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Doom and gloom from the Post

Doom and gloom from the Post

I expect the message board community and the postgame show callers to overreact after one season-opening loss. After the Washington Redskins' loss to the New York Giants on Thursday, the knee-jerk brigade is led by the bench Campbell contingent and running close behind with torches lit and rope in hand are the fire Zorn mob, the Portis stinks gang, and the throng that wants to send the Redskins' entire O-line on a one-way retirement cruise immediately.

What astounds me is how many sky-is-falling pieces we see in today's papers. The pros are the ones who are supposed to bring some perspective to the situation.

Apparently the editors at the Washington Post believe otherwise.

Sally Jenkins believes that she can come up with "inescapable facts" about the Redskins after one game, 6.25% of the first season under a new head coach. The Skins will have to "claw mightily to be better than a .500 team", says Jenkins, who reached this conclusion by halftime, or after 3.125% of the season.

Elsewhere in the Post, Les Carpenter had this reasoned analysis of the Skins' first play. It was a sack, the Giants' only one of the game, in fact.

Still it was a harbinger of the calamity to come, one in which the Redskins only had 11 first downs, 1 touchdown and 133 passing yards with an offense that was supposed to make everyone forget previous coach Joe Gibbs and his conservative, run-first game plans that had grown stale to many Redskins fans.

Did anyone really expect the offense to hum like a well-oiled machine on the road against the Super Bowl champs? It was a "calamity"? I'm no pro writer, but I would suggest to Mr. Carpenter that he save such words for actual calamities. In 2005, 36-0 in the Meadowlands was a calamity, at least in football terms. Last night, 16-7, even though the game wasn't that close, was not cataclysmic.

And one game, 27 passes into Jason Campbell's adaption to Jim Zorn's offense, and into Zorn's real-life experience as an NFL play caller, Jason LaCanfora found a guy who said that Campbell was doomed to fail. Quoting an NFL personnel executive (someone who, by the way, has a vested interest in seeing the Redskins fail):

When I watch that team, I think something's going to have to give. Is it the scheme or the quarterback? At some point either the coach is going to have to change what he does to fit the quarterback, or they're going to need a different quarterback. . . You can trace it all back to that, and if that doesn't work then your team is in trouble. It could take four years to dig out of something like that. If the coach doesn't have the right personnel to run his system, then you're starting over again.

So we have a season's that's over, depending on which Post scribe you want to believe, after either the first game, their first half of that game or even the first play of that game.

I'd call that static analysis, but that gives it credit for being analysis.

Why do Jenkins, Carpenter, and LaCanfora have to rush to judgment? Are they afraid that the Redskins will be 1-8 and the Post will be out of ink and paper for them to blast Snyder, Cerrato, Zorn, Campbell, Justin Tryon and Durant Brooks then?

Don't get me wrong, the Redskins and Zorn deserve all the criticism they are taking for what happened on Thursday night. They were tentative, they blew a boatload of opportunities, they were whipped on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and were thoroughly outclassed by a team that is very good, but not great.

But to think that things will stay this way, that Zorn won't adjust, that Campbell won't learn, that the quality of the opposition will stay the same, is lazy journalism at best.

Unfortunately, in these days of the Post-Redskins feud, it's what I've come to expect.

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230

Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn

Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But, the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But, without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.

Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.

Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110, but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.

Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then, it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

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What can the Redskins learn from the Eagles run to the Super Bowl?

For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.

Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look. 

Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins. 

Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins? 

Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.

Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks. 

There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense. 

That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory. 

Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.

What is definitely true?

The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.

Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance. 

That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it. 

Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl. 

Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. 

Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!