The Redskins

Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 6, 2007; 1:00 PM

Washington Post staff writer Jason La Canfora was online Thursday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. ET to take your questions about the Redskins and the death of Sean Taylor.

The transcript follows.

Read Jason's blog, Redskins Insider.

Full coverage: Washington Redskins


Jason La Canfora: Hey guys, having computer problems. Finally let me in the chat room so let's hope it was just a glitch.

sorry for the delay


Leesburg, Va.: Hi Jason,

Love the chat and your articles. I read the one you wrote about J. Campbell today and can't help and wonder why he's having a tough time winning the close ones. If I remembered correctly, didn't Vince Young during his rookie season won a few games in "spectacular" fashions? Would you take V. Young over Campbell? I still think Campbell will be a good one in the long run but I don't ever see him in the Elway/Favre mode at all. The TOs is just inexplicable. The fumbling has got to stop.

Jason La Canfora: I would take Jason over most young QBs. He's not getting a whole lot of help these days and to me is well ahead of the curve.

Elway was a total disaster his first two seasons. He's going to be very good for a very long time. The O Line, coaching, play calling, lack of standout receivers, suspect running game all play into this.


Lombardi, Md.: After the Redskins play poorly, does Gibbs have them do some of the harder drills like Bull-in-the-Ring, rolling logs, the Oklahoma drill and the nutcracker drill?

Jason La Canfora: Vince L, you're joking right? They don't even do that stuff in camp.

Not toomany teams do but I know Tomlin in Pitt for one was doing a lot of that stuff in camp.

These guys rarely even have two-a-days much less get neanderthal. It's not Gibbs's style.

They do put the pads on practice usually more midway through the season, but that's often becasue the season is slipping away.

_______________________ Due to technical problems, this discussion will have to be rescheduled. Please consult the Discussions schedule on the homepage.


Jason La Canfora: Hey guys

Just got set up in the press box at FedEx. Hope we have better luck next time.

I should have about the next 45 minutes free to answer as many as I can, and as always I'm on the blog and at email -

Alright, let's do this.


Charleston, S.C.: JLC,

I figure this to be a low scoring, old-school, grind 'em out game. Your opinion? Is the weather any better up there than it has been and will that effect the game tonight?

Jason La Canfora: Isn't that the script for like 85 percent of the Skins game in Gibbs 2.0? I am with you.

As for the weather it's cold as (insert your own cliche here), but no more snow and the field looks good. Cleared off, clean. I am sure it's hard as a rock, but hey, it's football not hopscotch, right?

Fear - "Foreign Policy"


Madison, Va.: In your opinion, what is the missing element in a Redskins win? Also, do you think we will have a new coach next year and will it be Greg Williams?

Jason La Canfora: Wish there was one missing element you could also always point to.

Conservative play calling, in-game manamement, dropped passed and INTs, poor decisions from the QB at times, pass protection ... all of it has lead to some of these heartbreaking losses.

As for head coach, like I've said all season when asked this question, it's still too soon to know.

Have to see how the team finishes the final quarter of the season, how Joe Gibbs is feeling, how his grandson is doing.

I believe him when he continues to say as of this moment he has every intention of coming back. Now, whether or not that becomes entirely his decision, we'll have to see. These final 4 games will be huge, obviously.

New Bomb Turks - "Cryin Into the Beer Of A Drunk Man"


Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.: Hi Jason,

I can't get anyone at the Post to answer this question. I hope you will.

I saw a different side of Dan Snyder during the Sean Taylor ordeal. He was scheduled to speak at the funeral. Why didn't he?

Jason La Canfora: Just checked on this again (hence the delay).

From everything I have heard Dan was listed on the program but it was a bit of a communication issue. Internally, Joe Gibbs was also scheduled to speak for the organization and that's how it went down.

Dan was definitely moved and devastated by this but I don't think it's fair to call it a new side. He has been by the side of players and coaches throughout times of crisis throughout his tenure as owner. I remember the look on his face when Mike Sellers had to get taken to the hospital in an amulance last season and the way Dan was trying to tend to him and it was as sincere as can be.

Black Flag - "Rise Above"


Anonymous: Even though I live in Maryland no local station is broadcasting the Skins game.

So should I go to a sportsbar or to a hotel lounge to watch the game. I don't care about food, I just wanna watch the game.

Jason La Canfora: It's on DC20 right?

If you can't get that, and you can get a night out. By all means take the metro or a cab and get yer swerve on. As someone with two kids under the age of three, take it when you can get it.


Upper Marlboro, Md.: Pookie,

Whats up with Portis's injury? How many carries will he get tonight? Betts to the rescue?

Thanks Buddy.

Jason La Canfora: I imagine Clinton will play and, as Gibbs is apt to do, will be given every chance to carry the load.

Clinton is good about telling the coaches and trainers when he's nicked, though, and if he needs to come out he will, don't worry. Betts is ready to go

Mephiskapheles "Satan On The Beach"


Vegas, Nev.: Any news on Shawn Springs or Randy Thomas? Will they play, and in Randy's case, how much?

Jason La Canfora: I would be very surprised if Randy doesn't play.

Shawn will be a game-time decision and it's still too early. No one working out yet and don't think any players are here yet.


King George, Va.: JLC, what in heaven's name are we going to do in next April's draft? So many holes, and with this front office?

Jason La Canfora: Man, loaded question.

We'll have to see what they do in free agency first. Remember this team uses trades and free agency to address the bulk of issues and supliments - barely - with the draft.

No way to figure out that until you see what they do in March and who they restructure.

Getting about 10 guys to agree to new deals will be the immediate concern to free up cap space to pursue outside talent.

You could make a strong case they use first day draft picks on, off the top of my head: WR, OL, DL, CB, LB


Raleigh, N.C.: Interesting one-on-one matchups to watch tonight?

Jason La Canfora: The O Line has been pretty shaky. Will be interested to see Ogunleye vs. Wade, especially with Todd being hurt a lot recently.

The Germs - "Sex Boy"


Shepherstown, W.Va.: The deficiencies of the Redskins' line play was clearly evident in the Bills game. How much to you think their struggles are linked to the fact that they are old, injured and inadequate along both O and D lines?

Jason La Canfora: I think you pretty much summed it up.

A lot of us were stunned they did not do more to the D Line and for about 5 weeks they held up very well. But they need to continue infusing younger, more athletic players there.

And the idea that the new and improved secondary would lead to an intense pass rush, well ...

and once the injuries hit the secondary, now you're really in trouble.

The O Line was crushed by injuries and they're going to be an older unit coming off lots of several surgeries next season. The inability to draft and develop a single impact O Lineman by this regime has been telling (maybe Heyer becomes that guy).

Interpol - "Hands Away"


Clinging to Playoff Hopes: Jasno, awesome job in everything you do for us UP HERE! Do you see or have you heard anything about the Redskins picking up Stoutmire(sp?)?

Jason La Canfora: I think once they get settled at WR and are sure ARE and Thrash are okay, they will release Farris and sign Omar. Just my hunch.


Viking Land: Who are your wildcards for the NFC?

Could AP and the Vikings make a run at Dallas for the superbowl?

Jason La Canfora: Hard to see the Giants not making it now after holding off the Bears. I think they are something of a lock.

Arizona was my pick for the other one, then they somehow gave up 38 to San Fran at home, which boggles the mind.

But, back when they were like 2-5 I had a discussion with Emilio, my sports editor, who worked in Minn. for a long time. I told him then the Vikes were anything but done for two reasons - their O Line/running game and D Line/run stuffing.

They have an identity which is more than 80 percent of the NFC can say. I think they are in the pole position for the second wildcard spot.

Dead Kennedys - "MTV Get Off The Air"


Raleigh, N.C.: Who is a better in the broadcast booth, Bryant Gumbel or the "that'll move the chains" guy on SNL?

Jason La Canfora: I have no idea who the move the chains guy is (don't think I've seen SNL since Farley left) but you could give me the old dancing dude from those Six Flags commercials and I'll still ride with grandpa. Give me anyone other than Gumbel.


21: How do the Skins plan to stop Devin Hester?

Jason La Canfora: Kick it to the sidelines and say a prayer


West Seattle, Wash.: Why not run Chris Cooley on goal line carries? He gets 3 yards after contact, every time.

Mother Love Bone - Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns

Jason La Canfora: Well, Sellers should be back so they have a better option there now.

Chris is a beast after the catch but that's usually after he's already had a chance to build up speed before he gets the ball in his hands.


Bethesda, Md.: A lot of folks commenting on your blog believe you shouldn't opine so much, given that you are a beat reporter. Do you aspire to be a columnist? And does that aspiration lead to you behave in a manner inconsistent with the responsibilities of a good beat reporter?

Jason La Canfora: These are two different forums.

Welcome to 2007.

PS - I aspire to be a rock star


Beat vs. Column: Any repercusions for you on the Redskins beat for Wilbon's early commentary on Taylor?

Jason La Canfora: Naw, I mean except for getting taped to the goalpost on the back field at Redskins Park, and that thing with the razor blade in my tires.

But that happens to me every Wednesday out there.

In all honesty, nothing at all. Wish I had a cool story for you.

Kiss - "King Of The Night Time World"


Bethesda, Md.: I just want to say, it's Thursday and I'm happy that I get to see my 'Skins play a few days earlier than usual. They bring more joy than most people realize, regardless of agonizing defeats, glorious wins, and bad timing of calling timeouts at the end of games. Thanks!

Jason La Canfora: Amen brother.

Gotta love game day no matter what.


Washington, D.C.: Back-to-back home games only four days apart. There were a lot of no-shows on Sunday and I suspect even more tonight. Wouldn't Dan Snyder make more money on concessions and cash lot parking if these games were not scheduled so close together?

Jason La Canfora: You are probably right but contrary to some reports he is not king of the world. the nfl schedule has quirks for everyone and you can't win them all.


Silver Spring, Md.: Over/Under -- 35 carries for Portis/Betts combo tonight?

CNBC -- "The Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo"

Jason La Canfora: Wow, hadn't thought about it.

I'd like to think Jason will get a chance to go more no huddle and test this defense.

Michael Jackson - "Off The Wall"


Arlington, Va.: I disagree with your sentiment the Skins abandoned the pass against the Bills. In fact they threw on first down to start their first 2 drives in the third quarter(8 passes, 5 runs), when Campbell fumbles the ball. The next drive, they run 1, pass twice, with Campbell throwing his 2nd INT. The next 2 drives are also run 1, pass twice, ending again because Campbell is getting harrassed. No idea why you think the coaches were conservative; this loss was more on the oline's inability to pass or run block.

Jason La Canfora: How often did they spread the field and go no huddle in the second half?

What did they do on thrid and long as the end drew near?

How often has this coaching staff gone for the throat nursing leads?

How many second half leads have they blown in losses?


Bellevue, Wash.: Which kind of rock star would you aspire to?

Tragic cool: Kurt Cobain

Nerd Cool: Dave Grohl

SilverSun Pickups -- Melatonin

Jason La Canfora: What would Jeff Buckley be?

Definitely tragic and maybe nerdy too?


West Seattle, Wash.: To Anonymous above --

Roll to a sports bar solo! Meeting random Redskins fans, bonded only by allegiance to the burgundy and gold, is a great experience.

It works even in Seattle.

Jason La Canfora: There you go. Take this man's advice.


RE: Dan was definitely moved and devastated by this but I don't think it's fair to call it a new side.: Dan was a Redskins fan for a very long time before purchasing the team, and I think his enthusiasm and caring for the players has always showed. Think what you want about his personality and how he used to be too involved in coaching decisions -- I've never once thought he did not have feelings for the players.

Jason La Canfora: I agree boss.

BAD (the only Big Audio Dynamite Song I truly love) - "I Turned Out A Punk"


Falls Church, Va.: Do you predict the eventual cancellation of the popular show, MTV Cribs, based on recent home invasions/robberies as reported in Maske and Lee's article today? You can't be flossing, blinging, and carrying on like that without dire consequences.

Jason La Canfora: Had never considered it, but I could see a lot more guys being apprehensive about doing shows like that. Don't know if there is a correlation between that show's popularity and the violence toward athletes, but it's an interesting thought.


Anonymous: I know this is Redskins chat but there are always firings at the end of the NFL season.

Who can you see say being fired and then hired somewhere else within the NFL.

Jason La Canfora: Completely off the top of my head, Baltimore, Carolina, Denver (yeah, I said it), St. Louis could all be in the market. Will be interesting to see how Miami and Cincy finish up the season, too.

And the Andy Reid situation bears monitoring as well.


Anonymous: In light of what is happening now, what are the Redskins'chances for the post season.

Jason La Canfora: They look very slim.

Lose tonight and it's close to nil.


Raleigh, N.C.: What's your take on tribute bands? Cheaper than the real thing and sometimes more authentic? Or no-talent rip-off entertainers with zero identity?

Jason La Canfora: Have never seen one and never intend to as long as I live.

The Clash - "Listen"

(weird how the ipod went from one Mick Jones band to another on shuffle, eh?)


1982 is a long time ago: The strategy of sticking with the run and running between the tackles does not work any more. Defensive players are too big and too quick now so those holes do not exist like they did 15-25 years ago when Gibbs last was in the league. Do you agree?

Jason La Canfora: Yes

the average NFL team throws 55 percent of the time now and a lot of good ones throw a helluva lot more than that


Washington, D.C.: Can this team ever develop a killer instinct with Gibbs as coach? He just seems, so, um, uh, gosh, um, indecisive.

Spice Channel -- "Brianna Loves Jenna"

Jason La Canfora: I don't have an answer to your question, but just somehow felt compelled to attempt to answer it.


Worcester, Mass.: I was so happy to see Vince Wilfork and Brandon Merriweather win one for Sean on Monday night. They tried to get down to Miami but with the game time so close they couldn't. It was obvious that they were dedicating their play to Sean.


Jason La Canfora: McGahee, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were trying to do the same thing.

Watching that game I got the real sense that a lot of dudes on that field with U ties had Sean on their mind.


Boston, Mass.: Hi Jason,

How is Campbell's comfort with his receivers been these past few weeks? With so many people out/injured has he been able to maintain any comfort level? Does he have a go-to receiver that's not a TE in practice, and when do you expect Mix will get in the mix?

Jason La Canfora: Moss and Cooley are his guys, but when you get in the red zone and people double them - that's when the problems arise.

They need to get a young, legit, tall, possesion receiver at some point here.

PJ Harvey - "Me-Jane"


Jeff Buckley : Really? I thought you'd have punk rock star aspirations.

Jason La Canfora: That dude was a genius.

If I'm going top three I'd put Richard Hell and Johnny Thunders (except for the whole heroin thing) up there with Jeff, so that's pretty punk rock, right?


16th and M: This is what Jason Reid said in his Redskins Gameday section:

Not a Must-Win

'In most seasons, this would be an elimination game, with the loser only mathematically still in playoff contention...The Redskins and Bears are among many teams that could hang around until the final week of the season because no team has emerged as a clear leader for the final wild-card berth.'

Jason needs to bone up on some basic math. He is saying that 8-8 will be good enough to make the NFC playoffs, and that's almost impossible. There are three 6-6 teams and five 5-7 teams competing for one wild card (let's cede the other to the N.Y. Giants). For 8-8 to work, the Vikings, Lions, and Cardinals all have to lose two our of four. The Bears, Eagles, Panthers, and Saints all must lose at least one.

Now here's the problem: THESE TEAMS ALL PLAY EACH OTHER!

Jason La Canfora: Yeah, if you look at the NFC sked for the wildcard teams its pretty incestuous ... But if Arizona and Detroit are the teams to win out and end up 8-8, and the Skins are 8-8, well, fire up the bandwagon.

I feel what J Reid was saying. It's so crazy who the hell knows.

Fishbone - "Love and BS"


Coach firings: If Denver does fire Shannhan he would look good in Burgundy and Gold.

Jason La Canfora: Not running the whole show.

The personnel moves over there, well, call it Ashburn Pacific Northwest.


Queens, N.Y.: Love the Ipod cuts. New Bomb Turks 4 Eva!

Has anyone asked Double G why he is so married to cover 2? Seems like everybody is doing what the Pats did to the defense, which exploit the soft 20 yards after the line of scrimmage. Screens, dumps and draws. Fletcher is getting killed trying to cover backs and TEs...

Jason La Canfora: He's actually done a fair bit of Cover-3 this season and often he varies the underneath coverage and plays a lot of man underneath.

With Sean gone, though, and Springs and Smoot beat up and his entire secondary pretty much 25 or younger (Doughty, Eubanks, Torrence, Landry), the options are limited and the thinking is live with the dink and dunks (but by all means avoid the 60 yard screen passes like against Philly and Buff) and make them earn it, especially with the state of the secondary.


So that's pretty punk rock, right? : Okay, that's fine. For myself, I'd go with Joey Ramone if we're going that route.

Jason La Canfora: I hear ya, but I kinda like to go a little more under the radar.

Black Flag - "Bastard In Love (live)"


Chi-town stomps Skins!!: Okay, the tailgating sucks at FedEx, but what about the concessions? Anything special at FedEx? Brats? Hoagies? What's good to eat?

Jason La Canfora: Your asking the wrong guy. Never had so much as a french fry at the stands, but from what I gather it's nothing to write home about. (we get pretty awful press room food, if that's any consolation).


Richmond, Va.: Hey Jason,

Wade played well in the Saints game last year, but since then I haven't been overly impressed with his play. I have seen he and Fabini get consistently handled, or blow assignments.

Kendall's getting older, Jansen has an injury that may take longer than the offseason to fully heal.

So, we need to be looking at a left guard and right tackle.

What do you think?

Jason La Canfora: No argumment here.


Raleigh, N.C.: Best hazing: tape to the goal post or cream pie in the face?

Jason La Canfora: Actually, I'm going to go old school "Revenge of the Nerds" here and say Ben-Gay in the jock strap.

Circle Jerks - "Casualty Vampires" (

yeah, Nancy Grace that means you).


Herndon, Va.: Hey Jason,

What are the odds that Thomas can come in tonight and immediately make a positive impact? Obviously the guy has talent, and obviously his technique will still be sound after his time off, but do you think he'll be physically ready for the load?

Music related question -- you excited for the new The Mars Volta album in January?

Jason La Canfora: I think his emotional lift, vocal leadership and passion will make the most immediately impact and even if not 100 percent, the ability to have a guard who can pull to either side and crush LBs at the second level is huge and should give them more confidence running to either side.

As for new music, I am still trying to find time to get the new Hives and babyshambles and yeah, definitely pumped for the Mars Volta. To me though, Mars + Sparta is less than At The Drive-In.

Not even close


Raleigh, N.C.: Number of times Bryant Gumble gets somebody's name wrong tonight: 10.

Over or Under?

Jason La Canfora: I could have sworn watching that Dallas Green Bay he got the team wrong, like said Dallas scores when Green Bay is going in for a 60 yard run.

Ice Cube - "A Gangstas Fairtale"


Washington, D.C.:

Are there more grumblings in the locker room among the Skins players this year than in year's past over Gibbs' conservative style of offense?

Jason La Canfora: Yes, because it's another year of the same and the fact that having a stronger armed QB hasn't changed much ... It adds up.


Brooklyn, N.Y.: We need every swinging soul to fight their guts out tonight.

Jason La Canfora: Yeah man.

There should be a punk band that plays only football fight songs called "The Swinging Souls," don't cha think?


Washington, D.C.: Jasno,

This is a two-part question of sorts. First, I know that the guys have voiced an unwavering support of Jason since his first start. Off the record, have any guys on the team expressed any doubts, regardless of whether it's merited or not? Second, is there any fear that all of the heartbreaking losses (regardless of who's to blame, whether it's the O-line, dropped passes, bad play calling, or Campbell's mistakes) are having an irreversibly negative effect on Campbell's development?

Thanks for all of your great work, especially in the last 1.5 weeks.

Jason La Canfora: This is JC's team, make no mistake. He is beloved. Yes, he has a ways to go, but actually a part of the frustration around here is that a lot of guys belive he does not get enough put in position to succeed and that the play calling, practice structure, etc. does not benefit him and the team.

Public Enemy - "Louder Than a Bomb"


Williamsburg, Va.: I am suffering from Battered Fan Syndrome (B.F.S.) I am 47 years old and have supported the Skins all my life. However, this year has got to be the worst. Each game is the same. It is even predictable. The Skins play well enough to win only to leave enough time on the clock to snatch defeat out of the hands of victory. After the Iggles debaucle I began my boycott. In memory of Sean, I watched the Bills game. Once again, same result. How long do we continue to let the Skins tease us like this? When will they begin to play with confidence? When will they play to WIN and stop playing to "keep from losing?"

Jason La Canfora: I wish I could tell you my man.

I feel your pain, but it's been the same thing for 4 years now. I just don't know when the philosophy changes.


Jason La Canfora: Hey guys, thanks as always for the great questions. Always love the passion of Redskins Nation.

Sorry for those I did not get to, and, like I say, hit me up on email or check out the blog - redskins insider.

Thanks for joining me, enjoy the game and have a great weekend.



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