Chiefs at Redskins Preview

18Oct09

I’ve been avoiding this post for a while and for good reason,its tough to cheer for a Redskins team that has no offensive identity. Or rather, an offensive identity of:

First Down: 1 yard run

Second Down: 1 yard run

Third Down: Sack

Fourth Down: Punt

The Chiefs game will be the last game in the stretch of games that the Redskins will play against winless opponents to start the year. After this, the schedule gets much tougher for the Zornonites. The Redskins play at home vs the Eagles on Monday night that could very well be the last game in the James Arthur Zorn era.

I’ve heard from many sources that the potential starting Offensive Line for the Redskins this Sunday might be one of the worst of this decade.  Our worst lineman going into the year, turtle-arms Stephon Heyer (shown below), has been moved from RT to LT to fill in for the injured Chris Samuels, who might have played his last game in the NFL. Samuels has always been a favorite of mine since he rarely ever complained while playing injured all the time. He will be extremely tough to replace this offseason and as much as I like Brian Orakpo, Ravens first rounder  OT Michael Oher may have been the better pick for our team.

With that said, I don’t think this line will be exploited as it will eventually be by our tougher opponents. The thought of the Giants front seven against this line has given Offensive Line Coach Joe Bugel nightmares I’m sure. Maybe he’ll follow Jim Zorn out the door at the bye week just to save his own skin.

Tyson Jackson. Ron Edwards. Glen Dorsey. Mike Vrabel. Demorrio Williams. Corey Mays. Tamba Hali.

You are the front seven of the Kansas City Chiefs and you are not very good. Vrabel is hardly the player he was in New England and unfortunately for Glen Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, they aren’t playing at LSU anymore. This defense has struggled immensely and if the Redskins hope to add a 3rd win to their record, this is their best chance to do it. The Chiefs defense ranks 27th in the NFL in sacking the opposing quarterback with only 6 to their name right now. Taking into account the Packers (5 sacks) and Chargers (6 sacks) have already had their bye weeks, the Chiefs pass rush is actually worse than 27th.  With that said, I am hoping the Redskins OL is not simply THAT bad that it won’t matter who they face this year. Could this be the breakout game for both Jackson and Dorsey? Possibly, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

As for the Chiefs offense, Matt Cassel must be one of the better quarterbacks of any 0-5 team in history.  Unfortunately, he has been playing with absolutely no running game. Larry Johnson is a complete shell of a player that ran for 1,800 yards twice in a row and we are now seeing why he kept holding out to get a big contract. He knew that running backs have a short shelf life and that he was overworked early in his career and was eager to get his payday when he could. Jamaal Charles, while explosive and dynamic, has never really been an every-down back anywhere he has been. In college, Texas traditionally used a multitude of running backs to keep all of them fresh. Charles may end up as the number 1 on the Chiefs depth chart after this week because I see no other place for Todd Haley to go to avoid LJ’s 2.2 ypc average. Cassel has spread the ball around pretty evenly at KC with Dwayne Bowe, Bobby Wade, Mark Bradley, Sean Ryan, and Charles all receiving within 3 catches of one another. Bowe is definitely the big deep threat and he has picked up his production in recent weeks but don’t discount Wade, who has seemed to make a big catch at the end of games. Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, Sean Ryan is not going to remind any of them of Tony Gonzalez anytime soon and Cassel has been lacking a safety blanket all year. The Redskins, who have an exceptional pass defense, should feast on this and be able to stop their passing attack with relative ease. I expect Cassel to make a few plays with his feet but I doubt that any of them will go for a distance that should worry Redskins fans.

The big worry for Redskins fans (and will continue to be all year), will be whether the Redskins can score enough points to make the defense’s effort worthwhile. The Skins defense will have to put the offense in great field position as it did many times last week but at some point the Redskins will have to have a 70 or 80 yard drive and I am not entirely sure they are capable of doing so at this point. Going into the year, the offense was reliant on a running game that quite frankly, no longer exists. If Vegas put an Over/Under on the longest run of the game between LJ and Clinton Portis at 8 yards, I would definitely pick the under. It is really upsetting seeing what the star running back has become. I understand that the offensive line has been beaten up all year and that might be causing his average to go down, but its obvious to anyone who is watching him play that he has absolutely no burst and gets tackled much easier than he used to. We all knew this day would come, but I was hoping it would come when we had a young stud running back waiting in the wings. It will be tough to give Marcus Mason or Anthony Alridge carries (assuming they are active) because neither of them are very good pass blockers, which is the the most important attribute for a Redskin running back to have right now.

The bottom line is that to win this game, the receivers will have to make plays. After Brandon Flowers, the Chiefs pass defense is not very good. Jason Campbell should have enough time to at least go to his second progression and plays will have to be made by Moss, Randle-El, Cooley, and Kelly. I have not given up hope on Kelly or Thomas because I just simply don’t think Jason Campbell sees the field enough or is able to go through his progressions for them to be judged properly. With that said, it is extremely frustrating watching Fred Davis play football right now. Davis should be able to block while Cooley can go out to catch the ball but because he considers blocking not a part of playing the Tight End position, he can’t be relied on to be put on the field consistently. In fact, if Fred Davis can make a catch and not attempt to hurdle the oncoming tackler this week, I would consider that a success for him for this week. Baby steps.

I think the Redskins will be able to make enough plays on defense to give the offense a short field and they’ll be able to convert some of them into TDs/FGs leading them to a win but not covering the ridiculous 6 point spread. James Arthur Zorn lives to see another week in Ashburn and more speculation regarding his job. And if he loses? I suspect the vultures to be closing in.

Prediction: Redskins 17 – Chiefs 13

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