June 30, 2010

'Skins Need A Receiver (And Draft Picks)

As tempting as this whole trading for Vincent Jackson deal sounds, the Redskins would be foolish to part with a high draft pick.

Every offseason we hear all this preaching that the 'Skins need to value their draft picks and save them. By the midway point of every offseason, everyone is screaming for some player on the trading block and no one cares about the picks.

It's a vicious cycle that is occurring again this year. The 'Skins have unloaded two mid-round selections (and rightfully so) for Donovan McNabb and Jammal Brown, but how much more of the future are they willing to ship out to other teams?

The Chargers are rumored to want as much as first and third-round selections in the 2011 draft for Jackson, and Washington is in no position to give that much up.

Washington usually has a bevy of needs each offseason and that wouldn't be the case if they had more draft picks every season. Young talent sticks around longer, and the 'Skins rarely inject a ton of youth into their roster during the offseason.

The Redskins need a receiver, but to mortgage away the future isn't worth a player who might miss a good chunk of the season due to a possible suspension as a result of a DUI charge brought against him.

Jackson is a force to be reckoned with. He's big and tough. He has produced back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and has yet to peak at 27 years old. There's a lot to like.

It's tempting to trade for Jackson, but the 'Skins should only do it if they can hang on to their draft picks. Which is unlikely.

That's why I'm calling TO to the 'Skins.

Something has to give because the current crop of receivers is not going to get the job done.

June 29, 2010

Five Keys To A Redskins' Super Bowl In 2010

With training camp a month away, now is the prime time for some optimistic evaluation of the Washington Redskins and their prospects for the 2010 NFL season.

There's a new coach in town and he's brought in a new quarterback. There's a new attitude and plenty of new faces at Redskins Park, and quite frankly it's an exciting time.

Washington has been active once again this offseason, but they went about signing free agents and making trades with a more cautious approach. Each step was calculated and measured, leaving the 'Skins with extra money and 2011 first-round draft pick intact.

So with all this goodwill gushing forth from our Nation's Capital why wouldn't everyone anticipate a good season?

Without question, the 'Skins are much improved from last season, but just how much of a push can they make towards the Lombardi trophy?

It really all depends on the following factors.

1. Donovan McNabb's Health

McNabb is the only player on the roster who has experience as a key component to a perennial play-off contender. Losing him can't happen if the Redskins want to make a serious push.

For starters, the depth behind McNabb is questionable at best. Rex Grossman, Colt Brennan, and Rich Bartel won't get anyone's vote of confidence. Grossman has faded since his days with the Bears while Bartel and Brennan have zero NFL starts between them.

If that's not an indicator that the season rests squarely on McNabb, then how's this?

Washington has little to boast of in terms of skill players on offense. They have one of the worst receiving corps in the league, and a stable full of has-beens at running back.

However, all those players become a whole lot better with McNabb under center. In Philadelphia, McNabb led the Eagles to three straight NFC Championships throwing to the likes of Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell, and James Thrash.

McNabb will elevate the play of the entire offense and give them something to believe in. Never in the past ten seasons has any QB been able to give the Redskins confidence that they can score 20+ points a game on a consistent basis. McNabb gives them that confidence.

Washington has been offensively challenged for much of the past decade, but with McNabb they finally have a QB who finds ways to make plays and score points. McNabb isn't without faults, but for the first time in what seems like forever, the Redskins have a leader they can depend on.

So long as he stays healthy.

2. The Offensive Line's Chemistry

This is essentially key 1a.

The offensive line's performance goes hand-in-hand with McNabb's health. If they can keep him upright, then consider their job done.

After several major injuries, McNabb can't move like he used to. He is aging and won't be able to take the pounding of a 46-sacks allowed season like the Redskins had last year.

Fortunately, the Redskins actually addressed their offensive line this offseason, bringing in six new linemen, including first-round pick Trent Williams and veteran Jammal Brown.

Williams and Brown will play left and right tackle respectively while free agent pickup Artis Hicks will play right guard. Casey Rabach and Derrick Dockery are holdovers from last season. Rabach will play center and Dockery, left guard.

The primary concern will be Williams at left tackle. Thus far, he has drawn rave reviews for how quickly he's adjusted to the pro game, but he will be lining up against a ton of big name pass rushers, i.e. Dwight Freeney, Trent Cole, Jared Allen, Demarcus Ware, etc.

With those nightmare matchups coming nearly every week, Williams will have to adapt quickly or the Redskins might have to have Brown move from the right side over to the left.

Overall, the line is light years ahead of last year's edition, and it doesn't hurt that Shanahan is a blocking whiz. His zone blocking schemes have long been the key to his success and it will be again this year.

3. The Transition to the 3-4 Defense

The Redskins were ranked 10th in total defense last season, but the numbers fail to tell the whole story.

Former defensive coordinator Greg Blache failed to make the most of his talent, employing an ultra-conservative 4-3 front that featured vanilla blitz packages and soft cover schemes.

Washington played tentatively on the defensive side; scared to give up a big plays. The results were not pretty to watch.

Not only did the secondary suffer several horrendous breakdowns in coverage in the second half of the season, but opposing teams averaged a 40 percent conversion rate on third downs.

The secondary's uninspired effort was the main cause for the defense struggling to get off the field on third downs. Too many times we saw a ten-yard cushion on a third-and-five.

Blache was fired at the end of 2009, and now the Redskins are turning to Jim Haslett and the 3-4 defense.

The 3-4 is presently in vogue in the National Football League. Everyone is using it to combat the pass-first trend that is taking offenses by storm. Thus, the 'Skins turn to Haslett, hoping to successfully adopt the 3-4.

Haslett has experience with the 3-4. He ran it in Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and at points in St. Louis. His version emphasizes versatility and aggressive play, something the Redskins are in desperate need of.

A major switch in defensive philosophies won't easy to undergo in just one offseason, but initial reports reveal that the Redskins are loving the new format after wasting away in Blache's system.

Guys particularly in need of a rebirth are safety LaRon Landry and corner Carlos Rogers. Both are better suited to an aggressive style, and Landry is moving back to his more natural strong safety position.

The front seven features a bevy of talented linebackers. London Fletcher is still unsure of who will team up with him in the middle, but the Redskins have a host of outside linebackers led by youngster Brian Orakpo who is coming off an 11 sack rookie campaign.

Yet the biggest key to a 3-4 is the nose tackle. Washington has to be hoping that Albert Haynesworth decides to show up ready to play because without him, the Redskins might not have another dominant force in the middle who demands constant attention.

The new scheme is a bold move, but it's one that should add some excitement to the defensive unit. The defense lost its edge in 2009, and it's up to this new tenacious style to bring that swagger back.

4. Consistency at Wide Receiver

Since 2005, Santana Moss is the only Redskins receiver who has hauled in over 1,000 yards in a single season (he has done it twice in that time frame).

Aside from Moss, not one other wide out has emerged as a consistent threat. Antwaan Randle El is the only other wide receiver on the team since 2005 to have over 700 yards receiving and that has left Moss subject to constant double teams.

Moss isn't getting any younger and as of now he still remains the Redskins best receiver. Washington is once again depending on the combination of Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly to break out.

Thomas had one huge game against New Orleans last season, but other than that he was simply average, catching 25 balls for 325 yards and three TDs in 10 starts. He has shown signs of developing into a solid number two WR and if he can overcome nagging hamstring issues, then he could be the answer.

Kelly, on the other hand, has been a huge disappointment. Given his 6-4 frame, the Redskins have long hoped he would become a red zone threat, but Kelly has never been able to create separation from defenders.

Kelly has good hands and an ability to make catches over the middle, but his lack of speed and overall failure to show signs of progress has many wondering if he will ever live up to his second-round draft status in 2008.

Thomas and Kelly are the only legitimate hopes to make an impact as secondary targets for McNabb. The remainder of the receivers on the roster range from ancient vets (Joey Galloway) to young hopefuls (Anthony Armstrong).

Its not a pretty situation at receiver, which is why the Redskins' name has popped up in the Vincent Jackson sweepstakes, but having McNabb will certainly help mask any deficiencies the 'Skins have at WR.

5. A Happy Locker Room

Under Jim Zorn, the Redskins were split up into small factions that all had different agendas and goals.

Now with Mike Shanahan, the Redskins have no choice but to unify. Shanahan is changing the mentality at Redskins Park, and little by little everyone is falling in line.

Carlos Rogers reconciled with the team after talking out his concerns with Shanahan; Clinton Portis has kept his mouth shut since bashing former starting QB Jason Campbell; and even Haynesworth has announced he'll come to camp.

There are plenty of egos on the roster and so Shanahan will have to work hard to maintain the level of control he has at the moment. The team is relatively happy as of now, but if the losses start to pile up, things won't be pretty.

There's a delicate balance Shanahan has to sustain. The crowded backfield featuring Portis, Larry Johnson, and Willie Parker will all demand their fair share of touches; Moss may have to deal with a suspension for his involvement in an HGH case; and of course there's no telling what will happen with Haynesworth.

Shanahan has to deal with all this on top of preparing a team for 16 weeks of football. That's a tall order for anyone.

The Haynesworth decision is undoubtedly the toughest move Shanahan will have in 2010. Keeping him would improve the defense immensely, but it could also leave the rest of the locker room with a bad taste in their mouths.

It's a fine line that must be walked if you have "Super" dreams. Shanahan will have to be right on point if the 'Skins want to even remotely sniff success.

June 28, 2010

(A Belated) Weekend Roundup: Dog Days

This is without a doubt the deadest period in the NFL's calendar year, but here at Skins Talk, we keep it coming even during these sweltering 100 degree days when lesser men might leave the confines of our Nation's Capital for the Caribbean.

Like Al Pacino said, it's all about inches. Skins Talk is going to fight for those extra inches, that extra scoop.

Seriously, I've got the scoop(s) and they are right here:

Just how grim does the receiving situation look? It's pretty bad, folks.

Welcome to DC, Selvish Capers. If Capers plays well in camp, he could see some time at tackle should either Trent Williams or Jammal Brown miss time. He stands at 6-4 and weighs just over 300 pounds so he'll need to bulk up, but he is sounding like a solid prospect.

The 'Skins worst free agent signings ever? Right here. Funny thing is that, the Redskins have their own five signings listed, and then the article decides to name the other five worst signings from the other 31 teams combined.

Washington's list is probably worse too.

Jammal Brown was interviewed on 106.7 the Fan last week, and amazingly the Official Redskins Blog ran a story on it.

Considering the rivalry between Dan Snyder and the new sports talk station set up to rival Snyder's ESPN 980, it was shocking to see the Brown interview get pub from the Redskins.com.

For real though, gang, it's a great interview so listen to it.

And finally, I have to tease this for you. I'll be helping out NFL.com with a preview of Redskins training camp. This is a huge honor for me to write something that will be read by a ton of people.

Of course, I'll link to it when it comes out, but I just wanted to thank you all for reading the blog and helping me land this piece.

Tomorrow look for five keys to Redskin success in 2010.

June 26, 2010

Darnell Dockett Leads The Charge Against Fat Albert, 'Skins

I know this is a week late, but I felt it was still worth mentioning.

For some of you, this is old news, but Arizona Cardinals' LB Darnell Dockett had some poignant words for Albert Haynesworth and the entire Redskins organization last week during an interview on the Lavar and Dukes show on DC's 106.7 the Fan.

Dockett is a respected figure in NFL circles and his words against Washington likely summed up the consensus around the league regarding the Redskins.

Dockett, born and raised in the District, was asked if he would ever consider joining the Redskins in the future.

Dockett was careful to complement Redskins fans first, but then went on a stunning monologue in which he literally tore certain Redskin players limb from limb.

"This is one of the biggest cities with the most fans that are just dedicated [to] that team," Dockett said. "But there's a lot of things I don't like. There's a lot of things they do that I couldn't accept as being a leader. You know, I've never seen an organization that would go out and lose on Sunday and throw a party Sunday night after a loss. I couldn't adapt to that.

I could see me playing [there], but there would have to be a lot of things changing, because I'm a winner. I don't feel the need to play football and not want to win on Sundays, and I think winning comes with a perfect week of preparation, not being in the clubs, dedicating myself for 16-plus weeks of football. This is what you do, this is what you get paid millions of dollars to do, and that's what it's all about. It's not about partying every day of the week, celebrating one win. It's about piling up 9, 10 wins in a row, and winning a title, and getting a division, and getting into the playoffs. That's more important to me."

As much as I'm sure it pains fans to say, Dockett couldn't be more correct. Certain Redskins' players have not been 100 percent committed to winning. And we don't need to speculate which players because Dockett proceeded to call them out.

He rightfully trashed Clinton Portis, who has been more of a hindrance than a help the past year and a half.

"I couldn't play with him," Dockett said. "I couldn't play with a guy like that. From what I'm hearing in the locker room, me personally, I couldn't play with a guy like that. I've never played, since I've been in the NFL, with a guy that selfish, I've never played with guys where it was all about them, I've never played with guys that don't practice."

Portis skipped the majority of the in-season practices last season and missed 8 games following a concussion he sustained mideseason. He also publicly criticized the former coaching staff and QB Jason Campbell on separate occasions.

Portis is on his last legs with the Redskins. If he can't come through in 2010, he will be done in Washington. There are those who believe Portis can still be an effective back, but with Mike Shanahan bearing down, Portis is down to his last chance.

Dockett hit the nail on the head in every aspect. Washington has long been bogged down by bloated contracts and egos that have kept the franchise sidetracked. Until the guys at the top set a consistent precedent of demanding the best from their employees, we will never see the team seriously contend.

Dockett addressed the Haynesworth situation as well. He is furious at Haynesworth for taking the money and then not performing. Dockett expects that Haynesworth's dud 2009 season will kill the recent spike in the dollar amounts of contracts for defensive linemen. Dockett is hoping to land a fat contract himself and feels that Haynesworth is hurting his case for big money.

"I was kind of disappointed to see him [not] want to be a part of anything after he got that money," Dockett said. "He's making it harder for guys like myself---guys like Aubrayo Franklin in San Francisco, guys like Jay Ratliff in Dallas---These guys [are] going out and balling everyday, showing up to OTAs and camps that [aren't] even mandatory. We got to come and put down our work and show these teams that we want to get paid and you've got a guy that's one of the highest paid defensive tackles in the league and [he's] not even showing up. I mean, you're making it harder for us to get paid."

Dockett was clearly frustrated with Haynesworth, and he bashed him some more without even trying to be subtle.

"I think he's a dominant player when he wants to be. When he has his mind right he can go out there and play for how [ever] many plays he can play in a row---for whatever that's worth."

Tell us how you really feel, Darnell.

Special thanks to Dan Steinberg from the DC Sports Bog for transcribing part of the interview. Yours truly took care of the parts involving Haynesworth.

June 22, 2010

Midweek Roundup: Between The Lines

So I've decided to go with two link posts a week hence the Midweek and Weekend Roundup. If you have any catchier ideas for names, let me know.

Trent Williams guarantees he won't miss more than a day of camp. This guy sounds committed to showing up and playing hard. I like it.

On the other end of the spectrum, Albert Haynesworth is being sued by a Tennessee bank for failing to pay back a loan they gave him in 2007. Is there anyone who hasn't been screwed over by this guy? That's the second lawsuit filed against him in a month.

My take on the Jammal Brown trade and how it helps Donovan McNabb.

The 'Skins also added former Mr. Irrelevant, cornerback Ramzee Robinson over the weekend. If he even makes the team it will be as a special teamer.

Bruce Allen may not be the primary personnel evaluator, but he knows how to manage a cap and run a team professionally. He proved that by reaching out to the legends of the past this past week with the Redskins Alumni Charity Golf Tournament and also hosting them at practice last week.

Truly great to see the 'Skins associating themselves with guys who made the franchise relevant.

Patience in the Brown deal was the key according to Rich Tandler.

And predictions on the Redskins' 53-man roster for 2010.

June 19, 2010

Schefter: Brown Will Play RT

Adam Schefter just tweeted the following regarding the Jammal Brown trade:

Trent Williams and Jammal Brown can play either OT position. But plan will be to start with Williams at LT and Brown at RT. Could change.

So maybe the Redskins were simply concerned with the right side of the line. I initially thought that they might have decided that Williams would be better off on the right side. However, for now it appears that the 'Skins just wanted someone other than Stephon Heyer or Artis Hicks at RT.

'Skins Trade For Saints' OL Brown?

The Twitter universe has just started some buzz that the Washington Redskins have traded for New Orleans Saints' tackle Jammal Brown. Jeff Duncan from the New Orleans Times-Picayune first reported the potential deal. However, the trade has not yet been confirmed and compensation for the Saints is uncertain (probable conditional draft pick).

Before sitting out last season with a sports hernia, Brown was a stud left tackle in New Orleans who protected Drew Brees en route to his 5,000 yard passing season in 2008.

Brown, a five-year veteran is a two-time Pro Bowler. He is only 29 so it appears the Redskins have taken a huge step forward in solidifying the offensive line, which has been far and away the biggest concern over the past two years.

Since Brown plays left tackle, it could mean the Redskins are considering using rookie first round pick Trent Williams at right tackle. Williams was projected by many before the draft as a right tackle.

Also, Adam Schefter reported Albert Haynesworth is probably not involved in the trade

More to come as it unfolds.


Update: Jay Glazer from Fox Sports tweeted the news officially moments ago. It's Brown to the 'Skins, pending a physical. Brown just landed in DC. A conditional pick based on Brown's performance in 2010 is what the 'Skins are rumored to be giving up.

Yet another explosive offseason move. Even with Shanny, the 'Skins have made two huge trades.

June 18, 2010

Weekend Roundup: Draft Picks Signed

The Redskins have inked all but one of their draft picks from the 2010 NFL draft. Here's the scoops:

LB- Perry Riley (4th-round)

WR/KR-Terrence Austin (7th-round)

FB/TE-Dennis Morris (6th-round), T-Selvish Capers (7th-round), OL-Erik Cook (7th-round)

That leaves just first-round tackle Trent Williams as the only draftee unsigned.

Williams fired his agent earlier this week and he won't be able to hire another until next week, meaning he might not even begin negotiating for another few days.

Obviously, it's imperative Williams gets into camp on time to keep up. We'll see how committed he is to making football his first priority.

Elsewhere, LB Rocky McIntosh signed his tender. He wants a long-term deal to stay in DC, but so far nothing doing. I would bet the 'Skins want to see how he will fit into the 3-4 be it outside or inside.

Carlos Rogers is the only RFA who has yet to sign his tender.

Justin Medlock was cut this week, leaving Graham Gano as the lone kicker on the roster.

How about a contract buyout in the Haynesworth case? I think Albert is going to try and leave with every penny so that could be difficult.

Rich Tandler gives us an offseason in review for the 'Skins.

And I you all a little preview of how I think the 'Skins will fare this season on nfl.com.

June 17, 2010

Even Without Haynesworth, 'Skins Have Pieces Along D-Line

With all the talk surrounding Albert Haynesworth and his less than certain future with the Redskins, everyone is overlooking the fact that Washington has managed to compile a solid group of players along the defensive line.

Vonnie Holliday, Adam Carriker, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, Anthony Bryant and Howard Green are amongst the new faces who will be hunkering down up front in the Redskins new 3-4 scheme.

None of these players come close to the talent Haynesworth possesses, but they all are aware that if they play in their specific roles according to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's new scheme, good things will happen.

The 'Skins are widely expected to use a 3-4 as their base defense, which means the defensive line must be strong at the point of attack. Sacks and gaudy stats aren't the objective for the group. Their goal will be to fill gaps and occupy bodies at the line of scrimmage, leaving the linebackers free to stop the run or rush the passer.

The new Redskins defense could best be described as organized chaos. The front seven must create as much havoc as possible in the hope of forcing more turnovers and sacks. The defensive line in this scheme must give the linebackers plenty of open field to work with.

Haynesworth would give Washington the perfect body to anchor the line, but since Haynesworth seems completely against sacrificing his stats, he likely won't play at the nose tackle position.

Haynesworth refuses to play in a 3-4 because aside from Richard Seymour and Jay Ratliff, there are almost zero defensive linemen in a 3-4 who post high sack totals. Haynesworth doesn't want to be a space-eater, he wants to make plays.

Fortunately, the Redskins prepared for life without Fat Albert this offseason. Kemoeatu and Green both have experience playing the nose tackle position, both having learned the 3-4 under the guidance of defensive guru Rex Ryan.

Granted, neither player can measure up to Haynesworth yet both have a work ethic and a team-first mentality.

Assuming Kemoeatu fully recovers from an Achilles injury that forced him to miss the 2009 season, he will start at nose tackle. However, the defensive line is expected to consist of a rotation of players each week.

Holliday and Carriker are both prototypical defensive ends for a 3-4. Holliday is a grizzled vet who has the size (6-5, 285) to hold the edge for whichever linebacker lines up to his outside. He will split time with Kedric Golston at one DE spot

Carriker was projected to be a 3-4 end out of Nebraska and though the former first-round selection has yet to meet expectations, he is only entering his fourth year as a pro. Injuries are a huge concern, but should he remain healthy, Carriker will be able to draw frequent double teams with his 300-pound frame.

The other end who will see time is longtime Redskin Phillip Daniels. Daniels is respected in the locker room and having his presence is vital to keeping the players in sync. On the field, he is still a contributor coming into his 16th season.

Daniels is another guy who will command attention with his size (6-6, 305), giving the Redskins four players who should combine to help control the line of scrimmage.

Throw in youngster Rob Jackson who saw some playing time last year, and Washington has to feel confident that they will have a good defensive line anchoring the 3-4.

Three down linemen don't have to rack up sacks. All Carriker, Holliday and the rest of the unit must do is create opportunities for the rest of the defense.

Should Haynesworth play, it could only get better, but at this point Washington has to feel that they don't have to have him on the field in order to win.

June 16, 2010

Haynesworth Continues to Dominate the Headlines

I don't understand why we all seem so shocked that Albert Haynesworth is skipping the Redskins mandatory minicamp this week.

After all, Haynesworth has shown little to no commitment to the Redskins' organization since inking a deal that guaranteed him over $40 million.

Throw in the fact that it is now the norm for disgruntled stars to make every effort to avoid training camp and all offseason activities (see Brett Favre and Darrelle Revis), and we shouldn't be batting an eyelash over this.

Haynesworth doesn't care for preparation nor does he care to play in a 3-4. He has shown little interest in being a team player, and has done nothing to prove to Mike Shanahan that he will improve upon last year's uneven performance.

Haynesworth is an enigma for several reasons. The 'Skins would love to be rid of him, but Haynesworth has already claimed a huge portion of his guaranteed dollars and might be too talented to outright cut.

Upside is the name of the game in this scenario. If Washington believes that Haynesworth's production will be worth his belly-aching, then they will keep him around. Add in the fact that they have already shelled out big money for his services, and the 'Skins might feel inclined to keep him.

On the other hand, Haynesworth was blasted by his teammates today, a sign that the players are no longer willing to tolerate his selfish demeanor in the locker room.

Haynesworth's lack of involvement with the team is well documented. The Post's Redskins Insider has a great excerpt on just how invisible Haynesworth has been:

"Haynesworth missed all but one day of Coach Mike Shanahan's 47-day voluntary program, including six days of minicamps, 13 organized team activities and 28 days designated for lifting, according to a copy of the team's offseason schedule. In March, he attended Shanahan's introductory session to inform him he planned to train on his own."

That's pretty bad in today's NFL where coaches demand near perfect attendance for offseason activities.

However, Haynesworth is incredibly talented and the Redskins know this. They will lose big time if they cut him or trade him at this point.

However, will they lose even more in terms of team chemistry should Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan decide to keep him around?

June 9, 2010

Multiple Moves At Redskins Park Today

According to Adam Schefter the 'Skins have just signed former Cleveland Browns Receiver Mike Furrey while releasing LB Alvin Bowen, DL Antoine Holmes, CB Marcus McCauley and TE Sean Ryan.

Furrey pulled in 98 passes for 1086 yards in 2006 with the Lions, but has caught just 102 balls in the three years following 2006 (61 of those came in 2007).

Furrey has spent most of his career under the direction of offensive guru Mike Martz. Furrey began his career in St Louis with Martz, and then followed him to Detroit after Martz was fired from the Rams.

Martz is known for his vertical passing schemes, and Furrey benefitted as a slot receiver over the middle as guys like Roy Williams, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Clavin Johnson drew safety help deep, leaving Furrey free to operate underneath.

Furrey played with the Browns last season catching 23 passes for 170 and zero TDs. He also spent time at the safety position in Cleveland.

Ryan was the biggest name cut today by head coach Mike Shanahan. He signed a contract earlier this offseason to compete for time as a blocking tight end.

June 5, 2010

TO On The Network: McNabb Reunion Possible

Terrell Owen sat down with Rich Eisen from NFL Network last night in what seemed like a State of the TO address.

Eisen does a fantastic job as always, and the interview was entertaining. TO seems to be marketing himself as a humble guy right now. He downplayed the fact that he has yet to sign with a team, but I have to say he is probably getting a little antsy.

He addressed the Redskins and whether or not he would play with Donovan McNabb again.

"Donovan and I, we have squashed our issues," said TO. "When he got traded and went to the Redskins I wished him congratulations. He already knew his situation prior to being traded so we talked about the idea of actually playing together. That was something that I welcome with open arms and he as well."

Owens was very "chill" throughout the interview (Eisen said that and I agree). He was at ease and calm.

Has he become a team player for real or was the interview just a nice little spot for TO to pull the wool over the eyes of a GM desperate for a WR.

Either way, Owens remains tempting, and unsigned.

June 3, 2010

'Skins Extend Offer To Westbrook

Looking back in NFL history, fans should realize that Mike Shanahan has never, ever met a running back he didn't like.

A year away from the game certainly didn't lessen his penchant for stacking a backfield.

Shanahan has already added Larry Johnson and Willie Parker who are competing for the starting tailback job with incumbent Clinton Portis. Now Shanahan has admitted the Redskins have extended an offer to former Eagle Brian Westbrook.

Shanahan told reporters Wednesday that "we want [Brian Westbrook] to sign with us. Like I said, it could be some great competition. I really like Brian, what he's done and how he's handled himself. I'm sure he's weighing some options. It's not too far away from home. Any more I can do?"

For a league filled with coachspeak, that's about as real as you're going to get. Shanahan wants Westbrook on the team.

There are a million viewpoints on the Redskins backfield. No one can tell why Shanahan is embarking on a running back spree of this magnitude. Could it be that he plans to cut Portis? Is he afraid one these backs will suffer an injury ? Is he uncertain as to what to do in regards to the RB position?

One thing's for sure if Westbrook is added, this could be the most decorated backfield ever. The foursome have two Super Bowl rings, three Super Bowl appearances, eight Pro Bowls, and 12 1,000 yard rushing campaigns between them.

Of course, the 'Skins have made their mark as the team who buys former stars who have nothing left on the field. This could very well be a repeat of past mistakes, but you have to think Shanny has hit the mark with at least one of these backs.

Portis has been named the starter going into training camp, but he hasn't produced since early in 2008. However, an improved offensive gameplan might just kick him back into gear.

Johnson has possibly the most talent out of any of the backs on the roster, but has off-field issues that have clearly affected his performance the last fews years. This change of scenery could be just what Johnson needs to get back on track.

Parker is presently the third-string back. He is injury-prone, but his one-cut style fits well with Shanahan's scheme.

Should Westbrook be signed, he is the third-down, change-of-pace back the 'Skins have lacked for years. He can catch passes out of the backfield and is a legitimate threat to score on each touch.

The 'Skins can protect Westbrook by using him as a situational player. Westbrook can make an impact without playing every down, which is something the other three backs can't do.

Stay tuned.

June 1, 2010

Westbrook To Make Decision Soon

Brian Westbrook is still in the process of of finding a new team after being cut from the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason.

According to Jason La Canfora, Westbrook is coming close to making a decision.

Westbrook is a Pro Bowl running back with a pair of 1,000 yard rushing campaigns. He is 30, the dreaded age where RBs are often kicked to the curb, and is coming off a concussion which forced him to miss eight games in 2009.

However, several teams are rumored to be interested in Westbrook who has been feared throughout his career as a threat catching passes out of the backfield in addition to his work between the tackles.

The Redskins, Rams and Broncos are all interested in Westbrook, and these teams undoubtedly feel that Westbrook could still be dynamic as a third-down or change-of-pace back.

Last Wednesday (May 26th), Mike Shanahan told Redskins Insider he is hoping Westbrook will choose the 'Skins.

Westbrook would be wise to sign with a team quickly. With training camp on the horizon, he'll need time to settle in with a new team and master their schemes.

Westbrook would be the third big name back the Redskins have brought in this offseason. Larry Johnson and Willie Parker have already been signed, joining Clinton Portis in the backfield.

If Westbrook is signed, then at least one of the Redskins RBs would be cut. Again, I'll reiterate that I think Portis will be the on receiving the ax. Shanahan obviously has little faith in him considering how much attention he has paid to the RB position this offseason.

Atogwe Becomes UFA Today

Midnight has come and gone, meaning as far as I can tell Rams safety OJ Atogwe is now an unrestricted free agent.

Atogwe needed to sign a contract or have the franchise tag slapped on him by St. Louis if the Rams were to keep him off the market by June 1st.

Atogwe is one of the better free safeties in the NFL, and the Redskins are in need of a replacement for LaRon Landry at FS as Landry is moving over to the strong safety position. I have been pulling for the 'Skins to make a play for Atogwe, and now it appears Atogwe could be available to them.

Note: Jason La Canfora reported on nfl.com that the Rams were trying to work out a deal before midnight. So far, I have heard of no news regarding a deal.