The swagger is easy to see, and even easier for opponents to feel early in preseason. The Redskins defense is BACK. At almost every position on the depth chart, guys wearing the burgundy and gold are stinging anyone not wearing the proper colors. Ralph Brown and Garnell Wilds chalked up snot-bubble hits against the Dolphins. And my man, Rufus Brown impressed the folks AGAIN - with a fourth and inches stop and forced fumble. Sean Taylor's eyes light up when anyone comes near him with a football in their hands - they've forgotten that the ball belongs to Taylor. The hits just keep on coming!!!
2. Still No Edge at QB
I don't like griping about QB's - really I don't. But the Redskins defense continually put the Skins offense in position to score. Mark Brunell did guide the offense. However, I'm not sure he could throw the ball more than 30 yards without looking like a javelin tosser. On the other hand, Ramsey can throw the ball through a wall - as long as it's a BIG wall. With the first team WR's, he'd better narrow his sights. Brunell and Ramsey both need work. Hasselbeck and Hamdan have been excluded from the competition to date. Both should be given an opportunity, and just might press the "starters" to play better. Who knows, one of them might see playing time in '04.
3. RB Quandary
No doubt, Clinton Portis is a pure stud, NFL RB. Then what? We have a bunch of young guys trying to prove themselves. Newcomers Sultan McCullough and John Simon have both played very well. Rock Cartwright drops the ball at times - but he plays with heart and determination. Oft injured Ladell Betts hasn't played in the first three preseason games...injured again. If Betts is going to make the team, he'd better to it quickly. All three young guys have shown enough to be a final member of the 53-man roster - and will find a job with another team if the Skins continue to wait for Betts.
4. Be Koz
When the Redskins signed 11-year veteran Brian Kozlowski, groans could be heard throughout DC. 'Why are we signing this old dude?' Well, this old dude looks like he's been playing in the Joe Gibbs offense for his entire career. He's been a perfect addition to the team at H-back. He plays the position with a linebacker mentality. He levels would-be tacklers. Rookie Chris Cooley needs to pay close attention to this 'old dude.' Kozlowski shows no sign of age, no sign of slowing down and no sign he should be on the bench...ever. Koz is working harder, smarter and better than any H-back or TE on the roster - keep an eye out for him. Be Koz I Told U 2, K?
5. Oooh, oooh That Smell
No, not the smell of Autumn leaves and pig skin. The smell of fish that's been left in the cooler in the garage two weeks after the camping trip... yep, the smell of the Miami Dolphins. We've been treated to more than our fair share of putrid smells in the past - but the Phins look awful! To my friends who stick by the Dolphins... it's gonna be a long year - or two, or four. No wonder Ricky decided to lay on the beach and smoke gunga. None of the above applies to the Dolphins Cheerleaders - absolutely.
6. Bugel's Boys
The O-line has a new name, "Dirt Bags". Dubbed so, by Joe Bugel, the Dirt Bags are going through the process of starting their own legacy. In the shadow of the best offensive line in NFL history - The Hogs, the Dirt Bags are slowly becoming a solid group. Kenyatta Jones is filing-in admirably for Jansen. Samuels has regained his stride. Dockery looks like a moving van and Lennie Friedman is locking up the center position. Randy Thomas is playing with great enthusiasm. Spriggs, Ferrario, Raymer, Brown, Wilson, Molinaro and anyone else in a Bugel line will play with heart. These Dirt Bags are looking pretty good. Will there be a group of Dirt Claudes in the stands by season's end? I hope so!