Redskins Insider: Season Opener and Team News

The Washington Redskins lose to Jacksonville in their final preseason game, 24-17.

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Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 11, 2009; 11:00 AM

Jason Reid, Washington Post staff writer and Redskins Insider blogger, will be online Friday, Sep. 11 at 11 a.m. to discuss Sunday's NFL season opener for the Redskins in New York against the Giants, and takes all your questions about the team's roster and plans for the season.

A Transcript follows.

Redskins Insider Blog

Complete Redskins coverage from The Washington Post.

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Portland, Ore.: Jason, thank you for your time. A lot of attention is given to Albert Haynesworth, but what is overlooked of the inconsistency of our backfield. DeAngelo Hall does create turnovers and is consistently healthy, as opposed to his previously departed counterpart. My question is, is D. Hall really what he's worth? As a fan, I am thankful Terrell Owens and Plaxico Burress are not in the division anymore because Randy Moss owned D. Hall in a PRESEASON game. Never a good sign.

Jason Reid: Great question. The Redskins gave Hall a lot of money to replace Shawn Springs as their No. 1 corner. As you noted, Hall will make big plays -- but he gives up big plays as well. He's rolled that way his whole career, so I don't expect things to change now. I agree it's good for the Redskins they no longer have to contend with T.O. and Plax. Say what you will about Springs, but he handled those guys about as well as any big corner in the league. It's true Moss torched Hall in the preseason, but Moss has torched everyone. The cat is the premier receiver of this era, in my humble opinion. The key for me is Carlos Rogers. For a long stretch last season, he was as good as any corner at press-man coverage. If that calf injury is truly behind him, as he told me it is, then he should be the anchor of the secondary. I know he has a problem with dropping would-be interceptions, but he can cover. There's no doubt about it. Now, if Rogers's calf continues to be a problem, I'd have real concerns about the ability of this secondary to cover effectively against the top teams on the schedule. We'll see how that calf holds up Sunday because I get the feeling the Giants will test Rogers early and often. Thanks for an insightful question. It's always good to start a chat that way.

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Rockville, Md.: Jason -

I am a torn Redskin fan. Realistically, the team concerns me. I don't see a playoff berth or even a winning record. However, each year there are a few teams that pop up and surprise the league. There is no reason that one of those teams cannot be the Redskins. What do you think?

Jason Reid: For the amount of money owner Daniel Snyder spent on Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall, you would think the Redskins were one or two players away from a Super Bowl berth. However, that does not appear to be the case. The Redskins have qualified for the postseason only three times in Snyder's 10 season at the helm, and that's just not a good percentage. That aside, I could see the Redskins reaching the playoffs this season if many things break right for them. For Jim Zorn's sake, they better make it.

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Los Angeles: I saw two independent references this week to how Malcolm Kelly and Marko Mitchell stay after practice every day with Jason Campbell to keep working.

My question is, what is Devin Thomas doing when this is happening? Is he totally unaware of the perception of him as "soft." And does he not hear Marko Michell's footsteps coming up behind him with 4.3 speed?

Tell us he's not Brandon Lloyd v2.0.

Jason Reid: Ha! The Brandon Lloyd 2.0 line is funny -- but a bit unfair at this point, too. I don't think Devin is a bad kid, so I wouldn't but his name anywhere in connection to that other receiver you mentioned. Devin just has to grow up a little, and many people in the organization have told me he now gets the message after seeing how Malcolm Kelly raced past him to become a starter. Devin has big-time speed and ability, but Malcolm is just more mature. Jason Campbell told me Devin is getting "it," but Malcolm is already there. Devin is going to get his chances, and I would be very surprised if Marko jumped ahead of him this season. Marko still has a lot to learn and Devin is beginning his second season in the offense.

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Austin, Texas: Compare to the other positions on the team, very little has been written about the team linebackers (except for Orakpo). How do they stack up in the NFC East?

Jason Reid: Good question. I get so wrapped up in focusing on things I forget about other things sometimes. I expect London Fletcher to have another solid season, but he slowed down late in 2008. He wasn't happy about the Pro Bowl snub and I don't expect him to make it this year, either. Rocky McIntosh also slowed down late last season, but the addition of Albert Haynesworth should take some of the load off of him and Fletcher. As far as where this unit will rank in the division, check back with me in about five weeks.

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Denton, Md.: Hey Jason,

How do you feel about the situation at kicker? In an NFC east game we'll need Suisham a couple of times. Is he improved at all?

Also, how do you feel about our chances with the Giants secondary, they're a little banged up and I like Zorn taking chances deep this preseason

Jason Reid: I'll feel great about him until he lines up for a potential 50-yarder to win a game with a playoff berth on the line (lol). Just kidding. I can't tell if he has improved based on his preseason performance. The Redskins stuck with him because he wasn't awful in the preseason and they were more familiar with him than Dave Rayner. Let's see what he does with his field-goal chances early in the season. Although Rayner is gone, Suisham still is competing to retain his job.

As for the Giants' secondary, Aaron Ross is banged up and Terrell Thomas could start at corner. Thomas is a Trojan, and we know how great those guys are (lol). I expect Zorn to test the Giants' secondary, as I expect the Giants to test Carlos Rogers. Don't be surprised if you see the Redskins roll out several four-wide formations with with Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly outside and Santana Moss in the slot.

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Hendon, Va.: Are we going to see Devin Thomas on KR or PR duties?

Jason Reid: Funny you should ask. I'm working on our new Insider feature, "Special Teams Friday with Lorenzo Alexander," and Lorenzo talks about just that. I expect to see Thomas back there at times with lead returner Rock Cartwright,

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Arlington, Va.: You've seen the offensive line through the preseason. You know their history. I think everyone expects them to start strong but as soon as one of them -- because of age or accumulated injuries -- starts to miss time, the whole thing goes downhill fast.

Any reason to think that's not true? That there is some backup who is ready to step up and replace on of the starters?

Jason Reid: You nailed the whole deal in your question. Internally, the Redskins are concerned about their line depth. If Chris Samuels's knee doesn't hold up, these guys could have huge problems. The Redskins are comfortable with their depth at guard but not at tackle. I think they're being a tad optimistic about their depth at guard, too.

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New York, N.Y.: Jason,

With all of the offensive line concerns, was there any thought during the preseason to switching Lorenzo Alexander back to o-line? Seems like there is a bigger need there than the defensive line these days.

Jason Reid: Nah. Lorenzo does too much stuff on special teams and defense to have him work full time on the O line as well. Also, he's a little undersized for more than spot duty there. I expect to see him there again, though, this season.

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Detroit: Joe Gibbs said you need to win two out of three areas of the game -- offense, defense, special teams. Against the Giants, I think our defense can hold their own against Eli and Jacobs. But our shaky offense and special teams are the keys to the game. If we can "win" in one of those two areas, we have a prayer.

Which one would you bet on? Our offense or our special teams?

Jason Reid: I'm not a betting man. I think the defense will be solid, and the offense might surprise some people (in a good way).

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Miami: If the Redskins go four-wide to test the Giants secondary, won't the Giants test the hell out of our offensive line? And test Jason Campbell's ability to run for his freakin' life? Would you really want to match up with the Giants defensive line like that?

Jason Reid: If you go four wide, presumably, the Giants would decide to cover those players. It's harder to blitz when you're spread out like that. I'm not saying they're going to go four wide every down. But I wouldnt be surprised if Zorn tried it a little. He wanted to do more of that last year but didn't have the horses. He feels he does this time around.

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Baltimore: The Redskins, like most teams, were pretty vanilla on offense in the preseason. A couple shots downfield, but nothing special. Will we see the Skins try some trickery this weekend? Antwaan Randle-El or Portis throwing? Devin on the reverse? This plodding offense can't try to dink-and-dunk it down the field against the Giants ... can they?

No one expects the Skins to win. Why not pull out all the stops and hope the defense rescues us if it goes bad?

Jason Reid: Well, you never show everything in the preseason. But they did take a couple of shots. I don't know about a bunch of trick stuff, but I think Zorn will take shots against the Giants. As long as the pass pro is decent, that is.

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WTFville, Va.: Even you saw Big Mike Williams looking like a turnstile against the Jaguars a week ago, which was his only real preseason action. In fact, this guy reminds me of Jansen 2.0. And we all know how that turned out. I'll concede Dockery as an interior upgrade, fine, but why is this team trying to advertise good vibes about an o-line that looks strikingly similar to last year and whose two best players -- Samuels and Thomas -- are already having knee issues? Hello, a little help here?

Jason Reid: I'm not sure if there's really a question in there. But for what it's worth, I think you make a lot of sense.

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Lake Worth, Fla.: Hello Jason,

Suppose the Redskins experience deja vu this season: Campbell and the offense do well when offensive line is healthy, Campbell and the offense struggle when offensive line is not healthy. Is there a reasonable chance that Snyder keeps Zorn and Campbell and helps them with a younger and deeper offensive line? Or does he definitely kick them to the curb?

Jason Reid: My guess would be the latter.

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Salisbury, Md.: Jason, what is your take on the article says that the Redskins were going to hire Mike Shanahan if they traded for Cutler? Don't you think it is bad timing for that article to come for Jason Campbell? Go Westbrook, Salisbury University!

Jason Reid: Obviously, the Shanahan stuff is out there and has been for some time. Had the Redskins lost in Week 16 to the Eagles last season, I think there's a good chance Snyder would have fired Zorn. I have nothing to back that up on the record, so it's just my gut based on some things I was told. As for the Cutler stuff, I don't know what would have happned had they acquired him. It would have been crazy to fire Zorn after only one 8-8 season as a rookie head coach. But crazy things happen around here every day.

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Orakpophobia, Texas: It's hard to admit the mancrush I have for No. 98, it is. That said, I have to know this: If you had to prognosticate for just a second on my boy's future, do you see him as an OLB this time next year or as an every down DE? All I'm saying is that the Giants defensive ends aren't much bigger, if at all, and their front four are ridiculous. Nothing against Daniels, but I think DEs need to be quicker, rather than just two extra defensive tackles on the outside.

Jason Reid: I could see him having his hand down full time in 2010 or 2011. The kid is a player. No doubt about it.

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Leesburg, VA: If we're going into an uncapped year in 2010, do you think the Redskins front office might take it upon themselves to dump a few mistake contracts/players and absorb the penalty when there's no contending cap involved? This isn't Danny's style--not at all, really -- but if they were inclined could they actually leverage the uncapped year to "clean house" a bit. I'm thinking particularly of Collins, Betts, and Randle El, but there are more I'm sure.

Jason Reid: I'm not going to get into the possibilities of an uncapped year right now. There's still way too much to play out for me to speculate on that with any amount of strong information. I might as well throw darts.

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Orlando Fla.: Jason,

Thank you for all the hard work.

Any updates on Jarmon? Is he going to be active on game days?

Also, with a bunch of kickers available (Bryant and Koutu) are the Redskins looking to try out anyone? Suisham is the best of the least.

Thanks!!

Jason Reid: Thanks for the kind words. Barring injuries, I don't expect him to be active often, but things change. As for kickers, Suisham has the job unless he flops.

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Rogers: Jason,

Thanks for taking my question. Is Rogers a "game time" decision or is he 100%?

Upset pick:

Redskins 17, Giants 13

Jason Reid: He told me he will be in the opening lineup. Of course, it's only Friday.

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Reston, Va.: Is there anything you can say to reassure us that Haynesworth is not Stubblefield part two?

Jason Reid: I don't think he will be. The guy has a lot of pride. But I don't have a crystal ball.

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Reston, Va.: Mr. Mayor,

Two questions:

1) Is Landry bordering on being considered a dissapointment? Considering where he was drafted, I just don't see the consistent play making out of him

2) Who will have more of an impact to this defense, Haynesworth or Orakpo?

Jason Reid: Landry is my guy and he's really a strong safety playing out of position. Having sad that, he needs to make more plays. As for the second question, I think they'll both really bring it.

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New fight song: I doubt you'll post this but here's my take on the Redskins fight song given recent Post stories:

Hail to Ticket Brokers! Highway Robbery! Lawyers on the Warpath! Fight for old Snydy!

Sue or scalp and gouge - we want a lot more! Fee'em, Charge'em, Fudge it! - Let the waitlist soar! Fight on, fight on 'til wallets are none Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Cash'ng! Cash'ng! Cash'ng!

Hail to Ticket Brokers! Highway Robbery! Lawyers on the Warpath! Fight for old Snydy!

Jason Reid: You obviously have a lot of time on your hands.

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Philadelphia, Penn.: Jason,

I don't get the constant critique of Snyder as an impatient owner with his head coaches. He inherited Norv so I understand that firing. He hired Marty but they split based over a dispute about player decisions, not coaching, as Snyder wanted him here.

Spurrier resigned, he wasn't fired, as many would like to believe and Snyder said he would have been back for another year if he didn't resign and Gibbs retired against Snyder's wishes.

Now, there is a lot of turnover in there for sure, but it's not like he's Al Davis. I don't think Zorn is under fire at all this year. What from Snyder's history gives the media the opinion that he is short fused with coaches?

Jason Reid: If you really believe all that, here's my question: What color is the sky in your world?

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Silver Spring, Md.: In your opinion, do the Redskins have a greater sense of urgency this year as opposed to the last couple years? Specifically, Campbell, Portis and Zorn? I mean how pumped are they? It seems like the team will be disassembled if they don't show well this year. At a minimum Campbell and Zorn are out?

Jason Reid: You're probably correct.

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Herndon, Va.: Reid> LaCanfora!

Most media outlets are predicting the end for Campbell and Zorn, should they miss the playoffs (which they probably will.) If that is the case, is this team ever going to exhibit an ounce of patience and not blow everything up every two years? Why isn't Vinny's head on the block?

Jason Reid: Those questions would be better for Daniel Snyder.

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Is this the year LaRon Landry becomes a top three safety?: Hi Jason,

I love elite safeties. A must in today's NFL. What are your thoughts about LaRon Landry, and is he ready to be in that top 3 behind Ed Reed and Polamalu? He can cover, he can hit, and he has great hands.

Jason Reid: Again, LaRon is my guy. He has all the talent needed to be one of the best in the business. It could happen this season.

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Haynesworth: If there is a direct inverse correlation between the Titans inability to create pressure last night to the Redskins d-line pressure...we are in for a great season.

Agree?

Jason Reid: A thinking person. I like it.

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Washington, D.C.: Who will be returning punts for the Redskins on Sunday?

Jason Reid: Mr. Antwaan Randle El. DeAngelo Hall could be in the mix, on a very limited basis, as well.

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Norfolk, Va.: Wow, this chat is a downer. Not only has everyone given up on the game this weekend, they've given up on the season.

Here's the positives:

(1) It's entirely possible that Samuels and crew stay healthy all season. Lots of linemen play into their 30s -- even after major surgery.

(2) at least one of the second-year receivers is ready to step up. That gives Campbell another weapon and takes some pressure off Moss.

(3) the defensive front four should FINALLY be able to generate pressure on their own. With our secondary, that could be a very very good thing.

(4) Jason Campbell is very efficient if not very spectacular. He makes few mistakes. That's what this offense needs -- long drives ending in points. And then the defense wins the games.

(5) the Giants are overrated! Eli will make mistakes. He has no receivers. Bottle up Jacobs and make Eli win it. Redskins win week one, and next week's chat will be full of Superbowl talk.

Don't give up on the team just because the owner is a idiot.

Jason Reid: I like you're thinking. It's never a good idea to panic/give up. I'm not good a looking into the future, I acknowledge that. But there are a lot of proud men in that locker room. I don't think they'll just give up. I mean, geez, they haven't even played a game yet.

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Near Gloucester Mass: If Haynesworth is a bust this season and has to sit on the bench most of the time ... Will the league allow Dan to stitch VisitSixFlags.Com on the back of his jersey?

Jason Reid: Very funny.

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Martha's Vineyard, Mass.: Do you think Dan Snyder sand-bagged the 2009 Redskins Offense (no major investment) in preparation for an uncapped 2010 and a possible new offensive-minded head coach, who may have recently left a mile-high team?

Jason Reid: I don't buy that. Of course, a lot of things happen around here that surprise me.

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Washington D.C.: Everyone knows Zorn and Campbell are on the hot seat. It's put up or shut up time. Do you sense any pressure on Vinny Cerrato as well? He's been here for a decade. He built this team. Is he on the hotseat?

Personally, I think he's just a useful idiot -- Danny's really making the decisions. And Danny doesn't believe Danny makes mistakes. So Vinny is safe.

Jason Reid: Wow. I don't even know where to start. I don't get the sense Vinny is on the hot seat. If things go awry, I don't expect to see Zorn or Campbell around the building next season. As far as Vinny, he's a survivor. But anything could happen, I suppose.

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Burke, Va.: Hi Jason,

If, forbid, both Jason Campbell and Todd Collins go down in a game, who ends up behind center?

Jason Reid: You (lol)! If either missed a lot of time with injuries, the Redskins would have to sign Woodson from the practice squad and some guys from off the street.

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Chicago=: Jason:

Thanks for doing these chats. Question: What is the deal with Chad Rinehart? Coach Bugel has said some positive things about him, but I've also read that he's not athletic enough and gets beaten too often.

From what you've seen, can he step in and become a starter or is he destined to be a career backup?

Jason Reid: Bugel says good things about most of those guys. People I trust in the organization told me he actually surprised them in the preseason. He's not a tackle, but it appears he could be effective as a guard. With Randy Thomas's knee situaiton, Rinehart will play. Let's see how he does.

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Somerville, Mass.: With Kelly as the No. 2, does Antwaan Randle-El finally becoming the weapon we all thought he would be, only out of the slot? That was more his role in Pittsburgh anyways, taking on linebackers and nickel corners.

Jason Reid: Right on the money. Gibbs wanted him to do that here as well, but it just didnt work out that way for a variety of reasons.

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Tampa, Fla.: Hi, Jason. Great work. I was actually a little surprised that Antonio Dixon not getting signed to the practice squad didn't make just a little news. He really seemed to have dominated when he was in the game. I know we are deep at DT, but he seemed to have some good potential. What say you?

Jason Reid: Things often look different to the staff on tape.

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Annapolis, Md.: Jason,

Good call on the two tight end sets. I see that and the Redskins employing the I-formation, teasing the run, with the back breaking into protection. This will draw the Giants' linebackers closer to the line and should open up the passing game against the young third- and fourth-string DBs.

What are the chances of the Redskins taking a couple deep shots early?

Thoughts?

Jason Reid: I'm counting on it.

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Los Angeles: Jason,

L.A. Redskins fan - one of many here. I was just checking the weather for the game on Sunday and it looks like there will be rain Fri, Sat and Sunday morning. If that weather pushes back a little bit and it rains during the game, do you see that being an advantage for the Redskins being that there was so much rain in their preseason preparation or a downfall for the Redskins defense based off of the Giants' running game? Thanks.

Jason Reid: I never know how to factor in the weather.

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Washington, D.C.: What's the over/under in terms of games before Jason Campbell is benched?

Jason Reid: That's not nice.

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Richmond, Va.: Jason, no one really expects the Redskins to win this weekend. The Giants are just a better team. Even if the Redskins benefit from some lucky bounces, blown coverages, timely turnovers -- the Giants will still outclass them in the end.

Tell me why I'm wrong.

Jason Reid: You could be correct. I tend to like the games to be played, however, before giving up. Remember how the Patriots were supposed to dominate the Giants in the Super Bowl and complete an undfeated season? How'd that turn out?

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Hampton, Va.: The Redskins have six "easy" games this season: Lions, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos, and the Rams. If they win those and go 3-3 in the NFC East, they're 9-7 and in the playoff hunt.

Isn't that the best case scenario? After all, they lost to the Rams, 49ers, and Bengals last year.

Jason Reid: I never look at anything as being "easy" when you're talking about violent collisions involving human beings. With few exceptions, I believe the Redskins are capable of beating a lot of teams and losing to a lot of teams.

To everyone on the chat: Just chill and see what happens. Based on the questions and comments, a lot of you are down on Snyder and Cerrato, and you're expecting another season to end without a playoff appearance. Obviously, that could happen. All I'm saying is you never know. It's not as if there's no talent on this team. If the Redskins stink, The Post will write about what went wrong. But we're not there yet. I'm getting ready to head toward the locker room, so I've got to end the session. Thanks for participating. Hopefully, we'll rap again soon. Later.

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