The Blog Squad

Friday, August 29, 2008

Down to 53

Fellow Redskins fans, I’m very confused. I have no idea what our team will do this season.

Granted, it’s all preseason games, but the team looked great in the first one against the Indianapolis Colts. But they made common mistakes of a bottom-place team in the last two games. Plus, they were physically dominated in both of those games against Carolina and Jacksonville.

That aspect of their defeats has me very worried.

Call me one of the “Children of the Zorn” or “Me So Zorny” because I love our new coach. I like his approach with the players and the media. He is certainly old-school, not worried about calling a player out for lack of effort. But he also is quick to praise those who have played with intensity.

I don’t know how he’ll call a game yet since I suspect he’s been running a fairly vanilla offense in the preseason. I also don’t know about how he’ll adjust to situations, an aspect that separates good coaches from mediocre ones.

I do believe Zorn has physical talent to work with, though sometimes I question the desire and intelligence of some of the players.

Take quarterback Jason Campbell, for example. I understand he’s played in a different offense for the past six or seven years. But he has not made much progress in reading the defense and sensing pressure quicker. He seems to care less about the rush and the consequences of being hit. It’s like he’s locked into his target and nothing is going to deter him from that mission.

The good quarterbacks are able to defer to other options and instinctively avoid pressure. I have yet to see that from Campbell in the almost two years he’s been the starter. I believe it is a skill that can be learned. Maybe I shouldn’t be so worried yet. However, the Redskins open the season with three NFC road games and play New Orleans and Arizona. Washington can be 0-5 before Campbell figures it out.

Instead of trying to predict how the team will fare this season, I will try to figure out the 53 players who will be on the roster after cuts are made by the 4 p.m. Saturday deadline. Honestly, I really don’t want to think about wins and losses because I sense this could be a long season.
Roster (starters listed first, then backups in order)

QUARTERBACK (3): Campbell, Todd Collins, Colt Brennan.
Some have called for the rookie Brennan to start. That’s ridiculous. But I will tell you, there’s a chance he could compete for the role next year. That’s if Campbell continues to be clueless about things like a pass rush and Brennan maintains his level of enthusiasm and desire to improve.

RUNNING BACK (3): Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Marcus Mason.
I believe Rock Cartwright gets cut after a long run in Washington. It’s time this team keeps its talent and develops it rather than giving it away to other teams. Mason can play running back. He still needs to learn how to make an impact on special teams. He gets his chance this season.

FULLBACK (1): Mike Sellers.

TIGHT END (3): Chris Cooley, Fred Davis, Todd Yoder.
I love Cooley and Davis. I think both will line up together many times this season. Cooley is an all-pro, and the rookie Davis is a better blocker than expected.

WIDE RECEIVER (6): Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, James Thrash, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, Billy McMullen.
The Richmond native, McMullen, makes the team as the sixth receiver. However, he’ll actually see the field more than Malcolm Kelly who can’t shake his chronically bad knees. Kelly is a major disappointment. The second-round draft choice might end up on injured reserve and loss for the season. The other second rounder, Thomas, looks like he hasn’t adjusted to the speed of the game. He can talent, though raw. However, I can see him contributing come November and December.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Chris Samuels, Pete Kendall, Casey Rabach, Randy Thomas, Stephon Heyer, Jon Jansen, Jason Fabini, Chad Rinehart, Andrew Crummey.
Heyer will take over for Jansen who is aging quickly before our eyes. Don’t be surprised to see Rinehart take over at guard or Crummey at center. The offensive line will look completely different next year.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9): Andre Carter, Anthony Montgomery, Cornelius Griffin, Jason Taylor, Kedric Golston, Lorenzo Alexander, Erasmus James, Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson.
Actually, Demetric Evans will probably make the team, though I hope not. He has not done anything and not developed at all. I like the rookie Jackson, who is a bigger defensive end. Golston loses his starting position because he is not a gap run stopper. Hopefully Taylor is back at full strength and he and Carter post double digit sacks.

LINEBACKERS (6): Rocky McIntosh, London Fletcher, Marcus Washington, H.B. Blades, Khary Campbell, Alfred Fincher.
The starting linebackers are old and injury-prone. Hopefully Fincher pans out because he’s been one of the few to show intensity every game in the preseason.

SECONDARY (10): Shawn Springs, Fred Smoot, Kareem Moore, LaRon Landry, Carlos Rogers, Reed Doughty, Leigh Torrence, Chris Horton, Justin Hamilton, Matteral Richardson.
With Landry, this defense is a force. Moore looks like a player who can deliver blows over the middle. Pray that Springs, Smoot and Rogers stay healthy.

SPECIAL TEAMS (3): Durant Brooks, Shaun Suisham, Ethan Albright.
Brooks better win the job. He’s a multiple pro bowl punter.

OUT AT HOME: When does Lost come back on?

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: This guy Fabrice Santoro was upset that Andy Roddick served it too fast into his body. The Frenchman claimed Roddick was headhunting or something to that effect. Are you kidding me? This is the U.S. Open. I’ve never heard of such a complaint. So what does Fabrice do on the next point? Match point? He stops playing. Way to compete Fabrice.


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