Random thoughts, every Thursday at theheadcheese.com:
For some reason, I can’t get “Another One Bites the Dust” out of my head this morning. The sobering news that LB Nick Barnett is lost for the season with a Brian Urlacher (wrist) injury hits a team that can’t afford too many more. Barnett is the third starter lost for the season after four games. With Nick Collins and Sam Shields hurting and unlikely to play Sunday, Dom Capers will be challenged to use a lot of new personnel as he prepares for Donovan McNabb and the Redskins.
On paper, the Redskins are one of the least dynamic offenses the Pack will face this season. The Skins are without RB Clinton Portis and will turn to Ryan Torain as featured back…As for the passing game, Joey Galloway starts. Seriously, how many teams would Galloway start for right now. He was great in his prime, but the dude is 38. Expect Pack to have Tramon Williams take Santana Moss out of the equation with Woodson keeping an eye on Chris Cooley.
Despite their lack of firepower, McNabb and the offense will make things difficult. Packers have never beaten Donovan on the road. He kills the Pack with his feet and after watching Shaun Hill run wild last Sunday, I shudder to think what McNabb will do. Since the Lions showed how effective screens can be against the Packers’ D, watch Cooley and Torain–they will be McNabb’s favorite targets.
Pack has won last four meetings against Washington…McCarthy coached under Skins DC Jim Haslett in New Orleans. Whenever Green Bay plays in Washington it reminds me of the game there in ’83: one of the most exciting (and the highest scoring) Monday Night Football games ever. I remember watching the game at my apartment in Bloomington, IN, my senior year at IU. Pack wins 48-47 when reliable kicker Mark Moseley missed a makeable FG. Packers president Mark Murphy played safety for the Skins that night.
One intangible working in the Pack’s favor is the timing of this game. Skins are coming off the emotional game in Philly, marking McNabb’s return. They won a big divisional road game and now need to get back up and get ready for Green Bay. Shanahan’s a great coach (though he didn’t deserve to win Super Bowl XXXII–no, I’m still not over it) and will have the team ready. We’ll see if the players play with a sense of urgency: I have a feeling the Pack will feel like the more desperate team, after just avoiding a near catastrophe at home.
Did you know? The Packers’ first NFL championship was over the Redskins. 1936, Pack beats the Boston Redskins 21-6, at the Polo Grounds in NYC. It was played in the Big Apple because the team’s owner was fed up with the lack of fan support and was moving the team to Washington, so he didn’t want to play the game in Boston. It was Curly Lambeau’s first NFL championship, after winning three championships by league standing (1929, ’30, ’31).
Pack gets the #1 Fox team for the game: Buck, Aikman and Oliver.