I tried. I really tried to believe Mark Brunell could pull it together for one more season and lead the Redskins back to the Super Bowl, but I am now convinced it's time to move on. Consistently he looked like the speed of the game was too fast in the 27-10 thumping in Dallas. Every time he threw the ball he looked like he was straining. Out of 18 completions, 11 were to non-WRs. How many passes did he even throw to either Santana Moss or Brandon Lloyd?
Running game? Other than Ladell Betts' 17-yard run, he only averaged 2.7 yards a carry. The Redskins somehow did gain 4.7 yards per carry, but with only 20 carries, the running game had virtually no impact on keeping Dallas honest on the passing game. TJ Duckett looked like he could be an answer if he only had field vision and quit running directly into a pile of white jerseys.
Passing game? Other than the final drive or two when Dallas was playing prevent, you would think the starting QB was injured and the backup was playing. Brunell did nothing to convince me to stick with him for another 14 games. But he's not alone in the poor play. The offensive line was not inundated with blitzes but Brunell was constantly under pressure, being sacked six times. Jon Jansen looked like he needed some HGH as bad as he was getting beat off the edges.
Defense? What's up with Andre Carter? Flozell Adams straight manhandled him. Carter was a non-factor. The entire defensive line was missing allowing Julius Jones to run through the middle of the line all night. Jones only had 20 carries but put up 94 yards. Marion Barber had eight carries and gained 38 yards. And when the defense wasn't stopping the run, they let the call for Tony Romo die down by giving Drew Bledsoe all day to throw looking like the old Bledsoe. T.O. was a serious disappointment for Dallas fans, but who cares!? Terry Glenn shredded the defense for him. T.O. dropped passes all night, including an end zone drop, couldn't shake Carlos Rogers on a screen and made virtually no noise all game.
But one play it seemed like the secondary cheated forward in anticipation of T.O. being the target allowing Terry Glenn to sneak in the deep secondary untouched, alone and on his way to the TD that essentially sealed the game. Absolutely pathetic.
Were there any highlights? Rock Cartwright's 100-yard kickoff return for a TD added some life and Sean Taylor's forced fumble that was recovered by Marcus Washington gave a little hope. But Dallas' 99-yard TD drive and Roy Williams interception at the goal line eliminated any momentum we might have gained.
Overall the Redskins looked like they did in the preseason. Is it an inability to grasp Al Saunders' playbook? Is it the injuries in the defense that's preventing Gregg Williams from attacking with a vengeance? Or is it time for Mark Brunell to either play like he wants it or get out the way.