Redskins Season Opener and NFL Kick Offs

Cindy Boren
Washington Post NFL Editor
Wednesday, September 9, 2009; 12:00 PM

Post NFL Editor Cindy Boren was online Wednesday, Sep. 9 at 12 p.m. to take your questions about the Redskins season opener against the Giants, the end of the NFL offseason and all the breaking news in the NFL.

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A transcript follows.


Cindy Boren: Hi there! I'm not going to waste your time with a snazzy into. There's a game coming up and there's tons of stuff to discuss. Let's go.


No one from Tampa Bay, Fla.: How is the lovely Cindy today?

Is the lack of pursuit of available offensive line free agents due to salary cap limitations? I know the Redskins need to save some money in case of injuries during the season, but there seems to be a few quality offensive linemen out there available to help us.

Cindy Boren: Howdy, Noone! I'm dandy today and will be even dandier tomorrow night about 8:30 when there's a football game to watch. I think the Redskins are genuinely satisfied with their line. Sure, there are cap limitations, but the powers that be seem to think they're set. The line did pretty well in preseason but with this group, the biggest question is the long haul. Will the knees of Samuels and Thomas hold up? Can those situations be effectively managed? If so, they don't need no stinkin' free agents. If not ... I predict we'll be discussing this again.


Down by the River, Va.: Hey Cindy,

While we all can't wait for the season to begin, I have a question concerning the beginning of the Redskins' season: How can the NFL even consider it remotely fair to put the Redskins in New York to face the Giants in the opener two years in a row? I don't mind that the two teams are playing in the opener, but where is the love?


Cindy Boren: Oh, there's love. The NFL is showing its love for the Redskins by inviting them to the city so that everyone from the league offices can watch them play. Don't buy it? Me neither. While I can't say that I think it's inherently unfair for the Redskins to be there two years in a row, I am rather bothered by the repetition, the lack of originality. Also, I'm not a fan of division matchups in the openers.


Bethesda, Md.: I've been a fan of the Redskins since Super Bowl 17. The glory days have been replaced by consumerism, marketing, over-priced tickets and a sense of betrayal by owner Dan Snyder.

When will the Redskins return to their former glory? There was a time when going to home games really was a pleasurable experience instead of the hassle. It's not the owner's fault entirely because fans have lost their senses too. I'd be embarrassed to take my children to the games with the level of profanity and uncouthness that occurs at Fedex field. Let's move 'em back to RFK!

Cindy Boren: My Ouija board says 2011...but what does it know? It hasn't been right about anything yet. I have no idea when the Redskins will return to dominance and glory, but returning to RFK might be problematic unless you know how to add 30,000 seats.


Tallahassee, Fla.: I'm so glad to see that you are still holding down the fort!

Why didn't Campbell look very good in preseason, i.e. his inability to connect or throw long? Good quarterbacks are good in preseason. Also, one statement he made sounds like Coach Zorn has him holding back on deep throws. Thoughts?

Cindy Boren: He did have some moments, enough that Jim Zorn was praising him. As for holding back, Zorn did speak about that and a deliberate part of the plan was to not show too much. I think it can be tough to turn that on in a real game, but we'll see soon enough.


Bowie, Md.: Any bets on how soon the Dallas jumbo screen will affect a real (not intentionally trying to hit it) play?

Cindy Boren: I'm going to go with "right off the bat." NY Giants at Dallas Cowboys, Sept. 20 in the first game. At least that's what I'm hoping for: it's a Sunday night national game in the would be delicious fun. Talk about getcher popcorn...


Rockville, Md.: Is this Jason Campbell's "no excuses" year; either he plays like a regular NFL quarterback or he won't be one in 2010?

Cindy Boren: Oh, he'll be an NFL QB in 2010, he just might not be one in Landover, Md. It's a "no excuses in this here town" year, yeah.


Washington, D.C.: Cindy, every year Wilbon picks the Chargers to make it to the Super Bowl, and every year they disappoint their fans. Why does he think this year will be any different from the rest?

Cindy Boren: Bless his pointy little head; I think he thinks that he's bound to be right some day and that, perhaps, no one will notice that he picks 'em every year. Well, you pretty much took care of that, didn't you? Actually, I think he probably feels that they have a great team, one assembled and retained over multiple seasons. There is a window of opportunity for this group and I think that's why he keeps picking them. I say there's a pattern and that they won't get over the hump. But the Eagles did, maybe the Chargers will. If they do and he's right and I'm wrong, don't tell him I wrote this, okay?


Arlington, Va.: Mistake free football, force turnovers, get lucky. Isn't that the only recipe for a Redskins win in the Meadowlands?

Cindy Boren: I'd add "hope the bad Eli Manning shows up," but otherwise you have a good formula there.


Fairfax, Va.: The biggest question for the Redskins at this time of year always has to be: How is the punter feeling? Is he going to hold up under the ton of work he'll inevitably be doing?

Cindy Boren: You're worried about Hunter the Punter Smith? I thought everyone on the blog had decided that Hunter the Punter was fine. Do you just have spare angst that's looking for a home or what? Perhaps focusing your concerns on Shaun Suisham and whether he can kick 52-year FGs might be a better idea.


Cleveland Ex-Pat in D.C.: Cindy, what's this nonsense about Eric Mangini's not naming his Opening Day quarterback until Opening Day? Unless he literally flips a coin just before kick-off, you know this is going to come out well before game time. Goodness knows the Browns could use something to inspire them, but I seriously doubt that this will do the trick.

Cindy Boren: How wacky is that? Eric Mangini is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, stuffed in a Twinkie. Anderson and Quinn aren't saying; Mangini is mum. Maybe they're going to go without one. Or perhaps on game day he'll hold his hand over the helmet of each and go with whomever gets the louder applause. Sometimes, fubball coaches are just silly with all their secrecy. Perhaps someone could get videotape of a closed practice...oh, wait. That's already happened to Mangini once.


Houston, Texas: Thanks for taking our questions, Cindy!

After briefly watching the Jacksonville preseason game my thought was this - the Redskins are flat coming out of preseason, just like last year, when they are going to play the Giants at home. Is there really any benefit to "not showing everything" in preseason? One would think that momentum would be important coming into the regular season, and for two straight years, the Redskins still seem to be figuring it out on the eve of the regular season.

Cindy Boren: That's been a concern of mine as well for all of the preseason games. I never really saw precision efficiency, a focused determination to go out, execute and get finished for the night. Preseason games are meaningless, but there is a reason to have a crisp, efficient effort. I would have liked to have seen that in every game, with some growth and sign of progress, but perhaps it was their plan not to show it.


Alexandria, Va.: Did Snyder/Cerrato actually think it was worth not signing Daniels to the practice squad to get Woodson, even though the Giants will change all their signals anyway? That "braintrust" at Redskins Park works in wondrous ways!

Cindy Boren: They are hardly alone in thinking that Chase Daniel doesn't have a great arm and isn't tall enough to cut it. Plenty of scouts agree; the guy was undrafted. That said, I did like the way he led the team. As for Woodson, well, maybe his Eli Manning impression will be spot on and that will make the difference in the Skins' preparation. Again, sometimes fubball people think too much. It's like Mad magazine's "Spy vs. Spy."


Herndon, Va.: What is your prediction on the final score for Washington/New York on Sunday?

Cindy Boren: Not sure I have a final score prediction, but I would not be at all surprised if the Redskins won. I have an odd, vague feeling that the start of the season will be weird, maybe with the team beating the Giants and then losing to one or two teams it should not (say, Lions and/or Rams). But maybe I just need some Pepcid.


Alexandria, Va.: I have our Redskins beating the Chiefs, Lions, Rams, and Raiders, getting mysteriously blown out twice, the defense keeps 'em in the rest of the games, and big Jason tosses a coin for the wins. That should break out to 9-7. Whaddya think?

Cindy Boren: Not bad, altho as I said, I do see 'em stumbling in Ye Olde Cupcake Shoppe of teams you mention...I see 'em being around .500 -- being a little above or a little below is very possible. I also have predicted that the holidays will be consumed with playoff calculations and permutations(time to start preparing the family now).


Laurel, Md.: Cindy, I've always wondered...

There has got to be somebody out there on this planet that can kick a 70+ yard field goal with accuracy. Don't you think? Perhaps a soccer player in Europe somewhere? Can you imagine some team finding a guy that could do that? They could essentially be guaranteed 3 points on every drive! What fun! Defensive End Hits 57-Yard Field Goal. Really. (The Daily Tube)

Cindy Boren: I know where I'd start looking: Norway's ski jumpers! Jan Stenerud had a cannon for a leg. But 70 yards...with a bunch of players rushing at you? That's tough.


Rockville, Md.: Cindy

The all-knowing Wilbon has dialed back to 8-8 for the Redskins. I look at the schedule and even have them at 4-4 for the first half and 4-4 for the second. That is mediocrity! What sayest thou?

Cindy Boren: Stayin' medium, for sure. But odder things have happened in the NFL. Sometimes, as much as you think you know, you just never know. You know?


Ms. Teen South Carolina: I personally believe that U.S. American Redskins are unable to return to the glory years because, uh, some, people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that the, uh, Owner, like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that he should, our Executive Senior Upper Level Vice President in charge of the Stuff, over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our team, for our next Super Bowl

Cindy Boren: Maps, like, such as, yes. Frankly, this makes as much sense as anything.


New York, N.Y.: Do you think the 2-6 finish last year was in part a result of NFL defenses "solving" Zorn's offense, or do you think it was more due to injuries? Is our offense well-designed?

Cindy Boren: Honestly, I think both were factors. Having a coach who was a complete enigma was an advantage over the first half; and, in the second half, the team really looked tired and was really banged up. There was just nothing in the tank, really physically or mentally.


Pentagon City, Va.: Kudos to the Washington Post Sports department for not backing down on critically covering a team that has demonstrated its willingness to 'blackball' un-fawning media outlets in the past.

Have the Redskins ticket stories led to any backlash from the team against WaPo yet?

Cindy Boren: Thanks! James Grimaldi (with Jason La Canfora helping before he left) did a great job. There has been no real backlash. The players, as well as Zack Bolno and his crew are all professionals; the players, the organization are not difficult to work with. In fact, I'd be surprised if players were even aware of the stories. There's typically a separation between Xs and Os coverage and an investigative piece like that.


Ft., Lauderdale, Fla.: Do you envision a scenario where Campbell returns next season but Zorn doesn't? I am a Campbell believer and think he's got the ability but I am less convinced that Zorn is the right guy. I think that Shanahan or Gruden can take Campbell to a Pro Bowl level, but Zorn is, well, 'medium', in every sense of the word.

Cindy Boren: With this team, I can envision just about every possible scenario. Hmmm, Shanahan or Gruden getting more out of Campbell? Do you really think he could survive yet another system?


Everywheres, Md.: Hey Cindy

Do you think Jason Campbell would re-sign with the team if he does have a decent year? After all he's not just trying to prove himself to the burgundy and gold, essentially he's still got to get a contract from somewhere next offseason and he knows job security seems to be an issue in these parts.

Cindy Boren: I think Jason Campbell is really comfortable in Washington. He's made a home here and I do not believe he wants to leave -- maybe even to his detriment.


Alexandria, Va.: Each team has to play the other teams in their division twice each year. What difference does it make if the Redskins lose to the Giants in N.Y. on week 1 or week 8? I don't see how that's "unfair" - they have to go there and play them sometime.

Cindy Boren: Unfair, no. Just tiresome in the opener.


Newport News, Va.: Is it me, or have the Redskins media relations folks put the shackles on Zorn this year? Last year, I loved how he spilled his guts to the media every week, but later I really worried that he was giving way too much information that could be used by our opponents. He also seems more confident and "in control" of the team this season based on how he presents himself in interviews, patrols the sidelines in games, etc.. Call me an optimist, but I think Coach Zorn knows what he's doing and appears to have performed an honest evaluation of his own performance last year and is looking to improve in his sophomore season.

Cindy Boren: Shackled, no. He still stands and answers questions and goes out of his way to speak to members of the media, even to dopey editors who make appearances at the park. I do think he has grown into the job, has a better idea of what he wants to do in his second year. I take him at his word that this year is different because he isn't teaching the assistants now; everyone really now is on the same page. I wouldn't say he seems more serious this year, but I think the determination is a little more apparent.


Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.: Odds on Suisham not making it 16 games?

I'd say about 65 percent

Cindy Boren: You may not be too wide of the mark on that one...


Washington, D.C.: Is Clinton Portis a weak sister? All I keep reading about is about him getting rest during the preseason, and how other running backs can give him rest during the season. Is that why you pay your primo back millions of dollars?

I still can't figure out why they didn't sign or draft a big back for them to use consistently to pound the defensive line with some ball control offense ... and please don't say Mike Sellers is that guy, because he's not.

Cindy Boren: Clinton Portis a weak sister? Nah. He's a baller from the U; those guys from that era have only one setting on the dial -- 11. Remember how he hurt his shoulder in a preseason game? I doagree with you about the need for the right complimentary back. Portis pooped out because he was dinged and battered and the concept of pacing seems to be alien to him. He's 28 now and he's going to run out of gas. Every season gets closer to being the one that's the last truly great one. At this point, he and the team have to play smart.


Montgomery Village, Md.: Cindy

In light of the season ticket screw up, how will The Danny be received by the fans at the first home game? Or will they be afraid to demonstrate any disgust for fear of being caught on tape, end up with crappier seats next year or just generally sued for lack of proper decorum? Bet you never responded to "proper decorum" on your chat before, eh?

Cindy Boren: I honestly can't say. That's an issue for the fans. (What is this "proper decorum" you speak of? Is that like home furnishings?)


Shepherdstown, W.Va.: Cindy,

I have been a Redskin fan since Sammy Baugh's last season with the skins. I have been bothered the past few years by the players always stating in preseason how good they are, and that they should be in the playoffs. They need to remember that they have to go out play every week with a lot of intensity. George Allen's teams always played with emotion and passion and they would beat teams that on paper were better than themselves.

Cindy Boren: Thanks!


Sarasota, Fla.: Hi Cindy -

It could be because Brian Orakpo has not played an official NFL game yet, but unless I've missed it, I haven't seen any comparisons made yet to another first round draft choice, Lavar Arrington. From what you may have heard, could you discuss the similarities and differences ... and expectations between the two? Thanks from a big Cindy fan from the Sunshine State!

Cindy Boren: Thanks! Too early to make that comparison, at least for me. Orakpo is new to the linebacking position. It seems unfair not to give him a few games before comparing him, favorably or unfavorably, with Arrington.


Cindy Boren: I'm sorry to have to sign off now. As usual, you brought your A game. Hope to see you back here Sunday (I think there's a game or something). Jason Reid, Rick Maese, Barry Svrluga, Paul Tenorio and I will be available then (and every day) on the Redskins Insider blog and Twitter. We'll also have a special chat on Sunday, immediately postgame, with Tenorio. Thanks!


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