(note: Special thanks to Ryan Estorninos of Riggo’s Rag for taking the time to answer my questions about the Redskins and their upcoming game with our Detroit Lions. I answered Ryan’s questions to return the favor.)
Zac Snyder: What is your take on the Washington Redskins so far this season?
Ryan Estorninos: Better than expected. They haven’t earned much in regards to style points, but have found ways to win. The offense needs some work, a lot in fact. McNabb could be more accurate. The defense could give up fewer yards, but the intangible for winning is never to be discredited. I’d rather have a 4-3 team winning squeakers than a 1-5 team scoring tons of points.
ZS: Who is your offensive and defensive MVP so far?
RE: Offensive MVP would have to be Santana Moss. He is top receiver this year based on his stats and he continued to be the go-to guy for Donovan McNabb.
The defensive MVP would be Laron Landry. He has significantly improved his game and has been effected in his natural position at strong safety.
ZS: What has it been like for Redskins fans to cheer on Donovan McNabb after so many years in Philadelphia? Any chance he becomes a scapegoat if the Redskins don’t make the playoffs?
RE: McNabb has generally been accepted and has been embraced by the city and the fans. He is the most accomplished quarterback they have had probably since Joe Theismann, and that was a long time ago. He has definitely been great for the team and city.
As for his play so far….considering the Redskins were not expected to be able to compete he should not be a scapegoat. However, with the way the media and some fans are approaching his quality of play – he might be.
I still think he needs time to progress in a new system, but I would be foolish to say I didn’t expect him to play better. I tend to think I am on the majority on this one.
ZS: What concerns you about this Lions team?
RE: Their youth and talent. They have a good team on paper despite what the record says. They could have won a few games here and there (i.e. the Bears game) but for the most part they played hard and hung in there. They have also been able to score some points so that is something to watch out for.
ZS: Was losing to the Lions last year seen as an embarrassment and what impact will last year’s game have on Sunday’s game, if any?
RE: It was an embarrassment, but the Lions played hard and earned that win. With that said, publicly the Redskins will say the right things and look to this as another game. However, in reality this team is looking for revenge. The Lions did play good football last year versus the Redskins, but the Redskins surely did not make an effort to keep pace. The Lions look hungrier and fresher for that game, but were only able to duplicate that magic in a 38-37 shootout with the Browns.
I think the same Lions team comes out hungry confident they can do what they did last year, and with good reason too. The Redskins better be prepared for a tough fought game.
ZS: What has been the biggest change in the team since Mike Shanahan took over as coach?
RE: In one word, discipline. This team is creating fewer penalties, there is no special treatment, and there is no panicking when they are down early. For a team that is rebuilding these are important lessons to learn, and in order to win you must be disciplined.
ZS: Albert Haynesworth played what many believe to be his best game as a Redskin last week. Was that a one time thing or has he actually changed his attitude and will be productive the rest of the season?
RE: He openly said he dedicated this game to his brother, whom he lost in a motorcycle accident. I feel something in him may have clicked and he decided to just man-up in his job. And that is what he did. He forced pressure, was disruptive in the backfield, and played a team game.
For Skins fans, they can only hope he keeps this up.
ZS: Final prediction?
RE: I think advantage the Lions have is scoring. I think the Redskins advantage is keeping the Lions from scoring. If this goes into the 20′s I am already counting this as a loss. If the Redskins keep this inside 17 points for both teams, they have a shot. The Lions have a good offense, but allow the 8th most points in the league, whereas the Skins are 9th.
I will go with this formula and say Skins win 16-13.