Thursday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m. ET

The Redskins

Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 25, 2007; 1:00 PM

Washington Post staff writer Jason La Canfora was online Thursday, Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. ET to take your questions about the Redskins.

The transcript follows.

Read Jason's blog, Redskins Insider.

Full coverage: Washington Redskins


Jason La Canfora: Hey there everyone. Hope all is well.

Gonna try to start a few minutes early here in case I need to go early should they have a short practice.

Okay, have at me.

"Knowing" - Big Boi (Outkast)


Toronto: Hey Jason, do you ever sleep? Scenario for you: What do you think of putting in DeMulling and Fabini on the right side this weekend? They both have NE playing experience to go along with Kendall. Wade has been getting blown off the line lately and is hurting.

Pantera-"Cowboys from Hell" on Guitar Hero!

Jason La Canfora: RIP - Dimebag. Dude was a guitar god.

I think this could be coming down the road at some point. Wade's lower body was his best asset for the most part but the hammy is not helping that at all. Upper body took a hit from the shoulder injury and he has struggled.

Could be a case where he recovers a little more each week and pulls out of it. Problem about making the switch now is that DeMulling and Fabini only have like three practices together -- last week when Wade was out -- and to make yet another O Line shuffle now won't do anything to breed any chemistry, either.

I think you gotta just hope that Casey plays -- and it looks like he will -- and that his presence alone settles some things down on the O Line. If Rabach is anything close to full strength that alone is a huge boost.


Rockville, Md.: Hey J -

Thanks for your coverage. Can't say I agree with your music tastes though. I guess I'm not as old school (sorry bro!!)

Anyway -- wanted to know if there's any sense of mutiny within the Redskins about the constant lack of offensive punch. Gibbs has been here since 2004 and we STILL have not gotten our offense off of the ground. Are the offensive players losing trust in the system or are they being genuine when they say "we have to play better."


Jason La Canfora: Old School? Me. Man, I am getting to be a geezer, eh? 34 is going to hit me like a ton of bricks.

As for the offensive issues, if they had blown that game, I think we may have seen the first public fissures either through word or deed. it's something that everyone is aware of and if it doesn't change. I see something bubbling up at some point.

As for the players, it's not losing trust in the system, but privately a lot of guys can't figure out why they don't put it in Campbell's hands a little more, go for the throat a little more and not play it so close to the vest in many situations.

Every week is like a mini season in this sport -- great thing about football -- so who knows what the future will bring. Gibbs was pretty up front about being too conservative in the second half against Arizona, and I think it's good that he did that because some players were kind of baffled by the way the end of that game went down.

"All Tomorrow's Parties" - Velvet Underground


Al Saunders: Help! I'm handcuffed in the club box upstairs and coach G won't let me out!

Jason La Canfora: Get some pliers or something dude. Break free from the shackles and, even if Coach Joe wants to hammer it on the ground as a general philosophy in many cases, buck the system man. Put some pressure on these defenses and spread it wide a bit more and go for the gusto.


Glen Burnie, Md.: Hi Jason,

Can you please explain this "piling" on penalty? I've never heard of it. The refs seemed a little flag happy last weekend against AZ. with that call and it kept the AZ. offense on the field after the 'Skins stopped them on 3rd down. Granted, the 'Skins got the same call in the 1st quarter, but I still did not see anything wrong on any of those plays. Thanks.

Jason La Canfora: I thought both calls were little ticky-tack, but at least they were consistent with it. It's a judgment call and the officials generally don't talk to us media schlubs. I'm with you, keep the flags tucked in the pockets on both of those calls, but in the heat of the moment, I can see how decisions are made

"Know We Could Be So Happy Baby" Jeff Buckley


JC in G-Town: JLC -- Thanks for all your hard work, and great article this morning.

Do you ever feel like your work has any sway in the game plan? It seems there is a overwhelming notion both in 'Skins-nation and its ensuing blog world that the offense needs to open it up and play some aggressive football at opportune times. Do the coaches hear this and implement it or do they wait until they come up with these things on their own?

Jason La Canfora: Bro, I am the brains behind this operation and wear an earpiece in the press box that connects directly to Gibbs and Saunders. I probably shouldn't admit this now, but it's unfair for me to continue to let them take all the bullets ...

Okay, back to reality now. Just having a little fun.

Maybe sometimes an article or two causes some pause or consideration on some level, but these guys have spent their entire lives doing this and spent all day and night trying to figure this stuff out, so whatever changes or conclusions they draw are probably exclusive of anything written by little old me. But I just try to bring some things to light and get a pulse for what players and coaches here are thinking and feeling.


JC #17: Look, it's like this JLC:

I'm still in my rookie season as the starter. No one is expecting me to romp on the Pats. So, let me throw the ball and win or lose the game. We get blown out by 30 with my 3INTs -- no problemo, I'm a rookie vs. the Pats. Or I play well and it becomes my coming out party and we crank up the Kornheiser bandwagon.

What do you think?

Jason La Canfora: Dude, I am rollin with you. You're gonna have to score to win. I'm not saying drop back and throw 45 times behind this line and get you killed, but let's face it, the run game could very well fail again, and, if it does, like, take some shots and try to help out that defense a bit.

"Latin Goes Ska" - Skatalites


Ken Houston, Prairie View, Tex.: Do you think the Redskins will pick up DT Grady Jackson who was recently jettisoned by the Falcons?

Jason La Canfora: Nope. No plans to do so now. Should he be on the street down the road and the Redskins suffer some DT injuries, then he could get a call, but after clearing waivers I hear that some teams have expressed interest and he could be signed in the next week.


Get your facts straight: The article in this morning's paper states that only two players on the Redskins have scored multiple touchdowns this season - Portis and Cooley. Actually, Mike Sellers has scored more than one touchdown as well (in fact he scored two in the same game against the Lions). Just don't want you guys to turn into ESPN or something and start losing credibility.

Jason La Canfora: You are correct and I'll get us on running a correction. I should have said that among the Redskins "skill positions" -- TE, WR, RB -- only two have. Sellers is a beast and I screwed that up. My bad on that.


Bryantown, Md.: Any chance that Brandon Lloyd might duplicate the late Max McGee's 1966 feat of having a nothing regular season but scoring two touchdowns in the Super Bowl?

Jason La Canfora: Wow, all I'm going to say is that when I got 3/4 through that sentence I thought that question was going in a totally different direction in light of recent tragic events regarding the Green Bay legend.


the guru: Football, more than any other sport, is a game of momentum and rhythm. After all the game planning and preparation, in the heat of the moment, it's about feeling out the players, the atmosphere, and the general tendencies in the game. Its about anticipation and intuition colliding with aggressive acumen. Why does it seem our coaching staff is so out of rhythm?

Jason La Canfora: Great point. Wish I had the answer my man, and I am sure they did too. They so often seem to be searching and grasping rather than dictating to the opposition.


Germantown, Md.: The Redskins seem to have a team that's built for throwing more than running right now, do you know why they don't do like old school Florida State, throw the ball to set up the run (fast-break offense). It looks like if they would use more 3 or 4 receiver sets it would open up the game and give defenses more to look for.

Jason La Canfora: I agree that the injuries and the tenor of the season and the reality of some of the teams they are facing all point to them having to air it out more.


Annapolis, Md.: Yo JaLock,

So everyone has written off the 'Skins this week and said this will be a blowout by the Pats. That might be the case, but they still have to play the game. I think any team can win any week. Bad weather can change everything...Am I just a total homer?

Jason La Canfora: Not at all bro. No such thing as a lock in this league. The Pats have not faced a D like this yet, eventually some guys on that team will have bad games, they have been dominating takeaway ration (plus-8, best in NFL), and that has a way of evening out sometimes too. By all means good man, stay optimistic and hope for the best.

"Rich" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs


Re: "34 is gonna hit me like a ton of bricks...": I just realized I'm old enough to be your Mother! ahhhh! That makes me a die-hard, very OLD, Redskins fan!

Not sure what will happen come Sunday other than the fact that I'll be screaming at the TV, hopefully for great plays our guys make.

Jason La Canfora: They do tend to make their fans scream and yell, win, lose or draw, eh? One thing about them, their games may not always be a thing of beauty but they are nothing if not entertaining, interesting and drama-filled.


Columbia, Md.: Jason,

Thanks for all your reporting and insight on the Redskins. What are your thoughts on Portis this year? People can blame the O-line all they want and conservative play calling, but after watching 6 games, it appears to me CP just isn't healthy,or something is not right with him this year. The holes are there, but he just does not seem explosive. Why not give Betts a start or at least more touches? Betts had over 1,100 yards in 9 starts last year. Run Ladell!!!

Jason La Canfora: This O Line is light years from being as good and in form as the unit that helped get him 1,500 yards in 2005. But I agree that he does not look to be the same guy, especially outside the tackles.

If he can't bust those outside zone plays and turn the corner like he used to, then I say ride Betts with the quick cutbacks on the inside zone -- like the 10-yard burst that got the ball to the goal line to set up a Portis TD -- and use both backs.

Expecting Betts, or Walter Peyton for that matter -- to come in for one play every 90 minutes is an awful lot. Give him a series or two in a row here and there. I think he earned that last year

"Sha La La" - Al Green


New London, Conn.: Keep up the good work Jason, you're blogs are the only things that keep me sane here in Patriot, Giant and Jet land.

Have we seen the best of Carlos Rogers at this point of his career? The dude was a high first round draft pick and every time I turn around, the guy is getting beat, missing tackles and dropping ints. I'm honestly scared to pencil in the guy as our No. 1 corner when Springs leaves.

Jason La Canfora: I think Carlos has actually looked a lot better in Cover-2 this year than last year and while he still has warts he is making progress.

He was hobbled last week and the one Fitzgerald caught over him was big, but corners are going to get beat sometimes and this group has faced some absolute studs this month and shut most of them down.

Give him some more time.


Washington, D.C.: Do the media just look around in bewilderment at each other when Coach Joe gives his Monday recap? Like anyone is there to hear how hard the team played, fought their guts out, how Coach Joe's never seen someone work as hard as (fill in the blank) or someone as tough as (fill in another blank) or how so-and-so, lemme tell ya, he's a real Redskin. And this business where he sort of admits that he is setting the tone with that play-not-to-lose playcalling in the second half of these games but then backs off. You would've thought the team won the Super Bowl with a potent offense the way he spoke about them after the Cardinals game. The question here is -- does he really believe all this garbage he is saying or is it just politics? It's like this guy is watching a completely different game than, oh say, every single player and fan is.

Jason La Canfora: Sometimes, honestly, yeah we do. The thing that kind of blew me away was when he said he was "thrilled" with that win. Trust me, no one in the locker room was.

"Blackeyed Blonde" -- Chili Peppers (old school, back in the day, when they brought the funk)


Bill Belichick: To 'Skins Nation:

Hello. This is the other dry, laudatory coach involved in this week's game. Can you imagine the kinds of things I have in store for you this week? Your coach may be in the HoF, but he got in there with two plays. And though your team may be more "multiple" now, I am going to show you things that no one in the history of sports has ever seen. Be scared, very, very scared.


Jason La Canfora: Dang Bill, you're dropping a serious threat bomb there.

Have to say that your conference call with us schlubs Wednesday was pretty cool. I was bracing for the worst 10 minutes of my life but you had some great answers and were, dare I say it, amicable. I was all ready with a pre-prepared question -- to ask you if the conference call was in fact the part of your existence you hated the most -- but the thing went so well that there was no need.

"King Of The World" - The Super 8


Capitol Hill: Your efforts documenting the 'Skins second-half woes have been informative, and much appreciated. Thanks.

Now, as to the source of the problems, I don't think everyone is acknowledging just how bad the injuries have been. I would claim that Randy Thomas is more important to the 'Skins running game than anyone. Even more important than Portis or Betts.

With Randy Thomas, Portis was a 1,500-yard back.

Without Randy Thomas, Portis (and the whole offense) languished in the playoffs. With Randy Thomas, Betts ran for over 1,100 yards (starting only 9 games). Without Randy Thomas, Betts can barely get 3 yards or a cloud of dust.

The pass protection has been fine, but there is just no way the 'Skins can be a power running team with a patched together O-line. Might we see more of a dink and dunk game plan coming up, or do the coaches still believe they can run?

Jason La Canfora: Randy Thomas is definitely the single element that most makes that running game go. The right side used to be the go-to area, especially with that jumbo package -- and Betts and Portis both rode the hell out of it.

Good to see Randy smiling a lot lately and he's pretty optimistic that he'll be back in 7 weeks. The rest of the guys on offense are pretty excited to. Samuels was talking to Randy the other day telling him how much he can't wait to see him back out there, how much they need him.


Kurt Warner: Does Jesus love Joe Gibbs more than me? I thought I played my guts out there and still couldn't eke out a win...

Jason La Canfora: Wow. I'm not going anywhere near this one.


Herndon, Va.: Mr. LaC: You have to include the Stones or some Memphis STAX tunes for us old-timers! Do you and the good Mr. Maske ever trade notes and comments, or are you competitors for information?

Jason La Canfora: Mark and I kind of cover different beats but when we have info that overlaps -- as happens from time to time -- it's great to share it. Not a competitive thing at all.

I have plenty of Stones and STAX and SUN stuff on the iPod but I just roll with the shuffle and leave myself to the mercy of the machine.

"I'm Coming Over" -- X


Bend, Ore.: Great article on Rock Cartwright this week. It was one of my favorite 'Skins articles this year, as it gave a lot of insight into a guy we don't normally hear a lot about. How's he feeling this week after the quad pull?

Also, did Gibbs ever address not calling a time out to ice Rackers? That certainly bucks the trend but paid off big time.

Jason La Canfora: Thanks. Rock is a good dude and a cool cat.

Not saying he should get that Morton contract per say, but he has far outclipsed what Chad did here. Hope they give him a solid signing bonus to keep him around should he trigger the voids in his contract.

"Stay Free" - The Clash (what a perfect pop song)


RE: Fed/Ex Game Day experience: What do you think of the "Megaphone Alley" outside the stadium that has taken shape this year intimidating opposing fans?!? I saw you walk by that way on Sunday and say hi to Jared, "The Tailgate King" who started the megaphone thing around there which has been picked up by another four groups or so, creating the "alley." I love it! It's good old fashioned fun and they always keep it clean. Rowdy, sure, but clean.

Jason La Canfora: Jared is the man, I know that much.

I wasn't hip to the "alley" concept, cause I usually get inside the stadium three hours before the game, but sounds pretty cool to me.

Good clean fun indeed.


Bethesda, Md.: Hey Jason, love your work. Probably an old issue, but I saw a photo on the Web of the Patriots' practice yesterday, and they were in the bubble. The weather is crappy here and crappy there, but they're inside.

I know Gibbs likes to practice in the elements just like the games are, but guess what? Sunday is supposed to be sunny and dry in Boston. Meanwhile, guys with hamstrings, etc., are probably affected by the rain in how much they can practice.

Why not get a bubble? You can still practice outside when you think it approximates what the weather will be on game day!

Jason La Canfora: He is dead set against it. Always has been every time the schlubs ask -- and trust me it comes up a lot -- and believes that if you play outside (95 percent of the time) then you practice outside.

Oh yeah, a few questions back I forgot to mention about the Rackers thing. Joe said he never considered icing him.

The timeout management, game management, clock management has been an issue pretty much all four years.

"Cold Lampin' With Flavor" - PE


'Skins fan from Vermont representing at the game in Foxboro: Am I going to be laughed at the entire game from my standing room only tickets, or does our secondary have the best shot at slowing Brady and the boys down? I got to believe we have the depth to match up with Stallworth and Welker and the Reaper and the Mac truck(Laron) will at least be in the back on Moss's mind when he goes downfield and over the middle. I expect the 'Skins to come up short in this game but do they have a realistic chance of making it somewhat close?

Jason La Canfora: I think they can definitely make it a game and keep this thing down to the wire, which is pretty much how all their games go.


Arlington, Va.: Jason,

Can you comment on the strength/caliber of teams that the Pats have faced this year? How many of the teams the Pats have played are really that good? The Cowboys and maybe the Chargers? So it is really reasonable for everyone to be so "impressed" with the Pats?

Jason La Canfora: Like I said, this is the best D they will face. But I don't care if you play Miami 7 times in a row -- if you put up 40 on them every time and beat them by at least 20 every time, you're a pretty bleeping good team as far as I'm concerned.


Durango, Colo.: Ah, forecast high today of 70 and 30 percent humidity, brilliant sunshine, oh, er, this is a Redskins forum...

Say, Jason, that you talk to a number of outlander NFL execs is evident from your reporting. So, what do those execs say about our cobbled O-line? And isn't it unusual that they seem better prepared to pass block than to run block? I mean, isn't run blocking where most O-lines like to "enjoy" themselves since they can move forward and keep the opposing D-line on their heels? What does St. Joe, may the room tremble with his fury at the Friday conference, say about this seeming reversal of common practice.

Jason La Canfora: I don't know that you can say as a group overall they pass block better than run block, but against that particular opponent last Sunday, with the way the run game was going and with the five guys on that line they had that day, they felt better with their pass blocking than run blocking.

Put Rabach back in there, give them another game together, change some of the scheme a bit and give them a full week of practice together and that could change.

"Drawing Flies" - Soundgarden


AL SJ: I'm hating the Portis vs. Betts argument. They are both capable receivers and are effective that way. Neither is running well behind this line. Don't you think the bigger issue is how the backs should be used?

Jason La Canfora: Yeah. I think Betts deserves more of a chance to run the ball more than once a quarter. That's just me. Not saying I am right, just my opinion after watching this thing play out over six games.


Washington, D.C.: I doubt your editor will send this to you, but here's worth a shot:

Jason La Cantreporta's M.O is that he will highlight the negative aspects of the team as much as possible and bury anything positive about the team. For instance, how many times have your articles broken down Gibbs' second tenure by removing the 6 game win streak at the end of 05? Countless times. You love to take out the positive stats from the equation, makes the team look worse...which, of course, is your intention.

For instance, how many times so far this year have you already taken the season opener's rushing stats out of the equation? When you say "in the last 5 games...etc" what you are trying to do is take the 200+ yards the Skins earned on the ground vs Miami out of the equation, so our rushing stats will look worse.

And before you say you're just pointing out the facts and just doing your job, blah blah blah, why don't you ever write a story about how good we are in the 1st half and break down those stats without mentioning a word about the 2nd half stats (kinda like you continue to do with respect to pointing out 2nd half deficiencies while ignoring the 1st half positives entirely).

Stop trying to make the team look bad...that is not your job.

Jason La Canfora: Dude, you got me all figured out. That's why no one talks to me out here, I don't break any news or have anyone's trust or get any positive information.

That story on Rock Cartwright was a hatchet job. I never give Campbell any credit. I continue to shred that defense every chance I get. That neat feature on Anthony Montgomery that will run in the paper tomorrow, it'll have my byline on it, but trust me, I couldn't actually bring myself to write it.

Les Carpenter is actually writing it for me, but we're putting my name on it so guys like you have us all figured out now get thrown for a loop, and everyone else will just living in the dark oblivious to the campaign of hate I have going on.

Wow, I feel so naked now. You've totally exposed me.

"Malcolm" - Ghostface Killah


Swinging Soul #10492: Jason, now that the NFL has shortened the time allotted for picking in the draft, does that mean that the Skins are in trouble on that front now too? Gibbs doesn't appear to handle his clock management in games too well and I am curious as to whether this will carry over to the draft? I mean - the Skins wouldn't have beaten the Eagles if Andy Reid didn't call that timeout for Gibbs to allow him to get his head on straight!

Jason La Canfora: Dude, I dare you to get Swinging Soul #10492 tattooed across your back ...

Okay, no, I take that back. You people are hardcore. Probably go out and do it.

As for the draft, I think they'll get it done. Now, should they actually have a draft where they make a full set of picks, that might put them to the test, but we're at least probably a few years from that given the trades they've already made.

Remember Jacksonville botched its pick back in like '04? That was some of the best live NFL draft coverage ever.

"Emmy" - Smooths


Barno, Md.: Jason,

Any chance you're ever going to give me my prize for winning your Redskins song contest back in August of 2006?


Jason La Canfora: I'll ask Cooley about it again today.


Silver Spring, Md.: Two questions about the Redskins' receivers:

Are the Redskins the only team with wide outs who haven't scored a touchdown?

Do the Redskins have the shortest starting wide outs in the league?

Jason La Canfora: Buffalo only has 1 passing TD I believe and a TE caught it.

So the 'Skins and Bills are the only two without a WR with a TD.

As for shortest wide outs, man, I'd have to spend some time doing that and figure out how to measure it.

Number of WR over 6-1?

Stack up an entire team's WR heights and then compare all 32 totals, like each team has one crazy-big, 28 foot WR on its roster?

I'll look into it.


Woodbridge, Va.: Is the secondary's game plan going to be to pound on the Pat's receivers more than usual? Moss, as great as he is, will shy away from the physical play. And I forget who said it, but receivers don't remember flags, they remember writhing on the ground in pain.

And do you only rush 4 and drop in to coverage or try and apply early pressure?

Jason La Canfora: Yes and Yes.

Going to try to bust them around like they did Fitzgerald and Johnson.

And I can't see Gregg going too blitz crazy now, not against this O Line and this QB.

I think you may even see more of the 3-man rush with Demetric Evans dropping more and even Ol' Monty, No. 94, sometimes.

Lot of Cover-2 and Cover-3 I am guessing

"Fairies Wear Boots" - Sabbath


Annapolis, Md.: It's weird that just about every song in your iPod is something I know and like. I'm about the same age (32). Diamond Darrell and Black Eyed Blonde? Classic.

Jason La Canfora: Great minds think alike my friend, eh?


Lehigton, Pa.: Jason LaC,

Love the Blogs and the STATs man, you rock!

I think Gibbs is somewhat limited now with the OL problem, that really hurts. Being a longtime 'Skins fan (born and raised), it is somewhat of a tradition for the 'Skins getting through the early part of the season and really opening it up in the later part of the season, like in 2005....that is what Gibbs teams do. Who cares how he does it, more run, more pass, his teams do that, PLUS stronger in the later part of the season is much better than doing what the Giants did last year, hot early then folding at the end of last year.

My question, on a scale of 1 to 10 (sense you are around the team almost everyday)-- how healthy is our OL...with 10 being the Strong?

LTBR (Long Time Blogger Reader) - Keep it up!

Jason La Canfora: Thanks for your support. Love all the LTBRs.

Hmm, Scale. I'll say 4-5.


Jason La Canfora: Shoot, just got rounded up like cattle -- practice is over and time to run to do interviews.

As always you can find me on the blog and email me at

Have a great weekend, enjoy the game and go Sox!



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