Posted on August 30th, 2007 at 1:10 am by Cheesesteak Hoagie
In a relatively charming turn of events, a loose confederation of Eagles bloggers sent me a mail this morning inviting me to write a preseason preview of the Washington Redskins. The general idea is that each blogger covers a major NFC rival of the Birds and we all post links to the other blogs/ previews.
Sounds like a plan.
Turns out that they managed to gather previews for a bunch of other teams (the Giants, Cowboys, Bears, Niners, and Saints) but no one had gotten around to dealing with the Redskins (or the Nerdbirds, but that’s understandable — no one cares about C@L — go east-coast media bias!). I can see why no one wanted to do the Skins; of the three other NFC East teams, I definitely hate the Redskins the least. (In case you were wondering, I hate the Giants the most, but that’s only because I’ve recently gotten over a residual Cowboys hatred that was directly tied to Emmitt Smith taking off his helmet to celebrate garbage TDs in the fourth quarter against overmatched opponents behind the best offensive line of the 90s.)
Check out the other previews:
Despite my relatively modulated hatred of the Redskins, I still dislike them enough to assemble a snarky preview on short notice. Note — this column contains no predictions. I’m no good at predicting the future. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about the Skins; here we go:
The Most Disquieting Thing About Previewing the Redskins: the nerdlingers over at Football Outsiders — whom I respect immensely in re: these sorts of things — believe that the 2007 Redskins will overachieve w/r/t to their Vegas line for wins (currently 7.5) and will actually win 8.2 games (inasmuch as you can win 8.2 games). What’s more, they think that Washington can host a playoff game. Ummm, really? I suppose that the spreadsheet has spoken, and who am I to question the spreadsheet. I’m not really sure about that part about hosting a playoff game, since they have the the Birds down for 11.0 wins, and only one team can win the division and host a playoff game, but hey, the bigger point is that they think that the Redskins won’t suck (lots of blaming last year on injuries). Consider me half-convinced.
Getting the band back together, and said band is hideously mediocre: did you know that for a two-week period (until this past Monday), the Redskins had reunited crappy/ undertalented former Eagles wideouts James Thrash and Todd Pinkston? That’s right, Trash and Stinkston, together for the first time for the last time (!). While it looks like Thrash might make the team, Pinky got cut this week (and not even at the final cut mark). Sigh. That NFL sure is a cruel place. Remember when these guys were the Birds’ starters? This is what convinced Andy Reid to go get T.O. Bit players in history these two! Bonus trivia question(!): who has appeared in the most career playoff games: James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, or Terrell Owens? Answer below.
I am wildly jealous of LaRon Landry: with Dawk nursing his old-man achilles injury and Considine stinking up the joint, it sure looks like the Eagles could have used a LaRon Landry this past April. This guy is a complete monster and will be doing horrible things to the Eagles for the next 8 years. Our only hope is that he’s (a) crappy in pass coverage like the other big-hitting safeties in the NFC East (which isn’t really the case) or (b) has some sort of unforseen off-field problems that sideline his career. Otherwise, this guy will be injuring Philly players for a good long while. Here’s the obligatory Youtube higlight reel, which won’t make you feel any better about Sean Considine. Now let us all make our peace with that.
The NFL’s second-best online presence: sometimes I think we don’t know how good we have it with the Eagles official site. Just a ton of content up there (especially the videos). I’ll hand it to the Skins, though — they have a pretty tight web site as well. Plenty of video content, cool web accessories (AIM icons, a toolbar, etc., though it’s all from AOL), and plenty of promotional messaging. I guess I should have expected this from the the team that made me pay $20 bucks to park a couple miles down the road (and take a shuttle to the stadium) a few years back.
Check out little Westbrook!: Byron Westbrook, younger brother of Best Player On The Eagles Brian Westbrook, is a rookie free agent with the Skins. He plays corner and looks disarmingly like his older brother Brian. I’m rooting for him to make the Skins, if only because I want to nurture as much karmic goodwill towards the entire Westbrook family as is possible here in the known universe.
And that’s what I’ve got on the Skins. Mostly I hope all of their best players suffer minor injuries in Week 1 (nothing even season-threatening, just tweaked hammies and bruised ribs, day-to-day sorts of things) so that they’re not healthy against the Eagles in Week 2. I don’t think that’s asking so much.
My actual football opinions:
I think London Fletcher-Baker is another player that will make Eagles fans jealous, and that the defense in Washington has to be healthier than last year, which means that this team should be a lot better on defense than they were last year. Of course, they were 32nd in defensive DVOA last year, so it will be extremely challenging to not be better than last year. In 2005, by the way, they were 4th in defensive DVOA. Hmmm. Even if they’re closer to 2006 than 2005, that’s still a big improvement.
I think the offensive line is thin overall but that the tackles are high-end but old. The Eagles also have high-end-but old tackles, but are a TON deeper on the interior of the line than the Redskins (not a lot of blue chippers waiting to play in Washington; more like journeymen and young late-round picks). The Redskins also lost their extremely talented left guard Derrick Dockery to Buffalo. I dunno. That doesn’t feel good at all, even with the Pete Kendall trade (though I like Kendall).
Jason Campbell was fairly average last year, but he looks like he can be a pro quarterback. He’s not going to be a star, but he has a lot of weapons (including a great tight end) and there’s no reason he can’t improve a completion percentage of 53 percent (game slows down with more experience, etc etc). Still, he’ll be lucky to be better than the fourth best QB in the NFC East.
I know he was really sweet in 2005, but I don’t know that I buy that Santana Moss is closer to 3rd (his DPAR in 2005) than 49th (his DPAR in 2006). I’m just not convinced. I don’t think he’s having another 2005.
If you made me guess, I’d say they win seven games, and do not make the playoffs.
Trivia Answer: both Todd Pinkston and Terrell Owens have appeared in 11 career playoff games (but each only caught passes in 10 of those games — for extra credit, try and guess which game that was for Pinkston, though it shouldn’t be that hard). James Thrash has appeared in 9.
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