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Things I Overlooked From The Game

I don't think I made nearly enough of a big deal about the Skins starting that game wit 10 men. I thought the defense did an extremely classy thing there - under Gregg Williams's guidance - and I commend them for having the guts to do so.

It was the quintessential Sean Taylor move and nothing could have been more fitting. If Gibbs didn't know, so what? This was about that defense and the guys who knew Sean best and there's a chance Coach Joe might not have thought it was the best idea in the world anyway. The defense has been taking care of its own business for a long time now, and I loved that move.

I also wanted to throw some kudos to Rock Cartwright and Fred Smoot. Thought they both played with extreme abandon and embodied Sean's ethos. Not that they don't always - Cartwright in particular - but just watching that game you got the sense it was the biggest athletic event they had ever been a part of and something that moved them deeply.

Overall, I agree with Coach Joe that the emotions of the day took a toll and it was hard to maintain an emotional high like that. I had a feeling that if it was a close game in the fourth quarter they were in trouble, and that's how it went down. There were times when they seemed flat and spent, and you had to expect that. No one can hold that against them. They played with a superior effort under awful circumstances.

Getting back up for Thursday is going to be even tougher. Chicago's season is on the line, too, and the Redskins are in a real rut now - four straight losses - and they have to find a way to eliminate any big special teams plays. If Hester breaks something I don't see the Skins overcoming it. We'll discuss the game later in the week, but from a physical impact, all of this is really going to hit the Skins now after having just lost another heartbreaking game, traveling for the funeral, being on a crazy schedule and now having to play again.

By Jason La Canfora  |  December 3, 2007; 10:52 PM ET
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I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment of the mental & psychological challenge presented by the Thursday game, but as I followed your & Cindy's postings about the funeral today (for which I thank you both greatly), I wondered if today might have been something of a catharsis for the team. Not that they'll have "gotten it out of their system" after today, not by a long shot. We know the hurt will ever completely go away, nor should it. But now they've gotten some closure. They got to say goodbye, and they got to celebrate their beloved friend's life with scores of others who loved him from near and far.

I almost think that despite the accumulation of all that's gone in the past week, the game on Thursday might almost be easier mentally than the one played on Sunday.

Or I might be completely wrong. We are, after all, in uncharted territory here.

Posted by: freakzilla | December 3, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

wait...did i see joe gibbs on the baltimore sideline??? cause continuous 3 and outs with a small lead in the 4th quarter can only mean THAT.

Posted by: student1234 | December 3, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable! The Gods are smiling on the Patriots every week!

Posted by: Lisa | December 3, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Or, they have Tom Brady, and a highly effective receiving corps.

Posted by: daggar | December 3, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Damn was actually rooting for the Ravens....Maghee played like a

Posted by: chrislarry | December 4, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

i cannot stand the ravens, but was moved by lewis, reed and willis. i thought the power of "the U" would come through when the skins couldnt - and they'd beat the pats. alas, billick screwed them like joe is accustomed to doing with us.

Posted by: markmast | December 4, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Jason - the defense has NOT been taking care of business. They couldn't stop the Eagles, Cowboys, or Bills in the second half. They have as much to do with the Redskins losing streak as the offense. Giving up two long completions to the Bills late in the game to allow two late field goals was really really poor defense.

Of course it is difficult to blame Gibbs for the defense, so you ignore it Jason.

Posted by: cabraman | December 4, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

cabraman how about only allowing one touchdown in the last two games i believe.....the defense is what is keepin us above water

Posted by: realchica | December 4, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

If the D keeps the opponent to less that 20 points, they've done their job. Particularly after three DB starters were out.

Posted by: daggar | December 4, 2007 12:29 AM | Report abuse

thank you daggar, i completely agree

Posted by: realchica | December 4, 2007 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Fred Smoot was playing his heart out Sunday.....

Masochist that I am I watched the game again tonight on NFL Replay. We looked really good the first half (except for having to settle for field goals) and even in the beginning of the 3rd quarter.

Posted by: Lisa | December 4, 2007 12:42 AM | Report abuse

I like to tease J-La about the Ravens, but I do feel they get robbed or jobbed depending on how you look at it on that late penalty call for supposed holding on Watson. I thought contact was okay within 5 yards. Sometimes the crap is called, sometimes not. The whole thing felt sort of NBAish, with Ravens trying to make statements afterward by throwing things, jumping offsides on the extra point. Things I do in madden when I'm pissed off that my son has scored a TD on me. On the end the Pats kicked off from like the 50 or so.

Also, this quote from Boswell article today, well, it reminds me of the spot on sort of zinger that only someone who knows the sitaution too well can deliver (like when your wife or someone close hits you with a real deep insider negative truth about yourself) here it is and seems so accurate.

"With age creeping up at many positions and without Taylor -- never seriously injured on the field, but shot in his own house -- where can salvation be found? Snyder will pay any price and Gibbs will delegate authority until it is unclear whether he has any significant game-day responsibility at all except calling timeouts and deciding what to do on fourth down. If that isn't enough, what is?"

Posted by: DownTownClown | December 4, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Thinking that most of us are die hard skins fans, we're all like the proverbial "deer in the headlights" here, with too many emotions, and wanting to in some way blame someone or something for OUR loss, of Sean, the game, the bad deal we think as redskins fan we were dealt, etc. etc etc. We all need to take a good look in the mirror here, and realize that this is a game that, every week, gets my week started on a good note or bad. I haven't been this upset with anything since my father died unexpectedly, and I find myself asking why that is. I don't feel cheated, I feel like Sean was cheated, and now, we are left here asking ourselves why. There is no answer, and we'll have to deal with that fact. Quit blaming Joe Gibbs, and the thugs that took his life. God's plan in a lot bigger than we all can imagine. Thank God we had such a talent to lift up our lives for the last four years, and thank Him before you go to sleep tonight. We lost a game, and our season is not going to be good, but someone lost a son, a father, and a loved one. When you lay your head on your pillow tonight, pray that God will take care of his family, grant us heartbroken fans peace, and bless the players that are missing him more than any of us who never knew him can imagine. God Bless Sean Taylor and his family, the players and Redskins staff, and all of us who mourn his loss, for own selfish reasons.

Posted by: OR3 | December 4, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Agree with everything you said, as usual, except for the part about Gibbs not knowing about the 10 man tribute.

You have to ask the question WHY Gibbs didn't know. Given how fitting and how defining it was, don't you think that it's something they'd WANT to share with their leader? Why didn't they want to? Is he not part of the clique? Does he not command the simple respect that one would think Joe Gibbs deserves in a Redskin locker room? Doesn't it hint at deep divisions in the coaching staff, if not among the team itself?

It seems to me that even if you only LIKE the guy, you're going to want to tell him.

Even if you don't, though.. if you only tell him as a professional courtesy, so the man doesn't have to go on TV to say he didn't know it was coming. It just seems to be common sense.

To me, Gibbs' exclusion in that monumental tribute is an indicator of something much bigger, and it's seems to fit an overall puzzle of a team that's struggled to find it's identity and wrestled with decision-making.

Posted by: jvwright | December 4, 2007 12:55 AM | Report abuse

That last entry?

Best. Post. Ever.

Thanks for your objectivity in this Jason and making your self-reflections public. I'm sure a lot of us are going through something similar and it's great to read and commiserate with others

Posted by: hailbg | December 4, 2007 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else not really that bothered about the Chicago game right now?? I live and breathe for each game throughout the season but this has all really knocked the stuffing out of me. Maybe part of it is that I just can't see a way through to the playoffs for us now. Don't know, but whatever it is, Thursday's game just don't seem that big a deal right now. Maybe I'll feel different at game time.

I've got to disagree with Jason too about Gibbs not knowing about the 10-man tribute. I think it was a great gesture but Gibbs should have known about it. No doubt about that. He's the boss for goodness sake!! It's only professional courtesy to tell your boss you're planning on doing something like that. What happens if Buffalo beat us deep on that play? Gibbs is left looking like a fool. He's the boss and should have known. He deserves that courtesy and respect.

Posted by: tartanskin | December 4, 2007 4:25 AM | Report abuse


I'm with you on the opening play. The way they're portraying it in the media is to make Gibbs look like an irrelevant, dribbling old fool, especially coming on the same day that he didn't know the rules of the game. I think less of Williams for putting him in that position.

Of course, it's always possible that Williams actually told him and he just forgot -- that he really is an irrelevant, dribbling old fool. Either way, it's not good. Gibbs probably should have said in his presser "Yeah, I knew about it" and then sat down later with Williams.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | December 4, 2007 5:59 AM | Report abuse

...Thursday no longer that important... hopefully, no one gets hurt as it is hard to imagine recovering in time for da Bears...

Posted by: bobeaston | December 4, 2007 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Good luck for Thursday. I'll be rooting for you guys.

Posted by: Redcoat | December 4, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else think Jason Campell's knees were down when he fumbled. I did on Sunday and then saw it again on NFL replay.

I may be pulling for a miracle, but I say our boys get it together, win the rest of our games and make the playoffs. That will truely honor Sean's memory.

Posted by: cangle12 | December 4, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I feel "flat" too.

I'll be watching the 'Skins but there will be a pall over the remaining games. As far as I am concerned, our loss of Sean taylor is too much to bear.

I'm not going to criticize the team, or folks that continue on with optimism, but why put more pressure on anyone with any expectations of playoffs?

It's not that we can't do it,'s too much to EXPECT...or maybe even hope for.

Posted by: amhyatt | December 4, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I rewatched the game on NFL Network, and then watched the Ravens game, and was struck by how well the Ravens were able to run the ball against a very good defense.
It was like the Bills were in our huddle, they knew which gaps to fill, etc. I don't know if its that the Redskins missed Sellers that much, or what it was?

I, also happen to agree with J-la, I've thought that Rock has had an UNBELIEVABLE year returning kicks. Is he first in the NFC in kick returns? He should make the pro-bowl, but probably wont.

Posted by: gregmarino88 | December 4, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Believe it or not I am about to stand up for double G. So what if he didn't tell Coach Joe. Hell I would have done the same thing and took whatever punishment that came. We all know that Coach Joe wouldn't have went for 10 players.

Posted by: jm220 | December 4, 2007 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree about Cartwright and Smoot and I also understand that you can't mention everyone, but I think you have to give a shout out to Moss. He had one hell of a game!

Here's to putting forth a great effort on Thursday! I would love to see us win out, but even more important to me is to see us keep the nucleus of this team (all coaches not included) together for next season.

Posted by: Soup17 | December 4, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

jvwright makes some very good points. No way someone just forgot to tell the head coach about it. They just didn't care to include him. Kind of sad.

Posted by: Joe_in_Raleigh | December 4, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

If Gibbs didn't know (about the ten men thing), so what?

Well, he's the coach, THAT'S what.

If Williams didn't tell him, Williams shouldn't have his job.

If Gibbs was told and forgot, HE shouldn't have his job.

I don't see that as a "so what".

Posted by: TheManUpstairs | December 4, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Great points JL! This is a broken team. They've lost the heart of the defense - one of the first building blocks that Gibbs selected. Yes, I was disappointed with how the game ended. But I can't place blame on anyone after everything they've had to suffer this last week. I feel for the players and the Skins organization as a whole. Any pointed criticism is piling on IMO.

Posted by: hokiepokster92 | December 4, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Jason ...

You have done some difficult work under tough circumstances. However, the so what if Joe did not know comment is just flat out wrong. The head coach has to know about a decision like that. Greg Williams is not the head coach and had no right to do that without clearing it with Joe Gibbs. The Bills were only a step or two from that being a touchdown. The disrespect shown to Joe Gibbs by not telling him is very telling of part of the problem within the coaches at Redskins Park ... way to many chiefs and wannabes.

Then you state that the defence has been doing it's job, no it hasn't! Are you forgetting the losses to the Giants, Eagles, Packers, and now the Bills? They are just four examples of the many times that the defence has not managed to stop the opponents in the second half. There is a reason the Redskins have lost more games since 2004 when leading then any other team in football - they get out scored badly in the second half. It's a team effort the offense stinks in the second half and so does the D.

Sundays game was a classic example, both sides of the ball were playing great in the first half and in the second half they looked like a completely different team.

Here is the cold hard truth and I was feeling this way before losing Sean and then the game this past weekend...

The game has passed Joe Gibbs bye, he coaches not to lose instead of to win.

It is a passing league now not run, run, short dink pass and hope the receiver can get to the first down marker.

Vinny Cerrato has to be the biggest joke in the last 20 years as a player evaluator - please let us know who he is related to or bought off to get his job and how in the world he keeps it.

Before even thinking about what players to keep or let go, what free agents to get, and what do to with draft picks we need a real GM - the Skins will continue to be one of the worst excuses for a team in professional sports until there is a real GM. While I love Joe Gibbs, it is now clear to me that Bobby Bethard and Charley Casserly found the pieces that Gibbs molded into winners. The 2-3 years minimum to remake the team also means we don't have time to see if Gibbs can adapt to the new NFL. He's shown us with 3.5 years of coaching not to lose that he is afraid of trying .... it kills me to watch him and the team now ... because they have become nothing but scared losers.

Posted by: Hornet77 | December 4, 2007 9:57 PM | Report abuse

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