Sunday, May 3, 2009

Redskins News and Notes 5/3/2009

Where to start?
There has been a great deal of things going on with the Redskins in only a week plus. The draft, UDFA signings and now mini-camp. This will probably be a very long edition of Redskins N&Ns so I'll try to break it down into chunks so you can read what you want and skip the rest........

Let's get started.

Before the Draft............

Right before the draft, the Skins tried to address the O line needs by signing former first round draft pick (4th overall, 2002) Mike Williams. Here's the whole back story as memory serves from the Skinscast podcast. Williams had been out of the NFL for a few years and was in Texas selling oil shares. He's friends with Derrick Dockery and he and his wife were living with the Dockerys. At this time Williams was around 45o lbs. Williams started to work out with Dockery and lose weight. At one point, Williams ( around 410 lbs. when this occurred) got the passion back to play football and Dockery told the Skins about Williams. The Skins signed him immediately to a one year, vet minimum contract. Currently, Williams is working out at Redskins Park and trying to get into game shape. He did not participate with the team during mini-camp, but was working on individual drills with the coaches. The Skins would like him to be down to about 370-375 lbs. by the start of training camp. (Mike Williams as of now, picture from Redskins Blog)

I listened to the Locker Room with Rick "Doc" Walker and Kevin Sheehan last week (or was it the week before?) and Doc just talked about how much of a monster Williams looks like in real life and that there would only be a few defensive linemen who would want to line up against this guy (Albert Haynesworth was one Doc mentioned).

Personally, I don't mind the move. If the Skins can get Williams in shape and he has a passion to play he could be a real monster on the field especially in the run game. Also, I seriously doubt Justin Tuck or DeMarcus Ware could bull rush him. I do worry about the speedier edge rushers against him (good thing Andre Carter, Chris Wilson and Brian Orakpo can test him in training camp) though. Either way add Mike Williams to the list of tackles looking to be the starting right tackle (Devin Clark, Jon Jansen and Stephon Heyer are in the mix). I also knew that with the addition of Williams, I didn't think the Skins would take Michael Oher at #13.

Draft Day Ramblings
I already wrote about some of the things that happened with other teams during the draft so I won't write about that much here. I spent most of my draft day on the couch watching the NFL Network broadcast (thankfully NFLN is still on Comcast, I don't watch it everyday but it's a good source for football news) and DVRed the ESPN version. Here's the food list:

- Ribs and fries from Famous Daves
- Red Stripe (Hooooray beer!!!) and Yuengling
- Watergate salad (homemade)

I enjoyed round one. When the Jets made the move to draft Sanchez, I was probably as happy as the Jet fans. At the time, the Skins only had five picks and in my opinion, the O and D lines had to be addressed in the draft. I'm not the only one, most Redskins fans that I have talked to and that have voted on the IIWII polls pretty much said the same thing. As I said on the Draft Coverage Thread:
The draft started off well as the New York Jets moved up to pick #5 (from #17) in order to jump the Redskins and the Bucs to get Mark Sanchez. This caused a general ripple effect as the following things happened:

This was the ideal draft for the Redskins fan. Brian Orakpo was there, Michael Oher was there and even Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga where there. The Skins really couldn't go wrong here as long as they didn't draft a WR, TE, DB or QB. I loved the Orakpo pick (more on that later) and was hoping the Skins were on pace for a great draft.

By round two, I could care less. After a few beers, plenty of ribs and the happiness of Orakpo I kind of kept track of picks but it just wasn't that big of a deal (the Skins were done picking). I just was keeping up so I could figure out what Dan's (my friend and a Ravens fan) team was doing. The Ravens took Michael Oher and Paul Kruger.....guys I liked, but the Ravens never addressed the need at WR (much like the Skins addressing the O-line) so he wasn't that happy.

Wasn't nearly as happy with the Day 2 moves (more on that later as well). I spent most of the day listening to the NFLN broadcast and catching up on months of comics.......

There were a few things that both ESPN and NFLN did that annoyed the hell out of me:
1. I hated the million analysts that were brought in. Do we really need coaches who focus on QBs to talk about other positions? Same goes with former players who were great at one position now trying to be experts on other positions. Why isn't Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper, Todd Mcshay and others who actually break down game film and scout these young men talking about the picks? All I want on each player is a) positives, b) negatives and c) how this player will fit the team's scheme and needs, while the highlights are playing.

2. Commercials. Is there anyway, the coverage could break into a commercial if a big trade or move is made?

3. Please don't talk about teams, or Brett Favre or the Jay Cutler saga or TO or Dallas Cowboys Hard Knocks when players are being drafted. I'd like to know about a player please. Who the hell is Cody Glenn? You'll never know if you try to find out during draft coverage.......I had to do the research myself (highlights, info. etc.). Don't even get me started on finding out anything about Henson.

Notes: Go back to Meaningless Mock Madness 3.0 (my final mock). Yours truly got 8 of the first 13 picks right!!! Larry Michael (on Redskins Nation) mentioned NFP's Michael Lombardi only got 2 of 32 and Mayock got 9 of 32. NFL Draft Countdown got 4 of 13. Not bad for a guy with no NFL sources outside of getting an email from Mike Florio, 2 from Bram Weinstein, meeting Matt Terl at the Redskins/Ravens tailgate and having Larry Michael read two smart-assed emails of mine on Redskins Radio/Redskins Nation. I guess I'll have to keep doing mocks..........

Draft Day Analysis

Brian Orakpo:
Almost everybody liked (or loved) the Orakpo move. I think it's for a few reasons:
1. The Skins haven't drafted a first round DE since Kennard Lang in 1997. Since then, I believe the highest D-linemen drafted since then was Anthony Montgomery in the 5th round. It's been a long time coming.
2. Nobody thought he'd be there at #13. I'm very glad Aaron Maybin went to Buffalo and not Orakpo.
3. With Albert Haynesworth in the middle, and Carter on the other side......this D-line looks beyond scary and Orakpo should have some early success.
4. Orakpo was rated by many as the best pass rusher in the draft (or at least #2, with Maybin as #1) and again when was the last time the Redskins had an elite pass rusher? I'm thinking Manley. I know some would say Mann.....but I really think Mann was the better all around DE (better run stuffer and good pass rusher) while Dexter was the sack machine.
5. I like the move so much, I am really tempted to purchase an Orakpo jersey........something I swore I would not do with current players (especially rookies). I think right now I'll stay with my Dexter jerseys (see one below) and maybe a Portis one......but the temptation remains........

Kevin Barnes- I was hoping O line here, but I actually like this move. I think Barnes will probably need to bulk up slightly, but he has good size and speed. I like the height in particular because WRs like Plaxico Burress and Roy Williams will cause our smaller corners some problems with "jump balls" in the red zone. Barnes may help that a little. I see Barnes challenging Smoot for the nickle spot. Also, this pick says a lot about last years pick JT Tryon. Tryon didn't impress last year and was barely on the field even with Springs hurt all the time and Rogers being nicked up.

And All the Rest........
Cody Glenn- didn't like the move honestly. There were good linemen on the board in my opinion and Glenn has issues with injury and off field issues. He's a one year LB, most of his career he was a RB and during that time he had injury issues. He was suspended in his final three games at Nebraska for unknown reasons. Glenn claimed it was ticket scalping, but he lied. We still don't know why he was suspended.......and now at mini-camp he was injured (pulled hamstring). I got a Dallas Sartz feeling about this pick.........hope I'm wrong. I wish him the best and hopes he'll be a Skin for a long time.
Robert Henson- I got an HB Blades feeling about this pick, was impressed by some of his footage and I think of the picks from round 5 through 7, Henson has the best shot of making the 53 man roster.
Eddie Williams- will have a hard time making the roster. This will be a year where a bunch of RBs will try to make the 53. At best I see Williams as Sellers' backup as a FB/H-back. Probably a practice squad guy who will earn a roster spot only if he excels in special teams.
Marko Mitchell- I've heard mixed commentary on him. Some say he's really fast, others not. But he does has something the Redskins lack- height. If Malcomb Kelly can't stay healthy enough to get on the field, Mitchell may have a shot to make the team. Probably will be a practice squad guy especially with the current WRs on the team and the possibility of some veteran WRs joining the team during camp.

The IIWII Gut Reaction Grade
Drafts really shouldn't be graded after it happens. I mean sure, based on team needs you can opine whether the team did a good job addressing said needs. However, based on players being drafted right now, do we have any clue if any of these players will succeed in the NFL? No. Orakpo could be the next Dexter Manley or the next bust. Who would have thought after the 2008 draft that Chris Horton would have been the most successful player as of a year later?

However, we all like to throw grades I give it a C/C+. The Skins had three issues of concern: O-line, D-line (namely DE) and SOLB. They addressed the DE spot with Orakpo (some could argue 2 spots as he's working to learn SOLB, but I'd rather have him as a DE). The O-line was never addressed via the draft (unless you count UDFAs). Jason Taylor cost the Redskins a 2nd rounder for what was a failed experiment. Barnes may or may not be a stretch, but barring his shoulder injury may have been a higher pick- so another good move IMO. The remaining players seem to be at best depth players, at worst just throwing names at a dart board. There is no way Vinny Cerrato can come on Redskins Nation or any other show and tout Best Player Available in day two of this draft like he did in day 1 of the 2008 draft. I could be wrong, but the Skins tend to do well in round 1 and then in rounds 6 and 7. But again some of the final picks seem to be throw away moves. Let's not forget the 4th round pick as was for Pete Kendall which was a small price to pay a guard who played very well for two seasons.

How do you feel about the draft? IIWII has three poll questions about drafting Brian Orakpo, Kevin Barnes and the overall draft. Let your opinion be known!!!!!

Larry Michael Must Think I'm a "Hater" Too...........
(That Deadman is just another Hater and probably has sources too)

Larry was talking about the draft grades given out by Michael Lombardi on NFLN. I believe Lombardi also gave the Skins a C (might have been a C+ or C-) because he thinks Orakpo is ok and the Skins lost the 2nd rounder to Taylor. However, he gave the Cowboys an incomplete grade because of Roy Williams (sorry Mike, but if you go by failed experiments then the Cowboys deserve an F. Williams cost the 'Boys a 1st, 3rd and a 5th for 1 TD and less than twenty catches. It also led to the ousting of TO- so this made the Cowboys better?). Larry then went on about the "haters" as he calls them (he's right about a few of them). So am I a hater based on my draft opinions?

Not really. Actually, I like Larry. I think you just have to realize that Larry Michael (much like most of what comes from is going to provide the fans with info. and news that highlights what the Redskins are doing (usually from the Redskins POV). Not being critical of all/any moves that the Skins make. Remember, Larry is the current "voice of the Redskins" and you don't want either him or his predecessor (Frank Herzog) to bad mouth the team.

Then Came the UDFAs
As you probably know by now, the Skins signed another 13 players to the team. This is where you look for those rare diamonds and the Skins have found a few that at least have hung around on the team like Devin Clark, Byron Westbrook and of course Stephon Heyer. This year's group looks like they'll have a hard time making the team, especially the TEs, DTs, DBs and QB. But I am keeping an eye on one player: C, Edwin Williams who played for the Terps.

There had been some suggestions that the Skins were looking at him as a 5th rounder. Pro Football Weekly had him as a mid-to-late round prospect. So he has some promise. Keep an eye out for him in training camp and in the preseason. He may fill a dire need as the Skins have been looking for a solid back up center (and possibly Casey Rabach's heir apparent). Want to learn more? The Redskins Blog has two interviews here and here worth checking out.

Welcome Back........
Now sporting #24 (formerly held by Shawn Springs) the fan favorite has returned after being claimed off waivers by the Skins (he was released by the Jets). Mason will try again to make the team but will have to do so by doing well in Special Teams. Don't get too excited Mason fans, the competition will be even tougher this year.
Last year the Skins kept 4 RBs at the end of camp (Portis, Betts, Cartwright and Sellers) and this year I expect them to keep 4-5. If you just say 5 RBs (assume Portis and Sellers are locks), Mason will have to out perform some RBs/FBs like Betts (probably a lock also), Cartwright, Aldrige, Dorsey, Evans and Williams to grab a spot. At worst with guys like Brennan and Mason out there, it will at least make pre-season interesting to watch.

So Long, Farewell..........

Khary Campbell- who is not coming back to the Skins after passing on a vet. minimum offer per the Washington Times. Campbell was the co-captain of the Special Teams unit last year. Good luck with your future team, Khary.

Ryan Boschetti- who is trying to make the roster of the Oakland Raiders per the Washington Times. Good luck in Oakland, Ryan.

Finally, Minicamp News

I swear this blog entry is taking forever to finish....almost done. I'll make some of this quick as you've probably been following the camp anyway.

The Skins hosted between 113-116 players. This included the current roster, drafted rookies, UDFAs, rookies attempting to make the roster as a try out and veterans also looking to latch onto a team.

Chris Samuels, Randy Thomas, Santana Moss, Malcolmb Kelly and James Thrash were all out because of injuries.

With the injuries the starting O-Line consisted of : Devin Clark (LT), Derrick Dockery (LG), Casey Rabach (C), Chad Rinehart (RG), Stephon Heyer (RT).

Starting D-line consisted of Andre Carter, Albert Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin and Phillip Daniels.

Chris Wilson and Brian Orakpo did drills with the linebacker corps.

Jon Jansen worked as a Guard and as a Center (I'm guessing he'll be this year's Jason Fabini -ie. a utility lineman).

The Skins are on the verge of signing veteran G/T Jeremy Bridges and are going to offer vet. minimum deals to WRs DJ Hackett and Kelley Washington.

Cody Glenn and Devin Thomas suffered injuries, but are considered to be fine.

Clinton Portis still hates preseason/mini-camps/OTAs/practice/rain and the swine flu......and is still one of the most witty guys on the team (but of course everybody takes everything CP says as serious and are freaking out as I type).

There are many things I could continue to write about, but I just don't have the time. I will say that I think this year's camp (when the Skins open with 80 players on the roster) it will be very hard for the coaches (and the fans for that matter) to determine the final 53 players. There are going to be a few surprises (ie some known veteran/current Skins may not make the team IMO) and some tough choices to be made. This just means that the Skins will have a really deep roster which is something that many fans have been concerned about for years (the depth).

Mini-camp Links
Coverage by the Post: Here
Coverage by the Times: Redskins 360
Coverage by Mini-Camp Practice Report
Coverage by The Redskins Blog:
Day 1 (AM)
Day 1 (PM)
Day 2 (AM)
Day 2 (PM)
Day 3

Final Notes
If you noticed, I skipped any stuff on Jason Campbell. He's moved on and so have I on the Cutler/Sanchez drama. Jason knows what he has to do. Good news is that he has most of the fan base supporting him.

Did I mention that there is a new Skinscast podcast covering the draft? Good work by Pappas and co.

Like I said, I skipped draft day at FedEx......but is it true that people were chanting Orakpo before the draft started? To be honest, I really didn't think he would fall to #13 especially with Cleveland, GB, SF and Buffalo in need for a OLB/DE pass rusher. But I did have him going to the Skins at #13 in my final Meaningless Mock. Who knows?

The Post is reporting the signing of FA WR Trent Shelton, who tried out at the mini-camp.

Notable Vinny Quotes of the Week

"I called Denver and said do you want to flip flop and he said 'you're going to get your guy.'"
-Vinny on April 25th (about trading up with Denver to get Orakpo)
Ed. Note: Be thankful Mike Shanahan isn't the Coach/GM of the Broncos anymore or the Skins probably would have given up their 2010 2nd or 3rd rounder to move up one spot.

"Stephon [Heyer] is doing a great job. Now it's time for [Chad] Rinehart, Devin Clark and some of the guys from last year that we've been training for a year to step up."

- Vinny on April 26th (on why the Skins did not address O-Line in the draft)

No comments:

Post a Comment