Hog Wire - Week 1
By: Bernie Marshall
Category: Washington Redskins News
The Washington Redskins quarterback situation remains the same; itís Jason Campbell as the starter in Jim Zornís West Coast offense. This is Campbellís second season in the offense and the first time he hasnít had to learn a new one in the off-season. In Zornís second season he is adjusting his scheme to fit his QB, by taking more shots down field than what is the norm in a precision/timing passing scheme. If nothing else, Clinton Portis should benefit from the extra man not being in the box. Todd Collins remains the backup and the team has chosen to go with only two quarterbacks on the active roster.
Running back Marcus Mason benefited from the two QB option, because it allowed the team to add an extra back to the roster, so after three attempts, Mason has finally made the Redskins active roster. Zorn has said that he will incorporate more of a two back offense this year by resting Portis on third downs and inserting Ladell Betts when the team reaches the ďred zoneĒ.
Washington will go into this season with the same three tight ends that finished last season. Rookie Marko Mitchell will replace the retired James Thrash as the fifth wide receiver and provide the team with another big target that can stretch the field. Mitchell was a seventh round pick in this year's draft and had a very productive pre-season.
The offensive line went through major changes although the Redskins did not select any linemen in the draft that can step right in and play. Gone from the 2008 roster are guard Pete Kendall and venerable right tackle Jon Jansen. Stephon Heyer will resume his role as the starting right tackle and Derrick Dockery has returned to the team via free agency and will replace Kendall as the starting guard. The offensive line has lacked depth over the past few years and itís still unknown if guys like free agent right tackle Mike Williams, last year's third-round pick Chad Rinehart (guard), or rookie free agent Edwin Williams (who plays guard and center), will make an impact if called upon to play.
On the defensive side of the ball the Washington Redskins have made quite a few changes. Gone are LB Marcus Washington, CB Shawn Springs and DE Jason Taylor. The team kept six cornerbacks to account for possible injuries (C. Rogers and F. Smoot) and the lack of experience (K. Barnes and J.Tryon). Byron Westbrook, like Marcus Mason, has finally cracked the Redskinís roster. Washington will go into 2009 with the same set of safeties that finished 2008.
The front seven have gone through what can be called a total make over. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was signed during the off-season and will play along side C. Griffin in the middle of the line. Phillip Daniels is returning from injured reserve to regain his starting DE position and Reynaldo Wynn has re-signed with the team as a run stopper. The Redskins dipped into the supplemental draft for the first time ever, and grabbed DE Jeremy Jarmon who looks like heíll be ready to play earlier than the team expected.
The team appears to be adjusting the roles of quite a few players based on team needs and the playerís abilities. Brian Orakpo was the Redskins first pick in the draft and will play LB and DE depending on down and distance. Fred Smoot will play the same role as Springs attempted to play last year and will be available to play at corner or safety depending on the defensive scheme. Chris Wilson will play both LB and DE this season after strictly playing defensive end throughout his career.
Punter Hunter Smith was the only punter in camp most of the off season after the team used three different punters last season. Smith has been a bright spot of the special teams during the preseason, averaging over 45 yards per kick. Stalwart long snapper Ethan Albright returns after his pro bowl season in 2008. Punt return duties are still a question mark, but it appears to still be Antwaan Randle Elís job to lose. Rock Cartwright is the Redskins kickoff returner, although Devin Thomas looked good returning kicks late in the preseason.
The Practice Squad consist of (S) Lendy Holmes, (DE) Rob Jackson, (WR) Onrea Jones, (WR) Trent Shelton, (DE) J.D. Skolnitsky, (FB) Eddie Williams, (QB) Andre Woodson, and (LB) Darrel Young.
Who Won the Training Camp Battles:
-- Malcolm Kelly should open the season as Washington's No. 2 receiver. Antwaan Randle El was the incumbent but Zorn feels he would benefit the offense more in the slot. Kelly wasnít handed the position, as fellow second-year wide receiver Devin Thomas was also expected to compete for the position. Kelly has out performed both Thomas and Randle El this pre-season and has been more focused than Thomas considering neither lived up to expectations their rookie seasons.
-- A top priority this off season was finding a replacement for Stephon Heyer at tackle but it turns out Heyer is going to open the season as the right tackle for a second straight year. Former starter Jon Jansen was released but Mike Williams, the fourth pick in the 2002 draft, was signed to compete with Heyer, despite weighing 415 pounds and having to get into playing shape. Despite making the final roster, Williams still has conditioning issues.
Former Arizona and Carolina starter Jeremy Bridges was also signed to compete for the right tackle spot, but was released.
In the end, Heyer worked with the starters from day one of camp and as a unit they didnít allow a sack against the defenses of the Ravens and Steelers, while Portis averaged better than five yards per carry.
-- The kicking competition between incumbent Shaun Suisham and challenger Dave Rayner came down to the final week of the preseason. Suisham retained his spot although Rayner showed a bigger leg by sending most of his kickoffs inside the five yard line and making his only FG attempt (a 25 yarder). Suisham made 2-of-3 of his field goal attempts, the miss being a 52 yarder. Suisham has served as the Redskinsí kicker since 2006 while Rayner has been with seven different teams since 2005.
-- The battle for the number three quarterback positions came out of nowhere. Going into training camp it was reported that Colt Brennan would challenge Todd Collins for the number two spot, behind starter Jason Campbell. Based on early camp performances of the three back ups, the battle shifted to the No. 3 spot between Brennan and undrafted free agent Chase Daniel who many considered to be simply an ďarmĒ for Training Camp. Daniel played in two preseason games going 14-of-24 for 143 yards, three touchdowns, and was sacked three times. Brennan completed 23-of-43 passes for 249 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, and was sacked seven times in the four preseason games. Ironically, neither of them won the battle. Colt Brennan was placed on injured reserve; Chase Daniel was released in hopes that he would clear waivers and be signed to the practice squad. He didn't and was signed by the New Orleans Saints to their practice squad. The Redskins instead signed Andre Woodson, who was released by the New York Giants on Friday, and signed to the Redskins practice squad on Sunday.
For the tenth time and second season in a row the Washington Redskins will open the season against their division rivals the New York Giants. The Redskins will travel to the Meadowlands for a 4:15 kickoff. The Redskins are 12-21 all-time against the Giants at the Meadowlands, and Washington has lost four of the last five games there. The Redskins and Giants have split the season series four times in the last six years. They have played each other every year since 1932, with the Giants leading the series 87-61-4.
Last week the 2009 NFL preseason came to an end. The Redskins produced a 1-3 record, losing their preseason finale 24-17 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The New York Giants were also 1-3 in preseason, after a 38-27 preseason defeat to the New England Patriots last week.
The Redskins and Giants' last regular season meeting was at FedEx Field on November 30 2008. The Giants won 23-7 and swept the season series on their way to winning the NFC East title.
Final 2008 Tale of the Tapes:
Total Points Offense: Washington was ranked 19th averaging 20.6 points per game and The New York Giants ranked 7th averaging 22.1 points per game
Total Offense: Washington was ranked 19th with 320.0 yards per game and The New York Giants ranked 7th with 355.9 ypg.
Rushing Offense: Washington was ranked 8th with 130.9 yards per game and The New York Giants ranked 1st with 157.4 ypg.
Passing Offense: Washington was ranked 23rd with 189.1 yards per game and The New York Giants ranked 18th with 198.6 ypg.
Total Points Defense: Washington was ranked 8th giving up on average 18.1 points per game and The New York Giants ranked 4th giving up on average 15.7 points per game
Total Defense: Washington was ranked 6th, giving up 278.1 yards per game and The New York Giants ranked 5th with 292.0 ypg.
Rushing Defense: Washington was ranked 5th, giving up 82.8 yards per game and The New York Giants ranked 9th with 95.8 ypg.
Passing Defense: Washington was ranked 11th, giving up 195.4 yards per game and The New York Giants ranked 8th with 196.2 ypg.
The Weekly Injury Report can be found on the HogBlogs mid-day the day before the Game
The following player(s) are out for the 2009 season:
QB Colt Brennan (Hip)
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