With roster cuts due later on Monday, and the most meaningful game of the preseason in the books, there’s plenty to discuss. Which is good, because after Wednesday’s preseason finale, we’ve got a 10-day lull before the season kicks off Sept. 9.
I’ll be posting on weekday mornings to highlight the best of The
Insider and help start new discussions. You guys already have a good thing going, so you don’t need me to promise any grand changes. Mark Maske and Mike Jones will still be doing the reporting. You guys will still what you do. I see myself filling a couple of voids.
When comments are furiously being posted on a hot topic, some great thoughts get buried. I can’t promise I’ll read everything, since I still have a handful of other jobs at The Post, but I’d like to shine a spotlight on some of the scattered wisdom. When today’s best thoughts are in the comments, let’s use it to start tomorrow’s conversation.
And there should be one. For a long time, it’s been we post, you comment, and that’s the end of it. Now you know there’s at least one person here to listen, with his mind on going back and forth. If you’ve got questions, ask.
We’ve got carte blanche to use this space for almost anything we want. I’ll try to take advantage of The Post’s resources to help us have discussions that aren’t taking place everywhere else. Some days we’ll talk Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin. But some days it could be DeJon Gomes or Kory Lichtensteiger. And we can get creative.
Some days we’ll have great conversations. Sometimes they’ll feel forced and contrived, like today. But trust, it’ll go well. I’m not sure you care much about me personally (if you do, there’s always Google), but I’ve been at The Post and in the D.C. area for a long time, and I’ve been leading online discussions about football even longer. This is for us to enjoy, and I’ll be right alongside you doing that, not arguing with you.
So, here’s something I’ve been batting around.
How much do you guys want to see RGIII run?
The mobile quarterback comes in so many molds. Michael Vick is a superhuman athlete. Daunte Culpepper and Cam Newton are built like linebackers. Steve Young and John Elway could throw on the move. And while nobody considers Tom Brady much of a runner, he’s one of the best at moving around in the pocket or laterally to buy himself time to pass.
Griffin is none of these guys, but would do well to emulate some of their best traits.
The dilemma is, do you want him to use that track-star speed to get you first downs when you need them? Or use footwork to step up and throw, to throw on the run, or to buy time when the offensive line breaks down? Or, because he’s one of a kind and so integral to how this season goes, do you want him to protect himself by running only when absolutely necessary. Maybe there’s no one right answer, but I poll you anyway:
Donovan McNabb, in his pre-Redskins days, was a great example of what you do and don’t want your fleet-footed quarterback to be. McNabb, very early in his career, didn’t have a lot of help on those Eagles offenses, and would take off for first downs when needed. As a Redskins fan, you probably remember how annoying it was to have your defense cover everyone, only to watch the guy book it for a first down. But McNabb seemed so concerned about not being labeled “a running quarterback” — perhaps bent on proving that a black quarterback could also be a cerebral passer — that he shied away from it in the middle of his career. What used to be his opponents’ annoyance became that of Eagles fans, who implored him to run when nobody was open and a giant swath of field lay between McNabb and a first-down marker. By the time he got to the Redskins, he almost never ran, although I thought he could have if he’d been more open to it.
On the flip side, McNabb knew when to throw the ball away. And that’s one reason why Vick can be both electrifying and mystifying. He doesn’t give up on plays easily, which can lead to big gains or him taking big hits.
What would you rather see Griffin excel at?
He gave us a taste of his style against the Bears, turning the corner with his speed while scrambling. Against the Colts, he sidestepped a free rusher and took off, but took a hit as he went out of bounds. Also against Indy, he bought some time by rolling right and threw a bullet to Josh Morgan.
I hope Griffin doesn’t try to prove he’s not a “running quarterback” — Back in June, he said he wasn’t fond of the label — to the point where he avoids scrambling to get the Redskins a needed first down. At the same time, you want him to develop as a passer, not take off too soon and not take unnecessary hits — although at 217 pounds, he can probably withstand a few.
The early returns are encouraging, don’t you think?
Truth be told, none of us can dictate how he plays. We sit back and watch, hoping for the best.
Questions for tomorrow and beyond
Occasionally I’ll throw out some topics to gauge your reactions. Depending on how you reply and how you feel about them, the topics could become future Opening Kicks.
1) How could someone predict the Redskins to go 2-14 or 3-13? I realize that not all national media members follow the team closely, but even from afar, nothing suggests the Redskins would take a significant step backward. It might be wise to temper expectations, but they were a quarterback away from being pretty good last year. There might be safety and O-line issues this year, but 2-14? Do you guys see it?
2) What position groups, or players in those groups, have the most to gain or lose Wednesday against the Bucs? Maybe this is a question better discussed after Monday’s roster moves, but I’ll throw it out there now.