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Redskins Postgame: Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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Cindy Boren
Washington Post NFL Editor
Monday, December 22, 2008; 11:00 AM

Post NFL Editor Cindy Boren was online Monday, Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. ET to take your questions about Sunday's Redskins-Eagles game.

A transcript follows.

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Cindy Boren: Good morning. I've grabbed some coffee and am ready to roll.

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Bethesda, Md.: Can you please explain to me why the local media is so in love with Jason Campbell? Through 31 games as a starter, he has done nothing and shown at best, he is a mediocre quarterback. Granted, we all know the offensive line is not great, but when you see that your starting QB has only thrown 12 touchdowns all year, that must be a sign for an alert. I just don't see Campbell as the savior of the Redskins that everyone else sees.

Cindy Boren: In love? No, love is too strong a word. I think that it's more a matter of triage. The bigger problems, right now, are age and lack of depth on the offensive line and depth and size at wide receiver. Address those issues first (which also gives Jason Campbell time to learn the WCO) and see what Campbell can give you. Then lower the boom if he can't do it.

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Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.: Was yesterday a blessing and a curse for the off season? The blessing being it quashes all speculation about Zorn being gone and Cowher-mania and the curse being the front office being fooled into thinking we're a player away from being 'elite' and not doing the rebuilding the team desperately needs?

Cindy Boren: You may be right, as difficult as it is to imagine that front office thinks the team is only a player away. Did they not see the team in the 1-5 stretch? It looked old and slow and was banged up. And in 10 months it'll be older and slower still. While I hope Cowher-mania is put to rest, now it's time to look at which players deserve to return, which free agents are worth pursuing and what can be accomplished with limited draft picks. They'll also need to make the right decision about Jason Taylor....

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Washington, D.C.: Cindy, I wasn't at the game; what was the estimate of percentage of Eagles fans?

Cindy Boren: Dan "The Human Crowd Estimator" Steinberg sez it seemed to be "more than usual for an NFC East game and less than Steelers." Pressed for a more scientific assessment, he estimated 10-15 percent Eagles fans.

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Washington, D.C.: I'd love to see a piece on different general management philosophies around the league. I read an interview with Cerrato in which he said that drafting to fill needs is disastrous. Instead, a team should draft the best players available. Nevermind that he's failed to do that, how is this philosophy regarded around the league?

Cindy Boren: I don't think there's a GM or front-office guy who won't tell you that the draft is the biggest crapshoot in all the universe. For every Tom Brady, there's a Todd Blackledge. Beyond the first round, it makes more sense to combine the two approaches. Take the best player when the best player is clearly above everyone else. When he isn't, the smart GMs weigh need and talent and then decide. If your scouts are good, you'll make the right choices.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm not a Jason Campbell hater, but at what point can we stop referring to him as a young QB? Isn't he 27 at the end of this month?

I think it is close to being clear what we have in Campbell, a potentially solid NFL QB that will impress you at times, but will never be the franchise-changing QB the Redskins hoped he would become.

Cindy Boren: Yes, he's so old that he's actually covered by Medicare. Bada boom. He'll turn 27 on New Year's Eve and while 27 isn't young in years, he's only 35-games old. If he has deeper talent on the line and at WR, maybe he doesn't need to be "franchise-changing." He wasn't a "franchise-changing" QB at Auburn and that worked out pretty well.

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Atlanta, Ga.: So what grade do you give Zorn for this game? Here are my highlights:

A plus on running three times inside the five.

A negative for trying a 54-yard FG in swirling wind?

A plus for arguing about a spot inside the 30 when they started at the twenty being a first down.

B+?

Cindy Boren: I'd have said a B...so we're close to agreeing. It was a much better performance by Zorn. He looked more comfortable, more relaxed, more in command. (That 54-yard FG attempt was a baffling decision, though.)

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Fairfax, Va.: Yes, the Redskins got the W, but it sure seemed to me that the Eagles lost this game more than the Redskins won it. Don't know if this was a testament to the Redskins D or the Eagles inept offense... all the dropped passes and absolutely no offense from either team was pathetic at best. Game to be proud of? Aside from the obvious "win is a win" chant.

Cindy Boren: Was the Redskins' defense great or was the Eagles' offense horrid? I submit that the former had a lot to do with the latter. Greg Blache very smartly came up with a plan to stop Westbrook and that, coupled with Reggie Brown's inability to get into the end zone, made the difference. I would argue that, while it wasn't a masterpiece, it might be a nice little steppingstone.

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D.C.: I don't understand why some Skins fan are obessed with getting the next "Tom Brady". Why do they think getting a great QB is going to make this team great when they don't dominate in the "trenches"?

Cindy Boren: I don't get that, either. Tom Brady is lightning in a bottle, a once-in-a-lifetime QB. For most teams, success comes through the trenches.

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Alexandria, Va.: I miss the early-season Redskins, who would march down the field into the end zone, not the late-season Redskins who can't make a first down. Their saving grace was that the Eagles couldn't make a first down either.

Cindy Boren: I think everyone misses the 6-2 Redskins. That was an interesting run, one that seemed to indicate this season might/could/should/pleaseohplease be refreshingly different. Instead, they couldn't blow anybody out and had to hang on to win, which is their MO. Which brings us to thoughts of offseason changes....

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Ashburn, Va.: Hi Cindy, thank you for taking time out to do this. What do you think should be the #1 priority for the Redskins this off-season? Also do you think they should go after free agents like Albert Haynsworth or go through the draft? Thanks.

Cindy Boren: My pleasure. I've come to enjoy these Mondays with you guys. The No. 1 priority is evaluating and restocking the lines, on offense and defense. Technically, that may be two priorities...but it's my chat and it's the holidays and Week 17. They need wide receivers (which means they need to decide what they have in the 2008 draft picks; no one knows). Because their draft picks are limited, they're going to have to dip into the free-agent market, but I'd hope they do so prudently. Splurging on one dude isn't enough; they aren't one player away.

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"Stepping Stone": Stepping stone to what? Another pathetic draft for Vinny and a roster full of old, useless players. The Redskins scored a total of 10 points yesterday, and are ranked 28th in ppg in the NFL. This was a "stepping stone" to another sad off season and a 2009 season that will bring much of the same -- a record somewhere around .500 and a just make/miss the playoff senario. This team needs to STOP looking at miniscule improvements as "stepping stones" and realize that this roster will NEVER produce a deep playoff run until they get younger by building a team through the draft. The NFL is not MLB, which means you cannot buy a Super Bowl, and until this organization realizes that, they'll never reach the big game.

Cindy Boren: I was referring to Zorn and the players. By "stepping stone," I meant that the victory might be a mental boost. Win here and in SF and the team goes into the offseason in a much better frame of mind. I think that's important for these guys. To be sure, there are plenty of personnel issues to address. I would hope that they have a smart building plan, using the draft and free agency. Maybe this time they will. One really smart draft can make a huge difference.

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Va Beach: The long field goal attempt I thought was a good idea, executed poorly by Shuisam. He kicked straight at the posts, trying to get the distant. It never had a chance to stay up, line a line drive. Had he kicked it upwards, as if it were a 30-yard kick or so, once it got up in the air, the wind may have carried it the distance, like the kickoff with wind behind them.

Cindy Boren: I didn't like anything about it. Blecch. Like getting shampoo for Christmas.

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Also: "Tom Brady is lightning in a bottle, a once-in-a-lifetime QB. For most teams, success comes through the trenches."

And "most teams" includes the Patriots, too. Bledsoe wasn't half bad when he got hurt, and Cassel's done OK, too. The Pats have a pretty darn good offensive line, and they take it very seriously.

Cindy Boren: I didn't mean to diminish the Pats' offensive line. Light, Andruzzi, Kruppen, Hochstein -- see, I can name a bunch of them. They had an outstanding young offensive line when they were winning the bling rings. You even saw those guys on commercials with Brady. (Hochstein was very funny.)

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Pikesville, Md.: Do you buy into the theory that the best indicator of future success is margin of victory? Looking back at the Redskins season, they played about as well as their competition and got some breaks, but they never really put a team away. Their record just caught up to reality late in the year.

Cindy Boren: I don't do the actual mathematics (it hurts!), but margin does point to killer mentality. You have to factor in the opponent's record and injuries, on both sides, but there has to be a will to put teams away. The Redskins came out and, most of the time, were ready to do just as much as they needed to do.

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Baltimore, Md.: If Danny is reading this, you could improve the Redskins kid experience by having a kid play area near the stadiums like the Ravens do. And how about a family-friendly section where they don't serve beer?

Cindy Boren: This seems like an idea that's worth sharing...What is this "beer-free" concept you speak of for sporting events?

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Houston, Texas (by way of Md.): Hey Cindy, I just wanted to let you know that I love the Talking Points podcast, you, Wilbon and the bald old guy are hilarious. It just makes me miss home even more. Keep up the great work, maybe y'all can give me a shout out on your next webisode, the name is Steven Bennett. Have a great day.

Cindy Boren: Hey Steven! Thanks so much. The guys are a real delight. (I can say nice things about Wilbon and Kornheiser here because they are "Internet-challenged" except when it comes to Kendra Wilkinson images.)

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Ashburn, Va.: Given Jason Taylor's strong performance yesterday, what is the likelihood that he'll return next season? How likely is it that Taylor would reduce his salary in order to keep playing with the Skins or is that even a possibility?

Cindy Boren: I'd hope that he meant what he said on the radio the other day about not deserving $8M. Of course, he didn't say he'd TAKE less than $8M. The guy was hurt for the first time in his career; no one could have seen that coming. Did the Skins overpay for him with the draft pick? Yeah. But he was a smart acquisition at that point. It would be nice to have him back, but not for that kind of dough. Does he love the game enough to work for less? Or is it time for his closeup?

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Columbia, S.C.: What do you think it would take for people to cool their jets about starting one Colt Brennan? Mike Singletary running onto the field and sacking him?

I remember well the Hawaiian's luck against a so-so Georgia team in that whatever bowl game in January of this year. He got creamed. He ran up big numbers in a June Jones run-and-shoot system, and had a decent scrum in a pre-season game. I guess that's enough for some people to warrant a change in starters.

Cindy Boren: Some sense about the Coltster! Finally!

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Cindy,

I am so bummed that we're not still in the running for a wild card. There's no way, is there?

Thanks.

Cindy Boren: They're only in the playoffs in your head.

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Princeton, N.J.: Do you think it's time to change the system in which teams with a mediocre record get in the playoffs while teams with a better record do not?

Cindy Boren: We were joking about this yesterday, but there's no better solution. Believe me, we thunk and we thunk and then we decided the present system works fine. If you win your division, you're in. And two wild cards is enough per conference.

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Cincinnati, Ohio: What is the "right" decision about Jason Taylor?

Cindy Boren: He comes back for less dough. At least, that's my definition of "right."

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San Francisco: How about Plackemeier?! Looks like #1 earned his roster spot for next year yesterday.

Cindy Boren: Plackemeier (someone give him a nickname, please) looked very good yesterday. So scratch punter off your draft list. (Hope that one didn't hurt.)

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Atlanta, Ga.: Re: Brennan's performance in his final college game, it was in the Sugar Bowl and the Georgia team Hawaii played was not "so-so." UGA ended up ranked #3 in the country that year.

But Brennan did get his clock cleaned. I don't think he had ever been hit so hard.

Cindy Boren: All righty.

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Cindy Boren: Oh, drat. Questions remain and time does not. I'll be back next Monday -- until then, see you on the Redskins Insider and the Twitter feed (We're up for a Shorty Award! I have no idea what that means!). Hope you have great holidays this week.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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