Friday, October 24, 2008

Trap? This Ain't No Trap: Volume 3, Issue 10

Doodie Browns,
For those of you who've been on me about the late Servs, here's a little Friday special for you. Should be some nice Shabbos Dinner reading for you and your family (I might even throw in a Dvar Torah so you can kill two birds).

A couple interesting points of note.
1) The Skins beat the Brown. Yessur!!! Demons exorcised (lata demons). Don't care how ugly the looked doing it - they got the job done. Braylon Edwards, the Browns so-called Super Star receiver, who openly questioned whether the Skins deserved their playoff spot last year and insinuated that the Browns were a better team, can kiss our collective butts. Braylon Edwards might have the worst hands I have ever scene and he looked scared to catch anything in and around Redskins players. See you in 4 years Brownies, you guys stink.
2) Remember last weeks bit about running on the field? Well two Skins Servers took it to heart. I'll say, I was very impressed with their strategy. Redskins security was not prepared for a two-pronged attack. Both guys were looking pretty good until one got a beat down on the sidelines and one got whipped by Randle El (ARE's first good special teams play of the season). Credit the drunkards for their imagination.
3) Clinton Portis. Clinton Portis. Clinton Portis. The guys is the NFL's darling. Its like a dream come true. Its like every writer in America became Troy Aikman (or me) and realized that Dolla Bill is elite, special, dare I say, Most Valuable. CP got 5,10, 15 and 20 yard chunks last week like they were free with 4 UPC's from the top of Cocoa Puffs. Some folks have been critical of CP for not turning the 20 yarders into 60 yard dingers. Relax - they'll come. This is the first time he's run with so much room since he's been here. He'll start looking for the hanging sliders and hit em' out. I promise.
4) This isn't a trap game. I know people are nervous about this one: the Lions are hungry and winless, so the Skins will take em lightly. Not so much. The Skins had their hiccup against the Rams and are too mature of a team to let down again. And, more importantly, this Lions team might be as bad is it gets ever. There's no Marc Bulger, no Stephen Jackson. Its pretty much 20 shabb footballers, Calvin Johnson and Ernie Sims. Two guys aren't going to beat the Skins. The Lions can't pass, run and stop either on defense. They are constantly playing from behind and give up the worst numbers in the league to opposing RBs and QBs. This means the Skins will pound it on the ground - one 15-20 yard gain at a time - and then will utilize the middle of the field with the passing game. The Skins pass rush will actually get to Aaaron Orlovsky - who'll have plenty of time to think about his next real-estate transaction after being thrown to the ground by Andre Carter and Jason Taylor. And don't worry about Calvin Johnson - according to JLC, all his numbers come in Garbage Time - Carlos will have him on lock down when it counts. If you're a gambling man, bet heavy on the Skins. They'll cover the 7.5 - I think its way too low a line, considering how good the Skins defense has been and how bad the Lions are.

I've really gotten off to an unusual Skins Serv start here. Formatting is all hoekie. My apologizes.

5) My nephew has a blog. Its a must read for any sports enthusiast. The kid's the Damon Bailey of bloggers.

Kol Tuv,


1) Get Healthy or Die -
So even though I've already tipped my hand about my very optimistic prediction for this week, let me say this: the Skins offense has been pathetic and if it doesn't start showing signs of improvement, they'll figure out a way to not make the playoffs. Explain to me how you can have a prolific running attack and get nothing through the air? I don't care what the Skins tell you - they're run heavy, blah blah blah - something is very wrong still with the passing offense. Portis is getting 25 carries and 120 plus yards a game - you're telling me defenses aren't keying on the run? It's a miracle that this o-line is still tearing up holes with Portis getting so much of the attention. So if this is the case, then why the heck can't the throw it down field and score some points? The Big Ole' Elephant in the room exists and its ugly - either the Redskins receiving corps is just terrible (not unlikely) or Jason Campbell still can't consistently find people down the field. I don't want to hear about Zorn going conservative last week after JC tweaked the groin - this passing offense hasn't had any legs since mid way through the Dallas game. Couple things have to change. 1) Campbell's gonna have to take chances (JC gets credit for not throwing INTs, have you ever considered the fact that maybe he doesn't throw picks because he refuses to ever take a chance on the Skins first reads before going to the safe check down?). He's been very efficient, but he's gonna have to start throwing for more yards and start taking some chances if this offense is going to go to the next level. If not, it will continue to stagnate. 2) Devin Thomas is going to have to get a brain (he can have mine - seriously, I'd pull the switch for the sake of the Lombardi trophy). The Skins need this guy so bad. ARE is not a number two receiver - he's a slot/third receiver. Chris Cooley isn't a number two receiver - he's a good pass-catching tight end. The Skins need a good number two to compliment Moss now. No way around it. If Thomas can make strides and pose a threat on the opposite side, defenses will have trouble adjusting. Put the safety in the box? Shade Moss? Drop back in a cover-two? Until that happens, defenses can keep an eye on Moss and continue focusing on CP. Winning scoring 14 is just not a motha flippin option if you want to be a con-ten-duh.

2) Fletcher/Rogers in 08' - A secure national defense -
These two guys have been insane. It is a distinct possibility that the Skins could have the offensive and defensive MVPs of the league (CP and London) and have the NFL comeback player of the year ('Los). Flashback to the Brownies first goal line stand. London, a product of C-Town's John Carroll Uni, made three of the four goal line plays. The first one, a Lavar Leap, took down Jamal Lewis like a Jackhammer into the ground (I personally was schepping nachas). The second one, broke up a play action fake to the TE (Heiden) and the third, as I recall, was breaking up a screen to the weak side. The guy was everywhere. Not sure how he is getting faster and covering more ground as he gets older. Roids? And how about Carlos? The guys coming back from ACL and MCL. And it wasn't like he was particularly good before he got hurt. All of a sudden, he's catapulted into a top-10 cornerback in the entire league. The Skins secondary is without Shawn Springs and they aren't missing a beat. Carlos shut down Braylon in man coverage, he shut down Tory Holt in man coverage and was great swallowing up the Eagles WRs the week before that. I don't know what opposing QBs will do once Springs is healthy. There's no where to throw the ball.

3) Smoooooot - Fred Smoot's also got a bad groin (still lingering effects from the Viking Boat incident three years ago), yet even without practicing a lick last week went out and gave the Skins a solid performance (I think Smoot might be the second best tackler on the team behind Fletcher). Smoot had no plans to play but once Springs went out he had no option. Talk about putting it on the line for the team. Love that guy.

4) Great Portis Stat - More on CP. Why not. I was in the trenches with him in the hard times, I gotta revel some more in this. According to the Elias Sports Bureau (JLC), if CP breaks 120 this week, he'll be the second RB in NFL history (good yichus - the other one is Juice) to rush for 120+ yards in five straight games twice in a career. BTW's - I was so very close to my 200 yard prediction. CP finished with a buck seven five. But he lost 15 on a Mike Sellers hold and probably another 20 because of the late-game fumble. Dude could have pushed 230 probably. Also, if CP keeps running like this, Sellers will get his Pro Bowl birth too.

5) Saadman 4 Pro Bowl - I'd really like to go to the Pro Bowl this year. I've been a fan alternate the past couple of years but think I deserve the nod this year. The work I've put into the Serv (with being in school) plus the tailgates I've banged out despite mid-terms and finals. I gotta be with CP in Honolulu. Call your Congressmen, email Roger Goodell, write in my name in the Pro Bowl ballot.

6) Injuries - No Springs (probably out till Dallas). No Kelly (he's going to IR probably). No Griff (Golston's been amazing and I think Montgomery could fill the void). Smoot's groin will go, Carlos is fine, CP is still nursing the hip but will get his 25, and JC's groin should be fine too. Marcus Washington is finally fully healthy and starting to show signs of 04 (poo poo poo).

7) Prediction - Lions are 27 in total offense and 32 in total defense. Nothing else you need to know. CP finally hits the homer (410 to deep center). Devin Thomas scores too. Why not? Redskins 32 Lions 14


Sunday, October 19, 2008

That's More Like It: Volume 3, Issue 9

Ram Rods,
I hate making this blog all about me. As a pseudo sports journalist and life-long sports enthusiast, I have learned to loathe those folks in the media who make their craft all about themselves while losing sight of the sport that they're being paid to report on. Those who are most guilty of this charge are Chris Berman, Stuart Scott, Tony Kornheiser and Greg Gumbel (to name four DB's). With that being said, I'd be failing all three of my readers if I didn't mention my awful prediction record this year and in years past. For those who haven't done the math, I'm a whopping 1-5 this year in predicting Skins games, and if it were not for a miraculous throw from JC to Tana in week 2, I'd be 0-6. Not surprisingly, my personal 1-5 number is exactly where I would have the Skins right now according to my weekly picks (in my preseason predictions, I had them at 2-4 - not much better). Point is, I'm really starting to believe I might have some prophetic tendencies - more specifically, I might be a reverse prophet. Whatever I say, the exact opposite happens.

Certain Skin Serv readers caught onto this phenomenon quite early, in fact, I have been threatened to get my bum kicked by a unnamed reader (who lives in Israel) if I don't stop predicting Redskins victories. So what should I do? Keep going with my gut and giving you all a chance to make great money on money-line bets (its like shorting a stock)? Or should I start preempting my gut and go with my naturally opposite thought line (like George Costanza)? And what if I guess? Is it really fair that I get blamed for the loss? I guessed!

I think I'm gonna just keep truckin' - I'll get his thing turned around. You guys want to start betting against me, that's your prerogative. One day - yes, one day - it might bite ya in the butt (it could be a while).

I also wanted to give another shout out to myself for making the season's first chili. Another yom tov, of sorts. Rosh Hashanah shel Chili - one last chance to get the all the Al-cheyts in for finishing off your families supply of Tums, not courtesy flushing, and for dutch ovening your wife on winter Sunday evenings.

And back to what really counts - the big one at 4:15 (CBS, national TV). Btw - those of you watching it in DC could have the beginning of the game blacked out because of the Ravens. Unreal right? The entire country gets to watch the Skins while DCers are stuck watching Keanu Reaves led the Baltimore Sentinels. ! I might hate the Ravens more than I do the Cowboys - can't wait to purge those purple pansy poets on December 6th.

This is a huge game. For the Skins, for me, for all Skins Servers. For various reasons that I only get into with Dr. Epstein, I've had this mamma-jamma circled on my schedule for about 3 years now. If there was ever a chance that I run on the field in the middle of a play in order to alter the outcome, it might be this game.

Speaking of which - I saw Leigh Torrence blow that play well before he actually did. While I found that ball in mid-air from my seat in the 7th row, Torrence was still checking out the out of town scoreboard (or maybe the cheerleader just inside the 17 yard line, Ashley, is it? She sure looked good). In hindsight, there was no reason that I personally didn't make a play on the ball (Bulger hung it up forever). The officials, the NFL, Fed Ex Security - they can't do anything about a fan breaking up a play. It isn't challengable. I see the ball, run on the field, make the play, no challenge, 4th down, I get arrested, and I am a living hero in this city forever. My closing speed is awesome right now - I could have made the play. My bad.

Back to my point. Last week the Skins did what they've done every year since 1991 - let us all down. This had Raiders in 05', Titans in '06 and Bills in 07' written all over it. To be honest, besides the collective shart in week 1, this was the most Redskins-like thing the Redskins have done all year. I didn't cry after the game, there was no Monday hangover; as a matter of fact, it felt just right. After five weeks of mental insecurity, I finally felt comfortable again as a Skins fan. How sad is that?

And now, with us and the rest of the nation just as unsure of this team as we were a month ago, the Skins have a chance to go out and make a big statement. Yes the Browns are sub-.500 and yes they've looked like a Pop Warner team at times this year, but just six days ago they looked like one of the best teams in the NFL. The Redskins have a chance to cut off the Browns momentum and calm my fears that the Mistakes might actually be good this year. Besides restoring reality to the NFL, this is also a big game because the Skins cannot afford to give another game back to the division, they cannot afford to lose another game at home, and they cannot afford to effectively squander everything they did in September. A loss would be tragic - seriously. Even without my personal need to catheterize Cleveland, the Skins need this game if they seriously want to vie for the division. The Skins win tomorrow, they got as good a chance as anyone to win this thing, but if they lose, just like '05 and '07, it'll be a four month struggle for the wild card spot. The difference between 5-2 and 4-3 is gigantic (especially before the Detroit game - a team we haven't lost to since the Harrison administration).

And with that official "must win" call, please don't forget that I need this one. It's another four years until we get a chance to beat these clowns again.

Kol Tuv,


1) Run along the Edges - I'd like to take a moment to let everyone know that before this season I decided that I would put 10 dollars away after every Skins game (even I can save money) so that at the end of the year I could buy myself a Clinton Portis pro bowl jersey (knock on wood, poo poo pooo). Even though I have forgotten to actually put the money aside, Kid Bro Sweets hasn't forgotten his end of the deal. Dude is breaking tackles, hitting holes and going from zero to twenty faster than I've seen from him in five years. I'm in heaven watching this guy right now. Tomorrow, just like in the 4th quarter last Sunday, Coach Jenky Spanky is going to have to carry this team. The Browns have a solid front led by nose tackle Shaun Rogers. In order to wear this unit down, the Skins are going to have to get those fat Brown defenders moving laterally. The Skins will do this by running CP off tackle behind Samuels and Jansen while being led by Mike Sellers. The Skins might get stuffed early, but if they stay patient and keep pounding the rock, the Browns line will fade and CP will net some big numbers in the second half. I'm gonna go out on the line and say Portis could go for his first 200 yard game of his Skins career tomorrow (if he goes for negative 200, I'm sorry in advance).

2) Secondary Concerns - CP is also crucial because a good running attack keeps the Browns offense off the field. This Browns unit, which has looked awful early on, came alive Monday night. Unfortunately, the Skins might not have the personnel to match up with them right now. All three Skins corners are nursing injuries and it looks like Carlos Rogers will probably have to play hurt against Braylon Edwards, while our favorite Leigh Torrence (featured in SI's Who's Not) will get assigned to Dante Stallworth. The Skins secondary will also have to be accountable for Kellen Winslow - who will play tomorrow despite enlarged testicles (what do I write to make that any funnier than it already is? OK - ping pong sized? baseballs? basketballs? medicine balls?). Look for Chris Horton to draw the Winslow match-up. The Skins have been great stymieing good arial attacks (Cowboys, Cards, Saints) but that was with a full boat of healthy players. Who knows how Carlos will be and what Smoot can give them tomorrow as the Nickel. Justin Tryon, a key component of this year's draft class (insert laughter here) might get on the field tomorrow - a scary thought considering he had no business being on the Skins pre-season roster.

3) Pressure - As I discussed last week, the Skins lack of front-four pass rush is starting to hurt them. The Skins did send some secondary blitzes last week to compensate for a lack of pass rush, but those attempts failed. Carter and Taylor were nowhere to be found last week, and if these guys don't get better soon, the secondary will get exposed. Tomorrow is a great day for our ends to show up - if they can get a hand on Anderson, he'll make a mistake. Anderson is playing on the road with the pressure of being benched permanently, the Skins need to pounce on his vulnerability.

4) Receiver Issues - My biggest problem with this team is our lack of weapons on the outside. Opposing coordinators are taking Santana Moss out of the offense and challenging the Skins to get big plays somewhere else. It isn't happening. ARE doesn't look right, Devin Thomas can't get on the field, and Malcolm Kelly is one sniffle away from IR. Chris Cooley is great but he isn't a number two threat. Like in past years, teams are going to start stuffing 7 and 8 men in the box while keeping an eye on Moss - if the Skins can't combat that by hitting some down field plays with their other guys, this offense will hit a wall fast. Even my dear Dolla Bill will be held in check. Tomorrow the Skins need to come out looking to establish the pass early with some of the other guys, which will then force the Browns to play coverage. If they can do that, things will take a much better course. If not, it might get ugly.

5) Turnovers - Turnovers are fluky, they're heart breaking and for the first month of the season we Skins fans forgot all about 'em. Well thanks to three mental lapses, we remember now. The Skins had no business losing to the Rams and besides for the three mishaps, actually outplayed the Rams on both sides. Means nothing if you can't hold on to the ball. Can't happen again - I just pray the Skins win enough that we don't have to look back on the season and curse Pete Kendall. He's a good guy with a nice family. Poor fella.

6) Remeber '04 - Gibbsies first year - the Skins win the first and then drop two close ones to NY and Dallas. Well the tailspin continued in C-Town. The Skins took an early lead with some nice Brunell to Coles hook-ups but eventually faltered at the hands of Lee Suggs. That was an awful Browns team, and despite our eventual 5-11 record we had no business losing to them then, just as we have no business losing to them now. Lets do this.

6) Injuries -
Assume Springs is out. Assume Carlos will play. Smoot won't be a factor. Jason Taylor still has calf issues and I'd wish the Skins would let him heal but he'll be out on the field and probably be ineffective. Portis didn't practice most of the week with a hip flexor, but I still think he gets 25 carries. Sean Alexander is slated to back up CP - look for the Brown to blitz on Alexander downs and look for #35 to be on the bench quick when he doesn't pick up those blitzes. Betts is done for a month. The Skins o-line is banged up but it looks like Hands Kendall and Samuels will go.

7) Prediction - I think Zorny gets these guys ready to play. The Skins defense will continue bending but not breaking, and the offense will be fluid, not spectacular. The Skins will eat lots of clock, cause some timely turnovers and overpower the Browns along the lines - just the way the did against the Cowboys and Eagles. No let down tomorrow. I'm bringing it and so are they.
Redskins 28 Browns 17


Sunday, October 12, 2008

What the Heck is Going On? Volume 3, Issue 8

Eagle Eaters,
Three major things I need to address before kick off. One, the Skins are good. For those of you who've known this since week 1 at the Meadowlands - good for you, Nostradamus. For those of you, like myself, who needed four weeks of empirical evidence - well we got that too.

Two, I decided last night that cautious optimism is bologna. I don't understand what I was thinking over the last month when I wrote to you all that I was "cautiously optimistic." Either you think they're good or you don't. Cautious optimism is for coaches, its for Zorny - to make sure his players stay "medium"... whatever that means. I have no responsibility to keep readers of Skins Serv honest. You guys aren't suiting it up on Sunday. You're not running out of the tunnel. You guys are going to be sitting on your butts watching a game - it makes absolutely no difference if I have you have proper mental prep for the experience or not.

I'm sorry. I saw the Skins stink in the pre-season and I saw them stink against the Giants - that was enough for me. I thought they stunk. And now that they've dominated two of the supposed best teams in the NFL - I think they're good. Was I wrong? Yes. Do I care? Nope.

And now that I have decided that they're good, I'm gonna run with it. And why not - lets just embrace it while we can. Can you imagine being "cautiously optimistic" for an entire season? And lets say that season turns out to be a glorious one. Are we, as fans, going to look back and say "good thing I was even-keeled for that Super Bowl run - I can't imagine what the Skins would have done if I got too excited at any point during the year." Haha - no! You're gonna shoot yourself for not being as emotionally involved and unhealthily hopeful as possible. These kind of special years happen once a yovel - a fan can't take any chances. Am I saying the Skins are going to the Super Bowl - no way. But I am saying that you might as well start dreaming about it (just in case they actually do). Permission to dream granted.

Third point - this week is no gimme. Five people in this world really scare me. Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson, Tory Holt, Al Saunders and Javier Bardem. No matter how much this team is in disarray, not matter how many points they've given up, they still flaunt three pro bowlers and one angry offensive coordinator - and Bardem's just flat out scary. If there's anyone who knows how to score on the Redskins defense, its probably the guy who's been practicing against them every day for the last two years. Saunders knows every flaw of our defense and every defensive player's tendency. He'll exploit it. And don't think the anger factor isn't a part of this - every Ram knows how Danny boy ran Saunders out of town. They'll come to play tomorrow.

Back to point one for a second. The Skins are legit good. 4-1 with three winnable games coming up. Close your eyes and imagine the feeling of having a 7-1 Redskins team host the Steelers on Monday night football in early November! If by that point the Titans and Giants lose one, the Skins will be the consensus best team in football. Crazy? Not that so. The Skins have shown dominance in every facet of the game over the last month (except punting). If they don't hiccup, they'll be the NFC Super Bowl favorite before too long. Are we gonna get burned because I'm drinking the Kool Aid? Because cautious optimism is chilling somewhere with Maurice Clarett, Ray Finkel and Ray Guy? Lets find out. Its early October and the Skins are 4-1. It's time to start tansin' a little bit.

Kol Tuv,


1) The O-Line -
It's getting late and a big tailgate awaits, but I need to show some appreciation for, and apologize to, the Skins o-line. I hope in the days after Yom Kippur, they'll grant me some forgiveness. These guys are still old, but man have they been effective. Since Jon Jansen's replaced Stephon Heyer at tackle, this line has shown power and aggression in the run game. I know a lot of it has to do with play calling and keeping defenses guessing, but have you ever seen Clinton Portis work with such big holes? Since he's been in DC, poor Dolla Bill's had very little to work with - eight man fronts, unimaginative play calling and injured o-lines. Now CP runs behind a healthy, re-inspired group that is blowing up younger, quicker defensive units. What might be more shocking than the Skins winning two in a row in Dallas and Philly is that CP went over 100 in both games - something he hasn't done at Dallas and at Philly in the same year since he's been here. Of course Dolla Bill's running like the Dolla Bill we know and love, but a lot of credit has to go to Samuels, Kendall, Rabach, Thomas and Jansen. Watching them perform has been a thing of beauty.

2) The Pass Rush - I know I've been sounding like the eternally optimistic old-school Scoots, so I'm gonna turn the tables for a sec and say that the Skins 4-man pass rush could be what breaks them this year. Remember the Giants? Remember how they ran the table by having the best four-man front in the playoffs last year. The Skins aren't close to that yet and if they don't improve, some QB with weapons is going to sit back there and pick them apart - no matter how good a scheme Greg Blache has to cover up the front-four's flaws. In good news, Jason Taylor returns tomorrow. He can give the front four a significant boost and maybe help revive Andre Carter, who, except for last week, has been very quiet this year. The Skins need to start hitting QBs,and there's no way around it.

3) Zorn - Zorny's been masterful under the headset thus far. Since the Meadowlands debacle the guy hasn't called a bad play. He's keeping defenses honest with his balance of pass and run, he hasn't shown any tendencies on specific downs and he keeps on changing strategy and formation in the red zone. It is so telling that CP keeps going into the end zone untouched. It shows how confused defenses are and how Zorn continues to baffle opposing d-coordinators who never seem to make the right call against us. My only concern is that defenses will catch up to Zorn. They'll watch tape, study tendencies, and run some derivatives (whatever that means) - with enough to study, they'll figure something out. That is unless if even Zorn doesn't know what Zorn's going to do - in that case, we're safe. Seriously though, its analogous to a rookie pitcher who's gone around the league once or twice - teams pick things up. Hopefully nobody in the NFL figures things out for at least a year. Keep it fresh, Zorny, keep it fresh.

4) Campbell - Moxy. Good ole' moxy. I don't even know what that word really means besides the fact that it rhymes with Oxy and it illustrates everything Jason Campbell has done over the last month. Pure Moxy. Jason Moxy Campbell. The dude is composed, he's poised - he's "medium." The guy's tone hasn't changed - through the rough start and this amazing run - he's just so calm. Some, like me, were concerned that Campbell's nature can be construed as apathetic; that maybe he needs to be a bit more fiery on the sidelines. I guess I was wrong... again. Campbell has used his unflappable nature to make amazing decisions, to limit (eliminate) turnovers, and lead this team to victory. He's avoiding sacks, running for first downs, hitting his receivers in tight spots, throwing the deep ball and throwing on the run. Dude's played like a pro bowler thus far. Keep it up, Moxy Pad.

5) Achtung! - Did I mention that Stephon Jackson held out and is only starting to get his running legs back? Did I mention that Jackson ran all over a stout Buffalo Bills run defense two weeks ago? If the Rams can establish the run with Jackson, which, I believe they can, that will open things up through the air for Bulger. The Redskins can't let the Rams control the ball. We need to take the opening possession up the field and score and keep piling on the points and keep the Rams offense off the field. If the Rams chew clock, this game will be closer than expected.

6) Injuries - Taylor In. Kelly In. Springs In. Washington, Doughty, Heyer probably won't play. Griff should be good to go.

7) Prediction - As you can tell, I'm a bit nervous about this one. Saunders really scares me. If that guy wants one all year its this. Good thing for the Skins is that Saunders can't control that Rams horrible defense. I think the Skins defense is pushed a bit in the first half, but CP and that o-line wear the Rams down in the second. Redskins 31, Rams 18.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Confessions of a Hungover Hog: Volume 3, Issue 7

Cowboy Killers,
Every year around this time of the season I go through a proverbial mid-season writing crisis. Basically, I question whether or not this list serv is intended for x's and o's or whether it's meant to provide a sassy slant on our team, coming from the brain of a psycho, witty (?) Redskins fan. If it's the former, than I have done good, Obie One. To my credit, I (well, really, Jason LaCanfora) drew up a hell of a game plan last week. Jim Zorn, an avid Skins Serv reader, just implemented it. But I fear that I should be giving you more of the latter - the personal touch: what about the Skins that gets me risin' in the mornin' and keeps me from shluphin late at night. Well, my friends, I'm gonna give Skins Serv Personal a whirl this week because I got a lot I need to get off my chest. And this is a whole lot cheaper than paying for a shrink.

First of all, I haven't been this hung over on a Skins Sunday morning since week 4 of 2005. Good Omen? You know it. That week, the Skins triumphed over the eventual NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. As you may recall, Mark Brunell hit Santana Moss over the middle for a 30+ yard gain setting up a game-winning Nick Novak Field Goal in overtime. On that glorious day, the Skins moved to 3-0 - remember they beat Chicago out of the gate, then beat the Cowboys in the miracle game and had an early bye. Anyway, point is, my Blood Alcohol Level reached October 2005 levels at about 3AM last night - horrible for Uncle Scooter, amazing for the Redskins.

Second, I feel terrible about the fact that I won't be in Philly today. I haven't missed a Skins/Eagles game since before the glorious "Poopie on the Car Incident" of January 1, 2006. But alas, due to two midterms, I'll be watching this tilt on my Samsung. I feel sick to my stomach about it (literally). If I had nothing else to repent over this Thursday (Yom Kipps), I can now go into Shul with plenty to haggle about with the Big Guy because now I gotta explain why I didn't trek up 95 this morning. Sorry Big Guy (Sorry Sean). Also, I pin the Skins recent success at the Linc to the fact that I've been there in the trenches with them over the past three years. I was there when the Angel scooped the fumble, I was there to care for CP when he broke his hand and I was there when Jason Campbell had his short-lived coming-out party last year. Hopefully they don't need me today.

Third, I finally had my first Redskins dream of the season on Friday night. This has all sorts of ramifications, but I'll deal with two. This means that subconsciously a part of me has finally accepted the fact that the Skins might be good. If you haven't noticed, my conscious self has been in total denial over the notion. Even this morning, I lay in the Viking Ship pretty unsure about what kind of team we really have (I'll get to that later). But, as I mentioned, something deep in my loins is starting to drink the Kool Aid (and its mixed with Vodka). As you know, it's bad when I consciously or sub-consciously drink the Kool-Aid. I usually do it before the season and the Skins usually respond by going 6-10, or I usually do it before a big game and the Skins usually respond by losing 52-7 in Foxboro.

Well, my friends, I had a dream the Skins won 24-6 (and that Jim Zorn won't be judged by his spiky hair, but rather by the content of his play calling). You pretty much don't have to watch the game, because when I chalk up a W while catching Z's, they lose. Can't hate a man for dreaming, right? No, you can. I wanted to kill myself yesterday morning. The second I went to the dream video tape and realized that my cerebellum produced a late-game Devin Thomas TD (the first of his career), I knew we were in big trouble. Why? Because, as I said, I never dream correctly, and worse, the national media is starting to play with my head. Which takes me to paragraph five.

Achtung Redskins Fans! The national media is evil! They're just luring us in just to crush us. Please don't fall for it!!! It's like Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, except now it Little Red Skin Fan Riding Hood and the Wolf is being played by the Fox Sports NFL Power Rankings. Don't buy it! These media folks hate us and are just plotting our demise. Number two in the NFL? Number four in the NFL? The Skins haven't had approval ratings this high since just after 9-11 - these numbers are totally absurd and inflated! These people are messing with our heads and anxiously waiting for the Skins to falter so they can rip on them again and drop them in their rankings. When you're this high in the week four power rankings, there's only one place to go: down.

You may think this is all paranoia. Me trying to play reverse psychology in hopes of the Skins disproving us yet again. I say no. I really believe it's too early to roll out any forms of group transportation. This team has major structural flaws, hasn't shown it can decisively beat anybody, and hasn't shown the ability to run up 7's at will. If the Skins can meet those requirements, then maybe I'll be sold. Till then, I ain't gonna do it. Yes last week was amazing, and yes it was an epic win, and yes it was worth celebrating. But it doesn't mean a playoff spot, and it sure as hell doesn't mean a home playoff game. All it means is that they're better than we (I) first thought.

So through four weeks how good are they? I still don't know. Can they apply pressure like the 85 Bears? Nope. Can they put up points like the 91 Skins? Nope. Right now, they're a mistake-free offense (huge kudos to JC for that, btw) that is capable of sustained drives and one to three major downfield plays. I think they're offense could use a legitimate second receiver threat and I still am not sold on their pass protection. This defense is bend but don't break. That works for a 9-7 team but I don't know if it works for a division winning team. I'll believe in the Skins defense when they force the issue, i.e getting pressure out of a four-man rush. Maybe it won't happen until J Taylor returns - until then, I ain't buying.

Don't get me wrong, 3-1 is amazing. I thought they'd be 0-5. My problem is I don't know what to do with 3-1. I never gave this season a chance, so basically as the Skins get better, my optimistic side is just getting its legs (the optimistic side reported late to camp, if you will). Usually the Skins win the off-season Super Bowl and all of us are ready for glory in week 1. The wasn't the case this year, so my mind is all out of whack. For us fans, this whole turning it around thing has been like trying to hit a Jeff Ballard sinker ball. I think dreaming about a victory is a good first step (albeit dangerous), but I still believe cautious optimism is the healthiest way to go about this thing right now. It's way too early to be thinking big.

Which leads me to today. Talk about playing with house money. The Skins already have a road divisional win in their pocket, they've already clinched at least a 3-2 record going into a much easier 3-game run, and they already have 3 conference wins (huge for tiebreakers). If they win, amazing - another step in the right direction and another confidence builder for JC and the entire bunch of em'. If they lose - no big deal. Winning in Philly is a daunting task no matter the team, and as long as they can hold home-field against the Eagles later in the year, it's a push. They're playing a very hungry Eagles team who is coming off an ugly loss. They know the importance of a home divisional game and can't afford to go under .500 in this division. McNabb said it's a must-win. I believe him. The Cowboys didn't play hungry last week and Philly's a much scarier environment than Texas Stadium. Pulling this off could mean a lot (and I'll talk about that), but losing isn't so bad.

Shhh (Quiet Time): What if they Win? I know I'm preaching cautious optimism, but I gotta be true to my heart here and tell you what I'm thinking. If the Skins pull one out today, it is a HUGE step towards making the playoffs and even, dare I say it, winning the division. If they win, the Redskins-hating schedule makers become Santa Claus. After today the Skins will be the only team in the entire NFL to have completed their road divisional schedule - which essentially means they have a much easier road than any other team going forward. With that said, a win today also gives them a two-game lead on the Eagles, a 2-1 divisional record with 3 home division games to go, and gives them a legit shot at being 7-1 going into the bye week. I know - the possibilities are endless.

Do I think they're gonna win? No sir (at least consciously).

3-2 is still a whole lot better than 0-5.


1) 26 Blitz Packages - These are the 26 reasons I think the Eagles will win. Jim Johnson is a psycho and the Eagles believe that the only way to win is to be in Campbell's face the entire game. This means two things. One, the Skins o-line, which has been susceptible to a heavy pass rush, is going to have be strong. No easy task in a hostile road environment. The Philly fateful will be loud. This also means that Campbell is going to have to get rid of the ball fast. The West Coast offense was built to break down a blitzing defense - we'll see how it works today. If Campbell can connect early on some three-step drops, Johnson will be forced to tone it down.

2) Testing Lito, Sheldon and Asante - Another way the Skins can beat the blitz is by chucking it deep. The Eagles corners will be in man coverage with no safety help. Campbell can lob some things down field and make his WRs go get it. Asante is a great deep cover corner, so again, pray ARE or Devin Thomas can give the Skins something on the outside if Moss can't break free. I think if we can hit with those two guys the Eagles will be forced to play more coverage. The Bears did it last week with much weaker WRs and a much weaker QB.

3) The Double Screen - Even NFL novices knows that you beat a blitz by setting up a screen. You don't think Jim Johnson knows that? Look for the Eagles to stagger their blitzes and even pick and choose sides based on where they think the Skins will go on a screen. I think the Skins need to be one step ahead on this one and try to set up the double-screen early on. Look for Campbell to pump-fake to CP's side, twirl and toss it over to Cooley on the other side. The Eagles don't have the resources to blitz, look for the screen, and account for the weak side.

4) Donovan - Dude's become a pocket passer again. He looked real quick in week 1 and 2 but the guy is hurt and is vulnerable now. The Skins need to hit him - he's just not as good when he's in pain.

5) Westbrook - He'll play today, but I don't think he'll be a factor. As I said, this is a huge game for Philly so he'll give it a go, but I don't think he's ready to take on a big load.

6) Manning up on the WRs - I know a lot of people don't think highly of the Eagles receiving corps, but I'm scared of DeSean Jackson and Reggie Brown. In the absence of Springs today, Smoot and Carlos are going to have be huge on these guys - especially if Westbrook gets more carries and touches than I think.

7) Heroes - I haven't been doing a lot of recapping of the previous week's game but I stil would like to give out some game balls. What should we call my game balls? Scooter's Beytsim? Scooter's Sensationals?
JC - What a mentsch. So composed, so unflappable. No turnovers in four games. Perfect in the fourth quarter and nearly perfect in Dallas? Who is this fellar? I love it.
Chris Horton - A lot of this stuff is right place, right time. Kol HaKavod, Chris. Keep doing what you're doing.
CP - Troy Aikman loves him. I love him. He's running harder and tougher than ever and he finally broke through in Dallas. Dolla Bill is back!!!!
Springs - Manning up TO like that. Unreal. I don't think Champ could have done as fine a job.
Zorny - Dude's a natural born playcaller. If it wasn't for Casey Rabach, I would officially coronate Zorn King of the Red Zone. It'll have to wait another couple of weeks.
Snyder - Did anyone catch Snyder post-game? If not, here it is ( He finally showed the country what a total douche bag he is in real life (besides when he is scene wearing those stupid sun glasses and hob nobbing with Tom Cruise or Bernard Shaw).

8) Injuries - Springs Out. Taylor Out. Heyer Out. Washington in. Smoot In.

9) Prediction - This thing is going to be ugly. NFC East roadie with a lot on the line. The Eagles blitz is going to wreak havoc, while I don't see the Eagles offense having much offense to capitalize. Low scoring, grind-it-out type game. Skins come up short.

Eagles 14, Redskins 10