Friday, August 06, 2010

Redskins Training Camp Day Five: GUNSLINGER FOR HIRE

Into every life a little rain must fall

Monday 2 August 2010 | Forty-one days until kickoff

Looks like the Redskins finally found a story to knock Albert Haynesworth off the front page: Third year quarterback and fan favorite former University of Hawaii Warrior Colt Brennan was cut today, the Cult of Colt is leaving town.

After what he described as a good morning practice, the team called Colt in and gave him the news, Washington had acquired another quarterback and was going in another direction, the team indicated to Colt that they thought he could play in the NFL, just not with the Redskins this season, and they decided to release him so early in camp to give him the most time to catch on with another team. The whole thing was a complete surprise to Colt. It was all about John Beck, offensive coordinator and coach son Kyle Shanahan apparently has had his eye on John since his BYU days, not in a gay way or anything.

Colt leaves Washington taking with him a large and fanatical fanbase, I literally say UH gear at every Redskins game I went to in 2008 and 2009, including road games in Philadelphia. The instant media take on Colt's Washington legacy is the Hall of Fame Game to open the preseason in 2008 (ibid.), Colt was nine for ten in a 30-16 win, I will always remember Colt for his performance in 2008 preseason game three at the New York Jets, it was Brett Favre's first game as a Jet, Colt came in to start the fourth quarter, after two disappointing drives, in each of which the line gave up a big sack, Colt drew his six shooters and blasted his way to a final game winning drive, bombs to receiver Billy McMullen and tight end Jason Goode sealed the 13-10 victory. Neither Billy nor Jason would make the team.

Thank you Colt and thank you to the Coltrollers that will move on from Curly R to the media properties covering Colt's next team, because I think Colt will get a job in the NFL.

There was related news, the quarterback acquired to replace Colt Brennan is John Beck (op. cit.), second year from Brigham Young University, drafted by Miami in the second round of the 2007 draft, started four games that year under head coach and former Redskins quarterbacks coach Cam Cameron after former Redskins quarterback Trent Green suffered what turned out to be a season ending concussion and elevated backup Cleo Lemon became the latest example of how names make people, see also UNC's Duke basketball's Eric Meek and hockey's Garth Butcher, John played three complete games then was pulled in the fourth game in the first quarter after fumbling untouched, the resulting turnover was returned for a touchdown. (hat tip to reader terry in comments for correcting the UNC-Duke confusion, Eric Montross is the center that played at the same time for UNC, as a Wahoo I am filled with a bitterness over the success of those rival teams in those years, a bitterness that only whiskey can wash away and only temporarily. -Ben)

Bill Parcells joined the Dolphins as head honcho before the 2008 season which saw John sit as third string quarterback behind Chad Pennington and Chad Henne, John saw no game action in 2008. Miami released their former second round pick in the 2009 offseason.

John subsequently signed with the Ravens for the 2009 season reuniting him with new Baltimore offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, John again saw no game action last year behind Joe Flacco and Troy Smith.

The Ravens, already worried about number two cornerback Fabian Washington coming off an anterior cruciate ligament tear in 2009, lost number one cornerback Domonique Foxworth for the 2010 season when he tore an ACL in a non contact drill on the third day of camp and began an immediate search for help on the corners.

Fast forward to today. Washington made a straight up trade of cornerback Doug Dutch to Baltimore for quarterback John Beck. The Ravens are so desperate for cornerback help that they gave away a former second round draft pick with NFL starting experience and familiarity with the offensive coordinator's system for an undrafted free agent that was released by the Redskins on Cut Day last season, was out of football for ten weeks then signed back to the Redskins practice squad in November as the team spiraled into misery.

Which leads me to wonder aloud, WHAT THE FUCK ARE THE RAVENS THINKING?! Even if John Beck was panning out to nothing, this seems like an unusually hard up move for the Ravens and Ozzie Newsome, a general manager with a long history of savvy player moves.

Was Doug Dutch that strong a prospect in his second season? Is John beck that much of a washout? Do the Ravens have a secret plan B for getting a higher quality player to start at cornerback? If there is a Raven writer out there reading this, please let me know your take on this.

Alternate title for this post: Redskins Training Camp Day Five: Washington Screws Another Team in Trade for a Change

Blah blah blah, former NFL offensive lineman turned analyst Brian Baldinger thinks quarterback Donovan McNabb is one of the most overrated players in the history of the NFL. *YAAAWNNNN*

Filling out the quarterback news, Rex Grossman appears to have the lead on the backup spot, in other news the sky is blue and water is wet for the only other quarterback on the roster besides Dono with more than four games starting experience and with a full year working in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Fucking duh.

Are we entering an end game in the Albert Haynesworth saga? Before 8:00 am we already knew Albert would not test his knee with the conditioning test.

By noon the story had changed. For the first time since conditioning test saga started Thursday on day one of camp, head coach Mike Shanahan hinted that Albert may be cleared to practice even without passing the test. Since camp started, Albert has taken the test three times and failed all three, and sat out of the test twice, including today, he has missed eight practices.

My bet is on Albert to milk this knee thing for all it is worth, we have already heard coach Shanahan say that this is not a serious injury, that Albert would be practicing on it if he were cleared to practice, Albert is right at the crossroads of don't give a shit and I think I can I think I can. The problem for Albert here is that he has already been rendered moot in this equation. His legacy as a malcontent is already hardening, the best he will ever be able to do is generate some goodwill at the margins.

As I have said many times before this offseason, coach Shanahan and the new kids in team leadership are playing with house money, there is nothing they can do to screw this up. Let Albert twist, be generally mean and risk looking bad? To whom? Media types drolly clinking highballs? Who exactly thinks the worst coach Shanahan can possibly do is worse than Albert Haynesworth taking twenty-one million dollars and then no showing for a room full of new bosses?

Relent, take Albert back, cave like a pussy whipped jellyfish and risk looking bad? To whom? The fans are not that sadistic and serious football watchers know the game has to end at some point and Albert has to get back in the game.

Mike Shanahan cannot screw this up, how it ends does not matter to me.

The safety positions are going to look different this year. LaRon Landry, 2007 first round pick, was forced to move from strong safety his rookie year to free safety after the slaying of Redskins safety Sean Taylor. LaRon made some big hits, committed a few unsportsmanlikes and seemed to hold the center field position down fairly well for two seasons given circumstances. Over time though LaRon's performance at strong safety, a position he does not naturally play, has degraded to the point where LaRon was a punchline last season, overpursuing the play and getting burned on receiver stutter steps, which are now apparently called double moves.

This season LaRon is moving back to his more familiar strong safety position, where he will play closer to the line and more like a small linebacker. He will be looking to get into plays closer to the line of scrimmage rather than twenty yards downfield at the snap, over his three year career LaRon has only three sacks! Got to do better!

LaRon was not always solid in the strong safety position at the end of last season, he was moved there out of frustration by former defensive coordinator Greg Blache more than anything else, hopefully with an offseason to concentrate on strong safety he can get his head back in the game, LaRon played like a borderline first round bust season.

LaRon's move from free safety to strong safety has repercussions, 2008 sixth round draft pick Kareem Moore is expected to move into the free safety spot full time, I was impressed with Kareem last season, he saw action in all sixteen games, and Kareem's biggest weakness prior to this season has been that he got drafted after LaRon Landry moved to free safety, Kareem is a natural free safety and never had a chance to shine until LaRon revealed himself as a terrible strong safety last season.

The other and perhaps more salient impacts of LaRon moving to strong safety will fall on safeties Reed Doughty and Chris Horton. Reed, a 2006 sixth round pick, has moved from strong safety to free safety and back to strong safety, where he has excelled since coming back from back surgery in 2008. Chris, a 2008 seventh round pick stormed onto the scene in game two of that season against the New Orleans Saints with two interceptions, two solo tackles and a fumble recovery while subbing for an ill Reed Doughty, that performance earned Chris Defensive Player of the Week honors in only his second NFL game.

Chris won the starting strong safety job to start 2009, then lost it back to Reed after a game three loss at Detroit in a decision I have no other words for except bunch of fucking bullshit. Chris ended 2009 six weeks later on injured reserve with torn toe ligaments, and truth to say, I think Reed is right now the better of the two safeties. This does not guarantee the end for anyone, the calculus looks tough right now, the Redskins have plenty of strong safeties with a first round pick that never gets injured taking the lead. There may not be room for two others, even two with starting grade experience.

It has been hard to wrap my head around Joey Galloway as a Redskin, not because he played for Dallas or New England, not because he has more than ten thousand yards receiving in the NFL and not because his average yards per catch is over fifteen yards, no the thing that gets me here is this dude was drafted in 1995, that was fifteen years ago!

The dude knows the deal, he may not make the team and I have no idea what he plans to do after football, I can say with confidence that he would not even be this far with the Redskins if new real actual general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan thought Joey had nothing to contribute, whether as a receiver on the field or a player-coach on the sideline, Joey is well past the point in his career of resenting younger players as the league inevitably turns over to youth, if he is smart he wants to cement a legacy and go out with his head high, playing the game he loves and communicating that passion to a new generation of players.

I hope Joey makes the team, he will need to be able to contribute and not just ride on his name, after all Mike Shanahan is the coach the ended Jerry Rice's career because he would not hold Jerry for name value, Joey will need to be able to play and I hope he can and he does (hat tip to Matt Terl at the ORB [Official Redskins Blog] for the link).

After playing nine years with the Redskins, the team did not attempt to re sign long snapper Ethan Albright aka the Red Snapper, after last season, Ethan was a consistent if low key player who made the Pro Bowl in 2007, he will be remembered for being the lowest rated player in EA Sports Madden 2007 and for the football wonks, for how he re upped with the team every year: A FedEx letter would arrive in the mail with a standard veteran minimum contract, Ethan would sign it and send it back, with so few complications Ethan did not need an agent.

So I cannot understand why the team would not at least bring Ethan back, and maybe they yet shall as new presumed long snapper Nick Sundberg is off to a shaky start (op. cit.), the team using guard slash center Will Montgomery at long snapper yesterday would tend to indicate they are not confident in Nick, all of 23 years old and with no NFL game experience. Maybe new real actual general manager Bruce Allen needs to keep 39 year old and with 15 years experience Ethan on speed dial.

Washington Post Training Camp Tracker: Offensive lineman Chad Rinehart, Washington's 2008 third round draft pick out of Northern Iowa did not play in 2008, he did not seem to progress from offseason to preseason to regular season, going into 2009 Chad was not projected into the lineup, when right guard Randy Thomas went down with a season ending injury for the second time in three seasons Chad was pressed into duty in what became a sad meat grinder at the right guard position.

Chad started two games after Randy went down and was unimpressive, he was replaced by former 400 pound man Mike Williams for a game, Mike was even worse. Head coach Jim Zorn then opened a competition between Chad and fifth year free agent Will Montgomery, Will won and started three games, all losses before offensive line coach Joe Bugel lobbied hard for Chad to be given another chance.

Coach Zorn bent over agreed and Chad started the next game, the Redskins best win in 2009, at home against the Broncos, tailback Ladell Betts ran for 114 yards as the Redskins played one game worthy of the jersey. Chad kept it going with the next game against Dallas... where he suffered a broken fibula in his right leg and was placed on injured reserve, missing the final five weeks of the season.

Wait it gets worse for Chad, in January of this year he was arrested for public drunkenness at a pizza joint in Cedar Falls Iowa, home of his alma mater Northern Iowa. The Redskins Insider piece from the time (op. cit.) is short on detail and sure makes it sound like Chad was arrested for the high crime of attempting to order pizza at 2:00 am.

Back in the now, Chad feels one hundred percent recovered from his injury and has dropped ten pounds, consistent with head coach Mike Shanahan's preference for lean and quick offensive linemen. Chad is currently slotted behind offseason free agent signing Artis Hicks at right guard, I have no idea how Chad is playing or where he will land as far as the roster, I would have to look at him as a borderline player and with the stench of last year's debacle on him, through no fault of his own, that is just how it played out. However with former 400 pound man Mike Williams on injured reserve with blood clots near his heart, Chad may have an opening to make the team.

Colt Brennan practicing early on his last day with the Redskins: AP photo from here.





Minor point, but I believe Eric Meek was a Blue Devil, not a Tar Heel. Are you thinking of Eric Montross?

Ben Folsom


terry, thanks for the head's up, corrected in the main post and credited to you. Boy those Duke and UNC teams made me bitter...



nice write curly
been brave for many seasons,
warriors again?!



The name "Colt Brennan" still holds magic. Second highest traffic count on my site this week. How about you?



Thanks, Ben!
Put you on my FB too...