Redskins Insider: Week 4 vs. the Buccaneers and Team News

Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 2, 2009; 11:00 AM

Jason Reid, Washington Post staff writer and Redskins Insider blogger, was online Friday, Oct. 2 to discuss this weekend's Redskins game against the Buccaneers, and take all your questions about the team's roster and plans for the season.

A Transcript follows.

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Potomac, Md.: Jason,

Can you please tell me why you have such a hate for Marcus Mason? You reported all summer information about the kid that you retracted because you admitted that you had no clue and that was big of you but later you took another jab at the kid for no reason when they signed AA.

Do you know the kid? Have you had the chance to talk with him and interview him?

Jason Reid: Hate? No way. The Mayor is cool with Double M. In fact, he's one of the nicest guys on the team. I think a lot of people mistake my analysis for dislike or, in your word, hate. Mason does not help the Redskins because he does the same thing as Portis, Betts and Cartwright. He's a tackle-to-tackle guy, and the Redskins needed a change-of-pace back. He made the team because of the Redskins' concerns about Portis being out of shape and slow, and the fact that these guys need to start getting younger at a lot of positions. Mason being on the roster is indicative of the ongoing blunders of the front office. They are carrying five running backs on the 53-man roster, which is simply unheard of and downright ridiculous. They could not release Betts because of the cap hit they would take, and they still owe Portis a ton of guaranteed money. I like Mason and he definitely has some ability, but to commit a roster spot to a runner who does the same thing as three other guys you're carrying, well, that's the Redskins.


Westminster, Md.: What do you think of the Reed for Horton move?

I found myself saying last week multiple times that Reed made a good tackle and came out of nowhere. Never really heard his name in pass coverage either (which is a good sign). I like Horton but I think this is a great move to maybe jump-start the defense or at least the secondary.

Jason Reid: Horton and Doughty are good people and solid players. To be honest, though, I was wondering if a move would be made because Reed has been really good on teams and defense since he came back from last season's back problems. Last week, a couple of players told me something could happen there soon, and, obviously, they were right. It's not so much that Horton has played poorly, though he was among many players who did not perform their assignments well against the Lions. But Reed has been everywhere he is supposed to be in the scheme, and Greg Blache needs his most dependable guys out there now.


Washington, D.C.: There's been alot of chatter out there that Snyder loves the Redskins and "wants to win as bad as the fans". I guess I compare Snyder & Jerry Jones as they both have their hands in the pot of organizing their respective teams. However, Jerry speaks at length to media outlets & fans about plans and what his thoughts are on the team. I think Snyder gets alot of Haterade because he hides behind his PR folks and always issues a "no comment" when asked for an interview by you guys. You think Snyder would be liked more if the guy just came out and spoke to media and the fans? Ofcourse...suing season ticket holders doesn't help either!

Jason Reid: Very funny last line. I don't know if he would be more well like, but at least people would have an idea of what goes into his thought process. That way, at least, people wouldn't be left to wonder why he does the things he does, and maybe it inspires at little goodwill. Post columnist Sally Jenkins tried to reach out to Snyder for an excellent piece she did on the state of the team in Thursday's editions of the paper. Snyder declined. When Sally's column ran, many decision-makers here in Ashburn were upset. It is what it is.


Gray, Ga.: Jason,

Do you think the redskins need a new leader(coach)? By the way, this is from your brother in law!

Jason Reid: My brother-in-law in the house! What up, Pervis? Shouldn't you be at work? As for your question, I'm not among those ready to ruz Jim Zorn out of town. He's the same guy who waa 6-2 last season before the offensive line fell apart. Has Zorn made mistakes? Sure. Is he the best head coach in the NFL? No way. But he's been on the job less than two years. To me, the bigger problem is player personnel and Dan Snyder's refusal to get out of the way. He's owned the team for 10-plus seasons and they have been to the playoffs only three times, with two playoff victories. None of his coaches, even the legendary Joe Gibbs, have come anywhere close to duplicating the success Gibbs had in his first stint working with proven general managers. Thanks for the question. Now go to work. Later.


Sally's Column: Upset at what? $nyder for not being interviewed or Sally for telling the truth? If the later, you reap what you sow. Tough nuggies for Napoleon.

Jason Reid: Always good to chat with someone who "gets it."


Washington, D.C.: Is the team planning to address the egg on its face from the Post article last month regarding ticket office shenanigans? Any chance they'll reform the process to make it more transparent, so that waitlisters and current season ticket holders can be reassured that their loyalty and longevity actually improve their lot with the team? The process seems unnecessarily clouded at the moment.

Jason Reid: No idea. My colleagues who broke that story did a great job. I'm just trying to stay on top of this juggernaut I cover.


4-12ville: "When Sally's column ran, many decision-makers here in Ashburn were upset. It is what it is."

That's exactly what it is, Mr. Mayor...part of the ongoing, organization-wide problem. They're so overly concerned with how they're perceived.

Here's a thought...Owner hires a real GM, then said owner leaves all decision making to the GM, and voila, a team is built, it starts winning, and the owner gets the accolades he so desperately craves. Simple, huh?

Jason Reid: It's clear there are a lot of smart people on the chat today.


Washington, D.C.: Jason, love your columns. At what point does Zorn (and Campbell) start to spread the ball around on offense. I just think that too much attention is paid to the 'Big 3' (Portis, Moss, and Cooley). There is no way that Kelly, Thomas, Davis, Mitchell and now Alridge are going to contribute if the plays are not called specifically for them.

If the Zorn can make a conscious effor to get the ball into Portis or Moss's hands, then why can't he make a conscious effort to get the ball more to the players he drafted last year and this year with Marko Mitchell. What is the point in having offensive players, if you are not going to involve them in the offense?

Jason Reid: Thanks for the love. As for your question, they are trying to spread the ball around. The defense does take away things. And also remember that Kelly and Thomas still are learning. There are some routes Kelly is better at running and some routes Thomas does well.


Ocean City, Md.: Mayor, I'm far from a football coach but I have noticed something about the way Jason holds the football. He seems to grip the ball closer to the nose of the ball, more so than the average thrower. Does this contribute to his occasional fumbling? Does he leave more of the football exposed, making it easier for guys to strip it from him?

Hail to the Redskins!!


Jason Reid: I know he had fumbling problems in 2007, but he was a lot better last season with Zorn's help. As for holding the football, I'm not smart enough to comment on that one.


Charlottesville, Va.: Jason,

Can you answer if Zorn had a straight face in his press conference when he said "we're making progress" ... it the tone of the great Jim Mora PROGRESS! PROGRESS! This team went from the playoffs to a loss to the 0-19 Lions and is 3 and 8 in its last 11 games. Isn't it obvious regression is happening not progress?

Jason Reid: As everyone knows, I like Zorn. But he shouldn't have said that. He really shouldn't have.


Richmond, Va.: So Poris is out of shape? I'm shocked! He tells us he's ready, but the front office knows about this? Was this reported?

I guess being BFF with the owner means you don't have to practice. Portis is a joke.

Jason Reid: Well, he's definitely slow. Whether that's because of his sore ankles because of the bone spurs or being out of shape, I don't know. But several people have told me he's not in great shape.


HBO: How entertaining would a Redskins based HBO Hard Knocks series be next preseason? Dysfunctional iconic franchise, lots of jobs open, controversial owner ... what's not to love? It would be must see TV.

Jason Reid: Sounds like a top-10 winner to me.


Redskin Retaliation?: Based on some of the things I've read lately about Dan Snyder, he seems like a trite and petty person. Have you beat reporters felt any push back or been interfered with by the Redskins FO as punishment for being taken to task by Sally Jenkins column?

Jason Reid: Not as far as I can tell. Zack Bolno and his staff are top-notched people and extremely professional. As far as Snyder being a bully, well, I've heard things.


Bethesda, Md.: A previous poster asked -- "At what point does Zorn (and Campbell) start to spread the ball around on offense?'

The answer is never as long as Jason Campbell is under center. He simply doesn't see the field and locks in on Cooley and Moss way to much. If his first is covered, it's bad news for Skins fans. The whole league knows this.

And so did Gregg Williams who has a telling nickname for him. "Coach Killer".

Jason Reid: Campbell's completing like 67 percent of his passes. He's not the greatest quarterback in the world, but he's not this team's biggest porblem.


Ft., Lauderdale, Fla.: How do you reconcile Mike Wise's interview with George Michael yesterday about Snyder. Do you think he's so arrogant that he thinks his way is the only way or he really, truly doesn't get it?

People can gain humility through adversity but if he just doesn't get it, he's probably not going to get any wiser.

Jason Reid: I just think Snyder's doesn't get it. Of course, I could be wrong. Judge the record and decide yourself.


Bend, Ore: I'm somewhat shocked at the drop-off in the run game from last year to this year. I thought a lot of it was due to the injuries on the line in the second half of the season. But even before Randy Thomas went down, wasn't much of a run game this year.

With Heyer struggling, do you expect we may see Mike Williams soon? Any chances they might look at a Runyan or other O-lineman off the street?

Jason Reid: I don't think they're going to go with Mile Williams unless Samuels goes down with an injury. And with Samuels's knee being as bad as it is, that could happen soon.


Sterling, Va.: Jason,

You talk about your brother-in-law should be at work; you should be at 11 a.m. church service (smile)! Jusst bustin' your chops.

Listen, you do a great job with this post. My question centers around the red zone issues. It appears that Zorn is able to go from 20-to-20 but then he gets conservative and predictable inside the red zone. Many fans (and the media) have called for Zorn to 'open' up the office more and spread the ball around. Being a former quarterback, I would have expected more creativity in his plays and play calling to get the ball into the end zone. What have you seen in lately in practice that shows any kind of diversity in the red zone offense?

They say this is a copy cat league, if Zorn is struggling, why not look at film from his mentor Mike Holmgren and see what types of plays and formations he used in the red zone ... hope to see you Sunday morning (the Minister)

Jason Reid: Thanks for putting me on the spot with the man upstairs (lol). I do need to be in 11 a.m. service, no doubt about it. But I have to leave too early to get to FedEx to cover this great team. As for your question, Zorn has a lot of things working against him now. He should be held accountable for his play calling in the red zone, and he has made some mistakes. As we all know, we're all flawed. But he's called red-zone plays that would have resulted in touchdowns if guys had executed. Remember those two dropped touchdown passes against the Rams? On a personal note, I'll see you in church soon. Until then, Teneica and the kids well hold it down for me. Later.


Fairfax, Va.: Jason, fans don't have the benefit of reviewing aerial game film to determine who is open on a given pass play and whether Jason Campbell is able to identify and deliver the ball to the appropriate receiver.

Do you have access to that sort of film, and if so what is your assessment? If not, what is the team's assessment of how JC is reading defenses and distributing the ball? My hunch is that he fails to react to what the defense is giving him.

Jason Reid: I have seen some of the tape you're talking about. Let me put it this way: Jason does miss open receivers. But all quarterbacks do. Does he miss a higher percentage of receivers than other quarterbacks with similar experience, I don't know. I haven't studied it. Again, Jason isn't the best quarterback in the league. But he's not the worse, either.


Knoxville, Tenn.: Snyder a bully? You have heard things? I thought you were a reporter? So tell already.

Does anyone have any idea what goes thur Snyder's mind (besides the latest balance sheet)? His Redskins stink, and thanks to some baffling GM decisions, they will for a while

How does Vinnie still have a job? What does Snyder see in him?

Jason Reid: I have to save some stuff for the book (lol)


Over-under?: What's your bet?

1) Shanahan

2) Cower

3) Dungy

4) Other (not Zorn)

Jason Reid: I'm not a betting man. Also, and I've written this before, I will not engage in speculation about possible replacements for Zorn until/unless a coaching change is made. If you guys want that stuff, turn on sports-talk radio.


Tampa, Fla.: Hey, Jason.

What's the word on Chad's play last Sunday?

Jason Reid: Actually, "The Rhino" was okay. He made one big mistake that I know of.


Rodney Harrison vs. Tony Dungy: Harrison's comment actually opened my eyes on Jason Campbell. I tend to defend Campbell because I don't see him as the major problem, but even i don't see Campbell winning games on his own. (I don't see him losing them either.)

How much has Campbell been spared criticism? Even watching at home I see he throws some passes late. I'm not looking for him to try to beat double coverage, but he seem 1st read then bailout throw.

Jason Reid: Again, he's not the best quarterback in the game. And he's not the worst.


Ft., Lauderdale, Fla.: Mayor, do you have any sense that if/when things go worse (they've already gone bad) that Snyder will take a higher level view of the organization and/or bring in someone like a Holmgren to evaluate the overall football operation before the season is over?

Jason Reid: I really don't want to get into that type of speculation. But you could be on to something there.


The Key to Cerrato's Safety Deposit Box: What I wouldn't give to have the key. No doubt Cerrato has some pretty incriminating photos of Snyder in some unsavory positions or situations. Only way to explain Cerrato keeping his job

Jason Reid: Come on. Be nice. Let's keep the conversation on his record in player personnel. Okay?


Virginia Beach, Va.: Will this be Vinny's swan song? Even Snyder has to eventually realize that the man is over his head.

Jason Reid: Again, I'm not a betting man, but I would never bet on Snyder going against his guy again.


San Francisco: The Redskins have had five different full-time head coaches during Snyderrato, all having little success. But they keep getting fired while the GM stays. Does Vinny blackmail Snyder or something?

Jason Reid: I take it a lot of people don't think much of Cerrato. Let's not make it personnel. There's more than enough to talk about on his professional record.


Centreville, Va.: Jason, I'm not sure if you saw the Sunday night game last week between the Colts and Cardinals but there were come comments made by Rodnay Harrison and Coach Dungy regarding the Redskins. Harrison, as usual was way off base blaming Campbell for the Redskins demise but Coach Dungy hit the nail on the head when he talked about issues within the organization and the fact the Redskins always go after the high-priced free agents rather then drafting players who fit their system (whatever system that is).

My question to you is, given Dungy's respect around the league and his most recent involvement with Vick because of his respect and stature in the league, what do you think will happen at the end of the year when Snyder starts interviewing potential head coaches (Cowher, Shananhan, Billick, Gruden...etc) if Dungy says on national TV that the organization has issues, that does bode well for Snyder hiring a top-level Superbowl winning coach. Your thoughts?

Jason Reid: Again, guys, I'm not going to get into speculating about potential replacements. If something happens, however, I'll asjust.


Germantown, Md.: Who is Sherman Smith, and what does he do?

Jason Reid: Offensive coordinator. Helps Zorn with game planning. Had a big role in altering the team's blocking scheme, which has helped.


Hilton Head, S.C.: I agree with your assessment of Jason. I do think they could win with him. Would you say he is just below the top half of quarterbacks or in the bottom 10?

Jason Reid: Probably around there.


Rockville, Md.: Who will win a playoff game first, the Nats or the Redskins?

Jason Reid: Barry Svrluga, who used to be a baseball hack, said the Redskins.


San Diego: Hi Jason,

I am a long time Redskins fan since 1972. What Sally jenkins wrote is already known to a lot of people except to upper management and Mr. Snyder.

Player personnel decisions are horrible, just look at the draft choices and free agent signings!

Jason Reid: Don't know if there's a question here. But I like your thinking.


Vinny Is Not Good At His Job: A lot of bloggers continue to "blame" you, and Jasno, and the national media for pointing out that, well, the Redskins are below average, and have been for a decade, and the way they go about building a "team" is downright laughable.

Why is this? Are fans blinded by homerism? I just don't get the whole "shoot the messenger" that I see.

Jason Reid: Believe me, I don't want anyone to shoot the messenger. Fans have the right to believe whatever they want. It's okay with me.


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