To say that fans have been in agony the past few weeks watching Steve Spurrier, George Edwards and company exercise their best efforts would be an understatement. To see the talent mismatches that have taken place between our beloved team and the teams that have beaten them Ė the Giants, Eagles and Bills not to mention a banged up Buccaneers team -and watched the dreams go down in smoke those four weeks makes it painful to watch. While the dedicated fans moan and groan, the bandwagon that Tony Kornheiser speaks of so often is already beginning to feel its load lightening.
Abysmal. There was no help to be found for Patrick, either in blocking schemes or receivers that could hang on to the ball. While one could argue that the receivers want to catch the ball very badly, it was sadly not evinced on the field against the Bills. Balls thrown well and into the hands of receivers were mishandled, and the protection broke down so often, Ramsey was often inconsistent on his passing. Gardner had 1 good touchdown catch of 25 yards. Coles had a tremendous catch on a long pass play. Gardner and Coles also dropped most everything else that was thrown at them. The pass protection was non existent, and Center Larry Mooreís troubles continue, this time not only with mis-communicating protections, but stepping on Ramseyís foot on the three yard line causing a fumble. Admit it Steve, the protection schemes arenít working and the routes are just not getting receivers open enough in time enough to save Ramsey from getting trounced. In college, a lot of the secondaries are based on three true defensive backs and one linebacker/defensive back type called a rover. This is where the exploitation came from in that arena. In this league, 5 backs can cover 5 receivers while 6 men blitz. Steve Ė it is time to go to three receivers out and seven men blocking to save Ramseyís life. He canít last forever.
Once again, getting behind, the Skins had to abandon the rushing early, and even when they started back with it, it wasnít enough. Simply put, they were blitzing and pressing to stop the run and get into the backfield and it worked. There were some interesting combinations with Morton, Brian Johnson and Rock Cartwright, but once again, a holding penalty killed off the drive that would have put the Skins ahead in the start of the second half. Spurrier started passing and never really looked back. Our Hog Nose goes to Betts for playing hurt and trying so hard against a wall that didnít want to move. The only reason we donít rate them the lowest is due to the fact that Steve tried something to get them moving and didnít just give up on the run completely.
George Edwards has apparently given up on the fact that he has 4 pro bowlers in the linebackers and the secondary and has consistently played soft all season. Today was no different. With men who are built and geared for downhill play, George keeps them in neutral to read and react. Do you remember the old read and react days from the Nolan era? Its back fans. Didnít you recognize it from before? There were some pressures from the 4 down linemen, and occasional blitzes, including our one sack from Armstead where he played piggy back with Bledsoe, but other than that there wasnít much to say about the defense. They played off of the run; they played soft on the coverages. The Bills ran a lot, and they passed more. The Skins had a nice interception by David Terrell, who is proving with that kind of play that he isnít holding a grudge, and a terrific goal line stand that could have set the stage if other things hadnít gone wrong later. Get a clue George Ė it hasnít worked, nor will it work.
We didnít see much of them except on punt and kick returns. Morton continues to squeeze through the cracks not easily seen from our television vantage. He will break one and soon, hopefully against the Cowboys in two weeks. The punt and kick coverage was actually quite stupendous with good hits and tackles, people staying in their lanes and two kicks covered inside the 20 yard line. A personal note here Ė are we eating our hat about Mike Stock? We apologize for our terse words earlier Mike Ė you have the cover teams looking better than could have been imagined. Two weeks without a longish return Ė the best we have seen in years with our team.