Here at Razzball we are fans of the NFL Network because, even though they are a National Football League entity, they criticize and question just like any independent news organization. Jason La Canfora was known for doing just that while covering the Washington Redskins for 6 years, just before he got called up to the bigs. He never towed the Redskins company line and I have seen the same kind of reporting from NFLN. To find him on the interwebs you can read his NFL.com blog or check out his Twitter account. Now onto the interview:
1. The Redskins have been trying to collect the old, the tired, the wretched refuse running backs of the NFL in an attempt to shore up the position. How do you see the running backs playing out in Washington? Is there any way they make a play for someone like Marshawn Lynch or LenDale White (even with his suspension)?
Besides another RB who fits more with the above descriptions – Westbrook – I don’t see the Skins doing anything else. They’re gonna run the ball – this is Shanny after all – and I think Larry Johnson could be a decent value. I see Parker being released and LJ beating out Portis for carries.
2. Vincent Jackson is messing with us fake football players with this holdout business. We know he’s gone for the three games, but are both sides stubborn enough to not give in? And if VJax does hold out 10 weeks, does he then have to sit 3 games for his suspension?
I would steer clear of him unless he’s traded. He could miss 13 games, yes. Hope you have a late draft and maybe its resolved. But THE Chargers seem intent on letting him sit at this point.
3. Do you think Ben Roethlisberger has done enough in the eyes of the commissioner to have his suspension reduced to 4 games? And in a similar vein, can the Steelers replace Willie Colon effectively enough to not significantly hurt the play of Mendenhall and eventually Roethlisberger?
I’m weary of the Steelers offense. I figure 4 games for Ben – unless he does something in the next month that would violate his conditions. Mendenhall is going to get a lot of carries and this might have to be a ball control team this season.
4. We’ve seen Mike Martz implement his complicated offense extremely quickly and have it put up points. Last season it looked like the Bears receivers weren’t in the right place at the right time and that is a key aspect of Martz’s throw to a spot philosophy. Does Martz’s scheme trump all the questions?
They’re gonna score points. He loves both Devins, I can tell you that much. The poor OL is a problem, but Mike says he knows he has to run ball more and be more balanced? Can he actually do that – especially if Forte is not productive (and I fear he won’t be)? Time will tell. Olsen could be a real impact player for them and I have a feeling Hester is part of more explosive plays.
5. The Dolphins landed Brandon Marshall and are high on Henne, while Ronnie Brown is injury prone and Ricky Williams is getting long in the tooth. Do we see a significant move toward a more pass oriented offense or are they going to continue their rushing ways?
I don’t ever see a Parcells team being all that pass happy.
6. Gary Kubiak’s benching of fumblers and Steve Slaton’s injury killed a potent offense’s running game last season. Do you see another season of shuffling running backs in Houston or will Kubiak have more patience and give one back a chance to shine?
They want Slaton to be the man, and he will have every shot to be a feature back. They feel like with him healthy again that is possible.
7. There is finally some optimism in Oakland with the departure of JaMarcus Russell and the signing of Jason Campbell. Is that optimism warranted or is the Raider culture just too hard to overcome at this point?
I’m bullish on the Raiders. They will surprise people. Love their offseason and the impact of Hue Jackson will be significant. I like them to win 8-9 games and perhaps more if everything breaks right. I rate them second best in that division and the Chargers just might fall back to the pack.
8. Does Terrell Owens lineup as a starting receiver on a NFL team this season?
Yep. Its the only value he has. Doesn’t play teams. Wouldn’t be able to handle being a 3 or 4, teams figure. Injuries will occur and someone will sign him, no doubt.
9. Here at Razzball we have a lot of love for Jamaal Charles (hence the restraining order). Thomas Jones had an amazing year behind the Jets o-line last season. Does Charles get enough chances with Jones in the mix to be a top 10 back this season?
If Jamaal runs like he did last season they won’t pry it away. Jones could be more of the hammer though, based on down and distance. I like Charles too, though it sounds like not quite to the visceral level you guys do.
10. Do you feel like fantasy football has changed how fans view the NFL now? Do you think the NFL takes into account fantasy football when making any decisions?
It undoubtedly has broadened the fanbase and been a huge part of growing the game the past decade. Its been a boon for the league …. But I don’t think GMs or league officials think about it for a second through the course of their business.
11. When you are in the studio does Brian Baldinger ever come up behind people and wiggle his gnarly pinky in their face? I know I would!
He tried it once … And I mangled his good pinkie to the point it looks worse than that one. Nah, just kidding. Baldie is the best though. We have a tremendous group of people and they’re a blast to work with.