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Less than the sum of their parts

Sep 14, 2009, 8:15 AM EST

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Osi-TD-vs-Skins

The Washington Redskins game against the New York Giants was like a continuation of the preseason, at least the Redskins’ side of things. The play was ragged, there were moments of confusion, even moments of mind-boggling stupidity (I’ve been watching football for over 40 years and I don’t ever remember a quarterback attempting a real forward pass, not a lateral, three yards past the line of scrimmage).

There is one difference, however, between yesterday and the preseason. As they would say in elementary school, this game went on their permanent record.

What went on that record is an inconsistent performance, some good, some bad and a lot that was both good and bad.

In the mixed bag category is the performance of Albert Haynesworth. He played a pretty good game. Brandon Jacobs did not have massive holes through which he could rumble up the middle as he has in years past. On the fourth-down play at the Washington three he stonewalled Jacobs, keeping the Giants from turning the game into an early rout.

But the Redskins aren’t paying him all of that money just to stuff the run up the middle. They are paying him to make the entire defense better, specifically to draw enough attention from blockers to allow the Redskins to generate a consistent pass rush with just the four down linemen. That dynamic did not happen yesterday and until it does the defense will not live up to its potential.

Jason Campbell also was a mixed bag. He threw that mind-boggling pick on second down after already having run to where it would have been a manageable third and five. The strip for six by Osi Umenyiora was on him.

On the occasions where he got into rhythm he was pretty good. He fired the ball in to Antwaan Randle El and Chris Cooley with precision and authority. The drive just before halftime, the one that ended with Hunter Smith’s touchdown sprint
dash
run trot on the fake field goal was excellent. After fumbling a snap, Campbell improvised with a flip to Ladell Betts that was good for 23 yards and then he zipped one to Randle El, who was on the move and got the Redskins down to the Giants eight.

There is time to right the ship. This was a game that most marked up as an “L” when the schedule came out. A series of winnable games coming up in the next month gives the Redskins the opportunity to put this loss in the rear view mirror.

However, they will need to play consistently well and be better than the sum of their parts. Neither of those qualities showed up in the Meadowlands.

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