That New Season Smell ’09

Washington Commanders

It’s that time of year again. Training camp has only just begun and to some fans the season is already lost. I can understand some of the concern myself, but I’m not quite ready to completely write our team off just yet.

Here’s my take on some of the off-season moves.

Jason Campbell

So, the Redskins took a look at some available options at QB, the most serious being Jay Cutler. Let’s not kid ourselves; Sanchez was never a serious option. Here’s the thing; Campbell is in his final year and he hasn’t exactly knocked anybody’s socks off. He’s not the worst QB in the league, but he’s certainly not the best either. He’s adequate.

Prior to the Redskins inquiring about Cutler, Campbell wasn’t good enough to lead us to the Super Bowl, but once the rumors started flying about the Redskins talking trade for Cutler, suddenly it was “Hands across America” for Campbell.

I personally don’t think Cutler was that big an upgrade over Campbell, but if you could get him for a reasonable price, he was certainly worth looking at. I think the Redskins handled the situation right by not trying to outbid the Bears for Cutler, but you can’t blame them for looking.

Now just because the Redskins were interested in Cutler doesn’t mean they hate Campbell, it’s simply a reflection of the facts, and the facts are that Campbell hasn’t really done much (yet) to warrant an undying loyalty from the front office. I think even he understands that much.

Albert Haynesworth

I said this before the start of free-agency, and I still feel the same, I think Haynesworth was a bad move. Now I’m not in any way comparing it to the moves of earlier this decade (such as Bruce Smith or Deion Sanders) but I feel it was a little overkill when there were far more pressing matters on the team.

If Haynesworth can play a majority of the season, and plays to his full potential when he’s healthy, he may turn out to have been a great move; but I can’t shake this nagging feeling that he is going to become just another expensive benchwarmer hobbling around on the sidelines on crutches whose only contribution will be to hurl profanity laden insults to the opposing offenses.

The Redskins’ defense has long relied on the strength of their secondary, using the D-line more to fill gaps and bat passes than actually rushing the passer. With the Drafting of Orakpo (is it a bad sign that Word’s spell-checker offered “Crapo” as an alternative for Orakpo?), and the acquisition of Haynesworth, it would certainly appear that Blache wants to see more big guys in burgundy in the backfield.

Farewell Springs, Washington, and Jansen

I know these guys were once fan favorites (and to some they still are) but I couldn’t help thinking that Springs was a bit of a cancer. My first beef with him was that he never reported for off-season workouts with the rest of the team. I know he wasn’t always the only one as Clinton Portis and Sean Taylor had both done the same things, but last year, he was the only hold-out not to report to camp.

Portis reported to camp for the first time last year, and had arguably one of his best years. If that doesn’t show the benefits of working with the team, I don’t know what does.

My second beef was that Springs never renegotiated his contract. Other players on the team would, knowing that with the renegotiation they were giving the team more cap-space so they could go out and improve the team, but Springs was one of the lone-holdouts that always refused to negotiate. If anyone should be lining up to give money back, it was definitely Springs based on my third beef with him.

My third beef with him was that he could never stay healthy. Some of that could be blamed on the fact that he never worked out with the team, but we’ll never know because he never tried it. Eight games a year doesn’t cut it in this league so I wasn’t sorry to see him go, and I’m not sure that we’ll even miss him all that much (anymore than we would have with him hobbling around on the sidelines with some form of muscle pull or hamstring injury).

I do hate to see Marcus Washington go, but that’s more emotional than practical. I always liked Washington, but even I have to face the facts that he was really struggling to stay healthy here for the past few years.

I feel the same way about Jon Jansen, but I felt the team treated him as fairly as they could. They knew he wasn’t going to be their guy this year, and offered him the opportunity to retire as a Redskin. They gave him this choice early enough in the offseason that he still had options available to him if he still wanted to play.

Now I’m hypothesizing here, but I believe Jansen expressed that he did still want to play, and the team offered to try and trade him to the team of his choice (to at least try and get some value for him). I believe that Jansen wanted to go to Detroit as he was a Michigan St. Wolverine and his family lives in that area. The Redskins probably called Detroit and offered a trade and Detroit refused.

The reason I believe this is based on the fact that Detroit had him signed in less than six hours after the Redskins cut him, and the ‘Skins made no accusations of tampering. I have NO proof mind you; it’s just my gut feeling.

I know there are many more developments, but I’m already a little long on the tooth in this blog. Fret not, I’m not usually shy about my opinions, and will get to them in later blogs.

If I don’t see you before the next pre-season game…


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2 thoughts on “That New Season Smell ’09

  1. Ah, this is the age of Aquarius aka Redskins preseason.

    Glad to get back to our roots and blog about the highs and the lows of last season.

    First off as for the guys not wearing the burgundy and gold; none were making an impact.

    Jansen was the longest tenured Skin’ but could no longer achor the right side of our oline.

    It seems strange that it was anything other than age catching up with, bc how do suddenly forget how to posistion your hands on the defensive player when setting up a passing play?

    Yes Campbell has got to do better and get the ball out of his hands much quicker. But the o-line can’t let their opponents beat them one-on-one. Jason won’t stand a chance at keeping his job.

    Very worried about this unit. Other than the weak kicking game, the o-line will definitely be a problem all season long.

    Shawn Springs… Good riddance. He left Seattle hobbling and leaves Washington with bad ankles. It’s a guarantee he won’t make it to Week 10 playing for the Belicheats. Go towards the light playa, cuz your career is on life support.

    Now I know I sound like a Joyless Jen here. No offense, just being real.

    As for the positives for this second year in the Zorn era, I expect much better production from Randle El in the kick returning role.

    Read an article this week published in the Washington Post about his commitment to this once “automatic” part of his game. He feels like he has let the Skins’down, and understands that Santana Moss and D’Angelo Hall have to focus on their significant roles (WR & CB) and shouldn’t be asked by Coach “clean up his mess.” Bringing in these guys to lift up a sorry special teams increases the risk of a serious injury.

    The words coming out of mouf are awesome to hear. It sounds like he’s taking responsibility for his poor play, and intends on doing something to correct this problem.


    First preseason game is a week from today vs. the Cave-ins. (Sorry honey I stole this line from u. Bygones?)

    I really love the feedback from the starters about the fast first step of Brian Orakpo. Chris Samuels is a fan, and thinks that BO does not stink.

    Well at least not after he hits the showers.

    Go dirtbags. Block like u got a pair.

  2. Good article Bobby. I like your analysis and, for the most part, agree with you. One small correction: Jansen was a “Michigan Wolverine” not a “Michigan St. Wolverine.” Michigan State Spartans play in East Lansing, while the Michigan Wolverines play in Ann Arbor. Seems like a petty point, but if you are from Michigan (which I am) then it is significant.

    Hail to the Redskins.

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