The OT: Redskins Postgame Live Chat: Redskins 9, Rams 7

The Redskins Writers
of the Washington Post
Sunday, September 20, 2009; 4:00 PM

Welcome to the second edition of "The OT", the postgame Redskins chat with the Washington Post's Redskins Insiders on the scene at FedEx Field and around the league. Staff writer Paul Tenorio was online immediately after Washington's home opener against St. Louis on Sunday, Sep. 20 to take all of your questions about the game against the Rams, Coach Jim Zorn, the team and how the season is shaping up. Submit your questions during the game or during the chat.

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Philadelphia, Penn.: Can you say lucky! What an awful call by Jim Zorn down in the end zone ...

I guess my question is - where is the offense??

Paul Tenorio: Hey guys, I'm ready to get this chat started. And I'm sure you all have plenty to talk about -- a lot not to like about today's win. Even though it was a win.

Looking at today's game you just have to start by shaking your head at the Redskins red zone offense. Four times they drove deep into Rams' territory and never once did they come away with a touchdown. Three field goals and one stop on fourth down.

We were all shaking our heads at the decision to go for it as well, knowing a field goal would then be able to beat you. Risky, risky stuff. But it worked out in the end.


Heathsville, Va.: Why don't we just fire Zorn now? This season is lost; a fill-in coach can't do any worse. Phil Fulmer is available -- at least he's a football coach.

Paul Tenorio: Five questions in the chat out of seven have hinted at or straight up said that Zorn should get the ol' heave ho.

Certainly when you're the offensive guy and your team puts up 9 points against a bad Rams team you're going to face a ton of questions. The Redskins showed that they can move the ball efficiently, but they still really look lost when they get near the end zone.

I'm thinking that's what Zorn will address as soon as he gets up to the podium.


New York, N.Y.: Why can't the Redskins run the ball? Is the line that bad?

Paul Tenorio: Portis finished with 19 carries for 79 yards. It's not often the Redskins get away with wins when he's not going over 100 and when they do it's usually ugly like this one was.

The Redskins lost starting right guard Randy Thomas during the game to a triceps injury, and in past year's he's been a big part of that run game.

But run, pass, whatever it is on offense right now the Skins are struggling.


Gaithersburg, Md.: Are you serious? Zorn's play calling inside the 20 is horrible. No way should have this game been this close. What happened to play action pass, or just passing inside the 20?

Paul Tenorio: What stuck out to me was the Portis to Cooley pass attempt. Here you are trying to get into the end zone and the pass attempt is made by your starting running back?

Didn't like the call and don't know what exactly it showed as far as confidence in Campbell in that situation. Sellers did drop the one pass going in early, but yeah as we've said a couple times now the efficiency in the red zone is just plain bad.


Park City, Utah: What a horrible win!

Paul Tenorio: Zorn: "Well I think we're moving the's the scoring that's frustrating."

That was the opening to Zorn's press conference.

"But we're not going to stay here. That's the bottom line. ... It's my responsibility..."

It was ugly, but at the end of the day it was a win. And the Redskins need as many of these early wins as they can get. This team is very lucky they have the early schedule they do to try to figure things out because right now this team isn't scaring anyone.


Oregon: Again, the defensive line did it's job. Did the secondary do theirs? I, for one, do not think so.

Paul Tenorio: I tweeted this from @HyperSkins during the game, but there were times when the secondary looked shaky again.

Big hit from Carlos on that last drive, forced fumble by Horton and recovery from Rogers. So they made a few plays. But right now you can't feel great about how some of these guys have looked early in the season.

I do think this defense is going to be really good all season long. That final "drive" from St. Louis shows what they can do in big moments. Haynesworth, Orakpo came up big and that's what they were brought in to do.


Lovettsville, Va.: The offense looked very sharp in much of the game. Campbell moved well and made some great 3rd down plays. Can we put the lack of red zone production in this game down to being on the low end of the bell curve, or does this indicate something seriously wrong on offense?

In other words, maybe their inability to put it in the end zone was bad luck this time? Thanks.

Paul Tenorio: That's what Zorn's tone is right now. They moved the ball well and just couldn't finish. But bottom line is, you have to be able to score in this league.

I thought Campbell hit some nice passes, and Cooley was doing his thing early on. There weren't very many deep shots in the game, but they hit several mid-range plays. But that red zone inefficiency is going to outweigh that production.

Also just heard that Campbell sprained his ankle in the second quarter and played through it, obviously.


Charleston, S.C.: Okay going for it on 4th-and-1 while a field goal would make more sense ...fine Yet why not a quarterback sneak or something straight up the gut instead of a long developing run play?

Paul Tenorio: I agree. I understand the idea of going for it, trying to get it and if not pinning St. Louis at their own 4 with little time to drive...but a stretch run? I thought Portis up the gut or Campbell over center.


Saratoga Springs, N.Y.: Is there any precedent for firing a coach after a win? Nothing personal against Zorn, but he simply isn't the right person to be making play calls in the NFL. It's been pretty obvious over the last 18 games that he doesn't make good decisions.

Even with a lot of talent on the field, the Redskins aren't capable of making the playoffs with this guy.

Paul Tenorio: A lot, lot, lot of negative stuff coming in right now about Zorn and this team.

Don't forget this team is 1-1 and just two weeks into a 16-game season. They have time to grow, improve, make adjustments. And no doubt they have a lot to work on. But as much as last week's win felt worse than it looked, this one could've been a bigger win for Washington if just for some better finishing.

Are you very concerned if you're a Redskins fan? Heck yes. Reason to fire a coach? No, not right now.


Fort Benning, Ga.: Is it time to just play Orakpo at defensive end and have Blades and/or Chris Wilson at outside linebacker?

Paul Tenorio: I think Orakpo gets moved around a ton and he spends a good chunk of time with his hand down. The Redskins recognize his talent and they also know he's the best option at SLB right now. And they want him on the field often.

When you see him coming around the edge like that at the end of the game you really see what he can do when he's getting after the quarterback. And bottom line is, he was rushing from end when they needed him to. So I think he'll be fine in his current hybrid role.


Takoma Park, NW, Washington, D.C.: A win's a win. Yeah it was an ugly win and history almost repeated itself, but the Redskins eked out a victory. Still, though, there are many questions here. Are the Redskins just that bad? I don't want to believe that but I'm starting to have disturbing concerns.

Paul Tenorio: I don't think the Redskins are BAD. As I said, they moved the ball pretty well for parts of the game and actually did so through the air a ton. They're not BAD. But I don't really think they're good either. Does that make sense?

They won't beat many teams playing the way they did today. Finishing 47-percent on third downs is not good enough. Not getting into the end zone is not good enough.

They are going to have to prove they can score next week in Detroit, or else the pressure really jumps up a notch.


Washington, D.C.: After last week, I was skeptical of Campbell's playmaking ability. But after two dropped passes this week that would have given us touchdowns, I'm not so ready to throw him under the bus. I'd say that overall our offense lacks discipline, and that those drops, and Campbell's mistakes last week, actually reflect that.

Others have already said, beyond the lack of discipline, that Zorn made some horrible decisions. It seems like he doesn't know when to take risks and when to play it safe. If we lose to the Lions, is Zorn on the hot seat?

Paul Tenorio: I don't think Campbell played that horribly at all. He was 23-of-35 for 242 yards and he did have a couple that were dropped that could've been scores.

He takes a ton of heat when the offense doesn't work though, and that comes with the territory as a QB.

I think Zorn and everyone around this team feels like Zorn is always on the hot seat. You get the feeling that every single play is a continued audition to keep his job. And winning 9-7 doesn't help him.

Yes, they need to win at Detroit. Yes, they need to look better offensively. If they don't, Zorn's going to start hearing it even more.


Reston, Va.: Rate this game?


Paul Tenorio: Rate it? Um...well, it's better than a loss but probably about as ugly as a win can get.

You know it's bad when you're getting booed off the field by your own fans after almost every possession and at the half.


San Francisco: Absolutely atrocious. I mean is it Campbell or is Zorn? Something is not working and this so-called west coast offense simply does fit with every team. I watch other teams play and they make it look so easy. Play action, running, blitzing defenses, etc. ... Why is it the Redskins stink at all these?

Paul Tenorio: The offense was inefficient in the red zone, period. Don't think the Redskins are at the stage where they start bailing on the ideas of this offense.

Zorn talked in his presser about being proud of the way the offense moved the ball through the air on those long drives. Now it's just a matter of showing you can finish those drives...and that's a matter of better play calling and better execution.


Paul Tenorio: Okay guys, I'm going to head down to the locker room and help gather some quotes for tomorrow's paper.

Randy Thomas strained his triceps and they aren't sure how long he'll be out. We'll obviously look into that. Stay tuned on the site for the stories and columns.

And see you back here and on @HyperSkins next week.


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