Akh’s Thoughts: Week 4
Ten thoughts on the skins comeback win against the lowly Tampa Bay Bucs…
1-The biggest story of this game was the bi-polar game that Jason Campbell had. He was simply dreadful in the first half, had a great 3rd quarter, and then was subpar again in the 4th quarter. He was far from the only player on the roster who pulled this disappearing act, but he is one of the most important players on the team, so his performance effects many others(along with his performance being effected by many others). This is what is ultimately frustrating about him: we know he has the tools, and we know that he can be a quality qb, but for some reason he’s just not able to put it all together with any consistency. Barring some miracle, there’s no doubt that Campbell will be with another team after the season(the skins won’t franchise tag him almost for certain) and if there was a young QB with potential on the roster(cough cough Chase Daniel cough cough), then it would be nearing the time when that young guy would play. Its not like Zorn can save his job now.
2-The coaching, again, was pretty poor. Zorn didn’t adjust the offense in the first half and Blache never really fixed the run defense throughout the entire game. The production of the offense in the 3rd seemed more thanks to execution and not calling(color me unimpressed by running the same TE delay screen over and over). The only real change in the offense was the reduction of use of the OT Left Stretch run, and shocker: Portis had a good day running, despite his injury. The Skins still seemed unprepared for the Bucs on both sides of the ball to start the game, and generally looked like they were in a daze until halftime.
3-Something I was struck by watching the game was the total lack of intensity on the Skins’ sidelines—even late in the game when they had to make plays on both sides of the ball. This was especially glaring in the first half of the game, when with every first down and every defensive stop, the team was into it and celebrating. Meanwhile, the Skins looked like they didn’t care either way. Zorn looked the same for Moss’ long TD and Campbell’s strip sack to start the game.
4-Despite Blache’s bluster about changes, the defense was still generally ineffective. I’m positive Blache will point Tampa’s 2/13 3rd down conversion rate(15%), but this was a team with a Qb making his first start(and he was a low round project draft pick) and Tampa’s 3rd down rate prior to this game was 23%, so there wasn’t that much of an improvement. If the Detroit game didn’t actually wake him up about the flaws with his scheme(and he sure sounded like he understood that), nothing will.
4a-The fact that Doughty and Landry were the top tacklers on the team tell me that the first 2 levels of the defense aren’t doing their job.
4b-I would hope that Blache saw Horton play a good game, along with recovering the fumble which ended the game and hope that he realizes that Horton is what the defense needs most: a player who makes plays. I would be fooling myself if I thought he would make any changes.
4ba-I hope Horton didn’t have anything to do with the rant posted on his website this morning.
4c-While he’s struggled at his natural position, a player I would like to see more of is Jeremy Jarmon at DT. He is undersized, but Griff/Golston/Alexander are hardly holding the point of attack in the middle as it is. Jarmon has good quickness and speed for the 2 gap position, and showed play making ability against the Bucs.
5-The running game, despite Portis’ injury, was much improved thanks to a gutty performance by #26. Also, Zorn stopped calling the OT Left Stretch 41 times a game and mixed up a lot of draws, traps and delays. Dockery contributed to this improved run game with a very solid run blocking game all game long. Meanwhile, Ladell Betts needs to stop getting carries and become a pass catcher.
6-The special teams were just atrocious against the Bucs(who aren’t known for their special teams). A blocked XP is unforgivable, and ARE’s punt return issues continue. I realize Smith likes to play starters(for whatever reason) on ST, but its time to shake things up because they just aren’t getting the job done.
7-Another common theme for the skins this year was continued on sunday: the Skins showing up for 1 quarter per game. And its usually the 3rd quarter where the skins bother to make an appearance. This has gotten the skins 2-1 against the dregs of the NFL, but its not going to work during the Philly/Dallas/Atlanta/Denver/New Orleans stretch of the season, against teams that will rack up the points while the skins wake up. This is as big an indictment of Zorn’s leadership as there is on the field.
8-Did Jim Zorn improve his job security thanks to this win? Absolutely not. The first half performance was extremely bad, and while they rallied for a victory, it wasn’t particularly impressive(it wasn’t impressive at all actually), and Zorn’s job is still in jeopardy even as soon as the bye week. I agree with ESPN’s report during the pregame that Zorn has to win a playoff game at least to save his job, and right now they aren’t a playoff team at all.
9-I realize that the Skins have a 2nd round pick invested in Devin Thomas, but for whatever reason, he just can’t seem to make a contribution on the field at WR. At some point the skins need to know what they have in Thomas, especially if ARE is going to disappear like he did against the Bucs. And if Thomas can’t contribute due to his problems, then the skins need to see what Marko Mitchell can do as that 4th WR.
10-25% through the season, and its pretty clear that they need to make some changes if they want to survive this season, I have some suggestions for changes to the lineup:
*Demote Devin Thomas, promote Marko Mitchell(put him in the red zone packages)
*Bench Philip Daniels for Brian Orakpo
*Split up Andre Carter’s snap with Chris Wilson
*Sign Levi Jones before Baltimore does to replace Gaither and demote Heyer
*Sign a vet SLB or go with Blades/Chris Wilson at SAM
*Fire Blache, replace him with Jerry Gray.
*Zorn gives up playcalling to someone else.
To make it clearer what the grades mean, I submit to you a legend on how to read the grading:
10: Legendary performance.
9: AP All Pro team caliber performance
8: Pro bowl caliber performance
7: Good, maybe a brain fart here or there.
6: More good than bad.
5: More bad than good
4: I’m looking at NFL.com’s depth chart for who’s behind him
2: Should be starting for the Raiders
1: Opposing fans not only know his name, but openly mock him(and we have creatively snarky nicknames for him)
0: The player must have incriminating photos of his coordinator or position coach(or both)
Pass: the player didn’t play enough to merit a grade.
X WR: Santana Moss 6.1. Great long TD, basically invisible the rest of the game.
TE: Chris Cooley 7.99. A couple bad run blocks, but very effective all game long.
LT: Chris Samuels 6.2. Struggled early, but recovered to have a solid game.
LG: Derrick Dockery 6 flat. Good run blocking, meh pass blocking.
OC: Casey Rabach: 5 flat. Good calls, too many mental errors
RG: Chad Rinehart 3.6. He got pushed back into the backfield way too much
RT: Stephon Heyer 3.7. Better, but too many plays where he just didn’t block anyone.
Y WR: Malcolm Kelly 4 flat. Basically MIA except for a holding call.
QB Jason Campbell 5.01. Great 3rd quarter, terrible rest of the game.
FB: Mike Sellers 6.4. Solid blocking.
RB: Clinton Portis 7.9 . Played hurt and willed the offense at times.
PK: Shaun Suisham 5.2. A couple nice kickoffs, but nothing special.
DE: Andre Carter 4.25 He had a nice hurry of Johnson late in the game, but invisible otherwise.
DT: Albert Haynesworth 5.5. Way too many runs up the gut.
DT: Cornie Griffin 4.5. See above.
DE: Philip Daniels 2.1. Ugly.
SLB Brian Orapko 5 flat. Nice sack, but he needs a lot of work as a rusher. Still a liability at OLB.
MLB London Fletcher 8 flat. Quality game.
WLB Rocky McIntosh 7.1. Solid, but unspectacular.
CB DeAngelo Hall 7.5 Good INT, decent coverage.
FS LaRon Landry 5.45. A good TFL in the red zone, but whiffed too much in the open field.
SS Reed Doughty 5.3. Solid tackling, but didn’t really help the run defense.
CB Carlos Rogers 6 flat. Decent game, but the drops kill him.
P Shaun Suisham 1.2. We need another comically bad backup punter.
Special teams: F