Playing for pride? If the Skins were playing for pride tonight against the Eagles, they don’t have as much as we hoped. With big smiles all around, most players seemed to be having a good time even with their lunches being handed to them. Some players did try, however, and with those people in mind for the core team, we can hope the Skins are ready to start building for the new season months from now.
Tim Hasselbeck still showed why the coaches were impressed with his abilities, throwing fairly accurately, especially when he was afforded the time. He was the first player one would notice with heart. Knowing his team was down, and not going anywhere after this game, he still tried his level best. Laverneus Coles was also out there putting out his best effort in the final game, making several very nice catches, keeping drives alive with much needed yardage. Those two are the Hog Nose recipients for the game in the passing department, simply because they were still playing like it was the first game of the year and it meant something. The passing attack seemed a little more put together today, with good route selections and controlled attacks for the most part. It just wasn’t enough to keep the Eagles from the field or to put it into the endzone. If Pram is paying attention to Tim, take note of the decisiveness and see that when he wasn’t decisive, he was in trouble. Learn Patrick, learn.
Rock and Chad are not feature backs, as I think we have seen. When it was Trung and Ladell, we had a rushing attack, and we won games. While Rock and Chad can break some good runs, they are simply not the pound it up the middle types that we needed this year. Rock looked fairly good in his runs, but they just weren’t used enough, nor did he really engender tremendous desire from the coach with good breakaway runs. They both do earn our Hog Noses for not giving up when it was all over, for continuing to fight the good fight when it was well and gone.
There wasn’t really much in the way of defense tonight, and mostly what you saw was flashes of individual brilliance. Martin Chase tried, Arrington tried, but mostly the defense wasn’t really there. The tackling, already bad on the year, was almost non existent. The zone defense that has been savaged in this column was savaged by the commentators. The pro style offenses, particularly the West Coast style – run by well over half the teams in the NFL – are designed to defeat zones. They do it well. Without a drastic change in the overall system, it is going to be bad again next year. The lack of motivation, discipline and overall football strategy knowledge is not going to be learned in the offseason by a coach who doesn’t have pro experience.
Provided the only real bright spot in the day with a 70 yard punt by Barker downed on the 4 yard line by Patrick Johnson. The only problem came when the Eagles got their longest drive of the year (96 yards) and scored a touchdown. Otherwise, the coverage teams were good, both on punt and kick returns. Hall had good kickoffs, and just missed a 52 yard field goal wide left and maybe a bit short. The best thing that could be said about the special teams is that they improved so much that no one is having to talk about them as a serious weakness, and that is the best thing indeed.