Friday 8 August 2008
The University of Virginia Cavaliers for a time had an unbroken string of large receivers and tight ends, Herman Moore drafted by the Lions in 1991, Patrick Jeffers Broncos 1996, Germane Crowell Lions 1998, Billy Baber Chiefs 2001, Chris Luzar in 2002, Billy McMullen Eagles 2003, Heath Miller Steelers 2005.*
Billy has not been able to replicate his success at UVA in the pros, after three seasons in Philadelphia
purgatory limbo (one catch in 2003, three in 2004, a whole 18 in 2005) he was traded to the Vikings in exchange for 2006 Eagles training camp fave Hank Baskett who has been a bit better (22 catches in 2006, 16 in 2007). With Koren Robinson getting arrested for drunk driving after violating curfew and then being released by the Vikings in training camp that year (op. cit.) Billy managed to pull in 23 passes in 2006, was released and was out of football in 2007.
The Redskins signed Billy in January, six days before Joe Gibbs announced his retirement. To make matters tougher for Billy, the Redskins drafted two receivers, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, signed receivers including Horace Gant, Maurice Mann, this already against returning receivers Anthony Mix and James Thrash (Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El are exempted from this list). Now he is fighting for his training camp life and knows it.
The knock following Billy around is his hands, he has a hard time catching the ball away from his body. Those five yard slants and ten yard ins, that's Billy's bread and butter. Laying out for the stretcher over the middle or diving for the bomb is not Billy's strong suit. Given Devin Thomas' and Malcolm Kelly's injuries, the Redskins may need a big guy that can catch one in his body near the line of scrimmage, freeing Santana Moss for his signature catch and run or bomb catch and Antwaan Randle El to get free in the short zones.
The Redskins play the Buffalo Bills in the preseason home opener tomorrow night at 7pm ET fyi.
Rich Tandler at Real Redskins thinks swapping Colt Brennan and Todd Collins for the Bills game is risky, what if Colt is awsum? Rich also rewinds some of the best Redskins training camp competitions, it's a great piece if you are a lifer.
Jason La Canfora at Redskins Insider has his keys to the game: Zorn, poor old Todd Collins, young DBs, punter Durrick Frooks, Suisham. Later he revives a RI tradition wherein we learn that Jason LaCa does not like Z-Man as coach coach Jim Zorn's nickname. I don't like it either, I like Zornadu, also Jason LaCa is not buying the Colt Brennan hype. Me thinks Jason LaCa doth proteste too moucho.
Matt Terl at the ORB (Official Redskins Blog) also has positions he will be watching: sixth receiver, quarterbacks, punters, safeties. Matt gets a good dig in there about how it is more interesting watching others react to Colt Brennan than it is to watch him play. Matt you will eat those words, Colt will one day take us to the promised land.
Also, Matt's interviews du jour: director of player personnel Scott Campbell part one (points off for the Browning Nagle reference), part two (what Scott thinks about Adam Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd and TJ Duckett), long snapper Ethan Albright (not offended by a weak Madden rating oh boy what a christian) and the 70 seconds you'll never get back.
At The Redskin Report Greg Trippiedi takes his turn at guessing the final roster. Two guys that make the team? Hint: think Kolt Brannan and Markvs Meson and you'll get it. I found it interesting that Greg predicts the Redskins will keep eight receivers. Have a great vacation Lee, we'll watch the shop while you are gone.
Ron Burgundy has your obligatory Jim Zorn data points, now with 100% more cheesy picture of quarterback Jim Zorn and right wing former Congressman Steve Largent in 70s weekend in the Pacific Northwest attire.
Dan Dan the Sports Bog Man has this week's top ten Washington Post stories, eight of ten on football, six of those about the Redskins (Brett Favre got the other two). Olypmics? What Olypmics?
Blogger Chris Cooley seems to have some weird manfriends. I don't think you need to be Sigmund Freud to understand the relationship between facial hair and pubic hair.
* Special thanks to College Football Reference for the UVA records.
Billy McMullen in 2001 at the University of Virginia: Doug Pensinger / AllSport from here via here and here.