THN Weekly with Andre Carter: Week 15
Only in the virtual world is there a "re-do" option. The Redskins are wishing that what they are experiencing is just a bad Madden 09 simulation.
Unfortunately that is not the case.
The Redskins lost their third consecutive game 24-10 on Sunday night. This time it was just up the road against the Baltimore Ravens, making them 0-4 on prime-time games and 1-3 all-time against the Ravens.
The loss puts the Redskins in a situation that requires three consecutive victories for a playoff spot and also has dampened the mood of a team that began the first half of the season at 6-2.
“It can be frustrating at times. We are so blessed with talented. It’s a shame. Yet, we still fight for each other and encourage one another during tough times during the season. We all know that it’s not over for us. When it comes to our record, we are the ones who have put ourselves at somewhat of a disadvantage and now we need to get out of it. I can't tell you what the problem is. That is a question we have asked for a long time. The chemistry we have is strong when it comes to the relationship on and off the field. Players and coaches get along fine. We need to win and play four quarters of Redskin football. We have seen it and done it before and so have the fans,” said Redskins defensive end Andre Carter.
On a frigid December night (the temperature was around 27 degrees Fahrenheit during kickoff with wind gusts around 20 miles per hour), the Redskins seemed to buckle under the pressure of facing the league’s second best defense.
The team squandered early offensive opportunities with an interception by Ravens safety Ed Reed, punt, and fumble (returned for a touchdown by Reed as well) to start the game in the first three drives.
“The Ravens defense is unique. They know how to disguise a variety of blitzes so it’s hard to pinpoint who is coming or staying. The defense feeds off each other and they play hard. They have 11 men flying to the ball and are capable of creating turnovers,” Carter said.
The Redskins defense was also inconsistent when it came to stopping the Ravens offense on third downs. Despite a youthful, inexperienced offensive line, quarterback Joe Flacco had plenty of time to throw the ball.
“The offense disguised certain formations to where they had a lot of play action passes, so Flacco was able to stay in the pocket longer. Rushing the passer in play action is so tough because we are thinking run. However, we still need to get there in order to take pressure off our secondary,” Carter said.
Along with losing four out of their last five games, the feeling throughout the locker room was painful in more ways than one.
On Sunday night, the Redskins lost 5-time Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels (torn triceps) and his backup Justin Geisinger (knee injury) to injuries and both were effectively placed on injured reserve, ending their seasons.
Right tackle Jon Jansen (sprained knee ligament) and safety Chris Horton (shoulder stinger) are both doubtful for Sunday’s matchup against the 1-11-1 Cincinnati Bengals after suffering injuries against the Ravens as well.
The loss of Samuels and Jansen weaken an already underachieving offensive line that has allowed Jason Campbell to be sacked 34 times this season, 5th most of any quarterback in the league.
“The injuries of Chris Samuels of Jon Jansen were unfortunate. It hurts because they were key starters in our offense. Chris' presence is missed in the locker room because he is a comedian in the locker room and a pro on the practice field. Jon is just a crazy teammate. This is a tough business to be a part of. The next two guys need to step up and fill the spots,” Carter said.
Despite this rough stretch, the Redskins are attempting to move forward and keep their postseason hopes alive with a victory over the Bengals on Sunday.
“My focus as well as the team's focus is Sunday against Cincinnati and then we will go on from there. As a team we need to focus on the “now” and not on what happens tomorrow. How can you overlook the future when you need to prepare yourself for today? It can't be done,” Carter said.
The team will need to work as a whole against a team that, considering the amount of losses already accumulated, has nothing to lose and a lot to gain by helping knock an opponent out of playoff contention.
The Bengals have two very talented starting wide receivers in Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who leads the league with 89 receptions.
Applying pressure to avoid quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick from distributing the ball to those two playmakers is very important to the Redskins success on Sunday.
“Applying pressure is always big in each game. It’s important that as defensive linemen we communicate to our coaches each series and discuss how to rush against their offensive lineman or whatever protection they have set up for Sunday's game,” Carter said.
Fitzpatrick is filling in for the injured Carson Palmer, who has not played since Week 5 due to an elbow injury. Palmer’s loss has no doubt affected the Bengals this season but how much?
“I don't know if the loss of Carson Palmer is the main reason for Cincy's downfall. It’s so hard to tell. They have been struggling this season. It happens to other 31 teams. You just don't know what team is going to have a huge majority of losses and when it will happen,” Carter said.
As for the running attack, the Bengals will rely on Cedric Benson to continue to carry the load, as he has since arriving in Cincinnati after several run-ins with the law during the offseason.
Despite not signing with the Bengals until after Week 4, Carter still thinks Benson brings a lot to the table and his second chance in the NFL with Cincinnati is a career revival for him.
“Cedric Benson is a physical back. He knows how to gain extra yardage and he is hard to tackle. He stays low when he carries the ball and will make people miss. I feel that his signing with Cincy has been a revival for him. It’s unfortunate that his career in Chicago ended but he is running well and playing his game despite what Cincy's record is,” Carter said.
These next three weeks will be the truest test as to what this Redskin team is really made of. When asked how the team had responded to adversity in the past and how it relates to the team’s current situation, Carter had this to say:
“We have overcome a lot of adversity. It builds character as a team. I am optimistic and I can count on the guy next to me to fulfill his duty when his number is called and hopefully he can rely on me throughout these next three weeks of the regular season. We will play as one,” Carter said.
Under the Helmet:
THN: What is your favorite city to visit during an away game and why?
AC: I love visiting Seattle when we play the Seahawks. The city reminds me of San Francisco. Despite the rain, the weather can be nice and the air is fresh. There are plenty of cafés to unwind [at] and great restaurants.
THN: What stadium in the NFL would you rank as the best?
AC: I would have to say FedEx Field because our crowd is the loudest and [we have the] craziest fans I have ever played for. It’s an amazing atmosphere and I have been enjoying every moment of it.
This article was released on 2008-12-14.
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