The OT: Redskins Postgame Live Chat

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

Welcome to "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 face off with the Buccaneers at FedEx Field on Sunday, Oct. 4 to take all of your questions about the game against the perennial cellar dwellars, Coach Jim Zorn, the team and how the season is shaping up. Submit your questions during the game or during the chat.

A transcript follows

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Warrenton, Va.: The Question on everyone's mind is this: can the team win with Jason Campbell? In the last game, the contrast between the Lions quarterback and the Redskins' says it all. We need a new quarterback, plain and simple!

Paul Tenorio: Alright, let's get this thing rolling.

First of all: The Redskins snuck out of here with a 16-13 win, and that's what they'll probably emphasize again. They won and a win is a win.

Boy, though, did they look bad doing it at times. Jason Campbell played maybe his worst game ever as a Redskin, throwing three interceptions, and for a while there I wasn't sure if Washington was going to be able to score A point let alone 16 points.

Not the best game on which to judge Campbell cause he made some bad decisions. Of course, there was that 59-yarder...


Westminster, Md.: At 2-2, I'll take it.

As much as I saw the team with no emotion ... I saw some emotion in that second half and maybe we can carry this through. Who knows. All I know is Zorn should be safe (no need to fire him in-season) and we'll play it game-by-game.

Paul Tenorio: 2-2 isn't the worst place to be sitting right now after four games, but I think the concern lies with the fact that they beat a very bad Tampa Bay team by just three and a very bad St. Louis team by just two.

There's no doubt this team still has some major issues, but I think they did come out with more energy in the second half and they were able to make the plays to win.

With the negatives there are positives, though. People wanted to see more turnovers, they got a couple. They wanted the offense to take some shots down the field, they got a long touchdown. And they got a win.


Detroit: Sure, a win is a win, but I wouldnt gloat. The Redskins barely beat one of the worst teams in the league -- while it was starting a rookie quarterback -- at home. Facts are facts, this team is not good and won't be contending for a while.

Paul Tenorio: I have to agree with this statement, as I said in the answer above. Beating Tampa Bay by three at home is not something to stick your chest out about.

Right now, though, the Redskins really just needed a win -- however they could get it. A loss sends this area into more of a panic, places even more pressure on the team and perhaps sends the season on a quick course for disaster.

I don't think this team is a contender, but right now they aren't thinking No. 1 draft pick either, and that's a good thing.


Paul Tenorio: Here's what you have to like from today's game:

The defense came up with some big plays, turning in an interception and the big forced fumble that sealed the win. Clinton Portis was running hard on those bad ankles and finished with 98 yards. The offense hit a big play, which won the game. The third down defense was much improved.

Here's the bad:

Hunter the Punter left the game. Long term, that hurts big time. Jason Campbell looked awful, throwing three interceptions and holding the ball too long at times. If Mike Nugent makes all of his field goals, the Redskins don't win this game. Still wasn't impressed by the right side of the offensive line.

What can you take away from it all? The Skins aren't a good team that is going to overwhelm any team they face. This season is one that likely will be filled with a ton of close games, probably lower-scoring.

Right now, where would you predict them to finish this season?


Washington, D.C.: Why can't we score more points? Wasn't Jim Zorn supposed to be some kind of an offensive big thing genius? I don't understand why we're struggling against a re-built Tampa Bay defense under a first-year head coach. What am I missing here?

Paul Tenorio: I don't think Zorn was ever considered an offensive genius. He came in to work with Campbell and bring in a West Coast offense, a system that many believe takes a year or two to fully implement and develop.

This offense just has a ton of deficiencies. Their offensive line is shaky, they lack a true No. 2 receiver, the running game isn't where it needs to be yet and the quarterback has not yet proven he can win a game for this team.


Clinton Portis: Four games, no touchdowns and nary a 100 yard performance to speak of. Dare I say that Clinton Portis is not long for the land of featured backs? Sure, 98 is awfully close to the century mark, but it's not there ... and neither is his red zone game.

What's the answer for Washington? And when should we legitimately start looking at some of the younger talent and think about re-building for the future?

Paul Tenorio: Well, they do have five running backs on this roster.

Portis was a game time decision and ran hard for the whole game. But yes, he lacks the burst that made him a marquee name in Denver and early on in Washington.

Right now, though, he's the best back on this roster and you can't complain about him when he lowers his shoulder and grinds out those six and seven yard runs on first down through traffic. Is he Adrian Peterson? No. Is he a guy you think is going to break it any time? No. But he's the best this team has right now, and until they draft someone who can provide that change of pace he's what you'll see consistently.


Derwood, Md.: While the offense was still shabby and Campbell didn't have a good game, I feel the defense played a lot better today. They put a good amount of pressure on the passing game and were able to stuff the run most of the time, unlike they did last week.

Paul Tenorio: Certainly the defense was much better today than they were against Detroit. They were more aggressive early, dialing up some blitzes, and for the most part they did a pretty good job of containing Josh Johnson and limiting his ability to really hurt the team with his scrambling ability.

Third down defense was much better -- albeit against one of the league's worst third down offenses -- and they forced some turnovers.

Yes, the defense was much better today and you kind of had to expect that after what they showed in Detroit and with a coach like Blache.


Rockville, Md.: I don't see any reason to believe they can do better than 1-9 in the last 10 games, given the opposition.

Paul Tenorio: There's one opinion. Any others?


Washington, D.C.: What I wouldn't give for another couple Chris Cooleys. What we need is solid performance, not break-out star studded plays.

Sure the 59 yard pass won it for us this time, but we can't count on that happening with any consistency.

Paul Tenorio: I always enjoy watching Cooley play, and I was thinking the same thing when he made one of those catches with the hard nosed YAC. He's fun to watch because you can tell he's working hard every time he's around the ball. Cooley right now is the team's most consistent offensive player.

Would it be nice to have a bunch of Cooley's on the team? Of course. He's a Pro Bowler.

Most important though is his relationship with Campbell and he continues to be the go-to safety option for a quarterback who likes to be able to get into a rhythm.


Anonymous: Paul, thanks for doing these chats. This team is painful to watch. How about some bootlegs, and more play action? Having asked these questions, we need to overhaul this offense, starting with the line. Valid?

Paul Tenorio: Yes, yes, yes. The offensive line is where it has to start. The Redskins have not drafted a young offensive lineman in the first two rounds of the draft in a long, long time. Maybe since Jansen?

The right side of the line was beaten twice on that first drive, the second of which led to the fumble and set up the Bucs touchdown. And while Chris Samuels is a solid, Pro Bowl left tackle he is not getting any younger. You saw what happened when Randy Thomas went down, relying on a guard who had zero snaps in an NFL regular season. If another guy goes down, that spells trouble.

Offensive line should be priority number one for the Redskins this offseason, and I think it will be a theme that rears its head throughout the year.


Derwood, Md.: Optimistically, I'd put them 7-9. 8-8 would be a godsend. They have some easy teams coming up they should be able to knock off coming up. That's their best hope for gaining momentum and confidence lies there.

Paul Tenorio: Another voice...


Springfield, Va.: Jason Campbell looked awful in the first half. He seemed to lose confidence after fumbling. When he ran the ball successfully in the second half, he seemed to gain confidence. Why don't the Redskins used more designed quarterback sneaks?

Paul Tenorio: The Redskins have called a few quarterback draws, but it's dangerous considering Campbell's lack of sliding ability and the team's depth behind him, with Todd Collins the only other QB on the active roster.

JC does a good job of recognizing when to run on his own, I believe he had a 13-yard run on third-and-11 or something like that today.

As I said earlier, though, today may have been his worst game as a Redskin in some time, if not ever. He just did not look sharp for long periods of the day.


Yikes!: So the most important question out of this game is - what happened to Hunter the Punter and how long will he be out?

Paul Tenorio: Groin strain. I haven't heard an update, but I am headed down to the locker room in three minutes and he will be one of the first people I speak with. Check back on Redskins Insider soon and in the paper tomorrow for an update.


Rockville, Md.: Wouldn't mind having a posse of Reed Doughtys, either.

Paul Tenorio: On a lot of days when I was out at Skins training camp or minicamp, I would look out on the field after practice/interviews were done and see Doughty still working with Steve Jackson out on the field. The work seems to have paid off. He's playing some of his best football ever right now, Blache said, and has worked his way into the starting lineup.

Turned in another solid performance today that should keep him there, too.


Germantown, Md.: I keep hoping all this early-season mess is because they are look-ahead game-planning for the divisional games that really count, also trying not to get hurt before then, and that when we play in the NFC East, it'll be lights out.

Am I crazy for thinking that?

Paul Tenorio: Yes.

They are not using these games as practice for their divisional games. What you see is what you get with this team right now. The good, the bad and the ugly. Can they get better in these games against bad opponents? Yes. But should you expect them to suddenly turn it on against very good teams like the Giants? Uh, no.


Olney, Md.: I think the Redskins are funny at this point. Clearly this is in the bottom 20 percent of the league, and people should set their expectations around that.

Tell me why you think the fans in the area think they're "one or two players away", when in fact we've been hearing that for 10 years and they're no better (and arguably worse) than they were 10 years ago.

Paul Tenorio: I think the constant mediocrity creates a feeling of being just a little bit away from getting this team up the next step. One player here or one player there. Of course, that hasn't happened in the last decade, so...


Paul Tenorio: Okay guys, I have to run down to the locker room and try to catch anyone left. Thanks for chatting. See you again next week.


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