Covering The Redskins

Location: Bloomfield, CT

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January 30-- Time for an endorsement

Al Saunders is back in St. Louis as the new offensive coordinator of the Rams.. He was the O coordinator for Dick Vermeil's Super Bowl during the Greatest show on Turf years.. Best wishes to Al.. I really enjoyed him while he was here, very genuine with me and very patient with his time..

I just saw the Lewis Black (Silver Spring and I'm pretty sure Springbrook HS grad-I went there too) do a hilarious piece about the impending Fox broadcast which will mesh politics and football prior to the Super Bowl.. A must see..

News is slow with the Super Bowl impending and the Skins obviously not going to make any head coaching announcements before next week.. So I guess it's time to throw some support to a candidate..

Jim Fassel. Everyone who has covered him says he's a fine fellow. He certainly must have done something right if he was in the Super Bowl, survived the New York media for seven years and was recently in charge of an NFL offense as of 12 months ago. But for some reason, when his name is spoken, the most ardent of fans rush to bathe themselves in holy water and start wailing in tongues. How can you replace Joe Gibbs with such an unpopular hire? The answer is, you can't. I'm not sure I'll ever understand why so many have freaked out over Fassel, it's not like Dan Snyder was thinking about hiring Rich Kotite, but the damage is done.

Ron Meeks. Dan Snyder hired Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs and Ron Meeks. It just doesn't feel right. He does not sound like a "Redskin candidate." This job isn't for the meek, no pun intended. This job is truly not to be entrusted to a head coaching neophyte. This job is unique for the pressure not only to be applied by the fans, but certainly by the free spending owner. This isn't a place to learn on the job. Ron might actually be the right guy, just not for this task.

Josh McDaniels. He's 31. Why not just give the job to John David Booty because he played under Pete Carroll? He'd get trampled by the pressure. No offense, but he seems to be living proof that Tom Brady is the best quarterback of all time. What scheme has this 31 year old devised? I smell fresh meat.

Steve Spagnuolo. Now this one makes some sense. He's got intimate knowledge of the Giants and Eagles. Was tutored under Jim Johnson who along with Gregg Williams and Monte Kiffin, have my respect for current aggressive schemes. He didn't buckle under the pressure of an 0-2 start after his team gave up 80 points. The Giants defense is nothing to sneeze at and they have dealt with numerous injuries to a secondary that wasn't exactly a strength to start with. Everyone raves about him to the point of suggesting, "If you interview that guy, you'll want to make out with him before dessert comes." But...He has been a coordinator for one year and he's with Meeks on the green side in terms of head coaching responsibilities. Plus, he'll realize that he'll have no say over personnel or his staff. Granted all of them are aware of this but the Skins want us all to believe the people they have previously spoken with all agree, the Zorn/Blache train is destined for immortality. He couldn't have agreed to this notion because he hasn't and wasn't allowed to interview for the job. Honestly, this isn't the right job for him and in the end his apprehension due to the circumstances will probably be evident. I'm going with No with a caveat of down the road he might be a good one.

Pete Carroll/Bill Cowher. The job is yours if you'll take it. But you won't. I imagine we'd have had a press conference by now if you were.

Steve Mariucci. Worked with Vinny Cerrrto while in San Francisco. There are conflicting thoughts on whether the two see eye to eye but the longer I've followed this sport the more I realize nobody likes anybody so what's the difference. He worked with Greg Blache when the two were on the same staff in Green Bay. He would implement a west coast style offense, already in the works with the signing of Jm Zorn to be offensive coordinator. He's got the right demeanor for this job. Besides, in his mind, how could this possibly be worse then Detroit? He obviously wants back in. Did you see him nearly beg for the job while being interrogated on NFL Network? He was smitten, like a high school boy leering at the hot cheerleader. And his eyes are already wide open. He's been on set watching what the Skins have done since Gibbs retired and analyzing it.
The team wants someone of substance with an impressive resume to trot out for the fans. He wants back in and will be paid generously for keeping his mouth shut about the way it is around here. And, well, he was a pretty good coach in San Francisco when the Niners went through a huge cap purge and had to replace Steve Young.
Therefore, I'm pledging full support to Mooch. God speed Moochie.

Quick promotional note: I have a second blog where I write about things other then the Skins. It's pretty dumb.

Check it out..

OK men..

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January 29-- Skins State of the Union

Before I move on, tomorrow I plan on discussing (on the radio) what stupid questions I'd ask the Giants and Patriots had I been at the media day circus, so if you've got a good one in this vein: "Hey Eli, were you adopted?" or "Is Plaxico short for something?" let me know by using the comment section of the blog or e-mail directly to
This probably will happen in the mystical second hour of my show aired on 1021. FM the Game and the Mighty 1490 in the Norfolk/VA Beach area but can be heard on line via their station web site.. I might bring it up with Larry tomorrow too, so all good stupidity is welcome!

So I was watching George Bush's final state of the union address last night and couldn't help but feel the similarities of issues we the people of the United States are dealing with juxtaposed against those of the Skins.. I wonder, what Dan Snyder would say if he were forced to give a speech outlining the Skins state of the Union.. Here's my best guess

On National defense: We have had consistent success through the four years under what's his name but it came time to commit our forces to a new voice, a new leader. Greg Blatche has reigned on our joint chiefs of staff for four tours of duty. He will be our Petreus to what's-his-name's Rumsfeld. We have stressed continuity, staying on message and achieving the common goals of eradicating the terrorists (Giants,Cowboys, Eagles, Al Queda) so we aren't changing attack, but more streamlining it to fit it's new leader.. So we stand behind our decision to continue the surge, we just need a new voice behind it.

Leadership: These are uncertain times. To quote the great Rick Pitino, "Joe Gibbs is not walking through that door." History will look kindly on Washington football's version of JFK. Gibbs was camelot, but camelot can continue with Jim Fassel er, Ron Meeks, I mean, Steve Spag-noo-na-na, er Steve Moochee, or whoever we hand the the kingdom over to. Some call our decision to hire a new offensive coordinator and promote a defensive coordinator unorthodox, I call it brilliant. And so will our new coach because he has to.. We cannot replace Joe Gibbs because we are incapable of legally cloning people, but we are working on that legislation as we speak.

Motto of 2008: "if it ain't broke don't fix it." We didn't have a general manager while Joe Gibbs was in office, and we didn't need one, right? We've been to the playoffs two of the last 3 years so Rich McKay and Phil Savage can stick it. Besides how would anyone know if it "is broke?" We haven't played a game in 2008 yet. Something can't be broke until it's broke, so we are asking for patience and trust. During the time of uncertainty, we will prevail. Or so you have to believe.

Economy: I keep hearing about all this recession stuff, but we make more money then anyone else. Sure our cap runneth over, but who'd you rather be behind, the team that hides during free agency or the team that calls the credit card company for a higher spending limit? We're rich beatch. Don't you like being rich? Ask Yankee fans if they think outspending is the wrong way to build a contender. Stimulus legislation and $500 tax breaks are for the Cardinals and Jaguars.

Overall: The state of the Redskins is good my friends. We know the uncertainty can be alarming in these trying times, but we will find a new leader, we will continue to spend heavily and we will move forward with more continuity then what appears at face value. We ask you to turn your attention to Iraq, gay marriage, Britney, dog fighters and the housing slump. Up here, you can be assured what we are doing is Super Smart.

Thank you!

OK men

Monday, January 28, 2008

January 28- ooh yeah, one more thing

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of the e-mails, posts, comments and personal reaction to the Redskins coaching search, but please please please spare me this sentiment that I've found in my inbox an inordinate amount of times. It goes something like this..

"Hi Bram,

My name is Joe. I have been of the Redskins since I was a fetus. But if they hire Jim Fossil over Gregg I'm never going to watch them on television again.
Please tell Dan Snyder that I am personally angry and plan on telling my mother what a terrible job she did while I was in her woom. "

A) If you are like me and are lucky enough to have tickets in the upper or lower bowls, and you are that moved by the search that you are going to e-mail me with your pain, then you are not someone the Skins are "worried" about losing. This is what I would call a veil threat. I'm frustrated too, but I'm not giving up my seats. It took my family 25 years to get them, so lets all realize this isn't Cincinnati.

B) I'm not a shrink. I feel the same way as you. So what are we going to do about this, huff paint to ease the pain?

C) If you give up completely on the Redskins, here are activities you will be doing next fall: Driver of car pool to 6 year old ballet class. Make pottery with new age girlfriend. Take a walk, outside. Try new things like chai or broccoli.

D) You could switch allegiances, but give me a break. What, you're really into the Titans now? Why don't you just go to work without wearing pants on Monday.

My advice is this: Calm down. They haven't even hired a coach yet. Give it a week. If Dan comes out with a whistle around his neck claiming he will only be referred to from this point forward as "Supreme Coach" then, well, I take it all back. I'll be there with you at the next club meeting of the Washingtonians for Dick Jauron club. Maybe we can just move to Toronto and hope the Bills come with us.

OK men..

January 28-- Pete Carroll was in play

So I was driving around tonight and ESPN Sportscenter pops on and says Pete Carroll spent 9 hours with Dan Snyder talking about the Redskins vacancy. When I asked the team directly about this possibility over a week ago they refused comment by not even responding.. You'll recall Larry badgering me on the air about throwing this possibility out and then poo-pooing it on air..
This is not a surprise..
The team is in a hole in terms of PR and Carroll would certainly have helped perception, but alas, Carroll reportedly said no thanks..

The Skins are expected to talk to Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks for a second time tomorrow with any announcement about who becomes the head coach on hold until after the Super Bowl..

The Steve Mariucci rumors remained quite rampant around the Park today.. Easy conclusion to make, he's got a big name, he worked with Vinny Cerrato in San Francisco, he would implement a west coast offense- already in place with the hiring of Jom Zorn as offensive coordinator, worked with Greg Blache, new defensive coordinator when both were in Green Bay..
But alas, that rumor was being debunked as the day continued as an unlikely mix if for no other reason, that Mariucci would want a say as to who his staff is.. Those decisions have been made..

Jim Fassel remains in the race, however many believe the negative reaction to him possibly being named coach has cooled Dan Snyder's jets about moving forward and thus the Super Bowl detente.. Steve Spagnuolo is expected to be interviewed and of course the Mariucci thing I suppose could become a possibility..
The team is in a hole, they'll dig out, but when the go public, there's no telling at this point what the end result in terms of perception will be..

OK men

Sunday, January 27, 2008

January 27-- This Takes the Cake!

I spent the weekend in New York, a trip planned weeks ago assuming that once the Redskins used an Angel to soar into the playoffs, all was well in Ashburn. Yet yesterday, I spent the afternoon trolling around midtown fielding calls from around the country all asking the same question, "What the ---- are they doing?"

There are two appropriate answers: complete silence or psychopathic rant. I found myself tip toeing around both emotions.
You can't defend firing Gregg Williams and promoting Greg Blatche. So I guess what is being said is "we like the defense, we just don't like the guy who was responsible for it."
Doesn't every workplace include someone who despite being a blowhard happens to be too valuable to get rid of? I call that person, Bill Parcells, Bill O'Reilly, or Bill Belichick. On second thought, maybe need to hire someone named Bill.
That statement would suggest Gregg is the second coming of somebody. Far from it. But he might have been. All I am merely suggesting is not everyone has Joe Gibbs demeanor. And sometimes we have to sacrifice the notion of hanging out at Happy Hour with the boss.

Let me see if I have a full grasp of where the Skins stand as of right now. They don't have a head coach but they do have a two coordinators, one replaces the lead candidate who's been ushered out of the running despite a lack of a better Gibbs successor. This makes sense to who?
So is anyone of any merit going to accept this job now that they will be told they'll have little to no say in personnel and certainly no say in who their staff is? That seems backwards to me, but I'm no Bill.

Do you like watching people feign happiness? Then wait till you see the smiles on the faces of the Snyder/Cerrato/New Coach in waiting the day of the eventual press conference naming this person head coach in charge of everything and nothing all at the same time..
So who has the 10 million dollar smile? I'd go with Steve Mariucci, he certainly could pull off the role and besides, could this situation be worse then Detroit?
Don't answer that..
Or my NY friends posed this one, what's the bigger disaster, The Skins or the Knicks?
Don't answer that one either..

OK men..

Saturday, January 26, 2008

January 26-- Well, didn't see that coming...

A month ago that is..
When the Reskins finished 9 and 7, stole a playoff spot and lost their wild card game in Seattle, I expected a fifth year by Joe Gibbs, and the staff to remain mainly unchanged.. I expected some finagling with the cap, maybe a couple of tough player personnel decisions, but this group to make one more run before Gibbs rode off into the sunset.. But he resigned and now all hell has borken loose..

Gregg Willaims is out as defensive coordinator and has broke ties with the orgnaization.. Williams denies he had any kind of rift with the team, although not winning the head coaching race considering the pool of candidates suggests otherwise..
Greg Blatche who was the defensive coordinator in title only and mainly coached the defensive line is promoted to defensive coordinator.. The rest of his staff remains in flux and I guess we'll see where Williams lands..

Al Saunders is out after two years of trying to implement his spread style to Gibbs's power run attack.. It never meshed (although in fairnes injuries were brutal to the team's continuity) and so Jim Zorn takes over..

This would lead one to believe that Jim Fassel would be THE front runner to get the job, but labelling anyone a front runner, especially after I learned Fassel was told to cool his jets for a few days and the team now openly says no hiring will happen before the Super Bowl, who knows..

The rest of the staff is undtermined at this point.. So from continuity to complete makeover, what a difference a few weeks make.. Incredible!

What did Gregg do to deserve this? Good question.. One source told me it was one of the interview sessions where he and Snyder ended up on different planes of understanding of how things were to be run.. Others say he and Cerrato don't quite see eye to eye on personnel decisions.. Truth is, Gregg would have gotten the job a week ago if the team thought he was the right guy.. They held onto him as a fallback option, but as things collapsed around them in what turned into plan A, Williams was left dangling and obviously spurned, so he's probably better off.. Whether the team is will be something of extreme debate until next season kicks off..

So I expect Steve Spagnuolo to get a shot to win the job after the Super Bowl and I expect Fassel to remain a possibility..

Let the consternation begin..

OK men..

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 24-- Search on Hold through weekend?

Few if any coaches were in the building today, day 17 of the Skins coaching search..

This one is convoluted, but one person told me through a source that Jim Fassel has been told the team will get back to him in a "few days" after what appears to be the process of finding his staff fell through..

Rex Ryan told the Baltimore Sun he is willing to stay in baltimore and work under new coach John Harbaugh and he denied that he has spoken to any other team about a defensive coordinator position.. I spoke to a Ravens official today who said that the only comment they had was Ryan "is under contract with us." The Ravens can by rule deny Ryan an interview with the Skins for a lateral position of defensive coordinator, however if the Skins were to interview him about their head coaching position, well, you fill in the blanks.. As far as I can tell, the team has not gone to that length yet.. The Ravens are believed to be attempting to retain Ryan..

Seattle QB coach Jim Zorn is back in Seattle after talking to the Skins about their offensive coordinator position.. The Seahawks reportedly are attempting to retain Zorn for their staff.. I reached out to Seahawks officials today, but they have yet to respond about Zorn..

So the coaching search will possibly be expanded by unlikely before the Super Bowl ends.. So I suppose it is possible Giants D coordinator Steve Spagnuolo or New England's O coordinator Josh McDaniels could be interviewed, but that cannot happen by league rule until the Super Bowl ends.. The Skins also continue to refuse all comment regarding their coaching search and will not comment if the team intends on interviewing anyone else..

The best I can tell you at this point is we are on hold.. The team would not comment about the negative reaction to the possibility of Jim Fassel being head coach so who knows.. And one other bizarre note, when asked who is representing the Redskins in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, I was told, "there is no list and I'm not going to make one." Essentially, no comment.. That one takes the cake..

Asked whether there was anything new on the search, one prominent search said succintly, "No."

So we wait and wait and wait..

OK men

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January 23-- Looks like No announcement tomorrow

Things are trickling out, but now it appears the Redskins will not name Jim Fassel their head coach tomorrow as has been widely reported..
The Skins have interviewed Jim Zorn to be their offensive coordinator, however that interview does not appear contingent on any specific head coach and Zorn is not a candidate to be the team's head coach according to sources..

The team continues to issue no comments in regard to the coaching search, but some sources I believe think Gregg Williams is not out of the running to be the head coach and indeed any decision may wait a couple more days..

Again, we'll see tomorrow.. The Skins like the flare for the dramatic, so maybe we'll have something tomorrow, but right, it appears as if the team still has no offers out..

OK men,.

January 23-- Skins won't confirm Fassel Hiring

The Redskins refuse to comment publicly about rampant reports that Jim Fassel would be named the team's next head coach as early as Thursday.. I was told by one team source in response, "Well, we don't have any press conference's set up."
Jim Zorn, Seattle QB coach has been linked to the new team as a potential offensive coordinator and there is rampant speculation that Rex Ryan, currently the Ravens defensive coordinator would take over here in the same capacity which would mean a complete overhaul of the team's staff..

This would mean Gregg Williams is completely out, according to some sources I spoke to, Williams is unaware of Dan Snyder's intentions at this point and is not aware he is out of the running.. A couple of people in the building wanted to continue to suggest Gregg is not out and still could be the head coach and considering the job has not been confirmed by any team source (trust me I've tried feverishly over the past few hours) I suppose anything is possible..

So I guess we wait until tomorrow when some kind of clarification could be forthcoming..

TE Chris Cooley and T Chris Samuels are going to wear "21" jerseys at the pro bowl in honor of teammate Sean Taylor..

If I hear something tonight, I'll post it..

OK men

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 22-- Vinny gets promoted, search continues

Vinny Cerrato was promoted to executive Vice President, said to now be in charge of the entire football operation from salary cap management, player personnel acquisition through free agency and the draft as well as scouting departments..
Cerrato was formerly the VP of player personnel mainly in charge of personnel acquisition anyway.. Essentially my read on the whole thing is that the team President role filled by Joe Gibbs has been replaced if not in title by Cerrato.. Cerrato and Snyder are the two main forces in determining who will be the next head coach of the team and said head coach will not have as much decision making power in terms of roster control as Gibbs had..

That said, I had an inkling Pete Carroll may have been that mystery candidate that's been bandied about however Carroll has made it clear he wants huge money (he'd get it) and full control of decisions (won't get that). So that would suggest he is an unlikely candidate to replace Gibbs as coach..
The mystery candidate stuff stemmed from one of the plane trips to pick up a coaching candidate being in Arizona.. Many assumed this was for Russ Grimm, assistant head coach of the Cardinals, but that has been debunked and now it appears the mystery candidate was former Giants head coach Jim Fassel who met with the Skins for a second time yesterday after he was taken from Green Bay to Washington following his work calling the NFC Championship game.. Fassel lives in Arizona and may have been that initial unknown candidate..
Fassel was interviewed back in 2004 before Gibbs accepted the job with the team..

Whether Fassel is a clear cut choice for the head coaching spot remains unknown as the Skins remain underground declining to publicly comment on any candidates... It is possible among the folks I talked to at the Park that Fassel could be hired as a QB coach/Offensive coordinator for whoever the next head coach may be which would lead one to believe that Gregg Williams remains very much in play..

So the front office make-up has been settled, now the coaching carousel could be coming to an end.. If Fassel does not get the job, I'll be curious to see if the search is re-opened to new candidates..

More on Carroll, I spoke with a USC source who when asked if the Skins had contacted the school for permission to speak to him, the response was that Carroll does not comment on speculation because it just leads to more speculation.. But I didn't ask the spokesman for a Carroll comment, only if the school had been asked for permission to speak to him.. On that front, they simply said they were not inclined to answer that and referred me back to the Redskins.. The Skins in turn have declined to comment on whether any such contact was made.. It was so evasive on both ends, it led me to believe Carroll might have been the prize, but now it seems Fassel was the original mystery candidate..

And so the wait continues..

OK men

Monday, January 21, 2008

January 21-- What next?

All the little birdies who suggest they know flight itineraries have floated out the possibility that a Redskins plane was in Green Bay today to pick up someone as the Redskins coaching search continues..

The team is not commenting publicly on who they have or will speak to, but one look at the Packers staff suggests there isn't anyone outside of Mike McCarthy the that might stand out better then Gregg Williams, but that is the purest of speculation as possible.. McCarthy is expected to receive a pay hike and contract extension, so I'm assuming it isn't him..

You know who else was in Green Bay yesterday? Jimmy Johnson.. Hmmm.. All reports suggest Johnson likes his off-seasons to have personal time and hasn't been interested in a return to coaching, but who knows with the money thrown around these days..
I didn't watch NFL Network, but I suppose it's possible Steve Mariucci was in Green Bay as well.. Vinny Cerrato worked with Mooch in San Francisco and Cerrato certainly is not in jeopardy of losing any control in DC so I suppose there could be a connection..
Bill Cowher said on CBS Sports web site that the Redskins job "has a lot to offer someone, just not Bill Cowher." So he is staying steadfast in his convictions to remain retired at least one more season..

This thing remains so underground, having any sense of where it is going is all guesswork.. Hell, if the Fox guys are finally talking about a "mystery candidate" then even they don't know.. So kudos to the Skins brass for staying underground..

I know the Skins are not particualrly pleased that Jim Mora said anything about the search, mainly he was dropping out but neither side has suggested he was going to be offered the position, although many watching this thing closely felt he was the team's choice.. At least he had the dignity to drop out before any offer could be turned down and putting the Skins cards on the table..

So I'm not sure if the search is officially re-opened but if it is, that suggests Gregg Williams falls lower down the priority list and while he certainly is not out of the running, this is becoming quite telling about their feelings about whether he is their top choice.. The process has gone long enough to give him the job, that hasn't happened so we'll see..

Ooh yeah, Pete Carroll just might be that mystery candidate.. Why not? He flirted with the Falcons, who's to say he isn't dating Dan right now..

OK men..

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mora out of running

Seahawks assistant Jim Mora Jr. has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Redskins head coaching vacancy.. He cites he wants to not move his family back to the east coast, many believe he is the front runner to replace Mike Holmgren when he steps down as Seahawks head coach whether that be next week or next year...

The Redskins search has ceased in terms of interviewing candidates as far as I can tell.. There are some clarifications that I have gotten in terms of the search, 1) Dan Snyder never flew to Seattle and flew back with mora.. He did send a plane for him did not accompnay him.. same goes for Ron Meeks, both were interviewed at the Snyder house in Potomac..

As for the continued perception that Gregg Williams remains the front runner, I was told by a league source, "No one has told Gregg he is the front runner and if he doesn't know whether he is the front runner, why would anyone else know that?" So the team continues to downplay Williams as the eventual successor to Joe Gibbs.. Still, with Williams being the only known candidate with head coaching experience, I'd be hard pressed not to believe that he has a more then 50/50 shot at the job now that Mora has bowed out..

There is a fifth unnamed candidate that did interview last Friday with Snyder and the team is continuing to lay low and not publcily comment on who that may be.. So, while I had the impression an announcement could come this weekend or early next week, I am unsure of that timeline with Mora out of the equation.. I have to say the Skins have done a miraculous job keeping this searcj so underground.. The information is quite hard to come by..

Another thing on Williams, the source I spoke with said the number of interviews that Williams has received is "irrelevant" in terms of an indicator of how close he is to getting the job.. Williams works in the building and it was easier to speak with him on numerous occassions as opposed to the long drawn out interview process for out of town candidates..

So my new odds are this: Gregg Williams 50%, Rabbit out of the hat 50%

OK men..

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 17-- Critical mass

So we are getting close to a decision on a new head coach, well, not we, they..

The rumor creeping around these days is that Gregg Williams is not the top candidate to get the job.. This of course is not to suggest that he won't get it or is out of the running by any stretch, but there was pertinent feeling that Jim Mora Jr. or a surprise candidate might be in line to be introduced as early as Monday or Tuesday of next week..

The Redskins PR department has the weekend off according to some, thus while they would be on call, it suggests the Skins are not preparing to make any major announcements until Tuesday.. So are we waiting on Mike Holmgren and whether he is going to leave Seattle? Maybe..

Mora, from what I have heard was the one and only candidate who actually interviewed in DC outside of Williams.. The team did speak to Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks but I've heard it was a shorter interview then the others and most do not believe he is among the lead candidates for the job..

So here are my new odds for the job: Gregg Williams 40%, Jim Mora Jr. 30%, someone who we haven't discussed who has a big name with a big resume 30%

OK men..

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

January 16- Nodbody knows anything

I had a couple of conversations with those in the know at Redskins Park today and found out they are as much out of the know as I am about the coaching search..

Here's what I do know today, former Falcons coach current Seahawks assistant Jim Mora Jr is interviewing for the job somewhere.. This candidate (of the ones we publicly know about) seems to be the most serious contender to steal the job from Gregg Williams thus far. Williams has interviewed (if you can call it that) numerous times over the last week and is considered still the front runner for the job..

One person I spoke with says Gregg "really wants it." This is contrary to what Williams has presented in recent years saying he is satisfied working as an assistant and allowing a lot of the media/off field issues for a head coach to worry about.. In the mind of those I spoke with, they suggested he wasn't hiding his true ambition, only he was satisfied working under Gibbs in that capacity and that he wants to, and likely will be successful at whichever head coaching position he eventually gets..

I started having a conspiracy thought.. Miami's job is closed, Baltimore's is close to being settled.. Atlanta likely will move quick with either Jason Garrett or their fall back should Garrett take the Ravens job or stay in Dallas as an assistant.. If the market closes, then the Redskins are not obligated to allow Williams to speak to other teams about their vacancies as a lead assistant coach.. Indeed they could essentially force him to stay as a top paid defensive coordinator and work under a new head coach.. Hmmm.. Gregg likely wouldn't be happy undr that scenario, but may have no choice if this is the way the Skins went.. Maybe the job gets turned over to Greg Blatche or Jerry Gray if Williams left after being passed over..

Plus, I'm still waiting for a rabbitt to get pulled out of Dan Snyder's hat not unlike the surprising Gibbs trick he pulled four years ago.. So we wait and wait.. In all liklihood until next week, there appears to be no expectation for any announcement by Friday and I doubt the Skins would do anything during the weekend of the conference championship games, I'm sure the league wouldn't appreciate that..

So my new odds right now are: Gregg Williams 60%, Jim Mora Jr. 20%, Some big name we just flat out don't know about %20

OK men

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

HOF Finalists Named

Darrell Green, Art Monk and Russ Grimm were among the 17 finalists for election to the pro football Hall of Fame..
Green and Cris Carter are the only first time ballotees potentially to be elected..

So who is the shoe in? Probably Carter, certainly not Monk who's been shafted for years for no other good reason then he didn't spend his free time at the White House, not that White House nor wear Mink coats to press conferences he shied away from..

Monk gets in when class becomes a criteria.. Considering the lack of marquee names, the time is now for Art..

While Monk seems to be the poster child for Redskins fans ire, my heart is desirous for Grimm or Joe Jacoby (who for some ungodly reason can't even make it to the finalists) to be elected. This is the Hall of Fame, yet there is no representation of the greatest offensive line in the history of the NFL. There is a Hogette in Canton (true) and not a Hog. Hmmm..
If "Fame" is one of the criteria for the Hall of Fame, then why wouldn't someone from the most Famous offensive line ever be there?

As for Mr. Green, he likely gets in first among all of them. 20 years one team. 7 pro bowls. Among the best at his position for a long period of time. Champion. Highlight moments defensively and most famously a punt return in a playoff game where he tore a rib cage muscle leaping a coverage Bear and returning it for a backbreaking touchdown. Green also is a community leader, something that certainly shouldn't be a main criteria, still..

My guess, Green gets in if for no other reason, he doesn't have significant competition. Art stays out because Carter gets in and his numbers are better. Grimm fails to make it although, one day he'll be enshrined and the oversight of passing over the Hogs finally comes to an end..

OK men

Monday, January 14, 2008

January 14-- Secret Search

What is the fear behind disclosing who the Redskins wish to speak with regarding their vacancy at head coach and presumably team President?

Why can't the team even go so far as to suggest that Gregg Williams, the top in house candidate, received as much as an interview for the position?

The last time the Skins went this underground, they pulled Joe Gibbs out of their behinds. Whoever the hire is this time around, the team can't possibly be as dramatic. Still, the lines have gone so silent, it makes you wonder what's happening in that submarine.

Gregg Williams has spoken to Dan Snyder. So has Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz who one would have to believe is a long shot if for no other reason, Snyder isn't the type to turn his free spending expectation laden franchise over to a neophyte, as impressive as his agent might want us to believe.

The wall of silence feels loud, like Bill Cowher is going to stop pretending he doesn't want a 5 year 40 million dollar deal to ditch CBS to be the next in line of the Snyder coronations? If Pete Carroll is speaking to the bottom feeders in Atlanta, then he's got to be flirting in DC right?
Is this thing going to end with Jim Mora or Ron Meeks emerging the victor? That feels anti-climatic. It would be like going to Cirque de Solieil and having the clowns enter in a mini-Volkswagon bug.

So, and this is just opinion, because the Redskins are going out of their way to not allow anyone to have any true insight into their intentions, here are my personal odds for who will be the Skins next head coach..

55%-- Gregg Williams. The team believes they could have gone farther, the team is set up for the next coach to win (Gibbs said it and he said it, it's part of Snyder's new Ten Commandments). Somehow I don't think Gregg would get that team President title though. Just a hunch.
15%- Bill Cowher. Lets face it, if someone came up to you and said you can spend the next year watching your daughter play high school basketball or you can buy Aruba and let your daughter own/coach a basketball team, what would you do? That's what I thought. Convictions are a funny thing, they only count when their put to a test.
10% Pete Carroll-- Big splash name. Unlikely considering the Spurrier debacle, but he's not Spurrier and has NFL coaching experience and well, seems like he actually reads books.
10% Russ Grimm. Long live the Hogettes. He's not Gibbs, but the fans know him and he's hungry, litterraly and figuratively.
10% Somone nobody is thinking of and is currently eating at some undisclosed Morton's location in the greater 48 states right now.

OK men..

Saturday, January 12, 2008

January 12-- Williams expected to interview

Gregg Williams is expected to get a formal interview as early as today and would be the third head coaching candidate to interview since the resignment of Joe Gibbs..

Williams has remained silent during the process declining interview requests as the team continues it's search to replace Gibbs..

I haven't gotten 100% confirmation on this, but it is believed Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato were in Arizona yesterday to interview former Skins offensive line coach and great Russ Grimm who is currently an assistant head coach with the Cardinals..

The Skins do still have to comply with the Rooney Rule having not publicly interviewing any minority candidates as of yet.. Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell is a candidate for that, but he might be in line for the Colts job should Tony Dungy retire after this season.. D-line coach Greg Blatche could be a long shot candidate.. Former Skins defensive assistant, Colts D-coordinator Ron Meeks is another possibility..

Belief is Williams remains at the top of the list of candidates, but nothing seems final, and the team is being extremely cautious about allowing information about the search filter out..

OK men

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 10 -- Search begins with Titans Coordinator

The Redskins are meeting with or have met with Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, depends who you ask at this point.. NBC Sports is reporting that the interview "blew away" owner Dan Snyder.. I can't confirm that as the team isn't issuing comments in regard to their search..
This is an interesting beginning to the search as the Redskins have a defensive coordinator who used to coach under Jeff Fisher who the players have firmly endorsed as the man they would like to see get the head coaching psotion..
With neither Joe Gibbs nor Snyder publicly endorsing Gregg Williams it's starting f=to feel like Williams is certainly not at the top of the list of candidates, but more of a failsafe should the Skins fail to land the person they want.. That's a guess though, and certainly not meant as dissrespect to Gregg.. Just a gut feeling at this point..
It also opens the dor to the idea that Williams isn;t particularly interested in becoming a head coach again.. It's been a while since the subject came up, but in the past, Gregg has talked openly about enjoying being here as a coach and not having to deal with the many responsibilities that go along with being a head coach.. Williams has denied interview requests at this point so to know what he's thinking is impossible, but the possibility that he would prefer to remain an assistant could be plausible here..
Until the process ends and Gregg speaks, this one will remain an interesting conundrum..

Bill Cowher continues to publicly dismiss the notion of returning to coach next season and as far as I know at this point, the Redskins have not met with him in an attempt to change his mind..

OK men

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

January 8-- Gibbs says good bye again

The shock and surprise of Joe Gibbs decision to resign as head coach and team President of the Washington Redskins was prevalent throughout the building.. The numerous players and coaches I talked to had no idea he was leaning toward leaving..

There won't be two hirings to replace Gibbs, at least it's not expected after owner Dan Snyder was clear that he feels the front office structure is something needs not to be fixed. "If it ain't broke, you don't fix it." So whoever the next coach will be, the Skins appear as if that person will cotninue to work with Snyder and Vinny Cerrato in all player acquisitions..

It turns out that the well reported successor clause in Gregg Williams contract does not exist. For a few years it was beleived that Williams had a seven figure payout owed to him should he not be named Joe Gibbs successor when Gibbs decided to leave.. Redskins sources told me that this clause indeed does not exist.. Williams however is considered one of the candidates to replace Gibbs..
Snyder would not label anyone as a candidate at this point saying he would begin the process of finding a new head coach soon.. He also expressed surprise at Gibbs's decision and said that he tried until the wee hours last night to talk him out of it.. Gibbs even joked that at one point he was asking for paul bearers to be part of his deal since Snyder wanted him "to work until he was 93." Gibbs refuted any notion that his decision would be based on money, he said he is not in need of money and that it was family that was calling for him to leave.. He said the decision was his, and that even some in his inner circle wanted him to go back for the fifth and final year of his origianl contract.. Gibbs did say he was regretful for not fufilling his initial promise..
Asked how he can replace Joe Gibbs, Snyder responded, "You can't replace Joe Gibbs."

Popular beief is the Skins will approach former Steelers coach Bill Cowher.. Snyder said he has not spoken to any candidate including Cowher saying the last time they even ran into each other was maybe 6 years ago on a handball court. I was told the search committee was not planning to go to North Carolina as of last night to meet with Cowher and Cowher has said through sources he remains uninterested in coaching anywhere in 2008..

Gibbs said he will keep an office as long as Snyder wants during the transition period but he does not plan to remain in the building once the new coach begins his work.. He "does not want to oversee anyone here." He did express hope for the roster and suggested that whoever takes over will be walking into a situation where he believes the team is primed to contend for a title..

Snyder called Gibbs "a friend for life" and admitted the franchise's stability is in a much better place then where it was 4 years ago when Gobbs replaced Steve Spurrier.. The owner contends he has learned a lot since Gibbs coming on board and Gibbs credited Snyder for "never giving any excuses for anything we asked for." He also said Snyder is the right person to make a decision as to who will be the next head coach and seemed to want to distance himself from whatever decision Snyder may ultimately make..

Yet another surreal day to say the least..

I suppose I should give some personal thoughts on the matter.. I will miss Gibbs. He truly proved to be the right leader for this team never more exempliied then his strength during the tragedy of Sean Taylor.. He made many mistakes during games, which honestly was hard to watch, but the team played hard for him, the ultimate barometer of the effectiveness of a head coach. The players galvanized for him, played for him and respected him.. His Hall of Fame bust was made because he was a motivator, a fair general, and someone who stood for dignity and respect.. In that regard, it was hard to take the same critical eye to his decisions based mainly on the fact that my own biases always leaned toward hoping in the end he would be right. That said, his on field production, 31-36, needed to be taken into context. That's only fair to his predecessors and his eventual successors.. While I will always believe that this coach will be held to a deserved higher standard, if the fanbase is to be fair in it's own expectations, then it is only fair to Gibbs to suggest the bar in terms of success was not met.
That bar was set very high, by Gibbs himself..
It has been an honor and privledge to get to know Joe and I wish him the very best in his future endeavors. I appreciate his time and patience for the shows I was personally a part of with him and with his numerous media duties of which I was involved in the group. Seeing his ability to remain stabile and strong through every and I mean every conceivable situation on and off a football field was a life lesson in management I will never forget.
I hope Joe finds happiness in his retirement from football and hope he indeed enjoyed his return to Washington, a breath of fresh air into the franchise that was sorely needed. I agree with Mr. Snyder that this franchise is in a much better place then it was four seasons ago when it was rudderless. Good luck Joe. Thanks for putting your good name on the line. In the end, your good name is secure.

OK men..

January 8-- Gibbs resigns

Joe Gibbs will remain a special advisor to owner Dan Snyder but at 3PM he will resign as head coach and team President of the Washington Redskins..

The few players I spoke with this morning were suprised by the news and said he did not make the team feel inclined as if he was leaving following the final team meeting..

Gregg Williams does not have a clause in his contract that pays him a seven figure buyout should he not be Gibbs's successor.. It had been widely reported for a couple of years this was the case, but Skins sources I spoke with debunked it.. So there is no next in line..

More later today..

Monday, January 07, 2008

January 7-- Gibbs hedges on coaching future, talks to begin tonight with Dan Snyder

The Redskins players left as a team on Sunday following their final team meeting, none of them that I spoke to or had third party conversations with seemed to have any inclination that Joe Gibbs would not be back as the Redskins head coach for a 5th season since his return.. But yesterday, Gibbs would not give a definitive decision about his future saying he needed to begin "normal" off-season conversations with owner Dan Snyder about the course of the organization before making any definitve decisions..

Until yesterday, Gibbs had never backed off previous statements that he intended to coach for five years minimum, the length of his original deal when he signed to return to Washington.. Gibbs said he left on Sunday to attend a family function and returned Monday afternoon in the afternoon and had yet to have talks with Snyder..
Gibbs would not say whether he'd be open to returning as the team President and not the head coach and said that a decision on his future will have to be made in short time due to the status of his staff..
The organization according to his knowledge had not been notified of interest by other teams to interview members of his staff, yet..

Gibbs has called this the toughest season of his coaching career and detailed his joy in bouncing back from a 5-11 season to return to the playoffs for the second time in 3 years, but he called the end of the season a bitter dissapointment because "we felt like we could do it. We felt like we could have gone farther then that. We were capcapable of beating anybody."

Is this move a power play for an extension? Only Gibbs knows the answer to that.. Gibbs praised Snyder's "supportive nature" in spending any ammount of money on his staff and personnel, now it appears the two have some financial parameters to talk through should Gibbs be willing to resume his coaching career.. At this point, it's anyone's guess if Gibbs is serious about walking away or if he is just trying to secure his future with the team beyond this season to determine whether he thinks it's right for him to come back..

Here is the list of unrestricted free agents: QB Todd Collins, P Derrick Frost, LS Ethan Albright, DT Ryan Boschetti, QB Mark Brunnel, G Jason Fabini, LB Randall Godfrey, CB David Macklin, S Pierson Prioleau, C Mike Pucillo, WR Reche Caldwell, WR Keenan McCardell, RB Rock Cartwright (who can and is expected to opt out of his current deal), TE Brian Kozlowski, S Omar Stoutmire, and G Rick DeMulling..

Gibbs said he wants Collins back and that Collins joked with owner Dan Snyder that he still has "a lot of rubber left on the tires" having not played enough games to build wear and tear on his body.. Should Collins return, Gibbs would not dismiss the possibility of a QB competition next summer with Jason Campbell.. He would not call this Jason's job to lose and suggested that "it's good for the Redskins that we have two good ones." So we'll see if there is a market for Collins services outside of Washington after a very strong final month of the season where he replaced the injured Campbell..
Brunell will likely not be back with the team, but if Gibbs is back, it might be a possibility..

Among the other FA's: Cartwright is looking for a payday, exactly what that means is uncertain, he'll likely test the market unless the Skins give him what might be what he perceives as a market value deal for a kick returner/back-up RB.. I know the team wants him back though..
Caldwell will likely be pursued, McCardell is a question mark.. Frost will be an interesting decision after an up and down year.. Fabini filled in admirably at guard.. They loved Godfrey's play down the stretch.. Both are question marks.. Prioleau may have been ultimately supplanted by Reed Doughty, but the team has safety depth to deal with due to the passing of Sean Taylor so we'll see.. I would expect Pucillo to retire (back) or not be resigned.. Kozlowski, Stoutmire, DeMulling, Boschetti are all players I'm expecting not to return..
Albright has signed a couple of one year deals the past few seasons, he would likely be asked to do the same..

I believe K Shaun Suisham is a restricted free agent, but I need to check that out..
I will give you some more details about the cap situation with some vets later this week..

Off-season surgeris scheduled for the Skins: G/DT Lorenzo Alexander with have a right ankle scope, LB HB Blades will have a left knee scope due to a meniscus tear, S Vernon Fox will have a left knee scope, DT Cornelious Griffin will have a right knee scope, TE Todd Yoder will have a knee scope..

LB Rocky McIntosh had his ACL reconstructed last month after getting injured in the NYG game.. The training staff now believes he will be ready to play when next season begins.. He likely will not be healthy enough to practice during OTA's and mini-camps..

OK men..

Sunday, January 06, 2008

January 7-- Skins season ends in Seattle

The Redskins season ends with a 35-14 loss in the wild card round of the playoffs at Seattle.. Mike Holmgren became only the second coach in history to beat Joe Gibbs twice in the postseason.. The Seahawks have ended two of the last 3 Redskins seasons, beating the Skins in the divisional round of the postseason in 2005, and this time in the wild card.. Joe Gibbs had never lost a wild card playoff game before Saturday and falls to 17-7 overall in the postseason (1-2 in his second stint as Redskins coach)..

Todd Collins threw his first two interceptions of the season, I believe first two in a decade, both were returned for touchdowns.. The first one, a 78 yard return by Marcus Trufant was a ball that was never found when in the air by Santana Moss.. The receiver said he didn't break off his route, he just didn't see the ball coming his way and didn't think it was thrown for him.. ..
Collins and the Skins offense was having a lot of difficulty with the crowd noise (and electronically created noise) that they had to adjust by going to silent snap counts and hurry up opportunities.. The Seahawks contend they do not pump in noise, however they do use a horn like noise when their team is on defense.. By league rule, noise blared trhough the speaker system is not allowed to be used when a team breaks the huddle.. Seattle broke this rule numerous times in the first half with noise obviously being played even as the Skins offense was at the line of scrimmage.. The Seahawks limited their overuse of this in the second half.. Still, and this is just my opinion, but understand I have an ear for this stuff, it sounds like the Seahawks open microphones throughout the stadium, in turn, the noise (which is very prevalant by the fans alone) gets then reverberated through the speaker system.. There is an obvious hum that is audible when the Seahawks fans begin cheering.. They are loud, no doubt, and their venue might be the best of the new stadiums in the league, but their contention that the noise is human generated and human generated only is simply not true..
Regardless, the offense line had trouble getting off the ball, and to be fair and not be nit picky about noise levels, the Seahawks defense line and front seven overall dominated the Skins protection.. They were playing at a different speed and intensity then the Skins and were the aggressor throughout..

Washington had enormous issues with special teams throughout the day.. Shaun Suisham missed a 30 yard field goal after a bizarre kickoff recovery by the Skins that gave them field position after taking a 1 poitn lead early in the 4th quarter.. Derrick Frost punted 8 times, with 43.5 average, not a bad number except for the couple of times the he left Seattle with fabulous field position.. Suisham's kickoffs were consistently short and the Skins were called for a running into the kicker foul..

Defensively, Washington allowed 21 points and 304 total yards.. Not a bad effort conisdering the Seahawks offensive exploits.. Shawn Springs said the biggest issue was not getting pressure on Matt Hasselbeck.. he called Hasselbeck (his former teammate) the best QB in the NFC and said "if you don't hit him, he'll kill you."

LB London Fletcher said he said he may give a personal nudge to Joe Gibbs to return for the fifth and currently final year of the original contract he signed when he returned.. Fletcher joked he may tell Gibbs, "See you next year so he gets the message."
T Chris Samuels called Gibbs, "the best coach I have ever had. He puts the players first. He's a character man and we always play for him."
Gibbs has never said he would not return for a fifth and possibly final season as Skins head coach, but there seems to be some snetiment that he may renege on his promise of five seasons.. I suppose we'll know more when he speaks to the media at 5PM Monday..

Putting the season in context following the loss was tough for the players with the scoreboard fresh in their mind.. A few said they were proud of the accomplishment of reaching the playoffs despite the murder of Sean Taylor and the other injuries the team fought through.. Many including Santana Moss said he doesn't want a "moral victory. You want to win. We can hold our heads high but we ain't playing next week. I wish we could be talking about next week." London Fletcher said the "The Cowboys knew what we were going to do to them."

Gibbs said it's going to be hard to separate this group after what was a trying season.. many players called this the closest group they've been a part of.. He described them as an unusual group of guys, "you could hear them getting emotional."

No major injuries occurred in the Seattle that would be any cause for concern heading into next season.. Clinton Portis injured an ankle, but not seriously.. Stephon Heyer was dinged, but said he was fine.. James Thrash missed the game due to a sprained ankle..

I'll have a detailed report on the off-season to come later this week..

OK men

Thursday, January 03, 2008

January 3-- Heyer turned down a better deal to be a Skin

Vinny Cerrato said on Redskins Radio today that Bill Parcells is one of the main reasons Jason Fabini is in Washington and playing guard for the Skins this season.. Parcells believed according to Cerrato that Fabini would be a good fit to continue his career under the tutilege of Joe Bugel, the same reason undrafted free agent Stephon Heyer is here.. The two have the same agent.. Heyer apparently turned down better deals from other teams to learn from Bugel.. "Better deals" might be operative considering very little of any money offered to Heyer as an undrafted free agent would be guaranteed..

The Redskins tried to deal for Reche Caldwell with New England during the pre-season but were rebuffed by the Patriots.. After he was released the Pats, the Skins ":jumped on him." He was the one who came to Joe Gibbs earlier this month and asked for a bigger role with the team.. That has occurred..

Clinton Portis continues to ride Santana Moss during media sessions saying he's had a, uhh huh, male groin surgery. Moss doesn't quite find it very funny, to say the least..
In a more serious moment, Portis believes the fact that the Skins have played in Seattle, understand their strengths, and are not playoff neophytes, he believes the result could be quite different this time around..

Gregg Williams said the team made a smart move by holding back some of the reps of Shawn Springs early in the season, "so we'd have him now." It was a big deal when Springs started the season as the nickel corner and played far fewer plays then Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot.. I suppose I have no choice but to buy that, so I will..
Williams said the overall health of the corners, (Smoot dealt with hamstring issues for the early to mid part of the season) and Springs (see above) has led to the advent of more man coverage use.. Smoot was brought back according to Williams because of is abilities to play man.. The corners believe that their ability to limit the Seattle passing game will be the key to slowing the Seahawks offense down..
Smoot is playing in his first playoff game after seven seasons, he described it as "going to the fair for the first time."

OK men..

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

January 2-- When the offense opened up

The Redskins held an hour long walk through today continuing their weekly lighter practice regimen.. They will hold a practice tomorrow before heading to Seattle on Friday for the wild card playoff game against Seattle.. The players continued to praise Joe Gibbs for his amenability to lighten the load..

WR James Thrash is the one main injury concern heading into the Seattle game after re-injuring his ankle.. Without a practice today, there is no word whether he'll be available for Saturday's kickoff..

LB London Fletcher has become a natural vocal leader of the defense.. I spoke with Gibbs after practice today where he said that they did not approach Fletcher to be a vocal advocate in the locker room, that this part of his game came naturally to him.. Gibbs said he wasn't aware how much of this type of role he would take in the team when they signed him and expressed surprise that at his age he remains as energetic just about playing as he does..

WR Reche Caldwell came to Gibbs about a month ago and asked him to find a bigger role for him to help the team.. Gibbs has obliged and Caldwell has jumped ahead of Keenan MCCardell on the depth chart as the number 3/4 receiver in recent weeks..

WR Antwaan Randle-EL said a major difference in the offensive output, and results in the games this past month has been the coache's concious decision to be more aggressive in the second halves of games.. Randle-EL said it was after the Buffalo game that the coaches decided to "let loose" and was most apparent to him in the 4th quarter of the Bears game where the Skins extended a lead by throwing first on a drive that led them to the first of four straight wins.. Randle-El said the players would not allow Joe Gibbs to take responsibility for the Bills game mistake believing that no matter what the calls, the team needs to execute and not allow a mistake determine the result of any given game.. This was also the point at which Gibbs said earlier in the week that the team had "learned from their mistakes."
Whether Todd Collins performance in place of the injured Jason Campbell had something to do with the more aggressive second half game plans is truly an unknown..
Collins was named NFC offensive player of the month after 4 wins, 3 of which ended with a QB rating over 100.. He doesn't have enough attempts to qualify for the league leaders in the NFL, but if he did, right now, he'd be second among all QB's in rating behind only Tom Brady..

Gibbs has never won a playoff game in the Pacific time zone, 0-2 at San Francisco and 0-1 at Seattle, but Gibbs has never lost a wild card game in his career..

Shawn Springs talked about the man coverage the Skins have employed in recent weeks.. He called the matchup between the Seattle WR's amd the Skins secondary as the key to the game.. He said Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren and Skins defensive cooridnator Gregg Williams have similar personalities in that neither overly adjusts their game plans due to matchups, but both prefer to focus on their own style and exerting their wills on everyone else..

OK men..

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

January 1-- Collins is the QB, Gibbs adjustments lead to chemistry

QB Jason Campbell is said to be a "long way away" from returning to full practice meaning Todd Collins is the starter for this weekend's playoff game in Seattle with Campbell likely remaining inactive.. Mark Brunell would remain the #2, Sam Hollenbach, the #3.. What "long way away" means in terms of his recovery from a dislocated kneecap is unknown, however popular belief is that with Collins posting the numbers he is, this is his show regardless of Campbell's availability.. The team is hopeful that Jason will return to be available at some point as the #2 at worse..

When asked how health has affected the season of Santana Moss, Clinton Portis joked, "now that he has gotten over his circumcision, he's doing a lot better.. You can tell by the way he is running." Portis and Moss are both ironically, feeling their best since the beginning of the season now, a big part of the reason the Skins offense has awakened in recent weeks.. Moss was saddled through the summer with hamstring and groin issues, he also suffered a heel injury mid season.. Portis missed the summer sessions with knee tendonitis after struggling through '06 with a dislocated shoulder and subsequently a hand injury..

WR James Thrash re-injured his ankle and was expected to be wearing a walking boot through the week, his availability will be re-assessed late in the week.. T Stephon Heyer injured his knee in the Dallas game but is said to be "OK." LB Randall Godfrey suffered an abdominal strain in the Cowoys game and the team is hoping he'll be OK for the game Saturday at Seattle..

Joe Gibbs was asked to compare this team to the one that had it's season end in a second round playoff game at Seattle two years ago.. The similarities are strking with the end of season run of must wins, but Gibbs called this team "much more talented." And of course the biggest difference is the offense is humming right now, after the Tampa playoff game, the Redskins had run out of gas posting an NFL all time low for yards gained in a playoff victory..
Asked if he has achieved his goal upon his return of getting the Skins back into an annual competitive form, Gibbs said he isn't ready to take a look at the season as a whole yet and assess whether his goals have been met.. This line of questioning of course has many ramifications.. Is Gibbs considering signing an extension beyond the final year of his deal which is next season? Could Gibbs be more apt to walk away after this season, admittdley the toughest of his career dealing with the Sean Taylor tragedy, close losses, ridicule of the Bills mistake etc? It should be an interesting first couple of weeks of his off-season whenever that actually begins..

Gibbs said he has not spoken to Sean Taylor's father or family in recent days, but Portis said he spoke with Pedro Taylor (Sean's father) and Jackie (his fiance) on Monday and said the family continues to send thanks and congratulatory thoughts to the team after reaching the playoffs in Sean's honor.. Portis and the team have dedicated this season to Taylor..

The Redskins have scored on their opening drive of the second half four straight weeks.. Earlier this season, the Skins had issues holding onto second half leads.. "Finishing" has been another motto of the team during the stretch run.. Gibbs called the ability to hold onto leads as "learning from our mistakes earlier this year."

Dallas WR Terrell Owens has been described as "iffy" for the Cowboys first playoff game, a potential rematch in Dallas between the Skins and Cowboys if Washington defeats Seattle this weekend.. Wade Phillips described his team's performance Sunday as the "difference between one team being fired up to play and another one not."
WR Terry Glenn believes that Skins safety Laron Landry was trying to hurt him when he went for his knees during Sundays game.. The play was deemed clean and Landry was on with us on Redskins Radio Monday and said he was not trying to do anything dirty and that football is a rough game..

Issac Bruce made his 942nd catch this past weekend, he passed Art Monk on the all time receptions list.. Monk remains one of the top ten receivers in terms of receptions in league history yet he remains on the outside of the Hall of Fame looking in.. This should be an interesting vote in terms of Skins with a groundswell for Monk, at least one Hig (Russ Grimm likely) and now Darrell Green eligible for enshrinement..

Gibbs said he has backed off hard practices on Wednesdays during this stretch run due to the players need for more rest time.. This tactic has paid off dividends with the team playing it's best in recent weeks.. Gibbs said this is one way he has changed from his typical regimen of the past but he did so because he believes his players will "get the work they need to get done. It's actually been relaxing knowing these guys will go out and do it." Gibbs described the chemistry this team is exhibiting as among the best he's ever coached and said it is something that is "rare. Only four or five teams I've coached in my career had been able to get what we have now."
The players have cited Gibbs ability to scale back practices as a major key to their recent success..

Happy New Year..

OK men..