Friday, Aug. 17 at 1:15 p.m. ET

The Redskins

Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 17, 2007; 1:15 PM

Washington Post staff writer Jason La Canfora was online Friday, Aug. 17 at 1:15 p.m. ET to discuss the Redskins and what to expect from their game against Pittsburgh this weekend.

The transcript follows.

Read Jason's blog, Redskins Insider.

Full coverage: Washington Redskins


Jason La Canfora: Hey there, thanks for stopping by. Should be an interesting game Saturday and time for this offense to show a lil somthin somethin.

Okay, let's see whatcha got for me. Have at me.


Washington, D.C.: Wouldn't you agree that, as we head into the new season, the Redskins have the best offense, the best defense and the best special teams in the NFL? Super Bowl, baby, here we come!

Jason La Canfora:16-0 here we go!

Oops. I mean 19-0 including the playoffs.

Do you think they'll give up a point all season?


Washington, D.C.: A 700-page play book has nothing to do with it when a player cannot block. Where was the pocket for the QB? Campbell looked like Ramsey holding the ball so long. Also, what happened to Rock Cartwright at RB? I did not watch every second of the game, but do not recall him carrying the ball.

Jason La Canfora: The O Line stunk the other night and Jason blew a protection and has to learn to either get rid of it, or hold on to it if he does get hit. He was great at not putting the ball on the ground last season so cut him some slack there.

As for Rock, he played the entire first half save for the opening series, when Betts was in.

I don't blame you for not paying close attention, though -- preseason football can be the dregs.


Ocean City, Md.: Jason, Great work my man. Don't you think the defensive line -- especially Joe Salave'a -- will have a good year this season? Thanks.

Jason La Canfora: Hope you are enjoying the beach my OC pal.

Ever been thrown off one of those public buses down there right in the middle of Coastal Highway? Yeah, me neither. And no one ever clapped when a group of eight of us got off at a stop once during my bachelor party down there.

I love me some OC. I'm a Baltimore guy. It's in my blood.

Anyway, the D-line has no place to go but up coming off last season. If Joe can stay healthy I think he could be solid in a support role but I am not sure he is still a starter or every down guy at this point. Golston will get a lot of work there.


Boston: Jason, several people have posted on your blog that Todd Wade plays a better right tackle than Jon Jansen. Do you agree, and could you ever see Gibbs and Bugel making the switch?

Jason La Canfora: I wrote on the blog several times, including when Jansen got his big extension last year, that a lot of people at The Park said Wade was better than Jansen last year in practice, that Wade is better in pass protection, and a lot of people were stunned when Jansen got the big-money deal.

A lot of very smart football people in that building have said as much to me ... but saying all of that I don't see them switching Jansen to guard now.

As a pure football decision, I would be trying that experiment right now, but they just gave Jansen starting tackle money, he's been around there longer than any player and ancillary stuff always seems to carry a lot of weight at Redskins Park. It's just how they roll.


Washington, D.C.: Point all season? Are you friggin kidding me? They might not give up a point over the next decade!

What's up with Brandon Lloyd's shin splints? Could he go on a Sunday during the season if his shins are sore?

Also, if Jansen struggles again on Saturday, could you foresee Todd Wade getting a look at RT with Pucillo/Jansen in at LG?

Jason La Canfora: The WR is all set to play Sat., assuming there is no flare up in the next 24 hours.

Wow, I guess, this left guard thing is going to be the question of the day, eh?

See the previous response for my thoughts on that one.


Edgewater, Md.: Jason, Do you think CP is as hurt as we are led to believe? Or is this the coaching staff's way of granting him his no-preseason playtime wish? Thanks!

Jason La Canfora: Spoke to him at length yesterday and he still can't do anything but run in a straight line.

The guy hasn't practiced in three weeks and I don't think he'll be 100 percent for the opener. But that's just me.

I've been saying for months that I think Betts will end up having a very big role and that Portis's best season's may be in the past due to all the carries he had from 2004-2005, his frame, how physical he plays and the mounting injuries.

He's as a tough as they come so he could easily prove me wrong, but that's just my gut for now.


Tampa, Fla.: Hey Jason. love you work. Displaced 'Skins fan down here in Florida. I have always wondered why the Redskins don't start Demetric Evans. He seems to have a lot more upside than Daniels. He is younger and is about the same size, so I would assume he can hold up against the run similarly. He also seems to provide a better pass rush with the few opportunities he has received. Your thoughts?

Jason La Canfora: Thanks so much for the kind words. Much appreciated.

I think they like the explosion Evans can provide in short bursts, but are not sure he's a guy who could hold up on every down in the trenches.

He is a great change of pace, and can play inside or on the edge. Very valuable. Should Daniels/Wynn have another season like last year, Demetric could get reps at left end, but I think we're going to see a lot of Marcus there, too, especially in the nickel package.


Far northern reaches of Canada: Who you got in a street fight....Sean Taylor or Dexter Manley?

Jason La Canfora: Where in Our Home and Native Land? I love me some Canada. That's one of the things I miss most about not covering hockey anymore -- expense-paid trips to the Great White North, especially back in the day when our dollar was clubbing your dollar like a baby seal ...

Anyway, my money's on the Grim Reaper. I think Dexter has a little more softy in him that Sean, where at a certain point with your eyes hanging out he'd help rush you to the hospital, where as Sean, man, I just don't don't know.


San Francisco: Hey Jason,

Great job this offseason!

Is there any more talk about 'Skins moving back to D.C. (maybe new stadium at RFK site)?

Would be tremendous for franchise/city as they are not the "Raljon" Redskins ... the Raljon stadium location/traffic/character are terrible ... new stadium could have retractable roof like Indy (year 'round events -- Super Bowl? Final Four? -- and still play football outside which is important).

Challenge of course is Raljon stadium is only 10 years old ... but if anyone has the cajones and the passion to take the big step, it's Snyder. Maybe you could start tee'ing this up at 'Skins Park.

Jason La Canfora: With this owner I couldn't rule it out. I would love to see it - better atmosphere, better infrastructure, more Metro access, closer to my house.

Let's get this thing done!! Take up a collection for the poor guy and help get "RFK II -- Danny Takes D.C." done.

I can already see the movie trailer, where Tom Cruise plays Snyder, as the protagonist in a fight against the infinite black hole of D.C. politics.

Who wouldn't drop $10 to see that?


D.C.: Jason -- Great job on the coverage. Your blog is my go-to for the latest and best in 'Skins news.

To my question...after seeing the injuries to the o-line and the lack of a good second receiver, it always brings me back to the lack of structure, lack or foresight, and lack of vision that possesses our front office. All you have to do is look up the road at the Ravens and see that through the draft and smart free agent acquisitions, they BUILD a good team rather then throw money around at whoever is available at whatever position they happen to play. Do you ever see the Daniel and/or Coach Gibbs understanding that without a real football guy (Vinny doesn't count), they can't have a successful franchise, and do you see them ever going out to get one?

Jason La Canfora: They are stuck in their ways my man. It seems this owner, for as much as he is willing to spend to win, wants most of all to win on his terms with his people.

Any other coach or team president who would come in here would want to clean house in football operations. It's as simple as that.

Their record with Cerrato on board speaks for itself, but he obviously must serve ownership and the franchise in capacities deemed more important than winning or something, 'casue the dude's personnel record just ain't good.


Bethesda, Md.: Very interesting that Gibbs is going to let Todd Collins get a shot at being the second string backup. I think he definitely deserves it. Mark Brunell is a nice guy, but we need to win games! So my question: In your erudite estimation, who is the backup quarterback in Week 1?

Also, did Casey Bramlet catch on anywhere? I was really surprised they cut him so early when Jordan Palmer has shown nothing at all.

Jason La Canfora: It's in essence a competition, but I think the deck is still probably stacked in Mark's favor. My gut is that No. 8 would have to be pretty horrible in all four games and No. 15 would have to play four games like last week in order for the depth chart to change, but at least Joe says he is open to letting it play out.

They have alternated the No. 2 QB pretty much in all four preseasons under Gibbs if I recall correctly, so that in and of itself is not really new.

As for Casey, I haven't heard a thing, but thanks for the reminder. I will call his agent later and find out.

As for Palmer, he is at best a complete project and I don't see him getting many or any snaps until the final preseason game if at all, and I can't see him making anything but the practice squad at this point.


Silver Spring, Md.: What's the latest "buzz" from camp? Players still surprised at the relatively easy pace of practices? Any sign of continuity developing, or are they as disjointed as last season?

Jason La Canfora: The overall tone of camp, and how quickly the coaches cut back on physical stuff -- and the lack of many full pads, full go practices at all -- surprised a lot of people, as I touched on in today's Redskins Notebook.

As for chemistry and all of that mumbo jumbo, let's wait to see how they come together in September when it counts. They need to get off to a fast start.


Manassas, Va.: I am thinking that Pinkston will be the starter once he picks up enough of the offense. I think he is the closest thing to a legit 2nd WR on the roster. Who do you think gets the slot job between Lloyd and A.R.E?

Jason La Canfora: Wow, you must think even less of this group of wide outs than I do.

Thirty one other teams pretty much figured Pinkston had played his last game. If he becomes a starter here that would be the story of the year -- not only for his personal triumph, but for the complete waste of resources the Redskins sunk into the WR position.


Germantown, Md.: JLC:

In your travels to other cities, have you seen a fan base that just can't handle bad news as poorly as us? Everything that isn't happy news is viewed as some hater journalist who wants the team to fail. Is it this bad in other cities? The 'Skins seem to love playing off this angle.

Just know that there are many fans who would prefer the realistic view, and understand this team was 5-11.

Jason La Canfora: Good question. That's hard to judge -- we are in and out of cities so quickly on this beat that it's hard to tell. Also, I don't go on the message boards for other teams, so I can't pretend I have the pulse of them.

It does seem that a certain chunk of this fan base still views the franchise through the prism of greatness from the first Gibbs run, as if that still makes they above reproach or some kind of first-class operation, when the record dating back to like 1993 stinks and is right there with Arizona, Cincy and Detroit.

As Denny Green would say - "If you want to crown 'em, then crown 'em. But this is who they are!!!!" Or something like that.

Bottom line over the past 15 years or so the Redskins -- regardless of coach, owner, payroll or talent -- have been unable to string together consecutive quality seasons, and that speaks to some serious institutional problems.

I cover them no differently than I did any other team. If you don't believe me, ask Scotty Bowman or Ted Leonsis or Davey Johnson. It's just the gig.


AEE (D.C.): Jason --

Have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moon light?


Jason La Canfora: Is that from that Prince "Batman" song? Why can't I place that right away? I should know that.


Miami, Fla.: Jason,

Look into your crystal ball for a minute. In 10 years, what do you make of Rocky's career?

Jason La Canfora: Man, talk about tough questions. I don't think anyone can say of a guy with two NFL starts to his name.

I think he will be a quality playmaking LB, but his recurring knee problems could become a degenerative condition, and I think his long-term health will have a lot to do with any sort of 10-year projection.


Silver Spring, Md.: Hey Jason, H.B. Blades played well on Saturday and with London Fletcher here to mentor him, he should be a lock to make the team.

What about Dallas Sartz? Does he have a shot? Not much info out there on him... what's your take?

Jason La Canfora: I don't know about a lock. This will be interesting. Assuming they keep six LBs -- and with the depth Marshall and Campbell provide (each can play all three positions if need be) they may only need 5.

H.B. playing in the middle at his size is not a sure thing yet. But he shows flashes and is a hard worker so you never know.

Sartz is going to have to stand out more, but, he could possibly play some with his hand down so that could help him stick around too.

They will be watched very closely the next three games. Not sure they both make it and one could end up on the practice squad.


Silver Spring, Md.: Great blogs you have Jason.

I was just wondering if the Redskins are interested in "Tank" Johnson. They could get him cheap and he would be fresh after the eighth game of the season.

Jason La Canfora: Thanks so much. Wish I had more time to devote to the blog lately, but I've been swamped with other work stuff.

As for Tank, they have made character issues a really big deal, taking a lot of players off their draft board for such reasons, and I would be stunned if they ever danced with Tank. Don't think they would even consider it to be honest.

Someone might sign him after the season, but he was way out of shape to begin with after destroying vending machines in jail.


Joe in Raleigh: What ever happened to Manuel White Jr, the guy they drafted a couple years back to play H-back? Is he still on the roster or did he get cut?

Jason La Canfora: He got cut a while back. Got hurt again and they ultimately reached an injury settlement. My guess is he is out of the NFL, if not football.


Chih-Mexico: Some people say he is imposing, some he's scary (receivers) but you actually got to talk to him. What is Sean Taylor like in person?

Jason La Canfora: He can actually be a sincerely, forthcoming, interesting dude his friends say, but he is not inclined to share much of that with the media, which is totally cool and his choice. Hey, he doesn't have to talk to us at all, so I don't even sweat that.

Yesterday, he was a little defensive and prickly, but not overly so and not anything like the sort of nasty run-ins with athletes that can become commonplace in this business.

He smiled a bit and was fine.

I actually think when LaVar hit Sean in the face with a shaving cream pie and it ended up all over TV right after Sean signed his rookie contract, that really got to him and embarrassed him and turned the thing with the media really sour. Never really got off on a good foot, although his actions early on had something to do with that coverage (skipping the rookie symposium, etc.).

Anyway, I hope he speaks from time to time so I can share his thoughts with the readers and his fans, but if not that really doesn't bother me, either. First Amendment is a powerful thing.


Denver: Any more word on the Gerard Warren potential trade? Talk out here is kind of confusing between him no fitting the new system under Jim Bates or him slacking off now that he got the big pay check last year. Any word one way or the other on what the skins brass thinks of him?

Jason La Canfora:'Skins think he has effort issues and don't like his contract. If he got cut they would explore maybe bringing him in later in camp depending on how their guys play.

They have talked to Denver a few times and they don't dislike him, but I don't see them trading for him right now.


Reston, Va.: Are you feeling the heat from Goff?

Not a question, but a comment. Love what you bring to Washington Post Live. Your ability to talk any sport with enthusiasm come though.

You also help the soccer segments along, so it isn't just Russ talking at two blank stares.

Jason La Canfora: Feeling the heat? What do you mean?

Did Goff take a blowtorch to my car again? Let me run outside to see.

I have a lot of fun with the TV stuff and take it for what it is -- a chance to BS and have fun and maybe even come out with a modicum of entertainment value. I am a sports nut so it's just kind of like sitting at the bar with my boys, without the constant four-letter words and rampant pounding of beer.

Thanks for tuning in. I am on this afternoon but have no idea what we'll be talking about.


Bend, Ore.: From Peter King's MMQB column a week ago:

"Speaking of ESPN, a great note from Ed Werder before the Cowboys-Colts preseason opener -- the first tackle Dallas made in the game would be their first full-contact tackle of the summer, because Wade Phillips hadn't had the team in any full-contact situations yet. Amazing in this day and age that full-speed tackling is very rarely practiced in camps around the league. Even in tradition-loving places like Pittsburgh (one practice), Buffalo (two practices) and Chicago (two practices), I saw zero put-'em-on-the-ground tackling drills or full-contact tackling."

This suggest what the 'Skins are doing isn't all that different...

Jason La Canfora: He's talking about what he's seen -- but obviously he's not at all places all the time -- or every camp all the time -- or he'd be doing something else besides writing about football.

Even when out of full pads the Redskins have routinely cut practices short, cut drills short and had as few two a days as any team in the league.

Pittsburgh had 15 two a days and the Redskins had 5 -- including one where the second practice was not until 7 p.m., and another where the morning practice amounted to a walkthrough.

Not saying it's right or wrong, but just the facts, and the 'Skins would be the first to say that while Tomlin is running a "toughness camp," to use Gregg Williams's words, the 'Skins are not.


Los Angeles: Jason, You do a great job. Because of you objectivity, do you have a hard time getting response from the team? Also, Portis has never been a good fit here. Betts is the man.

Jason La Canfora: Coach Joe is pretty much a straight shooter who understands that when the team falters, then part of my job is to bring some heat. I very much enjoy covering him and the coaching staff is filled with great guys.


Woodbridge, Va.: Not to be a wet blanket, but please refrain from phrases like "our dollar clubbing your dollar like a baby seal." After this Vick mess, you should know better. Thank you.

Jason La Canfora: Come on. Are you serious?

What is this world coming to.

A dollar clubbing another dollar.

To steal a phrase from Riggo, "Lighten up."

I knew if I wrote that someone would chime in with something like this. Like I'm really advocating seal clubbing.

And my stance on Vick, dog fighting and Portis's comments about it are well documented on TV on the radio and on my blog.

Viva le seals!


D7 in Bmore: Jasno -- do you know if Betts has done anything out of the ordinary to address his mild case of fumblitis that appeared last season? I'm not saying he needs to go to Tiki lengths, but there were some costly drops that could use some attention.


Jason La Canfora: D7 you read my mind. Was working on a list of story ideas for next week while doing some stuff last night, and this is at the top of the list. My hunch is it won't turn into anything major and maybe just a note, but check back with me in a week at my next chat -- or keep reading the paper -- and I promise to get a detailed answer for you.


Brooklyn, N.Y.: Hey bro,

They were talkin' about who would win in a cage match on the radio between you and Bram.

I got you laying 2-1 odds...don't put me in the poor house.


Jason La Canfora: That's pretty funny.

Maybe we could to donate the gate to some seal clubbing prevention Web site or something.

Bram is my boy, though. You gotta find someone I would really want to throttle to make this thing go down.

Let me know what you come up with.


Miami, Fla.: I'm a big Blades Bros. fan. Any indication if the 'Skins are going to stick with their Blades, at least on Practice Squad or Special Teams?

Jason La Canfora: I think he's on practice squad at the worst (not that that's bad or anything to be ashamed of).

He's a great kid and I know the coaches like him. Has a perfect role model in Fletcher as far as overcoming the size issues. We shall see.


Rogers or Smoot?: Carlos Rogers, how is he doing this year? Is Smoot or the other guy really challenging him for his starting spot?

Jason La Canfora: If Carlos slips up I think Smoot could see a lot of playing time.

All three of the big dogs at CB got beat on passes last week, and I believe each on third down.

If Springs is healthy he is the No. 1 without much question. Smoot and Carlos have a lot to prove.


Columbia, Md.: Any updates on Simeon Rice? Any interest in him at all from the 'Skins?

Jason La Canfora: They never expressed any interest in him and barring Andre Carter getting hurt or something I have seen no indication they will approach him.


Supplemental draft?: can we go back a few weeks. Everyone cites how Baltimore builds teams through the draft. Why didn't the 'Skins take the kid from Maryland in the supplemental draft a few weeks back. Aging line and potential player in your own back yard, and you cannot give up a 4th or 5th round pick? Did they have any interest? Is flunking out a character issue too?

Jason La Canfora: Like I've said, I was stunned he fell that far to the end of the 5th round. 'Skins already had Heyer and they liked him, but I thought the kid was worth a 5th round shot.

The Skins already lost the 4th for next year in the Duckett disaster, though, so I think that scared them off a bit too, not wanting to have another draft with gaping holes in it.


Damascus, Md.: Jasno, do you ever read your blog-readers' threads and if so, how often and how much?

Jason La Canfora: I used to read every comment and I still do respond to every e-mail I get.

But without a partner on the beat right now and with the paper throwing a ton of work at me, I honestly don't have the time to read every comment right now. Next month, once someone helping me out on the beat is established, I hope to be able spend more time on the blog, but even then I'll be expected to carry the load in the paper, so it might be tough.


MV Dame: No iPod today? We miss the music...

Jason La Canfora: I miss it too. I am at home today -- The Park is closed to the media -- and had Rocco draped over one arm for part of this chat, so I kept it quiet hoping he would sleep.

Next week I'll get 'er cranked up again.


Megskin, QueenBee: You and Peter King in an all-out no holds barred fight, who wins?

Jason La Canfora: Hey, I like Peter King, respect the hell out of him and his work and love SI in general. My point was the person sending in the question was taking what Peter said out of context. He spends 2-3 days in a city but obviously is not an almighty power able to watch every training practice in the U.S. all at once ...

But if I had to guess I think he'd land some big blows early on, but if I can show I can take a punch I might have a shot, since I'm younger and should be able to last longer in a 12-round battle royale.


Redskinettes: How is their training camp coming along? I do not want to start any marital trouble for you, but any new ones to look for?

Jason La Canfora: Dude, does anyone actually know any of their names?

They come through The Park for practice sometimes, and surely there are a lot of attractive young ladies in the squad, but I couldn't pull one out of a lineup.

I am devoid of any useful info on this topic.


Joe the Fan: Jason, I have a story suggestion:

I'd love for you to catch up with Buges, Breaux and some of the old gang that Gibbs lured out of retirement. Are Jack Burns and Rennie Simmons still with the team?

Anyway, ask those guys how they're feeling four years later? Any regrets? Still having fun? How much longer would they like to continue, etc. It's kind of like "The Big Chill" on a football field, and I'd love to know how those guys are doing as a bunch.


Jason La Canfora: They are all still there my man and I talk to most of them all the time.

That's a cool idea, though. I am pretty sure all would toe the company line, but after this whole thing wraps up and at a time when maybe they could open up a little more, I'd love to attempt such a story.

Good thought and thanks for the idea.


Damascus, Md.: Oh, and that "devil in the pale moonlight" thing is from Jack Nicholas in the Batman movie to Vickie Vale. Close though!

Jason La Canfora: Yeah, but don't they sample it like 10 times in the Prince "Batsong" or whatever the hell the theme to that thing was? I am pretty sure they do.


RalJon, Md.: Does Danny boy go after Mike Vick when he gets out of prison??

Jason La Canfora: Why wait til he gets out of prison?

No, seriously, I think that dude has played his last NFL game for any team and these guys wouldn't go near him.


Jason La Canfora: Alright everyone, I have to run. Sorry I could not get to every question, but as always check me out on the blog -- Redskins Insider -- and feel free to shoot me an e-mail at any time (

Hope you guys have a great weekend and enjoy the game Saturday.



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