The associated press
August 26, 2008
The 47-3 whipping laid on the Washington Redskins by the Carolina Panthers not only made everyone more humble when practice resumed Monday — it also produced two divergent methods of dealing with it.
Coach Jim Zorn, who had planned on not using his offensive starters in the final preseason game Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, has changed his mind and will have them play probably one series so they won't go into the regular season on such a bad note.
"I think it's good to go back out there," left tackle Chris Samuels said, "so we can just wash that out of our memory."
Defensive coordinator Greg Blache thinks otherwise. He wants his players to stew over the egg they laid Saturday night in Charlotte, where his first-teamers allowed 31 second-quarter points. Asked if he was going to make his starters play Thursday, he gave a very quick: "No."
"They did it," Blache said. "We're going to let them leave it in their mouth as long as they can."
As always, Blache's assessment of the game was quite colorful.
"I thought we stunk up the joint," Blache said. "I thought we looked like a bunch of drunken cowpokes trying to do a Texas two-step with one leg. It was ugly."
The Redskins open the regular season earlier than usual — they're playing in the Thursday night league opener vs. the New York Giants next week — so playing the starters against Jacksonville increases the risk of an injury that affect the first game that counts for real.
But the offense really could use a confidence-booster. The offensive line's play was particularly troubling, with four sacks allowed in the first half, and the collective poor play wasn't easy to diagnose.
Are the linemen getting too old? Are they still having trouble learning Zorn's West Coast passing scheme? Were they affected by the sad news last week that the daughter of position coach Joe Bugel had died of cancer? Did they just have an off night? Zorn, using a word that would make any lineman cringe, said the pass blocking was "soft."
The starting five is a proud veteran group — all are in their 30s — and they gave no excuses Monday after a chewing-out session from Bugel.
"You could call it humble pie," said right tackle Jon Jansen, who sprained his foot in the game and could miss a few days of practice. "You can't print what I'd call it. I think maybe it's a gut check for us to say maybe we need to start focusing a little more on the details. Obviously we're upset about it, but I'll tell you one thing: I may happen to us once, but it's not going to happen to us twice. We won't allow it. Buges won't allow it, and that's not something we're going to make a tradition."
Samuels had the most embarrassing moment, when he was bull-rushed on a highlight-reel play by Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers. Peppers actually pushed Samuels into quarterback Jason Campbell, causing a fumble.
"My hands were wide," Samuels said. "That's something I learned in elementary school way back when, tight hands win, and I didn't do that on that one particular play, and he took advantage of it."
Samuels knows the replay will be shown again and again, with hardly a mention his five Pro Bowl seasons.
"That's the story of my life as an offensive lineman," Samuels said. "You can block a guy 55 times out there, but that 56th time, if he gets by and gets a sack, he had a great game and you didn't. It's as simple as that."
NotesThe Redskins made two more cuts to get the roster to 65. LB Matt Sinclair, who has been experiencing back problems, was waived-injured. WR Burl Toler was also released. ... S LaRon Landry (hamstring), the only starter on either side of the ball not to play in preseason, took part in the full practice Monday and pronounced himself "about 93 percent" healthy. He will not play Thursday. ... DE Jason Taylor (knee), CB Byron Westbrook (ankle), T Todd Wade (ankle), TE Jason Goode (toe) and Jansen did not practice. ... The punting duel between veteran Derrick Frost and draft pick Durant Brooks still isn't decided. Zorn said both will punt in Thursday's game. "It's coming down to the nitty-gritty," Zorn said.
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