Thoughts on the NE Preseason Game (8/16/2003)

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Thoughts on the NE Preseason Game (8/16/2003)

Postby pdsarin » Sun Aug 17, 2003 6:26 pm

Opinions here, all from memory, and so I may have
mixed something up. Of course, everything is my
opinion and I didn't necessarily stick "in my opinion"
everywhere I should have below... I missed part of
the first quarter while the bar was searching for the
satellite feed.


Overall impression: Positive. Some nice plays. The
offense was very vanilla. Not everyone seems to have
gelled yet. Lots of problems with blitz pickup --
i.e., we didn't.


Ramsey was okay. He made some nice throws but also
faced a decent pash rush. Even when he wasn't
pressured, he was dancing around in the pocket as if
he was afraid of getting hit. He threw one terrible
INT on a play on which we should have taken a sack.

Seeing Rob Johnson play (as opposed to hearing it on
the radio or reading the stats) gives a totally
different perspective. He is horrible. He holds on
to the ball way too long and runs out of the pocket
too quickly. He has trouble making up his mind, it
seems. As Sonny said on one play, "He had a guy open
in the middle and I don't know why he didn't throw it
to him."

Hamdan has an arm, but he clearly doesn't get enough
reps in practice to know what he is doing. He was
lost out there. He is a project.

Running Back:

This battle is getting interestinger and

Trung Canidate played very well. He made several nice
plays rushing and receiving, and scored the only
"touchdown" (in the sense that we received six points
for a run to the one yard line). If I had to pick a
starter today, I may well pick him...but I want to see
him battle Betts.

Kenny Watson played extremely well in the second half.
He was unremarkable in the first but got very few
carries. On our first drive of the second half, he
was amazing. When we worked in other backs (such as
Morton), the difference was obvious. He finds the
holes and charges through them. He won't fake anyone
out but he will get the yards that are there for him.
If he is not on the season opening roster, we need to
receive something valuable for him.

Chad Morton is not an NFL running back. On the
scat-back-out-of-the-backfield-receiving thing,
Canidate was demonstrably better, faster, and more
evasive. On the
I-am-a-real-man's-straight-ahead-running-back thing,
Watson was far superior.

Ladell Betts did not play. I would like to see him go
head-to-head with Canidate.

Sultan McCullough: It would be nice to get the kid on
the practice squad, but he won't be a contributor this
year on offense. The contrast with Watson, who hit
holes with authority, was obvious. Perhaps he's worth
something on special teams, though. He never gave up
on the kickoff return-TD by Bethel Johnson
and was impressively fast.

Gillespie didn't play much. It does not look good for


Here's where things get really interesting. Our new
short yardage back is...

ROCK CARTWRIGHT. We had three fourth-and-ones. We
gave the Rock the rock on each of them, and he was
excellent. I'd be comfortable going into the season
with him taking the ball on short yardage plays.

Bryan Johnson. I think he might have done something,
but I forget what.

Tight end:

Appeared to me that Robert Royal had some blocking
issues. On at least one play, one of his rushers hit
the QB. He didn't do anything remarkable in the
passing game.

Zeron had one unremarkable reception that I can

I believe Leonard Stephens missed a tackle on special
teams on the TD return. (Again, from memory...)

Offensive line:

I missed it, but Wilbert Brown apparently screwed up a
shotgun snap rather badly. Lennie Friedman was also
unimpressive when playing against starters.

Starting guards were solid. I'm not sure about
tackles as I think some of their rushers may have hit

Short yardage blocking was superb.

Pita Elisara should not be allowed to wear Jim
Lachey's jersey.

Dockery...I'm not quite sold on him yet. My only
image is of him standing hear a pile on a running play
rather than jumping into it and driving it forward.

Wide receivers:

Laveranues Coles is awesome. He is fast. He gets
open. He catches the ball. He had at least one big
play and Ramsey missed him on a few plays that could
have been big.

Rod Gardner........ I dunno. He had some drops. He
had a dumb false start. He gave up on a route -- says
my friend who was watching the NE feed at the same
time that I was watching the Washington feed -- on a
play that ended up being an interception.

Jacobs. He made a very athletic play on a ball that
ended up being ruled -- correctly -- as an incomplete

Johnson. Some great plays and some terrible plays.
Patrick had some big catches, including a
decent catch and run on a wide receiver screen and
some medium-deep stuff. He also muffed a punt and
dropped a touchdown. All in all, he was the most
noticeable receiver in the second half, though he did
not dominate. I am not convinced he is better than

Russell. Did not play.

McCants. Did not play.

Cloman. Caught a ball without getting injured. He
didn't really do much until late in the fourth quarter
when things are meaningless. If he is eligible for
the practice squad, perhaps it would be good for him.

Flowers. He was Hamdan's favorite target, which is to
say that he was playing against CBs who will be
working at Bernie and Phyl's next month.

Woodcock. He also had a couple of nice plays against
scrubs. I wouldn't get too excited, though.


Overall: Trouble on the defensive line. The score
was closer maybe than it should have been because the
Patsies seemed to want to work on their passing game.
Looks like Noble is done for the year. Unofficial
word is dislocated patella and ligament damage.

Line: The tackles were not good. When Noble was in
there, he got knocked on his rear on a touchdown run.
Attempts to run up the middle were, well, successful,
but the Pats didn't seem to want to do too much of

Bruce Smith got some nice pressure on the QB.

Ladairis Jackson did pretty well against second

#71 Cecere had a nice play against scrubs.

#95 Cannida is not in shape. He was very exhausted.


LaVar Arrington will make the team. He should not be
playing much in preseason, lest he brain himself while
tackling somebody. He nonchalantly roughed up a
Patriot, who was heading full speed upfield, by
grabbing his shirt and tossing him to the ground.

I think Mitchell got the start over Trotter though I
didn't see anything noteworthy from either of them.

Armstead had a nice pass deflection.

Among second teamers, #52 Lemar Marshall was most
noticeable. He made some nice plays on special teams
(though he should have fallen on a fumble rather than
trying to run with it) and on defense.


David Terrell may be a hard worker and a nice guy. He
may not be. He definitely is not fast enough to be a
starting free safety. The Pats offensive touchdown
was a bomb to David Patten while we were in a zone
defense. Bauman had the short coverage and he handed
off to Terrell. Terrell simply couldn't react in time
to get a jump on Patten who was already at full speed.

Another 'Skins fan in the bar suggested that Ohalete
start at strong safety and that Bowen move to free

I have no real observations of Bowen.

Ohalete had a nice pass deflection on what seemed sure
to be a big play.


I don't remember anything about Bailey. I guess that
is good.

Smoot got torched on a first down pass inside the 20
yard line. He gave the receiver (Patten?) a big
cushion and backpedalled at the snap. He ran a
shallow flag pattern, keeping Smoot in front of him at
all times. Smoot couldn't close in time to prevent
the completion.

I remember that Bauman did something good, but I can't
remember what it was.

I don't recall anything from Alex Molden. The
Patsies' 2nd string QB was so bad, though, and their
players dropped so many passes that it was hard to
even notice the Redskins.

Special Teams:

Overall: I like the kicker. Coverage needs work,
though I wouldn't panic yet as some players involved
today will obviously be cut.

Punting: Bartholomew will get cut tomorrow, and so
there is no reason for me to know his first name.
Barker was flat-out better. It is that simple.

Kicking: John Hall was good. He had a nice 47

Coverage: Up and down. Giving up KO return
touchdowns is bad.

Returns: I am impressed with Morton as a return man.
He appears to be close to breaking it on his returns.

More thoughts.

I want to see Betts out there before I make up my mind
completely on the RB battle. If we do not keep
Watson, we need to get something for him in a trade.
If we can't, I think he is too good to give up for
nothing. I'd rather cut a WR and keep him on the

On WR, Cloman, Woodcock, and Flowers are training
camp flashes. They weren't dominating, and, a
second-half preseason WR better be dominating if he
wants to make the team. If I had to make up my mind
right now, I would keep McCants, whom I trust to get
open and catch the ball as a #4 receiver over Russell
who didn't play and Johnson who was inconsistent.
More evaluation is needed, and the top six should
survive the first cut. At least five should make the
final roster.

Spurrier wasn't gunning to win this game at all costs,
and that's fine. Last year, he would have tried
harder to win. This time around, he kept things more
conservative, and even stuck in the untested rookie
for the potential game-tying drive.


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Postby SkinsChic » Sun Aug 17, 2003 6:37 pm

I would keep McCants, whom I trust to get
open and catch the ball as a #4 receiver over Russell
who didn't play and Johnson who was inconsistent.

AMEN !!! Talked to Darnerien after the game. He's hoping to practice Monday and be in the game on Saturday against the Ravens (Buzzards). I sure hope so - he needs to show his stuff and stay on the team !!

Hip Hip Hooray!!!

Joe Gibbs: Terri has a very good eye for talent.

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Postby BossHog » Sun Aug 17, 2003 8:05 pm

I think we have to keep McCants... he's IMO the best replacement for Gardner by far (if Gardner was to get injured). McCants is a fairly big body and will go over the middle for the tough yards.

He needs to get into a game and make a couple of good catches though... because Cloman is a big body too and he's really impressed some people. Cloman can sit on the practice squad though, wheras I'd be worried McCants would be snatched up. McCants' experience, while little, is more than Cloman's and would come in handy if he did ever need to spell Gardner for any extended period.

Besides SkinsChic loves Darnerian...

... and that's good enough for me. :wink:

Regardless... I think that if the o-line can gel a little and give P-Ram some time, this WR corps is going to burn up some yardage. Coles has already had two loong gains in limited action in the preseason.
Sean Taylor was one of a kind, may he rest in peace.

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Postby BossHog » Sun Aug 17, 2003 8:06 pm

Thanks for the great summary Phil.

Sean Taylor was one of a kind, may he rest in peace.

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The Lachey line had me rolling!

Postby skinsfanno9 » Mon Aug 18, 2003 8:30 am

Pita Elisara should not be allowed to wear Jim
Lachey's jersey.

I'm still rolling over this. Yeah, maybe Lachey didn't play long enough for us to unofficially "retire" his number but jeeze, can't we have a threshold for guys to meet prior to them taking that number (or Kevin Ware wearing about not waiting for the body to get cold!)?

Overall: Another messy game. When Spurrier says they are not like a well oiled machine right now, I think he is making the understatement of all time. They look like a GM factory in the early 80s - they pay no attention to detail and let things fall through the cracks in all phases of the game. Penalties, dropped balls, missed assignments on coverage and pass blocking, poor special teams play - all these things have the look of a team that is NOT ready for prime time. Hopefully this is just preseason issues, but it does look remarkably like the problems we had last year...

I would really like to see some continued action (Similar to the Robert Royal start last week) showing that Spurrier does not put up with the penalty nonsense. Guys that are marginal that made lots of penalties should be cut this week.

QBs: I actually was really impressed with Rob Johnson, he has improved immeasurably since the first two weeks of training camp. I am now not convinced that our season will be over if Ramsey goes down. Yes he holds onto the ball too long and still makes dumb decisions, but he actually looks like he has a clue what he is doing and does have a good arm. I also liked that Danny did not play. I don't see any signs that Spurrier is planning to play musical QBs this year. Ramsey looked more up then down (at least when he wasn't being hit). Unlike his interview comment, I see no signs the Oline will be turning him into a sissy anytime soon. He seems to be able to shake off the hits pretty well still.

RBs: I agree, I want to see Betts before calling Trung the champ. I disagree on Chad. I want to see more of him, and still think he could be a really good third down back (assuming he learns how to catch the ball). But Wow! Go Rock! Cartwright looked great, but Johnson really can give awesome blocks.

Oline: Dave Fiore seemed to get beat more than I would have liked to see. And I must say I did not like Wilbert Brown's keystone cops imitation at center the first drive. I rewound the tape a few times and thought Dockery did lots better this game, especially in the run blocking. Brad Badell from the scrub squad also looked ok.

Dline: Not much to say here, we know the problems. They did get pressure every now and then though. Cecere and Jackson looked ok.

WR: I am seriously wondering if Patrick Johnson will be cut this week. He dropped a kickoff and a TD - NOT good form when trying to make the team. He has consistently been the training camp second in the rotation on all Punt/Kickokff receptions and I thought he really would make the team here - his performance did not help him. It would send a good message to the rest of the team if they did cut him - mistakes should not be tolerated. I would agree that we give McCants a chance to shine - he's a known commodity and does catch the ball under pressure (and Skinschic knows him). We seem to have lots of Matrix-like "potentials" on this team (I think we need to cut like 6 WRs), but I agree they pale in comparison to our top guys.

Special Teams: In the words of the Queen, "We are not impressed." I'm not interested in hearing how all these guys like Marshall and so forth are really good on special teams when we get one run back 98 yards and another like 40 some yards. We stunk here. We also didn't seem to open many holes for Chad on our coverage - he looked good but he had so little to work with. The only nice part was seeing a real kicker for a change. I AM NOT sold on Barker but he really looked excellent that day.

DBs: I agree that Terrel might not be starting anymore, and probably deserves not to. I really liked Oyalete last year - he's a gamer. Bauman looked pretty good too.

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Postby Rayskins69 » Mon Aug 18, 2003 8:54 am

Is it just me? We seem to have DL in the backfield before Ramsey gets back there. (With the First String Line) I think this can be attributed to a few problems:

1. The D Line knows we are going to pass
2. Is it me or are the line splits closer, it just seems the pocket is so small.
3. We do a horrible job of picking up blitzes.
4. Ramsey's footwork seems so slow and choppy (he never looks comfortable)
5. Spurriers desire to throw long.

The offense just never seems to be on the same page, it seems like a small miracle when we actually get the ball snapped, have no penalties, the QB gets no pressure and we hit a Wr in stride. This almost never happens.


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Postby learnnew » Mon Aug 18, 2003 9:00 am

Great summary skinsfanno9. Lets hope Spurrier does somethings drastic enough to bring in some discipline. Or else, prepare for another long season of missed opportunities. It would be such a shame if a great offensive mind like Spurrier fails at NFL cause he can't get his players coached up to play his schemes properly. Come on, lets see some roster trimming!!!

Go Skins! For 10-6 or higher!

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