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Bold Predictions Redskins vs. Cardinals

Dec 9, 2005, 8:19 AM EDT

I’ve been following the NFL since 1967 and I’ve never wanted anything that the Cardinals had, either in St. Louis or as Phoenix or Arizona. Until now, that is. Here is the artist’s rendition of their new stadium, which will finally open next season:

No, it’s not the retractable roof. I’m not real wild about those contraptions. Besides, it looks like when it’s open that the sun will shine on the field in disruptive patterns like you find at Texas Stadium.

The cool thing is what you see sticking out in front of it, the retractable field. Yes, a retractable field. From the brochure describing the stadium:

The first completely retractable field in North America, it will be positioned inside the stadium on game days to offer the preferred natural-grass playing surfact for football and outside the stadium for the remaining 350+ days of the year to receive sunlight and watering. The field tray will be powered by electric motors mounted on steel wheels rifing on tracks embedded in the concrete floor.

Now that’s cool. You don’t have to use fake grass and still have your semi-dome. It just goes to show you what you can do if someone backs up several dump trucks full of public money for you to build your stadium with. The brochure does note that the Cardinals “contributed” $120 million to the project, which will have a price tag in the vicinity of a half a billion dollars. Mighty big of you, Bill Bidwell. It probably about covered the cost of the retractable field.

The Cardinals’ owner is notorious for throwing around nickels like they were manhole covers. They are under the salary cap every year. For 2006 they are some $30 million under the projected cap. It will be interesting to see if he will put the cash that his mostly taxpayer funded palace into the team or into his pocket. The betting is that the manholes don’t travel far from Bidwell’s pocket.

The Redskins are a game behind a group of 7-5 teams that are fighting for the last Wild Card playoff spot. While it was pointed out here earlier this week that they might be able to afford one more loss and snare a playoff spot with nine wins, this is note one of the games that they can afford to lose. They have to build something called a winning streak, something they haven’t done since the first three games of the season. And you just can’t lose to the Cardinals, one of the worst teams in the league.

Out of the five phases of the game—passing, pass defense, running, run defense, and special teams—Arizona is respectable in one of them, the first one. Kurt Warner is finding Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin often enough to be able to string together four 300-yard passing games in his last five outings. Their special teams play was very good, especially the kicking, until Neil Rackers pulled a calf muscle in practice and wound up on the shelf. But they are dead last in the NFL in running the ball and mediocre at best defensively.

Washington hopes to be able to keep Warner and company off the field and control the clock by running Clinton Portis left, right, and up the middle. Look for them to go with the pitchout to Portis, the play that resulted in his 47-yard touchdown run in St. Louis, a bit more often than they have been.

The Redskins won against a mediocre team on the road last week somewhat easily. The game was not quite as close as even the 24-9 final score would indicate. They should be able to do the same this week. Unlike some times in the past when the Redskins have had the superior team and have gone into Arizona or St. Louis expecting to win easily only to be trapped, they won’t get caught looking past this game.

Redskins 28, Cardinals 14

  1. mbarnes202 - Dec 9, 2005 at 2:07 PM

    Rich,
    I’d like to pick your brain on some behind-the-scenes insight. What’s the deal with Taylor Jacobs? The guy has looked pretty bad as the #2. I was really hoping he’d take to the turf against St. Louis with a couple of games under his belt, but he failed miserably. He seems to have ordinary speed and quickness, and he’s certainly not strong. I suppose he’s got decent hands, and I had heard he was a good route runner, but he seems positively overmatched. Farris actually seems to get better separation more consistently. Why is he struggling so much?
    Also, am I reading too much into Gibbs’ comments if I take his extolling the virtues of Rock so much as a not-so-subtle dig at Betts? Is Betts wearing his welcome out with the coaching staff? (I actually think Betts is a really, really good back, if he could ever stay healthy)?
    Your insight would be appreciated.

    I hope your predictions are right, but causes for concern:
    Arizona has the #1 pass offense in the NFL, and that was done while missing Boldin for a couple of weeks, and he’s back now.
    I don’t trust Walt Harris or Carlos Rogers to always keep the receivers in front of them.
    If you look at the stat lines of the Cardinals’ games, they actually do very well against the run (except against Sean Alexander).
    They’ve won 2 of 3.
    Our defense plays much better at home.

    Your thoughts?

  2. Rich Tandler - Dec 9, 2005 at 9:19 PM

    I saw something about Jacobs during training camp that bothered me and I couldn’t quite put my finger one it. He’s kind of nonchelant (sp?) out there, not lazy by any stretch, but he just doesn’t act like someone who realy wants it. He has a reputation for being a hard worker, but it always appears to me in practice that he’s giving 95% and you practice like you play.

    The other extreme here is Thrash who doesn’t have Taylor’s natural ability but busts his ass and hustles every moment he’s out there. If you could combine Taylor’s ability with Thrash’s hustle you’d really have something there.

    Gibbs has always talked up Rock big time, I wouldn’t read anything vis a vis Betts into that. I’m not sure that durability is a valid rap against Betts; he played in 16 games last year and the year before he was inactive due to Spurrier wanting to have extra WR’s active more than due to injury.

    Your concerns about the game certainly are valid. The Cardinals have always had a propensity to deal the Redskins a loss timed to do the maximum damage.

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