NFC East: Todd Wade
Both the NFL Network and the Washington Post are reporting that Redskins punter Derrick Frost has been released. Frost and rookie Durant Brooks out of Georgia Tech have been battling for the job throughout training camp. It appeared that Frost had the edge because of better numbers and his experience holding for kicker Shaun Suisham.
Brooks won the Ray Guy Award last year at Georgia Tech, and definitely has an explosive leg. I don't think he'll have a huge margin for error, though.
ASHBURN, Va. -- Good morning from a Marriott property somewhere in the vicinity of Dulles Airport. I've spent the last few days embedded with the Washington Redskins, and this very morning, I have a sit-down interview scheduled with veteran defensive end Jason Taylor.
On Tuesday, executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato talked about how the deal went down and what it has meant to the organization.
As all Redskins fans know, the first practice of the Jim Zorn era (July 20) began with starting defensive end Phillip Daniels tripping over a teammate and tearing his ACL in 7-on-7 drills. Hours later, the promising defensive end from Georgetown, Alex Buzbee, blew out his Achilles' tendon. Zorn, known for his unflappable demeanor during a long playing and coaching career in Seattle, said he was "shell-shocked."
"That was hard," Zorn said Tuesday. "After the second practice, I'm looking over my shoulder to see what's going on."
Cerrato and owner Dan Snyder were headed out to lunch a little after noon when someone from the medical staff walked up and told them that the 35-year-old Daniels was out for the season. Their appetite was gone.
Snyder and Cerrato called a quick meeting with Zorn, defensive coordinator Greg Blache and salary cap specialist Eric Schaffer to come up with a Plan B. The team had hoped to land Plan B in the NFL draft, but Cerrato and his staff decided to pass on Clemson's Phillip Merling and didn't take a defensive end until the seventh-round (Rob Jackson out of Kansas State).
Earlier in the offseason, Cerrato had talked to Bill Parcells about a trade for Jason Taylor, but it didn't seem feasible at the time. The good thing is that Cerrato and Parcells talk quite a bit anyway, so it wasn't an out-of-the-blue call that Cerrato placed at 3:10 p.m. ET on July 20.
When Cerrato reached Parcells at his "retirement" home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Parcells snarled, "Is this important?"
"Yeah," said a downcast Cerrato.
"Well, what's it about?" asked Parcells.
"Jason Taylor," Cerrato responded, and the two were off and running.
Parcells told Cerrato that the Redskins were the fourth NFC East team to call about Taylor that day, which totally sounds like something Parcells would say to pump up Taylor's trade value even more.
After the second practice, Cerrato and Snyder discussed the potential deal with team leaders Chris Samuels, London Fletcher, Shawn Springs and Taylor's former Miami teammate, Todd Wade. According to Cerrato, Springs' response was, "Pleeease sign him!"
Springs knew what Taylor could mean to the secondary. He knew his penchant for harassing quarterbacks would make the secondary's job easier. After all, the Redskins were the runt of the litter in the NFC East when it came to collecting sacks (33) in 2007.
With that, Cerrato got back on the phone with Parcells. He said he'd give up his second- and seventh-round picks in the 2009 draft, but Parcells wanted his 2009 sixth-rounder. As only Parcells can, he started naming off some of the players he's landed in the seventh-round (Jason Ferguson, Jay Ratliff, etc.), but Cerrato countered that he'd had similar success in the sixth round (Lee Woodall anyone?).
"That's pretty good," Parcells said dryly.
When Cerrato proposed a sixth-round choice in 2010, Parcells thought that might work. I'm guessing (hoping) Parcells was on the phone with his GM Jeff Ireland throughout the afternoon because Cerrato said he never talked to him.
Roughly three hours after the first phone call, Parcells called to say the trade was a go. Snyder sent his private jet to Dallas to pick up Taylor's wife and kids, who were visiting his brother-in-law, Zach Thomas. The jet then flew to Miami to meet up with Taylor.
"It was one of those things where everyone in the building was suddenly excited again," Cerrato said. "And all the women in the building were the most excited. They couldn't believe we were getting the guy from "Dancing With the Stars."
I have to head over to practice now, but I'll check back later with some NFC East news. I can't wait to look in the comments section and see at least one person say that I'm not talking about the Cowboys enough. Maybe that obvious Redskins bias is finally revealing itself!
All my best,