The Washington Post

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

May 07, 2010

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

Today is the first of the Redskins’ second voluntary mini-camp. What a plethora of football matters we have to discuss! Let’s see, Jason Reid reports that Albert Haynesworth will not be in Ashburn this weekend – no surprise there – and that he’s still unhappy about the new defensive scheme – again, no surprise. GM Bruce Allen says the team hasn’t begun talks with Donovan McNabb on an extension. The team fires former star Donnie Warren from the scouting staff.


And then there’s the more typical Redskins news: Clinton Portis vs. LaVar Arrington in a war of words over Sean Taylor’s funeral, which was more than two years ago. The cheerleader brouhaha, if we’re not done with that yet. J-Reid also reports that players aren’t allowed to go to owner Dan Snyder with grievances – they’re supposed to go to Allen instead. (Lucky Allen.) And Allen hints there may be yellow pants in the Skins’ future. So I guess that would be make the color scheme maroon and black and yellow, then. Got it. Let’s hear it on a Friday morning, folks!


Good morning Tracee, First things first? Who is going to be the Redskins starting free safety in 2010? The Cowboys are trading Bobby Carpenter for Alex Barron of the Rams. Why would the Redskins not offer Rocky for Alex Barron?

Good morning, all. Sorry I am slightly late getting started. I woke up poor J-Reid to get this answer because I didn't know and was feeling bad. Turns out no one knows, so I am not such a dope and shouldn't feel so bad and shouldn't have woken up J-Reid. Oy.

The free safety is going to be Doughty. Or Moore. Or  Horton. In other words, no one knows. Yet. They'll start sorting that out in mini-camp but J-Reid says we won't probably know till training camp.

As for why the Redskins didn't trade for Barron, it's possible they made them an offer they COULD refuse. That I don't know. It's more likely they think one of the guys I mentioned will make it.

With Landry moving back to his correct position (strong safety) it seems all we have are strong safeties (Horton, Doughty, Moore, Holmes). Who will be the starting free safety. Do we have anyone who can be our security blanket in terms of athleticism?

See above!

Tracee, Do you expect any more free-agency additions to the team? Someone like a Flozell Adams perhaps?

I do expect more free agent pickups. They signed a LB this morning with the great name of Chris Draft. I sort of expected more free agent OL pickups, but there's time.

Do you think that Mcnabb will create the breakout year for Malcolm Kelly? The same way Brett Favre did Sidney Rice? Same skill set!

He could. I think he'll find a comfort level with one or two receivers, like most QBs. But will it be Kelly or Thomas or someone unexpected? Too soon to tell. Looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and trying to read tea leaves, but since everyone throws to everyone it's difficult to say, yet.

  • Caps: went retro with the red white and blue uniforms and look sharp.
  • Nats: have retro away uniforms at least.
  • Skins: going to gold pants and back to the traditional color scheme.

What are the Wiz waiting for? DC is a town that loves classical looks, in our architecture, our 3-piece business suits. It only makes sense that the sports teams embrace a retro/classic look as well.

Here's a vote for the gold pants. (Yay Gold Pants!) is a great headline, by the way.

There is a lot of sentiment for changing the Wizards' look, which is interesting. Teams love to change looks because of the money that generates, so if I were a fan, I would pass along those thoughts to the new owner. Yes, I would.

Haynesworth a force this year? Or does he sulk and complain and force his way out of town?

Also, with our schedule this upcoming season, is it safe to assume we could be headed for another tough year? Obviously we should be more effecient on the offensive side of the ball but who knows how our O-line will hold up and how our young recievers will develop under the Shanny boys.

I think 8-8 is a good, realistic goal for 2010. As for Haynesworth -- it's hard to tell since we haven't seen the guy, nor will we till June 16. I don't know him well enough to say how he'll be; he was never exactly the life of the party when I saw him last year. He's not Mr. Fun. Although I would point out in fairness that there is the locker room the media sees and the real locker room. He could be Mr. Fun in that one for all I know. But I'd be surprised. I found him to be, hmmm, dour is the right word, I think, last season. But again, that's when the media hordes are around. We shouldn't kid ourselves that the locker room we see is the real locker room.

For all the negative comments you and other media have made about Clinton Portis why don't you show more balance and point out that he has been at every voluntary OTA , he never gets into trouble with the law and that he has lost weight?

Well, I don't think we ought to point out those who haven't been in trouble with the law like it's some great achievement. When Jason Campbell is traded, should we write, "Campbell, who was never in trouble with the law ..." That assumes it's some damn big surprise, and is insulting to Jason Campbell, and really to football players.

As citizens of this country, we're not supposed to be in trouble with the law. It's not supposed to be a great achievement that you put on your resume. That's the kind of argument I made as a teenager to my parents when I wanted to do something crazy, like take the car out of town. "I don't do drugs, I'm not in trouble, I get good grades." My dad would always counter with, "You're supposed to do those things." I would counter with, "That's not fair," and he would counter with, "Life's not fair."

He was right about it all.

In the article I read about Clinton and LaVar, I believe it said right up top, maybe second paragraph, that Portis has attended all the voluntary workouts. So I think your comment is perhaps a little unfair.

He looked good at minicamp last month. He's doing what needs to be done. I would argue that he should always have been doing what needs to be done, but clearly he knows Shanahan's limits and he's toeing the line. Good for him. HE'S SUPPOSED TO. I don't get praising a guy for doing his job.


Okay, tell me the truth. Is your chat easy or am I just so witty to get all my sports questions answered? Because Hax and Weingarten don't give me the time of day. Since you do this 5 times a week, maybe you could try to answer questions from their scrubs. I can't get off the bench in their chats.

I'm easy like a Sunday morning.

Tracee: Other than learning Trent Williams's shoe size, will FANS actually learn anything about the team and it's rookie class from this one mini-camp?

No. The media won't learn much, either. It was quite a surprise at the last one that we were allowed to stay on the field the whole time, so we do at least get to see most of it. But most of it is drills. Nope, I'm afraid a lot of questions -- like the safety question -- won't be answered until camp. But we might get some clues along the way.

Why is Albert Hanesworth unhappy about the new defensive scheme? He was unhappy last year and again this year. I understand that the coaches are not trying to put him at nose tackle but to move him around the line to get the best mismatch.

He apparently feels that the 3-4 doesn't utilitize him to his full abilities, and he may be right. When he's in and on his game, he's very disruptive. But as I understand this, it's not a typical 3-4. I guess if I were Albert, I'd come to camp and see what the defense actually looks like before I made up my mind. But then, I'm nuts that way. He'll find out in June. And maybe he'll still hate it. We'll see.

I am planning my vacation around Skins mini-camp. How crazy is that? But how can I miss it?

After seeing last year's O-line, and how terrible they performed, did the new staff do enough, bringing in enough veteran players or drafting, to make this O-line at least competitive, or do you think they saw enough from the existing players to think they already have the building blocks to develop a good line.

My answers would be no, and I guess so. I don't think they have done enough to the offensive line yet, no. But they must think they have, or they have some other moves in mind. I hope they have some other moves in mind. In my opinion, they do not have the building blocks in place.

Hi Tracee, when do you find yourself making that enivitable rite-of-summer switch from regular coffee to ice coffee? Your readership would like to know. Thanks!

I don't drink coffee. I drink iced tea year round. Was that the sound of your mind just being blown?

Have you all heard anything more about the Skins' PR Dept shuffle? It seems like Danny is making a deliberate effort to take a huge step back and allow career-NFLers to run the team from the top down. If so, he deserves some major credit. It can't be easy to give up control of a $1B enterprise.

Tony Wyllie was brought in to help shore up the ridiculous incidents like the cheerleader fiasco. I would give him a little time on the job but yes, my impression is that Snyder realizes he's made mistakes and is trying to mend fences. It's a big job but if he's trying, that's a start. You can't wave a magic wand and fix all the bad feelings, no more than you can wave a magic wand and fix a team in a mess (like the Wizards). These things take time.


Christmas 1976. . .my sainted mother drove all over the DC Metro area looking for yellow football pants so I could have an authentic Redskins uniform!

Tremendous. I hope you still have them.

I like you better than Tom. You answer my questions. Do you think you could take him?

I could because Tom is so, so much nicer than me, he'd let me take him. I love Tom Boswell. He is just the best guy to be around.

My secret is simple: I'm a really fast typist. I am slower than I used to be but I can still work a keyboard. So I answer more questions than most. It's that simple.

Is a great pickup. Solid inside LB and a class act.


Aren't ink stained wretches required by tradition to drink black coffee and smoke cheap cigars?

Yeah, it's the modern age. I have colleagues that run freakin' marathons. I smoked back in my youth for a bit but never liked it. Not a big drinker, except for Guiness. Love iced tea. Green. Decaffeinated. Boring. I know. I'll try to develop an addiction to make myself more colorful.

Whoever invented iced coffee should banished from civilized society! Iced coffee is like hot beer. No, no, no, no, no, no, no!

This is great. People will debate anything. That why I LOVE this chat.

Do we expect the team to announce the new uniforms at some point officially, and show off exactly what they will be doing? I assume the NFL needs to give such information to partners like EA Games.

If this is a happenin' thing, you can expect them to have an unveiling, of course, and I would think they'd need to get cracking on it. Just a hunch, but it's possibly someone gives that story exclusively to WJLA. That would be my move, if I were in charge.

This incident with the cheerleader's husband and the local media stations was completely absurd. What else can this organization do to keep themselves relavent as the laughingstock of the NFL?

Again, Mr. Tony Wyllie is here to fix this stuff. Wish him luck. I think he's got his work cut out for him. Hoping to meet him this weekend but no idea if he's in town yet.

I know he is in Tennessee but is Albert still carrying around his "baby fat"? For that kind of money he should look like an Olympic athlete. Or maybe a pro football player.

Don't know. It's hard to know what's going on for the media; imagine how the Skins front office feels. They sort of have to guess along with the rest of us. You don't want Albert to look like Andre Carter when he's done; he's a big man and needs to stay that way. I thought 20 pounds would help him a lot with his general conditioning. I'm not sure what goals the Redskins gave him, if any. Maybe THEY want him to look like Andre Carter.

Gosh, I've run over. I've got to go track down my floppy hat and sunscreen for tomorrow. Join me on Monday, when I'm pretty sure the topic will be ... yellow pants and iced coffee. Later!

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