Here we go again. Another winless team for the Redskins to beat up on ... or not.
Our football experts Lindsay Czarniak and the Washington Times' Ryan O'Halloran look back on the loss to the Panthers and look ahead to this weekend's game against the 0-5 Chiefs.
1. When the Redskins went up 17-2 at Carolina, what were the chances Washington would squander the biggest lead of the Jim Zorn Era?
Ryan: Because it’s the Redskins and they’re so anemic offensively, I always thought there was a chance, but the Panthers were one turnover away from going to 0-4. But Carolina got a 55-yard kickoff return right after Clinton Portis’ touchdown and, suddenly, it was 17-9. Ultimately, a bad break hurt the Redskins, but it was just another exhibit of bad offense (season low in yards). The Redskins’ two touchdown drives were 14 yards and 1 yard.
Lindsay: I didn’t expect that would happen, especially after the momentum the Redskins gained off the Hall turnover and the fact that they were able to capitalize. I feel like if the Redskins had shown more success with the deep ball, I would’ve been more shocked, but the two touchdowns were pretty cut and dry. I think it was a huge wakeup call for the Redskins as more than one player this week said guys need to amp up the “care” factor.
2. Left tackle Chris Samuels missed all but two plays against the Panthers and won’t play this week. How concerned should Jason Campbell be about the pass protection?
Ryan: J.C. should be losing sleep over it. The starting line was a question mark going into the season and now the Redskins have lost right guard Randy Thomas for the year and Samuels for at least this week – and maybe more because neck injuries just don’t go away. Zorn must give tackles Stephon Heyer and Mike Williams help in the form of a tight end chip or running back blitz pick up. Samuels is the Redskins’ most important offensive player. I have trouble seeing them score more than two touchdowns against a solid defense without him.
Lindsay: It’s like he’s in summer camp standing in the middle of the “trust circle” where Campbell is supposed to fall back believing those around him will not let him hit the ground. Imagine that the biggest kid, the one that is the most surefire supporter is out sick and is replaced by someone who is a hard worker, but has little experience with the exercise. Jason needs to take an amnesia pill and channel his ability to forget. If you look at the game against the Panthers, you saw right away how lack of protection (sacked five times) can impact him, and when the line struggled at the very beginning, Jason became more tentative later because the trust just wasn’t there.
3. Carlos Rogers said this week the troubles start with ownership and DeAngelo Hall said the Redskins just might not have the right personnel. A) Are they right and B) what do you think of them speaking up about that?
Ryan: They’re right. The Redskins troubles start at the top and owner Dan Snyder’s silence only creates more tension within the halls of the building. Rogers wasn’t calling out The Danny so much as he was channeling Joe Gibbs, who always said, “It’s everybody.” As for Hall, he knew what he was talking about. He sees the flaws in how this roster was constructed. I applaud any player who speaks the truth. Most of the locker room would privately agree with both players’ opinions.
Lindsay: I concur on Ryan’s final point. I think most players are smart enough to realize things that don’t get addressed in the offseason aren’t just going to go away, and while a lot of them have spoken out about Snyder’s acts of kindness in times of difficult personal situations, you have to believe that by not overriding some critical personnel decisions, he is to blame for the lack of success right now. I think Snyder should make himself available to the media this week and give a statement on his support of Jim Zorn because the silence allows all different possibilities to be thrown around, and that for players is distracting.
4. The Redskins’ defense continues to improve. Can they carry a mangled offense for the rest of the year?
Ryan: Against teams like Kansas City, yes. Against teams like the Giants and New Orleans, no way. The Redskins are holding teams off the scoreboard but there are two issues – they can’t stop the run (22nd in the NFL) and the injuries are mounting. The downfall of this defense will probably be a decline in health. The defensive line is getting banged up, and if they can’t perform with any consistency, the rest of the defense will suffer.
Lindsay: N-O… they are talented and I like what we’ve seen, but we are already seeing the effects of injury. Philip Daniels will play through a torn biceps and Haynesworth is not injured but gives a good scare roughly every game. I will say this – if the secondary continues to create turnovers, they buy this offense more time, but unless the Redskins can get the separation and get Kelly and Thomas or Mitchell more active, this team will struggle big time.
5. The Chiefs are 0-5 and have been competitive in only two of their losses. The Redskins win, right?
Ryan: The Redskins should be on full alert. Kansas City should get a boost from taking Dallas into overtime before losing 26-20 – it was the Chiefs’ first ray of light this year. But they’re still a bad team – Carl Peterson’s mismanagement has set the franchise back. The Redskins do just enough to improve to 3-3 before the tough part of their schedule begins. Redskins 24-6.
Lindsay: Yes, but if they don’t, I think a coaching change happens before the bye week. I hope the Redskins channel the frustration some of them are talking about with the media -- with having to answer what the owner should -- into a spirited performance. The Redskins haven’t lost at home yet and there really is no excuse to lose to a team with the worst defense in the NFL. I say Redskins but not by a big amount. 17-13.