ESPN's Review of the Skins

Archive of our daily coverage of the Washington Redskins' 2003-2007 Training Camps.
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ESPN's Review of the Skins

Postby EA7649 » Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:05 pm

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/trainingc ... id=2546843

I think should belong in his section if not move this into the Hog Wash. I think gave a pretty good review. This story is all about Sean Taylor or should I say "Sean Meast" Half Man Half Beast. On ESPN's front page there is some Insider spots and I'll post them on this thread.


Here's the link to a poll about the Skins.

http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/sportsnat ... nt_id=2346
Last edited by EA7649 on Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby EA7649 » Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:13 pm

Here's the insider part: http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/training ... id=2546899


ASHBURN, VA.  Five observations on the Washington Redskins based on their Aug. 10 practice:



1. Probably the best measure of how the Redskins' new-look offense is coming along under new associate head coach Al Saunders is how it's faring against Washington's defense, among the league's best the past two seasons.

So? "It's been a good battle," outside linebacker Marcus Washington says. "I'm not going to declare a winner. I'd like to be biased and say the defense. But they compete. And if you can compete against us you can compete against anybody."

Saunders' scheme is sure to keep other teams' defenses on their toes more than the Redskins' offense did in its first two years with Joe Gibbs calling the shots. Defensive players notice how much more shifting the Redskins do now before the snap, which makes it difficult to set the defense and draw a bead on what the offense is doing. The scheme also does a good job of disguising plays, and the ball is coming out of the quarterbacks' hands more quickly, Redskins' defensive players say, making it difficult to pressure the QB.


"And the thing is," says cornerback Shawn Springs, "if you do commit to pressure, you've gotta be ready to put your cornerbacks on an island against three or four good receivers [Santana Moss, offseason pickups Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El, and David Patten]. It's like what do you do? And if you spread out, they run it with Clinton [Portis]."


Saunders also has added something of an attitude to the Redskins' offense. The Redskins believe they're going to be explosive. The ball was flying all over the field in Thursday afternoon's practice. Clearly Saunders is having fun with all his new toys. The Redskins, if they're able to stay healthy, should be one of the more complete teams in the league this year.


Chris Cooley
Tight End
Washington Redskins

Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
71 774 7 10.9 32 483


2. Much the way Tony Gonzalez and Priest Holmes starred in Saunders' offense in Kansas City, it looks like the stars of the Redskins' offense are going to be Chris Cooley and Portis.

Cooley by all accounts is having a great camp. He had a breakout season last year with 71 catches, but he and Moss were the Redskins' only real threats in the passing game. Now with Lloyd joining Moss on the outside and Randle El in the slot (by the way, Lloyd and Randle El, too, have performed as advertised in camp), Cooley should have lots of room to operate over the middle and underneath. Even with all their weapons, the Redskins spread it around in this scheme, so Cooley could have an even bigger year receiving.


Portis wasn't a really big part of the passing game last season, with 30 receptions. He's never had more than 40 in his four-year career and has only four receiving touchdowns. The plays the Redskins ran for Portis in practice Thursday look a lot like the stuff Holmes used to do in Kansas City, like the swing-screen where Holmes would have a convoy of linemen leading him down the sideline. Portis broke that play for a big gain Thursday.

Portis says he also prefers the runs in Saunders' schemes. Simply put, instead of trying to get everyone blocked the way the Skins' offense used to (which is difficult), now the idea is to get a fit on the key guys up front and leave it to Portis to make a safety or corner miss in the open field. And besides, with all the threats in the passing game, it should be rather difficult, as Springs alluded to, for defenses to key on Portis or any one Redskin for that matter.



3. Washington's defense has been one of the best in football the past two seasons under assistant head coach/coordinator Gregg Williams, ranking ninth in 2005 and third in '04. With their offseason additions, expect the Redskins to finish among the league's best again this year.
Washington has had to overcome lots of injuries on defense the past two years, but Williams believes this time his unit is more prepared thanks to its individual versatility. He acknowledges taking a page out of the New England Patriots' book.


"We've got DBs that can play linebacker positions [Sean Taylor, Adam Archuleta], defensive ends that can play linebacker positions [offseason pickup Andre Carter, who's looked great in camp], linebackers that can play defensive end positions [Washington rookie Rocky McIntosh], ends that can move inside and rush [Demetric Evans, Phillip Daniels, Renaldo Wynn]" Williams says. "When you're battling health problems, don't whine and complain. You still have to put a solid defense out there. When you have players who are flexible and can adapt it helps in time of injury."

And certainly it doesn't hurt that the Redskins' defense is being tested daily by Saunders' offense.

4. It's been said plenty of times but it bears repeating: What an advantage the Redskins have with all the money Daniel Snyder is able to spend on his coaching staff. With all due respect to all the fine coaches throughout the league, it's not even debatable who the best-coached team in the league is.

Gibbs' job now is to act as a CEO, keep the pulse of the team, and be the master motivator he is. He can just focus on the Bobbys and Joes. The other guys can handle the X's and O's. Washington has two of the NFL's best offensive and defensive minds in Saunders and Williams, respectively. Both have head coaching experience. Joe Bugel is still coaching the line. Williams now has two former defensive coordinators, Greg Blache and Jerry Gray, on his defensive staff.


Williams says he's never seen Gibbs this relaxed. And Gibbs' lack of ego in stepping back to let Saunders run the offense has had far-reaching effects inside the Redskins' facility. "How can any of us not do the same thing and take one for the team when he asks us?" Williams says. "We have to because we know he'd do it. He's done it. That's what good leaders do."



5. This is clearly a team that has all the pieces in place -- on the field and on the sideline -- to make a Super Bowl run to match another "Offseason Championship" for the franchise.

But Portis says the Skins themselves aren't buying into the hype.


"We're not giving in to it, the bandwagon riders," Portis says. "The first year, when Coach Gibbs came back, we got caught up in the hype and we got our [tails] kicked. Last year people wrote us off [when Washington started 5-6]. We all know how quickly the outside world can change. We just have it in our minds in that locker room that anything less than a Super Bowl and we'd be cheating ourselves."


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Postby Redskin in Canada » Sat Aug 12, 2006 4:19 pm

Great read I liked the last paragraph which quotes Clinton Portis. Pretty nice. We will be ready to play some football on -both- sides of te ball.
Daniel Snyder has defined incompetence, failure and greed to true Washington Redskins fans over the last decade. Stay away from football operations !!!

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