Redskins Insider: Week 2 vs. the Rams and Team News

Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 18, 2009; 11:00 AM

Jason Reid, Washington Post staff writer and Redskins Insider blogger, was online Friday, Sep. 18 to discuss this weekend's home opener for the Redskins against the Rams, and takes all your questions about the team's roster and plans for the season.

A Transcript follows.

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Harrisonburg, Va.: What is the whole team's thinking on Jason as the quarterback? Just how many games do they plan to lose before a change is made?

Jason Reid: They're behind Jason. I know a lot of the fans think he's horrible. We'll see.


Redskins Fan in NYC: Jason,

Did you ever find out what happened on that third and long in Giants territory when it looked like Campbell checked down to the run and handed off to Betts, who only gained a few yards? Would be nice to know if that was Zorn's call or what Campbell's thought process was in checking to that play?


Jason Reid: Yep. Jason checked to the play because they saw a certain front that called for that check. From what a few players have told me, however, some key people weren't on the same page with what had been called.


Los Angeles: Jason, Whats up man. Missing a little In & Out or Roscoe's yet?

Anyways, to my Redskins question: How much do you think the 2nd year receiver duo will be involved this week. Just a gut feeling but I think that Zorn is almost going to force Campbell to get them involved over the next few weeks so they are comfortable once the tougher stretch of our schedule starts. Let me know your thoughts.

Jason Reid: I think they'll be involved more. Zorn won't admit it, but I just don't think he was willing to take a lot of deep shots, and expose Jason to hits, against a defensive line that's second to none in the game. They took a few shots but not many. I think the'll take more against the Rams. Nothing against the Rams, but their D line, obviously, isn't as good as the Giants' D line. The Redskins REALLY need to win this game.


Anonymous: After last week, I believe that Zorn is scared of his own shadow. I make this observation looking back on my 33 years of coaching high school football, all of them at the same school.

The mantra seems to be: We need to open up the entire playbook, but, I don't feel comfortable doing so.

Zorn is playing "not to lose" football. The only way he will know if his system works is if he tries it out on game day. Players will stand behind a coach who tries everything in the arsenal to win a game. Players will not support a coach who is always looking over his shoulder to see what is creeping up on him.

If Zorn brings out all of the artillery in the upcoming game and it is not good enough, he will still have the players on his side. Play conservatively and lose, the locker room is gone. Your take?

Jason Reid: They were playing quite possibly the best team in the NFC. I'll wait a few games before going this route.


Roanoke, Va.: Aside from pointing the finger at the offensive line or the quarterback it appears that this team does not play with passion or intensity which comes from confidence and coaching. Your thoughts?

Jason Reid: I don't know about that. People weren't saying that stuff when they were 6-2 last year. Can we let them play a few games before writing them off?


Los Angeles: Jason, love the blog and the chats. Keep it up! For a city whose coach preaches "staying medium," their fans certainly don't do the same.

Reading the blog, you'd think the fans are talking about the Lions, not an 8-8 team that improved in the offseason and showed some decent signs of life against one of the top few teams in the NFL. (And if we roll off a couple W's against STL and DET, the blog will be booking superbowl tickets).

My question: Are ALL NFL cities as hot and cold like Redskins fans, or are D.C. fans a specific breed of impatient?

Jason Reid: GREAT, GREAT take/question. I covered the Dodgers for a ling time, and I thought their fan base was really bad about this sort of thing. Redskins fans are No. 1 in that book for me. I understand that the owner and his top people are to blame for much of the fans' negativity. And on a lot of levels it is justified. But as for the players and coaches, give 'em a little time. I'm not saying Zorn is a great coach (we just don't know yet) and this is the best team in the league (it's not even close), but they could have a good year. You just don't know. Now, if they lose to the Rams to start 0-2 and struggle against the Lions, well, might outlook might quickly change. But could you guys at least give it three or four games? Geez.


Salem, Mass.: What did you think of Orakpo's first game? I know we didn't hear his name much, but he did have a good play where he rushed Eli, almost hit him, and Eli threw the pick to DHall. Do you think this is the week for where see his first sack?

Jason Reid: He didn't too much. I think this whole process of converting him from a defensive end to a strong-side linebacker will be tougher than people think. Blache said Orakpo was surprised by the speed of the game, which is the case with most rookies. He was credited with two tackles.


Denver: Jason--

Are the Redskins in serious trouble if they don't go 4-1 or 3-2 over their next five "cupcake" games with the difficulty of the schedule over the second half of the season?

Jason Reid: Yes, my friend. Yes.


Louisiana: What's up with the conservative game planning? Why not air it out-everyone's gone anyway if we don't make the playoffs!

Jason Reid: True. But your quarterback might have been gone for the season in the opener if Zorn did that against the Giants' dominant pass rush.


Sterling, Va.: JasonDo you have a break-down on last weeks rushing plays? It seemed to me that almost every run was to the left side of the offensive line. I think overall the offensive play calling needs to be better. Your thoughts?

Jason Reid: Scouts say Stephon Heyer still is not a very good run blocker. They're going to roll with Samuels and Dockery on the left side as much as they can.


The Great Southwest: As a a freqent reader and occasional responder to your Redskins Insider blog, I wonder if you could give us your general overview of the demographic, psychological and medicinal state of all the others who do the same?

Jason Reid: Wow. Don't know if I'm even qualified to read this question, let alone respond. Let's just put it this way: They all seem to love em some Redskins.


"Can we give it 3 or 4 games?": You must be new to D.C. ...

Jason Reid: Born in Brooklyn, raised in Cali. Lovin' me some Northern Virginia, though (lol)


Washington, D.C.: Jason- I think its safe to say that it wouldn't matter who's quarterback for the Redskins. Their system is broken, and it starts with the front office and ownership. A series of one year fixes and free agents isn't how you build a team.

How many of the defensive line starters were drafted here? What about the offensive line?

Jason isn't the problem. Ramsey wasn't the problem. Look at all the QB's who had issues here. Its not the QB themselves.

Jason Reid: Ah! A thinking man. I'd like to argue with you my friend. But you make a lot of sense.


McLean, Va.: Jason,

I don't understand why a lot of fans are discounting the TD at the end of the game - i.e. saying "it wasn't as close as the score", etc., etc. Obviously the Giants didn't want to give up a touchdown there, but as we saw on Monday night, anything can happen late in the fourth quarter.

The Giants were trying to stop them and the 'Skins scored - it was a good sign and definitely not something that should be just disregarded in my opinion. What are your thoughts?

Jason Reid: Some people just want to be unhappy.


Alexandria, Va.: First Gibbs needed to "take the handcuffs" off Campbell.

Then Saunders did.

Now Zorn does.

Jason Campbell has completed 10 passes over 40 yards in his entire career.

For comparison's sake, McNabb, also playing in the West Coast Offense and without great receivers, completed 11 over 40 last year.

No matter the coach, no matter the scheme, no matter the playcalling, the results have always been the same.

Maybe it's the quarterback who is too conservative?

Jason Reid: Perhaps. Of course, did you see the Redskins' receivers last season?


Rockville, Md.: Whats good Jason?

You are the man. When La Canfora left it was like Brady stepping in for Bledsoe, for real.

My question is about Landry. He goes for the blow up tackle every time! I saw him all over the field last week missing tackles. Is he going to have a break out year that we all expected, or is it going to be another year of late hit calls and missed tackles?

Jason Reid: Be easy on my guy, La Canfora. He's a big-time TV star now. LaRon is my guy. He has all the talent to get it done. I think he will. Obviously, though, he's got to go out and do it.


Chesterfield, Va., 23832: Why is it that the head coach and the quarterback's job security are always in question, but there does not seem to be any accountability for poor decisions made by Redskins management?

Jason Reid: Another thinking man! It's Snyder's team and Cerrato is his guy. That's just the way it is.


Bend, Ore.: The best thing that could happen to Skins is a few lopsided wins these next few weeks. Run up a big score, and get guys like Portis and Haynesworth some rest in the second half.

This stretch of games will be key not only in terms of getting a few wins under their belt, but in keeping the team healthy and fresh for the murderer's row coming up.

Jason Reid: Agree. But there's no question here, right?


Williamsburg, Va.: Do you get the sense that if Campbell has an excellent season, that he will attempt to move to another team? Would the Redskins franchise him? On the other hand, if he has an average season, would the Redskins really let him go and start all over with no real options to replace him?

Jason Reid: Way too much to speculate on there. Let's just see if he makes it through the season as the starter.


New Orleans: Can you describe Zorn's overall philosophy to winning games?

Jason Reid: Score more points than the opponent.


Raleigh, N.C.: Assume that no one on the offensive line gets seriously injured this season. I believe that simply going through a whole NFL season with that line and lack of depth will result in a 8-8 or 9-7 season - and if they do make the playoffs, will have nothing in the tank.

Jason Reid: You're probably right.


Fayetteville, N.C.: What do you think of Zorn's play-calling last week? It seemed like he didn't take enough advantage of the Giant's banged up secondary. I think they could have thrown to Randle El and Cooley the whole game and moved the ball. Do you think Sherman Smith should start calling the plays? This would allow Zorn to focus on the rest of the game which would be easier for him, especially since he hadn't called plays or acted in a head coach capacity before last year.

Thanks for your time.

Jason Reid: I can't see Zorn turning over play-calling to anyone. He enjoyes it too much to do that. As for the Giants' secondary, banged up or not, those guys played great.


Manassas, Va.: Jason, Two things:

1. If we only rush 4 and Albert occupies 2 blockers that still leaves at least 3 blockers to occupy 3 d-lineman. I want to see some LB's trying to get to the QB.

2. Can someone tell Blache to have the corners press the wideouts, at least on third down? He has them playing about 10 yards off the line and we keep getting killed by slant routes. It's so frustrating watching the same thing over and over again.

Jason Reid: Okay.


Scaggsville, Md.: If the Redskins were forced by the Supreme Court to change their name, what new name would you like them to be called?

Jason Reid: No idea. I'm too busy trying to get ready for this next game.


Norfolk, Va.: For years tackling in the secondary has been a problem. Why?

Jason Reid: I don't know about that. At least not more than any other team.


Silver Springs, Md.: Who breaks out this week against the Rams? Does Malcolm Kelly see some more balls his way? Does Santana step up? Portis? I'm looking for someone with huge numbers against this terrible Rams D, who's it gunna be?

Jason Reid: I would say Moss and Kelly. They need to get those guys going as a tandem.


Louisville, Kent.: Mr. Mayor,

Now that Cowboys Stadium is up and running, how soon before we see Daniel Snyder bring the Redskins back to D.C. in a state of the art facility? You have to believe he's chomping at the bit to get something started.

Jason Reid: There are so many hurdles to making something like that happen. I wouldn't hold my breath.


Norfolk, Va.: Any comments on the name change? And can you explain that it doesnt make you less of a fan if you want a new less offensive name.

Jason Reid: No comments on the name change. But I agree with your statement.


Great Falls, Va.: I know Jason didn't play the best game, but he didn't play "jake delhomme bad". I think Jason will have a fine season and shut people up. This is his second year in Zorn's offense and look for him to get better each week. Last year we played even worse against the Giants opening day and we then went on to win 5 outta the next 6. Don't you think people just to get off of Jason's back about this game and look forward, not backwards?

Jason Reid: People have the right to feel the way they want to feel about the team, Zorn and Jason. All I'm saying is that it's just one game.


Can we let them play a few games?: Um, the Redskins have stunk since 1993. That's more than a few games.

Jason Reid: Well, can't argue with that (lol)


Gainesville, Va.: Jason,

I think Redskins fans are very unrealistic in their expectations. Aside from Cooley they don't have an All-Pro on offense. From my fantasy draft, only Cooley is top ten; Portis is No. 12 or 15; Moss out of the top 20. They don't have top-noptch skill players.

Jason Reid: Then they should give up.


Los Angeles: "Of course, did you see the Redskins' receivers last season?"

Ah, another excuse for Jason Campbell. Throwing the receivers under the bus. Old Man River Todd Collins made Reche Caldwell look like a stud.

And did you catch Giants linebacker Danny Clark saying he was surprised by how much the Redskins receivers were screaming at Campbell that they were open?

I'll say this for JC: He is very lucky he is a nice guy and has some loyal soldiers on the roster.

Jason Reid: Then I guess they should go back with Collins?


Boston: If Jason Campbell does not have a great year and has an average/below average year, where do we look for a quarterback next year? What QBs will be available via trade or free agency? Do we go through the draft?

Jason Reid: Too early to speculate on which way they would go.


Ellijay, Ga.: Jason, You keep telling us not to judge on just one game and to be patient. What you might not understand is that many of us have been patient for years as fans. We recognize the signs of 8-8 or 9-7 long before December rolls around. My question is: does Zorn have any confidence that Campbell can run the entire playbook against a playoff caliber team or not? Because if you are a team that hopes to compete in the playoffs, that might be somewhat of a critical factor.

My concern is that, sometime during the second quarter of the Giants game, Zorn had an "Oh My God" moment as he realized that he had hitched his wagon to the wrong quarterback.

Jason Reid: Well, I'm thinking 9-7 if everything breaks right. If fans are thinking much better than that, then, yeah, throw in the towel now. Maybe Jason isn't the right guy. I'm not saying he is. Who knows. But we'll see what happens this year.


Penn. Redskins Fan: J Reid - I know the fans are annoying with their knee jerk reactions around here. I don't care what the fans think but I do care what the players think.

Any hint from the players that they don't think Zorn is putting them in the position to be successful either through his playcalling, schemes or both??

Keep up the great work!!!

Jason Reid: They haven't turned on him. As far as whether he's a great coach, I can't tell after 17 games.


Baltimore: Sooo, we're set with Stephon Heyer at right tackle? I haven't heard about us looking at Runyan or Damien McIntosh. Heyer scares me to death at RT! After the DeAngelo Hall interception, watch our first down play where he literally just watches Tuck go by him and tackle Portis for a six-yard loss.

Jason Reid: You saw that too, huh?


Bristow, Va.: Nothing will change with the Redskins until Snyder hires a real VP of player personnel who hires a real GM who in turn hires a coach who hires his staff.

The Redskins will always be a 7-9 to 9-7 team the way they are put together currently.

The longer that Snyder owns the team the more I follow the Caps.

Jason Reid: Good for you.


Bethesda, Md.: Best match-up of the game? Big Al vs Jason Brown, right? You got your popcorn ready?

Jason Reid: Absolutely!


Mt. Rainier, Md.: We need to dump Campbell. How anyone could like or trust a man with the name of Jason is beyond me (joking, of course)...

Jason Reid: Funny!


Washington, D.C.: People who think Jason Campbell is terrible are out of their minds. He's not terrible. However, he's not particularly good either and has shown little improvement in four years, which is almost worse than being terrible. At least you get rid of terrible.

Jason Reid: Very measured, thoughful take. You could be right on the money, my friend.


New York, N.Y.: I don't think Redskins fans are racing to judgement at all. As close as the score was against the Giants and as good a team as people seem to the Giants are - the Redskins played terrible. They looked tired, inept and not hungry for the win. The play calling was awful, the quarterback decision making was terrible, the defensive backs were not able to cover a mediocre receiving corp and the receivers were unable to exploit a banged up secondary. Year in and year out the Redskins have putting this same type of team on the field. It's not a matter of rushing to judgement it's a fan base recognizing what they've got.

Jason Reid: Judging from the comments, seems like most people are not as calm as you.


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