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Redskins Cardinals First Glance

Sep 17, 2008, 1:08 PM EDT

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In my combined years of blogging, doing a radio show, participating in football pools, and in other venues for predicting the outcomes of football games, I’m pretty sure that I’ve never picked the Washington Redskins to lose to the St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals. While the Cards have had their up periods and the Redskins haven’t spent much time hanging with the NFL’s elites lately, Washington has almost always been the better team in my view.

And even though it seems that the Cardinals are on the upswing and that the Redskins are still a mystery at this point in Jim Zorn’s coaching tenure, I doubt that I’ll go against that trend this time around.

To be sure, I’ve been wrong about my automatic pick on many occasions, some of them very costly losses for the Redskins. A loss in the 1975 game in St. Louis—I’ll recap the Mel Gray game on Flashback Friday—sent the Redskins into a tailspin that knocked them out of the playoffs. Norv Turner’s Redskins may well have made the playoffs in 1996 if not for a loss in a bizarre game at RFK Stadium. Boomer Esiason passed for 531 yards and the Redskins blew a game that they had won on several separate occasions.

However, those losses and some others too painful to recount illustrate the fact that it usually takes a quirk, a bad call, an extraordinary performance from an unexpected source, or some other freak of nature for the Cardinals to come out on top. In other words, things you can’t predict have to happen for the Cards to beat the Redskins.

Kurt Warner having a big day would not fall under the category of things you can’t predict. He passed for 361 yards and posted a perfect QB rating of 158.3 as the Cardinals slapped around the Dolphins last week. My first impression is that the Redskins are solid enough defensively to slow down Arizona’s three-headed passing attack featuring Warner and receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

Take a look at the Cardinals’ depth chart and show me a defensive player that is going to keep Greg Blache and company burning the midnight oil. These guys aren’t even household names in their own households.

It seems as though every year this decade the Cardinals have been the trendy pick to be a “surprise” playoff team. Every year this decade they have failed.

With apologies to Dennis Green, the Cardinals are what I’ve always thought they were. I’m not sure what the Redskins are yet, but I’m inclined to think that whatever it is will be sufficient to beat the Cardinals at home.

  1. Joe in Raleigh - Sep 17, 2008 at 2:48 PM

    Give their defense some credit. They have some nice players like Dockett, Dansby, Berry and Wilson. No one that’s going to be a Jared Allen-style headache, but still some decent players.

    The issue is going to be how we match up with Fitz and Bolden. I’m not sure we can successfully cover both of them. The key, as always, will be getting to Warner.

    I remember the time he came to FedEx was with the Rams. They were ready to put the game away with a TD. Around the corner comes 56. Sack. Fumble. Game.

    Man, I miss Arrington.

  2. Jeffrey - Sep 18, 2008 at 7:02 PM

    Umm, you obviously don’t know a thing about the Cardinals. Adrian Wilson is arguably the best strong safety in the league and is a pro-bowler. Darnell Dockett, a pro-bowler. Karlos Dansby has the talent to easily become a pro-bowler. This defense has speed all over the team and depth along with Clancy Pedergast’s crazy schemes can give teams headaches. 2 seasons ago was a top 10 defense and has only added to the group while losing Calvin Pace who only had 1 good year in AZ.

    One last thing, you also have a short memory. LAST SEASON the Cardinals thoroughly dominated the Redskins in DC but lost because of Neil Rackers inability to hit a field goal. This team is deeper, has a better offensive line, a better run game with the addition of Tim Hightower, more options in the passing game with the emergence of Steve Breaston and Ben Patrick, and the confidence of being 2-0.

    So to say that this is going to be a cake walk for the Redskins is a complete joke. This is the NFL where any given Sunday any team can win, or did you forget that? This is not your father’s Cardinals either. Try watching the 2 games they have played instead of using your preconceived notions of the past, you may learn something.

    And by no way am I saying the Cards are a lock to win, but I think they have a better chance to be victorious than the Redskins do. I will gladly come back here after the game and eat some crow if the Skins win, but I kinda doubt you will if the Cards win.

  3. jeffrey - Sep 18, 2008 at 7:07 PM

    I forgot to add, if anyone wants to respond to me personally I post at azredreport.com under the name azsportsfan01. Send me a message and I’ll respond as soon as I get a chance.

  4. Rich Tandler - Sep 18, 2008 at 10:46 PM

    Thanks for dropping by, Jeffrey. And thanks for the yadda, yadda, yadda about the Cardinals.

    I hear it every year. The Cards are improved, the Cards will be dangerous. And every year they stink on ice.

    That game last year at FedEx is the perfect example. The Cardinals looked better but they lost the game. They just can’t get it done. Scoreboard.

    The Skins haven’t been any great shakes either and nowhere in my blog did I say or infer that it would be a “cakewalk” for them.

    Again, thanks for coming by but your last sentence there is way out of line. I may not get many chances to watch the Cardinals, but you obviously don’t read this blog enough to comment on it. Win or lose, I don’t hide anywhere.

  5. jeffrey - Sep 19, 2008 at 12:10 AM

    No I don’t read this blog. In fact it was the first time I have ever been here. To resond to your comment here that it won’t be a cakewalk, you yourself implided this is your automatic pick which seems to me like it is a game that the Cards have no chance.

    I in no way want to stir things up and I’m sorry if I offended you by saying you won’t respond, I was just basing that on many other blogs I’ve seen in the past. I always enjoy good conversation with other teams. It was just some of the comments you made seemed like you haven’t even looked at the roster.

    I’m obviously hoping for a Cards victory but I do hope both teams play up to the best of their abilities.

  6. Boss Hog - Sep 19, 2008 at 12:31 AM

    I don't know, Rich, it seems to me that the Cards — along with the Saints and the Redskins — are in that same "muddled middle" of the NFL that you always like to talk about. I don't think their improbably pathetic franchise history — and it's worse than most people know, going back to the '30s — has all that much bearing on this year's team, in next week's game. Sure, their putrid history means that I don't like their chances to become a conference power over the next half-dozen years or so, but I don't think it's such a powerful factor that it affects individual games.

    The Cards are similar to last year's team. They have a potentially powerful offense and a middle-of-the-road defense. They should finish somewhere between 7-9 and 9-7, the latter of which would probably be good enough to win the NFC Worst. Their quarterback is hot, and nearly all their starters are healthy. I'd say the Redskins still have a slight edge from home field, etc, but if we don't pressure Warner even more than we pressured Brees (Taylor & Carter need to have their best games yet) we could be in trouble.

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