NFL Draft: Will the Redskins Land Sanchez?

Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 23, 2009; 1:00 PM

Jason La Canfora, Washington Post staff writer and Redskins Insider blogger, was online Thursday, April 23, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss this weekend's NFL draft and whether the Washington Redskins end up landing quarterback Mark Sanchez plus more news from the pre-draft press conference that featured Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, executive vice-president Vinny Cerrato and Coach Jim Zorn.


Jason La Canfora: Hey guys, hope all is well. Let's get it on my friends.

Fire away.


Richmond, Va.: In your honest opinion, do you think Snyder truly wants to win or will be perfectly happy going 8-8 for eternity as long as the team continues to make money and he gets to feed his ego by making personnel decisions?

Jason La Canfora: I think generating revenue is incredibly important to him, and I think he wants to win and losing cuts him to the bone - in his own way. To this point, winning at all costs (ie cutting the checks and divesting himself of all day-to-day operations) doesn't seem to be an option, and until it is many people around the league aren't sure they're going to truly compete for a title.


Virginia Beach, Va.: Hey what are you hearing about a new contract for Rocky?

Jason La Canfora: Just what I saw on I don't see the rush there given his knee issues, the decline in production late last season, etc. But switching agents to Rosenhaus is generally what's done around here when guys want new deals, and his close relationship with Snyder is well documented.


Bend, Oregon: Draft a running back when you have Portis and Betts? That's ridiculous. It would be like drafting a tight end in the 2nd round when you already had Chris Cooley...

Jason La Canfora: Touche.



Philadelphia, Pa.: Hi Jason, how may USC Quarterbacks over the last twenty years or so have actually made it in the NFL other than Carson Palmer, if he even made it. I think it's a lousy move considering all the holes the Skins have to fill.....

Jason La Canfora: Far have failed for sure.

Far more have failed. Shaun Salisbury had a heck of a second career, though ... Well at least for a while.

I dont think you can honestly look at the school, thoughm over a longp[eriod of time because coaches and systems change. It's not like the Florida QB thing where it't was one coach and system for all those years.


New Orleans, La.: What player do you see being drafted in the middle to late 1st round that will make a bigger impact down the road than people think? Essentially a sleeper.

Jason La Canfora: I think if Malcom Jenkins slides as far as some point project he might, several teams might end up regretting it.


D.C.: What are the chances Vinny is just bluffing with the whole Sanchez and it is a smokescreen? Everyone made such a big deal about the front office people taking Sacnchez to dinner, but they took Orakpo too.

Jason La Canfora: The owner has been coveting this dude for a long time. It's not a smoke screen. Whether it happens or not, they are investigating every way possible to get him.


Mechanicsville, Va.: What do you think is the current plan to acquire a punter and place kicker for next season ?

Jason La Canfora: They've pretty much made their bed in that regard, bro.


Sterling, Va.: Sal Pal on ESPN said Campbell to Bucs, Jets, Vikes. We trade up for Sanchez with Seattle?

Jason La Canfora: They will try to deal Jason if they get Sanchez in all likelihood, and I'd be stunned if Jason didn't demand a trade, anyway, if they did get him.

They have already offered Jason to two teams as it stands from during the Cutler stuff, so no way would it makje sense for him to stick around and "compete" with Sanchez for the job, as Sanchez told me Snyder presented.


Anonymous: What is the percentage change that Portis hits the wall this year a la LT?

Jason La Canfora: What is the chance it's already happened?

Some would say the process began when the first slate of surgeries hit.


Ft., Lauderdale, Fla.: JLC, what are your thoughts on Chris Wilson moving to SLB and how that may impact the Redskins in '09.

Jason La Canfora: I think it's something that, if truly applied in NFL East football, would be highly suspect to actually work on any sort of regular basis. I think Chris Wilson in a best-case scenario is like Cris Clemens - a productive situational rusher but not someone to take 40-50 snaps a game as a SAM in this division. Just as I thought the plan to move Jason Taylor there was highly dubious as well.


South San Francisco, Calif.: What happens if the 'Skins don't land Sanchez, keep Campbell and he has a monster season? Do you think Jason would leave regardless of whether or not the 'Skins tried to keep him?

Jason La Canfora: I think on a certain level the Skins fear that, as do other GMs I spoke to about that sceanrio. Part of the rush to make this change now, whether it be Cutler or Sanchez, is that even if Jason has one good year, is he really suited to this offense? But with a QB, the financial commitment is massive, and if you are worried that even ina good season JC is a one-hit wonder (like a Derek Anderson), then you're hamstrung,

Then again, did it make sense to became a West Coast team before you even had a coach in place, and regardless of personnel?

The most bizarre thing is that Zorn is hired above and beyond all else - and guys liek Jim Fassel are nearly hired - because Snyder and Cerrato want the best guy to turn JC into a franchise QB. The coaching search is laregly about that, and even defensive coaches who were interviewed like Williams and Meeks are grilled about possible coordinators and Qb coaches and how to make JC the franchise QB he was drafted to be.

Now, after one solid season - and a very strong first half of the season - that's all out the window. Hard to figure.


Virginia Beach, Va.: HI, I think the 08 Redskins draft was the worst draft in thier history. Can you remenber a year that was worse then the Skins '08 draft?

Jason La Canfora: Let's give it a little more time first. The early returns were horrid and some picks, like Durant Brooks, required mere weeksa to prove to bne total busts, but you can't write these kids off yet. Does it have the potential to be historically bad? Perhaps.


Denver, Colo.: Hey Jason,

Any other teams out there that you can recommend rooting for? I'm looking for a team with a handful of good, character players and a front office/owner that I won't despise.

I'm a 30-year Redskins fan, and Snyder has just worn me out. I don't see them ever getting better (consistantly) while that dikfore is an active owner, and I also don't see the ownership changing anytime in the next 20 years.

I'm ready for the switch. Who do I go with?

P.S. If you haven't read it, Fargo Rock City (Chuck Klosterman) would be right up your alley.

Jason La Canfora: Klosterman is very talented. That is good stuff indeed and thanks a ton.

As for the Skins. In my humble opinion - and, I have never endured something like this during my fandom, though the Gorman/Yawkey Red Sox were tough (and though I was only 8 when the Colts left Baltimore the stories about Irsay trump annything in Landover) - I say you can't give up on your team because of it's ownership/management. If it's in your heart and a part of your being, I don't think you flick the switch.

Now, do you buy $8 beers and $30 parking and $200 jerseys? Well, that's an individual decision before. And trust me, I can understand your frustration, but I think there is probably a way to enjoy the games, root and follow, but maybe not get caught up in the inevitable drama around Redskins Park.


Florida: Here's a quiz. What do these core players from the Skins glory years have in common: Don Warren, Rich Milot, Monte Coleman, Dexter Manley, Charlie Brown, Darryl Grant, Clint Didier, Joe Jacoby, Terry Orr, Raleigh McKenzie, Mark Rypien, Kurt Gouveia, Timmy Smith, Mark Schlereth, Brian Mitchell.

Answer: They were all drafted 4th round or lower or were FAs (Jacoby).

In those same years, core players drafted in the first 3 rounds: Monk, May, Grimm, Green, Mann. Five great players. But they'd have gotten nowhere without the first group.

Does Mr Snyder not remember his Washington Redskins history?

Jason La Canfora: That was pre-free agency my friend. I agree building through the draft makes the most sense, but spending money is pretty much seen as the answer to most problems just looking at the track record.


Auburn, Ala.: In your opinion, what pick would have the biggest (best) impact on this team from day 1?

Jason La Canfora: Getting a Jason Smith would be huge, especially after failing to get any of the 8 tackles who went in the first round again a year ago.


Annandale, VA: Perhaps the Skins biggest problem last year was their inability to score. In your view, what was the biggest problem: play design/play calling, execution or lack of dynamic offensive players?

Jason La Canfora: Fundamental issues of personnel at WR and on the OL, coupled with a very inexperienced coach who was learning on the fly.


Raleigh, N.C.: What should the Lions do?

Jason La Canfora: I wouldn't be locking into Stafford. I don't pretend to be a draft guru who watches tape on all these kids, but I think the gamble on a QB is so huge there, and, yes, No. 1 would be high for Smith or Curry, but both would sign deals before the draft and I start rebuilding a lot closer to the trenches first.

That's just me.


Brooklyn, N.Y.: Why don't the Redskins more closely emulate the approach taken by the Patriots in terms of building a sustainable enterprise?

Jason La Canfora: They would tell you that they do and that Kraft is a big spender, also, etc. etc.

The difference is the Pats buy low and sell high in terms of trades and personnel and their drafting record is so vastly superior that it's frankly shocking.


N.Y., N.Y.: What linemen are the Skins interested in? Do you think they'd stay put at 13 and just take a Michael Oher if that's how the draft shakes out, or do you think it's more likely they move down?

Jason La Canfora: Oher and Andre Smith had some potential to be there early on, but as this thing has played out most agents and execs I talk to are banking on all 4 of the top tackles being gone before 13.

So count them out.

As for trading down, if Sanchez and Orakpo are off the board then I think the Skins will be working hard to trade down.


Washington, D.C.: What is the update on the right tackle situation? It certainly can't be Jon Jansen's dead body again? Does Rhinehart have any chance of getting on the field this year?

Jason La Canfora: Heyer's job to lose. He'll come in as tops on depth chart unless they find one in the draft. Rinehart will have difficutly moving beyond reserve guard status I figure. No way he plays tackle or you are looking at another Suggs v. Geiseinger situation (the Geyser had no chance).


Possible last straw: Jason -- 39-year-old Skins fan since I was old enough to watch TV. Having watched the Snyderrato Era unfold like a tragic comedy for all these years, I am sort of contemplating the unthinkable.

If they end up trading multiple #1 picks for Sanchez, I may have to wash my hands of their buffoonery and pick another team to follow.

They are the laughingstock of the league. I don't know how Snyder made his initial fortune because the football (not financial) operations of the Skins, his 6 Flags investment and absurd entry into the radio business seem to prove he has very poor business acumen and instincts.

Guess there is no question other than are there others out there like me thinking the same thing?

(iPod: Kings of Leon "The Bucket")

Jason La Canfora: Well, I think the earlier question proves for sure you are not alone.

Guess I'd give the same advice although maybve you guys will eventiually swing me in the other direction. I'll have to scroll down this list and see how many more of these are there.


Los Angeles, Calif.: You started to answer this, but can you be more definitive?

What did Jason Campbell do to upset the apple cart? Did he have a falling out with Zorn mid season? It seemed like he was shut down from throwing long balls and the o-line fell apart?

I was at every home game. What did I miss that the coaches are seeing?

Jason La Canfora: There was no singular moment and nothing he did. The entire offense collapsed in the second half with the line falling apart, no new targets emerging, JC's play slipping some and not enough new wrinkles in the scheme.

It all played a role. But when you work for the Redskins, coach and QB are pretty much take the fall for it all.


Baltimore, Md.: With the Rams looking to trade out of the 2 spot. What would it take for the 'Skins to get there? If they were to get there, who would they take with the options of Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Aaron Curry, Mark Sanchez or anyone not named Matt Stafford?

Jason La Canfora: If they move up that high it's to get Sanchez.


Charlottesville, Va.: Jason, if the CBA doesn't get worked out by next year-does Jason Campbell become a Free Agent or does that clause kick in where it becomes Free Agency after 6 years?

Jason La Canfora: He will be a free agent barring a new deal regardless, but with a new CBA he becomes unrestricted. Without one, the Skins can still retain his rights with a qualifying offer.


Durham, N.C.: Hey Jason, which second-year WR do you think is most likely to contribute significantly in 2009... Kelly or Thomas?

Jason La Canfora: Kelly has to get on the field again first. He was the more ready last year, but the team knew he had serious knee issues coming out (he was off seevral draft boards because of it) and took the risk.

So until Kelly's knees are right and he can practice weeks straight without needing another procedure, I'd have to say Thomas by default.


Washington, D.C.: Know you got a lot on the plate, any word on how much Morocco will be involved in the draft?

Jason La Canfora: In temrs of making trades, and pulling the trigger on top selections, that's Snyder and Cerrato. I know they had Morocco review lots of film on draft prospects - even though by title he is a pro guy and not a college guy - and I am sure he would want to help identify later-round guys who could help fill voids and say OT and LB - but Vinny runs the college side with Scott Campbell under him, and Snyder has the final say on whatever he wants to have the final say on.


Germantown, Md.: Is your iPod on the blink today?

Mozart's 40th symphony (Jupiter)

Jason La Canfora: Actually, I got caught without it. So much going on with phones and texts and all, I don't want to not hear anything. And this chat snuck up on me, too. Forgot about it and scrambled to assume the position.

it is functioning though, thankfully.

Hope yours is as well.


Bleed Burgundy and Gold: Hey Jason

I'm a lifelong Redskins very first memory of them was John Riggins' run in SB XVII.....I can't stand Snyder and Cerrato any more than the average Skins fan, but to say you'd consider rooting for another team because of their tomfoolery is traitorous! You root for the COLORS! I've bled burgundy and gold for years before snyder came along, and godwilling, i will bleed more after he's gone and PROUDLY! Root for the TEAM, fellow skins fans!

Jason La Canfora: Like I said, I'm in your camp. But I can understand some frustration as well, and people feeling like they've been stuck in the same season for the last 10 years.


Southern Maryland: Jason,

What is Campbell's value on the trade market?

Jason La Canfora: They wanted a second rounder for him during the Cutler pursuit. If they drafted Sanchez and were in a qb bind, I would think any interested teams would try to get him for a 4th and see what happens.


Washington, D.C.: Thoughts on Rey Maualuga at 13?

No chance, or a possibility?

He seems to fill a need and be the type of splash Snyderatto likes...

Jason La Canfora: I think that if Orakpo and Sanchez are gone and they cant make a trade at 13 there is a chance he's the pick, yes, but I think they'd rather drop down for sure and get a USC LB a little lower.


Bethesda, Md.: Not draft related but Redskin related. Are you expecting to see the Skins clean up their books if 2010 is an uncapped year. All of the restructuring which has made it next to impossible to cut veteran players who can no longer perform at the level of their contract has been next to impossible because of the potential cap hits. This will not be so in 2010. Wonder if Dan and Vinnie have been anticipating this opportunity?

Jason La Canfora: The Randle El and Carter and Samuels restructurings all give them options to do that in 2010, for sure, but I don't think you can bank on an uncapped year, even with somne of the crazy stuff going at the NFLPA right now (how do you hire a new leader without having a contract in place? that blows my mind).


Bowie, Md.: Your apparent disdain for Portis is well-documented even though he is only 28 years old and still productive and making pro-bowls.

What are the likely prospects of trading down with the Jets or another team that might want Sanchez?

Jason La Canfora: I'm not a big Pro Bowl guy either, as a rule.

I don't see them trading out of 13 if Sanchez is on the board and if the Jets want him as badly as some in the NFL beleive, a deal up will be made with whomever gets him at 4 or 8, from everything I am hearing.


Washington, D.C.: Mozart's "Jupiter" symphony is his 41st, not his 40th.

Jason La Canfora: I will take your word for that.

I can tell you that "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)" was Quiet Riot's first single, and not "Cum On Feel" The Noisz as many assume.


Management Science, D.C.: Jason,

The core problem that all the fans seem to want thumped repeatedly into Dan Snyder's head is how to build an organization. A good company is run by getting the most talent for the least expense possible. Why does Mr. Snyder keep forgetting the rules that helped him build one successful company already?

The main thing I hear from fellow fans (most with season tickets) is, I hate the way this team is run, but I can't give up my seats or I'll never get them back. So, how about this option...

All seasonticket holders pick one game in unison to boycott. Sure we're all eating our entrance fee for that cagme, but it results in Empty seats on TV, no concession revenue, and a big PR black Eye...

Jason La Canfora: I get emails all the tiem from fans saying how easy it is to purchase seats in the parking lot or on websties before games, for what it's worth.


You know hockey, too: Have you had time to watch hockey while preparing for the draft? Do you think that Ovie is pressing too hard? They're getting scoring looks, but it seems like they're all rushing shots or trying to do something a little fancier than necessary instead of just jamming it down Lundqvist's throat?

Jason La Canfora: I am dying to get free for two hours and write everything I have jotted notes about while watching this series closely.

Failure of front office

Failure of coaching

Failure of top players

There's a lot going on here. Timing with the draft and all has precluded me from writing some on hokcye stuff - I'm swamped - and I was baking on them winning at least one round, but man, what a debacle this has been.

Behind 3-1 again after opening on home ice? Weak. Very weak.


Jason La Canfora: Thanks so much for all of the questions, guys. Fun as always.

I am always over at Redskins Insider and you can get me on email -

Thanks again and enjoy the draft.



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