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Injuries force move to younger players

With eight games remaining, the Redskins are firmly entrenched in last place in the NFC East, they have a patchwork offensive line that is considered among the worst in the game and Coach Jim Zorn is not expected to return in 2010.

Many Insider readers have emailed me suggesting that the team should focus on the future and start many of the younger players on the roster, or at least significantly increase their playing time in the second half of the season. Actually, that's already occurring.

Wide receiver Devin Thomas - Washington's top pick in the 2008 draft - is starting, having moved ahead of fellow second-year wideout Malcolm Kelly at flanker. With Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley sidelined because of an injury, second-year tight end Fred Davis is atop the depth chart at that position. Cornerback Justin Tryon, also from the 2008 draft, several weeks ago moved ahead of veteran Fred Smoot at nickel corner and has shown some promise in covering slot receivers. And on Friday, Zorn said second-year guard Chad Rinehart has reclaimed the starting right guard position.

Rookie defensive end/strong-side linebacker Brian Orakpo has struggled in pass coverage and against the run at times - but he has been a force rushing the passer while starting all season. So the Redskins are getting a lot of their younger guys involved.

But the coaching staff still is trying to win games, and they're not going to completely turn their backs on the veterans. And it's not as if there are a bunch of Pro Bowl-caliber players sitting on the bench.

Also, there's no guarantee that all the young guys will be here next season, either. If owner Daniel Snyder replaces Zorn and Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, their successors could decide sweeping roster change is needed for the Redskins to improve. And with the possibility of an uncapped season in 2010, it could be easier for the Redskins to accomplish massive roster turnover.

Perhaps some of the young guys will impress enough down the stretch to solidify positions on the team next season regardless of who is in charge. But if the Redskins still are interested in winning games, they must continue to rely on some key veterans for the rest of the season.

As for today's game against the Denver Broncos, I think the offensive line will have big-time problems against the Broncos' pass rush, which ranks third in the league with 26 sacks. Final score: Denver 20, Redskins 10.

By Jason Reid  |  November 15, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Comments

Denver is really not as good as advertised but they should be fine this week.

Posted by: richr75 | November 15, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Redskins suck and so does this beat reporter.
When are you going to post anything interesting?

Posted by: jonthefisherman | November 15, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Redskins suck and so does this beat reporter.
When are you going to post anything interesting?
**************************

You are not only free to get lost but are encouraged to do so!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

We will NEVER wil anything of significance as long as Clinton PORTLY and Vinny "the slouch" CERRATO is within 100 miles of the team!!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Okay, it's game day. Cindy reads these comments carefully and chooses a half dozen of them for tomorrow's print edition. I think if she chooses your comment you get $100. Maybe you just get your fake name in the paper.

So far, richr75 has a shot at the brass ring, and jonthefisherman thinks he is the hole in the brass ring -- or elsewhere.

My strategy is to mix in quotes from the paper last week and put them up at random times. I have also worked out some rather clever new ones. So, pay careful attention Cindy. Here's my first quote for the print edition:

"Behind already? I knew it. This team can't buck with the Broncos!"

There's plenty more where that came from.

Posted by: League-Source | November 15, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

He's been nothing but a bust since we overpaid dearly for this lazy, above the team, too good to practice like everyone else, whiny, non-preseason playing, friends with the owner so I don't have to respect the coach, grossly overpaid-- done nothing whatsoever of note in Wash so naturally I get an enormous contract from a front office buffoon, do as I please little b**ch!!

First step to recovery.. EXIT PORTLY Jester!! Dammit just pay attention folks! Don't let this fool disarm you with his devious smile and demolition of the English lauguage!!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

How about "Stampeding Broncos trample the 'Skins"?

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | November 15, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Cindy,

Here are a few more comments I've been working on. Let me know when you've found what you need and we can both go home early:

"Whoa, that was bad. All Betts are off!"

"Levi Jones looking more like Levi Strauss today, out there doing a Viennese waltz."

"How can a team hope to win after it has traded away its Champ?"

"This is as bad as watching a Wizards game."

Posted by: League-Source | November 15, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

LOL the reader posts are getting more ragged every day -- not much left to say, is there?

The receiver I'd like to see on the field is young Marko. Technique's awful but he seems to have grasped the fundamental (catch the ball).

Denver will definitely be coming after Campbell. The counter-move is the same as against any pass-rushing club: dump the ball to an underneath receiver, and focus on moving the chains. Question is, can Jason get rid of the ball fast enough, and can the receivers hold on to it? For a clinic on this approach, see McNabb against the Giants a couple weeks back. Donovan is less accurate than Campbell but he knows how to find his checkdown receiver.

Denver has one terrific young tackle (Clady), and a disciplined unit that even after Shanahan's departure, relies on the cut block. They'll be going after Albert's knees. Orton is a superb short thrower, so the goal is always to make him throw downfield, where he often turns the ball over.

um, Orakpo is a pass rusher. A potentially great one, better than Dumervil. Maybe somebody else could play SAM?

If Denver doesn't beat itself, they should walk away with a victory. But this is a team that plays above its head.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

You are not only free to get lost but are encouraged to do so!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse


umm no
i think i'll stay as long as i want.

Posted by: jonthefisherman | November 15, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

i guess i forgot you guys League-Source, and iubiquity (Jason Reid) love to kick the dead horse

oh well thank god for the D.C. sports bog

Posted by: jonthefisherman | November 15, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

thank god for the NHL network and their superior pre-game and post-game coverages... don't have to watch the tired old Boomer on ESPN anymore!!!

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

oops I meant the NFL network

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The receiver I'd like to see on the field is young Marko. Technique's awful but he seems to have grasped the fundamental (catch the ball).

Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse


I'd like to see Marko on the field alot more as well.

Not sure why you are killing the kid's technique.

He seems pretty adept at getting open and making catches - not sure what "techniques" he's supposed to be learning outside of that.

Posted by: p1funk | November 15, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Is there any possibility at all that Holmes might get some time at LB so we can Put Orakpo at DE?

Posted by: Veretax | November 15, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Replacing Thomas with Kelly isn't exactly making a radical move toward a younger player in the way we're talking about.

""But the coaching staff still is trying to win games, and they're not going to completely turn their backs on the veterans. And it's not as if there are a bunch of Pro Bowl-caliber players sitting on the bench.""

And there's the rub.

How many Pro Bowl caliber veterans do we have on the field? The coaching staff is trying to win - how have the older players fared getting that done?

The definition of insanity is doing the same unsuccessful things again and again, expecting different result, right?

Who's to say playing alot more younger guys isn't going to result in more wins??


Posted by: p1funk | November 15, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

thank god for the NFL network and their superior pre-game and post-game coverages... don't have to watch the tired old Boomer on ESPN anymore!!!

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 9:09 AM

The Sunday morning show is sickening and unwatchable with that Irvin clown! Just his voice makes my skin crawl! Can not watch him and hold down breakfast!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

LOL I still would much rather watch Irvin than Keyshawn "gimme the damn ball" Johnson on ESPN

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

p1funk: "Not sure why you are killing the kid's technique.He seems pretty adept at getting open and making catches - not sure what "techniques" he's supposed to be learning outside of that.Posted by: p1funk"

The stuff that caused the scouts to downgrade him to the late rounds of the draft -- running certain routes, faking the DB, that sort of thing. Basically he's relying on size and hands at the moment. You could do worse, but he could improve a lot in the next couple seasons.

Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Man.. Irvin is pompous and obnoxious! All he wants to do is compare everyone to his old Cowsh*t teams! Johnson has mellowed I think. Irvin was fired from ESPN for a reason!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Irvin was fired from ESPN for a reason!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 9:37 AM

And Belichick was fired from Cleveland for a reason. So what?

Posted by: League-Source | November 15, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

even with Irvin, Rich Eisen, Mucci, Sapp and Deion are a lot better team than Boomer, , Iron Mike, Keyshawn, Tom Jackson and Carter

Posted by: joek443 | November 15, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"...and Coach Jim Zorn is not expected to return in 2010."



This would be a bad thing.

It's obvious the team responds to Zorn: so why change the leader when the roster is about to go through so many changes?

Zorn and Sherm have defined roles and that's a good way to start moving forward.

Let's rebuild around a offense that features Betts and a drafted speed back playing behind an offensive line augmented with Levi Jones and high priced free agents right tackle/guard.

Moss, Thomas, Mitchell, Cooley, Kelly, Davis: they'll all be older and wiser next season.

The FO that thinks it gave Zorn a 'play off' ready roster must now realize it's own play on unsteady logic.

Zorn was required to get scoring out of an offense with mismatching skill players not supported by a offensive line rated as old and one of the league's worst.

Only arrogance prevents Snyder and Co. from seeing their mistakes for what they were.

Flip the roster, but not the head coach.

Give Zorn another chance.

Posted by: MistaMoe | November 15, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I don't know.. when I find one slice of moldy bread I toss the whole loaf. Deion isn't a whold lot better than Irvin, either. I can at least stomach the ESPN crew. NFL network is nothing but Cowboys Central!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

even with Irvin, Rich Eisen, Mucci, Sapp and Deion are a lot better team than Boomer, , Iron Mike, Keyshawn, Tom Jackson and Carter

Posted by: joek443

like comparing horse s*it and cow s*it

Posted by: 1965skinsfan | November 15, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Emailing Jason Reid with suggestions abour the team. Man some people are complete tools.

When I grow up I want to be one of the harvesters of the sea. I think before my days are done I want to be a fisherman.

Posted by: ToddStinkston | November 15, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

mistamoe: "Give Zorn another chance."


Appreciate the sentiment but I'm guessing they can't.

See, to me a big part of the problem is exemplified in the decision to hire Zorn in the first place. Not that he's a bad coach (he isn't). But he was hired as one thing, then elevated to HC largely on the basis of his interviews with Danny.

Right from the start, people here pegged him as a placeholder for a big-name coach who wasn't yet available -- and that's still going on, two years into it. Maybe now it's Shanahan rather than Cowher, but it's still someboedy. And a lot of the rumors to that effect come straight out of Redskins Park.

I suspect Snyder doesn't really want Zorn as his HC, any more than Ernie Grunfeld wanted Ed Jordan to coach the Wizards. But the Skins had just lost not only Gibbs but had fired Al Saunders and Greg Williams, leaving Bugel and Blache as the senior men. No way they were promoting either to the top position.

Instead they decided to go WCO. No doubt that can be laid at the feet of ex-49er Vinny Cerrato. But they couldn't get a top WCO guru, so they impulsively elevated Zorn. Clearly, they thought the transition to another offense would be much easier than it has been. Despite all the criticism of every phase of the team's play, it's the offense that's the real key to all the losses. The defense may not look as good as last year, statistically, but in some ways it's better. The kicking game (a big problem in '08) is measurably improved. But the Skins can't score, and that's putting enormous pressure on defense and special teams. Too much pressure, in fact.

Right now, Jim Zorn isn't in all that bad a position in terms of getting another job, maybe as an OC. Folks around the League blame Snyder and Cerrato. If he sticks in Washington, that could change.

He did the smart thing by refusing to resign. Make them buy you out, Jim. Then leave gracefully and wait for another offer, maybe from Seattle or San Francisco.


Posted by: Samson151 | November 15, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Zorn was hired fired for one reason.. Snyder/Cerrato are control freaks! That's why G. Williams was not a good "fit" according to Snyder. He was not about to let them control him with personnel decisions. Zorn, different story. That's the problem! They are more interested in power than winning!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

You mean, "Gurgling Hydrocephalic Plutonium Flamepit"..codpiece, I mean, godspeed krulik wherever his cozmic debris..get marko the ball fer christmas, wouldya..

Posted by: frak | November 15, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

DOES ANYONE HAVE A LINK WHERE I WILL BE ABLE TO WATCH TODAYS GAME? iT WILL BE VERY APPRECIATED! THANK YOU..

PS IS ANYONE ACTUALLY STILL PULLING FOR THE REDSKINS OR WOULD EVERYONE RATHER SEE US LOSE FOR A GOOD DRAFT PICK?

Posted by: zorn_sucks | November 15, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Irvin was fired from ESPN for a reason!

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 9:37 AM

Zorn was hired fired for one reason..

Posted by: iubiquity | November 15, 2009 10:38 AM |

Wow, you just keep peddling the same line...people do things for reasons!

Posted by: League-Source | November 15, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Skins defense wins this one. Orton stinks, their offense stinks almost as bad as ours, Ladell runs hard, Marko gets his first TD. Skins 16 Broncos 13

HAIL

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | November 15, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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