Oct 11, 2010

Post columnist Tracee Hamilton and staff writer Jason Reid discuss the Redskins-Packers game and more.

Ah what a glorious day, the Redskins win, the Cowgirls lose, what could be better! Oh and today is a holiday and I don't have to go to work! How are you this fine morn Tracee? Had to put a question in right?

I hope all of you are having as fine a day as this chatter!

And welcome, one and all, and that includes J-Reid, who'll join me to help with what I expect will be a full inbox of Skins questions and comments. Let's see, four of five games decided in the final seconds. Whew!

Tracee, 1. I don't buy Rodgers being concussed on the last play. I think he got it on the blitz annihilation sack...you know, when he got up woozey. He played like crap after that. 2. The refs were just awful. Should have been throwing the pass interference flag all game. Troy Aikman's commentary was so overly anti-Redskin, I wonder if he wasn't concussed.

It looked like he struggled to get to his feet after that sack, certainly. I don't think the NFL officiating has been as crisp as in past years; the refs often seem confused, mixing up team names, etc. I didn't hear the Fox telecast, of course. I usually think Aikman does a decent job but I heard this complaint last week as well.

This was brought up in a chat last week, and it'll probably be mentioned during tonight's game. The only person other than Randy Moss to play in 2 straight Monday Night Football games was Keith Browner, a "replacement player" during the 1987 strike. He played in the first (of 3) replacement weeks on MNF with the 49ers against the Giants, got cut, and then played the next week on MNF with the Raiders against Denver. The third MNF game during the strike was one of the greatest Redskins-Cowboys games, with the 'Boys stocked with regular players who crossed the picket lines still losing 13-7 to a Skins team with no regular players.

Lot of interest surrounding tonight's game, for sure. Thanks for the info.

Someone will undoubtedly complain about after this win, Redskins fans are already planning the Super Bowl trip. I was at the game. Can categorically state that not one of the 90,000 there thought they were watching a Super Bowl caliber team. 8-8 maybe. So maybe you should feel more confident in your pre-season prediction but feel relieved that there are no rose-colored glasses used by the Burgundy and Gold.

Perfect! Listen, that was a big win, no doubt, and people should be very excited about it, mostly because they are one win away from matching last year's total. (But boy, they should have beaten the Rams...)

What did you think of the Chiefs game? I wasn't surprised they lost, but felt they put forth a good effort.

I was of course able to see none of it, so I can't say. I was hoping for the upset but not surprised at the outcome, like you.

J-Reid had technical difficulties, fyi, but he's on now...

Skins are going to the Super Bowl, woooohooooo. oh...wait...what? it's only week 5?

Very funny.

No way jason cambell can win that game for the redskins, right?

Campbell was well liked by his teammates and he would have benefitted from having been drafted by a better organization. But the bottom line is the bottom line. Donovan McNabb makes plays. Even if he looks awful for three quarters, McNabb often comes up with something late to inspire his teammates. The 48-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Armstrong helped make it happen for the Redskins on Sunday. And how about some of his other late throws? The Redskins won that game because Mike Shanahan was on their sideline and McNabb led them on the field. Hmmmm. That sounds like a pretty good column idea.

Good Morning Traci. I was so sure the Skins were going to lose that game. Under Shanahan they have character and are avoiding mistakes. But yesterday's game underlines the fact that stats sometimes don't matter. Despite all the errant throws, McNabb was huge where it mattered -- avoiding the rush, throwing downfield, holding the ball. I love Jason Campbell, but if he were QB, the score would have been GB 30 -- Wash 10 (or something like that).

McNabb made some bad throws -- some too high, others at the shoelaces -- that were uncharacteristic of him, yet when he needed to move them downfield, he moved them. That's the intangible that will never show up in the quarterback rating. He ranks 21st in the NFL in passer rating -- but the Skins are 3-2 and he's a huge reason for that.

I read over the weekend that the Skins are the "oldest team in the NFL". This seems odd with so many new faces. Is it because 200 year old Joey Galloway skews the sample? With a new offense (not to mention new players), and a completely new defense, don't you think signs are positive going into the 2nd half of the season, when they players will be comfortable? Especially with the radically different 3/4? Also, are there any decent RBs available for a trade?

Yes, Joey Galloway contributes to the Redskins being the oldest team in the league. Obviously, though, it's not all on Galloway. I don't know how they will be headed into the second half. For one thing, there's no way of telling whether they'll be healthy. Things, however, have definitely gone right for them so far. As for running backs available in trades, how much are the Redskins willing to give up? They like Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams. Let's see how things play out with them.

Tracee, was there any clarification on why Shanahan went in with only 7 lineman to this game, when both tackles were gimpy? Seemed like a costly decision to leave Dockery off the roster...esp. when Lichtensteiger was personally responsible for at least 2 hard sacks of McNabb.

The coaching staff has determined Dockery is a bad fit for what they want to do with their blocking scheme. And Dock plays only one position. That works against him.

I know everyone wore pink the previous week, but I noticed some of the guys did & others didn't yesterday. Was it allowed? Were they technically out of uniform, or is there some leeway with shoes, gloves, etc?

The NFL is totally supportive on this subject.

Tracee, I don't know about you but the more I see of LeRon Landry the more I like him. He has a nose for the ball and can actually catch it when it comes his way. Plus he likes hitting people, which is a quality I like in my defensive players.

The change in Landry is nothing short of miraculous. Not everyone may love Haslett's system, but he is thriving.

During the last few games I'm starting to see a lot of Jason Campbell in McNabb. JC was constantly limping in the pocket and in and out of the huddle, now I see McNabb doing the same thing. Our O line stinks, and the skins didn't do nearly enough during the offseason to augment their O line and it shows. The rate our qb's are getting beat up, by the end of the season, Hunter Smith will be quarterbacking the skins! Why can't the skins ever realize that offsense starts with a good O line?

Are you serious? They drafted left tackle Trent Willaims with the fourth overall pick. Mike Shanahan has his issues, as does everyone, but to criticize the new regime for not understanding that it takes good offensive line play to win is, well, downright crazy. Shanahan had one offseason to work on the roster. He couldn't be expected to clean up a mess, that was 11 years in the making, in one season. This roster -- and especially the offensive line -- will look very different in the next few seasons.

With Devon Thomas gone, will Malcolm Kelley be far behind?

Good question. Malcolm has worked hard on IR. I think they'll keep him around to see whether they can get something out of him next season. He's a good kid who really wants to succeed with Washington. Then again, Devin really wanted to make it happen here, too.

Any positive words for a Bills fan?

Um, there's always next year? I know that doesn't help. What a shame for a once-proud franchise, but these things come in cycles. The Bills will rise again. (Having a losing team AND  a Buffalo winter to look forward to seems unfair somehow.)

It's easy to say this team is getting lucky, but I think the two big differences are offensive scheme and Mcnabb's deep ball. Even with a horrid, horrid, horrid offensive line, when your scheme is designed to take shots down field and you have a QB who can evade pressure and make the shot down field, you get 4-5 big plays a game which translate into points. With Zorn and Gibbs, they had neither, and you ended up with those bad defeats at Meadowlands where there was no offense the entire game. This team should be in many more games this year just because of that. Now give Mcnabb 2-3 drafts of young players, and imagine what could happen under Kyle Shanahan's scheme.

Yeah. McNabb is making things happen and they'll continue to build around him. Something good could be starting.

Look, the Skins already gave up a second round pick to get him. Whatever you think of his fantasy stats, without him, the Skins are 0-5, and I mean that. That is not rhetoric. What exactly is Shanahan waiting to see?

Yeah. Totally agree with your assessment. McNabb has made a difference. He struggled to pick up the offense early, and he may not do things as pretty as Shanahan would prefer. But the Redskins could do a lot worse.

Tracee So another couple of miracles save the Skins from being 0-5-- Dallas hold, Philly dropped Hail Mary and a doinked Green Bay field goal. The bigger factor seemed to be Matthews getting sidelined early. Withour that , McNabb would be having his Chunky soup through a starw. And finally, the ever accurate Boz put attendance at jsut under 88,000. just how many "club level " seats are going empty these days ?

Is there a question in there?

I think the Nats should reserve a few sections for Phillies fans for 2011 - they will be here in droves. Citizens Bank is already sold out for next year.

Yup, that was quite a performance.

Any chance to discuss the remarkable comeback of the Rays vs. the former Washington Senators 2.0? Evan Longoria's Gibsonesque at bats are worth noticing, aren't they?

Yes, they are. Boz kept me posted during the game yesterday; that man can multi-task like nobody's business. We can squeeze a little baseball in today and hit it harder tomorrow.

Here is that draft: Thomas, Kelly, Davis, Rinehardt, Tryon, Jackson, Horton, Brennan, Brooks, Moore. Let's see: one of these guys is playing regularly now (Horton is benched, Davis is a back up). Does this draft demonstrate conclusively how poorly Vinny Cerrato served the Redskins?

No way to spin this one: It was a horrible draft. But remember, owner Daniel Snyder rehired Vinny Cerrato, kept him in a key decision-making role for many years and then promoted him when Joe Gibbs left. Also, many people in the organization say Snyder was much more involved in player-personnel moves than he acknowledges. It's easy to blame Cerrato for the problems with the roster, but Snyder was well aware of every major move Cerrato made. And Snyder was right there with Cerrato. For what it's worth, Cerrato did draft Brian Orakpo over the objections of some in the football operation.

Mcnabb's throws appear to be getting worse each game. Overthrowing and underthrowing open receivers. Is it the pressure or is it Mcnabb?

The Redskins are 3-2 with a roster full of holes. Do you want pretty or do you want success? Donovan McNabb has had a lot to do with the success of this team.

It doesn't seem that Albert Haynesworh was much of a factor in any of the Redskins' wins (not even at the game for this one). Do you expect his return to the team for the next game will improve the team's defensive effort, the line specifically?

Did you watch the game against Philadelphia? He was in the backfield often early and was a disruptive force, according to the Redskins. I'm not sure where he will be mentally next week after the loss of his brother.

Is Shanahan waiting for the next coming of Elway? He lucked out and had him when he was hired. Get of your snide and sign the man (McNabb).

You sound like McNabb's agent. But you could be right.

Atlanta was delightful, but it was a bit disconcerting how long we sat there with -- no -- update about Pavlacec. The little kid I ended up next to was pretty upset.

It sounds like the delay in giving information was due to some genuine bewilderment on the part of the medical folks. You just don't see that every day. But scary for children as well as adults, no doubt.

Many people forget the quick start the Skins had under Zorn as is the case with many new coaches in the NFL. Do you believe this is another case of other coaches simply adjusting to the new scheme or is there acutal fundamental progress here?

You're not seriously comparing Jim Zorn to Mike Shanahan? Zorn is a nice guy, but he was a quarterbacks coach. Shanahan is considered one of the best offensive coaches in the history of the game.

before they get lost in the "OMG REDSKINS!!!!!!!!!" delirium, let's not forgot about the beatings the Capitals put on the Devils Saturday night. Heck of a display of the depth and toughness of that team. Let's hope the trend continues against Ottawa tonight!

Saturday night's game was a lot of fun. Ovechkin's goals ... he never scores a boring goal. Both were nice displays. And Chimera out of the box ... just a good game to watch.

And I'll take this opportunity to apologize for a gaffe in my column. In haste I wrote they had 11 rookies on their opening night roster when of course I meant 11 first-round draft picks. Doh! Felt really bad about that.

This guy is a grandfather! What is he thinking with the pictures? Or...is it possible that the Vikes are being set up to lose him at a critical time?

I don't get it. But no, I don't think it's a setup for the Vikes. Remember, this came out originally before he'd made his comeback, as I recall.

Maybe Campbell doesn't beat the Pack yesterday but he did lead the Raiders to a nice win over San Diego. Perhaps the better statement is that there is no way Jim Zorn wins that game yesterday.

Campbell has ability. He would have been able to accomplish more if the Redskins weren't so poorly run during his time here. But, yeah, Zorn was way overmatched from the start. It also didn't help that the roster was a mess and he didn't receive the support he needed.

Why is Stephon Heyer still on this team? Yesterday, when Stephon Heyer came in for our ailing RT, the first thing Troy Aikman said was this: "well now that the Packers know that Stephon Heyer is in at RT, you know where they will line up Clay Matthews." Please explain to me why Dockery sits out and Heyer plays?

Heyer is a tackle. Dockery is a guard. They play different positions.

Living in New York City we did not have the game yesterday. How is the offensive line? I would suspect it still has a long way to go considering yesterday's score? I am no longer concerned about the defense, but are the skins making headway with the one aspect of the team that has been a huge problem during the Snyder era?

The line is still a work in progress. It's good that McNabb is still eslusive at this late stage of his career. It also helped yesterday that Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews left late because of injuries. The guy is an absolute beast.

J Reid--were you surprised by the Devin Thomas cut and any buzz on where he might land? I assume he's at least practice squad worthy somewhere.

Wasn't surprised. Dev was a bad fit from the start with Shanahan. I think someone will claim Dev on waivers. Skins fans have sent me a lot of email about Dev. I may have to do some more reporting on this subject today. Check out Redskins Insider later. I'll see what more I can dig up. Peace.

I have no idea what kind of team we have, but I'd much rather not know at 3-2 than at 0-5, which was, as Bos pointed out, was entirely possible. One thing I am pretty certain about - under Zorn we would have lost to Dallas and the Packers at the very least.

Can't say I'd disagree with any of that. Shanahan and McNabb are making a difference. There's no doubt about that.

Dude, it's a football Monday. You need to realize that FTF is gonna be 90% Redskins on these days, and save your Caps chat for tomorrow. We'll get into it for sure, I promise. Right, Trac?

Sure, but I was at the game and I couldn't resist. It WAS exciting.

Tracee, It hasn't pretty by any standard, but the 'Skins are now winning the close ones, something that has been a HUGE problem in recent years. To what do you attribute their new-found fortune?

A lot of it is attitude. A lot of the guys talked about this in the locker room last night, that this is the kind of game they used to lose. A positive attitude isn't going to make you go 16-0, but a negative one might make you go 0-16. You have to think you can do it. Then you have to do it a few times (as they've done). Then you start to believe you can. It's a process and from what the players say it's an attitude that comes from the top.

Okay, thanks to J-Reid for joining me this morning; I'd have to have another surgery if I had to handle all the Skins questions on my own. Let's talk tomorrow about anything you want! Later!

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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Jason Reid
Jason Reid is a Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post.
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