Sep 20, 2010

Post columnist Tracee Hamilton and Redskins beat writer Jason Reid take your questions about the Redskins loss to the Texans and more.

But in your opinion, where did we lose the game? Signed - The girl who will be eating Ramen until the start of the 2011 football season. Never again will I make ridiculous bets.

Oh, let's see, no running game and a defensive shortfall would be my two main culprits. There was a lot to like in this game, some improvement, but the defense in the fourth quarter is a concern.

I've seen those new Ramen-type bowls at the grocery story that are bigger than the standard Cup-a-Noodles. Might be more filling. Trying to help. Sorry about the bet.

And good morning, everyone! Jason Reid, aka J-Reid, aka The Mayor, will be joining us in a few minutes to help field Skins questions like so many Bidwell punts. Here we go.

With the MLB schedule starting earlier next year, and the Nationals opening at home, are you worried about having to be in two places at once? (Here for opening weekend, and in Houston to see the Jayhawks in the 2011 Final Four!)

Nooooooooooooooooo. Too early for THAT jinx!

Trust me, as long as Boz draws breath -- and may that be a long, long time -- Opening Day will be covered. Let's put it that way.

That makes yesterday's loss far less painful this morning!! Regardless of how the Redskins do my season will be made if the Cow Patties go in to a total collapse!

One of the few games I picked correctly yesterday. I'm also pretty psyched that the Chiefs are 2-0. And if you'd guessed before the season that the Chiefs would be 2-0 and the Cowboys would be 0-2, you'd be pretty smart.

I believe I have the answer to the jersey debate. If you're under the age of 10, you can wear a sports jersey whenever or where ever you want (other than church). If you're over the age of 10, you can only wear your jersey on the way to watching the game (either at the stadium or on tv), while watching the game, or on the way home. Also included is to, from or at a rally for the team. If you wear it other times, you're a tool.

We're going to need to publish a manifesto, in all seriousness. You really can't wear a jersey on, say, a Monday to the grocery store after a victory? I was thinking of ordering a Chiefs jersey but under your rules I'd never be able to wear it without being a tool. I don't want to be a tool!

Ok, let me start by saying I am NOT a 'Skins fan and I am glad they lost but somthing has to be done about these timeouts just as the ball is snapped. As a fan, I am tired of watching kicks that don't count because some coach has "cleverly" planned the timeout. It is completely stupid and ruins the suspense of a game-winning/tying kick.. Maybe they could start by not allowing any timeouts in OT.

Well, I agree, as I mentioned in this morning's column. It's in the rules, so it's perfectly allowable, but the sportsmanship of it leaves me cold. It just seems sort of classless and "neener neener" to me to make the poor kicker kick then kick again. I realize kicking isn't the most physically taxing job but mentally it must be a kick in the rear.

Before the entire hour is (sigh) devoted to football, would it be possible to take one moment to discuss the Potomac Nationals and their capture of the Carolina League championship Friday night? Any speculation or analysis what a Class A minor league pennant like this will mean for the parent Washington Nationals when at least some of those players attain the major leagues in a few years?

Yes, thanks for bringing it up -- good for the P-Nats! Long-term, I'm not sure how much it means -- it's a long road from Potomac. The key will be to see how many of these guys start in Harrisburg next season. Potomac should be a pit stop if you're really ML bound.

I am not wearing a jersey, but I am wearing a gold blouse & a black jumper. . .

Smart. Making a statement quietly. I like it.

Can you ask one of your interns (or Boz cuz he loves this stuff) to calculate the opposing teams 3rd down conversion rate when they are third and long (more than say. . .6 yards) against the Redskins for the past few seasons? My casual observation is that we are TERRIBLE defending against 3rd and long. I cringe whenever I see it because it almost always means that the opposing team will convert for a first down. Have you noticed this?

I haven't but I'll get one of the interns on it. :) I wish. I'll look at last year's game books myself, but you might also float that at Boz in his chat. That man loves the stats.

Does Drew Storen have the stuff to be a closer? He seems to nibble like some of the other guys. My candidate: Colin Balester with a confidence transplant!

Call me crazy, but I think four-plus months is insufficient time in which to judge whether he's the closer of the future. Boz and I discussed this yesterday and we agree that we should give him more time. If Balester needs a confidence transplant then he can't be a closer. Period. That is not a job for the faint of heart. But if they can find a way to get Balester in the right mindset, then sure, give him a crack at it. I'm not advocating handing Storen the job, but I'm also not advocating ruling him out of it at this stage.

"I was thinking of ordering a Chiefs jersey but under your rules I'd never be able to wear it without being a tool. I don't want to be a tool!" Ah, but if you wear it on the way to, during, or the way home from watching the game at a sports bar, then you're ok.

Ah, but remember what I do for a living. I work every Sunday. Still, maybe I should be prepared for the bye week. Then I need to find a sports bar that shows the Chiefs. Boy, being a fan is a lot of work!

Since everyone complains everytime this happens, I was wondering what kind of discretion refs have in granting the timeout. I know, for example, in baseball, that umps don't have to grant a timeout to the hitter when they ask for one, they have full discretion to decide whether to give it or not. Is it the same way in football? Because every year people say they should make a rule banning this, but instead of adding yet another ridiculous rule, I think the answer would be just tell the refs to use their discretion and refuse to grant the timeout. They could just tell the coach before the game "I'm not giving you a timeout right before the snap of any last second/overtime field goal attempts."

I don't think that would work only because that's the only reason the rule is in the books, to use it at the last second and overtime. No reason to do it in the first quarter. Plus I don't think the league is going to give refs that kind of discretion. They need to remove the rule or alter it to allow for timeouts but earlier, so that the snapper, holder and kicker don't have to go through the motions.

Riddle me this, Tracee. What do the Nats, Skins, and Freedom all have in common?

A sparkling sense of whimsy?

Have you ever seen a game more boring?

Sadly, I was writing, then driving, so I didn't see it. But now I feel better about it.

What about wearing a polo shirt with the team's logo? That's sort of my dad's standard wear-to-work fare...

I like those. I don't know if those should be governed by Jersey Rules but I don't think so.

Anyone that makes decrees about when people should or should not wear a sports jersey are tools. Seriously, get a life.

Aw, we're just having fun. I don't think anyone was considering actual enforcement.

Hey, I see J-Reid has joined us. Excellent!

Did you see the box score? Portis had 33 yards rushing while the team had 18. The other 3 backs combined for -15. I honestly think I could have done better.

Yes. I see no evidence to suggest that Larry Johnson has a future. I thought Williams looked a little better, actually.

You Said - "if you'd guessed before the season that the Chiefs would be 2-0 and the Cowboys would be 0-2, you'd be pretty smart." If you really said that you might just be insane. Dallas, statistically beat the Readskins and the Chiefs lost both games statistically, but found a way to win. (This is why you shouldn't bet on football, the pointy ball makes it to hard to predict, also why it is so much fun.) And I am the guy wearing the KC Marcus Allen Jersey in Oakland and I can see why the Chiefs should be 0-2.

You are right -- I might just be insane.

The Redskins sit in a 3-way tie for the lead in the NFC East. So, who in the division is so much stronger than them? The Cowboys are bad, the Giants aren't too great, and the Eagles are pretty good. But the Redskins, despite the loss, are looking pretty strong. I think they're still a contender for the division title.

It's still too early to tell. No one is 2-0, and they're all still in the mix, obviously. Let's see if Dallas can get it turned around. They have a ton of talent. The Redskins have major issues in the running game and in the secondary.

The best way to win a game against a potent offense is for your own offense to have ball control. I'm glad we put up points for the first time since 1983 but without a consistent running game, it could get ugly. Larry Johnson seems done.

Well, I don't know if Johnson is done. He's not the same back as he was with KC, obviously, but you have to have running lanes to be effective. There have not been many int he first two games. With three new starters and Dockery being challenged at left guard, the offensive line is in a state of flux. This could be a season-long problem.

Here is something to ease the pain a bit more after the Redskins lose...Cowboys play Texans next week in Houston. Could they go 0-3? That would be delicious!!

After seeing both teams play yesterday, I don't see how Houston loses that game. The Cowboys' bye week comes right after -- do you think Wade Phillips survives?

I would want my coach to lead my team to win at all legal cost . . . including calling a timeout to ice a kicker WITHOUT worrying about sportsmanship! We can worry about that AFTER the game!!

Oh, I'd use it. I have no problem with a coach using it. I just don't think it should be in the book. Should Shanahan have used it yesterday? Yup.

Was yesterday the end of the road for Jason Campbell? Benched just two games into the season and replaced by Gradkowski.

You gotta think so. The Raiders weren't developing Campbell for the future; he was in a perform or get out scenario there.

Why didn't Shanahan call a time out during Racker's kick in OT just like Kubiak did to Gano?

I think because it was such a relatively short kick. I mean, I understand that's not the point. I know some coaches try to ice guys on the shortest of field goals. I'll make sure to ask Shanahan during his presser today. There was just so much other stuff to get into after the game.

Would Morgan be a leadoff man on a contending ballclub? Is there really a place in the everyday outfield for him once Harper shows up? I see Willingham, Bernadina, Harper and Morse.

I am not sure what to make of Morgan. His outbursts and hissy fits in the field really do concern me. The fact that he doesn't believe his behavior has changed concerns me more. I'm guessing the team will take a hard look at him during the offseason. He was a different player than last year, whether that indicates a problem or not.Could he bat leadoff for a contender? Last year's Morgan could. This year's Morgan -- I don't think so.

However, Harper is a long way from arrival. Remember, probably 2013.

I thought I had a full understanding of the rules that determine how many games are shown locally when the Redskins are playing an afternoon game at home -- the Skins game plus a game on the other network in the other time slot, with a third game only if that formula prevents us from seeing the national doubleheader game, etc., etc., etc. But that doesn't explain why we got a third game (Ravens-Bengals) yesterday. Do you know if the rules have changed?

I thought I did, too. I have no idea but someone on this chat will. I was a little surprised to see that game on myself.

J-Reid said he's stay on till 11, by the way.

Good line from Norman Chad today: ABC has a new police drama called "Detroit 1-8-7," which, coincidentally, doubles as the Lions' projected record.

Ouch. Norman is the best. I will watch the show just to get glimpses of my former home.

I don't think your insane - just whoever predicted 0-2 Cowboys and 2-0 Chiefs. Go with the Chiefs Dawson throw back. In KC they are allowed in Church!

Dawson is a good suggestion. He played in the first game I went to at Arrowhead. My grandpa and grandma and dad and I went. My grandpa wore a suit and grandma wore a dress and heels. My mother had a red vest-and-skirt outfit made for me and I wore a white turtleneck with it. Man, I was excited. I will never forget being in the restroom and hearing the game on the radio and thinking it was like the "Jetsons." That's a good memory.

Sunday at the Clarksville (MD) Giant, every employee who chose to do so wore a football jersey of his (or her) choice. I was talking to a young man in a Green Bay jersey; we agreed there aren't many of them around here. The young man at the deli who served us wore a Jets jersey; I told him I hoped his team won (they played the Pats) and they did!

We've been goofing with the jersey rules but one thing I like about jerseys and T-shirts and such is that they are conversation starters in a town that's not always friendly. A guy stopped me at Giant the other day and asked where I got my Jayhawk T-shirt. We had a nice visit about Kansas.

Under Greg Williams and Greg Blache the Skins had perennial top 10 defenses but were criticized for being too passive. Enter Jim Haslett who has a mostly mediorce history as a def. coordinator. he overhauled the defense and it's definitely more aggressive and exciting which everyone called for. But after 2 weeks of getting torched in the passing game and with Manning, Rogers and friends on the horizon, is it too early to wonder if this was the right move?

This is a great, great question. I've been talking with football people about this for weeks. Shortly after Shanahan was hired, an NFC assistant coach told me he thought the switch to the 3-4 was the wrong move based on Washington's personnel. He envisioned major problems with Haynesworth and didn't think the Redskins could get a nose tackle capable of making things really work. Greg Blache has been widely criticized for being too conservative during the 2008-09 seasons, but he was working without a safety net because the offense struggled to produce points. Blache did not like to blitz a lot, anyway, and the lack of points prompted him to be even more conservative than he probably wanted to be in many situations. The switch to the 3-4 is among the things that will define the Shanahan era. To this point, I think it's fair to say the results are mixed. 

I always check this website before Sunday to see what games I'll get. They have color-coded maps of the USA, showing which games are played in each TV market.

Thanks! Good tip...

I'm liking the rules we're setting down for the Wearing of the Jersey. So far, so good. One suggestion: you may wear a jersey at any time as long as you look as good in it as the blond in the Post photo gallery of yesterday's game. The one with the caption, "Redskins fans react to a call that went in the Texans' favor." Never has despair looked so beautiful!

Ha! Noted...

Quit whinning people. Think through the logistics of this and tell me when and when not you would allow a time out. What if the defense sensed a fake? Should they not be able to call time out? The remedy is to make the second kick.

I agree with you that the remedy is to make the darn kick. They practice this, even, although it's hard to simulate game conditions, of course.

Is there a running back in the NFL that blocks better than him?

I think C.P. is second to none in this area. As Post readers are well aware, I've been criticial of Portis for many things over the past three seasons. But the guy's blocking is off the charts and always has been. His crushing block on the safety on Fred Davis's 62-yard catch-and-run was, well, as good as it gets. The guy is an incredible blocker.

Last week there was a suggestion that you would try to organize a video chat with someone else. Just curious - do your numbers suggest that people actually like the video chats? I think that they are so difficult to deal with in a work environment (which I imagine a lot of your chatters are in) that if I click on a link and see that it's a video chat, I click out right away.

I hear this from a lot of people. I'm not going to video anytime soon, as far as I know. I like this format. I personally like to read transcripts, too.

In yesterday's Redskin game, I watched several plays during Houston's first touchdown drive where the Redskin linemen could not get to the Houston quarterback as they were being held by the offensive linemen. The linemen held them with both hands while keeping them upright until the play was over. In the fourth quarter Heyer came in for the injured Williams and on his first play was called for holding negating a long first down completion by McNabb and the replay showed the defensive player falling down on his own. I could not see a hold on the replay. My question, is why do the referees usually only call holding if the player falls down and not when they are held and kept upright? I know that on the last play of last weeks Dallas game the hold which was blatant for all to see, Orakpo did not fall to the ground.

I thought Heyer held on the play.  Seemed pretty clear to me, but perhaps I'm wrong. I don't know if officials have some unwritten rule abotu calling holding when guys go down.

I was at a bar in Shirlington watching the Steelers get to 2-0. Next to me was a diehard Chiefs fan. How diehard, you ask? When the Chiefs were 13-3 a few years ago, he flew home from Germany to go their home playoff game (which, of course, they lost). For his sake (and yours), I'm glad the Chiefs are 2-0. As to the jersey commentary...I grew up in the midwest with college football where jerseys are far less ubiquitous than in the pros. I was surprised when, at the Philadelphia flower show in the spring, I saw no fewer than 20 men wearing Eagles jerseys. In the spring! We may not be able to agree on many rules regarding jerseys, but I think we can all say that wearing an Eagles jersey to a flower show in April should not be allowed.

That's pretty funny. I do think that there are probably more Eagles jerseys in Philly per capita than a lot of places, but I may be wrong about that. Just a perception.

Name of the bar in Shirlington? Was the Chiefs game on?

Burnett is the obvious candidate to close for the Nats. The attitude on that kid (see: Cap sideways, excellent sneer) is awesome.

Another closer vote. I am guessing the team will go into spring training next year with this job wide open.

Which is worse: Being the Redskins and blowing a 17-point lead, or being the Giants and never being in the game? As a Giants fan, my money is on the latter.

Are you my next-door neighbor?

Hey Tracee, thanks for doing all of these chats. I was at the game yesterday, and although the Skins blew the lead, I thought that there were a lot of positives, particularly on offense, to build on this season. Most notably, McNabb was just incredible in getting the ball to 8 different receivers. Also, Moss and Cooley continue to impress, and Galloway showed he still has something left. I am very concerned about the big MRI today. On defense, while they gave up the lead, this Houston offense was incredibly explosive, torching the colts for 34 points last week. What say you?

I feel the same. I'm not always a glass-half-full gal but I thought this would be a tough game. It was a surprise when they jumped out the way they did and a bigger surprise when the Texans got back in it. They fixed some problems from last week and showed some improvement.

The Trent Williams injury is big, however. The line is little deeper than last season but not much. And it was already having troubles opening holes. They need some kind of running game, stat.

No question. I'm just planning on sitting back and watching the angst come out from all the people who had the Skins going to the Super Bowl last week. C'mon people - the Skins are not Super Bowl contenders. Enjoy the good points (McNabb 400+ passing yards), be sad about the low points (ouch that 4th quarter). However, try to keep these things in perspective. And my bonafides - Patriots fan since the early 1970's and all the mediocrity that entailed until the last decade.

Actually, I thought the reaction last week was pretty rational; I didn't hear a lot of people predicting 16-0 after that one. They saw the lack of a running game and of a passing game too, for that matter. I thought the fans were pretty realistic last week. If they had won 27-10 yesterday, then I think the bandwagon would have been at Jiffy Lube this morning getting a service check.

Tracee, thanks for the chat. How do you see the matchup between the Redskins and the Rams this Sunday?

Well, I am sure the fans here will be geared up to play an 0-2 team on the road. However, they will also remember last season, when the Skins struggled to beat the Rams, 9-7, at home, and I'm sure the returning players will remember that, too. This is a crazy season in which 0-2 may not mean much. I'm sure the Rams have made note of the lack of a running game and can see the Redskins' weaknesses. I think the Skins will win, but I think it'll be close. In fact, the Skins may play 16 close ones. I'm eager to see St. Louis again -- it's been awhile.

Did you notice number 31 of the Redskins begin coverage on Andre Johnson of the Texans in the fourth quarter during their comeback and then just run away from him leaving him wide open for easy completions. This happened several times and in spite of many missed opportunities by the Skins to put the game away this allowed the Texans to drive for the tying scores. Johnson should have been double covered not left alone.

I totally hear ya. After the game, I was among several reporters in the press box who reviewed the tape of that play. I just don't understand what the heck Phillip Buchanon was doing. He starts off on Johnson (who, by the way, is simply off the charts), and then releases him to Reed Doughty late in the route. I just can't phathom any reason to leave the NFL's best receiver on fourth and 10 with about two minutes remaining in a game your team is leading, 27-20. Was Buchanon reading some "key" in the defense that directed him to simply stop? There was no other receiver on that side, so why would you leave Johnson? My guess is that Doughty and Buchanon were supposed to have Johnson bracketed on the play -- Doughty over the top and Buchanon underneath. There was no way Doughty should have been left alone with Johnson in a jump-ball situation with the game on the line. And I don't think it would have made any difference if Kareem Moore was back there instead of Doughty. To have any free safety isolated on Johnson in that situation is a very bad idea.

Who gets axed first?


Tracee Please advise your many despairing readers that it is a beautiful nearly Fall day today AND that when your team is forecast by most prognosticators to go 8-8 that you will win some games you should lose(last week) and lose some games you should win (yesterday).

Yes, 'tis true. I think they are still bound for 8-8 or thereabouts. They certainly could challenge in the division, though; a lot will depend on the game in two weeks at Philly.

Hi Tracee! I had a question for a while now regarding Jason Campbell vs Joe Flacco. They seem to be very similar situations -- a team which has a pretty good (Washington) or a really good (Baltimore) defense paired with little to no offense. Yet for some reason everyone's high on Flacco as the "quarterback of the future," so to speak, and Campbell got the boot. What's the major difference between these two?

Well, the difference to me is that indefinable thing that Flacco has and Campbell doesn't, apparently, and that's that ability to find a way to win, to get out of trouble, to make something happen. McNabb has it; even the biggest Skins hater will admit that Campbell couldn't do half the things McNabb has already done this year.

I also think Flacco has a bit more raw natural talent than Jason. Jason always seemed to be like a guy learning to dance -- he was counting in his head, almost.

So--I always cheer against Washington and was delighted with yesterday's outcome, but I'm still pretty annoyed by the timeout tactic on the kick. (I do recognize that Shanahan pioneered the tactic, so yesterday even involved a bit of cosmic justice.) Proposed minor rule change: The defensive sideline can not call a timeout after the offense is set for the snap. If the "icing" timeout had to be called by a player on the field, it would be someone in view so the kicking team would be more likely to notice and less likely to run the play.

I like the rule just the way it is. There is pressure in life. If a guy can't make a kick after a timeout is called, well, that's on him.

Blue plate special: Terrrapin stew

Yes, that was unpleasant. Still, as bad as the ACC is, the Terps could still have a respectable season.

Pathetic showing by skins fans late in 4th Quarter & OT...empty stadium?? You kidding me?? How you leave the team hanging like that is unbelievable...I'm embarrassed!

It wasn't empty but too many people did leave early.  And it was never full. Surprising number of empty seats in the upper bowl.

If you haven't, take a look at Mark Maske's story from the Sunday paper on the decline in NFL attendance and rise in TV ratings. I thought it was pretty interesting.

I have three tours in Iraq. These kickers get paid a whole lot more to do a whole lot less than I and my compatriots did / do overseas. Attempt the kick with people shooting at you then I'll be impressed. Otherwise, I don't want to hear about pressure - I just want you to split the uprights.

I have a rule -- no war metaphors in sports copy. Sports is not war. The rule has to work both ways.

Is this what you were thinking Friday night as your beloved KU went down to Brett Favre's Alma Mater? This is what I was thinking when the Terps went down 21-0 Saturday, and I think Coach Ralph and his successor are officially doomed.

I was thinking a lot of unprintable things. However, I'm willing to give Gill a season before deciding to can him. The problem with the Terps' outlook, for fans like you who want Ralph gone, is that they are in the ACC. He could still put together a respectable season.

The Junkies were playing Mike Leach clips the other morning -- I'd love to cover him because he sounds like a hoot.

Does this mean that Kubiak is also eager for the NHL to begin? (Go Caps!)

Yes, he's a big Avs fan. :)

Okay, Jason is going to finish up here so I'll get out of the way. Talk to you all tomorrow, and thanks, J-Reid!

Actually, I just had a computer crash and have to get to work in just a few, but thanks for all your questions and we'll talk again next week.

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 was 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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