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Monday Afternoon (Barely) H-Back


Just wanted to point out some stuff from the game. (Also, the staff is still awaiting word on Rocky McIntosh's MRI).

First of all, thought they did a tremendous job of not turning the ball over despite the crazy conditions. Turnovers have killed the Skins on the road - and particularly at that stadium in the past - but they won the battle Sunday. Skins had been minus-11 over their past five road games prior to Sunday night.

Todd Collins wasn't pretty, but nothing was going to be on that night. Completing only eight passes is less than ideal, but he hit six huge first down passes, and he averaged 10 yards a completion. He had 3 passes of 30 yards or more - all in the second quarter when the Skins took control of the game - and he completed three passes of 15 yards or more in the third quarter, when they essentially put the game away.

That's highly effective, especially in that wind. Now the first and fourth quarters were rough. I don't think we can read too much into any of it. First of all, the O Line and the running game won that contest from an offensive standpoint - Jason Campbell should have been so lucky - and Todd did enough to win. He definitely makes quick decisions, can read the defense and has a quicker release than Jason. He's been in the system forever. You expect that. But the verdict is out. Let's see how it plays out in a dome under perfect conditions - insane crowd noise aside - and try to be rational about the whole thing.

Also pretty amazing the difference in this offense when Santana Moss makes a few plays, eh? He dropped a few he'd want back, but make perfect adjustments to a few other less-than-perfect pass with the ball in flight, his trademark. Moss had not caught a pass of 35 yards or more since Week 2, which was also the team's previous NFC road win.

Portis ran as hard I have seen in a long, long time. Loved how they kept pounding that delayed draw until the Giants reacted to stop it. They did a great job of running right at the defensive ends, Strahan and Uminyora. Stephon Heyer got a lot of help from the backs and The Utility Man, Lorenzo Alexander (more on him later), and had an outstanding game under very difficult conditions. He should get a game ball. Chris Samuels also had a superior game, his best in weeks. Could not have come at a better time. Casey Rabach, who has battled a serious groin injury much of the season, also had a stellar game and really opened things up on those draws (the Giants are often over-aggressive at the line of scrimmage and the draws really brought that to the fore).

Excellent job by the coaching staff and the players on that stuff.

Now, when am I going to start seeing some No. 79 Alexander jerseys around town. He plays goal line offense and defense and gets it done on special teams. He plays the tackle eligible, but also got involved in the base offensive line Sunday as a pulling guard, subbing for Fabini. Stroke of genius there. Losing Randy Thomas made the Skins lack a real misdirection presence in the run game and scouts said they were becoming predictable. Lorenzo has quick feet and is much more athletic than Fabini is, though clearly not at the point where he's going to take 60 snaps as a starter at a new position.

So they spell him in certain spots. Good stuff. Alexnader played guard, tight end and tackle eligible in that game, and did a nice job helping Heyer out. Gotta think the offensive and defensive coaches are going to fight over that kid in the offseason (but considering the background of the head coach I have an idea who wins that. The Skins have not developed a young interior O Lineman or a tackle during the first three years of this regime, but may have found one of each outside the draft in Heyer and Alexander. Kudos to Vinny and the scouts for finding them and Bugel and the coaching staff to bring them along.

One of the scouts I spoke to last week was pretty adamant that Heyer was nowhere near ready to play in the preseason, but told me even before the Giants game that he gave tons of credit to Bugel for bringing him along and to the kid for getting in better shape and working hard.

Shawn Springs was doing a good job at safety in some packages and H.B. Blades held up very well being thrust into that role with Rocky out. Khary Campbell does not get enough credit for his smarts and ability to jump into any role, and how about Demetric Evans making more plays on the ball when dropping back off the edge. Huge fourth-down play from him. He's had a very strong season in that reserve role.

Anthony Montgomery was a force as well, and Kedric Golstron is playing more now. Cornelius Griffin was adamant that he could have come back into the game in the second half after hurting his hand early in the game, and the significance of the move was not lost on him. It smelled like a changing of the guard moment - live we've seen with older linemen Renaldo Wynn and Joe Salave'a in the past few months - and Cornelius no doubt began thinking ahead. He is part of that big Free Agent Class of 2004, whose salary starts going bonkers next season. If Golston and Montgomery finish strong I can't see the Skins bringing back Griffin, who is in many ways the heart of the defense the past fee years, unless he takes a paycut. At least that's the message several players got from the fact he was benched in the biggest game of the year.

Okay, wish I could riff a little more here, but Coach Joe will be speaking soon. Sorry this was so delayed. Been a crazy day.

By Jason La Canfora  |  December 17, 2007; 4:33 PM ET
 
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Next: Rocky McIntosh Sounds Like He's Out For The Season

Comments

Boiled meat!

Posted by: 4-12 | December 17, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Collins averaged over 20 yards a completion (8 completions for 166 yards).

Posted by: kevinballen | December 17, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't jump to too many conclusions about Griffin.

Posted by: SonnyFan | December 17, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Okay, cue Barno

Posted by: Zebraskins | December 17, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Seriously though, Griffin, gone?

Have either Monty or Key palyed an entire season as an anchor?

Wouldnt they just reduce Griffs salary for one year to faze him out and the young guys in?

I mean, he knows hes done getting a big pay check somewhere else, so why not restructure and stay here?

God knows we need him to be a stabilizing force, even if he is not the center piece... a lot like what PP has done for the young safeties.

I saw him talking to L2 after the bonehead penalty... you have to keep veteran leaders on your team

Posted by: Zebraskins | December 17, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

If Collins gets this team to the playoffs, then of course he deserves to keep playing.

Besides, I can't imagine JC - or anyone else - coming back from a dislocated kneecap that fast and being available in the playoffs.

Posted by: MrRedskin21 | December 17, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I think the "phasing out" part about Griff, is largely premature. I could see them asking him to take a pay-cut, but not getting rid of him outright.

Posted by: gregmarino88 | December 17, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Me, neither, MrRedskin21.

Posted by: TheCindy | December 17, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I also think HB will be the truth. He has the pedigree, the D coordinator and the vet teacher... mainstay for years to come.

Rocky still seems a little sporadic and MW seems to be missing.

Posted by: Zebraskins | December 17, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I think 'phasing out' means "no longer guaranteed starter, so no longer guaranteed starter money" in this case.

It doesn't mean 'gone', but I suppose if Griff didn't want to negotiate it would mean that. The Redskins have to claw back cap room in the off-season as well as get younger, that means some of these guys either have to restructure - downwards - or go away.

Posted by: toddcoat | December 17, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I cannot see them cutting Griff...he is too beloved in the organization. A pay cut perhaps.

By the way, CP said a few weeks ago that when they win, EVERYONE gets a game ball.

Remember Lorenzo Alexander losing his helmet in preseason but still making the tackle? He won his position on the team and the hearts of the Skins coaches in that one play :)

Posted by: Lisa | December 17, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Todd in the playoffs
They will want Griffin back but not at the current number. He'll have to accept a smaller deal. Then it will be his call and not the team's.

Greg(Boston)-email me about getting together. I normally watch with my 3 yr old son. A Skins fan in training. He knows HTTR already. :) BCBarney at Hotmail dot com

Have a good night everyone. Time to go home on the East Coast!

Posted by: BCBarney | December 17, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I think Landry will be less likely to get those dumb penalties next year.

That was a great hit on Burress, and clean. Landry just needs to learn that the hit alone is message enough.

He doesn't need to add anything else.

Posted by: MrRedskin21 | December 17, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

LOSEABLE TYPE!!! Nevermind... tweet tweet

Posted by: Zebraskins | December 17, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Unnamed scout adamant that Heyer wasn't ready in preseason during which the kid gave up zero sacks. Now credits Bugel with bringing the kid along. No doubt Bugel has helped but the kid had some gifts to begin with. He was better at Maryland than Gaither. His injury is what kept him from being drafted. He has played well whenever given the opportunity. That scout sounds like he's trying to cover his bad scouting report.

Posted by: learnedhand1 | December 17, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"... I think you'll find the Russians were boiling cabbage before there even were Brits!!"

Posted by: toddcoat | December 17, 2007 04:15 PM

That actually does make sense to me. Boiled cabbage does seem a little "zesty" to have come from the English palate. [Hold the salt! Hold the pepper!]

Posted by: dcsween | December 17, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Nate - Good get with the Dirty 30 Blog!!!

Posted by: kost52 | December 17, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Kost, good to see that you're still hanging in with SMACK in both fantasy leagues. I'm just pleased to have fought my way abover Nate in the EPL one!!

Posted by: toddcoat | December 17, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Griffin needs to stay. Skins could have easily lost if the Giants caught half the passes that hit them in the hands and if they made their FG attempt. The defense was good, but Griffin makes it better. Much better.

Game balls:
Shaun Suisham. He made his 2 FGs while the Giants missed their only attempt. Under those conditions, that was huge.

A game ball to each of the Moss brothers. Santana for making plays (at last) and Sinorice for giving up first downs by going backwards. Heck, maybe a game ball to the entire Giants receiving core for setting a record in dropped passes. I don't know what the previous record was ... but I don' think I need to consult a recored book to know that was the worst ever.

Samuels and Heyer. I don't care how much help they got. Strahan is still playing like the HOF end he is and Umenyori is even better. I was shocked at how much time Collins had on some plays. QBs under pressure make mistakes and Collins didn't see much pressure. Plus they got the run game to work. Unreal.

Lastly, big props to the wind, which obviously made the refs want to keep their hands in their pockets. And not bother to call penalties on anything. I guess they wanted to get home almost as badly as the Giants did.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Ask Jeff Garcia or Rex Grossman about what it like to have Griffin bearing down on you. Or hitting you. And how many games you miss after he hits you.

Griffin is the best d lineman we have, though the rest have improved a lot over last season. A big part of a good d line is depth. Griffin's only issue has been his health. If he's healthy, he is a major force.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Peeps need to recognize this thread starter for what it is re: Heyer! THIS is Jasno's "coming around" on the guy. Unnamed league sources, talent evaluators, in this case, a scout, have officially jumped on the bandwagon ... or in this case, the Stephonwagon.

If you go to the third video thumbnail of the game at the nfl.com site, Portis even goes out of his way to give Heyer props. [Note to Nate: The second video thumbnail has 5 minutes of video, which are all the highlights of the game, including the Suisham kick hitting the wind flag.]

Posted by: dcsween | December 17, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

mmmmm ... British food .... mmm

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Never fear Giants Fans! Brandon "StoneHands" Jacobs his here! How can anybody actually even criticize Manning in that game when his receivers dropped like 10 balls?! That was the worst performance by a receiving core that I have ever seen! It wasn't so much what the Redskins D or weather did, but more of the ridiculous amounts of dropped passes by Toomer, Jacobs, etc. Thanks for the early Christmas gift! And then baby Moss gave away two first downs by scurrying around the field as well. Adios Coughlin!

Posted by: ga8085 | December 17, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Rarely heard phrases:
Why don't we go out for British food?
France has won
That Paris HIlton is one tough lady

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree I think we got away with some calls or no calls would be a better term. But the wind and change of direction on the ball could have had something to do with it.

Posted by: SAK2 | December 17, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Good evening to all. Toddcoat is now off to become 'Dadcoat' for a few hours.

Have fun and don't overanalyze yesterday!

Take the 'W' and move on to the next game, if it works for the Pats it can work for you guys.

Posted by: toddcoat | December 17, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Re: Griffin, its not a matter of his performance or health ... its his contract. Gibbs v.2 (which has a Snyder infection) has a contract making problem ... not unlike the subprime mortgage mess (actually, probably completely unlike that, but roll with me).

Jasno has been hinting all season (or maybe it was just the booze night in Shirlington) that the contracts for the free agent class of 2004 is reaching the stage where they are becoming unsustainable through restructuring/converting to current year bonuses (boni?).

Unlike the other 31 teams that range between being $45M-5M under the salary cap, the Skins are $20M over the cap.

THIS is the off-season stuff that I've been holding off talking about (i.e., the upcoming night of the long knives for our most beloved) ... and I'm still not going to talk about it because we need to beat the Vikings first!

You think Smoot had great games against Chicago and NY? Just wait till he can sink Childress love boat.

Posted by: dcsween | December 17, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Toddcoat, although I reckon he's got me covered in both leagues.

So your boys going to knock off the Pats next week??

Posted by: kost52 | December 17, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

People have been warning about the salary cap for years. It never happens.

If a team (any team) has an owner willing to spend cash, the cap never "hits."

It's simply staved off - time and again - by restructured contracts, back-loaded cash bonuses and incentives.

As long as a team has players willing to go along with said restructuring, everything is copacetic.

Posted by: MrRedskin21 | December 17, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Hold up, sween, there is video of the game?

Posted by: NateinthePDX | December 17, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Some smart team will sign Alexander in the offseason.

They'll overpay for him and make it real difficult, if not impossible, for the Skins to match. He'll be a real solid to near Pro-Bowl quality lineman for the next 6-8 years.

Stupid salary cap.

Posted by: SteveMG | December 17, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

dcsween - I had completely forgotten about that reunion this week!

Posted by: kost52 | December 17, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

dc
griffins contract and health, age and production are all big questions.....I am all for a change provided our braintrust can find a player (anywhere) that is a better more productive player, if they can't than he is the best option...if they can he goes....just part of the machine....but that is next year.....

Posted by: Oldschool | December 17, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Been talking about it for years ... and it never happens. True, the Skins never enter salary cap hell (nobody does after the lesson learned by the Titans), but there is a large chuck of change bound up in the contracts of four/five guys from the class of March of 2004 (Brunell, Marcus, Griffin, Springs, Daniels ... I'm probably missing one or two). Trimming some of that contract money down (like they tried with Springs last year) frees up money to "develop" the roster. I'm not saying its anything other than miserable, and I don't know how many can be displaced without disrupting locker room leadership, but given the team recently reloaded at DT and LB ... and I'm just sayin'

Posted by: dcsween | December 17, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Jason LaC. showed a little love for Heyer in his post-game article this morning as well.

"Suisham capped that drive with 31-yard field goal, making it 6-0 early in the second quarter. Washington's offensive line provided ample support for the quarterback -- negating New York's NFL-leading pass rush -- and un-drafted rookie tackle Stephon Heyer fared well against standout Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.

'I just got my hands on him as much as I could and that helped slow him down a whole lot,' Heyer said. "I think I did pretty well.'"

The only serious mistake I remember Heyer making was a missed inside block (when the Giants' defense slanted right) that resulted in a sack. Making up for that was Portis being able to run right for a change. The Giants' defensive ends seemed to be rushing themselves out of running plays all night. It looked like Heyer and Samuel were just chipping them to the outside and Portis was running inside.

Posted by: tafka | December 17, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure #79 and Cooley are my two favorite players on the team right now (apologies to Sellers). I hope #79 really focuses during the offseason and comes into training camp next year ready to take a starting job on the offensive line, defensive line, among the tight ends, heck he could even take Receiver, The's spot and get more production. I re-watched the game twice last night and the second time through focused solely on #79. He was amazing.

Not ready to trade the Cooley jersey for a #79 jersey, but if he makes the team next season, I just may do it :-)

And at some point, I may even remember his name.

Posted by: PDiddy | December 17, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: dcsween | December 17, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Steve- The good thing about Alexander is he's in his first year. The Redskins 'control' his rights for another 2 seasons before he's eligible for restricted free agency.

Posted by: 4-12 | December 17, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

BTW, there are two playoff scenarios that I'm willing to find acceptable:

Seattle gets the #3 seed and the 'Skins get the #6 seed. 'Skins at Seattle in the first round game.

Seattle gets the #4 seed and the 'Skins get the #5 seed. 'Skins at Seattle in the first round game.

If the 'Skins play Seattle at Qwest, well, I'll throw us all a party. Cindy would you come out for all you can eat Wallaby Organics yogurt and champagne? Oh, the fun we would have.

'Skins gotta win out...God, I love the NFL in December and January.

Posted by: PDiddy | December 17, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Cap is a huge issue. Yes, we find a way to work it every year. But we lose good players because of it. And it limits what we can do to sign players. Or get rid of players.

No way Lloyd should have been on this roster in 2007. But we couldn't just cut our losses because of the cap hit.

Lance Briggs would have been a great trade for Rocky. Nothing against Rocky, but Briggs is among the very best. But cap issues had to kill it. And if Briggs becomes a FA, we probably can't afford him. Because of the cap situation.

What makes this cap issue so remarkable is the number of guys that are playing at a reasonable price tag. Heyer, McCardell, Kendall are all playing at modest numbers, but contributing significantly.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 17, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

New post/bad news from Jason.

Posted by: tafka | December 17, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I see your point.

No question the cap has prevented teams from having the kind of depth they use to have - especially the Redskins.

Speaking of which, when people talk about Gibbs 2.0's record, they should take heed to what John Madden said about it last night:

"He (Gibbs) doesn't have the level of talent (players) he had the first time around."

That is dead-on. No disrespect to the current Redskins players, many of who are very good, but when you think of the old Skins D-line (Manley, Mann, Grant, Butz), the O-line, the secondary, the WR corps, two darn good TEs (Didier and Warren), it's not too surprising that Gibbs 2.0 isn't tearing up the league year in and year out.

However, I do believe these current Redskins have one thing in common with the old Redskins: Both love playing for Joe Gibbs, and they give 100% for him.

This team has a lot of heart.

Posted by: MrRedskin21 | December 17, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Jla can cover is A$$. Portis running harder? He had some freaking blocks.

Rocky has bad knees to begin with. Is that injury going to mean he only has a few injury pleaged years left at age of 23-24.

Griff is not the same player he use to be. We need more presher up the middle without having to blitz. Be I see him around for 2 years at a lower salary.

What to do with Janson. I think putting him at Guard will extend his time in the NFL.

Posted by: mul | December 17, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

PDiddy - You're going to eat Wallabies???

Posted by: kost52 | December 17, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

ZceZceTopp, correct on Heyer, but lumping him in with McCardell and Kendall is a little off given where those two are in their careers (twilight seasons). Kendall likely will keep on keepin on for another season (I think he got a two year deal). McCardell was purely single season stop gap.

Posted by: dcsween | December 17, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

F Lance Briggs

Posted by: mul | December 17, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know what is up with ESPY.

Is he done, coming back.

Posted by: mul | December 17, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

zesty- Thanks for the Briggs comment...jogged my memory to link to this article from today. Quality individual, this Briggs guy.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/700465,CST-NWS-briggs17.article

Posted by: 4-12 | December 17, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

mul, putting Jansen at guard is right up there with putting Wade at guard. The Skins do need to think about replacing Kendall after next year, but not with Jansen. Jansen will be back on the field when he's healthy. Heyer is here long term. Nothing wrong with having three guys ready to start at tackle.

Posted by: dcsween | December 17, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

dcsween

You might be right but Janson is 6-2 and Wade is 6-8. Also I feel like Janson was a first rate run blocker. Not a good pass blocker. But I don't know much about the issue.

Janson could play in Jumbo, back up at guard and RT. Kendall or Randy will miss some time next year at their age. Which is my age ):.

Posted by: mul | December 17, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

MrRedskin21, the Skins WILL have two solid tight ends next year, maybe three. Cooley and Yoder are going to have to compete with Tyler Ecker and Cody Body (well, Yoder is going to have to compete anyway). Throw in Alexander and that guy they had to cut (big white guy, I think his name was Brian or Matt), and its almost enough to justify a separate position coach for tight ends. Oops, never mind.

Posted by: dcsween | December 17, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"... Kendall or Randy will miss some time next year at their age. Which is my age ):"

Posted by: mul | December 17, 2007 05:44 PM

Tell me about it. In dog years, I'm probably already dead.

Posted by: dcsween | December 17, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Apparently there was a beep beep...

Posted by: 4-12 | December 17, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Great. The beep beep is more bad news. Think I'll hang out here a bit longer.

Posted by: 4-12 | December 17, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"The good thing about Alexander is he's in his first year. The Redskins 'control' his rights for another 2 seasons before he's eligible for restricted free agency."

Thanks, that's good to hear.

Question for him is whether to situate him at one spot and let him develop; or continue to use him on both sides of the line. The latter will clearly limit his development.

'Course, now we lose McIntosh for essentially the entire 2008 season.

Fill in one hole and up pops another.

I like Blades; but he's not a fulltime three-down linebacker.


Posted by: SteveMG | December 17, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

It's painfully obvious from the comments about Heyer today in this blog entry, in the game recap, and in the WaPo chat last week, that Jason La Canfora read the recent comments from some of us about Heyer.

So kudos to La Canfora for realizing how petty and small of him it was to continue to ignore Heyer's surpringsly good season, simply because he had staked out a controversial position on him very early on.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 17, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

In all this discussion of contracts, salary caps and free agency, don't dismiss the desire of most of these guys to stay here and play with Gibbs and the teammates with whom they endured the trauma of ST and the like. This shared 'adventure' is a major asset in retaining people.

Posted by: forces | December 17, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Jason - an unnamed scout has change his mind about Heyer, so we can all now believe that Heyer can play. Thank God. When I saw Heyer play well in the preseason, and when he got the backing of outstanding coach like Bugel, I was confused, because you, and your other experts, told me Heyer wasn't ready. I didn't know what to think. But now I feel better,the "unnamed" scout has revised his appraisal and Heyer is a player. Of course, as you point out, the Skins gave Heyer lots of help on Strahan, and most quality rookie lineman can handle Strahan one on one, so we don't want to give him too much credit.

Posted by: cabraman | December 18, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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