Last week we warned you that QB Shane Matthews might be losing his grip on the starting job. Against the Jaguars, Matthews brought back painful memories of the ghosts-of-quarterbacks-past. There is perhaps no greater insult than to compare any QB to the likes of ex-Redskin Tony Banks... so here goes. Matthews looked like Jamie Lee Curtis in 'Halloween' as the Jaguars pass rush raced toward him. While he did resist the urge to throw both hand in the air and begin screaming, he missed receivers by several feet and lacked any display of leadership. Matthews will be given another opportunity to QB the team against the Giants. Patrick Ramsey should have already been named the starter - but the old 'ballcoach' may have something up his sleeve for Sunday in New York.
2. All Barker & No Bite
Punter, Brian Barker said he was 'shocked' at his own performance against the Jaguars on Sunday. Shocked? At the very bottom of the NFL statistics for punting - Brian Barker's name appears with his 29.7 net average. Former coach, Bill Parcells once asked a team doctor if his kicker would be ready for the game on Sunday. The doctor responded, 'I think he'll be ready to play.' Parcells responded, 'Doc, he ain't gotta play. All he's gotta do is kick.' All Brian Barker has to do is punt. If nothing else, Barker has given all of us a glimmer of hope for our moment in the NFL, because at the very least, we wouldn't suck as bad as Brian Barker. Too harsh?
3. Called Out on Play Calling
Steve Spurrier admitted the called a 'lousy game' in abandoning the run so early against the Jaguars. The week before, the Redskins had demolished the Seattle Seahawks with a first time starter, Kenny Watson, at RB. In part, because of Shane Matthew's inability to distinguish blades of grass and Redskin receivers. And in part, because of horrible field position due to poor special teams play - Spurrier was correct. However, Spurrier has called a number of poor plays in a number of games. Someone on the staff needs to be able to 'suggest' to the coach some alternative plays. Coach Spurrier seems to be so wrapped up in the emotion of the moment, he loses his sense of balance. Like any person in any new job, there is a period of adjustment. I have no doubt Spurrier will be adjusted for this weeks' game against the Giants, especially with Stephen Davis returning to the line-up.
4. Justin Time
With the release of the unhappy Jaquez Green, the Redskins promoted Justin Skaggs. Skaggs will handle the punt return duties for the Redskins this Sunday, and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Skaggs is a hard-nosed, wiry, quick, scrappy players. He has showed tenacity and desire in almost two years of service on the practice squad. Finally, he's got an opportunity to show the team what he can do. In a big game, against a division rival, on the road, Skaggs will do just that. Justin Skaggs is to the Redskins what 'Rudy' was to the Fighting Irish. It's great to see a guy with heart and desire suit up on Sunday. Rewarding a player for hard work and dedication also sends an underlying message to the team. Congrats to Justin Skaggs - just in time!
With the Eagles collapse against the Colts in Philadelphia last Sunday, the Redskins didn't lose any ground in hopes of capturing a Division Title. However, the Giants gained ground on the Eagles with a win over the hapless Vikings. The Redskins have a huge opportunity to take over the number two position in the division. A win over the Giants looms very large for this team. With five losses, every game remaining on the schedule is a 'big' game. But a game against a division rival is even bigger. Head-to-head competition and division record rank first and second in the tie-breaker formula for the playoffs. It would be nice for the Eagles to be beaten in all of their remaining games - but it's not going to happen. The Redskins best hope for a playoff birth is as a Wild Card - we cannot afford to stand still and hope for help from other teams. BEAT THE GIANTS ON SUNDAY!!! We'll talk about the rest later...
6. Around the NFL
Do you know why they call the owner of the Vikings 'Red' McCombs? Because he was humiliated and embarrassed by his first round draft choice and his agents. McCombs offered a laughably cheap contract to OT Bryan McKinnie early in the negotiations. McKinnie's agents scoffed and returned with a counter-offer. McCombs, with the support of Minnesota media outlets, attempted a smear campaign against McKinnie. McCombs questioned McKinnie's desire to play in the NFL and worried he would be too out of shape to contribute this season. McKinnie reported to the Vikings in great shape and has earned a starting spot for the 2-7 Vikings. In spite of his best efforts, McCombs found a player the Vikings needed all along. McCombs' greed makes sports agents look like choir boys.