No question about it, we want to see the Rams go 8-8. Cynicism courses through my viens, but even I don't want to finish a season at 6-8 just to gain a couple spots in the draft.
The first step on the Rams' Road to 8-8 is putting a hurt on the Washington Redskins. Now, as a man who lived in DC for two years I have nothing personal against the Redskins. I hated every minute I spent in that city, but the Skins had absolutely nothing to do with it. Besides, they play way the hell out in Maryland.
But who are the Redskins? Two years smack dab in the middle of their market, I still can't put my finger on the essence of that team. Fortunately, two very keen Redskins bloggers are going to help us out today.
First, Brandon from the Redskins site, Curly R answers our questions about the Skins.
Later today, we'll have a special treat to look over the Skins' offense and defense.
Brandon's answers to my questions are below, click the "read more" link to get turned on to the Washington Redskins. You can read my answers to his questions about the Rams over at the Curly R, at this link.
1. Will the Redskins fire Joe Gibbs? Why or why not?
Joe Gibbs is an icon to Redskins fans, and arguably the only non-player in the organization who has any sort of respect from the fan base. Dan Snyder tossed Steve Spurrier back into the college football soup in hopes of restoring some of the franchise's former glory by bringing back Gibbs. I don't believe that the Redskins will fire Gibbs, nor should they, for he is not the problem. The Redskins were mediocre before he came, and they'll be mediocre after he's gone, unless the franchise shifts the focus away from high-priced free agents and returns to a sound draft development strategy.
2. The Redskins pass defense has a league worst 17 sacks and 6 interceptions. What happened here?
You got me. The defensive line isn't much to write home about and the linebackers are constantly pulled back into coverage to prevent the big play. The defense is too wrapped up in stopping the deep ball to focus on pressuring opposing quarterbacks into making bad plays.
3. Give us a look at the Redskins game plan for beating the Rams, both sides of the ball.
I think the Redskins' best strategy is to bribe the Air Force to re-direct the Rams' plane to Andrews AFB and detain the entire team there until Monday morning, forcing a forfeit.
Seriously, on defense, the Redskins need Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers to shut down Issac Bruce and Torry Holt. The front seven need to contain Steven Jackson (good luck) and put pressure on Marc Bulger.
On offense, the Redskins need to get the ball to Ladell Betts and let him work his magic. If they give Ladell his carries they should be able to control the ball and time of possession enough to keep the Rams defense on the field. Jason Campbell will have to continue to spread the ball around to all his receiving threats to keep the Rams' secondary guessing.
4. I know that there were pretty high hopes for the Redskins this season. What went wrong and how are they going to address that for next season?
It's not so much what went wrong as what didn't go right. Despite the lackluster record, the talent is in place for the Redskins to be a legitimate contender for the NFC title. A lack of consistency over the years has hurt this team the most. Each year a new coach or free agent is brought in to be the savior of the franchise, and when it doesn't pan out Dan Snyder moves on to the Next Big Thing. The Redskins need to use the rest of this season and next to find out if Jason Campbell is indeed their man and if he is (I think so) they need to build around him.
5. What are they going to do with 2 starting running backs, Portis and Betts, next season?
That's a very timely question. My blogging partner Ben just produced a lengthy expose on this topic. The obvious answer would be to use them both in a platoon situation. Using both Portis and Betts would keep either one from wearing down over the season and allow the Redskins to become a run-first team like the Steelers. Problem is, Jason Campbell has a heckuva arm on him, and I can't see the Redskins just resigning themselves to running the ball 40 times per game.
If I were in charge, I would shop BOTH Betts and Portis this offseason and deal ONE of them if I got an offer that I couldn't refuse. It's nice to have two talented backs, but sometimes you have to deal from a strength to fix a weakness.