As promised, here are the responses to the five questions that I sent to Ben at The Curly R. A little further down, you'll see my answers to some questions that Ben sent me.
Similar to last time, the questions are in italics, while Ben's answers will be in bold.
1) How long have you been a Redskins fan? What drew you to the Redskins as opposed to the other teams in the NFL?
Basically lifelong. My dad was in the Navy, so his career took us through Washington several times. He adopted the Redskins as a junior officer and my earliest football memories are of sitting in front of his old yellow recliner watching him, can of Budweiser in hand, hop up off the chair and start yelling at Billy Kilmer and the TV, 'throw it! Throw it!' I was in high school living in Washington for much of Gibb's first run, which ended right after I got out of college. There's never been another NFL team for me.
2) How much does the somewhat pedestrian performance of the Redskins' first-string offense concern you going into the season opener?
I would say between somewhat and considerably. The coaches (Saunders and Williams) are telling us to remain calm, that none of the playbook has been revealed. I can get behind that assertion. In the absence of complex gameplans though, preseason football is about evaluating individual performance at the point of impact, and I did not see a lot of that. A block is a block is a block, and I did not see a bunch of blocking going on. So I will go on faith.
3) The reports that I'm reading are saying that neither Clinton Portis nor Shawn Springs will be suiting up on Monday night. Which of their absences will cause more problems for the 'Skins?
In the macro, Clinton causes more problems by his absence. But in the micro, not for Monday. Ladell and Rock Cartwright have been dinging since Clinton went down in the fist series of the first preseason game. They knowed what to do. Add a certified buller like TJ and result: running game be fine.
But the defensive secondary, that could be a problem. Kenny Wright, a Vikings castoff, and Mike Rumph, a guy who's battled injuries, are the guys suddenly in the light. I'd be more worried, except when Sean Taylor gets angry, he swells to twice normal size, so the Redskins should be fine.
4) The list of NFL franchise values was recently released. The Redskins were listed as #1, while the Vikings were listed at #32. How has Dan Snyder gotten the value of his franchise so astronomically high?
The stadium. Jack Kent Cooke, the benevolent asshole (as opposed to Dan Snyder, the malevolent asshole), could not work out a deal with the District of Columbia to keep the Redskins close to RFK, so he built his own stadium with his own money in Prince George's County, right across the Beltway from the now-demolished Capital Centre. When he kicked over and the team was eventually bought by Snyder, that purchase included the stadium. Add the value of a stadium owned outright to what is already the greatest franchise in the world and even an asshole owner can make a buck or two.
5) How do you honestly think the Redskins will finish this year? What do you think the best finish you can hope for in the 2006 season would be?
You've put me on the spot in a way I was only comfortable putting you. But I digress. I am confident the Redskins can win 9 games, making the playoffs as either the division winner, or a wild card. The best finish I can realistically hope for is 12-4, and a division win. I think the NFC East will be incredibly tight, and the teams in this division will spend the season beating the shit out of each other.
6) Besides Art Monk (who I think should be in, too). . .who is the one Redskins' player that you think should be in the Hall of Fame that isn't currently enshrined in Canton?
Darrell Green. Course, 2002 was his last season, so he's not eligible until nest year, but he should be first ballot. He defined the concept of the 'shutdown corner.'
I could make an argument for the core of the Hogs, that being Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm, Jeff Bostic, with a nod to George Starke, Mark May, Rick 'Doc' Walker, Raleigh Mackenzie and Jim Lachey, but I'm not sure who I would exclude from this list. From 82 to 91, they were the pinnacle of offensive line play, blowing holes for Redskins running backs, winning three Super Bowls.
Everyone else, the Fun Bunch, the Smurfs, they were all part of a unit. Darrell was an outstanding individual performer. I hope to see Art and Darrell both in the Hall together.