April 22, 2010

Trent Williams To The 'Skins

The pick is in and the Washington Redskins have chosen Oklahoma OT Trent Williams.

The Redskins needed to select an offensive lineman to upgrade a woeful line that gave up 46 sacks last season while paving the way for just the 27th ranked ground game in the NFL.

Head coach Mike Shanahan selected Ryan Clady with his first rounder in 2008 and that was a hugely successful pick. Now he's hoping that Williams will be a solid follow-up.

Williams played right tackle and left tackle with the Sooners. He is a versatile, athletic guy who protected Sam Bradford throughout his collegiate career.

Williams has been projected as a guard by some, but the Redskins need a tackle and that is where Williams must excel in the NFL. I fully expect he will be a longtime starter, replacing the great Chris Samuels at LT, which is precisely what the 'Skins need.

Washington played their cards just right in this draft. Tackle was the obvious choice, but the 'Skins managed to get quite a few people to buy into the fact that they were still going to take a QB or Eric Berry.

Like last year with Brian Orakpo, they managed to be smart and get their man, this year addressing a huge need along the offensive line.

Overall Grade: A

Update: 'Skins On The Clock

The first three picks have been cut and dry. Bradford, Suh, McCoy. Rather strange that there has been no shakeups from what many of us predicted after the combine.

Now the 'Skins are up...

NFL Draft Predictions For The Redskins

The NFL draft is finally here and I'll be updating you all tonight from the comfort of my couch.

First up, my picks for the Redskins' draft.

First-round: Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State

Washington has been very coy in letting people know their thoughts on what they plan to do with the fourth overall choice. They have brought in quite a few of the top prospects and have raved about several of them.

However, the 'Skins didn't say a whole lot in regards to Okung, a potential shutdown left tackle. The silence means worlds to me. It implies the 'Skins are creating buzz around other players, which might enable the 'Skins to trade down.

Trading down would almost certainly give the 'Skins more draft picks to fill holes that are scattered throughout the roster. A second round pick would be huge in this draft and trading down would lead to one.

Should the 'Skins stay put, expect to see them take Okung.

Other possibilities: Jimmy Clausen, Trent Williams, Eric Berry

I'll be breaking down the other picks sometime tomorrow, but for now we are just getting underway.

Much more to come.

April 21, 2010

Midweek Roundup: Trading Spaces

Lots of activity in my absence so let's get right to it.

I'll be giving you a preview of who I expect the 'Skins to pick with all four of their draft picks. Look for it tonight.

And I'll be doing a live chat for Sports Fan Live during the draft tomorrow along with some analysis on the Redskins fourth overall pick in the draft.

Meanwhile, Washington traded their fifth and seventh-round picks to the Rams for St Louis' fifth and seventh-round picks and former first round DT/DE Adam Carriker.

Plus, they inked former Jets NT Howard Green to a one-year deal.

This leads me to believe the Redskins might be looking to run a nose tackle by committee in their 3-4 defense. Albert Haynesworth is likely on his way out, meaning Washington will have to plug in several different players during the year at nose tackle to hold the point of attack in the trenches.

Vinny Cerrato sits down with Dan Steinberg from the DC Sports Bog to break down the draft (Cerrato predicts that the 'Skins take Okung).

There was talk of TO-D Mac reunion in the DC, but that is apparently just wild talk.

The 'Skins have brought back WRs Roydell Williams and Marques Hagans along with RB Ryan Torain. Hagans was a preseason standout in 2009, but failed to make the final roster. Torain was drafted by Shanahan in 2008, but is coming off a bad knee injury.

Great draft scenario here from Redskins Insider. I believe the 'Skins love Berry, Gerald McCoy and Suh, but Okung or Trent Williams makes more sense. I think the extra interest in Berry could be a ploy to trade down with Cleveland anyway. After a trade like that, Williams would still likely be avaliable.

Rich Tandler predicts the Redskins win total for 2010 (I'm gonna say 7-9).

Schedule Breakdown

Last night, the NFL released the official 2010 regular season schedule to the football world.

We already knew Washington would be matched up against the NFC North and AFC South, but now we know the exact dates of every matchup.

The highlights:

1. Sept. 12th Season/Home Opener vs. the Cowboys on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

2. Another Sunday Night matchup, this time against Peyton Manning and the Colts on Oct. 17th at FedEx Field.

3. A potential showdown with Brett Favre and the Vikings at FedEx on Nov. 28th.

4. An Oct. 3rd game against the Eagles, marking Donovan McNabb's return to Philly.

The 'Skins are drawing a tough slate this year with the Vikings, Packers, Colts, Jaguars and Titans plus six NFC East games. Should they win eight games this year that will be a huge step in the right direction.

April 9, 2010

Three Things Donovan McNabb Brings to the Redskins

1. The Future is Now

Mike Shanahan has talked about rebuilding, but he clearly expects to compete quickly. Trading for McNabb is an indicator that he believes the team can contend for a Super Bowl sometime in the next three years or so.

Think about it.

Selecting a potential franchise QB in the draft would mean that Shanahan had his sights set on building slowly with Jason Campbell holding down the fort until the offensive line was solidified.

Now with McNabb, the mentality around Redskins Park changes.

Washington has a QB who can contribute right away, and as such expectation are much higher from management, the players and the fans. Shanahan doesn't make this move if he's not positive that McNabb puts the Redskins right back in the thick of things.

2. A Vocal Presence

McNabb is not afraid to express his concerns regarding issue surrounding the team. He calls it like he sees it and brings a more assertive presence to the locker room.

Jason Campbell may have led by example with his toughness in adverse situations, but he could never take command of a situation with his attitude.

Too often did he fail to establish a sense of urgency in the huddle and often times the Redskin offense looked dazed under his leadership.

Campbell certainly played hard, but never did he really make the offense his own. He had his opportunities, but always came up short in crucial situations, throwing costly interceptions or wasting timeouts.

McNabb possesses the innate ability to take control of a group and get them to leave it all out on the field. He knows how to win down the stretch and he won't stand by and watch teammates be disruptive.

That's the type of leader these Redskins need.

3. Stability At QB

Sure McNabb doesn't light up the stat sheet, but he's a huge step up from what the Redskins have had in the past.

Since he came into the NFL in 1999, McNabb has thrown for 216 TD passes. Since 1999, Redskins QBs have combined to throw for 198 TD passes.

In Washington, Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Patrick Ramsey, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell and Todd Collins all tried their hand at QB for the Redskins while McNabb started in Philadelphia for over ten years.

Consistency hasn't been the Redskins strong point. Nor has offensive firepower.

With McNabb the Redskins get both. Sure he has some injury concerns, but when healthy, you can count on 20+ TD passes and a few extra TDs on the ground.

A guarantee of that many TDs from a QB in a season is something unheard of in DC.

April 8, 2010

Friday Roundup: Rebuilding?

The top story of the day: Chris Cooley on the old "Lite Brite" JumboTron and of course he talks about Donovan.

Apparently, the Redskins won't be trading Albert Haynesworth.

As for me, I don't buy that. I buy this article from Redskins Insider and so I'm calling a draft-day deal for a second rounder. Then, look for Mike Shanahan to try and grab Tennessee's Dan Williams or Alabama's Terrence Cody to fill the void at the nose tackle position along with newly acquired Ma'ake Kemoeatu.

Lorenzo Alexander called out Haynesworth today on 106.7 the Fan. Meanwhile, CSN Washington thinks Albert could be heading back to the Titans.

A fan's choice mock draft on NFL FanHouse has 70% of the vote in favor of Washington taking OSU tackle Russell Okung.

New CB Phillip Buchanon will be in the mix at punt returner as expected.

The Flozell Adams rumors are on full blast (check the bottom of the article).

Rich Tandler says no chance the 'Skins take a QB in the first round now.

More to come tomorrow.

'Skins Talk Update

So school work and the NFL offseason don't mix. Summer is coming up so I'll be working on trying to be more consistent. Apologies to my readers.

I figured I should probably give an update regarding the Skins Talk and the progress I've made with it.

In two years, I have managed to get a better feel for covering the Redskins and giving you all the links to articles I read everyday regarding the 'Skins.

In return, you guys have upped your interest by coming in droves. I got maybe 500 or so hits in the first six months. Now I average about 1,000 a month. My thanks to everyone who visits.

Also, I was lucky enough to score media credentials to the 'Skins games last year through Sports Fan Live (sportsfanlive.com).

Most of my writing for that went to Blog Blitz via nfl.com, and it was a tremendous experience that has enhanced my skills as a reporter and writer. Hopefully, I'll be doing that this year for training camp and beyond.

That being said, please continue to check up on Skins Talk. I'll always be trying to give you the best 'Skins coverage on the Web.

If you have any comments or criticisms feel free to post them on any article or email me at jackfrom3@yahoo.com. I want to make this site something you'll come to first for Redskins news and analysis.

April 4, 2010

McNabb Links

The man himself. Donovan's statements. Andy Reid's statements.

What do the Redskins get with McNabb?

I did a piece for Sports Fan Live via NFL.com's Blog Blitz regarding McNabb.

The NFC East is shaken up from this.

Personally, here's the rankings in the Beast from me:

1. Cowboys
2. Giants
3. Redskins
4. Eagles

Jack Gorman from BR has a great piece on McNabb as well.

Homer McFanboy has a good article on the Offseason Champs.

And of course the one and only Mike Wilbon.


Well the Redskins had been quiet for too long. After all Mike Shanahan's hiring is long past. Time for the Redskins to make some noise.

An inter-division trade (especially in the NFC East) is rare. An inter-division trade involving a superstar QB is almost unheard of.

McNabb is old at 33, but he still brings a strong arm and a ton of experience to the Redskins. He is easily the most accomplished QB to come to DC in years, but the question is how much longer will he be a top QB.

McNabb has taken his lumps in the NFL. He has missed over 20 games due to injury in his career and several of the injuries have been serious ones.

His offense collapsed down the stretch last year as they fell apart against the Cowboys in back-to-back games. Granted, the Eagles offensive line was a mess and the playcalling was wildly inconsistent.

McNabb is coming into another bad situation in terms of protection.

The Redskins don't have a good option at either left or right tackle. They need depth along the entire offensive line as well.

Without upgrading the O-line, McNabb won't be productive.

However, expect Shanahan to use his four picks in this year's draft to bolster the protection.

On the bright side, McNabb will have an improved running game.

In Philly, McNabb had little support in the run game. Andy Reid is a one-dimensional playcaller and it cost him plenty of games with McNabb over the years.

Shanahan is different. He is a guy who understands balance in playcalling. He is a west coast guy, but he still believes in using the run game. That will undoubtedly assist McNabb.

Early take: The 'Skins have the advantage. Can't understand why Philly would deal a local legend within the division.

Here's a quick take from ESPN's NFC East blog.

April 2, 2010

Taylor Mays: "I Thought Clausen Was A Little Bitch"

Had to give you one more link from Yahoo! Sports.

I think I like him a little but more after reading it. But that doesn't mean he's going to be a star.

Weekend Roundup: Running Back Drama

Of course, the hot topic for the next few weeks is going to be the running back situation now that Willie Parker has signed.

Dan Steinberg from the DC Sports Bog has a look at the Parker-Johnson-Portis trio by the numbers.

Parker's agent has announced the starting RB spot is an "open competition" according to Jason Reid at the Post.

However at ESPN's NFC East blog, Matt Mosley has some terrifying stats regarding this new trio of RBs (quite frankly, they are the worst stats ever).

Speedy Cal RB Jahvid Best will visit the 'Skins in the coming weeks before the draft. He would be an excellent option as a change-of-pace, third down back. However, I don't see how the 'Skins could justify a high pick on him with all their other needs.

Add another QB to the draft talk. Colt McCoy could be DC bound according to Jason La Canfora.

I like the enthusiasm I'm hearing from Deangelo Hall these days. Here's a good example of it from Matt Terl.

Out of all the WRs on the 'Skins roster I believe Devin Thomas has the brightest future.

Redskins Insider kept tabs on Eric Berry during his visit. His words regarding Sean Taylor were especially poignant.

With Three Backs in Town, Portis' Future Not So Secure

Washington Redskins RB Clinton Portis certainly didn't receive a free pass when new head coach Mike Shanahan came to town in January.

Shanahan came to the Redskins announcing there would be competition at every position this offseason.

After signing both Willie Parker and Larry Johnson off the free agent market in the last month, Shanahan is certainly making it stiff competition for Portis.

Shanahan had some words in reference to Portis during his introductory press conference back in January that really stuck with me. While he praised Jason Campbell, saying "I just love the way Jason handles himself," he didn't give much of an endorsement to Portis:

"I’ve been around some veterans that have been very successful, and all of the sudden they quit working out, and as a running back you can fall off of a cliff," Shanahan said. "If you make a commitment that you’re going to be the best that you can possibly be, or you’ve got the passion and the work ethic to be as good as you can possibly be, then you’ve got a chance to be something special."

Now Shanahan didn't directly accuse Portis of quitting or not working out and giving his best effort on the field, but let's face it; everyone knows Portis tends to slack off.

Through his words, it's clear that Shanahan wanted to let Portis know that he was going to have none of his loafing.

Portis is coming off a disappointing 2009 season in which the star RB gave a lackluster effort before seeing his season end prematurely with a concussion. Shanahan is obviously aware of this, and naturally is doing everything possible to ensure the 'Skins have a reliable ground game next year.

So he cut Marcus Mason, Ladell Betts and Rock Carwright and brought in competition with Parker and Johnson.

Both new RBs have starting experience.

Parker has won a pair of Super Bowls with Pittsburgh and rushed for 1,000 yards three times in his six year career. He has incredible straightline speed and not all that much wear and tear despite being 29 (just 1253 carries with average of 209 per season).

He is coming off a season where he struggled with turf toe while other injuries have also plagued him from time to time.

At one point, Johnson was an elite back as he rushed for over 1,700 two years in a row from 2005-06. However, he wore down quickly in Kansas City and hasn't rushed for 1,000 yards since 2006.

Johnson is a powerful back who could do a lot of damage around the goal line. He still has a few years left in which he could be a solid starting option, but his best days are behind him.

Neither of these newcomers pops out as an instant starter, but each has the potential to knock Portis down the depth chart or off the team. This competition should be a real concern for Portis as he hasn't done enough in the past year and a half to stake a strong claim to a roster spot.

Portis has managed to alienate many of his teammates with his selfish attitude last season, and he has been a negative locker room presence since the departure of Joe Gibbs. Throw in the decline in his play, and Shanahan has a reason to demand more.

Portis has done a lot for the Redskins since coming over to Washington in a trade in 2004, but in the NFL the question is "what have you done for me lately?"

In answering, Portis wouldn't have a whole heck of a lot to say.

Parker Signs With 'Skins

The Redskins have reportedly added another RB to the fold, signing Fast Willie Parker to a one-year deal worth a maximum of $3.1 million according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Rich Tandler just sent out a tweet wondering if this means the 'Skins could be setting up to cut Clinton Portis.

My thoughts are that it is just another back in the fold. Parker has great straightline speed and is a different back than both Larry Johnson and Portis.

Any way you look at it, I don't believe it's huge news. None of these three fit into the Redskins plans two or three years down the road and they are preparing for the future right now.

More on the signing later.

April 1, 2010

Thursday Roundup: Haynesworthy?

For all the money and talent that Albert Haynesworth has, you would certainly wish he'd be easier to get along with.

He isn't attending the offseason workout program (granted it's voluntary), and that just adds to the laundry list of unimpressive behavior since he inked his monster deal last offseason.

Now Mike Shanahan has expressed his displeasure at the situation. Granted, he isn't burning any bridges with Haynesworth, but it's clear that he wants everyone to play ball his way.

Meanwhile all the hype today is about Jimmy Clausen. He is set to visit the 'Skins and on April 9th, Clausen will have a private workout with Washington.

Mike Lombardi has the scoop in regards to Clausen (I don't like the fact we are mentioning Vinny Cerrato as a team consultant, but whatever...).

And here's Matt Bowen's counterpoint for Bradford.

However, on the National Football Post, the mock draft has a different player going to Washington.

As tempting as it is to covet a Bradford or a Clausen, the offensive line is even worse off than last year at this time. So Russell Okung makes sense.

Adam Schefter just announced that Okung will visit the 'Skins on Monday (via Twitter).

Rich Tandler has a nice profile of Okung as well.

Keep up with the Redskins free agent signing with the free agent tracker from CSN Washington.

Oh and the preseason schedule was released yesterday (the 'Skins drew the Bills, Ravens, Jets and Cardinals).