The OT: Redskins Postgame Live Chat, Eagles 27, Redskins 24

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The Redskins Writers
of the Washington Post
Sunday, November 29, 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 loss at division rival Philadelphia Sun., Nov. 29 to take all of your questions about the game, Coach Jim Zorn's job security, and what the Redskins can hope for from the rest of the season.

A transcript follows

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Tampa, Fla.: Great time for a chat... right after the game.

Played just good enough to lose on the last series two games in a row. Again the refs tank the game for their non-call on roughing the passer.

Who's the idiot calling the plays on the final series just before the end of the first half? Oh wait a minute didn't Zorny reserve the right to call the plays in the two-minute drill?

With the football being a stat driven sport, sacks was not one of the original stats, but it has become one of the most important on the defensive side of the ball. It would seem logical that they would atart tracking tackles for a loss. You read about it all the time in the narrative of the game bout not in the boxscore

Paul Tenorio: Another tough loss for the Redskins, who went on the road for another division game and fell on a late score in the fourth quarter once again.

What can you take away from this loss? Well, at this point in the season there has to be at least some satisfaction that this team is still able to compete despite the injuries up and down the roster as well as the fact that they are playing for pride right about now.

On the other hand, there is frustration that they don't finish these games out. If you think about it, if the Redskins pull out these last two games in the past two weeks, they've won three straight including two consecutive division opponents and are feeling confident and right in the playoff hunt. Instead, they are what we thought they were...that is a not-so-good team that will likely find themselves in position for a top-10 draft spot.

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Alexandria, Va.: Ok, let's face some facts here, while everybody loves to rip on the offense and laud the defense; this is the second week in a row that the defense has failed to hold a lead in the fourth quarter, when it really counts.

What good is a Top 5 ranked defense if they can't keep the other team off the board when the chips are down?

Paul Tenorio: I can't fault the defense for last week at Dallas, sorry just can't. You hold a high-scoring team to seven points on the road...to me, that's doing your job.

In Philly today it was a bit of a different story. The Redskins defense had played well in the second half and held an eight-point lead at one point, but there was a sense (at least to me) that the Eagles were very much in it and about to put something together. The big play down the sideline to Maclin sparked it.

Injuries have definitely played a role, though. Without Haynesworth collapsing the middle the Redskins pass rush isn't as dangerous and Washington has taken its hits in the secondary as well. Still, you hate to give up a late lead on the road in a very winnable game.

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SE, Washington, D.C.: It seems like some of the hits Campbell takes would be personal fouls if they were on a "star" quarterback. It also seems like the Eagles were holding Carter and Orakpo on pretty much every offensive play. Does Zorn need to work the refs more? Or is he such a lame duck that it wouldn't work?

Paul Tenorio: I don't think you can blame Zorn for the refs not calling penalties that may -- or may not -- be there. It ain't holding if they don't call it, it's just good blocking.

Trust me, there is a lot that doesn't get called on every play -- any defensive lineman will tell you that. The hit on Campbell was pretty vicious but I didn't immediately think "roughing the QB" as the play happened live.

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Durham, N.C.: What's the chance that any of our influential injured players come back this season?

Paul Tenorio: It decreases with every loss.

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San Diego, Calif.: A disappointing loss yes, but did we really expect anything less? As an optimist, I really hope we don't win another game this season, because with each loss, we inch closer to that No. 1 draft pick slot.

Paul Tenorio: Yea, and probably Clausen to be the QB of the future...behind the o-line of the present. Good luck.

I think a lot of the fans think of these losses as somewhat of a positive in that it may force the organization to blow up a front office and a team that has needed an overhaul for a while now. But you never know what this team is going to do. A lot of times, they go opposite of the obvious.

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Fairfax, Va.: Paul,

Again, the Skins played good ball for 55 minutes. Too bad the game is 60 minutes long.

Call me silly, but I'd keep Zorn and Jason around next year. I can see something happening with the way the team is playing.

Paul Tenorio: Yea, I don't think either of them will be around. To me, and I've said this a ton, Jason Campbell is a guy you can keep around as you build the rest of the roster. He's probably between the 12th - 15th best starting quarterback in the league right now. Period.

With him at QB the Redskins could focus on rebuilding elsewhere. Probably won't happen. As for Zorn. Um, no. Uh-uh. Just don't seem him sticking around.

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Fairfax, Va.: When is the Redskins offense going to march down the field and win a game late in the fourth quarter? Teams do it to us. When are we going to do it to them?

Paul Tenorio: It has to be one of the major frustration points of this offense over the past few seasons and probably the biggest legit knock on Jason Campbell.

It's tough, though, to drop back and pass down the field when the other team knows that's what you're going to do and you have an o-line that isn't exactly intimidating. That being said, you'd hope there would at least be a hint of faith that it was going to happen.

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Morgantown, W. Va.: Who is the starting quarterback, running back, and head coach starting next season?

Paul Tenorio: Ha, you can speculate all you want. If you wanted to go with the sexy rumors you hear everywhere it'd be something like Clausen, Portis, Shanahan. But you can pretty much do the whole [insert big name here], Portis, [insert big name here].

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Rockville, Md.: We're gaining in the draft! Passed the Bills today. No worse than seventh if the season ended today. Woohoo!

Paul Tenorio: It's come to this.

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Lance, Va.: Well, good week to you. Another good showing I thought by our third string team. Not gonna blame this on the defense or anything. But is it just me or can we not win for losing. All we've said is for our offense to put up 21 and defense would hold us. We do it and still get the loss. Tough game both sides the ball. I actually feel somewhat ok about this loss. Not a perfect game, but I am appreciating the heart and watching this team play right now.

Of course I hate the losses, but we are gonna have some depth come next season. So, where do you feel the game lied? Campbell's two picks didn't help, but I not honest if i try to put this loss on his shoulders. He also made some great plays.

Paul Tenorio: Yea, it was an up and down game for Campbell. Those two picks REALLY hurt, especially that second one, and I thought both were horrible decisions with the ball. Then he comes back in the third quarter and leads that really nice touchdown drive where he made several very strong plays.

I don't know where the blame lies on this one. At this point I think you just say that the Eagles were the better team and acknowledge that the Redskins were in the game and fighting until the final minute.

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Loyalville: Hold me.

Paul Tenorio: Ha.

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Burke, Va.: If there ever was a team in the position to play 'go for it' football, it is the Redskins. No playoffs to contend for. So why do I feel that the Redskins played 'not to lose' instead of 'play to win' these past two weeks against Dallas and Philly? I don't understand it.

The announcers on Fox were right when the Skins scored their last time - a FG - after the turnover by Philly when they said it looks like Washington is content with playing for the field goal. Geesh. And I don't know now who to blame for the play calling since it could be any one of three persons.

Paul Tenorio: Well, I dunno, you could argue either way. People in the press box were shouting for the Redskins to take a knee when they took over with 40-something odd seconds left in the first half and tried to drive the field to get more points despite holding a lead. The result: an interception and a Philly field goal, and then a Jason Campbell sack on the final play of the half.

The Redskins certainly weren't conservative there...

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Lance, Va.: I've enjoyed Haynesworth being in the lineup. He has definately been a force. I know the history that he has yet to complete a full season. Injury management or whatever. I find it pretty insane that he isn't available for 2 divisional games. As these games are pretty important for our season, it's a shame we couldn't "manage" him somewhat better. NFL network did a quick blurb on it and pretty much said same thing. Throw some tape on it.... divisional games we need the big man. Replacements did well enough but....come on 100mil and he can't play divisional opponents?

Paul Tenorio: Yea, Marshall Faulk said pretty much the same thing -- the one and only Dan Steinberg has it over at the D.C. Sports Bog if you want to check it out -- about Haynesworth needing to tape it up and play in these big games.

Still, if you're hurt, you're hurt...no matter how much money you make. Your body still can't go if it can't go, money doesn't change that.

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Baltimore: Paul, This is the second week in a row that Zorn played for the field goal instead of playing to win the game (Herm Edwards style). Also the skins were great on third down besides the six times they called a screen pass. Why does he continue to play like he has something to lose? Also can this offensive line block anyone?

Paul Tenorio: I think you kind of answer your own question there a bit. The Redskins play-calling is definitely impacted by the offensive line, thus the high number of screens that have been called and, I think, a lot of the decisions not to have Campbell dropping back and looking to the end zone from 25 yards out.

The thing is, the Redskins had an eight point lead and scored 24 today and usually that's been enough to win...just not today.

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Bethesda, Md.: How bad is the NFC East?

Paul Tenorio: It's not what it used to be, that's for sure. I don't know if the division gets a wildcard team this year, and you could make an argument for one of three teams to win the division -- Philly, NYG and Dallas -- and none have been impressive this year.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: We all appreciate Laron Landry going for the big hits, but his inability to finish on tackles has come back to bite the Redskins in the past few games (barring Dallas, he played great in that one). Do you see the Redskins benching him trying to send a message or at least trying to get him to form tackle and become a playmaker, or will they just let him run wild and miss three big hits for every one that he makes?

Paul Tenorio: I don't know if everybody appreciates it. It's actually kind of weird because late in the year last season Landry really started to look comfortable at free safety and part of it was his knack for the big hit. This year he has looked lost and dependent only on delivering the highlight-reel knockout blow instead of just playing solid football and striking fear in opposing quarterbacks to throw the ball deep. Actually, the Redskins have been burned deep a ton this season.

The fact is that Landry was a strong safety coming out and was converted to free safety. I believe that's where he'd be best, but Redskins coaches (and Landry) have kinda knocked down that assertion.

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Washington, D.C.: Playing six games a year against Osi Uminyora, Justin Tuck, Trent Cole, and Demarcus Ware (in division games), shouldn't the first step in winning those games be to have two bookend tackles??

Paul Tenorio: That happens to be my opinion...and I think it worked out pretty well for a decade or so with Samuels/Jansen.

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Lance, Va.: Any injury report? Sounds like Justin Tryon pretty serious. So besides running back, offensive line, and defensive line our secondary is pretty much short.

I thought Ganther played well today again. See him sticking around next year?

Paul Tenorio: No update yet on the injuries but the Redskins did take some more hits in the secondary and were down to their last three CBs late in the game.

Ganther provided a nice spark but it's not really anything people should be jumping out of their seats over. I still think Washington will go into the offseason looking for a legit change-of-pace back.

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Alexandria, Va.: Why are the Redskins playing better against the good teams than they did against the rotten ones?

Paul Tenorio: Maybe they're just getting better. For all that's been made about the play-calling situation, I think the offense has looked better starting after halftime in Atlanta. Whether that's Sherman Lewis' doing or Joe Bugel's halftime speech or whatever, it might have a lot to do with why the Redskins have looked better.

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Paul Tenorio: Sorry about that delay, got knocked off the internet...

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Lance, Va.: You posted my Haynesworth question, so in regards to that ... With the injuries this team has faced, what our your thoughts on the trainers etc? I have been reading a lot of criticism on the blogs, forums etc. I was pretty stoked getting through training camp etc with lack of injuries. But since then this team has been plagued.

In your opinion, are they freak accidents, or do you feel that blame could be laid to feet of our trainers, specialists etc with a lack of preparing our players. Injury wise, how do we stack up with the rest of the NFL? Seems like we got to be leading.

Paul Tenorio: Rick Maese took a look around the league to see where the Redskins stacked up and its pretty much par for the course. I think the Eagles had more players on injured reserve than the Redskins. They certainly have been unlucky with some of the injuries to key players, though.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you think that Zorn's conservativism the last couple of weeks has harmed the Redskins, especially when they've been away games? I can understand settling for a field goal if it's at home, but in an away game, shouldn't they try to get more than three when they're so close to the end zone? (I'm specifically thinking about the series after the Tryon interception.)

Paul Tenorio: Can't blame Zorn, he doesn't call the plays....

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Annapolis, Md.: Campbell isn't the problem, but he's certainly not the solution. A good QB would've found a way these last two weeks to run the two-minute drill and get his team in position to win.

There are tons of problems with the Redskins right now, and he's certainly one of them.

Paul Tenorio: Maybe he isn't Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but he has played behind a bad offensive line in a volatile franchise for his whole career and has hardly been given a chance to learn and grow in a system. He may be a slight problem, but I wouldn't put him high on the Redskins' list of worries.

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Fairfax, Va.: So, what positives can we take from the last two games? Gotta be some 'moral victory' stuff in there somewhere. And I'll take any type of 'victory' I can right now.

Paul Tenorio: I think Redskins fans are probably proud of the fact that this team has been fighting through these tough games and playing for pride even when they are out of the playoff picture.

And really, the Redskins have played better and you've actually seen some of the younger guys that might have to contribute -- Davis, Tryon, Thomas, Kelly, Orakpo and Jarmon -- grow more and more as the season goes on.

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Just Curious.: Just curious, what 2 to 5 QBs would you leave out to fit Campbell in?

1. Brees 2. Brady 3. Manning, P 4. Manning. E 5. Palmer 6. Big Ben 7. Flacco 8. Garrard 9. Shaubb 10. McNabb 11. Romo 12. Rivers 13. Favre 14. Rodgers 15. Ryan 16. Warner

I'm even leaving Hasselbeck, Cassell, Cutler, and Young who in my opinion are far better than Campbell.

Paul Tenorio: Garrard and maybe Eli. Maybe he fits in at 16, which is where he was ranked going into this game as a passer, right? By the way, how do you not have P. Manning ranked No. 1???? Also, you could argue that Rodgers behind this line would be a disaster, he took a ton of sacks in GB by holding the ball too long. With Skins' o-line that just wouldn't fly. He'd get killed.

Still, point taken. Campbell would be at the end of that list. Now, ask yourself this: Can Redskins get any of those guys next year? No. So why dump Campbell?

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Paul Tenorio: Thanks for joining me here again, pleasure as always to chat with you after the game. Keep checking in on Redskins Insider and on twitter with @RickMaese, @RedskinsInsider and @PaulTenorio to get updates on the injuries and with other notes, etc., from the game...

Thanks!

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