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News » Redskins have puncher's chance in NFC East 2008-09-22

Redskins have puncher's chance in NFC East 2008-09-22

Redskins have puncher's chance in NFC East 2008-09-22
I know that Jimmy Johnson keeps calling the Redskins the fourth-best team in the NFC East, but all I can say is that also means they are pretty damn good, too. I said before that this is the Frazier, Foreman and Ali division when talking about the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys, respectively.

NFL Week 3

Week 3 action

    Redskins 24, Cards 17 -- Recap | Box
    Bucs 27, Bears 24 -- Recap | Box
    Vikings 20, Panthers 10 -- Recap | Box
    Falcons 38, Chiefs 14 -- Recap | Box
    Bills 24, Raiders 23 -- Recap | Box
    Dolphins 38, Patriots 13 -- Recap | Box
    Giants 26, Bengals 23 -- Recap | Box
    Titans 31, Texans 12 -- Recap | Box
    Broncos 34, Saints 32 -- Recap | Box
    49ers 31, Lions 13 -- Recap | Box
    Seahawks 37, Rams 13 -- Recap | Box
    Jaguars 23, Colts 21 -- Recap | Box
    Eagles 15, Steelers 6 -- Recap | Box
    Ravens 28, Browns 10 -- Recap | Box
    Cowboys 27, Packers 16 -- Recap | Box
    Chargers 48, Jets 29 -- Recap | Box


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  • Biggest moments

I know the Redskins struggled in Week 1, but that loss came against the Giants on the night they were celebrating their Super Bowl victory in the Meadowlands. The Redskins potentially have the ability to be the Norton of the division. You fall asleep against these guys or Norton, and he's going to break your jaw.

Jason Campbell is in his third offensive system in his third year in the league. They have totally tried to revamp his throwing motion, which is not easy to do at this level. They have had some issues with the offensive line. You look at the wide-receiver position, and I have to say that Santana Moss is a pretty good receiver who has been injured on and off the last few seasons. But when he's 100 percent, he's as explosive as any player in this league.

They are very deep at running back, starting with Clinton Portis. Campbell made a lot of big throws Sunday, and did it pretty much throughout the game. And defensively, the Redskins played pretty well and limited Kurt Warner making big plays against them. They forced Arizona to drive the length of the field. The Redskins are a very good football team that is stuck in the NFL's best division.

Vikes make right move

The Vikings finally got in the win column with new quarterback Gus Frerotte, but don't forget that Minnesota's defense played extremely well in the first two games of the season. They just gave up one or two big plays in those games. They were two or three big plays away from being 2-0. Just think of the big plays they missed on the road in Green Bay in the season opener. That game might have been a little bit different in Minnesota.

With the defense they have and Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor running the ball, you don't need a quarterback who is lighting it up all the time. You just need a quarterback like Gus Frerotte was Sunday, which means just make a couple plays down the field and take the pressure off the running game.

The key when you have a running back like Peterson is to take the onus off of him a little. All you have to do is hit a few intermediate passes, and it opens up the running game. And your defense doesn't have to play perfectly. Minnesota's defense played pretty well because Carolina runs the ball well, but it was tough sledding Sunday for them.

Everyone has to realize now that Minnesota's front seven is very good. I thought Carolina had improved a lot on the offensive line. It sure looked that way after big wins over San Diego and Chicago.

You had to wonder, though, how would this offense work when bringing Steve Smith back? Would they go to more three-wide-receivers? But when Carolina's offense became one-dimensional in the second half, Minnesota's front was allowed to do what it really does well — get after the quarterback. And as much as we all like Jake Delhomme, he is a stationary target back there.

The Antoine Winfield blitz, which led to a quick touchdown for the Vikings, shows you that the Panthers were paying too much attention to the front and figuring out their double-teams along the offensive line, and it allowed Minnesota to sneak in something different on defense.

Shocker in New England

I was shocked by Miami's big win in New England. You can write it off as if the Patriots might have been over-looking the Dolphins because they were winless. Maybe they thought this game was going to be a cakewalk.

When teams get down on the scoreboard, then the onus goes on the quarterback. The Patriots got down, and Matt Cassel was put in a tough situation. That made the offense more one-dimensional and also more dependent on Cassel, and they simply weren't able to get it done.

You know, it's hard to tell if New England is still OK. Sometimes styles make fights, and don't underestimate how well Bill Parcells knows New England's defense. I want to give new head coach Tony Sparano all the credit, but don't think that Parcells didn't play a role last week in preparing for this game. I can hear him saying in the meetings, "This is what he does and this is what he likes to do." No one knows Bill Belichick like Bill Parcells.

I was really, really surprised with how the Dolphins dominated this game.

Raiders played hard for Kiffin

One final thought. I know they lost a tough one in Buffalo, but I was impressed with the Raiders. They were minus their top running back, and their top pick, Darren McFadden, was playing with a bad toe. From what I have heard from people there, Lane Kiffin is a smart guy, and I do think the offensive players like him. The Raiders have been losing for so many years and it is so difficult to change a culture. That's a difficult task for a very young coach.

NFL should review the rules

I want to go back to last Sunday's bad call by referee Ed Hochuli in the Denver game because I really believe the league should at least consider a change now. Two years ago, the NFL changed the rule on freezing the kicker in the middle of the season.

This was a big loss for the Chargers. It was a conference game, a division game that they lost to the still-unbeaten Broncos. Sure, the Chargers had other opportunities to win the game, but you can say that about virtually every game because the competition is so close. It was a badly blown call that exposed a flaw in the system. There's a point of emphasis to protect the quarterback in this league, and the officials blow their whistles too fast sometimes.

The referee standing behind the quarterback doesn't have the right vantage point to tell whether that ball comes out before or after the throwing motion has started. I know Jay Cutler has such a quick motion and that played into Hochuli's call. He's looking to protect the quarterback and blows the ball dead. And once he does that, that play can't be reviewed.

If they can implement a rule in the middle of the season about freezing kickers, this is far more significant than that. For example, every game in the NFL is the equivalent of 10 games in a major-league baseball season. If one call blows 10 games for a contender in a baseball race, that's rather significant.

I think this emphasis on protecting the quarterback ... well, therein lies the problem.

I know the commissioner sent out a memo to every team this past week about player safety, and he meant every player, not just quarterbacks. But how many times in a football game do you see a running back get hit and go down and some defensive player comes in late and spears that player? That's a defenseless player who's already down. I think you can make that call almost five times a game. Maybe three, four times a game. There's no question that happens.

Where is the league right now? The PR machine out of New York is talking now about having too many preseason games and expanding the season to 18 regular-season games. Well, I think we are pressing the envelope right now. Today's players are so much bigger, stronger and faster.

Remember when NASCAR thought it was going too fast? Well, they put restrictor plates on the engines to slow things down a bit, to make their races safer.

NFL players are so big and so fast and the impacts are so big, you're talking carnage over 16 games — and now you're talking about one or two more games. Well, the roster definitely needs to expand to 53 or 55 players and getting front-line guys off the kick- and punt-coverage units. I think we're at the cusp right now physically with these players.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 22, 2008

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Craig Davis Name: Craig Davis
Position: WR
Age: 22
Experience: 2 years
College: LSU
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