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Redskins Insider: Previewing the Falcons game

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Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 6, 2009; 11:00 AM

Jason Reid, Washington Post staff writer and Redskins Insider blogger, discussed the Redskins and how they match up with the Falcons.

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washingtonpost.com: Jason will begin taking questions at 11:15 ET.

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Coral Springs, Fla. : Fred Davis looked good at times during the last game, of the three 2008 drafted receivers, do you think there is a strong chance that its Davis who emerges as the most prolific of the bunch?

Jason Reid: Good question.

First, sorry I was late. I had to help one of my partners, Rick Maese, on a great piece he's working on for Sunday. It'll be a great read -- just like everything my boy writes.

Anyway, back to Davis. He definitely has the tools to be a big-time, pass-catching tight end. He's a poor blocker for his position. I still believe Malcolm Kelly could be a productive receiver in this league, but not as he's being used in this offense right now. Kelly is not a great route runner; never has, probably never will be. He's the type of guy who makes plays because of his size and athleticism, and Coach Jim Zorn wants something else. Thomas has the speed and size. I just don't know about his maturity.

Let's look back on this in a couple of years. I wouldn't bet against Davis being the best of the bunch, though.

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Reston: Jason - the question I have is about playing time for the players. Do you think part of the reason the skins offense is doing so poorly is because the coaching staff refuses to bench veterans if they are under-performing? (See: Randle El, Punt Returner; Portis, RB) It seems only natural that people won't try as hard if they don't fear losing playing time.

It seems to me that benching under-performing veterans, if done wisely, would serve two purposes: give you a chance to evaluate younger talent in real situations AND light a fire under the bums of the benched veterans. Obviously too much of that might create issues, but if done correctly it should (in theory) help the offense.

Jason Reid: Zorn made it pretty clear to me this week he was moving away from Antwaan Randle El as the primary punt returner and then contradicted himself a few days later. As for Portis, they owe him so much money, and Zorn last year fought a losing battle with management regarding Portis. I think your right, in general, about the things that could happen after struggling veterans are benched. With the lack of depth and talent on this roster, however, I'm not sure the Redskins have many talented young guys who are capable of doing better than the veterans.

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Potomac, Md.: The 'Skins remaining schedule sure is tough! Aside from the Oakland game, is this week's game the "easiest" game left on the schedule? Granted the team has butchered the definition of easy so this question may no longer apply.

Jason Reid: I wouldn't classify the Oakland game as "easy" at all. When you lose as the Redskins have this season, I don't think any game should be viewed in advance as a victory. The Redskins have to travel across the country to face Oakland. I'm just not sure how motivated the players will be at that point. I don't think the Redskins will win again this season. Of course, I could be wrong.

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Roanoke, Va.: According to many close to the team, D. Hall was a polarizing teammate at Va. Tech (see the collapse of the '03 team). His ways continued in the NFL. Now he says, per The Washington Post story today, that he's grown up. I can't help but wonder, has he alienated some teammates with the Redskins?

washingtonpost.com: 'Misunderstood' Hall in midst of an overhaul

Jason Reid: I haven't heard that. Guys have told me he has been a good teammate. Really. Now, I've heard stories about when he was the Falcons and Raiders. But that was then.

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Hilton Head, S.C.: Why does it seem that we are so hesitant to give the younger players a larger role? We don't seem to have the philosophy of someone goes down then someone needs to step up. It seems they are afraid to give Marko a shot and even the other young receivers aren't thrown into the fire. Other successful teams have young guys step up.

Jason Reid: Because this coaching staff, believe it or not, still is trying to win. They see these young guys in practice each day. Obviously, they don't believe there's a lot there, if you know what I mean. As for Mitchell, he was great in the preseason and made the team. But it's a long road from making the team to being a big-time NFL receiver.

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Kent Island, Md.: Jason,

Do you think John Riggins "dark heart" comments will bring the team together?

washingtonpost.com: Riggins says Snyder is 'a bad guy'

Jason Reid: It's not about that. They're not very talented on offense. That's just the bottom line. As for Riggins, he's not going after the players. He went after Snyder. Why would you think those comments would bring the team together?

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NW, DC: Jason Campbell says it's easier to play on the road based on fan reactions. It was a stupid thing to say in my opinion, but I'm just amazed how much this team speaks of the media and fans as challenges. Isn't this team overly media/fan conscience?

AS a fan, it's upsetting that it appears they are so focused on what people think versus giving a great effort. A 100% effort would actually take care of those concerns. I like JC, but he's coming off very whiny. Does he not know his career is about to be relegated to career-backup at best if he does not step it up?

Jason Reid: I hear what you're saying. After the whole Cutler thing in the offseason, the failure to really address the offensive line since, well, a long time and all the offensive systems, I think he just feels like everyone is against him and he can't be successful here. But this team really does talk about the media and the fans a lot. Did the media call up to the coaches to try to get Sellers demoted? Does the media provide poor pass protection? Does the media drop touchdown passes? Hmmm ...

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American Corner, Md.: What position does the Redskins use with their first-round pick next year, offensive line or quarterback? And who are the top picks at each position?

Jason Reid: Way too early to tell what they'll do with their pick. There are too many unknown variables at this point. Too much unknown about the front-office and coaching structure after this season.

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Dreamland, USA: I really had a dream the other night that Thomas was going to light up the Falcons. He was going to get separation and Campbell was going to hit him repeatedly, a la Terrell Owens.

Realistically, I know this ain't happening. My question is, should I just go back to sleep?

Jason Reid: Sounds like a good idea to me.

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Clearwater, Fla.: Jason,

Of the starters on the Skins O Line right now how many - if any - do you think would be able to start anywhere else?

Jason Reid: On a good team? Casey and Dockery.

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Arlington, VA: Is Levi starting at LT?

Jason Reid: They're staying Heyer will start.

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Fairfax, Va.: Jason, love your work. I have a question in regards to the Clinton Portis article in yesterday's Washington Post. I'm not sure if you had a chance to read it but Clinton basically says the it's his fault that the offense is struggling and if he were "healthy" the team wouldn't be in the situation that it is in and that this is the worst season of his career. Do you really think that a "healthy" Clinton Portis is the end-all to the offense ineptitude of this offense? Even with a "healthy" Portis, the O-Line is terrible at best and the WRs (except Moss) still have not shown anything. Your thoughts?

washingtonpost.com: Portis reflects on his subpar start

Jason Reid: Nah. I don't buy that. I don't know if he really buys that, either, or was just talking. Perhaps things would have been a little different if he had been in great shape to start the season, but he wasn't. And this line always was a couple of injuries away from being horrible.

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Robert, Arlington, VA: Are there any signs that Dan Snyder is seriously considering hiring a GM to handle the player aquisition process? Also, do you think Vinny will be back next year?

Jason Reid: I can't predict what Snyder will do. I really don't know if Cerrato will return.

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New York, N.Y.: If there is to be a turnaround this season, it will have to come from a spark from one of our players. Who are your top 3 favorites with the leadership and ability to bring a season turning play? If you don't want to list favorites, then how about offense, defense or special teams?

Jason Reid: I don't see that as a possibility. They would need a major infusion of talent on offense to get this thing turned around.

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Washington: How on earth did reporters let Snyder get away with not answering the sign ban question? He doesn't answer it - ask it again. Everyone ask it. Put the man on the record. You need to start holding his feet to the fire on everything, even if you take it one issue at a time.

Jason Reid: I don't know. I wasn't there.

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Fort Lauderdale: I must say, I was a little worried when you said the Redskins might not win another game for the rest of the year and then followed it up with "Seriously." I unfortunately, now agree. Do you get that feeling from the players as well? Is their any positive vibe out there in Ashburn? Do you think Riggo went a little to far or were his comments something that needed to be heard? You talk straight. I like that.

Thanks

Jason Reid: Riggo said what he believes. I believe that. As for the players, they mostly say all the right stuff on the record. Privately, though, they acknowledge they know the reality of their situation.

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Washington, DC: Is there anything that the team can do now, with its current personnel, to improve its success for the remainder of the year?

Jason Reid: Pray. That's what I would do.

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Dodgeville, Wisc.: I know John Riggins is proud of his Redskins days and what those teams accomplished, but why do you suppose he believes his opinion on Dan Snyder is valid enough to be blasted to the world through ESPN? Is he an "It's all about me," type? Do you know? He doesn't seem to have any formal association with the Redskins anymore - so he's just another outsider blaming things on Snyder?

Jason Reid: A lot of the "insiders" blame it on Snyder, too. Riggins is entitled to his opinion.

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Centreville, Va.: Jason, since the Redskins really don't have a dynamic speed player other than Moss, is there any chance that they bring back Anthony Aldredge with his 4.2/4.3 speed, especially in the return game ala, DeSean Jackson (Philly).

Jason Reid: AA puts the ball on the ground way too much. The Redskins could have drafted DJ.

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Arlington, VA: You know the season is shot when hardly any of the questions submitted have anything to do with this Sundays game. When will this soap opera end and football begin? I want my Redskins football back!

Santa help!

Jason Reid: It won't end until major changes are made in this organization. That much seems obvious.

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Washington, DC: Jason, during the bye week, have you gotten a sense of how much improved Sherm Lewis and Jason Campbell's 'relationship' has developed? It would seem to me that this two week period would be good time for Sherm to endear himself to the offense since most players said they never meet him or even spoke to him. Can we expect better offensive output in the second half of the season?

Jason Reid: It's not about their relationship. Lewis shouldn't be calling plays without knowing the terminology and personnel. From what players have told me, the play-calling would have been a disaster against the Eagles if Lewis has not received a ton of help. This is just a crazy situation.

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Centreville, VA: Jason, if you look into your crystal ball, of the four QBs, Campbell, Collins, Brennan and Woodson, which one do you see sticking around for mini-camp next year or do you think the team will have all new QBs?

Jason Reid: I could see Campbell being here because he's a restricted free agent. Woodson could be here as well. But it's hard to say because we don't know what the new coach and, possibly, the new general manager will do.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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