NFL: Redskins went on strange trip to get to 2-2
ASHBURN, Va. ó So, Jim Zorn, all you’ve got at the one-quarter mark of the season are two narrow, ugly victories over a pair of winless teams. Now your quarterback is saying this might be the way it is, that the Washington Redskins don’t need to be “trying to win games the way people want us to win games.”
Presented with that thought Monday, Zorn mockingly pounded the podium twice with his left hand.
“Oh, great,” he deadpanned.
What a long, strange trip it’s been to 2-2 for Zorn and his team.
ó They’ve arguably played only one good quarter of football all season ó the third quarter of Sunday’s 16-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
ó Their only first-half touchdown came on a fake field goal in Week 1. They’re 27th in the league in scoring (14 points per game) despite a gift of a schedule.
ó Jason Campbell leads the league in fumbles (7) and apologized to his teammates in the huddle Sunday during the first three-interception game of his career.
ó Both wins have come at home, where the fans booed as often as they cheered.
Despite what Campbell and the players are saying about taking wins any way they get them ó and despite the .500 record that appears at least competitive ó Zorn knows it can’t go on like this. After the laughter died down, he emphasized that living with winning ugly isn’t in his wheelhouse, inserting a monologue of self-blame that would make predecessor Joe Gibbs proud.
“I’m not going to accept that possibility,” he said. “I’m just going to keep pushing. It’s my responsibility. I feel like I’m the one that it’s reflecting on as well. It’s reflecting on all of us, but I’m the focal point, and it should reflect on me. But I’m not going to be happy with that, and we’re going to keep pushing.”
Asked to sum up the first four games, Zorn said: “We must get better offensively, all-around.”
No argument there. Campbell’s five interceptions are one shy of his total from all of last season. Clinton Portis is averaging 3.9 yards per carry and hasn’t reached 100 yards in nine games. The Redskins are getting almost nothing from highly-drafted receivers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas ó Zorn winced, sighed and dropped his head when it was pointed out that Santana Moss was the only wideout to catch a pass in Sunday’s game.
“Some of it, we were just flat covered. Some of it was protection. Some of it was the receiver being able to separate from the defender,” Zorn said. “Not enough at the wide receiver position. I’m not satisfied with that.”
It all came together in three third-quarter series against the Bucs: 42-yard field goal, 17-yard touchdown to Chris Cooley, 59-yard touchdown to Moss. It must be remembered, however, this was a Tampa Bay team that had been giving up 30 points per game.
“We finally scored in the red zone. Hallelujah,” center Casey Rabach said. “I want to be that offense that’s scoring 30, 40, 50 points a game. That would be awesome. But it is what it is. We’re taking wins (however) we get wins right now.”
Washington’s next two games are against the Carolina Panthers (0-3) and Kansas City Chiefs (0-4) before the schedule starts getting dicey. It’s not often a player will say this, but safety Reed Doughty did on Monday: The Redskins have got to beat these weaker opponents.
“We know what our schedule looks like and what games we need to win right now,” Doughty said. “And having some of these games where people are a little bit down on their confidence, we need to take advantage of that.”
Assuming, of course, the so-so victories have given the Redskins sufficient confidence themselves.
Editor’s note: In May, the Post published a story about Jacob Pace and his Salisbury High School DOVE (Developmental Occupational... read more