NFL Nation: Colt Brennan
It will be interesting to see whether Mike Shanahan would hold an open competition between Jason Campbell and Grossman. And, of course, you could have a third entry if the Redskins select Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen with the fourth overall pick.
For now it simply means that Colt Brennan's days as a local cult hero are probably numbered. Grossman helped lead the Bears to the Super Bowl in '06, but his career quickly faded after that.
Grossman's certainly not a long-term option. He's a familiar face who could help bridge the gap.
I'm still trying to determine exactly how Sorgi injured his shoulder in '09 -- since he wasn't playing. There were rumors that it was a non-football injury, but even folks close to the situation haven't come up with an explanation. I'm sure the Giants did their due diligence in determining how the injury occurred. And if I ever hear the story, I'll be happy to pass it along.
By the way, do you guys feel like Rhett Bomar will have a legitimate opportunity to win the No. 2 role? One more question: Who has the best backup quarterback in the NFC East? Here's how I'd rank them (I'm leaving a certain Wildcat quarterback out of the mix):
1. Kevin Kolb
2. Jon Kitna
3. Jim Sorgi
4. Colt Brennan
If you determine that Michael Vick is the backup quarterback in Philly rather than Kolb, then he'd also head the list. Thoughts? Concerns? Praise?
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Dallas: If Tony Romo is unavailable, the Cowboys would still have a chance at winning games. Jon Kitna's moving into his late 30s, but he still has plenty of arm strength and he's a huge improvement over Brad Johnson. Kitna doesn't have the mobility of Romo and he took a lot of sacks in Detroit. But he can make all the throws and he could succeed for an extended amount of time. The only thing that worries me about Kitna is that he's had a lot of trouble getting the snap from center in training camp and in preseason games. Not sure what the problem is there.
Roy Williams had the best year of his NFL career playing with Kitna. Romo's the unquestioned starter, but Kitna's presence makes the Cowboys feel a lot more comfortable heading into '09.
New York: If Eli Manning's unavailable, the Giants are in trouble. David Carr looked a lot better against the Jets, but he had really been struggling before that. He's still sort of shell-shocked from his time with the Texans. He might be fine to get you through a game or two, but the Giants would struggle if Carr has to play four or five games. I don't think he gets the ball out quickly enough at this point. Even his own quarterbacks coach, Chris Palmer, called him out recently. With the arrival of Michael Vick in Philly, the Giants might have the weakest backup situation in the division. Right now, it looks like Andre Woodson has the edge on Rhett Bomar to be the third quarterback.
Philadelphia: If Donovan McNabb's unavailable, it will be Michael Vick time for the Eagles. Obviously, he won't become the No. 2 quarterback until he's fully reinstated by Roger Goodell, but that will likely happen fairly early in the season. Vick automatically becomes the best backup in the division based on his previous work. He'll be a huge threat in the Wildcat formation and I think he'd function well as the starter if something happens to McNabb. Michael Vick's too young and talented to have the mindset of a backup -- and that's not necessarily a bad thing for the Eagles. If McNabb gets injured, they want Vick to feel plenty of confidence as his replacement.
Washington: If Jason Campbell is unavailable, Todd Collins will take over. Collins doesn't do anything flashy but he can do a good job of managing the team. He replaced an injured Jason Campbell in the second half of the '07 season and led the Redskins on a remarkable playoff run. Collins doesn't have the arm strength to light it up in the vertical passing game, but he does a good job of checking down passes and not turning the ball over. Coach Jim Zorn thought that Colt Brennan might be ready to challenge Collins, but that never happened.
There's a good chance that former Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel will beat out Brennan for the No. 3 spot. He's outplayed him in the preseason. Daniel's nowhere close to being a starter in this league, but he's played with a lot of poise in the preseason. Let's see how he does in the Skins' final preseason game.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
The Washington Redskins released linebacker Alfred Fincher, cornerback Michael Grant, defensive tackle Michael Marquardt, wide receiver Marques Hagans and offensive tackle Devin Clark on Sunday. Fincher, a solid special teams player for the Skins, was the most surprising name on the list. Coach Jim Zorn explained the decision following practice Sunday.
"I don't want to take anything away from Fincher because he's worked really hard, and he has improved," Zorn said. "But to us there was kind of a ceiling there on him compared to some of the other guys that are coming on. Now he may have been more seasoned, but sometimes with a younger guy there is a potential there that you like -- a speed or a flash that I think coaches are looking at that kind of give those guys a little bit longer look. Al, in all fairness, he was here a year ago, and the other guys are doing as well as he, so we decided that maybe they'll have a higher ceiling."
Zorn also said that defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth missed Sunday's practice due to stomach issues. He said that running back Clinton Portis will not play Thursday in Jacksonville, but indicated some of the others starters would be in the game. It sounds like we're going to see a whole lot of Colt Brennan and Chase Daniel in this game. If I had to guess right now, I think Zorn's leaning toward Daniel as the third quarterback.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
It's much easier for me to defend Jason Campbell when he plays like he did last night. The Redskins lost to the Patriots in the final seconds of a preseason game, but they appeared to gain much-needed confidence in the process. Campbell was 13-of-22 for 209 yards and a rushing touchdown, but the most important thing was that he looked poised the entire time. We saw what he can do when the offensive line gives him a little time.
|AP Photo/Nick Wass|
|Marko Mitchell caught a touchdown pass in front of cornerback Jamar Love during the second half of Friday night's game.|
After he called it a night, Campbell told Jim Nantz and Phil Simms that the offense couldn't "dink and dunk" its way down the field and be successful. And that's why you see coach Jim Zorn calling for so many downfield passes. I thought Post columnist Mike Wise summed it up pretty well after last night's game. OK, let's take a closer look at what took place:
Tom Brady and Randy Moss pretty much toyed with DeAngelo Hall. It wasn't an awful performance by the defense at all, but Hall was clearly in over his head against Moss. I realize he's going to make a lot of cornerbacks look bad, but you would hope Hall wouldn't get completely overwhelmed. When receivers such as Terrell Owens, Moss and Larry Fitzgerald showed up, it was always nice to have Shawn Springs on the field. Unfortunately, he now plays for the Pats. The best news for the Skins? They don't have to see Moss again -- unless it's in the Super Bowl. The good news for the defense is the three turnovers. In the second half, linebacker Rocky McIntosh made a superb play to tip the ball away from the tight end and allow LaRon Landry to go the other way. Also a really nice play on the ball by rookie corner Kevin Barnes. He's got some really good skills. This draft class is looking better all the time.
The Skins had 15 penalties for 113 yards? REALLY? Amid some of the positive aspects from this game, the penalties have to be driving Jim Zorn nuts. And you can't really pick on one unit. The defensive tackles may want to work on lining up in the right spots and you should start eliminating the false starts along the offensive line at this stage in the preseason. The 15-yard penalties will get you beat, and that's what happened when Hall grabbed Moss' facemask. The Skins' defense had a chance to get off the field at that point, but the penalty gave the Patriots another shot. You can't do that with one of the most potent offenses in the league.
There's no way in the world you can keep Marko Mitchell off the roster -- and why would you even try? He's big and he makes important catches. He froze a defender on a little hitch and go in the second half, and Colt Brennan found him for a 33-yard touchdown. Patriots cornerback Jamar Love never had a chance. The guy keeps getting in the end zone, and he's become perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the preseason for the Redskins. He offers what quarterbacks like to call a wide strike zone and he appears to be learning how to beat jams near the line of scrimmage. He could be a real threat near the goal line because of his body control and hands.
Colt Brennan didn't perform well enough to overtake Chase Daniel -- at least in my opinion: The same things that made Brennan one of the most prolific passers in the history of college football can also get him in big trouble. He's supremely confident and he thinks he can fit a ball into any space. But he has to be smarter when he's around the goal line. For the second time in as many games, Brennan made a horrible decision near the goal line. He forced a pass that was picked off by Jonathan Wilhite and returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Brennan tried the old "I was just trying to make a play" excuse after the game, but that doesn't hold water. He basically surrendered 10 points with that ill-advised throw -- seven to the Patriots and three that he took away from the Skins. I liked that he came right back with the touchdown to Mitchell, but it wasn't enough to overshadow the interception in my mind. I do like the way Brennan handles screens. He's athletic enough to spin away from trouble and dump the ball to Marcus Mason on the run. Not as easy as it looks.
Hated to see Mason get the bruised ribs in the fourth quarter. It's hard to recover from those when you're taking a lot of punishment at running back. I think Mason's put himself in position to challenge Ladell Betts for the backup role. He's more explosive than Betts in my mind, and he's a better change-of-pace back. Mason puts more pressure on defenses -- both on the ground and through the air -- than Betts.
Hello, Anthony Alridge!: I've been waiting to see this guy all preseason. The former University of Houston star -- as proud U of H alum Nantz noted several times -- has elite speed. He's only about 5-foot-9, but as you saw Friday night, no one can seem to get a clean shot on him. I know he was going against the Patriots' backups, but Alridge still popped off the screen. I hope the guy gets a shot. Last year, the Redskins didn't have enough depth at running back. But with Mason, Dominique Dorsey, Betts and Alridge, they look a lot better this season.
Does Chad Rinehart frustrate you guys as much as he does me? I thought he had his moments, but the guard just sort of looks lost at times. On a play in the second half, he let a Patriots defensive tackle race right past him. The p
layer ended up being flagged for hitting Brennan too low. But that never happens if Rinehart does his job. It's like he never he even made an attempt at the guy. I'd hoped Rinehart would be a lot farther down the road at this point. Too many mental mistakes from what I'm seeing. Zorn will want to cut Rinehart after watching that play. Not saying he will, but the thought will cross his mind.
I'm not sure why Zorn doesn't run the ball inside the 10-yard line. In the second half, I kept wondering why Zorn wouldn't let Mason or Alridge have a chance to run the ball near the goal line. He seemed intent on letting Brennan find someone in the end zone. That would've been a good test for the offensive line to try to plow it in there.
Did the Skins not think the Patriots would blitz? In the second half, a linebacker for the Patriots (Guyton?) came clean from the right side. It's like the Redskins were shocked that Bill Belichick might send an extra rusher.
H.B. Blades is a bad man: How great was that stick he put on Fred Taylor? You don't want to get caught running high when Blades is anywhere around. He absolutely destroyed Taylor, causing him to spin in the air like a merry-go-round.
With 4:30 left in a meaningless games, I find myself shouting at Brennan: When your team's in field goal position, how in the world do you take a sack? This might have been the point when I actually knew Daniel would make the team ahead of Brennan. Just a bone-headed play right there. Once you've escaped the pocket and don't see anything, fling it out of bounds. That play set up Shaun Suisham's miss from 52 yards. Everyone can try to pile on my man Suisham, but that was all Brennan's fault.
What's the deal with the coverage? You're in a close game in the fourth quarter and you let Patrick Chung just shred the punt coverage unit? The punt certainly wasn't high enough (46 yards in length), but someone has to at least force Chung to make a move. He darts toward the sideline and coverage completely fell apart. Bad, bad play right there on special teams.
I'll be keeping my eye on the Cowboys and Giants this evening. Thanks for your continued interest.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
I don't think it's time to panic about Jason Campbell going 1-of-7 for 10 yards in a 17-13 preseason win over the Steelers. But it's important that Campbell finds a rhythm in the third preseason game -- and he knows that.
Campbell missed Malcolm Kelly on a deep ball and he was high on a throw to Santana Moss. I think he was pressing a bit because he knew he was only going to play three series. The good news is that Washington's running game looked strong throughout the game. OK, here are a few things that caught my eye:
- Brian Orakpo has been sensational through two preseason games. I enjoyed watching him playing with the backups in the second quarter. At that point, he was obviously the best player on the field and he even looked solid in coverage. Orakpo embarrassed his former college teammate at Texas, Tony Hills, in the second quarter. Orakpo used a bull rush to push Hills back in the pocket. He knocked Hills about 3 feet into the air.
- Jim Zorn made it sound like Campbell had a nice evening. Zorn praised Campbell for his decision making and thought he managed the team well. Obviously Zorn want to make sure Campbell's confidence level remains high. Campbell put on a brave face for reporters after the game, but I assure you he's beating himself up over the six incompletions.
- How can you keep Marcus Mason or Marko Mitchell off this roster? Mason's one of the best preseason backs this organization has had. On Saturday, he showed the speed we've grown accustomed to seeing, but he also mixed in some power. He sent a Steelers safety flying at the end of one play. Mitchell made the nice touchdown catch from Chase Daniel. He hesitated at first in order to give Daniel some space to throw the ball. Then Mitchell simply won a jump ball. The former Nevada receiver might end up being the fifth receiver.
- I still think Devin Thomas will make some mental errors, but he's capable of making big plays. I liked the twisting catch he made Saturday night. He has all the tools, but he needs every rep in the preseason he can get.
- Scary moment in the first half when fullback Mike Sellers was writhing in pain with a knee injury. The good news is that Sellers only has a bruised knee. He's such a vital part of the Redskins' running game. They would really struggle without him.
- Reed Doughty was everywhere . I pretty much wrote the guy off last season, but he's actually had a solid camp. He made a couple of open-field tackles that were very impressive and he looked confident in the secondary.
- Is it too early to start worrying about the Skins' awful coverage units? They looked especially bad in punt coverage. They didn't have anything close to containment on the edges.
- I used to watch Redskins safety Lendy Holmes when he was in high school. The former Oklahoma Sooner was one of the surest tacklers on the field Saturday. A lot of rookies look a little wide-eyed at this point. That's not the way Holmes operates.
- I love the fact that safety Kareem Moore is a high-energy guy, but he needs to play under control. It seems like Moore's constantly going for the interception. Moore and another '08 draft pick, Rob Jackson, have a tendency to overrun plays.
- I'd cut D.J. Hackett the first chance I had. It's not that I think he's a bad player, but right now, he's simply taking up space. I'd much rather see Mitchell, Thomas and Kelly getting the majority of the reps.
- Daniel had a really effective outing. I think he has the edge on Colt Brennan at this point. And yes, I know that hurts at lot of you guys.
- On the interception that Todd Collins threw, Thomas needs to come back for the ball. He sort of froze on his comeback route, and that allowed former Colts cornerback Keiwan Ratliff to make a really nice play on the ball.
- If you're Brennan, you can't throw the ball into traffic in the red zone. I'm sure Zorn was incensed with that turnover. Just an awful decision by Brennan.
- Kelly does a really nice job of catching the ball away from his body. He did some nice things in Saturday's game, but the best thing he does is catch the ball consistently. Thomas might have the most upside, but Kelly's showing the most maturity right now.
- Former CFL star Dominique Dorsey has to make this team as a return specialist. And he's halfway home. He had some outstanding returns. The Skins need to reserve a spot on the roster for him. He's that good as a return guy -- and he runs with a little power.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
BALTIMORE -- I've reached that point in the training camp tour where I wake up and have no clue where I am. This morning I stopped by the University at Albany campus to say goodbye to the Giants and now I'm sitting in a hotel room about a block away from the Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium, where the Ravens and Redskins are preparing for their first preseason game.
I'm curious to hear what Redskins fans are most interested in seeing tonight. Here's a preview of the game from the Washington Times' online staff. Starting quarterback Jason Campbell will probably go two series, at the most. Then we can settle in for what should be a heated competition between Todd Collins and Colt Brennan.
We're not going to see Albert Haynesworth's debut, but I'm ready to see how rookie Brian Orakpo looks at strongside linebacker. I think you'll see a few mistakes from him, but I also think you'll see him make some plays.
In other news, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly will have an opportunity to shine. Santana Moss is out with a hamstring injury, so Thomas and Kelly should get plenty of reps. The reality of the situation is that Jim Zorn's simply trying to make sure no one gets hurt. That's why running back Clinton Portis won't be on the field tonight.
Let me know what you guys are focused on tonight? The NFC East has three of its four teams in action tonight. I'll be keeping an eye on what's going on with the Cowboys and Eagles from my perch inside M&T Bank Stadium.
I'm also looking into an interesting report about Michael Vick.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
A lot of you have been asking for a Colt Brennan progress report, and from what I'm told, he's been fairly accurate early in camp. On Tuesday, Redskins head coach Jim Zorn talked about Brennan's progress, among other topics.
"I think Colt has come a long way," said Zorn. "I think the way I get on him, he probably doesn't feel like he's come a long way, but I'm pushing him and he has come a long way. He's done well. He's becoming more disciplined. When he first got here he was a little bit all over the place. Now he's being more disciplined in the pocket. He's starting to read the throws. But he's a work in progress and this preseason is going to be very important for him. I'm not tinkering with his arm yet at all. I'm really trying to get the mental part of his game and really the footwork part of his game. I'm trying to get him to move."
I'm looking forward to watching Brennan in person in a game at Baltimore next week. I think he'll get a ton of action, and it will be interesting to see how responds. I think Zorn is going to give him every opportunity to win the backup job over Todd Collins in the preseason. And if that happens, then we're one bad Jason Campbell performance from fans demanding that Brennan become the starter. But first, he needs to show improvement in the preseason.
Zorn also addressed the impact that Twitter and other social networks are having on players across the league. He said he's talked to his players about how to act responsibly with all the technology at their disposal.
"I don't tweet on the Twitter," Zorn said. "I don't worry about it. We've talked about that. There are so many things that players can do that other people can do. You can Facebook, blog, tweet, text, email, you can do all these things. How many things are there? But I can't worry about that. We talk about it and we try to educate about the perils. They already know about the advantages, but they have to know about the cautions that need to be taken.”
"I don't tweet on the Twitter" has to be one of my favorite Zorn lines this offseason. It's a sentence that just screams, "I'm a 50-something dad."
All my best.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
CANON, Ohio -- Right to second-half observations...
- Wow, a timeout for Indianapolis before its first play from scrimmage in the second half. To be clear, that's a touchback and a timeout before a snap. Just in case you were mistaking this for Peyton Manning's September-October Colts.
- Newly minted Hall of Famers Darrell Green and Emmitt Thomas did their interviews with the NBC crew in the booth, not from the sideline. No elevator here. They may be immortalized in bronze, but they'll still walk up 40 stairs to chat with Al Michaels and John Madden.
- Clinton Portis, who didn't play and Shawn Springs, who did, spent much of the third quarter wide of the bench area, chatting and seeming to enjoy life. Bob Sanders, who's not even dressed, was across the field from them. We've got coach-to-quarterback and coach-to-defender communication devices. How about stars-to-stars after halftime of the first of five preseason games? I guess those are called cell phones and we'd frown upon their use. Be fun to listen in, though.
- The second completion of Colt Brennan's NFL life was a beautiful 34-yarder that Billy McMullen did well to corral as it dropped right in front of him as he angled to the left side. Brennan may never make it at this level, but with that throw you can see the sort of thing that makes him intriguing. A few plays later he held it forever, took a sack and you could see what makes him very iffy. Then he immediately threw a 20-yard TD pass to Maurice Mann and you could what makes him intriguing. He surely earned more of a look -- finishing nine-for-10 for 123 yards and two touchdowns before he was replaced by Derek Devine.
- Jared Lorenzen dropped back, stepped up, took off, ran to the right sideline for a 9-yard first down and went out of bounds. Who, exactly, would rather step up and take him on than get an earful at a film review session? A few plays later, Chris Horton got both arms around the massive QB in the backfield, but it took a while to actually tip the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Lorenzen over. Some teammates could have taken a knee to catch their breath while they waited. You have to guess none of them have had practice at toppling a guy that size in the pocket, or have ever seen it done.
Back in a bit after we see what they're saying downstairs.
2:35 4th Qtr Oakland 13 Green Bay 31 2:00 2nd Qtr Chicago 0 Seattle 21 Final Carolina 7 New England 30 Final New York 35 New York 24 Final Jacksonville 12 Detroit 13
4:30 PM ET Tampa Bay Buffalo 7:00 PM ET Dallas Miami 7:00 PM ET Tennessee Atlanta 7:30 PM ET Washington Baltimore 8:00 PM ET New Orleans Indianapolis 8:00 PM ET St. Louis Cleveland 8:00 PM ET Minnesota Kansas City 9:00 PM ET Houston Denver
4:00 PM ET San Diego San Francisco 8:00 PM ET Cincinnati Arizona