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Thomas Boswell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 17, 2009; 11:00 AM

Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell was online Thursday, September 17 to take your questions about the Redskins, the first week of the NFL, the Nats, Orioles and the latest sports news and his recent columns.

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The transcript follows.

Discussion Archives

Boswell Column Archives

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South Hill, Va.: Jason Campbell has stated how he is much more comfortable in the shot gun formation. Should Jim Zorn consider running the shot gun exclusively in the same way Bobby Bowden did with Florida State when Charlie Ward was his quarterback? Florida State won a national championship that year.

Tom Boswell: I've made this point before. Campbell is comfortable in the shotgun. Part of "loosening up" the offense and trusting Campbell more is letting him use a hurry-up offense at times, be more in control of play calling and also not be forced into the 'gun by third and long. I just did the stats for last Sunday.

Against the Giants from the shotgun, Campbell was 15-for-17 for 161 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 16-yrd scramble. Or 18 snaps for 171 yards. An averageof 9.5-per-pla.Both the Redskins best drives, at the end of each half, were keyed by Campbell in the gun.

Otherwise, Campbell was 4-for-9 for 50 yards, an interception and 3 sacks for -24 yards. Or 12 snaps 26 yards. An average of 2.2 yards a play.

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Tom Boswell: Reston, Va.: Hi Tom, What do you think of the Nats' farm system? Beyond Strasburg and Storen who are you looking forward to watching in the 2010?

Tom Boswell: Ian Desmond!!!

The 23-year-old shortstop had two more hits last night includinmg a double off the wall off Joe Blanton. He's now gotten to play four games -- only four -- and is 10-for-17 with four doubles, a 460-foot home run and 4 RBI, plus a walk. He looks comfotrable and patien at the plate.

He's had a long, long trip to the big leagues. When the Nats first came to town he was a 19-year-old prospect in Viera and everybody raved about him as the future-star in the franchise. And I remember him making a coupleof amazing defensve plays. But he's had two years damaged by injury, he's made a ton of errors (as well as spectacular plays) and didn't really break out as a hitter until this year -- .30 in 348 at bats at AA and AAA (.354 in 178 abs at Syracuse).

The big worry has been his errors. In six years in the minors, his fielding percentage is .936 -- very bad -- with 189 errors. So, I wondered how others had fielded in the minors where you get bad hops, bad first basemen who can't save you from errors, etc.

Here are the career MINOR league fielding percentages of a bunch of MLB shortstops and their MLB percentages afterward to see their improvement.

Jeter --.934 to .976

Guzman --.937 to .971

Hanley Ramirez--.939 to .971

R Fucal --.931 to .966

S Drew --.944 to .976

Y Escobar --.957 to .976

Isturis --.965 to .980

Nick Green --.925 to .957

Theriot--.953 to .976.

Alex Gonzalez (Reds) --.942 to.970

Asdrubal Cabrera --.955 to .974

Troy Tulowitski --.948 to .987 !!

So, as you see, everybody improves and several improve a ton. Jeter, Guzman, Ramirez and Furcal are fascinating comps.

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Philadelphia: Do you envision Campbell working more out of the shotgun this Sunday? Despite its limitations in the run game and "deception" for the defense, shouldn't you use the best formation to get Campbell in a position to score points?

Tom Boswell: It concerns me that Zorn, as a player, and Campbell were such totally different kinds of QBs. Look up Zorn's record. He was nimble (6-2, 200), brainy, a leader and scrambler. In seven years as a starter, Zorn never had a running back who gained more than 805 yards. He and Steve Largent had to be two-man teams in Seattle. They broke in the same year. Zorn led a couple of 9-7 teams but mostly they were bad. One year he had to scramble or got sacked 102 times! So, Zorn may have been a West Coast quarterback before they had a name for it -- precise short routes, quick reads, quick feet, not much of an arm, don't let the ball stay in the air for long. Also, Zorn was interception prone with more Ints than TDs (typical of that time). His QB rating was 67. Not too bad back then. He passed for 3,000-yards three times and made All-pro once. As soon as the Seahawks finally got a 100-yard running back, Kreig beat Zorn out for the QB job.

Campbell is a pure Joe Gibbs quarterback -- big, brave, "high character," coachable, great arm, much better on medium-to-lng passes that short or quick. Not too good reading defenses. Comfortable in the shotgun.

As I wrote last year, the Redskins could not have created a much weirder forced marriage than a novice West Coast Offense coach with a QB like Campbell as his potential franchise QB. Maybe it's a credit to both that they get along personally. But I think that Zorn needs to realize that he has changed Campbell as much as he can change him. Now, it's time to let him go. He is never going to be the precise kind of player that Zorn -- a perfectionist -- wants. At some point, it's the coach's job to adat to his players' abilities.

The Redskins don't have a Largent running patterns or a Zorn making quick decisioins, etc. Get over it. They do have a lot of other things -- Portis, Moss and Cooley are big-time skill players and who knows if the WRs are any good. They never get to shot it. I think it's time to find out. I think it scares Zorn to death to giveup that much control to players who aren't from the Zorn-Largent mold as well as the QBs he coached in Seattle.

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Eastern Market, Washington, D.C.: Hi Tom -

I've noticed how high the press box and radio/tv booths are at the new park. How can you guys see anything from so high up? Well, you might be able to provide flight status information ...

Tom Boswell: It's awful. You can't see anything. It's a "trend" -- maximize the "suite box" tickets. The press box used to be the equivalent of a seat in what are now $150,000-a-season suites at Nats Park.

Now the press box is exactly the equivalent of a $17 upper deck ticket. I think that's fine. No problem. But I'm sure glad I got to sit in those other press boxes for 30 years! Also, only a few teams now have moon-box press-boxes -- Nats, Cards, Pirates. And with only a few more new parks to be built, I suspecxt that the "old press boxes" will continue to be the norm in more than 20 parks.

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New York, N.Y.: Hi Boz -

Great column this morning. I tend to lean that it's not all on Campbell. Zorn has as much to prove this weekend as anyone else on that team. After all it wasn't Campbell who called a trick play to Randel El on the second offensive play of the season. If Zorn plays too conservatively, and allows the Rams to hang in there, he should get as much of the blame as our rabid fan base likes to heave at the DC quarterback de jour ... Agree?

washingtonpost.com: Thomas Boswell - Zorn Must Decide if Time Is Right to Unleash Campbell, Offense (Washington Post, Sep. 17)

Tom Boswell: Joe Gibbs, a great evaluator of QBs -- especially those with less-than-superstar abilty -- like Rypien, Schroeder and Williams -- was the one who picked Campbell in the draft, then believed in him, praised him and said he was the future. I trust Gibbs judgment, even Gibbs II, in that area. Al Sauders had some worries with Campbell. We had some good talks. Didn't think he read defenses very well. But also thought he was learning, improving.

Zorn has never been an offensive coordinator much less a head coach in the NFL. It's pretty rare to be a great-guy former-local-star QB coach at 54. Campbell has plenty to prove, but between the two of them, I'd say that Zorn has more to prove.

He is so hard not to like. Impossible, actually, so i won't even try. I'd love to see him succeed. His answers to questions are delightfully eccentric. As Barry Svraluga and I went walking out of one of his press conferences, I said to Barry, "Someday, I expect Zorn to say, 'As we used to say when I was growing up on Pluto...'"

Jim Zorn is way out there.

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Takoma Park, Md.: Boz -

The Redskins of the 80's used to come out throwing the ball all over the field to try and score points early in games, and then control the ball by running in the fourth quater. Does it seem like these coaches can make adjustments during the games? The offense and defense never attack the opponents weakness.

Tom Boswell: I've watched the replay of the Skins-Giants game twice at normal speed and once by putting every play of the game on slow-motion. I've done that for almost every game for years. Please, don't tell my wife. I just say, "I'm working." I don't tell her that I'm trying to see how every lineman does in every matchup on every play.

That said, I'm still amazed that the Redskins didn't attack the Giants (relative) weaknesses that were in headlines in all the NY papers. They have young wide receivers (14 games started, total in the NFL). Why not clamp them at the line, instead of playing 127 yards off them, then bring pressure on Manning inside. Make them think, "Man, it sure would be nice to have Plaxico back."

Also, the Giants cornerbacks were beaten up -- one out, another nicked. But, obviously, the Skins played like they had to wide outs.

On the other hand, playing the Giants on the road is as tough a game as the Redskins will probably face this year. The game was much more lopsided than the score, but the Skins didn't play that badly, especially the defense and special teams. Only the offense looked really bad. And every time I watch that tape, they look worse. Disorganized on key plays, burning time outs when they get to the line on third down, etc. Don't get me going.

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Bend, Ore.: Have you ever seen a fan base that was so schizophrenic as the Redskins' fans? One loss and the season is over. Is there any doubt they'll be talking Super Bowl if we beat both the Rams and the Lions?

Tom Boswell: This is the craziest fan base I have ever seen in its relationship with one team. And it's something that has developed over my lifetime. It wasn't like this in the '60's or '70's, even with George Allen. But the Gibbs Dynasty gave the town something to identify with after 30-to-40 years of almost nothing great. Still, we had the '78-'79 Bullets and the great Hoyas basketball teams. They were very popular but never attracted this kind of manic-depressive addiction. I go back to '56 with the Redskins as a kid and, maybe because I've watched them for so long, I still have some distance on them. I don't walk on air when they win or find myself in a funk when they lose. But I do admit that, like the frest of the town, I've been fascinated with them for a long time.

And, yes, assuming they win the next two games, the change in perception about them will be amazing. If they win the next 3-4-or-5, watch out! DC will be insanity central.

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Annapolis, Md.: Boz, someone mentioned that Redskin practioces are fairly lighthearted, guys joking around etc ... now we read that Zorn is allowing music ... Is the read on practices accurate? Are they really not as intense as they ought to be for a team not delivering? And if so, why would a coach give more when he should be getting more first?

Tom Boswell: Zorn doesn't seem to run a tight ship. That drives me crazy. Among Skins coaches, I prefer the approach of Schottenheimer, Gibbs, Allen -- discipline first. George Allen didn't work his old players hard, but he was very demanding of them mentally -- no blown assignments, ever, tons of film study.

There have been a whole lot of times since Gibbs I when I didn't think the Skins took losing as hard as should have and weren't as disciplined as a top high school team. I once said to Norv, "Am I wrong or does your team make more mental mistakes than DeMatha?" He pretty much agreed and wasn't happy about it.

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Ellicott City, Md.: Is it just me or does Clinton Portis have the vision of a bat ... Every time Clinton Portis carries the ball he runs straight into a pile of wreckage rather than making a cut to an area where there are less defenders.

Or when he does finally break pass the line of scrimmage, he will run into the back of his own blockers.

My question is, do you think Mason has the vision to make that extra cut that Clinton seems to lack as this point in his career?

Tom Boswell: Gee, those 1400+ yards last season get forgotten fast. Portis looks very quick to me and commtted. He dragged the pile five yardsby hinmself on one play on Sunday. He continued to fight with five Giants trying to tear him apart after they'd already stopped his momentum. Clinton is a cut-back runner who has to make instantaneous decisions on picking a hole, sometimes before it opens. That's why he can explode for 34 yards on one play, but apear to 'run into the pile" on another.

Portis isn't the problem. We'll be sorry when he finally gets old someday.

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Moon Box Pressbox?: Boz, don't most all in the press box now rely on TV coverage primarily? Or is that used just for instant replays?

Tom Boswell: A few of us ranted until we got the Nats to put the TVs in the press box on a "delay" of about 5 seconds. So, you can watch the pitch -- with your eyes or binoculars -- then turn and watch the pitch as people see it on TV. It's a big help.

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Clinton, Md.: I keep hearing criticism of Haynesworth because he didn't play the entire game. The Redskins have had a defensive line rotation for quite awhile. When Haynesworth was in the game he was far and away the most dominant player. Why the criticism? Is everyone jealous of the contract?

Tom Boswell: I've been studying Haynesworth (obviously) in my phobic tape-watching. He's a wonderful beast. He takes some plays off even when he's on the field. And he needs to be rotated to stay fresh. But, man, when he decides to crumple the pocket or tear somebody's helmit off, as he did Bradshaw, or just club a guy like he's in a cartoon, he's special. He made big plays -- or disrupted plays -- on the goal line and third/fourth down.

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Re: Redskins fans: Boz, I beg to differ (a little). I think the fanbase was crazed back in the Allen days. Remember thousands showing up at Dulles for the return of the team from a regular season win in Dallas in '71? The difference now is that there are so many more media outlets and so many more ways for fans to express their insanity. It was just as nuts back then, only in it's own way.

Tom Boswell: You're right in the sense that this town had had nothing to go crazy about since World war II (long before my time) until Allen came along. Being a team from Washington has supposed to spell doom. So, when Lombardi came for a year, then Allen actually took the team to the Super Bowl three years later, the city was ready to view it as our collective sports salvation.

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Tampa, Fla.: Hi, Tom. Since you watched the game multiple times and broke it down in slow motion, etc, can you comment on some individual players that you thought played well or played poorly (other than the obvious-London Flectcher, DeAngelo Hall)? Thanks!

Tom Boswell: Fletcher is the best player on the defense -- almost every game. He had 18 tackles, 11 solo, against the Giants. He said afterward that when he (or a safety) has to make TOO many tackles it's bad for the team. Too many running backs have gotten past the Skins first line of defense. If I had to name the most undervalued Skin of the last 20+ years, it might be Fletcher. He's the best brain on either side of the ball for the Skins. he's short and explosive and gets under people and just blows them out, as he did Brandon Jacobs. I elieve he leads the NFL in tackles in the 21st century! And it galls him that he never gets post-season recognition, in part because he never talks himself up.

Hall is a "playmaker." He'll get interceptions and strips for fumbles. And the Redskins need that. He is also about as good a tackler at Deion Sanders -- who couldn't tackle at all. Howeverr, Deion was the world's best shutdown cover. Hall plays loose coverage, not as good man-to-man as Rogers. The Hall vs Springs contrast will be interesting. Springs is getting old, but he was a hitter and a superior cover corner, especially on T.O. and big wide outs. I'm a Hall skeptic, but glad to be convinced.

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Newbury Park, Calif.: T-Boz,

I think you have put your finger on the problem. Great coaches are scheme diverse and can adapt to the talent on the roster. Gibbs I adapted to Riggins and the Hogs from his Air Coryell background.

When does Zorn have to adapt to Campbell and Portis? Campbell is a shotgun/deep ball quarterback. Portis is a one-cut running back. If you can't maximize the strengths of your roster, how can you compete in the toughest division in the NFL?

Tom Boswell: Does Zorn have a system? Or does the system have him?

Great caches have a "concept" of how they want to play, but then they adapt the concept to the players. I'm in the give-Zorn-time camp if for no other reason than the disastrous results that all teams get when they constantly fire coaches, blow up half their roster and start over. From Turner to Schottenmheimer back to Spurrier, the Skins -- I counted 'em -- turned over more than half their roster twice. Then Gibbs came in and had to do it again! each time, the Redskins picked a coach whose system was so different from the previous one that it was inevitable. Just look at the progression of ight ends over that period. each coach wanted a different "type" of TE. So, they had to get rid of the ones that were already on hand. Oh, it's been a thing of beauty to watch.

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Arlington, Va.: Matt Weiters a top defensive catcher? He threw Crawford out stealing twice last night!

Tom Boswell: Weiters is probably the key to that franchise. He's looking better at the plate. They need a power bat at No. 4 and they'll never be able to afford a 35-115-.290 guy in free agency. Weiters, at 6-5, 230 -- did you see his homer onto the flagporch the other night? -- Has the chance for 30+ homer power. ell, someday. Not yet. It's a lot to put on the kid. maybe too much. But he has serious tools.

Brian Matusz looked exceptional in his 7-inning start in yankee stadium before they shut him down for the season. He and Tillman won back-to-back in the big ballpark.

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Redskins Overkill?: Boz,

In one of his "Sports Bog" posts earlier this week Dan Steinberg wrote that The Post sent nine reporters and columnists and two photographers to last weekend's Redskins/Giants game.

As you're the 21st Century's Shirley Povich (and I hope you're writing for as long), I'm posing this to you.

Why isn't the local NFL team covered like other local teams and athletes? If The Post treated the Redskins the way they treat the Nationals/Capitals/Wizards/United etc., there would have been one beat reporter and one photographer, along with two or three columnists (recognizing that the first game of the season is an obvious hook for a column).

By sending four of five staffers instead of 11, there would have been people available to report four of five additional stories for the print edition's sports pages or the website. And the lack of that variety shortchanges your readers.

It's just my opinion, but putting so many resources into the Redskins beat to the detriment of other coverage is poor logistics and poor journalism -- especially in a time of poor budgets for newsgathering.

If your response is that the large amount of Redskins coverage sells paper and increases Internet clickage I've got a followup question: When did such completely commercial considerations start controlling editorial decisions?

I'm sorry to put it so brutally, but are you sales people or are you journalists?

Tom Boswell: The first time the Redskins went to Super Bowl under Gibbs, more than 25 years ago, the Post sent 17 people to cover it!

So, 11 for a season opener against the Giants is NOTHING.

I don't know which came first -- chicken or egg -- the huge public interest in the Skins (not Redskins, at least in my cahts, if I can help it) or the Post's desire to give the people every posible tidbit about the team. They have gone together, hand-in-hand, for a long time in DC. All local media, by the way, is in this same boat mega-coverage of Skins, whatever is left coverage of everything else.

These days, with all the problems the newspaper business has, we'd be out of our minds to ignore the raw numbers on our Redskins coverage. It's the No. 1 thing that we provided in sports that people can't get enough of. We are definitely meeting an existing demand, not trying to create that demand.

As a minor counter-balance, I've always tried to be Redskin-fascinated but not Redskin-obsessed. You'll have to judge whether I've succeeded.

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Hagerstown, Md.: Boss,

Great article this morning. It seemed to me that Zorn was not as afraid to open things up and make risky decisions early last season (i.e. the fourth down play in Philly). What happened last season that made him so gun shy? Seems like Steelers took his marbles with them after the Pittsburgh game last year.

Tom Boswell: The Redskins offensive line crumbled (partly injuries) as the season went along. So, Zorn's confidence that he could count on sufficient pass protection for slower-developing (long) plays also went down.

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Ft., Lauderdale, Fla.: Your point of the constant turnover and system changes is valid, but doesn't that make the argument for a Shanahan or Gruden? They run the west coast offense - or a variation of it. They run a one cut running game-or a variation of it. It wouldn't be as drastic of a change as it was from Saunders to Zorn.

Tom Boswell: Yes. A good point.

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Washington, D.C.: Chicken or egg? The front office tried to replace Campbell because he makes plays like Sunday (the interception after crossing the line and the fumble) or Jason Campbell makes those plays because the front office tried to replace him and he has been brought down by the men upstairs? You are not allowed to respond with "a little of both." Make the call Boz! Thanks!

Tom Boswell: A lot of both.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Boz, I know you have to watch more of the Nats. But last night's O's game gave us fans some hope.

Tillman was dominant (I hope they shut him down to protect his arm). But Wieters is coming to life. Besides the eight RBIs in two games, he made two laser throws to twice gun down Crawford stealing. After the second throw, Crawford just shook his head at Wieters because he was in awe. Finally some hope for the O's?

Tom Boswell: I've tried not to miss Tillman or Matusz starts, but I did last night to watch Livan have back-to-back strong games against the Phils. That was Hernandez fourth quality start in five games for the Nats.

The Nats and O's are extremely interesting, considering that they are last and next to last in ERA in the majors!

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Stanford, Calif.: How would you rate the offensive line's performance against the Giants? The fumble and the sack on third down in the red zone were the result of bad blocking, but other than that it seemed to me like Campbell had plenty of time against possibly the best pass rush in the NFL.

Tom Boswell: The Giants picked their spots to blitz, often on 3rd down. When they did, Campbell always looked confused and the pass blocking, which had seemed adequate until that instant, would disappear.

Samuels had a good game. Zorn exploded at Hyer after he missed one block and gave up a near sack. Also, looked like Hyer completely missed his assignment and let a DL come free for a -5 play in the first half.

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State of Mind: "He and Tillman won back-to-back in the big ballpark."

No, I think you're referring to the one they'll tear down. This one can't be that big, it's had too many homers already.

Tom Boswell: Ha!

I still say the fates will knock the Yanks out of the post-season on a cheap wind-blown HR into the first row of the RF seats.

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: Just a comment to contrast the two teams: Look at Zimmerman's numbers and those of Raul Ibanez and Utley. Those guys are revered in the national media while Zimm occassionally gets a Web Gem.

The stats are virtually the same, but the Phillies have those numbers 1-7. We have 2 guys who can hit. Combine that with crummy pitching, shoddy defense and lack of brains on the base paths and it's easy to see why the Phillies crush us this week.

Tom Boswell: Z'man's having a wonderful season, though he's finally cooled off a little. The wind knocked down what would have been his 30th homer last night on a ball he just crushed to CF.

This month, the Nats have had some of the most idiotic base-running I have ever seen. Last night was unbelievable with three rock-head plays. Riggleman needs to raise his voice a little.

The Nats fundamentals are still atrocious. That's one reason they could actually improve quickly. But somebody -- or everybody -- needs to demand alert play from the first day of spring training.

Utley is a joy to watch. He makes a fool out of a different Nat every night. I hate him.

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MLB Races: Pretty blah end of-the-season in close races, even for the wild card. Hopefully the playoffs will be more exciting. Who you got, Boz, playing/winning 1st round matchups in both the AL and NL?

Tom Boswell: Not enough time now. Next week. I'm leaning toward a Dodgers-Yanks WS right now. Phils don't have the pen. Lidge is a basket case. Cards may have cooled of at the wrong time and are behind Nats (a tad) in offensive numbers. Good, but probably not good enough. Rox aren't going back to another WS so soon. Just glad to see them competitive. Yanks look the best in A.L. They don't seem hexed by the Angels any more. But the Yanks starting pitching will blow a tire at some point. I still think Torre gets another ring before the Yanks.

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Atlanta: Thomas,

Do you get the sense that Antwaan Randle-El will not take a hit? He seems averse to plowing forward and tends to lay down to avoid a collision.

This was evident last year in his returns, and on display again this past weekend. Although he did contribute with multiple catches last week, I think he does not maximize his possessions because he does not appear to want to take a hit. Thoughts?

Tom Boswell: Randle-El had a fine game (7-for-98) and looks valuable as a slot receiver. He shouldn't be at wide out. Last year, I nicknamed him "The Mole" on punt returns because I have never seen a guy so anxious to burrow to safety once he catches a kick. His body language said, "Why am I back here fielding punts at this stage of my career?" There were a couple of "Mole Moment" on Sunday which I dutifully announced to my eight Post colleagues. Moss had the only long TD punt return of last season. I don't blame Randle-El for "taking a knee" quickly...as long as he is productive otherwise. He's a really small guy who knows what he brings to the table. Trying to be a tough guy in traffic isn't one of them. At least not anymore.

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State of Curiosity: Whatever happened to Patrick Ramsey, our former strong-armed quarterback of the future?

washingtonpost.com: Patrick Ramsey, Tennessee Titans (NFL.com)

Tom Boswell: Good question. Here's info.

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Frederick, Md.: Tom,

In all of the considerations by the front office concerning Adam Dunn, do they consider the sheer entertainment value of A.D. and his tremendous homeruns? He has also has been on base more than Ichiro and consistently takes the pitcher deep in the count. Is there any chance of re-doing his contract for more years. I think the team should pay more now rather than risk losing him later. Would he even consider it? What more could the Nats want?

Tom Boswell: The guy is a joy. He's hitting more 30 points above his career average. He may have his best RBI year. He's played everywhere they asked him on defense. He made a diving stop to his right last night (!!!). I never thought I'd see it. Then he made a good play to his left. He was even "miked up" and funny.

Late in the season, it looks like he's late on the high fastball and some people are figuring it out. He may need to go to a lighter "September bat." Reggie Jackson used to do that. reggie once said to me that while people thought he had a big ego, it wasn't so big that "I don't know when I need a lighter bat." Then Reggie talked about how George Scott (the old Bosox 1st baseman who said his necklace was made out of "second basemen's teeth" ) had refused to get a lighter bat late in his career and had, in essence, cut his own career short out of slugger vanity.

Too many good questions this week. Really appreciate it. Gotta get out of here. See you next week.

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Mayaguez, Puerto Rico: I'm a native from the D.C. area now living in Puerto Rico. Winter League beisbol is hanging on by a thread here. The games are still great, tickets cost about $5 and beers are about a buck, yet the sport is dying slowly here. The big clubs prevent the stars from playing, and therefore the fans don't show. Basketball, indoor volleyball and soccer are growing. It's sad because there is so much baseball history here.

Tom Boswell: Just saw this. Mayaguez, I'm truly sorry to hear it. I have wonderful memories of winter ball in Puerto Rico. There was one American manager (named Edwards, I think) who showed up at the ballpark in the same stylish clothes he'd worn to go gambling the night before on the Condado strip. Or maybe he just never went to bed.

Long ago, I remember doing a Post series on winter ball in Puerto Rico; Danny Driessen (Reds OF), Roric Harrison (O's reliever) and I were driving on the road to Mayaguez when a flash flood hit. Just a wash-out driving rain, like an explosion from the sky. We thought we were all going to be washed off the road, drown, etc. When we survived, Harrison said, "Welcome to winer ball."

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