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Ruminations on Alexander

The more I think about the potential marriage of Shaun Alexander and the Washington Redskins, the more I see this happening. It fits the Skins' MO perfectly - big-name player, a little over the hill - and he knows people on the staff well.

They can get him for the veteran minimum, he's desperate to get back in the league, and unless Alexander shows up way out of shape or just looks awful, I see the Skins signing him as cover with Ladell Betts out a few weeks (two weeks looks like a best-case scenario for Betts, according to sources, and at worst he's probably back after the bye). If they decide that carrying so many backs - Alexander would be the fourth tailback on the squad - is too much, then you release Alexander during the bye week; if he shows he can be part of a two-headed monster with Clinton Portis, then so be it, and you make decisions about the roster down the road.

Obviously, Coach Jim Zorn wants to keep pounding the football on the ground, and I would do the same thing, especially with Cleveland and Detroit coming up. Portis already leads the NFL with 22.7 rushing attempts per game (one more on average than anyone else in the league), Zorn likes having two tailbacks in the backfield at the same time, and he wants to keep this thing going. He is very comfortable with Alexander, even after this long layoff, and maybe the guy is finally fresh and rejuvenated.

Zorn has not seen Rock Cartwright carry the ball much, and though I think Rock is more than capable of holding down 7-10 carries per game for a few weeks, coaches tend to go to their comfort zones. It's not like the bizarre T.J. Duckett trade a few years back - multiple picks for a spare part - and I get it. (I figured the Skins might look first to sign Marcus Mason back off the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad, with Willis McGahee hurting/unproductive again, and the Ravens might activate the Georgetown Prep product. The Jets considered signing Mason a few weeks back, league sources said, and Mason had another strong preseason with the Skins. If Alexander isn't ready for some reason, the Skins could make a play for him, though there had been no contact between the sides as of late last night, according to sources).

Which brings me to another point. Look at all the RBs who went down Sunday. The Colts lost two - including starter Jospeh Addai - the Ravens had a need, the Cowboys lost Felix Jones at least for a few weeks, the Eagles are trying to get by without Brian Westbrook for a spell. ... So if Alexander chooses to spend his Tuesday auditioning for the Skins, it tells me he and his representative got the sense this is his best shot of getting a job.

The Bengals, Saints and Lions passed on Alexander after he visited there - teams certainly in need of help running the ball, especially power runners - so it's not as if you can count on him to come in and be a stud, and the Skins are running the Joe Gibbs running game for the most part, and not a standard West Coast Offense operation, but, again, my gut tells me this gets done today.

Spoke to Cartwright for a minute last night, and he told me he figured the Skins would make a move for a running back. In fact, he told a few coaches Monday afternoon, when Betts went for his MRI, that he had a gut feeling Alexander was headed here. "I'm cool with everything," Cartwright said last night. "That's football."

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 14, 2008; 8:14 AM ET
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Next: NFC East: Where's the Beast?


Can he punt?

Posted by: bmo63 | October 14, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: scampbell1975 | October 14, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

LMAO! I would prefer a younger stud, like Mason.

Posted by: frediefritz | October 14, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

LMAO! I would prefer a younger stud, like Mason.

Posted by: frediefritz | October 14, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I was referring to bmo63's comment about making him a punter.

Posted by: frediefritz | October 14, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

By the way, let's not place too much importance on the Ram's loss. The Redskin's basically dominated the game, but lost focus at times and beat themselves. The Giants on the other hand, were whipped by the Browns. Dallas has been manhandled by several teams, especially their offensive line. Who, according to any pre-season football periodical, could also stop speeding locomotives, and leap tall buildings in single bounds. The Iggles have also been smacked around. Barring injuries, the Skins will remain the class of the NFC East.

Posted by: bmo63 | October 14, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

"The more I think about the potential marriage of Shaun Alexander and the Washington Redskins, the more I see this happening. It fits the Skins' MO perfectly - big-name player, a little over the hill - and he knows people on the staff well"

Sure, agreed 1000%, but only if this is the year 2001.

I was out of town for the game versus the Rams, what in BLEEP happened?? Seriously, can someone summize the game for me?

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 14, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Just say no to Shaun "I am soft" Alexander.


Posted by: icetotalpackage | October 14, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I was out of town for the game versus the Rams, what in BLEEP happened?? Seriously, can someone summize the game for me?

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 14, 2008 8:28 AM

Fumble. Fumbliah. Fumbleruski.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | October 14, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse


The Skins dominated the game but had three key fumbles to stop drives.

Cooley fumbled in Rams territory.

Then a bad snap to JC haulted another scoring drive.

Then we were going down to score as the half was ending and JC had a pass tipped Kendall caught it for the Skins and took off then he was hit and fumbled and the Rams took it back for a touchdown.

After we took the lead they got a long pass to Avery on Torrence and that set up there winning FG.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 14, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Beantown Greg:

Sure, I'll summarize for you. Redskins read own press clippings, decide they're unstoppable. Durant Brooks punts like Garth Brooks most of the game, giving up precious field position. Special teams in general decides to mail this one in, as they're unstoppable you know.....Pete Kendall the Caveman suddenly decides he can run with rock, make big first down, make fire, find go.

Posted by: Schroeder12 | October 14, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Rams Game in summary. Portis beasted again, Brooks shanked a lot. Pete Kendall went all steammin willie beamin on us and there only defender singlehandeledy wooped us. And JJ got slaughtered repeatedly.

Posted by: Stu27 | October 14, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

There is nothing wrong with getting SA for the Vet minimum, if he does not do anything you cut him no fuss no muss.

He can catch out of the backfield and is better in pass protection then Mason.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 14, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse


Couple of items, I really enjoyed your bit on CSN-HD over the weekend before the game. I particularly enjoyed seeing you and Jason Reid poke fun at Troy Aikman and his professional analysis and take on the Rams; he said that the Skins (whom I’m life long fan of) needed to be very careful of the Rams and I watched you and the other Jason mock and ridicule him. I guess he made CLOWNS out of the 2 of you. Sure it’s fun on paper to put check marks in the win column vs. the losses, but you still need to show up on Sunday and beat the other team; especially when you “should”. I respect Troy Aikman for his professionalism and analysis of the game, something you could stand to learn.

Other item, bringing Marcus Mason back makes the most sense (and getting back from Baltimore) only if they feel Rock Cartwright can’t handle the added work or if they feel it would affect his kick returning abilities. Why is he not handling punts as well? Anyone.
If they pick up Mason now and utilize him for a while can they re-assign him to their own practice squad or does he need to be on the active roster for the duration of the season (and potentially cut/released if they need the roster spot)?

In closing, if anybody would have said 4-1 going into the Rams game we would all having been ready to put Zorn up on our shoulders. Let them play the games one at a time; we’ll then see where they end up. They caught a huge break this weekend with the Cowboys and Giants losing, had they only not looked ahead like so many did…Right Jason(s)!

Posted by: alwaysaskinsfan | October 14, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Can he punt?

Posted by: bmo63 | October 14, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Hysterical, dude. Can't be any worse than Brooks!

Posted by: chris_rollins2k3 | October 14, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree on Jansen he showed that he is terrible in pass protection, they need to get Hyer back in there.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 14, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Guys, thanks, ugh...maybe I'm better off having missed it.

So Jansen had a bad day? Double ugh...

What is going on with Moss??

As far as the SA/Mason thing, I'd throw my weight behind SA. Bring him in for the Vet Min, and see what he can do.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 14, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Experience is so crucial, that alone makes Shaun much more appealing then a MArcus Mason or another unproven back. It not like were handing the keys over to SA he would be nothing but a comlimanet to CP26. What he brings in teh blocking department and the familiarity with the staff makes it an easy sign. Imagine if we get mason and he caoughs it up on his first seriers, people will be looking for blood.

Posted by: Stu27 | October 14, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

To bring some positivity to this place, here is the defensive write-up from Post Game Heroes from the Philly game:

Andre Carter just manhandled the Iggles on both sides of the ball. When they came his way he was able to shed blocks and make open field tackles and when they ran away from him, he provided quick backside pursuit. HOWEVA, that backside pursuit turned into over-pursuit at time and Reid killed us on the reverse with it a couple times, hence the 2 minus grades…teams have been getting us with the reverse since Cam Cameron did it last year when he coached the Dolphons. That being said, Carter and Golston have been the most improved players on our D. I graded out Horton based off of his play in the box. Fletch’s score isn’t really indicative of his play…he was assigned man coverage on Westbrook and he was able to relatively shut him down. Blades was great in run support, he was able to sniff out the gaps and take on the blocker AT the line of scrimmage…as opposed to 5 yards past it like we did against the Giants and Arizona. Montgomery finally did not suck, which is actually a big step forward for him

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 14, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 14, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Some things to consider about Shaun;

People say he went downhill as soon as Hutch left and he got the big contract, but that is not true. In the very first game after both of those incidents, in the first half against detroit, shaun fractured his foot. He continued to play, but was ineffective for the rest of the game and the next game. When his injury was discovered he was sidelined for 6 games. But when he came back and played the final 8 games, he averaged just over 100 yards per game including a gutsy 40 carry 200 yard effort to carry the Hawks past Green Bay and out performed LT in a close loss against San Diego. (140yds 2td vs. 123yds 0td). He also had 108 yds and 2 Touchdowns agains the Bears Superbowl defense in an overtime loss in the playoffs.

Then last year he opened with 3 straight 100+ yard games, but hurt his wrist and played with a brace/cast for the rest of the season, and was never effective after that.

If he can stay healthy and get into game shape quickly, this could end up being a good pickup.

Posted by: leevi98 | October 14, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

So the g-men lost to the browns.... got dominated... lost by 3 TD's... couldnt stop their suddenly fluent passing attack minus winslow at TE... their back up TE (whose name eludes me because he is the browns backup TE) couldnt be stopped... not even with antonio "im still holding a grudge against the Skins for letting me go thinking they could replace me with a cheaper alternative and think Im the sh!t" pierce. Now the Skins secondary is a few steps above the g-mens... so whats gona happen? Suddenly another one of these "easy wins" before the steelers and rematch with little d doesnt look so much of an "easy win". Maybe this will wake this team up and prepare like they did for little d and philly (notice how i never capitalize nfc east opponents? I recommend you try it, feels good).

Posted by: TonyButterFingersHomo1 | October 14, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

What happened to Moss? Yeah, really. 2 catches the last 2 weeks after what he did the first 4 games is not so good. Well, teams have been double and triple covering him. Just like theyve done most of the time he's been here (minus last year when he was hurt and couldnt make plays like he can when hes healthy). So when JC finally got a chance to hit him, Moss dropped at least one he should have caught. Maybe he's rusty from not catching much for 2 games. But a pro WR of his caliber should make those catches. Its not all his fault. The other WR's cant seem to help him. And Cooley is not a WR. ARE is not a #2 WR. He is a 3rd WR at best in the slot. Hes too small and weak. ARE is quick, but does not have the top end speed like Moss. And hes not physical enough to be a #2 wether its split end or flanker. They need #11 to step up and get JC's confidence to throw his way more. Thats the main thing #11 needs to do. Gain the guy whose throwing you the balls confidence. Of course he must show he can run the correct routes in practice and on game film. Oh, and not PI every time he gets on the field. This is the only way Moss continues his incredible start to this season. Its on the rook. Not ARE, not Cooley. #11.

Posted by: TonyButterFingersHomo1 | October 14, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I hate this move. Betts is out for about two weeks - can't we just get by with Cartwright for two weeks? Didn't he run for a 150 once when he got the chance? Why bring in an outsider?

Posted by: HighPlainsDrifter | October 14, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

My guess is Kelly goes on IR and they bring in Alexander as the second or third RB for the remainder of the season. With Cooley and Davis split out -- they can get by with five WRs...

Posted by: siris | October 14, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I thought ARE had a pretty good game Sunday. He had 87 yards I think which is a lot more than he usually has. Teams are clearly trying to take Moss out of the game and force others to step up. While that's a good strategy, Cooley and the rest should be up to the task.

Posted by: will_ga | October 14, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

beep a long time back

Posted by: alex35332 | October 14, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Are we serious??? Shaun Alexander??? When no other team in the league wants him, what does that tell you? He is finished.

And don't talk about his inflated stats. He was in the absolute weakest division in football, NFC West. Who was he rolling up stats on all those years? The Cardinals? Joke. 49ers? double joke. Rams. worst run defenses ever. ANYONE could run up huge numbers playing those teams twice every season. And he had some pretty good o lines during that stretch too.

Shaun Alexander is a punk. He takes himself out of games when he gets hit. We don't need him here and we don't want him. Period.

Marcus Mason is the guy, if we bring in anyone. He may not be as strong at pass blocking as Portis, but who is? Portis is a BEAST. But Mason can do something Portis can't do anymore: break a long run for a TD. Love Portis, but he just doesn't have the turbo jets anymore to outrun db's to the end zone if he's more than 20 yds out. Mason can. We need him on the team if for no other reason than Portis cannot keep taking the beating game in and game out; he is going to need a break.

Posted by: TS_Alfabet | October 14, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

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