On Friday May 2nd, 2008, something very important happened in Ashburn, Va. New Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn opened his first practice. Whether you were happy with Owner Daniels Snyder's selection of Zorn as head coach to replace Joe Gibbs really doesn't matter, it's done. Now it's time to find out what Zorn is all about. What will the Redskins look like under Zorn? A number of reports have come from the "media throng" at Redskins Park and I have come to the following conclusion: Zorn is the right man for the job.
Why? For one, I like what I am reading from the players. Not what they are saying but the way they seem to be saying things. We all know that players are going to be "politically correct" when it comes to a new coaching staff. But there seems to be genuine enthusiasm in the many quotes being offered. One particularly intriguing comment I have seen was a story Redskins Quarterback Jason Campbell told reporters the other day. At the NFL scounting combing in 2005, the year Campbell was drafted, Zorn spent some time with Campbell:
"I knew Seattle wasn't taking me because they had Matt Hasselbeck, but he was saying all this nice stuff to me," Campbell said yesterday after the first practice of mini-camp at Redskins Park. "Here he is giving me all this time, telling me about what I could accomplish with the talent I have, and he didn't have to do that because I'm not going there. He just came off as a real nice guy, and it really teaches you that first impressions are everything. I know it's going to work out with Coach Zorn here because I've known for a long time what type of person he is."
What a way to start a relationship. This could almost be viewed as destiny. Campbell and Zorn were meant to work together. I am sure Zorn spoke with many young quarterbacks at the scouting combine over the years but the fact that he spent time with Campbell then must offer Campbell an incredible amount of confidence in his new leader. He knows Zorn is being genuine with his encouragement. Not just playing him to keep things moving along. Jason Campbell will set the tone for his offensive teammates as the learning process continues and his comfort level will be key to the growth of the Redskins under new head coach Jim Zorn.
Zorn's enthusiasm for the game itself and his love for coaching also was on display on the first day of mini-camp: On one play young wide receiver Anthony Mix was thrown a pass in the corner of the end zone, the ball was batted by the DB on the play, but Mix stayed on the ball, and after juggling it a bit, made the catch. He was out of bounds when he finally had control of the ball, but Zorn took off down field, "like a shot gun", according to Jason Campbell. He was sprinting down field to congratulate Mix on his effort to finish the play. On another play rookie wide receiver Malcom Kelly was badly overthrown after beating his man on a deep route, he pulled up and did not continue his effort to get to the ball. Zorn went after him and let him know that that was unacceptable. Always "finish" the play.
For those who think Jim Zorn may be "too nice": Corner back Shawn Springs intercepts a pass, and cuts across field looking for blockers, as he rounds the corner he attempts a lateral to fellow corner back Fred Smoot, Zorn erupts, yelling "Don't do that! Don't do that!" as he sprints across the field. Most players on the field at the time had not seen that side of their new head coach yet. Now they know. There is another side to Zorn.
His practices are expected to be "up tempo", and his practice philosophy is simple. He'd rather run 10 plays perfectly, than 100 "so-so". So he would rather run the same play over and over again all day if it means getting it "right" before they move on to the next one. He wants this team to be crisp and to play together. With a shortened "off-season" due to being scheduled to play in the pre-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts in the annual Hall of Fame Game, Zorn doesn't have a lot of time to install his offense and his new identity. But for the Redskins, he has already taken a big step forward.
Jason Campbell and his offensive teammates will need to take a proactive role in learning the new offense, and put in extra time on their own. After practice, during their "off" time, they need to be together, studying film, running routes, and talking through what they will see from opposing defenses. They will be learning Zorn's version of the west coast offense, on the fly. But that may not be a bad thing as the offense will be "under construction" on the fly too. The Zorn identity is coming together, and I can't wait to see the results.
Ok, so you "freaked out" when the Redskins selected a tight end, USC's Fred Davis. And then absolutely "flipped your lid" when they selected a second WR, Oklahoma's Malcom Kelly. As many Redskins fans blogged about how bad the Redskins President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato and owner Daniel Snyder had screwed up the 2008 draft, I tried to understand what they were doing. And I think I do.
As incredible as it is, the Redskins actually made some pretty good decisions on Day 1 of the draft. What? You say. The made selections based on a simple enough theory that is really quite sound. They selected the best players available with each opportunity they had. One can argue that perhaps they simply should have selected Celmson's DE Phillip Merling with the 21st selection rather than making the trade with the Atlanta Falcons. However, when your team has so many holes to fill, none of which would be properly considered "dire", the opportunity to acquire aditional quallity talent must be taken.
We must keep in mind that the Redskins signed Reche Caldwell and longtime veteran Keenan McKardell two weeks prior and 2 weeks after the start of the season respectively last year. And the Redskins still didn't have a wideout with touchdown until James Thrash would catch two in week 13. The Redskins finished the 2007 regular season with a total of 18 passing touchdowns. Only seven to wide receivers. Not good numbers. The Redskins needed youth, and talent at wide receiver. They got 2 legitimate first rounders in Devin Thomas and Malcom Kelly.
How about tight end? you say. Simple, Pro-Bowler Chis Cooley caught 8 touchdowns in 2007, with 66 receptions for 786 yards. The next tight end, Todd Yoder, caught SEVEN passes, that's right, SEVEN, with only one touchdown. Do you think the defense knew what the Redskins were going to do when Yoder entered the game? In order for an offense to be truly dynamic, they must be able to mix up thier personel groupings such that the defense cannot get a read on what they intend to do just based on who is on the field. Redskins' quarterback Jason Campbell must be licking his chops thinking of all the weapons he has now. And so am I.
So I give the Redskins only a B- for day 1. Not because they did a poor job in the draft, but because things didn't go exactly as they had hoped. When the Miami Dolphins selected Phillip Merling(DE from Clemson) the draft falling together perfectly was no longer an option. Ideally, Merling would have still been on the board when the Redskins selected in the second round, enabling them to a get solid defensive end, and a top rated WR in the second. But it didn't work out that way. So the Redskins made the best of it.
Redskins fans rejoice, this is a new era in Redskins football. Hopefully, two or three years from now, we can all look back at this draft, and say this was the beginning of a long run of intelligent drafts that rebuilt our football team with high quality, high VALUE talent from the draft.
Here is the 2nd edition of my roster review for the Redskins heading into the 2008 NFL Draft. In this edition I will breakdown the Defense and hopefully, determine their needs in the draft and through the rest of the so called “offseason”(there is a quote used on a certain satellite radio station that states: “THERE IS NO OFFSEASON”, and I agree heartily!).
Greg Blache takes over as Defensive Coordinator for the Washington Redskins in 2008. He has been listed as the defensive line coach the last 4 season for the Redskins, so he is not new to the team or the players, and that’s a good thing. He has experience as DC, serving as DC for the Chicago Bears from 1999 through the 2003 season under then head coach Dick Jauron. His time in Chicago can best be described as “generally not good”. While his defense had an outstanding 2001 season, injuries and free agent losses contributed to a defense that simply was not very good the rest of the time. His defenses were known to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage. Relying on quarterback pressure(he was quoted several times saying that pressure did not necessarily mean sacks) to help defend against the pass, aside from 2001, his defenses did not fare well against the pass. All of this may mean nothing to the Redskins, but then again, it may be a sign of things to come. There is generally a feeling around the NFL that Greg Blache will, at the very least, maintain the Redskins’ overall solid defensive play(since the 2000 season, the Redskins have only finished the season out of the top 10 in overall defense twice). The upcoming draft and the team’s health will play a major role in his ability to accomplish that. I’ll start with the defensive line. Once again, I believe that the play at the point of attack(by both lines) is a close second for the most important play of any football team(number one being quarterback play). And now, the roster he will be working with:
* Defensive End: The 2007 season marked a dramatic improvement for the Redskins in terms of pass rush. Posting a respectable 33 sacks in 2007, the Redskins improved on what had been record setting sack total of 19 in 2006, an all time LOW for the NFL. Left Defensive End Andre Carter was major contributor to this improvement posting 10.5 sacks himself. Which was the highest sack total from a Redskins defensive linemen since the 2000 season. Phillip Daniels was the starter for the 2007 season at Right Defensive End and contributed only 2.5 sacks. Needless to say, rushing the passer is not one of Phillip Daniels strengths at this point in his career. At 35, Daniels is certainly in the twighlight of his career, and lost significant playing time to a rotation of players. LB Marcus Washington entered the season designated as the “Pass Rush Specialist” by then Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams, moving to left defensive end on passing downs. M. Washington battled a pulled hamstring for a large stretch of the season missing 4 games and was largely ineffective in several others, posting only 5 sacks. Youngster Chris Wilson made the best of his limited action posting 4 sacks. The Redskins are high on the young and undersized defensive end, but how much better can he get? Demetric Evans has been a reliable backup for the Redskins and will likely battle for the same role in 2008. The Redskins have been looking for “bookend” defensive ends since the days of Charles Mann and Dexter Manley, and seem to one side taken care of with Andre Carter. Phillip Daniels will likely return to battle for a spot with the team in 2008, but the Redskins are on the hunt for another pass rusher to play opposite Carter. Don’t be surprised if Daniels doesn’t make the cut and isn’t on the opening day roster. Daniels has shown to be adept at the Defensive Tackle position in passing situations and played alongside Montgomery and fellow 2nd year player Kedric Golston often in 2007. This could be his niche to make the team in 2008. Chris Wilson could easily progress into the pass rusher the Redskins need but only time will tell. At this point, defensive end is an obvious position of need for the Redskins and is likely to be targeted in the upcoming draft. The issue for the Redskins will be value at each point in the draft. With the 21st pick, there is likely not going to be solid value in taking a defensive end, as the position is a high priority for many teams.
* Defensive Tackle: The true strength of the defensive line was stopping the run, finishing the season ranked 4th in stopping the run, giving up only 91.2 yards per game. Andre Carter also led the team’s d-linemen with 55 total tackles with veteran tackle Cornelius Griffin and 2nd year player Anthony Montgomery tied for second with 42 each. These numbers put all three players in the top 50 of all defensive linemen in the NFL in total tackles. Anthony Montgomery and fellow 2006 draftee Kedric Golston found themselves switching roles in 2007. In their rookie seasons Golston earned his way on the field filling in for injured started Brandon Noble and played on all 16 games, posting a solid 44 total tackles as a rookie. Montgomery by contrast, played in only 5 games in 2006, with a total of nine tackles to his credit. Expect both these youngsters to come in even hungrier in 2008. Golston will want to prove that his rookie campaign was not a fluke after all, and Montgomery will want to prove his improvement in 2007 was just the start of a long and solid career. Starter Cornelius Griffin has been a good player when healthy, but at 31 years old, how much is left? And can he stay healthy for 16 games? Versatile Lorenzo Alexander will continue on with his role as a backup and rotational player at tackle and along the offensive line. Ryan Boschetti will also return to compete for a backup spot. Matthias Askew was re-signed in March, and there is much hope he will also compete for playing time. There has been much talk that the Redskins are interested in finding a defensive tackle that can give the defense a push up the middle. Others say the need is at the DE position. Age and the health of both DT Cornelius Griffin and DE Phillip Daniels dictates that the Redskins need to look to improve at both positions.
The defensive line has 13 players under contract and there is no need for desperation here. Age and health has caught up with 2007 starters Cornelius Griffin and Phillip Daniels, and the Redskins must find players who can contribute in the 2008 season and take over by 2009. With 9 picks in April’s NFL draft, don’t be surprised if the Redskins select as many as two or three defensive linemen.
* Middle Linebacker(The Mike): London Fletcher-Baker showed the league that the Redskins did not spend unwisely in 2007 at the middle linebacker position. Starting every game and posting a team high 128 tackles, Fletcher-Baker was critical in the defenses turnaround from a disastrous 2006 season. He easily stepped right in to “quarterback” the defense, and his leadership was quickly visible. The undersized linebacker will be 33 years old when the 2008 season starts, and cannot be expected to play many more years. His possible replacement in the middle of the defense, H.B. Blades, appeared in all 16 games during the season, filling in at both outside LB spots and played well. The coaches have been impressed with his preparation and work ethic. At 5-10 and 250lbs., he is a near clone of London Fletcher-Baker. A tackling machine in college, Blades has a good chance to take over for Fletcher-Baker over the next year or two, while taking advantage of playing behind seasoned veteran.
* Strong Side Linebacker(The Sam): Marcus Washington started the season at the strong side spot (lining up over the offense’s tight end) and was designated the player to put his hand on the ground and rush the passer from the left defensive end position on passing downs. M. Washington suffered a pulled hamstring early, and struggled to recover, missing 4 games, missing time in several others. Finishing the season with 48 tackles and 5 sakcs, it was a disappointing season for Marcus Washington, but was an improvement over his 2006 campaign. Randall Godfrey, H.B. Blades, Khary Campbell and Matt Sinclair spent time filling in at the position. There are many who doubt Marcus Washington’s ability to continue as a premier linebacker in the NFL, and the Redskins should be looking for his replacement in this years draft. There is no replacement waiting in the wings at the strong side linebacker position, and depth is a major concern.
* Week Side Linbacker(The Will): 2nd Year Player Rocky McIntosh started 2007 as the starter on the weakside, and proved that the Redskins knew what they were doing when they traded up in the second round to select him in the 2006 NFL draft. Posting 87 tacklesm forcing three fumbles and collecting 3 sacks, he was having a very good season when he was injured early in the week 15 matchup against the eventual Super Bowl Champion NY Giants. His injury was originally reported to be quite severe, tearing both the ACL and MCL in his left knee. According to Redskins.com, McIntosh is expected back by the start of the season, but since that report, there have been rumors that he may also have a degenerative knee condition, that could plague him his entire career. Such a condition could also cut significantly short a promising career for the young McIntosh. Veteran Randall Godfrey got most of the playing time following McIntosh’s injury, but is likely going to finally retire. H.B. Blades and veteran backup Khary Campbell also filled at the position and will likely be the primary backups at all 3 line backer positions.
Overall the LB position is in dire need of depth, and future starters. With 9 line backers currently under contract, the Redskins have several young LBs on the roster that can best be described as special teams players, Danny Verdun-Wheeler, Matt Sinclair and Rian Wallace are some young guys the Redskins hope will compete for more, but expectations won’t be high. Rocky McIntosh is a star in the making, but returning from his injury is the first step, and we don’t know how long that will take, or how effective he will be in the first year back. Players are often NOT at 100% pre-injury performance in the first year returning from reconstructive knee surgery. Expect line backer to be addressed in the upcoming draft, and much emphasis placed on the position in the undrafted class following the draft. The line backer position could easily go from a position of strength for the Redskins to a significant weakness if the team is not able to find some young talent quickly.
* Corner Back: 3rd year player and former first round pick, Carlos Rogers and 11 year veteran Shawn Springs (also a former first round pick) started the 2007 season and both played well. Leading up to his injury in the week eight debacle against New England Patriots, his progress was obvious. The Redskins defense was ranked in the top 10 against the pass at the time and his play had been a major factor. Returning from such a major knee injury (torn ACL and MCL) will likely mean he will not be ready for the start of the 2008 season, and may not be very effective upon his return. Shawn Springs is entering his 12th season and at 33 years old, the Redskins cannot rely on him for an entire 16 game season. Although he played in all 16 games, starting 15, one must question his ability to stay healthy and be effecitve again in 2008. Fred Smoot returned to the Redskins and showed immediately that his time in Minnesota was likely simply a bad fit for the seven year veteran. While he battled a hamstring injury early in the season, missing three games. He showed his toughness, playing through the injury. And then took over for Carlos Rogers when he went down for the season. Smoot and Springs play down the stretch was a major contributor to Washington’s push into the playoffs, and both will return for 2008. David Macklin was signed in the 2007 off season in the hopes that the former starter would be an upgrade as a backup. But he only appeared in six games, and never earned the confidence of the coaching staff. He is not returning for 2008. Second year player Leigh Torrence saw action in all 16 games in 2007 as the third and fourth corner, and occasionally at safety. He also earned the confidence of the coaching staff, and will have a chance for even more playing time in 2008. Second year player John Eubanks also saw action in 2007, playing in 6 games before being injured in week 15. Signed as undrafted rookie and spending all but the final week of the 2006 season on the practice squad, he is another player who has earned the confidence of the coaching staff and will be given the opportunity to compete for playing time.
* Safety: The obvious: Sean Taylor is gone. Breaking down his play before his murder would be an effort in futility, but I would like to express my severe sense of loss. The Redskins organization, the NFL as a whole, and all that knew and loved him continue to miss him. Following the loss of Sean Taylor, second year player and 2006 late round draft pick, Reed Doughty was inserted along side rookie first round pick Laron Landry, and quickly torched for four touchdowns by the Cowboys QB Tony Romo and WR Terrell Owens. Things didn’t look good. But then DC Gregg Williams moved Doughty to strong safety, and Landry to free safety, and things improved immediately. Doughty showed that he fit much better at strong safety and played very well down the stretch. Laron Landry started every game as a rookie, lending a little credence to the Redskins payer evaluation process. Landry finished the season with 95 tackles, tied for fifth in the NFL for defensive backs. Earning the nickname “dirty thirty”, he did a fine job of continuing the tradition of hard hitting safeties for the Redskins. Pierson Prioleau saw action in 15 games in 2007, returning from a knee injury suffered on opening day in 2006. He played at every position the defensive backfield at one time or another and was heavily relied upon by then DC Gregg Williams. He is not under contract for the 2008 season and many believe he will ultimately follow Gregg Williams to Jacksonville. Seven year veteran Vernon Fox played in 14 games in 2008 after starting much of the 2006 season. He will likely return for 2008 and compete for a backup role at both safety positions.
Overall the defensive backs are set. Injuries are a concern for Carlos Rogers, and many believe the Redskins will be looking for another safety to compete with Reed Doughty for one of the starting spots opposite Laron Landry. The Redskins currently list only three safeties on the roster, Doughty, Landry and Fox. Obviously, more will be brought in to compete for playing time and as backups, whether it be via the draft or free agency. There are currently seven corner backs listed on the roster. Byron Westbrook and Cedric Holt are both undrafted free agents who have not seen any game action yet. Westbrook spent the 2007 season on the Redskins practice squad, and the coaching staff has been quoted as saying he has great potential. Holt is a third year player who was signed in January 2008 by the Redskins after spending the 2007 training camp with the Indianapolis Colts. He was signed as an undrafted rookie by the Tennessee Titans in 2006.
A youth movement occurred for the Redskins Defense in 2007. I thoroughly expect that trend to continue in 2008. The Redskins needs are obvious, age and injury make the defensive line, line backer and corner back positions concern. Can Carlos Rogers return and be close enough to 100% to be effective? Can Rocky McIntosh return from his injury and be effective? With so many corner backs on the roster, are the Redskins concerned about the corner back position or are they covered? Can they find a pass rush defensive end or a dominant defensive tackle in the draft? These are the questions dogging the Redskins front office and must be answered on April 26th and 27th. With nine picks in the upcoming draft, the Redskins have the opportunity to prepare the team for a solid run into the future. Can they get it done right? I have high expectations, and I think they can.
There is much debate over the Washington Redskins' performance in the 2008 NFL Draft. By selecting two wide receivers and a tight end in the second round, following a trade out of the first round (they were to pick at number 21 in the first round), the Redskins added talented depth at a position of dire need a year ago.
Fans tend to forget that the Redskins signed Reche Caldwell two weeks prior to the start of the 2007 season, and longtime veteran Keenan McKardell two weeks after the start of the season. This happened out of necessity, not "cuz they felt like it."
Yes, they have veteran Todd Yoder backing up Pro Bowler Chris Cooley at TE. Yoder has amassed an astounding eight, count 'em, EIGHT receptions the last two seasons combined.
Other than Robert Royal's 18 receptions in 2005, there has been no other tight end catching passes from Redskins quarterbacks since Cooley was drafted. They needed a quality backup TE. And now they have one.
I wrote in my roster breakdown that I expected the Redskins to draft a TE, and they did. I didn’t think it would be in the second round though.
The bigger, more reasonable question would be: Was there a quality defensive lineman available when the Redskins selected their second wide receiver, Malcolm Kelly?
Well, the short answer is: It depends on who you ask.
Trevor Laws, Calais Campbell, Quentin Groves, and Jason Jones were drafted after the Redskins' first pick of the second round (34th overall). Phillip Merling, the only defensive lineman left that the Redskins had targeted for their original pick at 21st overall, was selected two spots ahead of them in the second round by the Miami Dolphins.
Just missed him, but that is how things go in the draft sometimes.
One could say this was evidence that they shouldn't have traded down to begin with. But others recognize the value obtained from that trade and agree with it. And then it was time to move on to the next best player available.
None of the players I listed had consensus grades above the three players the Redskins chose in the second round. Does that mean Thomas, Davis, and Kelly will be better than each of them in the NFL? Certainly not.
But it does mean the Redskins selected "high quality" with “high value” at each selection—a much better result than "reaching" for players to fill a need who may not even be able to make the team.
The reality is that drafting players is a crap shoot to begin with. The only thing any club can do is evaluate each player, and select the players they consider to be closest to a "sure thing" for their team.
No one can say otherwise. And no one can properly judge a draft class for at least two, or more likely, three years. So let’s break down the draft as best we can.
The Washington Redskins draftees:
- Round 2, (34th overall) (From Raiders through Falcons) Devin Thomas WR 6'2" 215lbs. from Michigan State
- Round 2, Pick 17 (48th overall) (From Texans through Falcons) Fred Davis TE 6'4" 248 lbs. from Southern Cal
- Round 2, Pick 20 (51st overall) Malcolm Kelly WR 6'4" 218 lbs. from Oklahoma
- Round 3, Pick 33 (96th overall) (Compensatory selection) Chad Rinehart OT 6'5" 320 lbs. from Northern Iowa
- Round 4, Pick 25 (124th overall) (From Titans) Justin Tryon CB 5'9" 190 lbs. from Arizona State
- Round 6, Pick 2 (168th overall) (From Rams ) Durant Brooks P 6'0" 204 lbs. from Georgia Tech
- Round 6, Pick 14 (180th overall) (From Broncos through Rams) Kareem Moore DB 5'11" 213 lbs. from Nicholls State
- Round 6, Pick 20 (186th overall) Colt Brennan QB 6'3" 205 lbs. from Hawaii
- Round 7, Pick 35 (242nd overall) (Compensatory selection) Rob Jackson DE 6'4" 257 lbs. from Kansas State
- Round 7, Pick 42 (249th overall) (Compensatory selection) Chris Horton FS 6'0" 212 lbs. from UCLA
There are solid chances for each of these young men to actually make the team in 2008. The first two, Devin Thomas and Fred Davis were by consensus the best players at their positions in this draft.
Thomas is a big fast wideout who plays a physical brand of ball. Not afraid to block, he will need to improve his run blocking, but he should be a very willing run blocker. He considers himself a bigger, faster version of Santana Moss.
Davis best compares to Pro-Bowl TE/H-Back Chris Cooley. Davis says he has been watching and trying to emulate the gifted TE for years. Davis also claims he is a deep threat and that he can beat any linebacker. He should be fun to watch.
Cooley, Moss, and Antwaan Randle El, on the field at the same time! Throw in Thomas or Davis—what are defenses going to do? With Clinton Portis in the backfield, this offense will pose significant problems for opposing defenses.
And what if Moss or Randle El or Thomas get tired—or worse, injured? No problem. The third pick in the second round, Malcolm Kelly, can come in to make defenses even more concerned. This is a young man who feels he has much to prove.
For Redskins fans who have heard all the talk of his 40 time, don’t be concerned. Jerry Rice—you've heard of him, right? Kelly’s 40 time was faster than Rice’s. He doesn’t play football in shorts running on a clean field with no one chasing him. Don’t be surprised if Kelly turns out to be the steal of this draft. That’s a heckuva' second round, isn’t it?!
The third round brought what most expected—offensive line depth. And hopefully, a future starter at one of the guard spots or at center.
Chad Rinehart played both guard and tackle positions at Northern Iowa, but earned a name for himself at left tackle. Widely considered a top guard prospect in the NFL, Rinehart also is known to have a bit of a mean streak. This was another HIGH value pick in the third round.
Justin Tryon, cornerback from Arizona State, is another kid with an attitude. Some of his quotes have already gotten the media on his side. This kid is likely going to fight for the fourth corner spot, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t end up a solid nickelback—the third corner on the field.
Another shocker for many was the Redskins picking a punter in the sixth round. Durant Brooks was the nation's best punter in 2007, winning the Ray Guy award. The kid showed a big leg, with an almost amazing touch. Very good at dropping punts inside the 20-yard line, he should be able to beat out inconsistent Derrick Frost.
Another sixth-round pick—Kareem Moore, a safety from Nicholls State—is likely to provide depth needed at his position, and be an excellent special teams player.
Defensive end—that’s right, they did draft a defensive lineman—Rob Jackson from Kansas State is a project of a player. With some solid skills, he is considered to be tenacious. He could be a longshot to make the practice squad as a rookie.
Jackson is comparable to a couple of youngsters many already know—Chris Wilson and Alex Buzbee.
Seventh rounder Chris Horton, a safety from UCLA, is considered an “in the box” safety. A guy who likes to hit, he lacks cover skills—so no, he is not a replacement for the late Sean Taylor.
But he likely makes the roster as a special teamer. Many had him rated as one of the special teams standouts of the draft. The Skins' next Pierson Prioleau? Considering Prioleau just signed with Jacksonville, that would be a good thing.
Somebody missing? Oh yeah, the quarterback Colt Brennan. I don’t think I need to tell anyone about the records this kid set, everybody already knows about that. There is talk that he may have some character concerns, but people who know him say that there are no such issues.
His size? The numbers you see in the list are directly from NFL.com: 6'3" and 205 pounds. That’s not small in my book. For a sixth-round pick, this is likely one of the steals of the draft.
Brennan is not likely going to take Jason Campbell’s job, but he could end up earning the Redskins a second- or even a first-round pick in a trade in three to five years. Another excellent pick.
So what’s not to like? I am very happy with this draft. Of the 10 selections the Redskins made in this draft, I will be surprised if at least seven of them don’t make the team. We wanted youth—well, we got it!
This is the way teams are supposed to draft, every year. Perhaps the even bigger question is: Can the Redskins front office do this again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and so on?
As a Redskins fan, I am absolutely ticked off! Tickets for the 2008 Hall of Fame Game to be played on August 3 went on sale on April 14 at 11 a.m.
I was on the site and on the phone as my computer's clock struck 11:00. I was immediately disappointed with "Due to heavy demand, this server is currently unavailable. Please try again later" and a busy signal on the phone.
OK, I expected it to be difficult to get tickets. But I was hopeful. And at 11:22 a.m., the phone finally rang, and I received a message stating the Game was now sold out.
OK, I was hopeful but didn't really expect to be able to get tickets. So, I decided to do a quick search to see if anyone had been able to get any tickets to sell. And the answer is a resounding YEAH THEY DID!
What I found is that EVERY single website I could find that might have tickets did in fact have tickets. That's right, ALL of them. And they were immediately for sale, but at 3 times their original price. And they all had quite a selection too.
It seems that while I was clicking "refresh" and "redial," they had their staff of operators already on the phone buying up large blocks of tickets so they "scalp" the real fans who want to go the game.
In my opinion this is another example of how the NFL has lost touch with its fan base.
We all have our own issues when it comes to things we do or don't like about the various sports leagues we follow. But this is most likely one of the more universal issues we all share.
We end up paying much higher prices because of this sort of thing. And I am sure the Hall of Fame will say that they don't condone this activity.
But what are we supposed to do about it?
Well, I don't have the answer to that question. I only know that I won't be able to take my son to the game and see our new head coach make his debut. It ticks me off!
Maybe some day I will be wealthy enough to buy up large blocks of tickets and resell them at their original value.
I’d do it just to take money out of the pockets of the many "Ticket Brokers" that are doing such a good job of denying us fans their right to see their teams play. That will be a good day!
For now, I guess I will hold out some hope that I will find some tickets at a reasonable to price, but I won't hold my breath.