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Acting Cordial – Talking Vikings and Redskins with Redskins Hog Heaven

Once again, Purple Jesus Diaries is happy to work with a Bloguin NFL blog where we preview the upcoming Minnesota Viking football game through the eyes of an opponent. I’m not so sure this guy likes to talk about testicles as much as I do, though. This week, we talk with Redskins Hog Heaven, the only blog about the New England Patriots that bothered contacting me. I was a kind gentleman and answered a list full of questions over on their site which will go live someday, while they kindly entertained me with questions about Donovan McNabb’s benching and the yellow Redskins pants. So read on, and visit their site to check my responses, and of course feel free to harass them, even though the Vikings will probably lose. On to the Q and A!

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Purple Jesus Diaries: As a Skins fan, have you been pleased with McNabb’s play? Do you feel he’s been an upgrade over Jason Campbell, or did Campbell get a bad rap there?

Redskins Hog Heaven:
Um, yes to both questions. McNabb is an upgrade over Campbell, but a marginal one because McNabb is old and Campbell took too much blame for the Redskins’ woes. It’s OK when fans do that. It’s not OK when the owner stocks the team with guys he wants to hang out with. The Redskins had deeper issues with the roster than quarterback.
McNabb was an immediate boost to marketing and was a band-aid for a weak offensive line and suspect receivers. Those problems couldn’t be fixed in one offseason. But the two draft picks to acquire him should have been better used. What if the Redskins traded them to Arizona for Anquan Bolden? Think Jason Campbell could have been more successful throwing to Bolden and Santana Moss? Or what if they kept Campbell and used the second round pick on QB Colt McCoy? Think Washington’s future would be brighter with McCoy in the wings?
While I am pleased by McNabb’s play, trading two draft picks for him leaves me deeply suspicious that Dan Snyder is still calling the shots. [Ed. Note – Shit … this guy sounds smart. I’m in trouble!]

PJD: The Skins have seemed to be really up and down this year; one point looking stellar another getting beat by the Lions. Who ARE the Redskins this year, and why are they having trouble with consistency?

RHH: The Redskins have the talent to win seven to nine games. Last year’s 4-12 record was an aberration. They are a team in transition on both the offense and defense. Inconsistent play is what you get when teams go through that.
The defense aims to be disruptive with quarterback pressure and turnovers. Last year’s team was geared to stifle yardage and to slow opponents down. They were good at it, yet Washington finished with 12 losses. This year’s team is getting turnovers. They are last in yards–I’m sure that bothers the coaches–but they’ve only allowed five losses so far. Last-ranked defense doesn’t mean worst defense when speaking of the Redskins.
Washington’s offense is playing competitive, edge-of-your-seat football. It’s not the crushing variety fans of the video age want, but it’s very entertaining. I don’t know how to call these games anymore, except that they will be close.

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PJD: I’ve been impressed with the Skins receivers. Outside of Santana, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot, but you’ve had several seemingly no-namers come in and light people up every game. Who is your secret receiving threat this game, as the Vikings pass defense is in tatters right now?

RHH: Anthony Armstrong is less of a secret than he used to be. Armstrong gives the Redskins a deep threat alternative to Santana Moss. You’ve never heard of him unless you follow arena football. He was a free agent signed to the practice squad by Vinny Cerrato for the scout team. I think his arena experience honed his quickness. Armstrong projects to finish the season with 37 receptions for 800 yards and two touchdowns. That’s barely better than Antwaan Randle Els’ numbers last season.
I am a tad disappointed that OC Kyle Shanahan hasn’t worked TE Fred Davis into the offense more. By that, I mean Davis on the field with TE Chris Cooley and not rotating in for Cooley on some plays.
The wide receiver corps is a flaw on the roster. That’s why McNabb is here. He is projecting 4,200 passing yards this season. Unfortunately, he is projecting fewer than 20 TD passes.

PJD: How has your offensive balance been this year? Are you a stronger passing or running team? Will Portis be back to help with the running game? Do you feel Shanahan WANTS to run it more?

RHH: By now, you’ve heard that Portis was placed on injured reserve yesterday. In his absence, the Redskins leaned on the passing game more than Shanahan planned. With no Portis, they will stay that way.

Shanahan developed a reputation for making “just a guy” like Reuben Droughns into a premier rusher. He’s at it again with Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams. Torain is injured and unlikely to play. Williams is a double-threat as a rusher and receiver. When I say “threat,” I don’t mean at the Brian Westbrook or Marshall Faulk level, but the dude scores a touchdown every 19 times he touches the ball.

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PJD: It sounds like you would like to trade several players. We’ll take McNabb and Haynesworth for , Asher Allen, and Nafahu Tahi. Deal?!

RHH: You can have Haynesworth for a third round pick and a ham sandwich. The Vikings should consider that deal if they remain in the 4-3 defense next season. Haynesworth excels in that alignment. He recently said he wasn’t good enough to play the 3-4 (???) and the Redskins quietly acquiesced and play him in 4-3 sets, or in third down situations where he can rush the passer. He is doing well in that arrangement, but he is off the field too much to change the course of a game.
With our receiving corps, you tempt me with . But trading McNabb for him would leave us with  Rex Grossman at quarterback. People your age go all ROFL over that idea. [Ed. Note: Indeed. In fact, I’d ROFLCOPTER for that shit.]
I would prefer that the Redskins trade players for draft picks and use those picks for well-selected young players to renew the team. They do in Philadelphia and New England who go on to dominate their divisions for a decade or so.
Oh, sit tight on that McNabb idea. His new contract upped the probability that he’s with Washington next season from 50-50 to 66.7 percent. The Redskins will look at how he finishes this season and at all the alternatives before making a keep or kick decision. They have until the first regular season game in 2011 to make that call. “All the alternatives” could be a trade offer from the Vikings.

PJD: What’s the deal with sitting McNabb in the two minute drill at Detroit, and then having him drive them into winning field goal position before the Gano shanked it? Any explanation Shanahan offers here is pretty weak, IYAM.

RHH: The technical term for the Detroit pull is coaching brain-fart. Enough said.

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PJD: I love the Redskins new uniforms, by the way. At least, the yellow/gold pants they wear now. If they went back to the arrow head on the side of the helmet, I’d be all in. I use to play as the Redskins for a while in Madden and would always have this combination.

RHH: Thank you. Thank you very much. I like the gold pants. They symbolically signal that the Joe Gibbs glory days are gone. Move on. The team colors are burgundy and gold. when I started going to Redskins games they wore wine-colored jerseys and had a single large feather on the top center of the helmets. That didn’t translate well on analog color TV sets, so burgundy morphed to red and the feather gave way to the arrowhead (copied and kept by Florida State, btw). The ‘Skins have a version of the Arrowhead unis to use as throwbacks, but the jerseys are not the same wine-colored shade that I remember.

PJD: What kind of a game are you expecting Sunday, and what’s your game prediction?

RHH: I’m expecting a close game that can go either way. The ‘Skins are slowly finding themselves and they are at home. They are coping with a lot if injuries. Portis is out and please let nobody get hurt on the offensive line. The reserves are already playing. I can hear the Munchkins in Eden Prairie singing “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead.” The removal of Childress will give the Vikes a lift, with the biggest boost coming in the first game they play–against us. The Redskins lost the last time (2008) they faced a team (St. Louis Rams) with an interim head coach (Jim Haslett, current ‘Skins DC).
Brett Favre scares the bejeebus out of me. Washington has never beaten Favre. Granted, Favre was playing for better teams, but like Pavlog’s dog, I see No. 4 and I’m conditioned to retch. [Ed. Note: This blows my mind. How has every team not beaten/picked off Favre at least 17 times?]
I’m going with my Magic 8 Ball on this one and call it for the Redskins (It is decidedly so). But this is a pick-em game all the way.
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Damn, good back and forth.
Go read my response over on Redskins Hog Heaven tonight and wish the guy luck. He’s sounds smarter than your average Packer fan, which isn’t too hard.