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The Washington Redskins

New Season

Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 24, 2004; 12:00 PM

With seven turnovers, the Redskins lose to the New York Giants, 20-14. Quarterback Mark Brunell suffered a hamstring injury and pulled out of the game in the third quarter and was replaced by Ramsey. However, many critics say that the lack of focus by running back Clinton Portis and his multiple fumbles cost the Redskins the game even though he scored a touchdown.

How did you think the Redskins played against the New York Giants? Washington will play against Dallas this coming weekend.

Post staff writer Nunyo Demasio was online Friday, Sept. 24, at 1 p.m. ET to take your post-game questions about the game against the New York Giants.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.


Nunyo Demasio: Hi,
Thanks for joining. Let's take some questions.


beaumont TX: First do you think the loss of Arrington can be overcome and next what is up with Portis or is it the o-line"not looking so good other then first run" thankyou

Nunyo Demasio: If there's a defensive coordinator who can help limit the loss of Arrington, it's Gregg Williams. I think Arrington's presence has helped Antonio Pierce and Marcus Washington. So it'll be interesting to see how those two fare, especially Pierce, fare individually without Arrington. Losing Arrington is a big loss. We'll see if Lemar Marshall can step up Monday.


Sausalito, CA: What is the story with Linebacker Barrow's tendonitis? Can it realy be so bad that he is unable to play for so long? Has he been practicing? Are the coaches down on him? To paraphrase Dieon, has he lost his "dog"?

Nunyo Demasio: Some weeks Barrow looks like he's ready to come back but then his condition regresses. The Redskins could really use him this week with Arrington out. The coaches aren't down on Barrow. He's a cerebral player, and he's active in meetings, and has helped Pierce a lot off the field.


Arlington, VA: Nunyo,
With Arrington out, why not put Sean Taylor in at linebacker? He almost has the size and doesn't seem to be getting the reps at safety. That might be a stretch but the Redskins should benefit from having the Pre-Season difference maker actually in the game.

Nunyo Demasio: Williams is known for his creativity but you're not going to see Taylor at linebacker, although he has the size of an outside linebacker. Taylor should play more Monday, and he will. He quietly had a strong game last week coming off the bench. He's never been told specifically why he's not starting -- my guess is the coaches aren't thrilled with his study habits -- but he's kept his head after initially being unhappy to get the news before the season opener.


Fairfax: What is the latest on whether or not Barrow will be suited up for the Dallas game? Can our Defense hold up with Barrow, Arrington, and Daniels out against the pass attack of the Dallas ofense?


Nunyo Demasio: Dallas's passing game has been surprisingly good behind 40-yard old Testaverde, who leads the league in passing yards. Testaverde can looked like a Pro Bowler when he has time because he arm is as strong as anyone's. So I think the key against him is moving him out the pocket, where he starts to look like a senior citizen.


tysons corner, VA: I would like to make a comment regarding Patrick Ramsey and all the bashing going on about him starting Monday night. This guy was 1 pass away(if Gardner didn't drop it) of giving us a win, WITH 7 TURN OVERS!; We would be talking about him starting instead of Brunell due to the win, not the injury. Patrick was on pace for 3000 plus yards last year, with NO running game to speak of. He is a brave young man and does have his faults, but not giving his all is not one of them. People need to back off, and let the man play.
What do you think about Patricks progress this week?
thanks for talking the time.

Nunyo Demasio: Patrick doesn't seem to have lost any confidence after last week's performance. His psyche is as important as anything with Brunell hurt.


Washington, DC: Nunyo -

Good afternoon...thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

A Patrick Ramsey question: earlier this week, your colleague Michael Wilbon stated that scouts are saying Ramsey's vision and decision making capabilities are suspect. It leads you to believe that Gibbs recognized that on film and that's why he pursued Mark Brunell. Do you agree? Is this something that Gibbs can fix or is it something inherently wrong with Ramsey's skills?

Nunyo Demasio: Gibbs saw things on film about Ramsey that spurred him to pursue a veteran quarterback. Nothing is inherently wrong with Ramsey. He has all the tools. He mainly has to improve reading NFL defenses.


Bob, Gettysburg: With the 'Skins quaterbacks looking high school at best, any chance we will see Tim Hassleback in action anytime soon?

Nunyo Demasio: If Brunell can't go, Hasselbeck becomes the no. 2 quarterback, and there's a chance he'll play if Ramsey stinks up the joint. Remember, last year Hasselbeck got a 0.00 rating, lowest possible, against Dallas . But of course, that was when the line looked like matadors partly because of the minimum-protection blocking schemes.


Tarboro, NC: Hello and thanks for the opportunity. As a longtime Skins fan who recently vacated DC for NC. I'm in a hotbed of Boy's fans here. Now with Arrington out, I'm worried which LB is capable of covering the Boys TE Whitten. As you know Parcells will use his TE extensively. As per the usual games between the Skins and Boys, the Skins will play good ball for 3-3/4 quarters and commit some dumb mistake in the last couple of mins to cost them the game. Do you see the Skins turning the tide with a win here or does the misery continue. Tks and good luck.

Nunyo Demasio: With Dallas's running game sputtering, Parcells is relying more on more on his receivers, including tight end Jason W, who has a nice mix of size and speed. Dallas will try to get Witten one-on-one against Matt Bowen, who doesn't have the greatest coverage skills. I think you'll see Taylor a lot on Witten after the rookie did a good job last week against Jeremy Shockey.


Helena, MT: I didn't understand why the Redskins didn't activate Ola Kimrin for the Giants game and really don't understand why they released him today. With Hall hurting, why do they place themselves in such a position? Kimrin was very effective in preseason.

Nunyo Demasio: Kimrin was very good in training camp. I think he made all four kicks. But John Hall says he's good to go.


Upper Marlboro : While Rod Gardner has had two pretty decent games so far this season, he still has a penchant for having costly drops (4 in two games if I'm correct). Why has Coach Gibbs been so reluctant to activate Darnerian McCants? He is a big play receiver, and even coach gibbs has seen evidence of that during the pre-season. Is this just another Joe Gibbs ploy of hiding quality talent on injury reserve?

Nunyo Demasio: Gardner is close to regaining his rookie nickname of 50/50 -- for dropping an easy pass after a touch catch. McCants signed a relatively big contract in the off season so he's been a surprise as a regular inactive guy. McCant's main problem is he's not a great practice player, and he didn't perform well in training camp. But Gibbs has said that one reason McCants been active is because of the number of players you can active for the game. Gibbs bemoans the NFL's system of inactive players.


Landover, MD: Agent Carl Posten, who may have cost LaVar Arrington $6 million and has made several other questionable moves, is now reported to have cost Kellen Winslow, Jr., substantially more than that by not including a boilerplate "injury rollover" clause in his contract with the Browns. Why do people continue to hire this guy? Life is tough enough w/out having an agent who continually -----s you.

Nunyo Demasio: I think people hire him because his clients generally end up getting top-dollar although some teams dislike negotiation with him. The Cleveland Browns were bashed for supposedly capitulating to the Postons. And Sean Taylor mentioned Kellen Winslow's contract as a reason he got shafted. But one thing overlooked was that if Winslow got hurt this year, he'd lost $5mm. Now all of a sudden, Taylor's deal doesn't look so bad because he has more guaranteed money in the first couple years.


Fort Washington, MD: Nunyo:

I think it's generally a good think that the skins took a few lumps this early in the season (given that it may help them focus down the line), but I was really surprised as just how bad they looked against the Giants. Dare I say it, this team looked worse than Spurrier's teams. Are they really that bad, or is something fundamentally broken about the team? And if something is broken, can it be fixed before the end of the season?

Nunyo Demasio: If there's a good thing about the loss is that it will lower expectations and have people stop portraying Gibbs like a savior -- something he said irks him.
The seven turnovers are surreal for a Gibbs team. I saw a stat once that said Gibbs's '83 team, which set a then NFL record for scoring, had something like 17 turnovers all season. Last week I think was a fluke as far as the mistakes and turnovers. Portis hardly ever fumbles. In the season opener there was only one turnover.


Clinton, M.D.: Geez, does Ramsey's Mom live in Tysons Corner? Lighten up Tysons Corner!; How is Kenyatta progressing with his injury? I don't think Ray Brown will be able to keep up with Cowboys DE Greg Ellis.

Nunyo Demasio: I just spoke to Kenyatta Jones about an hour ago to check on his ankle. He says his ankle is not much different than a few weeks ago. He's splitting snaps with Ray Brown, who I think will get the nod again. Brown did a good job against Strahan, so you have to have some confidence that he'll be okay against Greg Ellis.


Weatherly, PA: Good afternoon,

Why haven't the Redskins activated Darnerien McCants? It's hard to believe that Taylor Jacobs, who did nothing last year, would be suited up over McCants for the first two games. McCants was very effective in the red zone last season. He had two nice games against the Giants in 2003 and I thought he could have been a big weapon last week in the Meadowlands.

Thanks for joining us.

Nunyo Demasio: Jacobs has a much better preseason than McCants.
He's that extra speedy receiver to stretch the field on game day.
I like McCants. He turns it on once the game starts, and he's clutch. But he has to perform better in practice to get into the game.


Cville,Va: I am a bit concerned about Hall and his hammy. I think this game is going to be close and the last thing we need is Hall hurting himself on a kick-off when we may need him for a 47 yd game winner. Am I over-reacting to his gimp last week?

Nunyo Demasio: You're not overreacting to his gimp.
Bubba Tyer, trainer for more than 30 years, said he's never seen a player with two strained hammies.
But Hall appears to be his healthiest in a couple weeks.


Oakton, VA: Do you think the Redskins will score more than 28 points in any game this season?

Nunyo Demasio: Yes.


Richmond,va: what role is Ernie Zampezie playing in the Redskins plans at this point in the season? thank you.

Nunyo Demasio: Zampese is basically consultant. He works mostly from home in San Diego, and visits Redskins Park occassionally. He's an extra pair of eyes who makes recommendations on the offense.


Kings Mountain NC: Its been rumored that Portis is to fast to run the counter trey, he gets ahead of his blockers. Is Gibbs adjusting his timing, or is he gonna run more of the straight ahead stuff?

Nunyo Demasio: I saw somewhere that Portis was too fast for the counter trey. I think it was an article by former Redskins linebacker Eddie Mason. Portis said today before practice that he has to have more patience, and he's not the only one adjusting to a new offense.
Bill Parcells said yesterday that Gibbs's counter trey definitely, definitely can work in today's NFL. Parcells noted that Green Bay's Ahman Green is one of the league's best tailbacks off the counter.
By season's end, Portis will have close to 1,500 yards again.


San Diego, CA: Big skins fan--thanks for taking my question.
Obviously Qb play has been inconsistent at best.
Look at it overall and long-term, if you had to
predict which QB was most likely to NOT be with
the Redskins next year, who would it be?

Nunyo Demasio: That's a good question.
It's still too early too tell.


Albuquerque, NM: Hi,

It seems to me as an optomistic skins fan that with Laverneus Coles, Rod Gardner, James Thrash, Taylor Jacobs, and Chris Cooley, that the passing game should be a concern to opposing teams. It seems as though it is not considered a strength. Why is this? Thank You!;

Nunyo Demasio: Yes, the Redskins have a very deep corps of pass-catchers, and so far the results haven't been there.


Greg (Boston): Nunyo,
Give a long suffering Red Sox fan some love. With Portis not being the biggest back and Betts playing somewhat better lately, why hasn't the team tried to get Betts more touches?? Also, what is the story with Taylor Jacobs?? Will he ever get any p/t??


Nunyo Demasio: Portis is the feature back. But it helps Betts, or any tailback, get more into a rhythm with more carries.


Falls Church, VA: With Joe Gibbs maintaining his racing investment while working as Head Coach, I have wonder if this would be distracting. I have not said anything since it seemed blasphemous to question Joe Gibbs. But now, Riggens has brought up the question. On his radio show he said:

"I don't think Joe Gibbs is right yet. I think there's uncertainty in Joe Gibbs. I think that Joe Gibbs is somewhat pre-disposed, and that he's thinking about other things. I use the term psychological splitting, he's there as the head coach, but he's really somewhere else."

Is this a real problem? Can Joe do both or are we so happy he is back that we are willing to accept split interests?


Nunyo Demasio: split interests?
This guy is working at Redskins Park while you're sleeping. I didn't hear the comments by Riggins but I just assumed they were flippant.
That pretty wacky to say that Gibbs isn't committed to the Redskins.


Bend, OR: The rushing defense has been tremendous this year, after years of being a seive. Other than Gregg Williams' schemes, what's been the difference? Griffin? Noble? Salavea? The LBs?

Nunyo Demasio: Yes, the rushing defensive has been excellent. It's tops in the league.
To answer your question, it's all the above.


Mclean, VA: Do you know if Portis had fumbling problem college or not? Also, I know Wilbon blamed QB alot and I agree with him. But what about Rod Gardner? He hasn't been consistence since rookie year. He dropped alot of passes that are catchable since his rookie year. Don't we have better hands recievers?

Nunyo Demasio: Portis has one of the surest hands in the league.
He went about 10 games last season without losing a fumble, and lost only one fumble all season. You have to throw out last week's fumbles -- unless of course he fumbles again Monday. Hehe.


Nunyo Demasio: Have to cut this a little shorter this week. But thanks for the questions.



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