Redskins Postgame and NFL Week 2

Cindy Boren
Washington Post NFL Editor
Monday, September 21, 2009; 11:30 AM

Post NFL Editor Cindy Boren was online Monday, Sep. 21 to take your questions about the Redskins home opener against the Rams, the latest league injuries and all the breaking news in the NFL.

Read more: Full Coverage of the NFL.

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A transcript follows.


Cindy Boren: Good morning...welcome. I tweeted yesterday that I felt like I was doing a "Really???!!!" segment with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler all day yesterday. It didn't get any better when I saw the second half of Cowboys-Gmen at the palace in Dallas. Can't decide which was more mind-boggling: the cage dancers (Really???!!! Does Jerry Jones know isn't 1968?) or the fact that he spent all that money on the joint and didn't buy a box of tissues (How'd that pick -- and I'm not talking about an interception -- look on the big $41 million screen? A pick, in seven-story HD? Really???!!!). But you're the ones with issues/concerns/rants, so let's put the match to this here bottle rocket.


Alexandria, Va.: OK, two games does not a season make, but would it be fair to reach the following conclusions?

1. Above-average defense.

2. Average offense.

3. Slightly-below average coaching.

Cindy Boren: Two games one-eighth of a season makes. I would tweak your list thusly:

1. Above-average, perhaps soon to be elite, defense.

2. Average offense that hasn't done much but hasn't killed the team, either.

3. Slightly-below average coaching.


Baltimore: Hi Cindy -

Thanks for doing these. Was Jim Zorn or Danny Smith asked yesterday about the timeout use in the 4th quarter? When watching on TV, you could see they decided to use the timeout but Zorn wanted to call it immediately rather than let an additional 15 seconds or so run off the clock. Luckily Danny jumped up and down to stop him.

We won so its really not a big bother but it was frustrating to see that the special teams coach had to jump in there for what should be a simple task.

Cindy Boren: That was indeed bizarre. There shouldn't be that much chaos and uncertainty among the coaches at that point, but you're dealing with a head coach in only his 18th regular-season game.


Vienna, Va.: Cindy, do you think the Redskins will bring Pete Kendall back ?

Cindy Boren: Jason Reid reported on that back in August and Kendall's phone had not rung. Of course, Randy Thomas wasn't out then, either. Will the team go with the offensive linemen on the roster or look outside for help? I imagine they will do the former, but don't you think they should do the latter?


Reston, Va.: Why should anyone be surprised about Jim Zorn's performance so far? He's never been an offensive coordinator much less a head coach. Can you name another head coach who got his on the job training in the NFL?

Cindy Boren: Exactly. When he got the job, I remember talking to Jason Reid and Jason La Canfora about how the hire required three patient years. Zorn is a smart guy, but learning to be an NFL coach was going to take time. And, of course, he bolted out to 6-2, which unrealistically raised the bar.


500 miles north of D.C.: Just re-read linebacker Henson's tweet/quote ... Maybe he was misquoted. Which "dim wits" did he mean?

(from the Post, yesterday)

"All you fake half hearted Skins fan can .. I won't go there but I dislike you very strongly, don't come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!!" he wrote, among many other jabs. "The question is who are you to say you know what's best for the team and you work 9 to 5 at Mcdonalds," he wrote later.

Cindy Boren: Commas can be pesky little things, can't they? I follow Robert Henson on twitter and that is indeed what he typed. Just goes to show you that you shouldn't tweet when you're angry. The keyboard is very small, you're mightily peeved and your thumbs are very large. Bad combo all around. (Also, never leave a voice message when you're drunk, but that's a topic for another day. Or perhaps Carolyn Hax.)

Henson seems like a nice guy, but it was rather baffling to see those tweets. Brian Mitchell then pretty much eviscerated the guy.


McLean, Va.: Do you have Robert Henson's email or phone number by any chance? We half-witted fans who work "real jobs" to pay his salary would like to sit him down to talk about thigs over a beer and have a "teachable" moment.

Cindy Boren: Well, he is on twitter and appears to read his tweets. I think we put this one in the category of rookie mistake (of the rather large variety) and move on.


Jim Zorn's Mom: Even I think my son stinks at coaching. Did you see when Danny Smith had to yell at Jim on the sidelines for having a total brain cramp?!

Cindy Boren: Boy, moms can be really harsh sometimes.


Baltimore: How do you feel about the boo birds yesterday? I have no issue with it. I believe fans at this level have every right to boo based on exuberant ticket prices and pay for NFL players. This is what players sign up for; the good and the bad.

Cindy Boren: How much of the booing was directly at the players/coaches and how much at the team's management? I know I was stunned at the unanimity of opinion on the pages of comments on James Grimaldi's ticket stories recently. I've never seen an investigative piece that so tapped into a tsunami of feeling and was wondering how things would go at FedEx if the team didn't come out with guns blazing. How do I feel about the boo birds? I think that's the only way they can express their displeasure with either the team or management in a way that will be noticed.


Midlothian, Va.: So, who's hold Vinny responsible for the lack on depth on the offensive line? You know it had to be a matter of time before one of these guys got hurt (especially Thomas, who I love, but face it: He's injury prone.)

Cindy Boren: There's no depth on the offensive line? Really???!!! We've written the story a few (cough, cough) times. ... Everyone knew that Samuels and Thomas were going to have to be managed this season (taking practices off, special treatments) in order to keep them on the field and that there wasn't much depth beyond them. (I remember a specific blog item by JReid on it, in fact.)


Newport News, Va.: Are the Redskins' front office beating the bushes for offensive linemen?

Cindy Boren: They don't grow on trees, you know. Maybe they think that this will be Rinehart's moment, his chance to step up from being inactive weekly to starting.


Virginia Beach, Va.: Ok, I went from a "Give Zorn a full three years before you throw him under the bus" to a "Zorn needs to go at the end of the season" person yesterday. I can't believe that Zorn never called the fade to Malcolm Kelley in the redzone, or that he called the option pass for Portis or the long roll out for Portis (I thought for sure that would be a quarterback keeper, planed roll out right ... and if it had been, Jason Campbell would have scored, because the Rams bit down on that play like a kid to chocolate).

However, I am on the opposite side on going for it on fourth down. Lots of folks are second guessing, but I was afraid that if we kicked the field goal, they would have the opportunity for a big return. Pinning them at the goal line would give them little room to work if we didn't get the FD/TD, but would make it very hard for them to have room for a "killer play". Am I in the distinct minority who thought going for it was the right move, even only nursing a two point lead?

Cindy Boren: The option by Portis was mystifying, as were other calls down near the goal. I disagree about fourth down, though. I'd take the three and put it on the special teams/defense (the team's strong suit) to prevent the touchdown.


Garden City, N.Y.: Cindy,

While I'm more concerned about Zorn's game managing/play calling. I can't get over the fact that some no-name player on the Redskins tweeted some pretty nasty things about us fans. Will he be released for that?

Cindy Boren: I've read worse things by other players, but nothing quite so venomous toward fans. They won't release him for that, though.


Ocean City, Md.: Cindy, Let's play what if! What if the Rams were able to drive down and kick a game winning field goal. Does Zorn have a job today?

Cindy Boren: Oh, yay! What if! Zorn would have a job today, sure, but DC would resemble a city from the bad post-apocalyptic movie of your choosing. One-and-one is soooo much better than 0-2, especially with four cupc--, er, easy games up next. (Not gonna say cupcake ... nope.)


Another Brain Cramp: Zorn would be looking for a job today if the Rams had marched down the field into range to win with a field goal after the Redskins failed on 4th and less than one at the end of the game. You have to kick the field goal in that situation. And whatever happened to the QB sneak when a yard is needed?

Cindy Boren: You. Have. To. Kick. The. Field. Goal. And where was the QB sneak??? You have a big, strong QB. You have a bunch of big, strong tight ends to help out ... run it up the gut there.


Booberry: You bet your sweet (insert part of choice) here I was booing yesterday. Apart from the defense and Cooley, there was a heck of a lot worth booing - unenthusiastic offense, blown pass routes, fumble-fingered receivers, and play calling that went from bizarrely aggressive when it shouldn't have been to wildly timid when it didn't need to be. I'm a big fan of smashmouth football, but jeez, there needs to be at least some coherent offense to go with it.

Cindy Boren: The view behind the boo ... see, Mr. Henson?


Springfield, Va.: Yes, I gave up my season tickets this year. I'm a die-hard Redskin fan, but I'm not supporting a team that constantly seeks new ways to extract money from its fans and destroy the little ways we would try and enjoy the game. I'm older and I enjoyed the parking at Landover till the Redskins closed that road.

I can't take the bus - it takes too long between bathroom breaks. Plus, I used to enjoy the view from the end zone bars till they got rid of those views with more seats. With only one escalator on the far side for those with nose-bleed seats - my uncle's almost had heart attacks climbing to our seats. There were other bad experiences and I"m not even talking about the game. Todd Collins should have started last year after how he led us to the playoffs and he should be playing now. My feeling about Campbell is that he's good but not as good as Collins. This team and management will shake even the most fervent Redskin fan

Cindy Boren: Can't agree on Collins...


Washington, D.C.: If they can't score in the red zone, why not deploy the long snapper and have Campbell take the hike with his feet on the 21 yard line.

See, unlike his critics, I don't think that Zorn is drinking enough of his own kool aid.

Cindy Boren: Hmmmm. ... I kind of like this idea.


Baltimore: Cindy,

I said last week and all last year that Zorns playcalling is what is holding this team back on offense. Campbell has played better than 90 percent of the quarterbacks in the league thus far this year and people are still calling for his head. I was sitting in the end zone where Thomas dropped that td pass and the guy behind me goes "Collins would have put more touch on that."

Are you kidding me? The guy dropped the ball. My question, however, is simply when or will Zorn ever open up this offense and stop holding the players back? Two weeks in a row the offense looks better when JC is calling plays in a no huddle offense than when the genius is calling plays. Zorn almost pulled a Norv Turner yesterday, nearly causing his team to lose.

Cindy Boren: "Pulling a Norv" should definitely be in the modern dictionary ... Campbell has looked better in the no-huddle.


mediocrityVILLE, Ashburn, Va.: Percent chances that Snyder has talked with Shanahan in the last 24 hours???

Cindy Boren: Hmmm, is it the coaches, the players or the front office? Would simply bringing in a Super Bowl-winning coach be enough?


Glass Half Full: I always look at the bright side of things so I am sitting here trying to find something positive to say to myself. What I have come to realize is that Spagnola owned this offense last year with the Giants. It is not like he's a rookie against us, he has been with the Giants and Eagles the last decade so he knows everything there is to know about us. All that considered we moved the ball up and down the field except in the red zone. We didn't make the plays to get the TD's but our players were in position to score twice and we didn't finish the play. Aside from the penalty on the HB option i think Montgomery played great. So good you didn't hear his name come up and you almost forgot Thomas was out. On defense our front 7 are playing great. Fletcher, Carter, Haynesworth are playing lights out. Our secondary are leaving too many holes in coverage but that should be correctable. I think we will be fine in Detroit, going up against a rookie QB is different than a savy Bulger.

Cindy Boren: Your glass isn't just half full, it's overflowing. You're right that the Redskins should go to Detroit and roll. But is anybody, besides you, thinking that's going to happen?


Broom Closet at Redskins Park: Will I keep my job, if the Redskins miss the playoffs?

Cindy Boren: Get back to me in a month.


20036, Washington, D.C.: The Redskins need to do more to control the tailgaters. Too many are still taking multiple parking spaces and spilling out in to the lane. And to top it off the parking attendant yesterday directed us and others in to a full lot. They need to begin directing each and every car to a parking space and filling the lot from back to front.

Cindy Boren: Thanks!


Baltimore: Cindy,

I know la canfora was a closet ravens lover but is that the reason why the season ticket article didn't mention that asc ticket company has a similiar operation with the ravens. In fact i believe they used to be their official ticket partner. But even worse just check out this link 100 dollar seats going for 800! Steelers at Ravens Tickets From ASC Tickets (eBay)

Cindy Boren: Not true about La Canfora and thanks for your comment!


Washington, D.C.: I was at the game. I would like to comment on the boos.

The first three instances were absolutely reasonable. You don't throw HB Options from the 8 after running 4 times in the last 5 plays inside the 10. You don't drop passes.

However, the booing during the kneel down was crazy. But, I think there was more to it. It was, we just paid big bucks to get in, have zero parking options below $40, can't tailgate like before, and now, we are leaving without a touchdown. It was a visceral reaction, even though not logical.

Leaving the stadium, it was so quiet you would have thought we just left a memorial. It has been 3 times louder after LOSSES.

People were just stunned. In the end, Snyder no longer has a safety net. You can't treat fans like dirt, and the not put out a quality product.

Am I reading this wrong?

Cindy Boren: I have no idea if your interpretation is correct, but I think it's important to share it and see if others agree.


Fairfax, Va.: The Redskins are unsuccessful on offense because Zorn is changing his players to fit his system ... rather than tailoring his system to suit his players abilities best.


Cindy Boren: Zorn revised some plays last year... But I think you raise a fair point. Perhaps in live-game situations he reverts to what he's comfortable with, rather than what fits the players best.


Washington, D.C.: So who steps in for Thomas now? I would have thought Rinehart, but it looked like Montgomery came in to replace him. Will that be the case from here on out?

Cindy Boren: We'll fine out shortly who steps up. It may be Rinehart, although we were thinking Montgomery last night.


New: Has a rookie ever done what Crabtree is doing right now? What is his reasoning in thinking that he will actually get more money in next year's draft?

Cindy Boren: Well, the Niners are accusing the Jets of tampering (see Mark Maske's NFL news feed at The League), so who knows what is going on there? But it could be this year's juicy behind-the-scenes story.


Oakton, Va.: Jim Zorn called some plays that were risky, but if they worked we'd all be talking about how much of a genius he is.

Unfortunately, none of them are working!

A trick play in week one on your second offensive play?

A halfback option pass on third down (typically more effective on first or second down when the threat of a run is taken more seriously by a defense)?

Going for it on two fourth downs in the fourth quarter when converting either would not have much impact on you winning the game while a field goal tremendously increases your chances at a win? If it was fourth and one on the goal line, sure, but these were nowhere near the goal line.

Jim Zorn seems like a very intelligent person. And I usually can't stand people who nit pick on play calling. But this is pretty mind boggling stuff.

Cindy Boren: Thanks!


Westminster, Md.: The coaching staff knows the end zone is 10-yards deep, right? You're allowed to have receivers run routes in there.

Cindy Boren: Maybe that's it!


Motown: If the Zornado blows into Motor City and can't get it done, will Snyder pull the trigger?

Cindy Boren: My guess is no.


Mobile, Ala.: What about a redzone package of Marko Mitchell (who I'd like to see starting), Thomas, and Kelly with Cooley and Davis staying in to block and then going out in the flat?

Cindy Boren: I like that idea, too.


New Orleans: What is the impression that Dan Snyder has of his team and coach right now?

Cindy Boren: Daniel Snyder has not shared that with us.


Shirlington, Va.: So you draft Malcolm Kelly, Fred Davis, and Marko Mitchell to have big receivers in the red zone - why not put at least one of them on the field the four or five times we were in the red zone yesterday?

Cindy Boren: Now you guys are thinking.


Louisiana: Stats don't lie. Campbell simply doesn't take enough chances to put up points. Oh no?

Number of passes Jason Campbell has completed over 40 yards in his entire career. Ten. A decent quarterback averages 10 a season.

Number of games he has won by more than one score, not counting the Lions. One. That's incredible! Collins, a journeyman at best, did it four times in five games.

Consecutive years the Redskins have stunk in the red zone with JC under center. Three.

I know, I know, he's a great guy and reporters love him. But he is simply too conservative to put up points.

Cindy Boren: Still, Collins isn't the long-term answer. Trust me.


Bowie, Md.: The booing may have been directed towards the management/front office/whatever, but the people it affects when the home fans boo are the players and coaches (see Philadelphia). As a fan at a game, part of what you want to do is help the team win, and booing does not accomplish that, all it does is undermine players confidence.

I guarantee you the players and coaches already knew they were stinking it up before-hand, so why boo and exacerbate it?

Booing your own team should be reserved for situations where the team is just filled with unlikeable guys, or the team has clearly quit and is giving no effort. Booing your own guys just because they are stinking is just stupid, in my opinion.

Cindy Boren: I grew up rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals (baseball, not fubball) and as a kid I was taught not to boo the other team (even the Cubs, but that was before I met Wilbon). but I think there are years and years of frustration with ownership here. There's really nowhere else to make a visible impression on management.


Chester, Va.: I know who can step in for Randy Thomas: Neon Deion Sanders! It so simple and couple genereate some big bucks on jersey sales. See, I am as qualified as Snyder and Cerrato.

Cindy Boren: Funny. Very funny.


Houston: Girls in cages at the new Dallas stadium? Really?

Cindy Boren: It's more of an elevated platform, but Jerry "Poking Out My Eye Through My Nose" Jones likes "cage dancers" better. Ew.


Feeling Medium in D.C.: Um, "stay medium" seems to be a philosophy of Zorny ... staying medium doesn't work in the NFL. Maybe Div II or Div III Football, but the winning teams play you know what to the wall, excuse me.

For instance, Zorny went no huddle early in the first half, then utilized the "huddle" after getting the ball back with under four minutes in the first half ... staying medium! Words to inspire and live by!

Cindy Boren: At 6-2 when everybody was doing crazy, stay medium was a smart mantra, but that was sooo then.


Los Angeles: When are the writers at the Post and the fans open up their eyes and realize it's the quarterback who is too conservative?

It's the same problem every year with JC under center. Doesn't matter who the coach is or what plays they're calling. The guy is simply too afraid to throw a pick.

Cindy Boren: But the QB isn't calling all the plays.


Ballston, Va.: Redskins fans like Cowboy fans need to realzie that neither owner now cares about winning the Super Bowl! It's all about profits as an ego stroke! Or a new stadium as a monument to self! Winning and hoisting the Lombardi trophy is overrated to Danny and Jerry!

Danny doesn't care about winning football games or the fans!

Cindy Boren: But is that a smart, long-term business plan?


Houston: Am I the only person who seems to realize that we are 1-1 and lost to a good Giants team? I understand the frustration, but seriously, we have the same record as Dallas and Philadelphia (and Philly let New Orleans score 48 points yesterday!!)

It's only been 2 games and continuously calling for the heads of Zorn and Jason Campbell just doesn't seem like the greatest way to get production out of them. I am so frustrated with the field goals, but hey - the G-Men have the same red zone problem - cannot seem to get the ball in the end zone, so it's not like we're the Lions!

And thank you for the cage dancer observation - I thought the same thing - stay classy, Jerry Jones b/c as a women, I know that my game day experience can be enhanced with some half naked women dancing and in the way of my view of the field.

Cindy Boren: Nope, Houston, you are not the only one. The Redskins are 1-1. Sure, yesterday was ugly, but let's see what happen in Detroit and against Tampa Bay before we go too nuts.


New York, N.Y.: Cindy - Judging from the preseason and the first two games, I get the sense that DeAngelo Hall is totally overrated. Yes he had a pick, but that was because of Landry.

Maybe the reason Atlanta and Oakland let him go was because of his play. Thoughts?

Cindy Boren: Everyone knew the story of DeAngelo Hall ... he sometimes makes great plays and sometimes gives them up. He seems to be a little more noticable at both than a lot of players.


You've gotta have heart: If the Lions have anything resembling heart, they've got to be priming themselves for this week's game, thinking they have a real chance to finally win.

Do the Redskins have sufficient heart to keep that from happening?

Cindy Boren: This game concerns me, more because of placement on the schedule and the Redskins' mindset, than any of the other bakery items upcoming. This might be a tricky one for the Redskins.


Bowie, Md.: "but I think there are years and years of frustration with ownership here. There's really nowhere else to make a visible impression on management. "

You think Snyder cares? He's been criticized constantly throughout his tenure, it hasn't changed the way he's done things. The only thing that might get him to change is if people stop spending their cash on the team. Booing affects the guys on the field, not the guy in the owners box.

Cindy Boren: Thanks.


"why no love for Collins", Mass.: cindy, What is wrong with Collins in your opinion..? When he did start for the Redskins 19 months ago he was named NFL player of the month and his QB rating was greater than Brady.

He beat the Giants at the Meadowlands in a must win for both teams (same Gints team that won the Super Bowl) where he threw for twice the yardage as Eli. He went 4-0 W-L and probably would have won the Seattle playoff game if not for a rookie Heyer having to start his first game on the offensive line, allowing Patrick Kearney to break a sack record.

Cindy Boren: I like Collins. I enjoyed Toddball. I don't see him as a viable, 16-game QB.


Cindy Boren: Eke, it's time to run. Zorn's presser just ended and there's information to blog/tweet/shout from the fifth floor. Have a good week; see you up here Monday and on the blog and twitter until then.


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