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Monday, July 16, 2007

July 16-- Draft picks sign and I'm back for good

OK OK, vacation is officially over for me.. So it's back to doing the blog for the upcoming 2007 season.. I promise to get back to the grind daily..
11 days away from training camp the Skins news of the day was the official signing of 3 late round draft picks, Carson Palmer's quarterbacking brother Jordan, and LB's HB Blades and Dallas Sartz..
The team also released former Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach.. To be perfectly honest, I was stunned he was kept around following mini-camps.. It's one less body for what should turn into an interesting competition for the third QB spot between Todd Collins, Palmer and NFL Europa's final Wold Bowl MVP Casey Bramlet.. I'd lay the odds on this one right now at 50% Collins, 45% Bramlett and 5% Palmer with Palmer a candidate for practice squad..

As we lead up to training camp, lets do a position by position breakdown.. Lets start today at RB..
The positions are pretty much set, Clinton Portis (assuming 100% health) comes in the starter.. I know you saw Ladell Betts do practically remarkable things when Portis ended the season on IR.. But the Al Saunders offense returns this fall, the team may incorporate more of the Gibbs power run attack, but the essence of the offense is more finesse then push, at least under Saunders.. In that regard, with more stretch plays, pitch outs and the like, Portis is the home run hitter who fits the mold.. He also is a better pass blocker.. Now if only we could work on his hands as a pass WR and maybe he'd become the Marshall Faulk esque threat Saunders would love him to be.. The team won't push Portis this summer, he'll take time off to ensure the tendonitis in his knee is cleared up and certainly are hopeful nothing freakish like the subluxation of his shoulder happens again..
Number 2 is Betts, proven to be a good change of pace for Portis.. Should the Skins get leads, and I think that's a possibility this year with a more wide open and dangerous offense, Betts might be the workhorse who grinds out games ala Gibbs style.. Get a lead, punch them in the mouth, this is where the Saunders-Gibbs marraige might just work.. That of course is predicated on them getting leads which ultimately will have a lot to do with whether the defense improves, but that's another story for another day..
What Betts certainly proved is he can be a number one (fumbleitis aside) and I would expct to see more change of pace to help profile both players styles.. But this is not a debate, more of an ability to give Portis a much needed break.. Betts is the number 2..
Number 3 is definitively Rock Cartwright who solidified himself as a potent return man on kickoffs not unlike the way Betts did the season prior.. Give Special teams coach Danny Smith this, neither Betts nor Cartwright were particualrly proficient at kickoff returns yet both became viable options for the team.. Cartwright's speed and versatility makes him what Joe Gibbs calls a true Redskin.. I think this year we won't be talking about whether Rock makes the team or not..
Number 4 is Derrick Blaylock.. He's a cheap insurance policy.. The former Chief had a nice stint as the back-up to Priest Holmes under the Saunders system when Holmes's career was on the deline.. He signed a free agent deal with the Jets which went nowhere.. This is the right spot for him, he just needs some help finding a roster spot with the people ahead of him.. Should a pre-season injury occur, Blaylock is a better option then a TJ Duckett.. Ultimately, if he's on the roster, something went wrong..
Youngstown State RB Marcus Mason has little to no chance of cracking the roster..

At FB Mike Sellars is a stalwart, a devastating blocker and a team leader and clown all at the same time.. Should Sellars get injured there is no replacement.. Pete Schmidt is a rookie from Wisconsin-Whitewater, I'm expecting him to have a difficult track to steal a spot but with Nehemiah Broughton on IR after a mini-camp injury he'll have to be watched.. If there is an injury to Sellars, it will be interesting to see if the team searches for a true fullback or converts one of their many young TE's including seventh round pick Tyler Ecker who's a blocker first..

Programming note for those of you who listen to Triple X ESPN Radio, ESPN Radio 950 in Richmond and 102.1 FM the Game Virginia Beach, 12-1 PM will revert to Redskins Lunch with me and Larry Michael starting Thursday July 26th, the day prior to the start of training camp..
You can read more at where I will have interviews, articles, pictures and more.. You can always e-mail me at

One final thought, Bears LB Lance Briggs and Patriots CB Asante Samuel did not sign long term extensions with their team meaning they must play this season under the franchised tender offer of one year.. Both players have stated they plan to hold out until week 10 under those terms.. The Skins obviously attempted to trade for Briggs and it woulnd't surprise me for a second if the Skins found long term interest in Samuel considering this is liekly Shawn Springs last season with the team.. And as we have all learned in the Dan Snyder era, anything can happen.. If there is an injury at CB or LB this summer, expect the Skins to be dangling next year's draft picks..

See you tomorrow..
Bram Weinstein


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