Friday, September 18, 2009

Hunting With The Predator: Ram Season by Matt Wallace

I can’t really believe Game 1 is over and the home opener is upon us. Don’t know what it is, but something about the start of football season sends time into sixth gear. Everything speeds up from now until the end of the season. Even the fall weather in DC is a little ahead of schedule. But no complaints; it helps magnify the taste of football season. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence God made the leaves true colors burgundy and gold.

Before we relegate last week’s game to the books for good, a couple stats to point out. Your boy, C. Horton, had the second most total number of tackles for both teams, behind the omnipresent London Fletcher’s 18. Horton’s total would have rivaled that, no doubt, if only he’d had the opportunities in the second half. Horton played 40 snaps to Fletcher’s 64.

I hope whatever confusion about Horton’s role in the game last Sunday has been resolved. He’s settling into a position of leadership, and the coaches need to let him go to work getting the defense stuck in. The only reason The Predator should sit for a full set of downs in a game is if the Skins are nearing a slaughter rule.
And even though Game 2 brings the anemic Rams to town, there is no guarantee of a positive outcome.

Everyone knows what happened last year. A four game winning streak had confidence high, but leaving the team complacent going into the game. A fumble recovery for a touchdown at the end of the first half and a last second drive by the Rams to hit a long field goal put them on top.

Take a team lightly, and they will surprise you every time. Lesson learned, right?
I like that the Skins are coming off an unbalanced effort last week. The guys should be fired up to open up at home with the first win of 2009. But they have to make good on their intentions. Zorn cried “Stay Medium” last year during their winning streak. Forget that. How about, “Stay Fired Up”? They’ve got to convert effort and intensity into smart play and powering through teams for a win in a full 60 minute effort.

I am especially pumped about Horton’s match up this week. Steven Jackson is the lone threat in the Rams’ offense. Horton led the team last year against the Rams with nine unassisted tackles, and he’ll be topping that list again this Sunday. It’s a veritable battle of the dreadlocks. If Horton can squash Jackson and the run early, the defense should allow the offense to go to work and start putting up the points.

But the number one rule for the offense this week is: No Mercy. If the touchdowns are coming easily, there can be no letting up. I want to see some ruthlessness for a change. The offense needs to muscle in TDs as earnestly as Horton crushes running backs. It must happen. Power through, and admire the work done after the game is over. There is no bag limit, so take the Rams for all they’ve got.

It’s time to hunt. Let’s get it done.

Prey of the Week: Steven Jackson. His flow might rival Horton’s, but he’s got a long Sunday ahead of him going up against The Predator. Chris knew what he had to do last year, and this game is no different. Stomp the run, and the rest of the offense will crumble. Jackson is another year older, getting a little long in the tooth and rife for predation.


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