Redskins Training Camp and the NFL Offseason

Cindy Boren
Washington Post NFL Editor
Monday, August 31, 2009; 12:00 PM

Post NFL Editor Cindy Boren was online Monday, Aug. 31 at 12 p.m. to take your questions about Redskins training camp, the end of the NFL offseason, budding quarterback controversies, late signing rookie draft picks and all the breaking news in the NFL.

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A transcript follows.


Cindy Boren: Welcome to the Monday chat...Friday's game leaves us with a lot to discuss...first questions goes to George Hlass, via Twitter. He asks who, among Cowher, Shanahan and Gruden, would be next on deck for the Redskins if Zorn doesn't work out. From the buzz, you'd have to think Shanahan. But let's get this season over first and then evaluate Zorn. question!


College Park, Md.: Jason Campbell played very well against the Pats. Do you think the offensive line will be consistent with protecting him this season?

Cindy Boren: Consistency kind of equates to injury-free, doesn't it? I think the line will be much improved, but the bigger issue is whether the guys can stay healthy and, if they can't, whether there's significant depth and experience behind them. Randy Thomas and Chris Samuels both have chronic health concerns that will bear close monitoring and managing. Luckily, the immediate, five-game schedule for the Redskins is fairly merciful, after the season opener.


Anonymous: The Redskins looked real good against the Pats. Granted Moss ran all over us, but Rogers wasn't there. Will he make it for the opener?

Cindy Boren: The hope, the goal and the plan is certainly to have him out there against the Giants. Jim Zorn mentioned that he has a small pocket of blood in his calf. That's enough to make any Redskins fan with a memory nervous, after the Jason Taylor experience.


Out with the old, in with the new: Cut Randle-El and add Marko Mitchell - give more time in regular season to the young receivers. I know we don't need to cut Randle-El to make room, but it's time to move on.

Keep Mason and Aldridge (he reminds be of Joe Washington in the 70's or Sproles) as the third and fourth RBs and make Devin Thomas the kickoff returner. Rock Cartwight is not better than average at either running back or kickoffs and we need better than average.

Do you agree and do you think these things will happen?

Cindy Boren: I'm not sure I would get rid of Randle El, although he's certainly on the bubble if I'm making up the roster. Marko Mitchell is a keeper, that's for sure. I agree with the Mayor, J "Just Call Me J" Reid, about Mason. The pass pro is weak and there's no special teams work. As Danny Smith says, the guy has been with three NFL teams and there's a reason for that. I also like Alridge and the new and attitude-improved Devin Thomas, particularly on special teams. I think you're undervaluing Cartwright, though. I wouldn't dump him in the absence of someone just flat out taking his job away.


A Bronco Fan from Rockville, Md.!: Any new news on Kyle Orton's freak finger injury? How do you get a cut from someone's hand that has a glove on it?

Cindy Boren: Timeout for a Bronco fan...That was a weird one. I'm not sure how he did it; I saw him holding up his finger for the coaches to see. (At first, I thought he was saying, "We're No. 1.")

The latest, and I love how helpful the NFL is about these things, is that Orton has an "upper extremity injury." Please. He ... cut ... his ... finger. Or so it appeared. I would think he'd be ready for the opener.


Washington, D.C.: I didn't notice until this last game but Santana Moss looks like he has put on a lot of weight. Is he one of these guys that loses a ton of weight as the season goes on and is trying to start heavy or what's going on?

Cindy Boren: Good observation. He did indeed buff up and beef up in the offseason. He wasn't saying last time we asked for the digits, but he did tell Dan Steinberg: "When people look at me for my size and think all I can do is run, I like to give them an arm or two and tell 'em I ain't a weakling."

_______________________ D.C. Sports Bog: Santana Moss: 'I'm Pretty Buff' (Washington Post, July 30)


Arlington, Va.: I thought the secondary was an upgrade for this season? Could have fooled me watching the Ravens and Pats games. Monty Hall could have done a better job covering Randy Moss or at least offered him what's behind Door No. 2 ... or do you want whats on Jay's table!

Secondary has been pathetic! Pass rush must have been on the Dating Game or Hollywood Squares!

Cindy Boren: I thought Monty Hall was, um, no longer with us...that he'd gone to that great Canadian Football League in the sky, but I see that he isn't. At any rate, I take your point and would agree that the secondary now is a concern. As is the pass rush, which as Trevor Matich can attest, is a sore spot. All along the assumption has been that the defense will improve on the No. 4 ranking of a year ago. What if that's not a slam dunk?


Los Angeles: Mason can run, sure, but he's not a "change of pace" from the three backs ahead of him. So why keep him if he won't be getting on the field?

A. Aldridge on the other hand, could be special and actually play if he can stay healthy and hold on to the ball (which he did neither of in camp). Any word on whether we'll see him on punts or kick-offs this week to give him a shot to make the team?

Cindy Boren: You're going to need a numerical roster to watch the game in Jacksonville. All of these guys are gonna get a workout and I agree with you on Mason and Alridge.


St. Louis: What are the chances of Chase Daniel making the team?

Cindy Boren: St. Louis! Mom, is that you? Many people feel that Brennan didn't exactly distinguish himself Friday night and that Chase Daniel is a smidge ahead. Big game for both guys Thursday. Nothing against Brennan, but I'm more of a Case for Chase than a Cult of Colt person. Daniel played in a much tougher conference and really sparked the team against P'burgh.


Silver Spring, Md.: Cindy,

Non-Redskins question here. How much stock ought a fan to put on preseason showings? As a long suffering Oakland Raider fan I was less than pleased to see their 45-7 shellacking at the hands of Drew Brees and the Saints. I know the preseason supposedly means nothing, but should I be worried about a game as bad as that one?

Cindy Boren: None! Zippo! Bupkes! Nada! It has no correlation to the regular season unless, of course, one of your star players gets hurt ... or you're the Oakland Raiders. Seriously, you are right to be concerned, but it has nothing to do with preseason. The Raiders fell stunningly fast after that Super Bowl appearance only, what, six years ago? While I have a lot of faith in Al Davis, they still seem to be something of a mess.


New Orleans: I was suprised not to see Collins or Chase out there. And Colt didn't look too good. Will the last game go: Collins first half, Chase the second, giving Chase a great chance to steal the third quarterback spot?

Cindy Boren: Todd "Toddball" Collins doesn't need to be out there. He's a known quantity. He can just stand on the sidelines, studying and staring thoughtfully toward the field all the while he's thinking of, oh, "The Time Traveler's Wife" or cupcakes. It doesn't matter. If he's needed, he'll be ready to go. No word yet on the QBing situation Thursday night. Just double-checked with the Mayor.


Golden Valley, Minn.: How's Orakpo looking? Is he generating any buzz around the league?

Cindy Boren: The buzz on Orakpo is favorable and he's generating a lot of it; everyone thinks the Redskins have a real gem in him. The times he's struggled are when he has played at his new position. That's to be expected.


Arlington, Va.: Monty Hall is still with us! Alive and kicking. Not sure about Jay. He does interviews every once in while with James Delaney Buffett.

Cindy Boren: See? Good for him.


Clifton, Va.: Actually, Orton's finger was cut to the bone. He is probably out for the first half of the season. Might be time for Vinny to trade our No. 2 quarterback for some draft picks next year since Denver has nothing!

Cindy Boren: Do you remember when Steve DeBerg played with a pin in his pinky? Stitch the guy up, rub some dirt on it and put him back out there.


Annandale, Va.: Hi Cindy,

What do you think Zorn has to achieve as coach this year, in order to ensure his return for a third year?

What do you think is the likelihood that he achieves this?

The offensive line looks almost likely to fall apart as it did last year. Do you see the second half of this upcoming season being like the second half of last year?

Cindy Boren: I think he has to take them to the playoffs and that might not be enough. He probably has to win a playoff game. I haven't changed my assessment on their record; I think the Redskins will be around .500 and in the running for a berth late into the season. It's entirely possible that this season will be the opposite of last. The schedule looks cupcake-y over the first half and difficult the second.


Odenton, Md.: "While I have a lot of faith in Al Davis..."

Have you gone insane, Cindy?

Cindy Boren: Yeah, I suppose I should explain that. I used to have a lot of faith in Al Davis. You know, the visionary, the founder of the AFL, one of the people behind the modern game and all that jazz. I keep thinking they might get it together another time because as recently as six years ago he had a Super Bowl team and he's very smart. I'm just always keeping an eye out for a resurgence because I do respect his history.


Ashburn, Va.: What would an examination of Redskins underwear purchases indicate on expectations for the season? Blue Chip, White Cotton: What Underwear Says About the Economy (Washington Post, Aug. 31)

Cindy Boren: Uh, um...know what? This is soooooo a story for Steinbog. I'll get him right on it.


New York, N.Y.: Cindy, will the RI feature a weekly Thursday chat with the Mayor (like we did with JlaC) once the season starts?

Cindy Boren: That's in the works, yes. Maybe the Mayor and Maese will rotate; not sure yet.

BTW, just got a quick email from the Mayor reitering that Campbell likely will play a series Thursday with Brennan/Daniel going the rest of the way. No one expects Collins to play.


Ashburn, Va.: So what are the chances of Robert Thomas (No. 55) making the final 53? Inquiring minds want to know because this is a fine opportunity to repurpose that glorious $13 Jason Taylor jersey my wife bought me.

Cindy Boren: Two words: duct tape. That jersey can be any name and any number you want it to be. And you won't look goofy at all. Really.


Bethesda, Md.: The Redskins could be bold with their cuts, keeping Marcus Mason, Marko Mitchell, Hackett and Hagens, while shedding Antwaan Randal-El, rock Cartwright and one of the sophomore WRs.

What's the chance we see a youth movement?

Cindy Boren: Hate to break it to you, but Hagans was cut yesterday. I see Mitchell sticking, but otherwise I don't see a huge youth movement in the offing.


Section 432: The Redskins used to publish a flipchart on their website before each game, which was a PDF that allowed printing the rosters of both teams, starters, stats etc. Was a great resource to bring to FedEx, where announcements aren't always the best.

Redskins haven't put it on their gameday website recently. Can the Post step up and create a great gameday resource?

Cindy Boren: Not a bad idea, 432. Maybe we can get some marketing types to whip that up ... ideally we should make it available on mobile devices. Paper is soooo 1996.


D.C. Redskins Fan: "Do you remember when Steve DeBerg played with a pin in his pinky? Stitch the guy up, rub some dirt on it and put him back out there."

Or follow Ronnie Lott's lead and cut it off.

Cindy Boren: I'm pretty sure a QB needs his index finger...


Harrisburg, Penn.: Wow, surprise, DeAngelo Hall isn't as good as his talk would lead you to believe. Come on Redskins fans. Even Al Davis knew that.

Cindy Boren: Hmmmm....we shall see, won't we?


Washington D.C.: After Jason's great showing against New England, do you think he has a chance to make the Hall of Fame?

On the other hand, if he does poorly against Jacksonville this week, should we cut him and try to get the number 1, number 1 draft pick like Detroit did this year?


A typical sports radio listener

Cindy Boren: You guys are a real all-or-nothing bunch, aren't you?


Washington, D.C.: Is it just me, or do the backup backs fighting to make the team (Mason, Aldridge, Dorsey) seem to move about twice as fast as Clinton Portis? Portis (and Betts) are still good backs, but we need to keep at least one of the young guys and actually give him carries during the year. Portis and Betts are power guys who don't have break away speed (at least not anymore).

Cindy Boren: I don't think it's just you. That does seem to be the case, but I think there's another factor at play. You're comparing guys who are going all out to make the team with wily veterans who know that this is the time to conserve.


Dog Pound, Cleveland, Ohio: Do you think Eagles fans have forgiven/forgotten about Michael Vick's transgressions too quickly? Can we expect protests in D.C. when they play the Redskins?

Cindy Boren: I never judge Eagles fans...except for the Santa thing. That was out-and-out wrong. But if that Oct. 26 "Monday Night Football" game against the Redskins at FedEx is Vick's first game back, I think there may be protests. Of course, if you're the NFL and you like to manage image, you'd be smart to let him come back Week 5 against Tampa Bay in Philly or Week 6 in Oakland. (Man, are we Oakland-centric today...)


Washington, D.C.: "At any rate, I take your point and would agree that the secondary now is a concern. As is the pass rush, which as Trevor Matich can attest, is a sore spot."

People, let's relax a little. We go through this nonsense every year, where we try to extrapolate what we see in the preseason to what the regular season will be. It just doesn't work that way. Preseason games are but glorified practices. You can't reach any definitive conclusions. Let's wait till they play a few real games before panicking.

Cindy Boren: On that note, I have to scoot along with practice beginning and blog updates arriving (am about to post one from J right now). I'll see you back here soon (I don't think we chat on Laborious Day, but I'll have to check and alert you on the blog and Twitter). Have a great week.


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