First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

Apr 26, 2010

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

Once again, so much to talk about, so little time. We've got Game 6 tonight in Montreal, with Coach Bruce Boudreau throwing some of his players under the bus, then fishing them out again before they got run over.

And we've got a little Redskins news to rehash. New draft picks, plus the departure of Jason Campbell, and the non-departure of Albert Haynesworth -- and whatever else you want to discuss. Join me!

With the Capitals making a run for the Stanley Cup, why do your editors (or you?) feel it necessary to entertain questions about other DC sport teams for the moment?

Good place to start. Morning, everyone!

Well, I declared it a Skins/Caps chat for two main reasons. The Caps had a fairly quiet weekend; the Skins did not. And I like to mix it up; that means not doing the Caps exclusively five days a week through the middle of June (if they're lucky).

If the Caps get their act together, we should have lots and lots of Caps chats ahead of us.

could we see daryll clark take over for donovan mcnabb 3 years down the road?

Whoa, easy, big fella! Too soon to tell. I'm sure Shanahan would say the same thing. I think they took a shot on a guy and they'll take a look at him and if they like what they see -- if what they see is an NFL quarterback -- they have several years to groom him.

Probably the only thing I had against Jason Campbell was that he never seemed to demonstrate fire in his eyes or anger, rallying or pushing players on the field. But, considering that he had to undergo dramatic offensive philosophies and having to work with a play caller brought in midseason, who (according to stories) didn't talk to players, and who reportedly didn't talk to the quarterback. Add the overt attempts to replace him, how could the Redskins, or anyone else, expect Jason Campbell to succeed if he wasn't given mental support, let alone an offense that was at least average? At least when they attempted to get Donovan McNabb it wasn't in the face of Jason Campbell; it was done as a target of opportunity.

Yes, Jason Campbell was not fiery. Not in his nature to get in guys' faces. McNabb won't have that problem. ]

Campbell did not have great working conditions in his time here. I was happy to see him land a spot somewhere else.

anthony alridge is a change of pace back who can make plays like a darren sproles, leon washington type of player. do you think he'll make the team?

I've been told Shanahan likes this guy. In fact, I was told that last year, before Shanahan was the coach here. I think he's got a good shot. That speed ... If he can hang on to the ball, he might make it.

As a long time Caps fan, I see a train wreck coming if this comes back to Washington for Game 7. Do you see the light at the end of the tunnel, or am I just being paranoid of ALWAYS losing Game 7 at home?

I think they'll wrap it up tonight BUT I think they've got to figure out why they aren't playing better at home or there's no point in advancing. Let's face it, they've won once at home in the playoffs and that was in many ways a lucky one. Yes, if they lost tonight, I'd be nervous if I were you. Sorry.

Was it inevitable that once Coach Zorn was let go that Jason Campbell's days as a Redskin were numbered? i.e.  is it a coach ego thing? "I didn't choose him and it is too late to mold him into my quarterback so he has to go!"

It was inevitable once Shanahan and Allen arrived, yes. But even if nothing had changed, I'm not sure Campbell would have been back. Zorn wasn't always enamoured of Campbell. He thought he should suck it up and not complain about the sacks. I remember that news conference vividly. The one time Jason complained -- I think he told Kelli Johnson that he was worried he was endangering his career -- Zorn was hot. Jason never opened his mouth before or after. But clearly that comment touched a nerve.

What are your bets concerning Albert Haynesworth coming to mini camp in shape?

This is the biggie, no pun intended. If Haynesworth is smart, he comes in looking as svelte as a guy his size can look and is the model player. That knocks the ball back in Shanahan's court.

If he comes in looking like Jaba the Hut and taking a knee every two minutes, all bets are off. I think he comes in in shape. It's the smart play.

The Redskins traded him for a fourth-round pick -- two YEARS from now. Wow. Was there any other compensation? Is this the best they could do, or were they so anxious to get rid of him they basically traded him away for a handful of magic beans?

I think they'd have been delighted to get the magic beans. Yes, it doesn't seem like much, but they were looking to have to cut the guy, essentially. Something's better than nothing.

Any chance Bruce Boudreau benches Tomas Fleischmann for Game 6? He seems to be playing very uninspired hockey. I'd like to see BB move Chimera to the 3rd line at LW and insert Scott Walker on the 4th line with Gordon and Bradley. If nothing else it sends a message to Flash that he'd better pick up the energy level to match that of his linemates. Any thoughts?

I like your moves. I'd get Walker in there tonight, no question. What can it hurt? I think we'll see some big moves from Boudreau. One thing I like about him -- he doesn't worry about damaging psyches or anything. I was a little sorry he backed off the "five or six passengers" line. First, that was a great line and second, that would get my attention if I'm in that locker room.

Good luck, man of integrity.

I think the majority of Skins fans feel the same.

Count me as part of that group that was happy to see Campbell move on. I always thought he was a solid QB playing in the wrong style offense. He needed to be in a shotgun heavy system, not a west coast or Joe Gibbs system, both of which don't use much shotgun if any.

I do think that's fair. The system changed several times on the guy.

Is it possible that Coach Shanahan could instill some other form of discipline (i.e., fine, benching, etc.) for Fat Albert for his lack of commitment to the voluntary camps? I understand 'voluntary' is the key word here. But, these guys are getting paid alot of money, and thus I believe, owe it to the organization to show some commitment to the new staff.

I don't think there's any punishment you can give out for missing voluntary workouts. Even a union as relatively weak as the NFL's would have a field day with that. Shanahan could make his life miserable in the mandatory camp. That's about his only recourse. Will he? What do you think? I think yes...

Is Selvish Capers capable of starting at RT this year? Do you think he'll be part of the competition?

Anyone coming to camp will have a shot at a starting offensive line job, pretty much. Yes, he'll be part of the competition. Too soon to say if he'll make it but he'll have a shot. Even if he ends up as a backup, he'll have a shot. Remember all the injuries last year?

Eric Belanger gave new meaning to having your roots done. Can he still eat poutine, if it is cut up small enough, that is.

When they said on TV last night that he had his "roots trimmed," I threw up a little in my mouth. That sounds dreadful. Of course, so does poutine.

Seriously, I think a 4th for Campbell is fair market value, but in 2012? Who knows if our planet won't implode by then.

Yeah, I saw that movie too.

The way Shanahan is now talking about Albert Haynesworth being MIA for his 'voluntary' workouts, it seems it is no big deal. Is he getting special treatment because of his talent and big contract? Wasn't this supposed to be the new era of everybody's equal?

The last day of minicamp, when Shanahan spoke to the media, I did not get the impression he felt it was no big deal. He was ticked. But there isn't anything he can do about it. Haynesworth ignored the pressure and didn't come; that can't make the coach (the applier of the pressure) happy.

Yes, it was supposed to be that. The players talked about that a lot after minicamp. But Shanahan couldn't drag Big Albert out there. There's another one coming up. Stay tuned.

I find it disturbing that an employee/player would make over $41 million from his employer and have the unmitigated contempt to tell your employer that he has no right to direct your work activities. A player acting this way shows little respect for what the game means to the fans and the source of their salaries. I think the owners should seek to obtain a salary structure that is defined and absolute. What are your thoughts on this? The price of tickets and sports items are terribly over priced and something has to give sooner or later.

I am not sure why the NFL has such as a thing as "voluntary" workouts. I'm on record as stating that their work year is fairly short as it is and why giving up three weekends out of six months off is such a sacrifice is beyond me.

I always get the argument that they have a very violent six months during the season. True to an extent, but minicamp is no pads, no hitting. The biggest danger at the last one was catching cold.

A set salary structure? It'll never happen.

What does it say for the Redskins that it is accepted that Campbell is moving to a more stable environment to save his career out in Oakland?

Well, I don't think anyone believes the Raiders are more stable than the Redskins. I think they have an open quarterback spot. The Redskins certainly gave the Raiders a run for their money last year in terms of dysfunction, but so far, 2010 seems to be a calmer Redskins organization. Of course, it's early.

T... always enjoy your column.. .. but I notice today that the Post has changed your name to "Undefined Undefined". Are you in Contract negotiations?

Yes, I've decided to skip voluntary workouts. Unfortunately, none of them are voluntary.

Hey Tracee, What are the keys to the Caps finishing off the Habs tonight? For me, it's getting the power play on track, and getting scoring from the 2nd line. Thoughts?

Those are good ones. Plus Varlamov continues his mastery of Bell Centre, where he has yet to lose.

Tracee, Do you think that tonight is the night that Semin finally lights it up? He seemed so close several times on Friday, and was brutally shut down by Halak (who was playing out of his mind). I think tonight's the night, what say you?

Semin's been a mystery. He's gotta break out of it sometime, so what the heck, yes, I'll say it: Tonight's the night.

I don't want to be too critical on the Skins draft nor do I feel they should be praised... After all we don't know for years whether or not this will be a good draft for the Skins. I will say they addressed the OL, thank God! Here's my one major issue. Maybe you can explain why we draft a TE in the sixth round when it seems to be the one position we are stacked at? Especially don't understand why we make this pick with Myron Rolle (S) from Florida State still on the board, which I feel would have been a major steal. Please tell me they're not looking to trade Cooley or Davis?

Totally agree on grading the draft -- it is way too early. But they did address the o-line and that was essential.

TE is a mystery to me as well. I don't think they want to trade Davis or Cooley but it's also a little early to tell. Remember, Shanahan's had three days with these guys so far. Myron Rolle would have been a good pick; agree with you there.

I'm panicking about the Caps game tonight!

Yeah, I get that.

Hey T.. I looked in the fridge this morning and saw a bowl of Shellfish and a jar of Capers. Is it too late for Selvish Capers to sue his parents?

First of all, I'm worried about your diet.

Selvish is a heck of a name. Imagine if he was a running back, all the jokes about being "selfish".

Isn't the hiring of Shanahan another try by Snyder for the quick fast fix with a coach who he thinks can bring a SB to his bunch of losers in next 24mos or so? I don't see Brucie boy as being any better than Vinnie since Danny is still in charge and Fat Albert is still here. How did Mikey do once Elway was gone? How many years did it take for those two to get on track? History tells us Danny's plans don't work. Teams need to built not created by the wizard from behind the magic curtain. Shannie is gone in two years and Snyder is looking for his next big media splash and coach hire? Maybe Cowher will take his money then? Or that ole softie Coughlin who will be available in 2 years after the Giants can him.

Someone had their negative flakes this morning.

Throwing this out there. Gotta run. Join Dave Sheinin's Strasburg chat, right now!

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there were a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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