Saturday, July 31, 2010

Redskins position preview: Running backs

Confidence Level: 5 out of 10

We continue to go in depth into each position group and to flesh out the reasoning behind my admittedly hopeless guess at the final makeup of the Redskins 53-man roster:

Running backs (5 kept)
Tailbacks: Larry Johnson, Clinton Portis, Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams
Fullbacks: Mike Sellers
Cuts: Willie Parker, Darrell Young, Dennis Morris

I have never been among Clinton Portis’ detractors. In 2009, of course, Portis did not perform up to his usual level. Some fans accused him of not running hard, but I am unconvinced that the problem was a lack of effort. This is mainly because consistent effort (on game days at least) has always been Portis’ most noticeable quality. Think back to the first half of 2008 when the running game was clicking (largely behind the outstanding blocking of Chris Samuels and Pete Kendall). In my opinion, there was no one in the NFL who ran harder. He was not breaking big runs, but he was punishing a defender at the end of every play.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Redskins position preview: Offensive line

Confidence Level: 4.5 out of 10

This is the fourth installment in my series of position previews leading up to training camp.

We’ll start with my hopeless prediction of who I think will make the final roster:

Offensive Linemen (9)
Tackles: Trent Williams, Jammal Brown, Stephon Heyer, Selvish Capers
Interior Linemen: Derrick Dockery, Casey Rabach, Artis Hicks, Chad Rinehart, Kory Lichtensteiger
Cuts: Edwin Williams, Will Montgomery, William Robinson, Clint Oldenburg, Eric Cook

The situation at tackle is infinitely better than last year, although there are some causes for worry. I am as excited as anyone to have a high draft pick like Trent Williams taking over the left tackle position. He is undeniably athletic and talented, and a good fit for Shanahan’s system. But as Hogs Haven pointed out, he is facing a murderer’s row of pass rushers this year. Even if Williams can stand up to these guys physically, he’s going to see some moves that he hasn’t imagined in his worst nightmares. Trent Williams will get beat at times, no matter how good he is. Fortunately, we have some running backs who take their pass protection very seriously, which is nice because they will be called upon to save Donovan McNabb from time to time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Redskins position preview: Defensive backs

Continuing the series expounding on my roster picks from last week. 

Defensive Backs (9 kept)

Corners: DeAngelo Hall, Carlos Rogers, Philip Buchanon, Justin Tryon, Kevin Barnes

Safeties: Reed Doughty, LaRon Landry, Kareem Moore, Chris Horton
Cuts: Byron Westbrook, Lendy Holmes, Doug Dutch, Ramzee Robinson, Anderson Russell

Confidence Level: 7 out of 10

After the offensive line, the secondary was probably the Redskins most-maligned unit in 2009. My inclination, however, is to blame Greg Blache, who it appeared was out-coached week after week last year. He ended up with a decent defense that succeeded on the basis of raw talent in the front seven despite being put at a disadvantage. TV broadcasts don't give you a good view to judge receiver and secondary play, but the breakdowns in coverage were too frequent and too severe to have another explanation. It's an Occam's razor situation: Is it more likely that every one of the Redskins defensive backs are really dumb, or that opposing coaches were able to see what Blache was doing and outsmart him?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Staying Medium hesitantly dips its toe into Twitter

Yep, I finally caved. You can go to @StayMediumBlog to follow my tweets (oddly enough @StayingMedium was unavailable).

I am joining fellow soon-to-be Redskins blogs IIWII and Brooding Burgundy on Twitter, and also seeking to shut up the many, many people who tell me I'm crazy for not doing this earlier (for those of you who don't know me, I'm a crotchety 70 year old man who mistrusts you crazy young people and your "social networking"... and your music).

I started this up yesterday and spent about an hour poking around and finding folks I could follow, so feel free to sift through my list for some interesting Redskins/NFL feeds. I even put up a tweet of my own, and then "re-tweeted" a couple of things, which made me feel all high-tech and youthy - although I kind of feel like I may as well just take the next logical step and join Team Jacob.

I can't say yet how frequently I'll be tweeting (that word is going to take some getting used to). We'll figure that out as we go. Obviously I will put notifications of new posts up on the Twitter feed, although it will also provide me a vehicle to point out articles I like when I don't have enough material for a "links" post - hence my first tweet about ANFLS's Haynesworth article. Worth reading, but I ordinarily wouldn't bother with a blog post just to call your attention to it. And the Barnwell thing was just funny. So as much as I mock Twitter its easy to see how it could actually be quite useful.

And if I'm doing Twitter wrong somebody needs to let me know, okay?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Redskins position preview: Linebackers

Last Tuesday I posted my best guess at the Redskins' final 53 man roster, but without any explanation for my picks.  Instead I'm going through position by position so that I can go into each in sufficient depth.  We started with the defensive line on Thursday, and today we will dive into linebackers.  The good news is this figures to be the last preview in which I whine about how the switch to the 3-4 defense does not maximize the talent of the Redskins front seven, because I know I've already done too much of that this offseason.

Confidence Level: 5.5


We're starting on the outside because I generally feel better about this bunch and I want to delay the angst I will feel while writing about the inside 'backers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Redskins position preview: Defensive line

I posted my 53 man roster prediction on Tuesday without commentary, so as promised starting today I will be posting somewhat in-depth evaluation of each position group.  These will be going up every 2-3 days, power throught the start of training camp, and will all be wrapped up before the Redskins take the field for their first preseason game.
First up - the defensive line.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hopeless 53-man roster prediction

I am starting the countdown to training camp (July 29th is coming fast, isn't it?).  As such I guess it's time to put my 53-man roster out there.  Rest assured, this will turn out to be utterly, hilariously wrong but I'm giving it a shot.

Despite the fact that there is a notable lack of commentary below, there is in fact some logic that I put into these predictions.  The reason I'm not going into it here is because we are about to launch into a whole series of posts previewing each position in a fair amount of detail, so I can make my case for these selections there.  We'll start Thursday night with the defensive line, and you can expect them to continue going up every two to three days running through the start of training camp and wrapping up before the first preseason game.

So for your consideration, debate, mockery, or general disdain, here is my stab at the final 53:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

No need to panic over McNabb's contract status

We are starting to see the first expressions of alarm over the fact that the Redskins and Donovan McNabb have apparently not made meaningful progress on agreeing to a contract extension nearly three months after he was acquired from Philadelphia.  Obviously, if he were to play here for one year and then depart as a free agent in 2011 the trade would not have been a good use of a second round pick (and another mid-rounder next year).  I'm not worried about that scenario, because it is not at all in McNabb's interest.