April 29, 2009

Big Draft Day For The Skins

So the Skins filled some needs rather than going for the big splash. Sure it wasn't O-line, but something tells me that Brian Orakpo is going to be a special player.

When I saw that he was going to fall to us, I decided I really wouldn't mind if we passed on Oher. After all both tackle and DE were big needs... And Orakpo is the better prospect.

The guy is an absolute monster. He's fast, strong, and plays with a passion that doesn't come around too often. He's a workout warrior who looks like he merits all the hype.

Imagine putting him next to Albert Haynesworth with Andre Carter on the other side. That's a great line. It certainly makes up for the release of Jason Taylor.

Now the Skins have themselves some star power and depth behind it on the D-line. Haynesworth and Griffin have plenty behind them to rotate in while Renaldo Wynn, Chris Wilson and Phillip Daniels will back up at DE. Daniels and Wynn both play the run well meaning Orakpo may see some time at LB on first and second down.

With Rocky McIntosh possibly moving over to replace Marcus Washington at the strong side LB, the Skins picked up a couple of LB later in the draft. Cody Glenn from Nebraska and Robert Henson from TCU will compete for time with veteran HB Blades.

The defense is looking beastly. If the Skins can see this pass rush on paper translate to the field, then this defense could go from being solid to spectacular. They have playmakers all over the field. Deangelo Hall has a nose for the ball and Laron Landry has shown flashes of ballhawking ability. The whole secondary might find it a little easier to generate turnovers with this front seven.

Adding Kevin Barnes was also a great move. He has high upside and could compete for the nickel spot with Fred Smoot.

However, the Skins really didn't address O-line and they need to. I know they added tackle Mike Williams, the former first-round pick out of Texas, but the guy is a bust. He checked into Redskins Park weighing a massive 410 pounds. The guy is lazy and has zero work ethic. He won't make it past training camp and if he does then there's something wrong.

So, in essence, the Skins have sent out a big "screw you" to Jason Campbell. He won't be around next year if his supporting cast fails to step up.

The O-line didn't hold up last year, and they are another year older this year so will there be a change? Derrick Dockery will upgrade the interior, but there's still that pesky right tackle spot. Jon Jansen and Stephon Heyer aren't starting caliber tackles, but they will need to combine to be so if Campbell wants time in the pocket.

Looking long-term, it was great to see the Skins hang on to their picks for next year and avoid Mark Sanchez. The guy would be a cap burden and would have required a bunch of picks in order to move up and select him. Maybe the Jets just saved the Skins from themselves by outbidding or maybe the Skins were simply smart; either way the outcome is good.

The Skins also added punter Hunter Smith this week. This could very well be the most underrated signing of the offseason and I'll break it down in the coming days.

April 24, 2009

Campbell Will Request Trade Should Skins Draft Sanchez

NFL.com has the story. It appears Jason Campbell will rightfully throw in the towel should the Skins spurn him in favor of USC draftee Mark Sanchez.

I can't believe the 'Skins are considering this with all the talents that could be coming their way. Michael Crabtree could be taking a fall while Brian Orakpo's status isn't set in stone either. Either one would be better that Sanchez.

Still with four or five top notch offensive tackles out there, I can't help but think the Skins should roll with whichever falls to them. Right tackle is the biggest need with DE coming in at a close second.

The draft is about 36 hours away and that all bets are off (with the exception of Matthew Stafford going at number one, or so it appears). We'll see what Danny Boy and his brain trust (or lack thereof) can pull off.

Stay tuned.

April 23, 2009

Skins Under the Cap By Over $5 Million?

Pro Football Talk says so. Here's the list for each team's cap room.

The Ravens have the least amount of cap room with under a million. How's it's not Washington I'll never know. I know we backload all our contracts and restructure them, but still we have to have around 8-10 players making close to eight million a year. Not to mention the ex-Redskins we're still paying.

Somehow, we have about $6 million in cap room. Now if we could just spend it wisely...

But that probably won't happen. Mark Sanchez anyone? I sure hope not.

Michael Oher is still the guy I want, but hey, if we could fill the OLB or DE need, that's fine with me too. I like Clay Matthews, Cushing, and Orakpo. I'd love to see Orakpo fall to us, but it's not likely.

Overall, my main plea to Danny boy: Do not mortgage away our future by trading up. It will kill our cap and leave us with even fewer draft picks (ergo more holes and less depth).

April 15, 2009

'Skins Draw Three Prime Time Games All Vs. NFC East Rivals

Well the NFL certainly listened to my appeal. They threw three division games on prime time for the Skins.

But of course the Cowboys don't open the Jones Dome against them. Dallas drew the Giants in week two for Sunday Night Football.

So I guess they sort of listened. It was a divisional game as expected, but wrong team.

Lame is the word that comes to mind. To me that would have been the game of the year for a lot of people. It's early in the year so neither team has proven that they suck yet (which could very well happen down the stretch) and it's the Skins and Cowboys. How much more epic does it need to be???

Roger Goodell clearly forgot to check in for his daily Skins Talk visit.

Anyway, the schedule is out and we have some great match-ups.

New York and Philly visit on Monday nights while Dallas flies over for a Sunday nighter. We also take trips to the West Coast to play San Diego and Oakland.

The bye is again a little too late for my liking in week eight, but it's not as nightmarish as last year when we played five preseason games and didn't get a bye until week 10. That really did us in.

One of the sleeper games I think will be interesting is week 10 vs. Denver at home. We never ever seem to play Denver. I remember some of the games against other AFC West teams like San Diego and Kansas City, but very little against the Broncos. Also it's a what-could-have-been game. Kyle Orton vs. Jason Campbell.

Campbell might have gone to Denver in a trade for Jay Cutler last week, but instead he plays them as a Redskin. He'll face-off against Orton who was the deciding factor in the Broncos' decision to move Cutler to Chi-Town rather than DC.

The Broncos felt Orton was better than JC so they traded with the Bears. We'll see how JC plays in light of this. I know he'll brush it all off, but let's hope it lights a fire.

As I browsed over the schedule, I kind of got the feeling the Skins could win 10 or 11 of the games, but then I realized that I think this every year.

On paper the schedule doesn't seem too tough, but you have to factor in the swings that teams undergo from one year to the next. Kansas City may look like a W now, but what about in week six when Shaun Suisham (God forbid) lines up for a game winner with the Skins down two in the fourth quarter?

The fact is Kansas City and other teams will most likely improve and the Skins always struggle to beat the underdogs convincingly anyway. They play the majority of their games within a 10 point margin, meaning the outcome could go either way.

So I had to check my fanhood and chalk up yet another 8-8 season. I certainly hope not, but there's a good chance.

Here's the full schedule.

April 14, 2009

RIP Harry Kalas: The Voice

"And Snafu turned into serendipity"

Harry Kalas, voice of NFL Films and the Philadelphia Phillies, passed away in DC today right before he was preparing to call The Nats-Phillies afternoon ball game.

That quote is from Kalas' narration of the Green Bay Packers '96 Super Bowl season, and my favorite line from any NFL Films presentation.

Kalas' voice was steady and true. He painted an amazing picture of each and every game. NFL Films wouldn't be the same without him describing each big moment with such a meticulous air.

As Sam Spence's "The Equalizer" thumped in the background, Kalas would take us on a pilgrimage through football's hallowed moments. Nothing was left unturned with Kalas calling the shots.

Kalas' voice along with the legendary team of Madden and Summerall was football for me growing up. Without these three voices, the NFL doesn't mean as much to me.

We lost one of those voices yesterday. RIP Harry.

Will The Cowboys Open Their New Stadium Against The Skins On Prime Time? I Sure Hope So

The NFL schedule is coming out tomorrow. The Cowboys already have a prime time slot on MNF locked up when they open their new stadium. If the NFL is smart, they'll slate the Skins to be the first visitors to the new (but not necessarily improved) Jones Dome.

I don't know what they are calling it and I don't care. So we'll call it the Jones Dome.

But back to the point at hand. How could Roger Goodell make it any different?

He would be dumber than a box of rocks should he schedule it any differently. After all even a box of rocks knows that Skins have to visit the Cowboys in Dallas' home opener. It would stoke up a deeper rivalry and draw a huge audience.

The Skins have a huge following in a highly populated area while the Cowboys are the Brangelina of sports paparazzi. The ratings would be through the roof.

Plus, to give us a shot at deflating the honeymoon in Big D? As Mastercard commercials can attest to: Priceless.

April 6, 2009

Ranking The NFL's Top Ten WRs For The 2009 Season: #9 Marques Colston

Colston missed the bulk of the 2008 season with injuries, but he's still a force to be reckoned with.

His 2007 season was a career year as Colston pulled in 98 passes for 1202 and 11 TDs. In 2008 he played in 11 games and caught 47 ball for 760 yards, despite breaking his thumb in the early weeks of the season.

Colston benefits from great offensive production on his New Orleans Saints team. Drew Brees gets everyone involved and Colston is far and away the most talented WR on the team. In 2007, he moved the sticks 64 times. That means 65% of his receptions were caught for first downs.

A 6-4, 225-pound frame benefits Colson as a possession receiver, but he can still go the distance and make big plays. He goes over the middle primarily, but the Saints run so many vertical passing routes, that Colston gets his fair share of deep balls.

Colston will certainly rebound just fine from his injury and look to posting numbers similar to his phenomenal 2007 season.

April 5, 2009

This Is What I Was Waiting To Hear

I am very impressed with JC saying all the right things. But I know he had to have some beef. And I was waiting to hear a report about it.

PFT to the rescue!

Apparently JC is taking it the right way. He's going to use the slight as motivation. He really is a guy that does and says all the right things and this is just makes me want him to succeed in DC.

Don't get me wrong, I have my criticisms and I believe they are warranted, but I have never doubted his potential.

Best of luck to you Jason! I'm behind you.

Skins Really Seem Uncomfortable With Campbell

After settling things with Jason Campbell following their bid for Jay Cutler, Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato still don't seem enamored with Jason Campbell.

Campbell was the essence of class through the the Cutler ordeal. He took shit from the organization, the fans, and the media. Sure, he hasn't done anything to win hearts yet, but the guy is certainly a classy individual. He is definitely giving his all and he has more potential than anyone else the Skins could have right now.

Would Cutler have been a better fit? In my opinion yes, but since we didn't get him Campbell is the man. He understands that football is a business and that teams have to do what they think is best. That's a good mentality to have because that lets him play without harboring any ill will against the Skins.

It could even give him a nice chip on his shoulder. The Skins need some swagger and intensity from their core players.

Campbell may be the guy right now, but he only has one more chance. In the NFL it's what have you done for me lately and Campbell's 6-2 start from last year is long gone. He has to get the team into the postseason this year.

He'll need some help though. Campbell isn't the type of QB who can win you a game by himself. He's more of a game manager, steady and reliable. He needs solid protection and some secondary targets behind Santana Moss and Chris Cooley.

The Skins will need to draft a right tackle this year. They also need to see some development from Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, and Fred Davis.

Davis will be especially key because he could team up with Cooley to form a nice two tight end set. Campbell likes throwing to TEs and the west coast offense benefits from two tight end sets. The extra TE could also help block which the Skins will probably need this year considering the state of the O-line.

However, the Skins still don't seem to want to commit to JC. They are courting Byron Leftwich as a backup, and the Colt Brennan love will continue. Also more and more people believe Mark Sanchez might be brought in.

Leftwich is a worse fit than JC for the WCO. He has an even slower release and isn't equipped to make the quick throws that make up the break and butter of the system. Besides that, his track record is less than impressive. But he's a DC native and loves the Skins. If Snyder wants him, Leftwich will sign.

Thus, the search for a franchise QB continues. My guess is the right guy isn't even a blip on the radar at the moment. Maybe one will turn up in a couple decades.

April 1, 2009

Jason Campbell: On His Way Out As Redskins' QB?

When the Washington Redskins drafted Jason Campbell they were hoping they might have finally found the answer to a decades-long search for a top-notch signal caller.

As time goes on it seems more and more unlikely that Campbell is the man in DC.

Campbell is entering into the final year of his contract, and Skins have not even begun to approach him about a new contract. In fact, they have worked out draft prospect Mark Sanchez and are linked to soon-to-be-ex-Bronco, Jay Cutler.

And there's no reason for the Skins to not do either of those things. Campbell has been mediocre throughout his time in Washington. On the field he hasn't produced wins. He's overly cautious, resulting in stagnant offensive performances week in and week out. The fire that a great QB needs just isn't there.

Campbell is a likable guy. He definitely puts in a solid effort, but it clearly isn't getting him ahead. Gone are his glory days in Auburn. He can't hang his hat on them any longer.

Campbell has potential, but it's time we see that potential bloom into solid play. Campbell's performance really didn't improve all that drastically from 2007 to 2008. The team and fans are impatient. We haven't seen a great offense in years. I can't remember the last time I saw consistent performance at a high level by the Redskins' offense.

So Campbell has one more year to prove he can bring this team to the promised land. They have yet to make during Campbell's tenure as a starter. The team made the play-offs in 2007 only because Todd Collins bailed them out with a late season run. Campbell missed the run with an injury.

So Campbell is definitely in the hotseat, and the question is. Is he already the odd man out as we approach the 2009 season? Or does he have another year to win a new contract?

Of course the rumors swirling around Cutler and Sanchez are mostly speculation. The Skins might very well stick with Campbell, giving him a final shot to earn a new deal. But there's no doubt Vinny Cerrato is looking for a future at QB.

Sanchez has his question marks, but he comes from a big time program at USC. He knows how to handle himself in the spotlight. However, I 'm not convinced he will be a winner in the pros.

Cutler is really the best bet if Cerrato feels he has to pull the trigger this offseason. He possesses a big arm and would take the chances that Campbell just won't take. For a Redskin offense that considers it risky throwing on first and second down, Cutler would be a welcome change.

Cutler has guaranteed himself a ticket out of Denver, but several teams are interested in him. Cerrato denied interest, but combine the rumors with the Sanchez workout and things start to add up.

Best believe Cerrato is searching for the next starter in DC. Maybe he won't come until 2010, but odds are, if Cerrato finds what he's looking for, there will be a new face in the QB shuffle at Redskins Park.

Ranking The NFL's Top Ten WRs For The 2009 Season: #10 Greg Jennings

Jennings was on the fence largely due to his only possessing one top ten worthy season. However, I've watched a lot of this guy and I like him. Better yet so does Aaron Rodgers.

Jennings is very strong after the catch. He breaks tackles and has deceptive speed. Remember his 82-yard game winner against the Broncos on MNF in 2007? The guy has some wheels.

His YAC (383) doesn't tell the whole story. Jennings works as hard as anyone going over the middle. He's learned from one of the best in Donald Driver.

Jennings' strength is the intermediate passing game. He caught 80 balls, 55 of which moved the chains. He averaged 80.8 RYPG (8th in the NFL) and his 1292 receiving yards was a career high and good for 6th in the NFL.

57% of the passes thrown his way were caught and he scored 9 TDs (down from his 12 TDs in 2007). Only six other receivers bested this mark.

Jennings is only entering his fourth season, but he has drastically improved in each of his years. Rodgers appeared to quickly establish chemistry with him last season and as the Packers continue to improve expect Jennings to do the same.

Hitler On The TO Signing

A buddy passed this on to me a few days back. I figured it was funny enough to score a spot on the site. Here's the link.

I have respect for the Bills and their fans, but it does seem like they have really struggled to find playmakers. Maybe this TO addition will cure that, but then again this blue-collar city will want none of his antics.

This will be worth watching. Getcha popcorn ready!

Montgomery Signs Tender, Daniels Signed, Preseason Game Announced

A flurry of activity has taken place at Redskins Park. Too bad it doesn't consist of much exciting activity.

The Skins kept Anthony Montgomery in the fold, meaning they have some great depth at DT. Albert, Kedric Golston, Lorenzo Alexander, Cornelius Griffin, and Montgomery make up the list.

Montgomery was a fifth round pick out of Minnesota. In three seasons, he has 74 career tackles and three sacks. He is a space eater at 6-6, 315. Having him and AH occupy the middle will make it difficult for for opposing offense to run the ball. We had better be able to control the line of scrimmage this year with all that horsepower in the front four.

Also Phillip Daniels returned, signing a one-year, $845,000 deal. Daniels was a solid presence against the run, but what the Skins need right now is pass rushers. The draft might be the answer, but the Skins only have one high draft pick and have three big needs at OLB, tackle, and DE.

It will be interesting to see if Vinny will trade down to get all the needs filled.

Finally, the preseason schedule was released today and the Skins will be playing the Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, and Jaguars.

Thank goodness this isn't the regular season schedule. I don't much like the idea of playing Pitt, the Pats, and Ravens all in a season.

Also it's nice that the Skins will only be playing four preseason games. I don't especially want to see us land another coveted Hall of Fame Game. Four preseason games are too many as it is.