Thursday, August 23, 2007

Worth Another Email:Volume 2, Issue 3

1) Breaking News - Skins made a big move today to shore up the offensive line. They have traded a future fourth or fifth rounder for interior lineman Pete Kendall from the Jets. Kendall will replace Todd Wade at Left Tackle, but can play all three interior positions. With a healthy Samuels, the Skins now have the luxury of having Wade and Heyer coming off the bench - providing more depth to the line than they've had in quite some time. Kendall is a dependable 12-year veteran who wanted out of New York because of hostilities with management. According to JLC, the Skins gave him a million dollar raise and will probably ship a 2009 4th or 5th rounder for the Kendall. The bottom line is that the Skins O-line is set and it is good: (from right to left): Jansen, Thomas, Rabach, Kendall, and Samuels.


Mazal Tov

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Butterflies: Volume 2, Issue 2

Sons and Daughters of Chief Zee:

I am sorry for the three-week lag time between updates. Have been caught between work, summer travel and watching this video: . Yes, that's right, it's now just over 2 weeks until the opener and Positive Peter is sneaking back into my persona. If you're not feeling what I'm feeling and the loins aren't turning upside down over the upcoming campaign, then I recommend this course of action: watch the above video about 6 times, pretend last year never happened, and read the middle two paragraph's of this blog written by our good buddy JLC:

JLC has been down on the B&G for quite some time, so my feeling is that if he is starting to come around on them, then there's no reason why all of us shouldn't do the same. Remember - he's embedded, he knows.

I'd like to give a shout out to Dan Siesser for reminding me to throw something together this week and I'd also like to wish a Skins Serv happy birthday to my brother Rog, who turned 30 this week. Kiddush.

Kol Tuv,





1) Good Bye Lemar - This cut makes me feel really good about the direction of the defense. Everyone's saying they're playing at warp speed so far in the preseason and that there's more depth in the back seven then there has been in years, I think letting Marshall hit the road is proof that there might be something to this type of prognostication. Marshall had been a linchpin of the defense, was a starter over the last two years, and was considered one of the most athletic defenders on the team - if he's expendable, that means younger players like Rocky and rookie HB Blades are coming along quicker than expected. The Skins are always that team that picks up old, washed up training camp cuts because the young kids on the roster aren't getting it done. This year they didn't try making a move for Simeon Rice or Michael Strahan (classic Skins targets) and instead let someone like Marshall go. That's so healthy.

2) The O-line - I spent the entire off-season believing that the front four would pose as the biggest problem this year. It looks like I might have been wrong - it is the O-line that is giving everyone at Redskins Park serious headaches. I am not so much worried about them filling in for Samuels - if he's not healthy by 9/9 then we got serious tzurus, but for now, left guard is the real problem. They let Dock go, which I didn't lose any sleep over because 66 was good for 2 false starts a game and Todd Wade showed signs last year as a filler. But Wade, who has been battling injuries throughout camp, hasn't shown anything thus far. It looks like he might not give JC the same kind of protection, or create the same running lanes for CP, that Dock did last year. Remember, Dock was younger and more agile than Wade, and Bugs and Co ask these guys to pull a lot - don't know if Wade's going to get it done. Also, pray that Campbell sits the rest of preseason. If the Skins throw him out there again without the full compliment, and instead protect him with names like Heyer and Fabini, then the kid is not gonna make it.

3) Why the Front Four Might Become Irrelevant - Remember how good the Skins defense was in 04 and 05? Do you also remember that the front four was totally crappy then too? They couldn't get push or a pass rush in those years also, and that was without Andre Carter. My point is that the Gregg Williams scheme flourishes when they can man up on the sides and blitz one of the corners or safeties (usually Springs). With Carlos and Smootsie complimenting Springs, and Taylor roaming the outfield like a Vick dog, they'll be able to start going back to what made them awesome. Springs was hurt all of last year which made the Skins vulnerable in man coverage and kept them from blitzing. This year Springs is in good health (poo poo poo), Landry is going to really help the run stopping defense, and McIntosh and Fletcher seem to be everywhere (and that's w/o a healthy Washington). I think they can be a top five defense again with Daniels and Carter having mediocre seasons, they're just that good behind them.

4) Campbell - His knee will be fine. The fact that they're still considering starting him Saturday shows the injury isn't significant. How about that throw to Cooley? Forget the hit he took - I think that play is what we're going to be seeing all year from the offense. 'Tana and Lloyd will occupy the corners and safeties on the outsides and Captain Chaos will abuse opposing LBs by sprinting 20 yards up the middle seam for big gains. Green to Gonzalez. Green to Gonzalez.

5) Washington - He's playing in the opener. Nothing else you need to know about that.

6) Lloyd - Did you know Lloyd scored his first TD as a Redskin this past Saturday night? The good thing about 85 is that it can't get any worse than last year (it's statistically impossible, unless he plays in a wheel chair). I see the guy bouncing back a bit and lightning the load on 'Tana. Even if he doesn't catch 50 balls; as long as he balances the field and keeps defenses away from doubling, it'll make things easier for the offense.

7) Brunell - Why not trade this guy for a 6th rounder? The Falcons are desperate for some stability behind Harrington. The trade makes sense, but i'm just not sure Gibbs will part with his boy. If Brunell does go, I see them bringing back Bramlett for the number 3 spot. Jordan Palmer's got zero experience and will not be put on the active roster under any circumstance.

8) Business - Many of you have indicated you will be attending the opener on 9/9. I encourage everyone to be there. The Dolphins might be one of the worst in football this year and pending another opening night debacle, I think 9/9 will be a celebration of 75 years of Redskins football. If you do come out, please let me know - we'd love to have you at our tailgate.

9) Personal Plug - Here are links to two articles I recently wrote on Redskins rookies Alex Buzbee and Pete Schmitt (Schmitt's gonna make the team).

10) The NFC - Continuing on the optimistic tone of this email, I'd like to point out that the NFC is a weak sister conference this year. Every team has plenty of questions and nobody stands out. It's anybody's year.



Friday, August 3, 2007

A View Inside the Ropes: Volume 2, Issue 1

To My Fans of the Beltway Heroes:

Welcome back to Skins Serv! I hope you like the changes we at Skins Serv have brought you this year. If you haven't noticed anything different, then I'll point it out for you. I have placed the date, volume and issue on the right-hand margin of the email, and placed the title of the report (in bold) at the center of the email. These variations should enhance your Skins Serv reading experience by limiting the amount of text on your subject line. I will do my best to keep you updated and informed of all the goings-on in Danny's World throughout the next seven months (I"YH): expect a couple more of these updates before kickoff 2008 (only 37 days away), and then hopefully one a week once the season commences. May it be a football year of great health, happiness, and joy for all sons and daughters of the Potomac Warriors (and of course, the players as well).

Kol Tuv,





1) Sunday Wash - My most sincere apologies to those who came out for Skins Serv's first annual training camp tailgate on Sunday. Unfortunately, mother nature got the better of the burgundy and gold, and after one round of sausages on the barby, it was time to pack it up and head home. Leshanah Habah b'Ashburn.


2) The Email Title - As most of you know, I'm doing some freelance sports writing and am covering three Skins rookies for their hometown papers (Buzbee, Schmitt and Palmer). Because of the new gig, I have all-access to camp this year (pretty freakin' sweet).This week I was able to make it to a closed practice Wed. night and catch the end of open practice yesterday while trying to chase down players and coaches for interviews in between. Based on the Wednesday practice, the email title was supposed to be "A View Inside the Ropes: And it Ain't Pretty." But because we are going to keep things positive up here for a little longer, I decided to keep the second half of the title out.


3) The Problem - My biggest issue with Wednesday's practice was what I didn't see: intensity. I was told that Wed. night (the second of a two-a-day) was going to be the fiercest of camp so far. I was looking for hard-hitting, trash talking, and maybe some fighting. Instead what I saw was a lot of walking around, water breaks, dummie defense and a general lack of urgency from players on both sides of the ball. You hear tales of training camp and the energy of a closed NFL practice - I didn't see any of it. And it wasn't too hot either, so they had no excuse. Unfortunately, it seems like the players are winning on this one and Coach Joe's getting soft. In speaking to Jason LaCanfora at practice, he agreed that it was an extremely disconcerting subplot to camp thus far. Today on his blog he discusses the issue at some length.


4) The Bright Side - I don't want to get too excited about what my eyes tell me from practice, especially after I was convinced Brandon Lloyd was a instant All-Pro after watching last year's camp, but I need to report that Jason Campbell looks amazing. The guy is throwing lasers and has such tremendous pocket presence. He is getting the ball out there faster and quicker and hitting guys over the middle and on the sideline routes (which was a big cause for concern after last year). And I don't need to speak to his deep ball ability - that was something very evident last year. One of the writers was keeping tabs of Campbell in 11-on-11 drills and he said JC was 8 of 13. Not sure what that means, but its good to throw in fabricated stats once in a while.


5) CP - Don't know what to make of my kid Bro Sweets. There are two prevailing theories coming out of Ashburn. One is that CP's inflamed tendinitis is an injury of convenience. The guy doesn't like camp, doesn't like practicing and will do anything to not put pads on until 9/9. The Skins, who saw their stud back break down last year, don't want a repeat. Coach Joe and his henchman may have finally capitulated to DollaBill's liberal summer rituals. The other theory round the Park is that CP's knee could be something that lingers throughout the entire campaign. The tendinitis was something that popped up during OTA's and only subsided with a lot of rest. It then re-inflamed after three days of contact drills - something pretty scary to the casual freelance writer. It's possible this thing could lead to scopes, fluid draining and missed games, or it could be CP's dream scenario: only putting on pads one day a week all year.


6) Samuels and Thomas - Timing seems to be everything with these injuries. My sense is that Thomas will be perfectly fine and that Samuels got injured early enough that he won't be a problem for the opener either. Lets just hope Campbell won't get killed by then.


7) The Trick Play - LaCanfora says that the whole close practice notion in BS (they only allow DC reporters). He says Gibbs and co. are paranoid and that no outside beat writers are going to steal plays. That being said, I did see something awesome I had to report. The Skins ran an halfback option to Betts, and instead of going upfield to a receiver, he went back the other way to a streaking Campbell up the sideline. Campbell went up over a smaller DB and hauled the pass in before going hard to the floor. It was pretty amazing to see. I wonder if they'll break that out during the regular season.


8) Misc - The secondary looks good. Healthy, fast, and forcing turnovers in practice. They are just so deep back there this year, lets hope they can compensate for a lousy front four...Its good to see Cooley running deeper routes and going over the middle more. I saw a couple of drops sprinkled in there, but i sense he's getting more comfortable with the Tony G type role...I got frustrated by all the "in the flat" passing during last year's camp. Seems like the coaches trust Campbell's arm and decision making more, as they appear to be going away from that.


That's all I got for now. I'll be back in Ashburn n Wednesday and will give you a report after that.