|This is one of those weeks when I just couldn't make up my mind. By now, you guys know you make out better when that happens. So, bonus Redskins cheerleaders for you.|
Big Blue View: The Joe Gibbs comeback has obviously not gone the way anyone around the Redskins wanted it to. Do you expect him to retire at the end of this season?
Hogs Haven: Tough to say. I think if we win out and secure a playoff spot, no one will be talking about the bad year Coach Gibbs didn't have. We play in a weak conference but a tough division and have suffered some very real human tragedy this season along with an above average amount of injuries, particularly at key positions. If we lose the rest of our games and finish the season 6-10, ask me the same question and I might just say yes. At this point in time I believe his future with the Redskins is very result-oriented. I'm not, however, saying that he will be fired or that he should leave. But I think there's a chance Coach Gibbs could remove himself after this year, and that increases with every loss.
BBV: This is obviously not an easy time for the Redskins. The Sean Taylor shooting; the Gibbs speculation; the loss of Jason Campbell; the fact that the team has not had a good season. What is the mood around the Redskins? Do you expect a good finish to the season, or will they just play out the string?
HH: The way we played, at times, against Buffalo during the emotional Sean Taylor week convinced me that this team was going to hang it up. But then we came out and played a pretty good football game against Chicago in spite of Jason Campbell being out. We've had our backs to the wall before, earlier in the season no less, when we went 5-0 to close out the year in '05 and make the playoffs. That's from 5-6 to 10-6 and ultimately 11-6 as we beat Tampa in the first round. There are enough players on the football team where I don't think giving up is a real concern, but that's not something measured by me in front of my computer. We'll see what happens in a tough stretch of games on the road against you guys, Minnesota, and then Dallas at home. Closing out the season this year will be significantly more difficult than it was 2 years ago given our remaining schedule.
BBV: Pro Bowl voting is this week. Which Redskins deserve to go?
HH: Sean Taylor. He's tied with all NFC Free Safeties in interceptions (despite not playing for WEEKS) and has done something neither Ken Hamlin nor OJ Atogwe have done: force a fumble. He has 14 passes defensed which is more than OJ and slightly less than Ken Hamlin, but he's also returned his interceptions for more yards than either of those dudes. His tackles lag for obvious lack of playing time, but not substantially behind Ken Hamlin who has just 2 more solo tackles than Taylor. This isn't my shpiel about how Taylor should get in the pro bowl because he died; Sean Taylor should get in the pro bowl because he earned it. There are plenty of available precedents for players earning their pro bowl berths in short seasons, though it usually involves them coming on fire towards the close of voting. Taylor had a monstrous year prior to it being cut short. He should be in consideration.
London Fletcher has played consistently and outstandingly all season, enough so to warrant consideration. I would also include Chris Cooley and Mike Sellers among those deserving of a vote. Chris Samuels might deserve a close look as well.
BBV: The Eagles thought the Giants were an unimpressive 8-4. They are now 9-4. When you look at the Giants what do you see? Are you surprised they are 9-4?
HH: I don't understand why Tom Coughlin has to suffer any criticism. He inherited a dogshit 4 win team and improved them immediately and has not turned in a losing season since 2004. In the great age of parity that's a pretty impressive little resume, especially if you include two, now likely three, postseasons in a row. Am I surprised the Giants are going to win 10 games this year? Naw, they come damn near close or do win 10 games every year. I think what surprises people is that you guys are still this good without Tiki Barber, but every team has to replace players and I happen to think running back is a lot more fungible a position than it is credited as being. If there's anything that surprises me personally about the Giants, it's that you guys continue to succeed in spite of Eli. Though the stats don't tell the whole story, they certainly don't suggest he's made marked improvement since his 2nd year. His accuracy goes up while his YPA and TD:INT go down. He appears to be a 2nd tier quarterback -- which is fine -- who isn't going to grow. You can clearly win with that, he's young, and you've built a team around him. Sometimes he's going to blow a game with 4 picks. It happens.
BBV: Which Giants player scares you the most? It can be on offensive or defensive player.
HH: Osi Umenyiora scares the shit out of me. When I see him, I see Mark Brunell taking snaps under center. Poor Todd Collins will have his hands full with Osi.