Have you guys ever heard of Hogs Haven? It's the SB Nation site for all things Washington Redskins (or Warshington, if'n you're from Indiana--not that there's anything wrong with that). Their head blogger is Kevin Ewoldt, and we did the five good questions exchange for our upcoming
Brett Favre turnover fest game against the Redskins. Well, he asked me some good questions, which you can find over at Hogs Haven.
Q and A, after the jump.
DN: Mike Shanahan was named the head coach and has brought a new attitude to your team. He almost immediately (and I think legitimately) picked a fight with an underperforming Albert Haynesworth, and it continued through training camp. What was the reaction of Redskins fans when he did that, and was it a net plus or minus 10 games into the season?
HH: The Haynesworth saga has died down quite a bit, but the fact is neither his teammates or the fans consider him to be a part of this team. Last year was arguably the worst year in the franchise's history (Jim Zorn 4-12). As a result, Snyder over-hauled the entire front-office and Shanahan over-hauled the entire coaching staff and roster. With new coaches top to bottom, Shanahan asked all the players to be at Redskins Park for the off-season. Everyone obliged except Haynesworth. It really could not have sent a worse message.
Albert was understandably against going to a 3-4, a defense that does not take advantage of his strengths. However, he had never played it before nor wanted to even give it a shot. As most NFL players said, "If you want to pay me $30 million, I'll play a 1-10 defense." Shanahan told Albert early, "If you don't want to be a part of this team, then you are free to walk. But if you take that $10 million roster bonus in early April, I expect you to be fully committed to this team." Albert took the check and then decided to skip all OTAs AND mandatory camps. The guy is a fat piece of (ED Note: redacted, but rhymes with wit). Everything he does is half ass and that's all there is to say. He only plays nickel packages as a result of his poor effort. He'll be gone after this year.
DN: At times this season, Donovan McNabb has turned back the clock, but at times he has looked much older than his 33 years. Are Washington fans happy with the trade that brought him to the ‘Skins, and what are your feelings about the contract extension?
HH: It's mixed. Most of us want to see this team rebuilt from the ground up. Similar to the last 10 years, the Redskins are trying to go for the gold with veteran players. There's no core group of young guys. Everyone in DC is very aware of the Capitals and how Ted Leonsis traded all his vets away, hoarded draft picks, and after a few years, we now have the best (regular season) team in the NHL and everyone is in their mid to early 20s. Then there's the Redskins, who consistently trade away draft picks and before this past draft, only drafted 1 OL in the first two rounds over 10 years (Chris Samuels in 2000).
DN: What player has been the most pleasant surprise for Washington, and who has been the biggest disappointment?
Biggest surprise: LaRon Landry. He's had a tough 2 years adjusting to FS after Sean Taylor's death. It was clear his skills were better at SS yet Greg Blache refused to move him back. A lot of fans were calling for Landry to be traded this past off-season, but Shanahan never even considered it once. Jim Haslett moved him back to SS and he is leading all Safeties in Pro-Bowl votes this year for good reason.
Biggest Disappointment: WR Devin Thomas. He was the Redskins 2nd round pick in 2008. He has loads of talent and size, but he could not get on the field with Shanahan. The Redskins were starting Joey Galloway & Roydell Williams over him early in the year. Devin eventually got cut. The Panthers signed him right away and actually cut him yesterday as well. The Redskins WRs corps are arguably the worst in the NFL, so not having a speedy, young guy like Devin step up was devastating. The Redskins don't have a WR on their active roster over 6 foot.
DN: What do the Vikings need to do on offense and defense to get out of FedEx Field with a win for new coach Leslie Frazier?
HH: Attack the QB between the Guards. The Redskins OLine is abysmal...and that was before the 10 (yes, TEN) injuries last week. Center Casey Rabach has been playing more like a 135lb center and the Guards have been unable to pick up any blitzes. Portis, our only blocking RB, is questionable as well having re-aggravated his groin injury. (ED Note: After the Q and A exchange, Portis was placed on IR by Washington, ending his season). The Redskins defense ranks an NFL worst with 5.1 yards a carry. Give AP the ball early and often. Our DLine is not mobile at all, which makes Tavaris a better matchup at QB, so we welcome Old Man Favre. The Redskins have injured a lot of QBs this year...I'd tell Jackson to be ready.
DN: After the Monday Night debacle against Philadelphia, one of your local sports talk radio guys went on an EPIC rant about the team, but next week they came back and won, in overtime, on the road, against a decent Tennessee team and shut a lot of people up. At 5-5, Washington is in the thick of the playoff race. So are the Redskins a playoff team, and do you like the direction the team is headed with Mike Shanahan?
HH: Yea, Chad Dukes' rant hit home with me. That's exactly how I felt after our loss to the 0-26 Lions last year. The front office continually advertises that "The future is now" yet we have nothing built for long term success. All fans wanted is Snyder not making personnel decisions, and we got that now, so fans are happy for that reason. The days of trading draft picks and signing expensive free agents are over. That's a win. *Sigh*.
Thanks again Kevin. This will be my last front page story until after Thanksgiving, so I just want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. It's an honor and a pleasure to be a part of this community. Enjoy your day!