Quick Hits: Vanilla Getting a Bad Name

Quick Hits: Tandler's Redskins Blog Ver. 08.30.06--The Redskins had better be careful or some special interest groups will be on their case. Plus a look at Hall, Frost, and Saunders on Campbell.

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

·        Never has such a nice flavor been given such a bad name. I've got to think that the Vanilla Growers Association has to be getting pretty annoyed at the constant use of the term "vanilla" to describe the Redskins' putrid offense during the course of the preseason. They should be striking a deal with the Milk Carton Manufacturers Association to have it listed on their products since the offense can better be described as missing.

·        Al Saunders had an interesting comment on the subject on TV on Monday, indicating that the Redskins do not want to reveal how they would compensate for and scheme around weak spots on the offense. That's a very plausible explanation for the weak showing by the offense so far this preseason. You just have to hope that Jon Jansen isn't one of the weak spots that needs protection.

·        I wonder if there is a plan to cover for John Hall, who appears to be a major weak link. New England got some penetration on that block, but the low kick was the main reason it got blocked. He missed a 36-yard try that would have pulled the Redskins to within four of the Seahawks in Seattle last January. In the scrimmage against the Ravens he missed two tries and then there was the block last Saturday. That's called a cold streak and it is not a way to instill much confidence.

·        To finish going through the kicking game, I don't understand why more serious competition wasn't brought in for Derrick Frost. And while Gibbs has the final say in such matters he largely delegates such things to Danny Smith. In talking to a reporter around the time of minicamp Smith himself said that Frost got some of the luckiest bounces he'd ever seen. Yet the only challenger they brought in was David Lonie. Nothing against him, mind you, but if he wasn't from Australia and a pretty interesting story nobody would have given the slightest chance of making the team. Lonie had to have a great camp to have a shot and he had far from that.

·        And by "serious competition" I don't mean Eddie Johnson, who the Redskins signed and then cut in the space of several hours on Tuesday. At least he didn't have the buy or rent dilemma—he didn't even spend the night as a Redskin. From what I could gather in research done during the brief period of time that he was with the team, one of his best skills was running. This was a necessary talent as he had a propensity to mishandle snaps. The picture above shows him running for a first down after fumbling a snap, not something you want your punter to do on an unplanned basis.

·        You can't make the club if you're in the tub and that's especially true if you come in with a history of injuries. So tight end Robert Johnson and linebacker Kevin Simon are among the 12 who were handed their walking papers by the Redskins yesterday. It was Johnson's ankle that kept him in the trainers' room and in the doghouse of the coaching staff. Being 6-6, 278 and fast and athletic doesn't get you anywhere if you can't produce on the field. Simon was a gamble as a seventh-round pick. The seasons he was healthy at Tennessee his production was excellent but he was on the field just two of his four years there. He's an outside possibility for the practice squad but you usually don't cut guys that you want to keep around in the initial round.

·        Back to Saunders, a comment he made about Jason Campbell created a bit of a stir. In taped remarks shown during last Saturday's preseason game, the Redskins offensive guru said the following about whether or not he thought that Campbell has what it takes to make it in the NFL:

That's hard to say. He's a big, strong guy, he has all the physical tools. But there's more to the quarterback position than just being a physical player. It's not only emotional, it's consistency and it's playing and reacting at a very, very high level. There are a lot of things going on out on the football field at a very, very fast pace. It's an intellectual position as well as a physical position and sometimes it takes longer than other guys to be prepared to play at that level. Some guys never get there despite their great ability. The only way to do it is to continue to work on it and get into game situations to see if it can be done and that's where we are with Jason right now.


Some interpreted this as being fairly critical of Campbell and it certainly could be seen that way. My view is that Gibbs and Saunders play different roles in Campbell's development. Gibbs is the "good cop", delivering praise and encouraging the young quarterback while "bad cop" Saunders is the one kicking him in the butt, prodding him to work harder and being careful not to be too effusive in his praise. The comments were consistent with what Saunders has told me on the couple of occasions when I have asked him about Campbell.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game the Redskins played from when the moved to Washington for the 1937 season through 2001. For details and ordering information go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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