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Accentuate The Positive

In a quest to lighten the mood around here - it's Week 1 folks, no one leaping out of moving vehicles or jumping off the new-and-improved Wilson Bridge just yet - let's focus a little bit on the bright light of the Monday Night Failure: Antwaan Randle El. I saw more of him than I expected, and Al Saunders seems to have embraced him fully and deeply.

He was lined up as a tailback and H-back and sent out wide or in the slot. He was in perpetual motion. He caught everything thrown his way and was a willing decoy. He looked infinitely better returning punts than anything I had seen in two previous seasons covering this team. Had he been able to inch ahead of that first down marker at the end there, maybe the Skins go on to win and he would have been the player of the game and gotten his picture on TK's bus or whatever the hell the give out for MNF awards these days.

To me, the only time the offense was really moving was when ARE was on the field. I see more direct snaps and option passes in his future. That timing of that one rush he had, going in motion from far on the right sideline directly across the field to take a handoff in stride, was pretty precise. Yeah, it wasn't a big gain, but it gave teams something to think about.

Finding a way to incorporate all of these dudes into the mix - B.Lloyd, Moss, Cooley, ARE, Portis - will take time, and there will be weeks where Randle El isn't as active, I'm sure, but I have a feeling he's going to be a huge fan favorite in no time at all. Maybe not as huge as Nick Novak is on this blog, but close.

By Jason La Canfora  |  September 13, 2006; 8:00 AM ET
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