As the Redskins face the Carolina Panthers in today's game, there's really only one key to the game. It's the same issue that persists week in and week out and has been an issue for the past few seasons. Can Campbell become the leader of the offense and effectively move the team down the field and into the endzone consistently.
The Redskins could definitely win the game despite the lack of production from the offense led by Campbell, but ultimately for the team to succeed the level of play must improve from the starting QB.
It's too easy to say that the keys to victory for Washington today would be to shut down the one dimensional offense and running game of Carolina or not to allow a big play on defense (by allowing Steve Smith to make a game changing play) which Hall (prone to giving up a play on double moves) or Rogers (who drops potential interceptions and lacks the speed to cover elite receivers) have occur.
Jason Campbell has the talent and skill, as well as the intelligence to move the ball, but at a certain point in time its easy to see that Campbell doesn't command the offense when young quarterbacks like Ryan, Flacco, Sanchez, Stafford, and Cassel have all adapted to the speed of the game and the complexities of the professional defenses thrown their way.
Many of Campbell's peers can move their team down the field where Campbell falls short repeatedly. The Redskins may not have the best offensive line or receivers, but do the Jets, Lions, Raiders, Broncos, Bucs, Ravens, and Falcons have such a vastly superior offensive line or recievers? Do any of these teams have a better running back than Portis or tight end that's better than Cooley (ok well maybe Tony G.), so it really only leaves the QB.
When the lowly Raiders and Lions can even move the ball down field and the Redskins can't it falls on the leader and facilitator of the offense and on the field that role belongs to the starting QB. Campbell isn't the most accurate QB either, but the lack of leadership and confidence in himself to make the right read quickly to deliver a quick and accurate strike to inspire and invoke confidence in himself and the team inhibits the team from forming a sustained drive. Does anyone feel when the offense steps onto the field that the offense will successfully drive down the field or is it more likely that fans feel a three and out is more likely? The answer at the QB position will have more to do with the success this season then any other question that fans had to start the season.
If this sounds familiar, well that's because it is. Due to lack of everything, the Washington Redskins lost to the Carolina Panthers this past weekend and yet let another team record their first victory for the season. On the bright side, The Sports Freak, Q, and I ventured down to Charlotte to see the game in person and visit a friend of ours. That was such a great idea in pre-season when it was planned out. Not so much last week.
Name the facet of the game and there was a problem with it. The offense was the classic Jim Zorn offense. No guts, thus no glory. Throw a 6 yard pass on 3 and 7. Simply not enough. Add to that, Chris Cooley, our leading receiver, was taken out of the passing game because he had to stay in and help an injury depleted offensive line. Note to Vinny Cerrato, in case you hadn't noticed in the past 4 seasons, we need offensive linemen. There's this little thing called the NFL draft. I hear you can find these magical unicorns called O-Linemen there.
The Defense fared as good as they can. That's one of the few good things on this team. Sure Carolina is awful, but shutting down the opposition's offense deserves accolades. Because that 2 points wasn't the defenses support. Note to Carlos Rogers, work with the wide receivers, maybe they'll show you how to catch the ball.
Even Special Teams had their bad moments. Hunter the Punter Smith was sidelined so we got some guy to kick in his place. If it was going to go like that, you might as well have let backup punter Cooley punt, since he wasn't doing much on offense. Of course there was also that "fumble" on the punt return. Note to zebras, please get it right after you get 3 chances. Maybe you finally did give the right call, but you didn't correct the fact that you told us there was a violation of fair catch spacing.
So now we get the Kansas City Chefs (spelling intentional until they get a win, like probably this week). Matt Cassel is no Jake Delhomme...no, he's better. That is scary, but the defense can possibly contain him. Unfortunately points are required in order to win, and unless their kick/punt returners give it up like Carolina, it's going to be a long afternoon at Fedex Field.
There was word around town prior to the Redskins loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Losenoidoomock was that there was a fan blackout. Fan's were supposed to come to the game in black to show their distaste in the things that are the current Washington Redskins, specifically the way the team is managed. What is not a surprise is that the team is fighting back against the fans. And not in a good way.
In the aftermath of Monday Night Football loss to the Eagles, stories are coming out about how Dan Snyder is handling things with the fans. Banners are no longer welcome at Fedex Field. T-shirts are being turned around. According to WUSA-TV, the local CBS affiliate, their sports director Brett Haber was told that they could not interview fans tailgating on the Fedex Field grounds. In essence, the Redskins are trying to blackout the rightful negative attitude of the fans.
It's amazing that in the season that has a losing team with no hope of recovery this was the tactic chosen. Stories of the team suing fans who signed ticket contracts came out earlier this season. Even possibly worse than that was the news that tickets were sold to brokers instead of allowing fans sitting on the legendary wait list to get them. It is unbelievable that Snyder is authorizing the latest actions. Don't let anyone tell you that he's not at least knowing about this activity. He is the real GM as Vinny Cerrato is clearly a puppet...great front man to take the the brunt of the hits, but terrible at building a team. The surprising part of Snyder's actions is that he built huge marketing company from scratch. He sold the firm to buy the Redskins. See Snyder Communications for those of you who have not heard this.
Amazing how fast this team has fallen in the short decade Snyder has owned the Redskins. Hiring JIm Zorn kolapadaar may not have been ideal, but it is not completely Zorn's fault the team is not winning. It is the total package, from Owner/GM to the clear ignorance of Cerrato down to the water boy. Something is fundamentally wrong with the system and structure of the team. Now the question is can change come quick enough to convince the fans. Even die hard fans like myself are losing faith.