Breaking down the Redskins-Cowboys game and latest NFL news

Cindy Boren
Washington Post NFL Editor
Monday, November 23, 2009; 11:00 AM

Post NFL Editor Cindy Boren takes your questions about the Redskins-Cowboys game and discusses results from around the league.

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Cindy Boren: Good morning! What's on your mind after yesterday's loss in Dallas? Tough injuries yesterday....We'll get Jim Zorn's update on Ladell Betts's knee injury and other stuff. Sources are saying that Betts has a torn ACL and MCL. Thanks for joining me...let's go.


Anonymous: What is the status of Chad Rhinehart and the offense line???

Cindy Boren: Chad Rinehart has a broken fibula. We'll know more when Jim Zorn meets with the media at 12:25, but that has to be the end for him this year. Edwin Williams, come on down.


Wichita Falls, Tex.: The last stanza of Tennyson's "Ulysses" sums it up:

"Though much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are--

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."

We're no longer hoping for the best from a bunch of mercenary losers. Now we're cheering for a team of valiant, wounded warriors. Go, 'Skins.

Cindy Boren: Thanks for the literary interlude. Usually, I get limericks up here, not that I'm complaining. I'm not sure I'd find much to poem-ize about this season; glad you did it for me.


West Palm Beach, Fla.: Really, how safe is Zorn's job through next season at this point?

Cindy Boren: I don't know anyone who thinks Jim Zorn's job is safe after about 7:30 p.m. EST on Jan. 3. A winning streak might have changed that, but the winning streak went poof.


Long-Time Sufferer, First-Time Revolutionary: In an ideal world, would Atlanta's overhaul of their organization post-Bobby Petrino serve as the ideal model for what should happen to the Skins? Hire GM out of a great organization (Dimitroff from the Patriots) who then makes all coaching and personnel decisions. Please don't say this isn't the time to talk about such things yet; Dimitroff was hired by the Falcons on January 13th of that year. A new structure could be in place in less than 2 months. Thanks, Cindy!

Cindy Boren: I like the way you think...If I owned the team, I'd determine which football mind I want to bring in and proceed to negotiate with him. About mid-January, I'd make it official. Then, I'd go away for 10 months and let him determine which players to keep, jettison and acquire. "Surprise me," I'd say to him. Is it time to blow up the team? That would be his call. Fire and hire a coach? That would be his call. I would see the world, produce a movie...think about anything but football (except for writing checks whenever the boy genius I'd hired demanded it). But that's me and that ain't the real world.


Cleveland Park, DC: Cindy, can you explain the decision process behind kicking a field goal on 3rd down with :15 seconds left in the first half? Is it that the Skins really have that little faith in Campbell? In the wide-outs? It seems to me that a 3-6 team on the road with a kicker that has been iced for about 6 minutes by referee discussions could benefit from running one play with a couple deep end-zone routes and a couple sideline outs? At least get a couple more yards? I really just don't understand that decision.

Cindy Boren: I think they had supreme faith in the toe of Shaun Suisham. You have to admit that making that FG might have changed things. What they failed to see is what I and everyone else was tweeting: the kicker was iced by the refs. You have to rethink at that point. How do you not understand that? Beyond that, what are you trying to accomplish by kicking on third down? Can't you at least try to run the ball for a yard?


Herald,Cal: Well,this one can't be blamed on Jason...can you imagine having Cutler ?

Cindy Boren: That would have brought a whole new level of adventure to this season, I will say that. And...not all adventures are good.


San Francisco bay area: As disappointing as Washington's record is so far this season, I wonder if many people have noticed or appreciate the teams fine defense. Only one team in the NFC and four in the AFC have given up few points after ten games. Of course, the offense has been anemic, but please give the defense their credit.

Cindy Boren: The defense has played very well indeed, but I would also remind you that the Redskins played some teams with wretched offenses over the first seven weeks. Let's see if they can keep it going against these last six tough opponents.


Paris, France: Cyn,

Just thought you'd like this to make you feel more at home again.

The once was a team called the 'Skins

Whose offensive line depth always thins

They struggled all season

Looking for a reason

Desperately searching each week for wins.

So, question is - is it possible to replace an entire offense during the off-season?

Cindy Boren: Thanks for rhymin' and chimin' in, Paris. No, you can't replace the ENTIRE offense. You have to commit to a smart multiyear plan, even if next season is uncapped armageddon.


whenever the boy genius I'd hired : So you're saying it's not going to be a girl genius? Really. I know the NFL world is pretty much man-dominated. But we're not talking about blocking Albert Haynsworth; we're talking about signing him. Or releasing him. Wouldn't it be neat if somewhere there is a female genius at these things presenting herself?

Cindy Boren: GREAT point! How about Amy Trask in Oakland? There are plenty of others, but most of them have come into management because their families own the team.


Washington, D.C.: Can we talk about Rock for a second? He looked like a potenial #1 and the very least #2 RB. He ran hard, fought for extra yards and was a real threat in the pass game. Do you think this was a one game fluke or a sign of things to come?

Cindy Boren: It'd better be a sign of things to come, given the injuries. Who knows if Clinton Portis will play be cleared to play again this season? Ladell Betts is out and the Redskins may be looking for help...Marcus Mason's name came up yesterday. One thing is certain right now: this appears to be Cartwright's big chance.


Fort Bragg: Redskins defensive backs coach Jerry Gray said, "I think if you hold any team in the NFL to seven, you should win the game."

That's what happened; Dallas held the Redskins to seven (under seven, actually) and they won.

Cindy Boren: So true and so very painful for Skins fans, right?


Gilbert, Ariz.: This transplanted Skins fan wants to know why the special teams coach let Suisham stand on the filed for 7+ minutes why the final spot of the ball was worked out? Suisham lost his rhythm, his routine, his everything for that kick. Why do pro coaches make such pee-wee mistakes?

Cindy Boren: Maybe they didn't notice in the general confusion on the field? Maybe they were distracted by their giant faces on that big screen? ("Gosh, that's alot of burgundy; wish we'd gone with some white.")They have all those do you let your kicker get out-psyched like that?


Williamsburg, Va.: I feel like I'm in the minority here, but I don't think Jason Campbell or Jim Zorn are the problems. Our defense is solid. O-line, O-line, O-line...

Cindy Boren: Well, the biggest problem is the o-line. Campbell's playing and Zorn's coaching might be reduced to lesser problems if there were a solid, reliable line. It'd be nice to know that for sure.


Annandale, Va.: The situation with the offensive line would be comical, if not for the potential tragedy of Campbell having his career ended with a hit. I worry for him. And there's no further indictment of front office incompetence and dereliction than the O-line. So it's discouraging to me to hear fans putting it all on Jason. Am I missing something here? It was nice that Aikman came to Jason's defense. I think Aikman knows a thing or two about quarterbacking in the NFL.

Cindy Boren: Jason Campbell has been stunningly indestructible and resilient; remember the knee injury that turned out to be "merely" a dislocation? While I can't say I fear for him (any more than I fear for anyone who plays football), it'd be nice to see him get a chance behind a young, healthy line.


Brooklyn, N.Y.: Did someone make a deal with the Dark Lord to get the 'Skins into the playoffs last time, that we are now paying for?

Cindy Boren: You know the answer to that. This is a group of players that puts streaks together. It went on a run after Sean Taylor was murdered two years ago this week; it did the same thing in '05. It does not distinguish against opponents; it plays 'em all close. The collective psyche, now through two coaches, of these players is that they do what they need to do. Sometimes, that lifts them to heights; most of the time, it doesn't.


Raleigh, NC: What is the worse call, the Patriots going for it on 4th down last week or the Redskins not even attempting a shot at the endzone on 3rd and 8 from the 20 with 15 seconds left in the half?

Cindy Boren: I'm going to go with the Redskins' decision. There was statistical evidence for and against the hoodie-meister's decision. You can argue that one until the bars close; tough to argue with kicking on third down with 15 seconds left. You don't have to chuck it to the end zone; you don't have to risk disaster. Just run the ball.


"hold any team in the NFL to seven": I thought the thinking was you should win any game where you hold the opponent to 17? I know I've heard that before...

Cindy Boren: Ha! I think you imagined that, although I understand how that might have happened. Boy, do I.


Catatonic, SC: All that talk about the lunacy of having five running backs on the roster in the early days of this season is a little crazy now, huh? Portis and Betts gone, now there's Cartright and who else? I'll bet in a couple of weeks we're going to be looking all over Washington and NoVa to find the likes of Marcus Mason.

That said, only six games left!

Cindy Boren: Five was a ridiculous number at that time, you have to admit that. You simply have to; I command it! You may see Marcus Mason himself this very week. Can't believe there are only six games left. Season has flown by.


Cowboys: Please take this game, pretty please: Redskins: I think not.


Cindy Boren: That's a valid observation, although I think you might need a new keyboard.


Cindy Boren: I'm sorry I have to sign off a bit early. Jason Reid is sending updates for the Redskins Insider and I want to post them. Until next week, I'll see you on the blog and on Twitter. I hope you all have a splendid Thanksgiving!


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