Monday, Nov. 10, 11 a.m. ET

Redskins Postgame, Bye-Week Edition

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Cindy Boren
Washington Post NFL Editor
Monday, November 10, 2008; 11:00 AM

Post NFL Editor Cindy Boren was online Monday, Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. ET to look at what the team did during its bye week and to help you get pumped for Dallas Week.

A transcript follows.

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Cindy Boren: It's the Monday after bye week, the locker room is about to open, DeAngelo Hall is on the scene, Leigh Torrence is not, I'm still a little fragile about the Cheeves' loss and I'm groggy from watching Eagles-Giants. But let us roll, shall we?

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Watertown, Mass.: Now that we have DeAngelo Hall as our (4th/3rd) corner and with Antwan Randel-El continuing to struggle in the punt return game, has there been any thoughts about using DeAngelo Hall as a primary punt returner?

Cindy Boren: I'd be shocked if that weren't the plan. I don't think his primary value is as a dfensive back: Stats Inc. noted that, while he has three interceptions, offenses have thrown at him 66 times, completing 40 passes for 566 yards.

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Reston, Va.: With the Giants' win over the Eagles, next Sunday evening's Redskins/Cowboys game would seem to take on a greater importance. Do you think we'll see a repeat of the "home field advantage" the Skins enjoyed against the Steelers? Or do you think Skins fans will come out in full force to cheer on their team?

Cindy Boren: The Giants' win -- and the fact that there are now three 6-3 teams (and a bunch at 5-4) would seem to make this a must-win for the Skins and whatever is beyond must-win for the Cowboys. I would not be surprised to see a ton of Cowboys fans at FedEx Sunday....FedEx is just so huge...It's tough to get 90,000 fans of your team.

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New Rochelle, N.Y.: If Jason Taylor can play, will he start, or only come in for pass rush situations. Because Demitric Evans has been playing great.

Cindy Boren: I would not think they start Jason Taylor this week, but we'll know more shortly. The locker room opens at 11:30 and we'll see who's still gimpy and who's spry. Wouldn't you prefer to see Taylor ease back into competition? Given how Evans is playing, that seems prudent to me.

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Alexandria, Va.: Will Santana Moss be healthy for the game?

Cindy Boren: What? Do I look like Carnac? :) We'll see him shortly and know a whole lot more then. He'd planned to do nothing but rest over the bye and I'd be surprised if he isn't fairly close to healthy now.

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Columbus, Ohio: Hi Cindy!

I'm predicting a big win for the Skins. Or since this is supposed to be a question, what do you think of my prediction?

Cindy Boren: Your prediction is bold, bolstered by home-field advantage, but not insanely bold. Certainly the Skins have to be favored, but you'd think this is the week the Cowboys either get it together or just disintegrate completely (like that would upset you). I think it's going to be close, closer than you'd like just because oblivion beckons for the Cowboys if they lose.

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Somerville, Mass.: How is the loss of Leigh Torrance affecting the team? Isn't this emblematic of the old way of business the Skins are famous for? Letting character guys like in the locker room (Pierce) go and signing underachievers/malcontents from other teams?

Cindy Boren: Because he was signed during the bye week, players haven't really had a chance to interact with him. We've gotten a sense of their reaction from a couple of players who spoke with Jason La Canfora over the weekend. They were not happy, but if Hall comes in and says the right things, respects the secondary leaders and plays his role professionally, I'm sure their displeasure will decrease. And if he produces significantly, esp. on special teams, it'll be okay. Torrence was very smart and very popular but I also remember a few moments in which he was just torched so you can understand why the FO might make the move. The owner of the Falcons had some things to say about Hall's attitude and he'll be asked about that when the locker room opens, you can be sure. Then we'll know if this move is a flashback to the bad old days.

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Somerville, Mass.: Are teams going to look at the Pittsburgh game as an example on how to beat the Skins? Bring safeties up to play the run, blitz from all angles, and dare Jason Campbell to beat you with hot reads and adjustments?

Cindy Boren: I think it'd be a good place to start. Not everyone has the talent the Steelers have, though, luckily for the Skins. The Steelers, despite yesterday's result, are awfully good.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Now with a couple weeks of rest under his belt, is there any chance we see the real Jason Taylor at any point this season?

Cindy Boren: This week would be a good time to get a glimpse of that, wouldn't it? It's a seven-week season for him now. It isn't his fault that he got hurt, but if he doesn't flash the old form and dominate, I'd have to switch from the "D" word -- disappointment -- to the "B" word -- bust.

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Arlington, Va.: If Ladell Betts is ready for this game, will they release Shawn Alexander and resign Leigh Torrance?

Cindy Boren: They're going to have to be pretty certain that Betts is healthy before they do that. I don't see them re-signing Torrence...it'll be interesting to see if any other team grabs him.

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Somerville, Mass.: Romo is looking likely to play...do you expect him to come out a bit rusty or while he come right back into sync with TO and Witten? Also, will Springs be able to man up on TO again this time?

Cindy Boren: Romo has to come out firing and fired up. He has to be the Romo of old. You'd have to think that on adrenaline alone he could get pretty far. I mean, only the entire season is riding on this game for them. I think he and TO will be in sync; I think Witten's rib injury will throw him off. I'm not sure Springs will be healthy enough to shut down TO, but I think he'll have enough to throw him off.

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Brunswick, Md.: Did someone just compare letting Leigh Torrence go with letting Antonio Pierce go? That's a bit of a stretch. Defensive backs who are character guys are great -- if they can cover someone ...

Cindy Boren: Someone did, indeed, and I opted to gently point out merely that Torrence had been torched....I remember Antonio Pierce and Torrence was no Antonio Pierce. Or something like that.

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Silver Spring, Md.: We won't see the old Jason Taylor because the old one played in mostly meaningless games against inferior competition. There is a big difference between playing in the NFC East than the AFC East. The NFC East is much tougher. Taylor's tenure here is much like Javon Kearse's experience in Philly. He can contribute, but he will not dominate.

Cindy Boren: You raise what very well may be a valid point. We will know shortly. "Bust" is much easier to type than "disappointment."

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Charlottesville, Va.: How did DeAngelo go from being arguably a top 3 db to struggling big time in one season?

Cindy Boren: He was part of the Petrino implosion in Atlanta. In that situation, it's tough to know who actually was a bad guy and who wasn't. What a mess that was. And the Raiders, well, they're not much more stable, are they? I do want to know more about that Stats, Inc., stat (40 passes for 566 yards against him). Maybe he just gave up in Oakland. Maybe this is the chance he needs. He's stepping into a locker room that is really positive, really upbeat. That could be all he needs.

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Jim Zorn: Hi Cindy - I'm nervous for once about this Sunday's game. A must win for Dallas. Should I continue as the status quo, shake things up? Or should I just let these nerves settle and ignore them?

Cindy Boren: I think it could be a wide-open game. You'd have to think that Jason Garrett opens things up, with Romo back and Roy Williams getting the hang of things and, oh, everything on the line. You, Mr. Zorn, and your coaches went over some areas of concern -- red-zone scoring among them -- and made some changes. I think you've shaken things up a bit. But, by all means, you should stay medium.

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Vienna, Va.: So the next few weeks are really important for the Redskins. Cowboys, Giants and Philly all at home. Now that they are replenished, what do you think the chances are of beating all 3? I think they have a good chance versus cowboys and eagles but hard to see them beating the giants barring major injury. What needs to be done for Redskins to win? More designed passing plays?

Cindy Boren: I don't like the chances of beating all three, but I'm a notorious cynic. Maybe they win two, given that Philly may have nothing to play for on Dec. 21. Honestly, I'm not sure they will beat the Cowboys; they should, but so much is at stake for Dallas that it will be tougher than usual.

I don't see them beating the Giants; the Eagles threw a pretty good game at them last night and scored 31 points. If the Skins could do that, their defense might shut down Manning and the offense and they'd have a chance.

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Houston: Must win for the 'Skins, must win for the Cowboys -- I see the pressure being more on the 'Skins as a second consecutive loss will call into question if they are who we think they are. I think, if the 'Skins come out and hit the Cowboys fast and hard, that they will swirl down the drain...TO will rebel on the sidelines, anarchy will reign...Do you agree?

Cindy Boren: No doubt there is great pressure on the Skins, but it's everything for the Cowboys. I'm always in favor of hitting and opponent fast and hard, but I think Dallas will hang together through this one, unless the Skins are up big in the fourth quarter. Then the Dallas sideline would be a delicious soap opera.

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Brooklyn, N.Y.: Do you notice more traffic after Redskin wins on the blog or site than after losses? Or are there more questions during chats after wins than after losses? What about byes? I avoid the Sports Section the day after losses.

Cindy Boren: It's wild after a win. It's a lot more fun. Peace, love and understanding rule the blog, for the most part, and people happily analyze every angle, every play. It's crackling up here. After a loss, there's still decent web traffic, but the gang is a bit down. Byes are okay if the team cuts a player and signs another.

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Alexandria, Va.: Cindy,

What have you heard about Romo? I realize your lack of a crystal ball, but have you heard if he's close to playing shape?

Cindy Boren: The Dallas reports last week, when he had a special practice for two days, had him grasping the ball much better. We'll see how he is on Wednesday.

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Virginia Beach, Va: I would love to hear more about why you are so sure the Skins will win this weekend.

Cindy Boren: I'm not at all. The Skins football writers think they'll win; I think it'll be very tough because of how much is at stake for the Cowboys.

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Frederick, Md.: Hi Cindy,

A bold move to predict a Redskins win on Sunday night -- knowing that the Redskins choke on national TV. In any case, if the Redskins end up with a 11-5 record, any chance of Zorn being named coach of the year?

Cindy Boren: Whoa...the scribes think the Skins will win. I said I'm not as certain as they are because of all that's riding on it for the Cowboys. Let's see the team get to 11-5 and then I'll tell you if Zorn is coach of the year.

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Cindy Boren: And with that I must mosey along until next Monday, when we'll talk about the Dallas game. Will the Skins be 7-3 or 6-4? Until then, keep up with us on the blog and the twitter feed. Thanks for joining me!

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