By Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

A week after a 28-point laugher turned into a 7-point head-scratcher versus the 0-12 Colts, New England ventures down to our nation’s capital to gauge exactly what kind of team we have this year in Foxboro.

Some thoughts on the impending contest…

A Redskin By Any Other Name: I mean, not like this is new conversational territory, but it’s 2011 and we still call an NFL team that name.

We should call the Forty-niners the Gold-diggers and the Texans the Yahoos.

Seriously, Redskins. Amazing.


Change For Two Quarters: In the second and third quarters against the Colts, the home team scored four touchdowns. In the first and fourth quarters, they gave up 24 points and scored a field goal. So which team will show up in D.C.?

Chad Swim-or-sink-o: Okay, here’s the thing about Chad Ochocinco. He’s lost his joy of the game. Up until this year, he seemed to have fun when he took the field – gliding under the ball for catches, taking the time to jaw with opponents.

Now, Ochocinco either drops the pass or falls to the ground in an effort to catch it. As far as talking to the other team? It’s not happening.

His straining to learn New England’s offense has eroded the pleasure Ochocinco used to derive from football. He’s thinking too much, and he’s given no evidence that will change. We’ve called him this before, but Chad Overthink-o might be the right nickname.

Tiquan Underneath: Hey, a nice reception under the Colts coverage for Tiquan Underwood. Of course, some of Indy’s defenders played so far back they needed binoculars to see the line of scrimmage. Still, good to see the new guy get involved, and maybe – just maybe – New England is closer to getting regular contributions from a third receiver.

Rex Effects: If Colts QB Dan Orlovsky can get off the train from Thirdstringtown and pass for over 300 yards, what can Washington’s Rex Grossman – an actual NFL quarterback – do? This could get ugly.

So Funny I Forgot To Gaffney: Former Patriot Jabar Gaffney, who in terms of New England receivers sits at the high end of the JG Scale opposite Joey Galloway, plays for the Redskins now. Just thought we should brace you for a solid contribution from a guy who, just maybe, the Pats should have re-signed.

If you want to feel wistful about the halcyon days of Gaffney’s tenure in New England, check out this piece by Chris Forsberg.

Extra Mayo: For a guy not known for his playmaking skills, Jerod Mayo popped out some eyeballs with his parallel-to-the-ground interception in the third quarter. Probably the most spectacular play the steady Mayo has made in years.

Sooner Rather Than Slater: Special-teamer Matthew Slater got a fresh start at safety this past week, along with Niko Koutivides at linebacker, which confused us to no end. Are they suddenly the best at their positions, despite having started NFL games only slightly more often than your average cockapoo owner? Wasn’t the defense having a strong showing the past few weeks? Why would Coach Bill Belichick mess with it now?

We don’t know. We just don’t know.

Gronk If You Like Scoring: Having Rob Gronkowski at tight end is like having the school’s best athlete on your team during field day. You just get a sense of comfort that he’s there, and you figure everything will be all right with him on your side. Three TDs for him on Sunday, with the Colts showing no interest in stopping him.

By the way, does anyone do field day anymore? For you kiddoes, it’s a lot like a video game, except you go outside with a group of people and run around. (So more or less the complete opposite of a video game.)

Ridley No Jokey: Though the team struggled to run the ball, notable effort by rookie Stevan Ridley, who averaged five yards per carry. Lil’ Danny Woodhead is slippery while BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a hammer, but Ridley has shown both abilities. He’s the Slippery Hammer.

(That may or may not be the title of an adult film. We don’t want to know.)

On to Washington for another test. We can only hope New England plays all four quarters this week.

Chris Warner can be reached at