Saturday, April 4, 2009

Redskins News and Notes 4/5/09

It has been a long week for the Redskins fan and I'll be focusing more on the stuff here not dealing with Cutler than a full diatribe about the situation. There will be a post about Jason Campbell later this week. But since I'm talking Cutler/Campbell/FO.......

Jason Campbell has moved on, although he remained pretty "medium" during the whole Cutler-trade saga:
1. He actually spoke with his coach (Jim Zorn) before and during the saga and Zorn had his back the whole time.
2. Campbell came to work and participated in voluntary workouts on the day he was supposed to be traded:
"I still went and worked out," he said. "My teammates said, 'Jason, why are you here?' And I told them: 'I'm still the quarterback of this team until they get rid of me. You haven't seen the best of me. I'm not here for ownership. I won't miss days working out with you, and I won't miss time preparing for the season. Who knows? A trade may not work out.' "
3. Post-Trade, Campbell met with Jim Zorn, Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato and cleared the air. Things have been resolved and the parties involved are moving on:
"I would say it was a very successful meeting because everyone expressed themselves and made it clear what we want to try to accomplish," Campbell said. "We talked for a long time about everything that had happened and the thing I felt the best about was that I got a chance to talk about what I'm trying to do, which is just get ready for the season and try to help this team get to that higher level. Coach Zorn and [Snyder] all let me know how they feel about things and that's why I'd say it was real successful because now it's just about moving forward and trying to win. I'm going to be in this offense for my second year, Coach Zorn has learned a lot, different stuff that can help us be more successful, and I just think it was real positive today."
I think Campbell has gained a great deal of respect from the fan base on how he handled the situation and this could actually benefit Campbell this year.......more on this later.

Speaking of Quarterbacks.......

Byron Leftwich came in Friday for a workout according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. But before fans start to freak out, Leftwich is only here to try out for a backup role (probably to compete with Todd Collins and Colt Brennan for the No. 2 spot) and left without a contract offer (although that really doesn't mean anything). Leftwich is a DC native and grew up a Redskins fan and rumors have swirled in the past that he would like to play here. The Steelers are still interested in possibly re-signing the backup (who did well against the Skins last year).

Friday Was A Busy Day

Not only were the Skins trying to resolve the Cutler-saga and Byron Leftwich, but they were hosting local draft prospects at their annual pro-day. Unlike previous years where bigger named prospects (like Shawne Merriman) came in most of these players are either late round prospects, priority UDFAs (Undrafted Free Agents) or developmental players hoping to make a practice squad or a home in the CFL, AFL or UFL. Most notable I suppose might be DB Greg Toler from St Paul's College who can run a 4.37 40. The post ran a story about him (read it here). There were also a large group of Maryland players there........

And This Story Was Missed During The Cutler-Saga.........
What may have been the best thing to come out of the Cutler-Saga was that a story reported by Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean that the Titans are now claiming that the Redskins tampered for the services of Albert Haynesworth and are reporting it to the NFL was largely a non-covered story. There's really not that much to it especially when you read this portion of the article:
"The Titans did not file a formal grievance with the NFL. Instead, they turned in newspaper articles and audio from a Washington, D.C.-area radio station in which a Redskins official made what the Titans felt were incriminating comments."

And then add what Haynesworth has said:
"All I know is the Redskins called my agent at 11:04 p.m. Nashville time (Ed Note: I believe that would be 12:04 am EST, thus the start of Free Agency) and they started negotiating then,'' Haynesworth said last month. "They weren't anywhere close in the first couple of hours and then they got serious. Chad worked the deal then and it worked out.''

and finally:
[Greg]"Aiello estimated the league reviews a handful of potential tampering cases each year but said most of the inquiries don't lead to anything."

So, I really don't think the Titans or NFL for that matter has much of a case. Nor do I think that the Skins will lose any draft picks. It's all speculation for the most part.

Bye Bye.......Plaxico Burress

The entire NFCE breathed a slight sigh of relief as the Giants announced that Plaxico Burress had been cut by the team. Against the Redskins, Burress caught 34 passes for 431 yards (12.7 ypc average) and 2 TDs in seven games. His best game against the Skins was last year in Week One where he caught 10 passes for 133 yards and seemed to be practically unstoppable. As a Skins fan, I'm elated b/c it makes the Giants much weaker without him (same with the Cowboys cutting T.O.) and helps the Skins. But as a football fan it saddens me. The NFL loses a talented WR and Burress is out a job. It amazes me what stupid things some players have done over the years to ruin themselves. Give credit to the Steelers I guess who let Burress go knowing that they were losing some talent but a whole lot of headaches......guess the Giants eventually came to the same conclusion.

I'll Mention This....But......
There is a big rumor/story going on the website NFLDraftBible.com involving possible draftee candidates testing positive for marijuana and steroids some players are potential first rounders and a few may be of interest to the Redskins (ie. they fit a potential need or have shown up on some Mocks as a Redskins' pick). The agents for said players have denied the claims and so has the NFL as they released the following statement (I found this on PFT):
“Neither the 32 clubs nor the league office know the results of drug or steroid tests taken at the 2009 Combine. The independent medical advisers who administer the tests have notified in writing those players and only those players who tested positive at the Combine.

“Unfortunately, rumors about draft eligible players, including rumors about test results, begin to circulate every year at this time. Many of these rumors are circulated for self-serving reasons and they are terribly unfair to the players and their families.”
I'm not going to speculate on this or even mention the players involved as these rumors could cost them millions of dollars if it affects their draft status and yours truly isn't interested in having NFL caliber players (and their lawyers and agents) pissed. But it's just an FYI if you haven't heard about it yet.

Speaking of the Draft.....
Quick free pub for Pro Football Weekly's Draft Preview guide ($19.95). Very nice quick breakdowns and analysis of hundreds of players (they say 600)and where they should wind up in the draft. Of course, this season I've been going overboard on the draft. If you want similar coverage in the free variety, check out NFL Draft Countdown (link is on the side of the blog).

Redskins and Comcast are hosting the annual Draft Day party at FedEx starting at noon (draft is at 4pm this year....guessing the Skins will be drafting sometime between 5:30 and 6:15pm). If I didn't live 2.5 hours away, I'd probably go for a couple hours and then go home and watch the draft in comfort.....oh well.
I'm having my own draft day party (The 2nd Annual Walking Deadman Invitational Draft Day Party) and it will be an interesting mix as my friends are Raider and Raven fans respectively but we're going to get some barbecue, throw the football around and scream at the TV for a few hours. Good fun had by all.

Also, I'm waiting to see who the Skins bring in for private workouts......so far the only 1st rounder that I am aware of is QB Mark Sanchez with only 20 days until the draft.

Is The Skins Starting SAM Linebacker Already On The Team?
The Skins have a hole at the strong-side outside (aka SAM) linebacker after the cutting of Marcus Washington. It at one time was thought that ex-Skin Jason Taylor was doing to fill that position (and then rush the passer on 3rd downs) but he of course was also cut. HB Blades is a potential candidate since he spot started and played the position last year (when Washington was injured) but he is built more to play middle linebacker. Obviously, the draft has many candidates to fill the spot (like a Brian Cushing for example) but I still think that OL and DL are bigger needs and should be addressed first. But now there's a new wildcard to add to the mix- enter Chris Wilson.
Wilson was on Redskins Nation this week chatting with Larry Michael about the offseason and mentioned that he's learning the SAM position. Much like Jason Taylor, Wilson would play strong-side linebacker on 1st and 2nd downs generally and then on 3rd down or long passing downs move to DE and rush the quarterback. Right now, Wilson is pretty much a pass-rush specialist (his size 6'4" 246 lbs. makes his run defense difficult with 300+ pound linemen to shed) and would be fighting for a roster spot at DE with Rob Jackson, Alex Buzbee and whomever the Redskins draft (one would assume that Carter, Wynn and Daniels are roster locks). But he could make the team as a LB (especially with only McIntosh, Fletcher, Blades and Fincher as probably roster locks and you'd think the Skins would keep 5-7 linebackers). From what I've seen, Wilson has decent speed, agility and can tackle in the open field (note: he plays special teams). The keys will be if he can cover TEs like Witten, Boss and whoever the Eagles have; be able to shed their blocks on run downs and not bite on play action passes. So don't freak out if the Skins don't draft a linebacker in the 1st or 3rd rounds (assuming no trade backs) and keep an eye on Wilson during the OTAs and training camp......he could be the Skins starting SAM LB.

Final Notes
If you really have a chance and have Comcast, I highly suggest watching Redskins Nation. You get a great deal of tidbits from the players, Zorn, Vinny Cerrato and even Larry Michael. I learned about Chris Wilson's move to SAM/DE on Redskin's Nation and there was a good interview with Portis this past week. Plus, I get many of my Vinny quotes from Redskins Nation.

Former 1st Rounder Patrick Ramsey is still in the NFL and is now a Titan.

If you are a Comcast subscriber you're going to be losing NFL Network as of May 1st. It sucks because I like NFL Network and actually have paid for the sports package to get it. The good news I suppose is that I won't be spending the extra 5-10 bucks a month for the sports package anymore.

Notable Vinny Quote of the Week:

"We met with Jason today [Friday] and had a candid discussion. We told Jason that when Jay Cutler became available we, like many other NFL teams, spoke with the Broncos.

"We are all on the same page and we are moving forward."
- On Jason Campbell from Redskins.com

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