Redskins Training Camp and the NFL Offseason

Cindy Boren
Washington Post NFL Editor
Monday, August 24, 2009; 12:00 PM

Post NFL Editor Cindy Boren was online Monday, August 24 to take your questions about Redskins training camp, the end of the NFL offseason, massive quarterback contracts, Plaxico Burress and all of the breaking news in the NFL.

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A transcript follows.


Cindy Boren: Hi there! There's tons to discuss today, but I'm particularly interested in hearing the vigorous Cult of Colt vs. Case for Chase debate. Let's go.


Gaithersburg, Md.: Hey Cindy:

So, are all the cult Colt supporters now for Chase? I mean he did throw two touchdowns against future Micky D's employees the other night, much as Colt did last year.

Cindy Boren: Judging by the poll that's up on Redskins Insider at the moment, the Cultists have been deprogrammed. Now, that may all change Friday night, but at the moment, you really do have to go with Chase Daniel, don't you? Sure, he's vertically challenged and I'm not talking about his passing game, but the kid came in and lit it up, showing a certain something the French call I-don't-know-what.


Washington, D.C.: So what's the point when they pull the plug on Campbell and admit he's a bust? Do they have to waste another half season before they concede and start trying to locate the quarterback of the future?

Cindy Boren: Well, they tried twice in the offseason to pull the plug, didn't they? So, for better or worse, he's their guy. Maybe Campbell will be the 6-2 Campbell of last year. That might be enough for them to get by, considering their defensive prowess. I read an interesting deconstruction of Campbell by Football Outsiders the other day, pointing out how many passes his receivers dropped and the offensive line problems. Now, those are no surprise to Redskins watchers, but perhaps improvement in both areas will make Campbell successful this year. If not, there'll be a new QB of the future.


Washington, D.C.: Why isn't Marko Mitchell being talked about as a number 2 or 3 receiver? He's already shown more than Devin Thomas ever has and Kelly can't ever stay healthy. D.J. Hackett is a re-tread we don't need and Randle-El has been a bust as a wide receiver (and kick returner). What am i missing?

Not to mention that Jason Campbell has looked awful and as he enters his fifth season has shown none of the promise of quarterbacks with similar or less time in the league (Romo, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, etc.)

Cindy Boren: Who doesn't like Marko Mitchell? (At first, I thought his name was Mark O'Mitchell...) Kelly's knee is fine and he's doing well now; Mitchell's problem is that he doesn't have special-teams experience, which would be key for a second-tier wide receiver. Agree on Hackett (upside is his familiarity with Zorn -- and vice versa) and Thomas hasn't shown much yet. Game 3 of the preseason is the really important one; we'll know more after Friday night.


Orlando, Fla.: I know Orakpo is a beast when rushing the passer, but how have his grades been by the coaching staff so far when he's been playing linebacker?

Cindy Boren: Grades aren't something that coaches share with the media, but I'd be surprised if they don't see room for improvement at linebacker. That's to be expected, though, given that it isn't his natural position. So far, you'd have to give him high marks overall, wouldn't you? This is a guy who's only going to get better and should, knock on wood, be a defensive anchor for the next 10 years or more (still knocking on wood).


Miami: Any new information on Mike Sellers' knee?

Cindy Boren: It's still there. Har-har. I'm sorry; I know how you guys worry and I shouldn't crack wise. The Redskins will practice at 1:30 and Zorn will be available afterward with updates. Yesterday, though, he said he expected that Sellers' knee (bruised in a collision with the knee of a Steeler) would be fine by Friday and that he'd be able to play. Same for Ladell "Formerly Bettis" Betts' strained oblique. We'll have an update on the ol' blog as soon as we get it.


Bonifay, FL: Why are five wide receivers completing for one slot, shouldn't it be seven competing for three? What have Kelly and Thomas done other than being second year players? Do second round draft picks have guaranteed contracts?

One or both of these guys had a problem learning the playbook. Since neither is returning kickoffs or punts, we do not even have a Desmond Howard here.

If they are actually in the top four, the Redskins should hope that Moss and Antwaan Randle-El have injury free seasons.

Cindy Boren: I think your point about seven competing for three spots is valid; Kelly, though, has looked very, very good. After Moss and Randle El (and he isn't a sure thing), the competition should be wide open.


Washington, D.C.: Any chance Chase Daniel can beat Colt Brennan as the third quarterback, or does Colt get it by virtue of the fact that he was a draft pick and Daniel was not? Cult hasn't looked too swell these first two games.

Cindy Boren: There's still one big IF hanging out there and that's the Friday night game. If nothing changes, wouldn't you have to go with Chase Daniel regardless of whether Colt Brennan was a draft pick? I understand what you're saying about the preference given the 2008 draftees, but Daniel sparked the team. And, sure, he was facing the Steelers' 17th string, but didn't he get the job done?


Washington, D.C.: As good as Chase Daniel was on Saturday, do you think it be a mistake to cut Colt Brennan for him? All last season, Jason La Canfora kept telling the "Put Colt in now!" crowd that Zorn saw Brennan as a long-term project. Isn't one preseason game a bit early to give up on that project?

Cindy Boren: You can give up on a long-term project if a better one comes along...As for Jason La Canfora, that guy is crazy! Kidding! We love Jasno, even though he dumped us and went to the prom with somebody else. I think Jasno's point would have been that coaches saying a QB is a long-term project and that they're working with him doesn't necessarily mean they're committed to him. Saying someone is a long-term project is like saying a prospective blind date "has a good personality." It's just a nice thing to say, but it doesn't imply a commitment or guarantee future success. I would go with whichever guy has shown the most after factoring in the New England game. But the Redskins may think differently because they did invest a pick in Brennan and Daniel is short.


Washington, D.C.: Regarding the Redskins' ban on the press Twittering, did the team even read them? I mean, the tweets from Reid, Maese, etc. are interesting, but only for those consumed with the minutia of football.

Did the Redskins think you guys were outlining plays? Tweeting coaching strategies you'd overheard? And if you'd all formed a unified front and refused, would the team would have caved or just kicked you out? The League: How Should the NFL Regulate Twitter? (Washington Post, Aug. 24)

Cindy Boren: Frankly, no one was surprised that the Redskins, or any team for that matter, cut off in-practice tweets. The Redskins' issue, as Zack Bolno explained it to me, is that, for instance, one could tweet that a player was receiving treatment without getting context from the coach. Tweet that Albert Haynesworth's foot has fallen off, and that is instantly viral, without the qualifying information that actually he has a detachable foot. Tweeting was fine when practices were open to the public. Now, though, reporters can only describe what they see during the first 10 minutes of practice and must leave the field to file a post to the blog. The NFL is perhaps overly concerned with spying and injury information (that applies to all teams, not just the Redskins), but this is where we are. I do wish that the restriction applied to Redskins personnel, however. As for strategies, we're watching from about 50 yards away; we can't hear anything. And there's no reason to draw a line in the same over tweeting. We can still blog. The information is still getting out.


Washington, D.C.: Isn't the question not whether Chase Daniel got the job done, but, at his size, do the Redskins believe he could get the job done against first string players? Because it's one thing getting it done in preseason against second or third stringers and walk-ons, etc.; it's another thing when you have to do it when it counts and against those who will be actually playing in games that count.

It's interesting that Washington would have a quarterback controversy about the number three quarterback and not whether either of them can be the backup quarterback.

Maybe we should discuss calling plays at the line in a different language to confuse the opposing team.

Cindy Boren: I believe that a QB controversy of some ilk in camp is mandatory, particularly if the camp is harmonious and there's no fighting (okay, one little dustup) or backbiting. It's particularly warranted given the glassy-eyed murmurings of the Cultists. Can Chase Daniel get the job done against NFL first-stringers? (He's generously listed as being 6 feet tall; this would make me about 5-11.) I have no idea yet; he got the job done in a pretty tough collegiate conference. That much I do know.


New Orleans: Height should not be a big factor in determining if Chase makes the team. He is the same height as one of the best quarterbacks in the league: Drew Brees (both are 6 feet)

Cindy Boren: Brees may have been measured in his stocking feet; I think Chase might have been "heightening" when he was measured.


We don't need no stinking QB: An offensive line, receiver other than Moss and Cooley, and running back with more left in his tank than Portis, maybe.

Campbell isn't best quarterback in the league, so he needs help that isn't there ...

Cindy Boren: Well, I'm pretty sure that you have to have a QB, but I'd agree that those other spots are key. (You do realize you've mentioned nine of the 11, right?)


Eyestreet NW, Washington, D.C.: The good news is: The offensive line looks better than the early preseason doomsday scenarios. The bad news, for Jason Campbell, is: The offensive line looks better than the doomsday scenarios. Now, when he overthrows, underthrows, throws it into the ground after scrambling around back there like he is wearing 10-pound ankle weights, it becomes (wait for it) his problem -- the problem of not being a very good NFL quarterback. And then we can move on.

Cindy Boren: Unless he suddenly starts hitting receivers, who suddenly start hanging onto the ball, and he suddenly becomes an effective scrambler (and slider). But your point is well taken: it would be on him if the line is fine.


Fairfax, Va.: I think the Redskins should keep both Colt and Chase. Todd Collins should be cut. What's the point in keeping him around at this point?

Most likely Collins will be gone along with Jason Campbell at the end of the year. The team would be better off having two young guys who have shown promise.

Cindy Boren: The problem with cutting Collins is that this is the one guy who has NFL experience, against real NFL first stringers. Do you really want a backup with none??? That would be interesting, but I'd buy stock in Tums because you'd be getting it by the case.


Washington, D.C.: Have you heard anything new about the possibility of a labor strike/lockout over the next two years? Thanks!

Cindy Boren: It wouldn't happen until 2011. Two years is a long time, but at the moment the union and the owners are preparing for it. It's like going to war; it's tough to step back when you're armed. Certainly a lot can happen in the interim, but right now I'm pessimistic about the chances for fubball.


Haynesworth: Wow! Breaking news! Haynesworth has a fake foot!

Cindy Boren: The foot is real; I said it's detachable! It isn't. It's a real, honest to Pete foot with five toes at the end of his leg (which is not bionic, so let's not go there). This is how wild stuff hits the internets. I picked the most impossible thing I could think of and you ran with it. Very funny, though.


Fairfax, Va.: Do you think the Redskins currently will reside as the last place team in the NFC East? They just don't seem to have the horses to compete with the Eagles, Giants or the Cowboys head-to-head, do they? Which, of course should mean no playoffs and new coach and quarterback next year.

Cindy Boren: Week 3 of preseason, I'd say I think the Giants and Eagles will be the top NFC East teams, in that order. But I'm not ready to rank the Cowboys ahead of the Redskins.


Concord, N.C.: How can anyone make an accurate evaluation of where Campbell is given how limited his work has been in the preseason? He has had 13 pass attempts in the two games. He really needs to play well into the third quarter on Friday with a heavy dose of pass plays.

Cindy Boren: I agree 10 trillion percent, if that's possible.


Austin, Texas: What are the prospects of Campbell signing a contract with the team at a lower salary, as a back-up, if things goes sour with him for this season, given that he will be a restricted free agent?

Cindy Boren: Depends on the market, doesn't it? Wouldn't you think that, at that point, he'd go wherever he could get the most money to hold a clipboard? He loves DC and wants to stay here, but he'd have to consider the monetary and starting QB situations of any suitors.


Houston: Cindy - Thanks for taking our questions!

Q. Do you have Marty Schottenheimer's e-mail address?

It's important!

Cindy Boren: I do, but I'm withholding it from bloggers because I don't want Marty's guy to stop commenting on the blog.


Arlington, Va.: I find it amusing that everyone is down on the Redskins this year. Not surprising, but amusing. Why this year as opposed to the past?

They still have no line, an aging and beat up running back and question marks at quarterback. What's the difference now from past seasons?

Cindy Boren: Sometimes it really is just a giant Mobius strip, isn't it? I have to run now with practice about to begin, but let me remind you of one thing: there's always, always the chance that this time will be different.

Until next week, I'll see you on the blog and on Twitter! Thanks, as always, for your super-smart banter.


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