I asked Will from Hogs Haven if he wanted to do 5 questions before this weekend's game. As many of you know from his comments on this site Will can be a difficult fellow. Even though he is difficult he is a funny guy and a heck of a blogger. Here are the questions that I asked him with his answers:
If the effusive praise from his teammates and coaches is to be believed, he's having an outstanding camp. However I've also seen TC reports peppered with commentary on how Campbell has struggled, so it's hard to tell what to believe. The conclusion I'm comfortable with is that, so far, he's proved himself to his teammates and coaches, obviously has some things to work on, but is far better prepared to open the 2007 season than he was when forced into the starting job at the middle of last year. At his young age he's as physically prepared to start a full season as he'll ever be. Mentally, he talks the talk as well. Next year will mark the first time he's had season-to-season consistency under one offensive system since he was in High School, and he should benefit enormously from that.
I think he's ready.
2. What was the reaction amongst Redskins fans to Clinton Portis's comments about dog fighting?
Reactions ran the usual gamut from outrage to apathy to, sometimes strangely, supportive. The majority of the commentary that I witnessed directly from fans through my experience reading blogs, newspapers, and message boards was outrage although I am tentative about speaking on behalf of such a diverse group as Redskins fans.
Obviously, he's our guy, so it was very troubling that he decided to take it upon himself to define lawful actions as inclusive of all those that occur in the privacy of ones homes; I disagree with this jurisprudence. As I've stated previously, laws are broken behind closed doors and the public has an interest in pursuing those responsible even if it takes us into their private estates, as appears to be the case in the Mike Vick case. Honestly, I'm not all the interested in CP's opinion on animal rights so much as I am on his ability to get in the endzone -- as an American Citizen Portis is free to make any amount of ludicrous claims about what constitutes the moral or immoral treatment of animals. As I admire his on field product, I would hope that he'd carry himself intelligently off the field. When he doesn't, oh well.
Again, I was more offended with his insistence that actions are lawful in virtue of being private. That isn't even a value judgment, as far as I'm concerned. It is just stupid. And he's backed off those statements and expressed (what I happily, as a fan, accept as genuine) contriteness related to those statements. To answer your question on behalf of exactly one fan without all the unnecessary verbiage, my answer would be: disappointed with a dash bemusement.
3. While we are talking about Portis, how is the workload going to be split between him and Ladell Betts?
If I had to guess, barring injuries, I'll take 75/25 favoring Clinton Portis on rushing downs. On passing downs that approaches 50/50. If your question relates to fantasy football, I would suggest people still view Portis as a legitimate starting RB, as he is a touchdown machine (when healthy). I also do not think his tendinitis is necessarily as bad as advertised; he doesn't like practice.
4. What is the best training camp battle that is going on with the Redskins?
The most consequential would be the left guard position vacated by Derrick Dockery, currently held by Todd Wade. Though it's hardly a "battle" since the team hasn't really given anyone else a shot at taking it. I'll take LaRon Landry vs. Pierson Prioleau here. Gregg Williams (a name very familiar to Oilers/Titans fans I imagine) has proved reluctant in the past to start rookies immediately. Landry is about the most physically gifted athlete he's had and as good a challenge to that coaching philosophy as has existed on this roster. He came into camp a bit late what with his brief hold out, and now needs to play catch up on the veteran who won this spot last year over Adam Archuleta. This defense is better with Landry on it than without, and thus I think it's important that he wins the spot.
I suppose I could have said Antwaan Randle-El or Brandon Lloyd duking it out for 2nd WR spot on the team, but honestly I don't think it is that consequential. Both had the opportunity to play 2nd fiddle to Santana Moss last year and neither lit it up. We'll depend more on Chris Cooley, who is an absolute beast and word around camp is that he is going to have a huge year.
5. Is Gregg Williams the air apparent to Joe Gibbs? How much longer do you think Gibbs will coach?
I cannot confirm it but the oft-repeated wisdom is that Williams has, built into his contract, a stipulation that pays him $1 million if he is NOT named the heir to the Gibbs throne. Not a bad way to make a cool seven figures, says me.
If you had asked me this question at this time last year, I would've said yea, he's got a great shot. Now I'm not so sure. If this defense shapes up and becomes a top 10 unit as it was in Williams' first two years, the pendulum will swing back in his favor. But if we're ho-hum at 20-32, his window will have effectively closed for me.
It is my personal belief that Joe Gibbs will coach throughout the rest of his contract, which ends after 2008. He will retire having won back-to-back Super Bowls and will go down in history as the undeniably best coach in NFL history. At which point we'll raid the Titans and take Coach Jeff, and you guys will be screwed.
This opinion is not shared by many Redskins fans. Conventional wisdom sometimes states that a bad 2007 could end his tenure here early, despite insistence from Coach Gibbs that he will honor the full length of his contract. Coaching in the NFL is a fickle enough business annum to annum that I'm fine granting that Gibbs' future after 2007 is uncertain.
6. What is your prediction for the Redskins final record?
Officially, I went on record as saying we finish 8-8 (or, optimistically, 9-7). I think this team is capable both of better and much worse. Unofficially, we're going 16-0.
Jimmy, you are a peach. Thanks for having me.