. i think that the redskins' are due for a great game on both sides of the ball. the last two games, they've played well on defense, but average on offense, esp the passing game. detroit is still in transition at many positions.

Posted by: tbarz1 | October 22, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

p1, are you serious?? If he's up around 370 at the end of the year, he's going to be ground chuck by the time the playoffs arrive. He's already showing nicks, but you want him to get more carries...?? That doesn't make sense. I don't care how much he's being paid, grinding him into the ground is going to prove to be detrimental to the overall success of the team.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 22, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm not saying he doesn't need spells or doesn't need his workload monitored. What I'm saying is that I WANT A FREAKING SUPERBOWL, and if we need to turn CP into ground-chuck in order to get it, then so be it. That's why he gets paid. I love CP on gameday, but I ascribe to the Doc Walker theory of football players - if you haven't delivered a ring, then you are replaceable, and no one gets special treatment.

Posted by: p1funk | October 22, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

We are going to kill the Lions.

The Rams are a much better team with Haslett, no shame in losing a close, tough game where we made some mistakes.

The Lions are inept and have no prayer.

Posted by: NickelsLuvsSkins | October 22, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"I'm trying to concoct a way the Redskins could lose this game. Now, surely, it can happen."

+++++++++++++

No freaking duh! Man, folks have amnesia around here. 3 weeks ago we were "trying to concoct a way" the Skins lose to the Rams. Well, they concocted it!

Here's a scenario - a couple of Skins turnovers that get turned into Lions TDs. We grind out a running game that keeps the score low and keeps the Lions in striking distance. We try to go to our slightly out-of-sync passing game, and it falters, giving the Lions even more confidence. Calvin Johnson (who is basically Randy Moss on steroids) scores on a long-bomb to boot.

THERE ARE YOU HAPPY! NOW LET'S STOP TOASTING A VICTORY THAT HAS YET TO OCCUR.

Posted by: p1funk | October 22, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I agree Scott Linehan may go down as one of the worst head coaches in the NFL of all time. Haslet no genus but he is at least competent.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 22, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I think this game we need to get mileage out of Alexander and Rock. They need to give Portis rest as much as possible. If they can get away with it I love to see portis out and used as a 3rd down back for the whole 2nd half of the game.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 22, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Zorn calling plays in Spanish is going a bit too far. There's one very easy way that we could lose this game. It's the specter that haunts any successful NFL team: injuries. With Springs out, our secondary is thin, and if Rogers gets hurt, then who do we have to stop Johnson? Granted, even with Rogers out, that doesn't stop us from running Portis to command of time of possession, but what if Portis gets hurt? Without Betts, we've got a couple of questionable guys running the ball, each of whom has been known to fumble at critical junctures. Playing a desperate opponent is a dangerous game.

The goal ought to be to run up a huge lead from the get-go and then treat it like a preseason game and get our unproven draft class involved. We need to do something we haven't done yet this year, which is to have a great start. Have the players start the game under the impression that they're down by three touchdowns and there's only fifteen minutes left in the game. Hypnotize them if you have to.

Posted by: crashinghero | October 22, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Portis carries are so high because the games have been so close and we needed him to take time off the clock in the 4th.

If we stop having close games, his carries will go down. If not he will be used like CP26 of 2005 and Larry Johnson of a few years ago.......

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 22, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Peter King??? That man hates the Skins, is unbelievably biased against the Skins. He will be openly rooting for the Lions and calling it a trap game before. Guarantee if it were the Giants going up there he would feel it was going to be blowout. The man is a huge(literally and figuratively) Giants fan. I mean he put the Giants back on top of his power rankings after they beat a garbage niners team. Meanwhile Tennessee had a dominant win and is undefeated. Peter King is Garbage thats the bottom line.

Posted by: sdas1 | October 22, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I know what JLA is saying but there are no gimme games in the NFL. It's ridiculous to suggest any different. Skins better be ready for a fight. The best team in the league this year is what? 10% better than the worst?

Posted by: Gweez | October 22, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"and if we need to turn CP into ground-chuck in order to get it, then so be it"

p1, your logic is flawed. If you run CP into the ground he WONT GET you to to Super Bowl.

Look at the way the Titans are splitting carries with White, and Johnson for example. 103 and 80 according to the Post, thats split 56% and 44%. Now look at Portis(163 carries) and Betts(38 carries), and its 81%, and 19%. Zorn needs to scale Portis WAY, WAY back, and utilize Betts, Rock, Alexander, and Sellers MUCH more.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 22, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Teams have been killing the Lions b/c they run out to huge leads in the 1st quarter. Unfortunately, the Skins do not operate like that. If we plan on leaning on the run (which is likely) we may command time of possession, but we will also keep the score low and that will kep the Lions in striking distance. From there, all they need is a special teams play, a turn over, or a long-bomb to CJ...the pressure is on us, and if they have a sense of hope in the game that does not bode well.

Posted by: p1funk | October 22, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

"Peter King??? That man hates the Skins, is unbelievably biased against the Skins."

+++++++

Why do you think he's paling around with LaCanfora?

Posted by: p1funk | October 22, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Peter has changed his view of the Redskins of late. The man you might be thinking of is Paul Zimmerman. He used to cover the Giants, and hates Snyder, and has pretty much said so in some of his columns.....

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 22, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Beantown, I hear you. I'm not in disagreement. I just want us to get our mileage out of CP. We don't need to bubble-wrap him. But I will add that I don't think Rock/SA are the answer. We need to get the passing game tuned up again and that will help CP and the team win without putting 400 carries on his shoulders.

Posted by: p1funk | October 22, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Right its "Dr." Z that hates us still

Posted by: alex35332 | October 22, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

"Cribbs returned five punts with middling success; one punt was downed, another went out of bounds and another went for a touchback. But twice Cartwright made stellar one-on-one tackles on Cribbs, including a diving takedown that prevented what could have been a second-quarter touchdown, a play that may have altered the course of the game. "


Was Thomas' tackle on Cribbs on a kickoff?

Posted by: Gweez | October 22, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The Roy Williams deal is eerily reminiscent of the Hershel Walker deal that helped the girls rise to power in the 90's. Granted the girls fleeced Minnesota for something like 7 draft pics, but 3 first rounders is a lot to give up for a guy who's pretty good but not great. Hopefully this will work out for the Skins.

Posted by: Original_etrod | October 22, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

On 27 different occasions in NFL history, a running back has carried the ball 370 or more times in the regular season. You can sort those backs into three groups: backs that got hurt and were never the same, backs whose productivity just fell off, and Eric Dickerson.

The guy JLC got this story from needs to do a little research,

Emmitt Smith carried:

365 carries in 19991 for 1563
373 carries in 1992 for 1713
368 carries in 1994 for 1484
377 carries in 1995 for 1773 and was the main reason the Girls won the Superbowl, so he won a superbowl after having 370 carries in a season.

He also played 9 more years after his secong 370 carries season and had 6 more 1000 yard seasons and he is the NFL's leading rusher.

Eric Dickerson had four seasons with more than 370 carries but never led his team to a superbowl, he also fell off really bad after his last 370 carry season.

God it makes me sick to my stomach to defend a Girl, but them's the facts.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 22, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Peter King is a Johnny-Come-Lately when it comes to the Skins. He spent years arguing against Monk in the HOF and Skins fans abused him for years as a result. He ripped Snyder in the early years. He started singing a different tune recently, but I'm skeptical.

Snyder is becoming one of the most powerful owners in the NFL as the old-guard owners start fading. The league is leaning on Snyder to find revenue streams, and the Skins are one of the top 2 richest franchises in the NFL. (I think Cowgirls leap-frogged with the new billion dollar stadium).

I specualte that Peter King is a weasel who started smelling the winds of change and realized that maybe it would behoove him to to be in kinder graces with the Skins.

Posted by: p1funk | October 22, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, I think unlike Z Peter King is a sensitive little thing. He probably couldn't stand the fact that Redskins Nation hated him and decided that letting Monk in wasn't that bad a trade off. He used Gibbs talk as an excuse to further ingratiate himself in with the fans and bam!

Dr. Z gets off on being hated by us. He just enjoys the attention.

Posted by: Gweez | October 22, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'd expect to see a lot more of Shaun Alexander in this game. Give CP a little rest before the Pittsburgh game. Yeah, that's looking ahead, but that's a fan's prerogative.

Posted by: bill61 | October 22, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

We need a Monster run game and clock control against Pitt.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 22, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

This weekends game will be a great game to work on passing the ball downfield and exploiting the weak defense of the lions therefore giving CP a little rest but still keeping him involved enough to keep his hip flexor loose and stretched out if you rest too long on that he will get very stiff and need a lot more stetching between series. this will be a good game all around these last few close games have developed some great maturity from the vets and the rookies and younger players seem to have picked up on the vibe. heres to a good solid game this weekend

Posted by: drkeller1 | October 22, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Z gets off on being hated by us. He just enjoys the attention.

Posted by: Gweez | October 22, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Dr.Z is the wikipedia definition of "grumpy old man".

Posted by: p1funk | October 22, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

So apparently my dad's organization did an email campaign that crashed the Virginia State Board of Elections in Richmond and Fairfax. So I would like to apologize to everyone for the crappy nature of the SBOE crappy email servers which were shut down by about 700 emails.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 22, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I am with those of you that are hoping for a big lead early on. We need Jason Campbell to get in an early groove and get Pittsburgh worried about more guys than just Portis and Moss. I wanna see at least 3 or 4 passes to Thomas with one of them being a deep shot or enzone fade.....also might be a good time to activate Malcom Kelly to see what kind of threat he might be. I know we can't assume vicotry, but if we get a big lead we need to start showing the Steelers what they need to worry about. If it's a dog fight, then its a dog fight and don't worry about Pitt.....just win.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | October 22, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile Tennessee had a dominant win and is undefeated. Peter King is Garbage thats the bottom line.

Posted by: sdas1 | October 22, 2008 9:33 AM


Exactly.......

==================================

I know what JLA is saying but there are no gimme games in the NFL. It's ridiculous to suggest any different. Skins better be ready for a fight. The best team in the league this year is what? 10% better than the worst?

Posted by: Gweez | October 22, 2008 9:33 AM |

You sound like Gibbs 2.0 when when we were about to play the 49ers and everyone was wondering why Gibbs was getting upset. Nice.......

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 22, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

There's alot of CAPS going around this morning........

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 22, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Gweez | October 22, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

You sound like Gibbs 2.0 when when we were about to play the 49ers and everyone was wondering why Gibbs was getting upset. Nice.......

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 22, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

There's alot of CAPS going around this morning........

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 22, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

No doubt you've started an epidemic 4th. I mean it though regarding the Lions, this isn't the '91 Skins where you wondered not if but by how much. I think we win on mental toughness but not in a romp.

Posted by: Gweez | October 22, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Man the Lions are a terrible team to defend. Calvin Johson is literally all that they have. QB's Orlovsky, Drew Stanton & Drew Henderson, thats tough to choose from. Kevin Smith is an upincoming RB, but not this week against our D, Rudi is his backup, wont be too worried when he get in. Furry could be considered a decent slot guy.
On D is the worst they dont have any players to worry about matcup wise.
They have a Manny Ramirez on their O-line and the Truth should be happy they got Greg Blue, notorious sh*t talker on the beanch at saftey, way to do that SEC proud.

Posted by: Stu27 | October 22, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The Caps lost last night, and I am sad....

Flounder, JLC had zero to do with that RB carries article....trying reading before begining your knee jerk responses...it helps...

Re: Peter King. He has been pro-skins lately, so I cut him some slack...yeah he was anti-Monk but his flip flop is the reason he got in...so he's in...drop it. He doles out HJs to Zorn and Campbell like he works at a dowbtown Rub n Tug joint.

Posted by: chrislarry | October 22, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Not sure if anyone remembers but King was throwing multiple platitudes toward Jason Campbell after his visit during training camp. Seemed like he had something positive to say each week in his MMQB piece. However, he still finds ways to diss the team too.

Posted by: redpitbull98 | October 22, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Activate Malcom Kelly? You're kidding right? please tell me that you're puttin me on!!If Vinny can tear himself away from his radio show he could start preparing a draft day trade so we can recoup one of our draft picks from the Jason Taylor swindle that Parcells pulled on us.Kelly,after he gets healthy(wishfull thinking)for a fourth or a fifth, we need to start stockpiling picks if at all possible.Sunday's emphasis should be on the passing game and taking this game seriously on both sides of the ball.

Posted by: dargregmag | October 22, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

thanks for jinxing us!!!

Posted by: plodato1 | October 22, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Good call dar, trading Kelly now makes the MOST SENSE...yes....you have a future in the NFL.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 22, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

beeps...

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 22, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm never going to attempt a stat or quote again but don't we have some unbelievable historical record against this team? I mean it's sick.

Anyone got that?

Posted by: terlin1 | October 22, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't take anything Peter King says about the Redskins or against them seriously. I don't know if he is a Dallas fan or what his issue is but the guy always picks the Skins to be last in the division and generally has negative things to say whenever it is the skins.

Posted by: CASkinzFan | October 23, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Just read the other posts and didn't know that it was common knowledge Peter King hates the skins. I've just noticed from reading Sports Illustrated. Then again I think I was thinking of both King and Dr. Z as the same. I don't care for either of them or Sports Illustrated. It's all about the Sporting News.

Posted by: CASkinzFan | October 23, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

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