Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Week 6: Game Balls and Gassers
You mean, the Redskins actually played a game last Sunday? I almost forgot with the play-calling change and the quarterback dilemma. Here is my recap of the best and worst performances from Sunday’s galling 14-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
DT Albert Haynesworth: The big fella was Washington’s best player on the field. He was a total menace up front and he required constant double-teams. He hit Chiefs Matt Cassel hard a couple times (including once when he was flagged for roughing the passer.) In the first half he drew a hold on a third and 2 that forced Kansas City to eventually punt. In the third quarter, he swam right through his blocker to plug up a draw play. I heard Jim Zorn say on his radio show yesterday that he doesn’t care how Haynesworth comes out of the game, as long as he’s good to go back in. We saw why.
RT Mike Williams: Believe it or not, I’m giving BMW a game ball. I thought he pass protected very well–much better than he did when we last saw him at RT in the preseason. He lucked out on few times he was beaten in pass protection; his man got past him twice but slipped. Still, I thought Williams was solid. He certainly was much better than Stephon Heyer has been at any point this season.
DE Andre Carter: His pass breakup on the second play of the game showed some agility. He bounced right up after a cut block to swat the pass. That’s a simple training camp/practice drill. On his sack/forced fumbled in the first quarter, he used his strength to get tackle Wade Smith’s hands off him and coasted past him. He’s had a great two-game stretch.
LB/DE Brian Orakpo: Did a nice job shedding a run blocker to tackle Chiefs RB Larry Johnson for a 1-yard gain on the first play of KC’s second drive. He wasn’t blocked on his sack, but credit Orakpo’s speed for helping him close on Cassel. He’s obviously getting more and more comfortable. The Chiefs didn’t target him much in the passing game on first and second downs.
TE Chris Cooley: Cooley did well to stay in bounds near the sideline on a gritty 25-yard reception on third and 11 in the first half. He was valuable in chipping some of KC’s pass rushers. He led the Redskins with five catches for 57 yards, not a bad bounce-back game from being shut out last week.
* I’ve dogged the offensive line all season, but I must give credit here to the blocking on Clinton Portis’ 78-yard run. LT Stephon Heyer did a great job blocking two guys. He helped Derrick Dockery with the defensive end and then blew up the linebacker. Cooley was solid on the outside, and C Casey Rabach drove his man back. Further downfield, WR Antwaan Randle El and TE Fred Davis did their parts to spring Portis. I’m sure FB Mike Sellers wishes he’d have kept his feet at the end of the run. Portis did a nice job breaking the safety’s tackle at the point of attack, but he’s got to cut that run back inside at the end and get in the end zone. He admitted as much on the radio yesterday. Still, the o-line did a great job. And I’ve heard that Jim Zorn hasn’t been shy this week in pointing out how he called that play!
QB Jason Campbell: After watching the film, I believe Zorn made the right move in benching him. He was too jittery in the pocket–and this wasn’t the first time. That was apparent against Carolina, too. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to stand strong in the pocket knowing about the porous line in front of you, but that’s Campbell’s job, and this offense won’t do anything if he can’t stand in there. His task will be even tougher this week against Philly. Also, he HAS to hit Santana Moss on that deep seam route. It was a great play call. Cooley diverted the safety with his slant underneath, and Moss was open for a score.
PR Antwaan Randle El: I get the sense that his time as the Redskins punt returner is nearing a close. Maybe not this season, but how can they move forward with him. He continues to go east-west instead of north-south. He had three returns for 8 yards and a muff.
CB Justin Tryon: As the slot cornerback, he surrendered a 14-yard completion in the first quarter, a 10-yard completion on third and 9 in the third quarter and committed a pass interference penalty on third and 2 in the fourth. He seems to have regressed since the Tampa game.
CB DeAngelo Hall: Playing off-man coverage can’t be an excuse for allowing short-to-medium completions. He was victimized early and often after giving cushions of five to 10 yards.
LG Derrick Dockery: The 78-yard run notwithstanding, Dockery didn’t get much push in the run game. On one play in the fourth quarter, he pulled for Clinton Portis and just fell flat on his face in the backfield.
LT Stephon Heyer: Again, he did well on the 78-yard run. But if you give up a safety, you’re getting a gasser. Tamba Hali beat him too easily to the inside. Heyer also fell on his butt on a first quarter pass play when his man quickly changed directions.
S Reed Doughty: His angles going after ballcarriers were not consistently good, and the man he was blocking blocked the Redskins’ punt in the fourth quarter. That was a critical play.
RB Clinton Portis: In addition to not finishing the 78-yard run properly, he fumbled on the Redskins’ first drive when TE Fred Davis was pushed back into him. This offense can’t overcome turnovers.
Who’d I miss?