Thursday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, October 4, 2007; 1:00 PM
Washington Post staff writer Jason La Canfora was online Thursday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. ET to take your questions about the Redskins.
The transcript follows.
Read Jason's blog,
Jason La Canfora: Hey there, hope everyone had a good bye week.
Glad to be back with you.
Let's get it started.
Fairfax, Va.: Joe Gibbs has said the failure to score a TD at the end of the Giants game was due to inadequate offensive line play, particularly on 3rd and 4th down. This revamped O-line has me worried. Are the 'Skins coaches worried as well?
Jason La Canfora: The problem on those two runs came on the left side -- where the proven guys are. Can't blame the new starters -- Fabini and Wade -- for that.
They have a lot to worry about in various aspects of play, but if the trio of Samuels, Kendall and Rabach somehow becomes an issue -- and I'd be surprised if it did -- then they're really in trouble
Radiohead - India Rubber
Washington, D.C.: Jason,
I recently went to watch the Redskins/Giants game at a bar on Capitol Hill. The game was on one small TV with no sound. The large projection screen and sound system was reserved for, believe it or not, the D.C. United. Now I am all for D.C. having a soccer team, and I enjoy the finer aspects of the game. But isn't it blasphemy to have a soccer game on over a Redskins game in this town? You must have suggestions of good bars to go to catch future 'Skins games in the District. The more crowded with Burgundy and Gold the better.
Jason La Canfora: Sorry my man, you're asking the wrong bloke.
I actually think that's pretty cool. There must be 1,000 bars with the 'Skins on every Sunday.
I am always working on game day so I can't offer specific suggestions, but I am sure someone will send a few in during this chat and I will definitely post them if they come in.
Tori Amos - Baker Baker
Toronto: Obviously WR has now become a concern for the 'Skins with Moss having groin issues and Cooley being used more as a blocking TE. We need a Roy Williams/Plaxico Burress type receiver. Do you think the Skins will address this issue in the offseason via the draft and/or free agency? And if so, who would you recommend?
Keep up the good work!
Jason La Canfora: The only way you get guys like that is in the draft my man -- teams don't let 6-5 studs like that walk in free agency in the prime of their careers.
Gotta draft one high (and the 'Skins were certainly smitten with Calvin Johnson last spring but it's very hard to make that move to get up in the top 2 picks to get him).
The lack of size at WR has been a constant here. Weird to say/write thus, but they've never come close to replacing Gardner, Rod. (He actually had that like 167-yard game against Dallas early in 2004 season when the entire offense stunk -- remember -- and I think he blew up against San Fran in 2004 as well).
Moss and Lloyd were not practicing (Lloyd wasn't even anywhere to be seen on the field; Santana was working out on the sidelines) so it looks more and more like Caldwell and McCardell will get their first action with the 'Skins Sunday.
Richmond, Va.: IF (it's a big if) Moss is healthy, what does the WR depth chart look like?
Jason La Canfora: Funny you should ask.
I don't think Moss will play, and I imagine Randle El stays at his spot, while Thrash replaces Moss at the "Z" as the starter. McCardell and Caldwell likely involved in 3- and 4-wide sets
Artie Hill - Me and My Glas Jaw (this dude rocks, old school country. a lot of awesome covers. used to play bars on my block when I lived in Bmore and has put a few CDs out. Check him out. Great Honkeytonk stuff. watched him jam at an all-night house party with fellow Postie Dave Sheinen back in the day. Dave is an amazing musician himself and threw some great parties in Canton when he covered the O's).
Quantico, Va.: Who is to blame for all the miscommunication within the Redskins organization? Ex: Clinton Portis's injury last week. Is this a matter of complete dysfunction? Or are we making more out of this than we should? Something tells me that this never would have happened in Joe Gibbs's first go around here in D.C.
Jason La Canfora: Joe Gibbs likes to say that everything falls on him and he is certainly been made to be The Voice Of The Organization, especially with the owner offering not much in terms of answering questions.
Miami: JaLa -- Great
Jason La Canfora: They are definitely seen as a team that tends to be conservative.
Costa Mesa, Calif.: Is it just me, or are the Redskins the most battered team in the NFL? What's the solution?
Jason La Canfora: Not even close my man. Look at Chicago with like 5 starters out and Philly without Dawkins and Westbrook and Thomas last Sunday night.
Losing two O Linemen for a long time is tough, but they aren't even close to the most banged up (Rams without 2 starting O Line and Pace is a HoF, plus the QB and Jackson, again, off the top of my head).
White Stripes - The Boy You've Always Known
Hagerstown, Md.: Is there any new news on "The Chin" coming to town and taking over a very disorganized Redskins team next season?
And. . .what are the lime green dots on the back of all NFL team helmets this season?
Jason La Canfora: Nothing new my man.
The green dot denotes a headset receiver in the helmet to communicate with the sidelines/press box.
Chapel Hill, N.C.: I have been impressed with Demetric Evans as a fill-in for Phillip Daniels. Is there any beat around the team that Evans will make a move up the depth chart even if Daniels can stay healthy?
Jason La Canfora: I have the same feeling and I think Demetric will continue to get more PT. He is very athletic and quicker than Phillip, but they love Daniels's brute force and he could end up playing more and more on the inside.
Demetric made a great play on that deflection while backpeddling deep against the NYG, when Fletcher caught the deflection for an INT.
Elk Grove, Calif.: Hi Jason. Great work so far this season. Thanks for quenching my never ending thirst for Redskins knowledge. My question has to do with the pass catching abilities of Portis and Betts. For some reason I have been reading a lot of stuff from you and others that praise the pass catching abilities of Betts. While I in no way disagree with Betts ability to be a very effective receiver out of the backfield, I do believe that Portis is every bit as good, and to be honest I think he is better. It seems that he was catching the ball a lot more in his first two years in Denver, as well as his first couple of years here, but since Betts had a nice string of games last year, everyone seems to think he is more adept at catching balls in the flats as well as short dump offs up the middle.
I think Portis is better at this, and I feel that getting him involved in screens and dump offs gives him the opportunity to use his speed, quickness, and vision to get those bigger plays. It also gives Jason Campbell a little more confidence by completing those easier passes, and is not as big of a strain on our already depleted line. Why don't they use Portis more as a pass catching back, ala Westbrook? I feel like he has the talent, they just don't use him in those situations as much as they should. He could break one of those at any time, and maybe then defenses will be a little more scared. Sorry for the long question, and thank you for your time.
Jason La Canfora: Thanks so much.
As for CP, he just hasn't been a threat that way here -- I know he did more of it in Denver -- and despite them always talking about making it more of a part of the offense, it never materialized and they think Betts is superior on a lot of swing passes and I, too, believe Ladell has much better hands.
Portis drops a lot of balls and while some aren't perfect passes plenty hit him right in the hands.
Beach Boys - Trombone Dixie
Washington, D.C.: I'm sure you're inundated with Lloyd questions, but with his shin injury, can the team put him on IR even though it's a minor thing? Thanks.
Jason La Canfora: He would probably fight it and rightfully so.
You're not supposed to do that kind of thing anymore and frankly, with the money they are paying him you might as well have him running scout team, as a reserve, available in a pinch, whatever.
Make him inactive on game day if he's not going to play, but to completely make him unavailable to your team all season would make their trade/signing of him look like an even bigger bust than we all have long known it was.
The Cure - The Hanging Garden
Rockville, Md.: I know it stinks when the Sports Talk station generates more news than The Post regarding the Redskins, but as a fan, I am concerned about all the confusion surrounding our best offensive player and his role or non-role at the end of a game. This goes to the heart of how mis-managed the 'Skins seem to be right now. That is a concern to me and other fans.
Jason La Canfora: Dude, we wrote like four stories on the whole thing, maybe more.
You should be a concerned, but this is nothing new. No two people ever give the same account of anything around here.
Falls Church, Va.: Think Sunday's game will be another nail-biter? What is the key to stopping their passing attack? Cuz they've got some stud receivers and I doubt C. Rogers is gonna step up to the challenge.
Pantera -- Cemetery Gates
Jason La Canfora:
The 'Skins are going to have to start running a big boy offense and scoring 24 or more a game or this month could bury them.
Detroit, at Green Bay, Arizona and at New England. Are you kidding me? They all throw the heck out of the ball, have some serious tall, stud WRs and will go like 5 wide in the shotgun on first down with no fear.
That's a tough chore. If the D can hold these teams to 3 TDs per game, they are doing their job. It's time for this offense to emerge, because aside from the five-game run to the playoffs in 2005, it's been pretty pathetic
As for the Lions, the 4-man pass rush has to be legit (time for Andre Carter to crush a QB) and the DBs needs to be very tough off the line and beat up these WRs before they get in the routes. Jam the hell out of them and try to throw off the timing.
Also, with so many balls in the air guys need to make plays and create turnovers. No lack of passes will be thrown on them this month.
Love me some Pantera. Vulgar Display of Power was like blaring from the speakers of someone's car in the parking lot like every day I was in high school. Cowboys From Hell was an amazing album, too.
(as for me I just have the iPod on shuffle, so I'm not making like a greatest hits playlist or anything, just going with the flow.)
Dead Kennedy's - Chicken Farm
Angry fan, D.C.: Have you ever read The Washington Post articles on the Wizards? How bout the Nats? If so, have you noticed how those teams are covered in a much more positive light than your coverage of the Redskins? Why is that?
Hopefully you'll take a tough question instead of the usual softballs you take...
Jason La Canfora: Ouch, you're scaring me. Please stop.
The Nats are an expansion team in essence with a punty payroll trying to rebuild.
The Wizards, now, correct me if I'm wrong, have been to the playoffs a few times in a row.
The Redskins charge more for tickets and parking, generate more revenue than anyone, and are 23-28 under Gibbs and don't have back to back 9 win seasons since 1991-92.
You're right, let me get out my pom-poms.
Do the 'Skins have all their draft picks next year, minus the Kendall trade?
btw...does Pearl Jam get any love in the iPod Shuffle?
Jason La Canfora: No, the fourth goes to Denver for Duckett.
As for the iPod, we'll have to see my man. Forces larger than both of us at work here.
Fairfax, Va.: One of my all-time favorite players, Gary Clark, will be inducted into the FedEx Field Ring of Fame this Sunday. Did you get a chance to see him play? You look up volatile in the dictionary and there you'll find Gary's picture. I've heard more than one NFL scribe state that it was Clark, and not Monk, whom other teams feared more.
Jason La Canfora: I remember Gary very well. Fierce dude.
Coach Gibbs talks about him all the time and the kind of tone he set with the way he played and how much he cared about winning.
Arlington, Va.: Jason,
Since the Redskins will be facing a lot of 4 and sometimes 5 WR sets, who do you think will be the odd man out in the secondary?
In my view, they will have 4 corners (Springs, Smoot, Rogers and Maklin) and then 4 safety's dressed in Taylor, Landry, Prileou (sp?) and Reed Doughty.
Jason La Canfora: They have dressed 10 DBs in a lot of games, so I don't see a problem there.
Now, more interesting will be how many LBs still figure in the nickel and dime stuff and how they are deployed, 'cause Martz wants to force you to use them in coverage and defend, rather than being able to use them to attack the QB as Gregg loves to do.
Elvis Costello - Oliver's Army
D.C.: J La,
Is there any expressed concern from what you gathered regarding M. Martz's new/latest version of the "Greatest Show on Turf"? Also, will Calvin Johnson play Sunday?
Jason La Canfora: Oh yeah, brother, ample concern. No one is disrespecting these dudes or thinking it's the same old bumbling Lions.
They have to attack what has been a suspect secondary for the Lions and score some points, too, to help the D out.
Los Angeles: Goes without saying, but you are the man for running such an awesome blog and pouring so much time and energy into these chats. Just wish the Danny would put an effort equal to yours into building a decent front office.
Why do you think the 'Skins offense, which was actually looking pretty formidable at the end of last season, has been so inconsistent and sputtering this year, esp. given how hard JC worked in the offseason. Obviously the problems on the O line are the big reason, but are there any other factors to blame?
Jason La Canfora: Thanks brother. Just doing my job.
The thing about the offense is that even when it looks good -- which is often the case -- they just don't get in the dang end zone.
Even last year they went 6 in row without topping 19 points, then got like 31 on STL in Week 16 and 28 in that season-ending loss to the Giants, but overall in like 53 games including playoffs I think they've topped 24 points just 11 times total.
That ain't going to get it done.
NYC: hey Angry Fan: are you KIDDING me? Last time I checked the WaPo wasn't Pravda. I love the 'Skins like my mama but as far as I'm concerned the tougher the coverage of their abysmal failings the better. Get your head out of the sand.
Jason La Canfora: Thanks bro. Like I've said a million times, before I cover them like any other team I have ever covered in the past.
Jesus and Mary Chain - Just Like Honey
Bowie, Md.: You said teams don't let 6-5 WR studs walk in the prime of their career. Uh, Pittsburgh did...that's where Plaxico started.
Jason La Canfora: Okay, that's one example. Of course I'm not saying it never happens, but Plax was not the No. 1 guy there, he had some attitude problems and you tell me how often Pitt steps up big to pay guys to stay? They're all about the draft.
Look at all the guys they've let walk going back to Kevin Greene and those mid-90s powerhouses they had early in free agency.
Porno For Pyros - Packin' (wow, haven't heard this in like 10 years).
Towson, Md.: Any inkling that the 'Skins will try to use Sean Taylor as a WR in the red zone?
Jason La Canfora: We've seen it before and it makes sense to bring it back to me. Good idea. You've got my vote.
RE: Nats, Wizards...You're right, let me get out my pom-poms.: Um, when was the last time the Wizards won anything? And since when are we friendlier to the expansion team that has one of the smallest fan bases in all of professional sports than we are of the team that more of your reader root for than any other?
Your inexplicable hatred of the Redskins and especially their coaching staff cannot be explained by the fact that they haven't had back-to-back winnings seasons since '91-'92.
You have both an agenda and a personal beef with Coach Gibbs...that much is obvious.
Jason La Canfora: You don't have a clue my friend.
"Friendlier" is silly. This has nothing to do with friendship.
My job to to cover and explain why this team -- or any team -- wins or loses. They have not won.
Is that easy enough for you to understand?
Washington, D.C.: So maybe we were a bit early in putting Suisham into the Pro Bowl as he missed his first kick of the year two weeks ago... any concern from the team about the kicking game? I know Frosty has been BOOMING some kicks...
Jason La Canfora: Frosty is rockin' out, eh? He keeps this up and he's going to get paid this offseason.
Both of them are young and it's tough, because you just don't know how good these specialist are going to be over time until they get in the clutch time after time and produce.
That's why so many of them bounce around and so many quality organizations let future great kickers go when they are kids, only to regret it later. There's a lot of luck involved in finding a good young one at that position.
The Hives - Statecontrol
Washington, D.C.: Jason-
I don't like the Redskins chances in winning any "shootout" type game. Your thoughts?
Jason La Canfora: I am with you. Not to beat this into the ground, but the closer they come to 30 points per game this month the better their chances are (obviously).
Concerned about our LBs...: Can you give a quick update to the injuries to Marcus and Rocky?
Jason La Canfora: Both are taking full work and should be ready to go ... Now, does that mean they aren't still hurting some? Well, in this sport that's a way of life. Marcus's new brace seems less restrictive, so over the next few weeks he should be more of a two-armed LB than he has been able to be thus far, baring a setback.
Stones - Gimme Shelter
Bend, Ore.: Actually, Plaxico was drafted by the Steelers and let go. The G-men picked him up as a free agent.
Is Fabini starting again or might we see DeMulling at Guard?
Jason La Canfora: Fabini getting the reps with the starters this week (DeMulling did some work with them Monday but he said that was just to get acclimated a bit more given the extra day of practice this week).
Man, you guys are killing for the Burress thing.
Vienna, Va.: If you, Jason La Canfora, could change ONE thing about the Redskins that would allow them to be successful, what would it be? Could be ownership, front office, players, coaches, anything.
Jason La Canfora: Management structure.
Los Angeles: Hey, JLC. Love the work you're doing and these chats.
Here's my question --
Is this really Al Saunders offense? I see one and two receiver sets, max-protect on every down. To me, that's Gibbs first year back all over again. It's outdated, easy to defend, and as we've seen, hard to generate points with.
In KC, even when his line was banged up and with with even worse receivers than the 'Skins have, Al was spreading the field more and attacking with three receivers minimum. So what gives?
Jason La Canfora: I think if Al was running everything the way he loves, his offense would look a lot more like what the Lions will be operating this Sunday.
Zebra, Serengeti: JLa;
Per your story about our anemic 2nd halves over the years, do you get the impressions in talking with others that teams know this about us?
Do the think a 17-3 hole at half isn't a bad thing given our propensity to give up said lead?
I know Cincy had no intimations of coming back against the Pats, I would think we are the opposite of that.
Ignore the haters Jasno, and get over to the Redskins wiki!
Incubus - Quicksand
Jason La Canfora: I don't think teams get the kind of phobia coming out of the tunnel at FedEx as they do in some other stadiums when they are facing a deficit.
Too many bad teams have done it to the 'Skins recently (2005 Raiders, 2006 Falcons, an 0-6 Tenn team last year).
Washington, D.C.: Just to contradict the haters, your coverage is tough, but fair. Actually, I think The Post's coverage, on average, is too fawning. But hey, I'm from N.Y. If you want to see tough coverage, pick up a N.Y. paper that's not the Times. Or got to Boston or Philly.
Jason La Canfora: I hear ya brother. It's all subjective. That's the great thing about this business, there is no one way to do it and everyone will react to everything differently.
The bottom line is no matter what any journalist does, it ain't changing a thing on the field, and that's where it all starts.
Jamiroquai - Half The Man
Do you ever write questions on here for yourself to answer? The questions from Los Angeles and NYC sounded like they were written by you.
Jason La Canfora: Never, bro. Come on, how lame would that be?
I am trying to work on a story, write a blog entry and answer as many of these questions I can while also e-mailing some agents before practice lets out.
Wish I had the time. Would be funny to plant a few at some point.
One-Yard Line: Since when is giving the ball to Mike Sellers at the one-yard line not one of the three best plays the team has?
Jason La Canfora: They like him leading the way as a blocker, but like I wrote back then, I'm at least either giving Sellers one FB dive or running Campbell on a sneak on first down before the Giants set their goal line D.
That's just me.
Odenton, Md.: At this point, Carter is on pace for about 11 sacks. Looks like at least one FA pickup from last year might be working out, huh?
Jason La Canfora: He turned it around last December.
Even beyond the sacks (often seems to miss by an inch, eh) he is making the QB move off the spot and move that plant foot around.
Against some of these spread offense -- with limited protection -- he could have a chance to make some big plays.
Charm City, Md.: Jasno,
In your opinion, can we dispense with the idea of the AFC being the "dominant" conference? So far this year the AFC is 7-8 against the NFC. Looks a lot like parity to me.
Jason La Canfora: Yeah, I'm not willing to go there yet.
Hard not to say at least the Top 2 are not in the AFC (Indy, New England) and I think the middle of the pack in the AFC is much better than in the NFC ... but time will tell.
NFC definitely holding up better in those games vs. AFC this year
Dead Kennedys - Stealing People's Mail
St. Louis: I smell a phony...sounds like Dan S. is making some comments here! The honest truth is that the 'Skins (as much as I love them) have not performed well enough over the last 15 years to give them much benefit of the doubt. Plus, given how much the 'Skins have taken their media in house, I think it's really important to have critical voices. You've also been very supportive when they deserve it, so this is not an agenda thing.
Just to have a question so this has a chance of being read- know any good places to watch the 'Skins in St. Louis?
Jason La Canfora: Kelli Johnson of Comcast, who used to work in STL, just totally failed me. I asked her, she's sitting right here, and she totally blanked out.
Lame Kel. Lame.
When I covered hockey back in the day we used to hit Mike Shannon's downtown after the game.
Coral Springs, Fla.: Jason:
I think this Sunday is a key game. If they win, they regain their momentum, if they lose, all hell might break loose with thoughts of "here we go again." Agree or not?
I like your iPod comments. What do you think has been the best decade of music for you: '70s, '80s, or '90s?
Jason La Canfora: '70s my man. Without a doubt.
Bob Marley - Exodus
San Diego: How about we trade Norv for Big Al?
Jason La Canfora: Hmm, interesting idea ... At this rate you won't even need a trade. Nervous Norv might be on the street as a free agent in a few weeks.
Megskin, D.C.: So if you really think Al would rather run the offense differently (I agree with you by the way), how much longer do you think he can put up with the MickyMouse games and being neutered on game day? I mean, he did want to come here, didn't he?
Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole
Jason La Canfora: Megskin, thanks for the checking in. Long time no chat.
I think Al knew somewhat what he was getting into when he came here, and very much knew that Joe Gibbs is an offensive coach with great credentials who is far and away the head honcho here.
I'm not sure that Al had that many other, better options when he came here and certainly not at the salary he was paid. Also, he could see a lot of weapons here that mirrored the talent he'd had in the past.
They've all got to find a way to turn this entire collection of coaches and players into more points.
Will from Rockville: Any chance we will see Keenan McCardell play this Sunday?
Jason La Canfora: Looking that way.
Los Angeles: Jason,
'Skins fan in Los Angeles here. I have to applaud the information that I receive from you on a daily basis on our beloved 'Skins.
Chris Cooley is a very talented, sure-handed tight end. He hasn't been thrown to much this season due to injuries on the line and they need him to help out. I understand that, but why not bring in a extra o-lineman, classify him as an eligible player, and split Chris out a bit?
We have limited "go to" guys and Chris is one of them. Why not use one of our weapons wisely.
Jason La Canfora: Thank bro.
They do go jumbo quite a bit and bring in Pucillo, but that's almost always for a power sweep. Can't recall them throwing out of that formation much (maybe once to Sellers?) but it could be a wrinkle.
If that right side needs a lot of help then it could be tough, because the Skins don't go 4 wide much to begin with. Bottom line is they need to get him in more routes, though
Tommy Dorsey - The Song Is For You
Jason La Canfora: Practice just ended.
Enjoy the game.
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