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Redskins Looking For New Momentum




By late Sunday afternoon, a new word had crept into the vocabulary of many Redskins. It wasn't "frustrating" or "disappointing." It was "embarrassing." That's what happens, of course, when an 0-5 team comes into your neighborhood and walks away with a 25-22 win, as the Tennessee Titans did in a Week 6 shocker at FedExField.

Rookie quarterback Vince Young didn't scramble much but he did direct Jeff Fisher's offense to a 344-yard day. Travis Henry darting and dashing, broke through tackles and finished with 178 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries.

The Titans won the battle of special teams, too, as Rob Bironas hit three field goals and Casey Cramer blocked a punt for a safety.

Where does all of this leave the Redskins?

For one thing, it forces them to seek a new anthem. Following last year's 10-6 regular season and two-game playoff stint, the team's 2005 campaign was termed a "building-block season."

But now that they're looking up at everyone in the NFC East at 2-4, any momentum generated by last year has pretty much dissipated.

That's not to say that the 2006 Redskins can't jumpstart their season--although the 10 games ahead are challenging, to put it mildly. The point is this: Last season's momentum appears to have disappeared and this is a team in desperate need of an immediate infusion of energy and new thinking.

Perhaps that 0-4 anemic and antiseptic preseason, during which the Redskins preached patience, is coming back to haunt them. Certainly, this year's version of the Redskins bears little if any resemblance to that hungry group that ran off six straight wins late in 2005.

You would think that maybe yesterday would have presented some opportunities for turnovers, particularly interceptions, with Young still working his way into the NFL game.

But there were no turnovers versus the Titans, who had turned it over 12 times entering the game, tied for third worst in the league. The Redskins have five turnovers in six weeks, which means that only Houston is more lacking in that department.

Marcus Washington had a chance to intercept Young yesterday, as did Carlos Rogers versus Eli Manning at the Meadowlands. Both came up empty. Now while it's hard to expect interceptions, it can be dangerous when those chances slip out of your grasp.

Through six games, the Redskins have two interceptions--Kenny Wright at Houston and Phillip Daniels on a deflected ball versus Jacksonville. At that pace, Gregg Williams' defense will finish with five or six on the season.

The team record for interceptions in a season is 34, set in 1983, when safety Mark Murphy led the way with nine. Since 1970, Washington's worst season in that regard came in 1998 with 13 interceptions. The current group, at its current pace, will be hard pressed to reach that figure.

All of this isn't to put the onus solely on the lack of interceptions or on the miscalculations of any one potential interceptor.

In fact, last year the Redskins had the same number of interceptions through six games, two. Despite that equally low figure, the team was 4-2, 4-0 in the conference after burying San Francisco 52-17. This year's blown opportunities on picks, therefore, are standing out more.

Still, letting possible interceptions get away is just one of the things nagging the Redskins at this point.

Perhaps the signing of veteran defensive back Troy Vincent on Monday will help. With 47 career interceptions, Vincent is the NFL's active leader in that category. His leadership should also help the Redskins' defense.

Overall, the Redskins will need new momentum to get rolling again, which won't be easy, given that Peyton Manning is just ahead. For one thing, in 2005 Manning threw an interception only once every 45 passes.

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