The Redskins Writers
of the Washington Post
Sunday, December 13, 2009 7:00 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 win in Oakland Sun., Dec. 13 to take all of your questions about the game, Jason Campbell's resurgent play, and what the Redskins can hope for from the rest of the season.
A transcript follows
Complete Redskins Coverage from The Washington Post.
Anonymous: Vinny is staying, what's the chances Jason Campbell does as well?
Paul Tenorio: Well, the Redskins win on the road for the first time since November 2008, the defense comes up with eight sacks for the first time since 1990, the offense goes for 30-plus in back-to-back games for the first time since 2006...where to start first?
Let's start with what this improvement means for the future, because that's what is on my mind right now.
A few weeks ago I argued that the Redskins needed to completely blow things up and start over, and to an extent I think that's true. Some of the old guard needs to go, the offensive line needs to be rebuilt, etc. Yet as you see the offense function well -- and most importantly to me, as you see Campbell start to look more comfortable -- you can't help but wonder whether the Redskins need to give the West Coast offense and the staff (including Sherm Lewis) a Year Three. I don't know if that is the best solution, and I don't think it'll happen. Zorn is likely gone. But I think Campbell is doing enough to prove he should stay, or at least to prove he is an NFL-caliber starting quarterback. He was under a ton of pressure again today and still finished 16 of 28, with 222 yards and two touchdowns with no picks. Not too shabby.
Arlington, Va.: OK, a week ago we almost beet the undefeated Saints. Just now, we totally rout the Raiders. So how many of our replacements for injured players are starters next year? To me, it looks like we've already started rebuilding.
Paul Tenorio: I agree. This year has given a ton of younger players who had shown absolutely nothing a chance to prove they can play. To me, guys like Devin Thomas, Fred Davis and Quinton Ganther are making the most of those chances...
Which one ...: is the real LaRon Landry? The guy who looks like Roy Williams in coverage or the guy blowing people up behind the line of scrimmage?
Paul Tenorio: Look, Landry is obviously weak in coverage. it's just not his thing. I think he can improve, I think someone needs him to be a bit less aggressive because he so easily bites on double moves. But when you have him hanging around the line of scrimmage he is someone that can change games. He is a nasty, nasty strong safety.
Tampa, Fla.: Good evening Paul ...
With what Orakpo did today with four sacks, what do you think are the chances of this insanity of having him play outside linebacker?
Paul Tenorio: Orakpo has shown what he can do when he lines up at defensive end, and a four-sack performance today proves that the Redskins need to put him there full-time. I understand that they don't have any other options at strong-side linebacker right now, but you can find someone that is serviceable there if it means you get a game-changer like Orakpo rushing the QB every down. He is a monster.
I think the Redskins will go looking for a strong-side linebacker on the cheap in the offseason so that they can play Orakpo at end full-time. That's one position where the Redskins aren't hurting for depth, though, right now and so they put the best 11 on the field and that means Daniels/Jarmon/Alexander, etc have gone there while Orakpo gets reps at LB.
Columbia, Md.: Can you guys in the media please please do your best to convince the front office to draft a tackle with that first rounder? We need to keep Campbell and get him a good line in front of him.
Paul Tenorio: A lot of people feel this way (including myself) but I've heard the argument, including from some of my colleagues, that if a franchise-changing quarterback is available they should take them. That they'd be stupid to pass. I disagree. I think the Redskins need to go o-line, but they have scouted first-round QBs and so I wouldn't be surprised to see them go that way in April...
Alexandria, Va.: Watching this game was like undergoing a 3 1/2 hour root canal.
If only the Redskins could play the incompetent, undisciplined (14 penalties), Jamarcus Russell-led Raiders EVERY game! How in the heck did the Eagles and Steelers lose to these bums?
And why is the TE Davis, playing on a 3-9 team, dancing? Give me Cooley any day.
p.s. If the Raiders' left tackle makes minimum wage, he's incredibly overpaid.
Paul Tenorio: Yea, it's hard to over-analyze too much about what happened today because the Raiders are bad, especially with Russell at QB. Props to my man Nolan Nawrocki at Pro Football Weekly. When I was interning there, Nolan was one of the few draft gurus to say Russell would flop, "looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane" was his line and it looks like he got it right.
The Refs: How much did they bet on the Redskins today?
Paul Tenorio: Every game teams have calls that go against them. Maybe the Raiders should learn how not to jump offside or cuss out officials on the field. Every team in the NFL has calls that go against them, the Redskins, Raiders and each of the 30 other teams. Look at the Sellers fumble call last week in overtime as a prime example...
Tampa, Fla.: Hi, Paul. Please give your assessment of Mike Williams at guard. Is he a long term solution there?
Paul Tenorio: People have actually been very pleased with Williams at guard, whereas his performance at tackle was shaky. He's such a big body and provides a nice push on that side of the line in the run game and has been okay in pass pro otherwise. The priority on the o-line is the tackles first and foremost, but I still think they could upgrade almost all the way across the unit.
Mt. Clare, W. Va.: Do you think we trade draft choices for older players this year?
Paul Tenorio: The immediate reaction is a resounding 'no' but I've been around this team long enough to know that you can never count anything out when it comes to the offseason and how they handle it.
Washington, D.C.: what do you do with Campbell? Sherm Lewis? Cooley?
Paul Tenorio: Cooley is a Pro Bowl tight end who can simply ball and comes up with big plays all the time. He is the starter. Period. He should not go anywhere.
Campbell's status is really up in the air and right now I'd have to say he's going to end up playing in another uniform next year. Sherm Lewis' status will depend on the coaching situation. A new coach will be able to bring in his own staff, most likely, though Vinny/Snyder went and hired a staff before they hired a head coach last time around...
Mount Clare, W. Va.: Paul, Did we just win a game with rejects that played with heart?
Paul Tenorio: Sometimes that means more than big-money players that don't fit together well or aging veterans who aren't who they used to be. Also it helps to play the Raiders and JaMarcus Russell ...
Falls Church, Va.: I am holding out hope that Cerrato will gone, or at least have to give way to another GM next year, am I delusional?
Paul Tenorio: A month ago, I would say you can prepare the champagne. Now, I say you're going to be watching a team next season that again was put together by Vinny Cerrato. I think the Redskins recent improvement will save jobs, and though I don't know if it'll be save those of Jason Campbell and Jim Zorn, I think it will be enough to keep Vinny around. It'll be interesting to see the reaction of the Redskins fans when and if that happens.
San Francisco: I think this games proves without a doubt that Orakpo needs to be a full-time pass rusher. Just stop it already with the experiment at LB. He isn't a linebacker. He's a great defensive end.
Paul Tenorio: Another opinion on the Orakpo front.
Alexandria, Va.: Why didn't we pick up Graham Gano 12 weeks ago?
Paul Tenorio: One game, two field goals. Let it simmer a little bit. I did think he had a strong leg, though. Liked his kickoffs and that second one stayed inside the uprights so not too shabby.
Suisham only missed a few field goals all year, though, but missed the clutch ones, so let's wait and judge Gano on what he does with the game on the line.
Glasgow, Scotland: Another fine display by Campbell despite taking some hits early on. After the last 4 or 5 weeks how people can say he is the problem on this team its unbelievable. It's just nice to get the win and good ball control in the fourth quarter. Is Orapko a contender for defensive rookie of the year? Could he make the Pro Bowl this year in your opinion?
Keep up the good work!
Paul Tenorio: Scotland in the house.
I agree with your take on Campbell and have been saying so for a few weeks now. The Redskins have too many other priorities above Campbell to go and take a QB in the first round. They need to upgrade a few o-line positions, running back and pick up depth elsewhere. They can win with Campbell while they build up the team around him.
Others, like colleague/awesome blogger/statistical-fact-finder-that-makes-me-rethink-my position man Dan Steinberg, argues otherwise, pointing to Campbell's fourth-quarter numbers as proof that he's not going to WIN games for the Redskins. Hard to argue against what he's done in his career. Can we link to that, by the way.
Still, I think the Redskins need to focus attention this offseason elsewhere and then maybe go QB next year if they still feel Campbell's not the guy. Trust me, there will be another "franchise guy" available when next April rolls around...
Alexandria, Va.: Will we make a move for Vick? Should we?
Paul Tenorio: The Redskins will probably immediately go on the "interested" list if only because they're the Redskins. If Vick is still able to play like the Vick of old, people can always make arguments for why it would be a good thing. His background and history make it an easy argument for those against it.
Washington, D.C: Hey..what do you think will happen next year w/our RB position. The RB positions seems to have new life with Ganther and Mason in the backfield. I understand that Portis is our starter but I think he's lost a step. What do you think we'll do?
Paul Tenorio: This is one of the major decisions the Redskins will face this offseason and a lot of it will come down to money. Portis is one of the few players on the roster with guaranteed money on tap for next year, I think it's 7 mil, and they'd take a huge cap hit if they cut him early in the offseason. I believe that cap hit would be offset if there is a cap-less year, and that may be what ends up putting a new face in the Redskins backfield next year. Portis certainly seemed ready for change, and also ready for the possibility that his career is over and that he might step away if his health is at stake.
Centreville, Va.: Who should be the running back next season? Is Ganther a realistic option? Any good free agents?
Paul Tenorio: I don't know if Ganther is the answer but he's shown an ability to at least earn the opportunity to compete for a third-down back type of role next season. The Redskins might end up looking to free agency/draft this offseason in their search for a new, game-changing RB.
Derwood, Md.: Does this mean the Redskins have a chance at finishing with a respectable record of 7-9?
Paul Tenorio: They have Dallas and New York coming up, then a trip to San Diego to play a team that many believe is perhaps the best team in football. So, no, I don't think they win out.
Gainesville, Va.: Two points:
1) The new kicker looked great -- going deep on every kick-off and making a long field goal when it was important.
2) Jason Campbell has shown he is very, very tough.
Paul Tenorio: Just putting up an opinion.
Bowie, Md.: I'm sure alot of people will say "It was just the Raiders."
I think we'd all do well to remember that, coming in, the Raiders had a better record than the Redskins.
And that they'd beaten better teams than the Redskins.
And that the Redskins [stink].
Let's not poo poo a great win!
Can 7-9 get us into the playoffs????
Paul Tenorio: Again, let's look at the schedule before we start talking 7-9 and DEFINITELY before you start writing the word "playoffs."
Philadelphia: What happened to Cartright? Did he piss someone off?Randle El muffed another punt, why is he still back there?
Paul Tenorio: Oh good, a chance to talk Randle El.
How, how, how can the Redskins continue to justify putting him back there? I just don't know the answer. It's one we have asked continually and I can tell you that ever since early in the offseason we have heard the Redskins aren't happy with the production but we also haven't seen any permanent changes. Not too long ago Zorn announced there would be a change, but Randle El went to meet with him and suddenly things shifted again. After yet another poor performance and another fumble, you have to think Zorn will look to get some other people back there and yank Randle El from the rotation. Or at least he should, because Randle El hurts the Redskins back there.
Alexandria, Va.: This game was a bit like a one-night stand. Yes, it means nothing, but it still felt good.
Paul Tenorio: Haha, okay.
Point of Vinny No Return: It's ridiculous that a few wins by a 4-9 team run by a hand-picked coach after 10 years of mediocrity would save a GM's job. They've stumbled into some chemistry by having the overpaid starters hurt, through no design of the coach or management. I should have known Danny would do ANYTHING to avoid admitting he made a decade-long mistake.
How many years will we ping-pong between .500 and Mendoza line before anything changes? Can we hope against hope for three terrible performances in the coming weeks? What would this team's record be next year with
A) a rookie QB and
B) Clinton Portis starting every week?
Paul Tenorio: Again, just sticking some reader/fan opinions out there into the chat-o-sphere.
Prince George's Co., Md.: ORAKPO!!!!!!
Paul Tenorio: Yeah, he's pretty good I guess.
Mt Vernon, Va.: Paul, they have been running to the right all game. Does this have any indication that Heyer is starting to come around as a legitimate right tackle force?
Paul Tenorio: No, no I don't think so. He has still been very bad in pass pro and right tackle remains a major area of need.
Soup IS good food: What would Campbell be able to do behind an improved O- line and with a new coach who installs a soup-friendly offense?
Paul Tenorio: A lot of people believe he'd be a very good NFL starter with a legit chance to succeed.
Okay guys, enjoyed chatting again. I know it was the Raiders but I'll tell you Redskins fans to enjoy it. There won't be any more softies on the schedule. Two division games at home and then a road game at a very good San Diego team to end the year. While many of you are writing in about 7-9, I think that 4-12 is also a possibility. I also don't think Dallas or New York wants to see the Redskins right now, this is a team that can beat anyone as they've shown by playing some very good teams close in recent weeks.
I'll see you right back here after the next game and on twitter until then. Thanks!
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.