NFL Chatter

Matt Bonesteel, David Larimer, Desmond Bieler and Christian Swezey
Washington Post editors and NFL Gameday page contributors
Tuesday, January 3, 2006; 12:00 PM

Craving some football banter? It's time to dish about the National Football League -- from who the best running back is to the best endzone dance by a defensive lineman.

Washington Post editors and NFL Gameday page contributors Matt Bonesteel , David Larimer , Desmond Bieler and Christian Swezey were online Tuesday, Jan. 3, at noon ET to provide an irreverent look at the NFL.

And if you really want to know who the Seahawks' third QB is, they can tell you. But they may make fun of you for asking.

The Slant (Post, Jan. 2)

The Starting Lineup (Post, Jan. 2)

A transcript follows.


Matt Bonesteel: Welcome back to the wonderful world of work, chatters. Now that the holidays are over, we can get back to what we do best, namely idle speculation, weeping over the Jets and talk over where Gregg Williams will coach next year (my guess: the WNBA's Connecticut Sun).

Before we begin, we dedicate today's chat to Rhonnel Hearn, Clinton Portis's mom, who is, in a word, awesome, as the story below will tell you.

And away we go...

_______________________ In Philly, Mama Said Knock You Out (Post, Jan. 3)


Timonium, Md.: What a way to enter the playoffs for the skins, they beat all three hated division rivals in a row, as well as eventually knocking off dallas.( how bout them cowboys now! hah!)All I can say now is hail to the redskins for coming this far.(I never thought they would do it)Also another great satisfaction coming from this is that all those damn ravens fans got seriousely dissed, I live in the heart of ravens country and every year, especially last year i got pounded by ravens fans, when they said things like " oh those redskin fans thought just because Joe Gibbs is back they would make it to the super bowl, but they didn't even make to the playoffs and we went 9 7 and the redskins went 6 10" and then they would laugh their obnoxoius laugh. Well guess what ravens fans, now its the redkins who are 10 6 and playoff bound(unlike the ravens last year) and guess who's, 6 10 ah the poor ravens. Blah!

anyway i heard that the 2006 nfl schedule (or something like that) has come out, could you tell me if the skins are going to play the ravens again, know what I'm sayin?

Christian Swezey: Skins and Ravens dont play again in the regular season until 2008. Though they may play in the Super Bowl this year...oh wait, the Ravens didnt make the playoffs. My bad.


Alexandria, Va.: Recommendation of a sports bar where I can watch the Giants game on Saturday with fellow G-Men?

Matt Bonesteel: I believe the 51st State, on Pennsylvania Avenue between Foggy Bottom and Georgetown, is the place to be for fans of all New York sports teams. At least that's what I've heard.


East Petersburg, Pa.: Predictions gentleman for this weekend's playoff games? Can the Redskins win on the road?

Desmond Bieler: One could argue that the Redskins have not only won on the road (remember Week 2 at Dallas?), but have already "won" at Tampa Bay, given the controversy at the end of that game. So they should have absolutely no reason to fear playing at Raymond James. In fact, I'm going to put them down for a win. Sorry, Redskins fans -- that's the kiss of death.

I also like a couple of upsets: Carolina (if they can run the ball like they did last week) and Pittsburgh (the Bengals just aren't ready for prime time).

And the stone-cold, mortal lock of the week has to be New England over Jacksonville.


Arlington, Va.: Will Danny let Greg interview?

Matt Bonesteel: Yes, I think he will. I would hope that Snyder wouldn't be so petty as to not let Williams interview elsewhere. It would be perfectly acceptable for the team to not let him interview until the season ends, but let him interview them must.

p.s. Our own Mark Maske just said on Tony K's radio show that he believes the chances of Williams leaving are about 90 percent. And that's Maske, who actually knows what he's talking about, as opposed to the ignoramuses who linger here.


Rockville, Md.: From an unbiased point of view, which is the most interesting looking game this weekend and which game looks like it will be a total yawn to watch in your opinions

David Larimer: The only game that strikes me as a yawner, at least from a pregame hype perspective, is the Jags-Pats game. I don't think anyone is giving the Jags any chance to win. Why would you? They've been beating doormats for two months. And the Patriots, while a dynasty and while they played very well down the stretch, are coming out of the worst division in the league.

The other three games are all pretty solid. Though my spidey sense is telling me that at least one road team--I'm looking at the Steelers and the Panthers--could thoroughly spank their opponent. But then again, my spidey sense usually is only good for finding places that sell Jamacian beef patties.


Silver Spring, Md.: George Solomon's TalkBalk this week had a couple of letters about rowdy behavior at FedEx during the Giants game on 12/24. I was a little surprised. Although there was a sizable Giants-fan minority contingent where I was sitting (nosebleed), most everybody was pretty well behaved.

A couple of drunken collegians who were pelting a Giants fan with popcorn were ejected at the half. That was the worst behavior I saw.

Was my experience atypically good? Are Redskins fans better or worse than the league norm? Should the FedEx event staff be more alert to control rowdyism?

Matt Bonesteel: I have been to three NFL stadiums: RFK, FedEx and whatever they're calling the Ravens stadium these days. At the Raiders-Redskins game earlier this year, I thought the level of fan vulgarity was about par for the course compared with other sports venues I've been to. Keep in mind, I'm a GW graduate and season ticket holder. I think the word "suck" appears on my diploma somewhere.

True story about Larimer: Many years ago, David, our friend Dr. Neal and myself ventured to Baltimore to see a meaningless late-season Chiefs-Ravens game (Neal is a big K.C. fan). Arriving quite late because we had no idea where to park, we were working our way past people in our row to our seats, when Larimer accidentally knocked over some guy's beer. Seriously, this drunk Balto fan was about to challenge Larimer to a duel with pistols, even after we offered him multiple times to buy him a fresh one. Even the guy's friends seemed embarassed. Whether this is indicative of all Ravens fans, I don't know and likely wouldn't think so, but that was our Ravens game experience.


Zag Eagle: How is it that the Bronco offensive linemen can avoid the press like they do ? I thought that all NFL players had to make themselves available to the press?

Ans oh yeah, by the way, go Skins...Thanks

Christian Swezey: You must have overheard the convo I may or may not have been having at Dubliner about the time that 2005 was ending, had already ended or was about to end. Anyhoo, the Broncos linemen are available to the press. They just dont say much, according to Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. Sort of like Maryland fans during football season.


Frederick, Md.: Anyone else think Portis should have been selected over Warrick Dunn for Pro Bowl?

David Larimer: We've stumbled into the rant territory staked by "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" online columnist Gregg Easterbrook, who rails against the Pro Bowl rosters being announced after Week 15 instead of after the regular season. After Week 15 Dunn was the No. 3 rusher in the NFC and his team was playoff-bound. Neither are true anymore. So there's more fodder for Easterbrook.


Columbus Ohio!:

You guys ought to be ashamed of yourselves for not covering THE bowl game of the year!

In case you missed it...I'm referring to the OSU/Notre Dame game last night! Best running and passing I've seen in a LONG TIME! You're shameful.

Desmond Bieler: Great to get someone's completely unbiased opinion. By a LONG TIME, are you referring to the last time Ohio State played, Columbus Ohio? By the way, here's an important tip for reading a newspaper: There are pages past the front ones. If you can make your way to E7, you'll get your OSU fix.

But since this is an NFL chat, let's talk about a Buckeye who was in the pros for, oh, about a minute or two. I refer, of course, to Maurice Clarett. That this genius decided to rob a couple of people is bad enough, but maybe he could have thought of doing it somewhere other than Columbus, where's he's a bigger celebrity than Paris Hilton. I assume that even as we speak, OSU officials are having him digitally removed from all films of their 2002 championship season and replaced with Archie Griffin.


Arlington, Va.: What can Dan Snyder do to keep Greg Williams here? Anything?

David Larimer: Truckloads of money and a guarantee that he will coach the Redskins after Gibbs. And then more money. And a solid gold house.


Washington, D.C.: I was hoping you could help me remember some aspects of the last Tampa Bay - Washington matchup. Did Sean Taylor play? What about Carnell Williams? Any other big changes in personnel from then to now?


Matt Bonesteel: Taylor was not active for that game, according to the gamebook at Caddy rushed 10 times for 20 yards. Both will be back Saturday.


Atlanta, Ga.: Given the alleged concerns of Tags and the other NFL powers that be about "taunting" and the need to respect the sanctity of the game, any thoughts on Belichek having Flutie do the drop kick? Mailing in the last game of the regular season (Bengals/Pats/Falcons) is impossible to prove and/or discipline, but the drop kick, while entertaining, seems to merit a flag as much as the T.O/Chad Johnson end zone productions that have so vexed the league over the last several years.

David Larimer: The drop kick is a relic, but perfectly legal, like shooting free throws underhanded. I thought it was arguably the highlight of the weekend, esp. since it was grim-faced Bill Belichick who allowed it. If he can lighten up just once during a football game, so can you.


Washington, D.C.: Do you believe the Patriots threw the game against Miami in order to get a better playoff matchup?

Desmond Bieler: If a team was trying to throw its game, it had to be the Bengals. They certainly didn't seem too interested in throwing for touchdowns or forcing Kansas City to throw, rather than have Larry Johnson run all over them. Looked to me like the Pats were actually trying to win that game, what with scoring a touchdown with four seconds left and all.


Washington, D.C.: 3 reasons why Gregg Williams won't leave:

- Family happy in the DC area and Williams doesn't want to take move his kids around the country

- Makes more money in DC than most head coaches in the NFL

- Knows Coach Gibbs won't be here forever and is the heir apparent when Gibbs leaves or goes to the front office.

Matt Bonesteel: All good points. But don't people become assistant coaches because, you know, they want to eventually become head coaches? If the offers are out there, wouldn't you think Williams would jump at the chance, especially in K.C. and Houston, two cities where Williams has ties (he was an assistant with the University of Houston and the Oilers, and hails from Missouri). And yes, Gibbs likely won't have a JoPa-length tenure, but do you honestly think Williams wants to wait?


Silver Spring, Md.: What do GW fans say during football season?

Matt Bonesteel: We're undefeated since 1967, or whenever we dropped the sport.

And yes, I know GW lost to NC State. I've moved on.


Alexandria, Va.: Ok, the Skins won and all the writers on the Sports Page are acting like it was a foregone conclusion. But honestly, did any of you think that Gibbs should've benched Brunnell after that horrible first half, when he was clearly hurt and couldn't throw the short or intermediate stuff? Or, put in Betts more b/c Portis looked gassed, hurt, or just worn out in the 2nd half?

Ok, I'm ready to get ripped.

Matt Bonesteel: Nah, I won't rip you. I'm sure a lot of people were thinking exactly that. But I think Gibbs is extremely loyal to the guys who got the team to the point where they were on the verge of a playoff berth. And, for the most part, Brunell and Portis delivered. I, for one, was quite impressed with Portis, who was just getting the snot beat out of him.


Silver Spring, Md.: Desmond, leave it to Gang Green to return a kickoff at the end of the game to dash their hopes for R. Bush (although turned out not to matter).

Anyway, do you think Herm is stayin or is he gone (maybe to KC)?

Desmond Bieler: It was actually kinda cute to see the Jets do something competently for a change, and win a shootout for the first time all year. And if they weren't going to get the top pick, I think they're probably happy to be at No. 4 and hopefully not have to make a decision on Matt Leinart. New Orleans and Tennessee both could use a QB, and I think the Jets are scared of Leinart's lack of arm strength, given Pennington's struggles. I think they'd be just as happy to nab D'Brickashaw Ferguson or DeAngelo Williams with their pick -- but don't be shocked by a trade for No. 1.

As for Herm, after this year, if he wants to leave, that's fine with me. I think he sent a terrible message to his team that after Pennington went down, there went the season, too. The Bears lost their quarterback and replaced him with a rookie and look at the year they had. And don't tell me they had a great defense, that's supposed to be Herm's area of expertise, besides motivation, which he obviously didn't do much of this year.

Nice to get a question that doesn't involve these dumb, stupid, pointless, Jets-free playoffs.


Takoma Park, Md.: I'm about ready to give up on being a sports fan. Do I really have to pay for radio to listen to a Redskins game?

Now I have to get cable to watch Monday Night Football?

Christian Swezey: Um, actually, I bought Sirius radio, which has all the NFL games, and not just because I cant afford NFL Sunday Ticket. Have particularly enjoyed listening to the Steelers and Bears radio announcers all season. The Steelers color guy made a point about how Joey Harrington's mechanics are awful, especially that he doesnt follow through when there's pressure.


Lorton, Va.: Well I remember you said if the Skins get to the 2nd round, they should do a video called the 1st round shuffle.

Time to ready tapes rolling, they're going to win and head Northwest. Any keys to the game?

Matt Bonesteel: Clinton Portis performing in a video would likely be mind-blowing. He'd make Andre 3000 from Outkast look like Lawrence Welk.


Portis: Speaking of Portis' mom, can we give Portis some points for the football CPR he performed on Sunday? Absolutely classic, and I bet there are like 78 different interpretations of what that was supposed to mean. What did you think he was sayin?

David Larimer: It was great, although Chad Johnson did a variation of it earlier this season. But still, my fondness for Clinton Portis grows nearly every day. I had no idea what a character this city was getting when he came from Denver.


Springfield, Va.: Should Gibbs sign Clinton Portis' mother to replace LaVar next season? Hear she nailed somebody pretty good at the game.

Matt Bonesteel: Very good.


From B.C. to D.C.: Bieler: Bronx cheer on still getting a higher draft pick than the Raiders --- even though Oakland is far more adept at lying down in a meaningless for draft position, and then being so clutch in a coin flip.

Desmond Bieler: My God, the Bay Area must be in a tizzy over that coin flip between the Raiders and the 49ers for that oh-so-croosh sixth pick. If those effete, chardonnay-swilling, Jm J. Bullock-wannabe San Franciscans get it, I think Raiders Nation will have no choice but to storm across the Bay Bridge and give them SUCH a pinch.

By the way, the 2006 schedules came out and do I even need to tell you which two teams are going to play each other for the one hundred-millionth season in a row? One word: Tuiasosopo.


Washington, D.C.: Guys,

Since Springs and Clayton will be both out for the Skins and Bucs respectively, do you think we'll see Sean Taylor covering Joey Galloway?

I think Taylor is the only Skin that is capable to cover Galloway...

Christian Swezey: I'd be surprised if Taylor covered Galloway. Taylor does so much on run support; if the Bucs just sent Galloway long every time, with Taylor following, that would open up their running game big-time. More likely the Skins will put pressure on Simms and take their chances with whomever on Galloway; the dude can't catch passes if Simms is getting sacked.


NY, NY: Are the '06 Redskins the greatest team of all time?

David Larimer: It is decidedly so. Esp. if you're talking about the season that hasn't happened yet.


Silver Spring, Md.: Moved on to what? The JV conference that GW plays in? The 5 seed they will get in the tournament? The 12 seed they play being a hot upset pick? Them losing to that hot pick and going home the first day of the tournament like they have done 95 percent of the time they have made the tournament? All of the above?

Matt Bonesteel: At least we'll still have the win over Maryland to savor.


McLean, Va.: Drove up for the Philly game this weekend. The fans were nice, but maybe only because I was a girl...This nine-year-old in front of us wearing a black Kearse jersey, turned around and told us that the D.C. in Washington, D.C., stood for "Dorks Club." HILARIOUS! Meanwhile, when you are four going to get your pictures up on the Web all are very witty, but more importantly, are cute?

David Larimer: This 9-year-old has a future ahead of him. That's gold!

As for your second question, you've got an ear for humor, you obviously like football and you're a flirt! Well, va-va-va-voom! When we got this gig I was annoying my boss that we should have a picture that looks exactly like the cover of "With the Beatles." I was ignored.

Matt Bonesteel: My mom think I'm cute. So does Desmond's, for that matter.

(I've now officially reached the third-grade level by resorting to Mama jokes.)

Desmond Bieler: Yeah, sure, my mom thinks Matt is just adorable. Women who haven't reached menopause, however, think that Matt looks like Carrot Top suffering an aneurysm (which, come to think of it, we'd all like to see).

By the way, Swezey is too busy booking an appointment at Glamour Shots to contribute to this reply.


Silver Spring, Md.: If you are the Texans do you draft Reggie Bush? I say you trade down and draft lineman and defensive players. Look at the two times the chargers have traded down, Brees and Tomlinson instead of Vick, Merriman Rivers and Turner instead of Manning. Seems like a no brainer to me...

Matt Bonesteel: Excellent points, and I'm starting to think they should do exactly as you suggest. It's not like the Texans are hurting for running backs. They could trade for a ton of picks and get, say, offensive linemen who aren't knocked down by opponents' sneezes.

But then again, Bush is really, really good. He's gonna be hard to pass up.


Silver Spring, Md.: FYI GW got SLAMMED by NC State, just in case you guys missed it..

Christian Swezey: I like your tenacity.


Washington, D.C.: Can you clarify the horse-collar rule for us? In the past 3 games, it seems like Portis is constantly getting pulled from behind in what look like horse-collar tackles. I know they aren't pulling his pads, only his jersey, but do we have to have another superstar break his leg or ankle before they expand the rule to the jersey?

David Larimer: I'm sorta confused by this rule too. They don't seem to call it much, and there are plenty of examples besides the Redskins. And the point of the rule seems to be to prevent those high tackles from behind that increase the chances of the ballcarrier getting his cleats stuck and/or coming down awkwardly enough to get hurt. I don't really understand why pulling the jersey where it meets the pads is fine and pulling the pads is not. Don't both have the same effect? I think if the rule was enforced tacklers would have to start lowering their bodies and lunge/dive to wrap the ballcarrier around the waist or chest.


Washington, D.C.: The Redskins have still yet to beat a really good team on the road, although we came close in Denver. Do you think the Skins can beat the Bucs without the home-field advantage?

Matt Bonesteel: Absolutely. And there are some people, some of them actual Washington Redskins, who think they won the first game against Tampa, too.

Fearless prediction: I think the Redskins win.


Utter Optimist: After we beat the Bucs and Seahawks, who will we have to take down before hoppin on the flight to Detroit?

Desmond Bieler: Where is Utter Optimist? Is that near Uttar Pradesh, home to the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal? And if you're such an optimist, who cares who you'll have to take down? It could be the unholy spawn of Andre the Giant and King Kong Bundy and you're still going to slam him to that mat, right?


Lancaster, Pa.: First, being from PA, I must say going to the Linc is a bit scary -- especially if you're a Redskins fan. The person who gave me my tickets for Sunday warned us not to wear Redskins attire, unless we wanted to risk getting beat up. So, we did as we were told and still took abuse -- good natured abuse, but I felt as if they could turn on us at any moment. All I can say is that Philadelphia's descent couldn't have happened to a more deserving bunch.

Christian Swezey: Agreed. I remember that Redskins fan who used to dress up in a full Indian costume back in the 1980s, and how the Eagles fans threw him off the uppder deck at the Vet one year. I think he broke his leg or something.


Euphoria, Skinsland: Chris Simms:

bad QB or baddest QB?

Matt Bonesteel: Do you mean bad, like Shaft, or bad, like Boller? I'd say somewhere in between.


David Larimer: That does it for this week. Be sure to join us next week for (hopefully) more requests for pictures, (possibly) an avalanche of question asking if the Redskins are the greatest team ever, (likely) another entertaining rehash of What Goofy Thing Clinton Did and (definitely) more insightful, on-point questions from a certain levelheaded poster in Silver Spring. Stay classy!


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