Thursday, July 24, 2008
Nicky Goes Thru 2 A Days- Redskins/Eagles
This team went to the playoffs last year? Are you cereal? I don't remember THAT happening.
Oh wait. It's kind of coming back to me now. Their best player died, a sacrifice that the island demanded, then they lost the tribute game when Joe Gibbs got penalized for calling timeouts like he was Chris Webber or something.
Then their starting quarterback went down for the season in the game after that, and was replaced by a guy named Todd Collins, who I think was Boomer Esiason's roomate in college, and who hadn't seen action in a real game since 1991. He proceeded to play out of his mind for the last month of the season, and the Redskins won their last 4 regular season games and did, in fact, make the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Pretty standard stuff, really.
Now all the Redskins need to do is have all those things fall into place again this year. Preferably without anybody dying this time. Oh, and they'll need to do it with a new head coach, former Seahawks quarterback of the days of my youth Jim Zorn, who has not only never been a head coach at any level before, but he's never been a coordinator at any level either. That hire was kind of a head scratcher, no?
Campbell will be back at quarterback this year, with Collins going back into his cryogenic chamber, to be thawed out in 2037. Campbell will now be running the "West Coast" offense that Zorn is installing, replacing Al Saunders' playbook that was thicker than more incomprehensible than Thomas Pynchon's last novel. Campbell has a couple of guys to throw to who should fit in great in that offense in running back Clinton Portis, who is one of the better pass catching backs in the league, and tight end Chris Cooley.
The Skins also drafted a couple of big, possession type receivers in Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, who seem ideally suited for a quick passing game. (Although I just read that Thomas was carted off the practice field today with a hamstring injury, so that probably made Dan Snyder's afternoon.)
Of course, the move we've been hearing the most about this week is the acquisition of pass rusher Jason Taylor from the Dolphins. Taylor's had double digit sack totals 3 years in a row, so even though he's 33, and seemingly more interested in post-football endeavours than sacking quarterbacks at this point, he still should be a great addition to the defense. And it's not like the defense wasn't good without him. They were top 10 in giving up the fewest yards per rush attempt and pass attempt.
HERE'S YOUR FORECAST
Because outside of Portis, they lack high profile skill position players, this is a team that flies under the radar nationally. That will probably change a little with the addition of Taylor, who became a household name thanks to Dancing With the Stars. If the defense plays up to last year's level, they should be in the playoff picture again this year, meaning they should win 8 or 9 games. But the defense is just pretty good, not great, and not good enough to carry a team that is going to be learning a new offense again and relying on some unproven commodities at quarterback and wide receiver back into the playoffs.
It looks like the Eagles have chosen the gradual slide to irrelevance over the spectacular flaming crash into oblivion as the script for the end of the Andy Reid-Donovan McNabb era. I say that because last year's campaign may as well not have happened. The Eagles muddled thru the first 10 games of the season in "win one then lose one" mode, then bottomed out with 3 losses in a row, before rallying to win the final 3 games once nothing meant anything anymore.
The most notable thing that happened with the Eagles last year was running back Brian Westbrook becoming a megastar. He ran for over 1300 yards, and had over 700 yards receiving, and was, for one year, the most devastating offensive player in the game not wearing a New England Patriots jersey. Given the fact that in the NFL running backs have a shelf life roughly the same length as American Idol runner ups do, and the durability issues Westbrook has had his entire career, I'm tempted to say that is the best we are ever going to see out of him.
The trophy for signing the highest profile free agent to change teams goes to the Eagles this year. They landed former New England corner Asante Samuel, who was a first-team All Pro last year. He'll help strengthen a defense that was already pretty good, ranking in the top 10 in the league in both points and yards allowed in 07.
Much like the Redskins though, this is just a team that has a severe shortage of weapons on offense. Outside of Westbrook, there's nobody on the offense who scares anyone. Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown return as the starting wideouts, so yeah that's kind of blah. DeSean Jackson from Cal was drafted to be a fast guy, but I'll believe he's worth anything in the NFL when I see it. Other than that there's pretty much nothing. If you stop Westbrook, you're in pretty good shape against the Eagles.
McNabb is 31 years old and probably has been as good as he's ever going to get. If the team isn't in playoff contention, you will see a lot of Kevin Kolb this year, and you'll see McNabb somewhere else next year.
HERE'S YOUR FORECAST
With Westbrook at the absolute top of his game, this was an 8-8 team last year. They didn't do anything to improve the offense, and Samuel was a nice addition, but I just have a difficult time getting my nipples all hard over a corner. Chances are Westbrook will not be what he was last year for whatever variety of reasons, but mainly just because that's what usually happens with running backs. McNabb is kind of a vag so I don't see him carrying the team on his shoulders either, so the Eagles will have a hard time matching the 8 wins they put up in 07.
Tomorrow...the Packers and Vikings. Until then, the strangest things from last nights Lost-a-thon, a giant statue of a foot, with 4 toes.
Posted by GRRM Jr. at 12:21 PM