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Burning Questions

Every training camp provides juicy fodder for Skins fans to chew over. There are starting jobs to be won or lost - okay, not so much at this camp - and rookies to scrutinize. Changes in strategy and personnel to mull over. Much of it has, alas, become cliched. I, however, will be closely monitoring some less obvious subplots, and contemplating their potential ramifications in the regular season.

Without further ado:

1) Will Al Saunders be able to refrain from bursting onto the field, sprinting up to his offensive players and giving them a fist bump when the games start to count, or will his unbridled exuberance result in a series of season-crushing penalties? I know he's the ultimate veteran and all, and has been through the NFL wars much of his life, but the associate head coach has come close to getting crushed a few times already in training camp in his zest to implore his players. If the Skins have the kind of offensive rebirth some are predicting, the opportunities for Saunders to go bonkers could be frequent.

2) Have we seen the last of Southeast Jerome? I know he's been resurrected at least once before, after meeting an early demise in that ugly loss at New York in October, and, as my favorite of Clinton Portis's alter-egos, I'm all for another sighting.

3) Can anyone fill LaVar Arrington's shoes ... in those Eastern Motors commercials. Sure, others have shown promise in recent years, Portis chief among them, but to me LaVar was always the straw that stirred the drink. His delivery of, "Stay down, punk," was priceless. This question may have already been answered, since I've spent much of the last two months either in Germany or Rehobeth Beach. The new spots might already be airing and I've just missed them, since now I'm basically living at Redskins Park and seeing no local TV. Any info or thoughts would be appreciated.

4) Will the Redskins hire any more coaches before the season begins? Anyone left out there? Is too much never enough?

I think I'm going to like this French linebacker from NFL Europe. Philippe Gardent, who was placed on the Redskins practice squad as part of an NFL Europe program and is a product of the esteemed French linebacker factory - NSC Marseille, seems like a adrenaline junkie. Besides somehow stumbling into the world of NFL football, and at linebacker no less, he's also a big-time skier and bobsledder. But how many guys in training camps right now also have a Masters in communication and marketing?

Gardent surely isn't in this for the money, and, as he puts it, could be doing alright for himself back in his homeland. "I have connections in Paris," he said of job prospects outside of football. Gardent is eager to get some reps in Saturday's scrimmage against the Ravens, and, of greatest interest to me, provided precisely the kind of take on the Zinedine Zidane headbutt in the World Cup Final you would expect from a French linebacker.

"I don't blame him," Gardent said of his countryman. "I would do the same I think. It was a World Cup final and you do the best you can. (Italian Marco Materazzi) probably said something really bad to him and there was a lot of pressure on his shoulders. I might have done the same."

-0-

The highlight of the notoriously droll annual meeting with NFL officials to discuss rule changes for the upcoming season had to be a comical exchange between Sonny Jurgensen and longtime ref Johnny Grier, who now works in the league officiating department. Sonny, being the old gunslinger that he is, wanted more explanation of a tuck-rule call from the Denver game last season, when Jake Plummer lost the ball in his motion, it rolled backwards into the end zone for what Washington believed was a safety.

Grier explained that the QB is still considered to be in the act of passing even as the arm is past the shoulder and on its way down, and that motion is not deemed complete until the ball is tucked back in the passer's hip. Sonny would have none of this.

"That's bull (you can guess the rest)!" the Hall of Famer said.

Grier took it in strike, chuckling himself. But rules are rules, and in this case it was interpreted correctly.

"Sonny, that's just the way the rule is," Grier said. "I didn't write it."

-0-


Randoms: B.Lloyd showed up right away on the officiating video all NFL teams watch, in the very first highlight no less. He was diving low to catch a pass against Carolina and came away with a pretty, one-handed grab ... To the surprise of no one, ubber-gruff linebackers coach Dale Lindsey is riding top draft pick Rocky McIntosh hard. I've lost count of the number of f-bombs directed at the rook already ... I'm told that web traffic is way down on the weekends, but if I get some time and inspiration, I'll try to put something up from the scrimmage on Saturday from Fed Ex ... Joe Gibbs could have a career as a TV meteorologist if this football things doesn't work out. He spoke about the storm the other night like a real pro, dropping knowledge of frontal systems and "storm cells": when the Skins opted to cut practice short amid the lightning ... We've got practice in a few minutes, then I have a chat on washingtonpost.com at 1:30, so hope to catch up with all of you then.

Have a great weekend.

Cheers.

By Jason La Canfora  |  August 4, 2006; 9:51 AM ET
 
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Comments

Being a French linebacker qualifies Gardent as one of only three real men in France, along with Zizou the guy who built the Eiffel Tower.
Did Gardent offer to help out Zidane in any future physical altercation?

Posted by: Ann Arbor | August 4, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Jason: I would not worry about missing LeVar on the Easterns Motors commercials. They air commercials with Carmelo Anthony (?) from 3 years ago so I have no doubt the Levar commercials will be around for awhile, as well.

Posted by: Mo | August 4, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Ah, it only took one comment to get a French joke in. Real classy, guy. You are a man alright. One X chromosome and one Y. Keep bashing the French, pal. It just exudes intelligence and wit.

Posted by: Boston | August 4, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it was a joke. Calm down.

Posted by: Ann Arbor | August 4, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Philippe Gardent, quatrième homme d'année hors de NSC Marseille. Nous vous voyons. Nous vous voyons, Philippe. Représentation de Cologne Centurions. Nous vous voyons. Nous vous voyons.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 4, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Melo's from B-more, ain't he? I think Eastern worked that connection. Some people hate the commercials, I think there some of the best out there. Plus, their jingle is probably the best rap song out there.

I think Sean Taylor's in a new one. He should be able to replace Lavar's acting chops for the next few years (until he gets in trouble and goes to jail, which is an inevitability for Miami grads).

Posted by: Art | August 4, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

anyone know if the scrimmage is going to be on TV?
thanks.

Posted by: howdy | August 4, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

supposedly on comcast sportnet. i would double check that tho.

Posted by: charlie | August 4, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

My media buddies here - including some Comcast people - tell me NFL Network is airing the scrimmage on tape delay Saturday, and Comcast is showing it on Monday.
Enjoy!

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 4, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

That Philippe Gardent comment is HILARIOUS! Nous vous voyons indeed!

Posted by: SF, CA | August 4, 2006 2:23 PM | Report abuse

OMG. My French is almost nonexistent so I had to go to translate.google.com to find out what that said... but it was totally worth it. AWESOME. Nous vous voyons, Phillipe!

Posted by: Josh | August 4, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Nous vous voyons! Ha ha ha ha ha!

Posted by: fastcat | August 4, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

KAKA-

Rehobo. Beach roxxx like this blog-I'm here now!

GO SKINS!

Thanxxx...

Posted by: Pink C.C.- | August 4, 2006 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Pinkie, when are you not at the beach? You must be the queen of tan lines by now.
There's a really cool bar restaurant, a greek place called Altas or something like that which was really cool. Shoot, I'm blanking out on all the places we went. Theer a bar on the boardwals that was pretty cool, too. Ooby's or something like that. It was close to this big ornate hotel.
Anyway, have a blast. Cool spot.
Has UNA said anything about picking up the shirt yet? I forget to remind him again today.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 4, 2006 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Stood out at Redskins Park with my son and watched the First O against the Frist D, today. One long pass Brunell to Moss looked good, right over Sean T. J. Campbell looks thinner in person and was not throwing so well IMHO.

Too bad the skins organization did not reward all the kids out there by letting a few players sign autographs, especially with the heat. The sell merchandise like you will get the chance, but then nothing but a shove fest as the players sprint to the locker room. I guess you have to drive all the way to Landover and pay $25 to park to get "fan appreciation".

Posted by: Fan Friendly | August 4, 2006 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Tell us more about Jason Campbell. What's the best thing he does right now? The worst?

Posted by: Doug | August 5, 2006 2:29 AM | Report abuse

http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/schedule

8 p.m. -- NFL Preseason Scrimmage
2006 Preseason Scrimmage: Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Redskins - The Baltimore Ravenstake on the Washington Redskins in a televised preseason scrimmage. Paul Burmeister and Rod Woodson will announce the game from FedEx Field.

Posted by: atlanta | August 5, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: kevin | August 8, 2006 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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