Saturday, September 2, 2006
Redskins figure out ways to say 'So what?' over 0-4 preseason
ASHBURN, Va. -- It's time for the Washington Redskins to bid
good riddance to one of the worst preseasons in franchise history.
"Am I glad it's over? Yeah," coach Joe Gibbs said.
Final score: Opponents 104, Redskins 27. Washington's points
were its fewest since at least 1961, the earliest year for which
team preseason records are available.
The starting offense never scored, never even got into the red
zone. The last of the debacles was Thursday night's 17-10 loss to
Baltimore, when the Redskins' only touchdown came late in the
fourth quarter with only the die-hards still watching.
In the locker room, Gibbs' words were echoed by his players.
Sure, if the team had played well, they would have said that the
preseason was a springboard for the regular season. As it was, the
exhibitions didn't mean squat.
"Nobody really likes preseason," defensive end Andre Carter
said. "But it's part of the game. Now that it's over, the real
bullets fly. Everything you do from here on out matters. Practices,
meetings, film study and the game. It's time to roll."
By now, the stats are familiar. The last time Gibbs went 0-4 in
the exhibitions was 1982, the season he won his first Super Bowl.
Al Saunders, the assistant coach in charge of the offense, has lost
10 straight preseason games, including his last six in Kansas City,
which would appear to back up his statements that he uses the
August games to test certain plays rather than concentrate on
putting together lasting drives.
Quarterback Todd Collins, who came with Saunders from the Chiefs
this offseason, didn't even realize that he had gone winless for
two straight preseasons.
"I don't even remember what we were last season or the year
before," Collins said. "It's just a different perspective on how
to approach the preseason games."
But the question remains: Can the Redskins simply flip on the
switch when they open the regular season Sept. 11 against
Minnesota? The attitude of Saunders and defensive coach Gregg
Williams has been something like: "Yes, we're flunking algebra,
but we'll be able to handle calculus."
But Gibbs isn't as confident, at least not in public. Yes, the
Redskins have been running simplified schemes, but so have the
"Everybody else is doing the same thing," Gibbs said.
"There's no excuse. They're doing the same thing we're doing, and
they end up winning the ballgame."
Still, Gibbs didn't seem particularly upset over his players'
performances, and he made clear his focus all along has been on
Minnesota and the games that follow. The Hall of Fame coach is
usually a master at downplaying expectations, but an 0-4 preseason
has done that bit of work for him.
"The next eight days, we've got a lot of straightening out to
do," Gibbs said. "And we've certainly got to find a way to play
Gibbs said RB Clinton Portis (shoulder) and CB Shawn
Springs (abdomen) are the only players whose availability is in
serious doubt for the opener. "Most of the other guys are ready to
roll," Gibbs said. ... Gibbs gave a vote of confidence to punter
Derrick Frost, who ended what had been a shaky preseason with six
punts for a 47.2 average against the Ravens. "I feel like he stood
up and competed," Gibbs said. "He said, 'I'm the guy." ...
Gibbs also said he will stick with kicker John Hall, who went
1-for-2 against Baltimore and 2-for-4 for the preseason. "John's
our guy," Gibbs said. "We've got a seasoned, veteran guy there."
... S Reed Doughty's baby was born several weeks premature.
Doughty, on the bubble for a roster spot, missed Thursday's game to
fly to Colorado to attend the birth. ... The Redskins must cut 22
players from the roster on Saturday, the NFL deadline for
establishing a 53-man roster.