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Week 7: Initial thoughts

Here’s what I’m thinking in the immediate aftermath of the Redskins’ 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles tonight:

*We knew the Redskins’ season was over before this game, so the loss doesn’t affect my outlook much. They’re going 4-12 at best. Accept it. To me, the bigger loss is TE Chris Cooley. You thought the offense was bad before? Let’s see what they do without their Pro Bowl tight end. If Cooley’s tibia is indeed broken, which Jim Zorn indicated after the game, that would probably keep him out for the season. That’s the weight-bearing bone, so he’d have to stay off that for a while. 

*Yeah, TE Fred Davis’s receiving stats were a bright spot: 8 catches, 78 yards and a touchdown. That’s more yardage than he had in his entire career coming into the game. But we also saw his biggest deficiency–the guy can’t pass block. He gave up two sacks, including one to Trent Cole when Cole pushed him back like a man versus a boy. Cooley’s not a great blocker, either, but this is where the Redskins will miss him most.

*If we get to Week 16 and the front office uses Cooley’s absence as an excuse for the Redskins’ terrible offensive production this season, I’d implore it to consider the first six games of the year.

*Zorn said that Sherm Lewis called the passing game, Sherman Smith called the running game and Zorn even called a couple of red zone plays. Zorn also said that the passing plays were coded and that QB Jason Campbell used a wristband. That’s evidence that Lewis doesn’t have a full grasp of this playbook–something we all knew. That said, play-calling wasn’t the reason for this loss. Bad pass protection, turnovers and Philly’s big plays were.

*Campbell has no chance behind this offensive line. At this point, I don’t believe he’s part of the Redskins’ long-term solution, but the combination of him and his offensive line is a horrendous formula. In his postgame comments, Campbell–without being asked–mentioned how he hopes Levi Jones can learn the playbook during the bye week. Think he’s tired of playing behind Stephon Heyer?

*Campbell injured his right ankle on the fourth play of the game, and it affected his mobility all night. When the offensive line fell apart in Week 5, you had to figure that Campbell’s health was going to nosedive. And that has begun. I wonder if he’ll be able to finish the season at this rate. He took some shots tonight.

*Clinton Portis was a non-factor tonight (14 carries, 43 yards). I wonder how often he wishes he never left that Denver offensive line to come to Washington for the big payday. And how about him throwing his helmet? That was ugly.

*If you’re looking for a bright spot on offense, how about the TD catches by the pass-catchers in the 2008 draft class? Davis and Devin Thomas each caught their first NFL TDs. Something to build on for their next 23 games, perhaps.

*FS LaRon Landry doesn’t always take good angles. That’s nothing new. But it killed the Redskins on DeSean Jackson’s 67-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of the game. I have to watch the game film, but the replays made it seem that Landry greatly underestimated Jackson’s speed in getting to the corner. Maybe that’s because the Redskins don’t have anyone that explosive for Landry to practice against.

*I plan on finding out who was at fault on Jackson’s long TD catch on the third and 23. CB Carlos Rogers bit hard on the double move, and SS Chris Horton let Jackson get behind him. I’m not exactly sure of Horton’s responsiblities on the play, but it was a killer. In my mind, the game was over right then.

*Speaking of Horton, he started at strong safety tonight. Reed Doughty has been starting there. I asked Reed about it afterward, and he just assumes the coaches consider the team to have two starting strong safeties. I’m guessing it’s a matchup thing, but I’ll ask secondary coach Jerry Gray this week.

*Eagles QB Donovan McNabb left a lot of throws out there tonight, and the score could have been much more lopsided if he had seen the field better and improved his accuracy.

*Antwaan Randle El is not an effective punt returner. Stop me if this sounds familiar. It was interesting to see ST coach Danny Smith give DeAngelo Hall a crack at it tonight. Too bad the punt was shanked and he didn’t get a chance to return it.

*Nice sacks by Andre Carter and Albert Haynesworth tonight. I was typing furiously during the second half, so I’ll go back and check the film on those. Carter continues to impress, though. He tackled Michael Vick for a loss once after shedding Eagles TE Brent Celek’s block.

*Football is so violent. The headshot Eagles RB Brian Westbrook took from LB London Fletcher was vicious. Hits like that make me appreciate the danger these players face.

*The Redskins spoke tonight about how the bye week is coming at a perfect time. And, yes, it’s probably good to get away with all the negativity and losing going on. But a week off isn’t going to solve this franchise’s problems. An offensive overhaul in the offseason might, but not a bye week.

…That’s it for now. Back at it tomorrow for open locker room at 11 a.m. More doom and gloom I’m sure. I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Rich_Campbell.

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