I did a Q&Q session with Kevin from Hogs Haven and here are my questions and his answers below:
1. How has Donovan McNabb "meshed" with his new teammates and specifically his receivers?
"Mesh" can be taken many ways. It's very clear McNabb is the leader of this team. Cooley, Santana Moss, the OL...all rave at his expertise and it's easy to tell it's genuine unlike last year with Campbell. Like with any new system, there is still a ways to go. Everyone is still learning the playbook and there are some problems at WR. Santana Moss is the only guaranteed roster spot at this point, and guys like Devin Thomas, Joey Galloway, Bobby Wade, Roydell Williams, and Anthony Armstrong are all vying for the number 2. It's hard to get consistency down when you don't know yet who your main guys are.
2. Which running back will end up the feature back and get the bulk of the carries?
Kyle Shanahan already said Portis won the job. Larry Johnson has pretty much locked up the #2 spot, which leaves Willie Parker and Ryan Torain duking it out for the #3 spot. Mike Shanahan rotates RBs in pre-season games, so since Portis played last week, Ravens fans will see a lot of LJ.
3. Will Albert Haynesworth settle in and will he return to the beast he was in Tennessee?
Haynesworth is an albatross. He sat out practices on Monday and Tuesday because of heat exhaustion. Give me a break. How do you get dehydrated before you even take the field? He played hard and well for the 10 snaps or so he saw in the Bills game last week. What do you do when a guy that plays at 60% is still better than 80% of the league? It's a tough call. Everyone is still behind him and wants him on this team, he's just lazy.
4. Do you notice a difference in the "urgency" of practice due to the addition of Mike Shanahan?
Absolutely. After several false starts in a row at practice the other day, Shanahan called a team huddle and reamed them for five minutes on concentration. It's one thing to prepare players on technique and knowledge, but there has to be a level of intensity as well. Shanahan's resume and expertise brings that. Several players post-practice said it's easy for players to drift off with camp almost over and it was needed for Shanahan to bring them right back in. Zorn never would have done that.
5. What veteran player will have a breakout season in 2010 for the Redskins?
Does Cooley count? He missed most of last season and will be a big target for McNabb...who loves throwing to TEs. I really think Larry Johnson will have a big year. It's been a big thing among the beat writers to draft Larry in fantasy leagues because he is practicing extremely hard, has looked good every day in camp, and is playing with a chip on his shoulder.
6. Who is the one player most don't know about but will by the end of the 2010 season? If Fred Davis didn't come up on your radar last year, he certainly will this year. No one has been able to cover Davis since he filled in at TE for Cooley last year. With the Redskins WR woes, Shanahan will create mismatches using 2 TE sets. Fred looks like a men among boys. Brandon Banks is another name. He's an undrafted rookie from Kansas State that runs a 4.24 '40. He took a punt to the house last week. His only knock is his size...5'7 150.
7. Which Redskin, other than McNabb will be the best fantasy football player to have on our team?
Cooley. Santana Moss. McNabb spreads the ball and consistently put up big numbers with terrible WRs (Pinkston, FredEx, etc).
(Click on the 'Jump' to see my answers to his questions about the upcoming game.)
1.) Devin Thomas will see a lot of snaps with the 1st team offense as the #2 WR...who will he be facing in the first half? At the Ravens Training Camp Thursday, the #2 corner was journeyman Travis Fisher. However, it looks like Chris Carr should be back and might suit up and therefore, he'll go up against Thomas. Fabian Washington looks to be our #1 CB right now, but he could move all over the field and might match up w/ Thomas as well. The Ravens have been bitten by the injury-bug lately, so no one will really know until gametime.
2.) Trent Williams will be playing most of the first half, who will he likely be seeing in 1-1 coverages and blitzes? Looks like it could be a mix of Terrell Suggs, Cory Redding and on passing downs, either Paul Kruger or Antwan Barnes. Suggs should be our best pass rusher, but Redding was given the Franchise Tag just a few ears ago by the Lions. Kruger has put on weight and has looked solid in camp and Barnes is more of a pass rushing specialist.
3.) How will the Ravens defense be this year with so many top CBs out and Ed Reed still a ways out? Has BAL hit the panic button yet? Is this the decade the Ravens O has to carry the team? I've been saying for a while that if the Ravens have a decent pass rush, I couldn't care less who the DB's are back there. However, the opposite is also true in that if we don't put pressure on the QB, it wouldn't matter if we had Darrelle Revis or Namdi Asomugoah (spelling?) at corner! Overall, with the front seven we still have, we might not be top one or two, but I'd be surprised if we're not top five or so once again. Anytime we have Ray Lewis out there, we will be just fine.
4.) Who will be the fantasy studs and duds on the Ravens? Does Heap have anything left? Ray Rice should be a top five fantasy pick and while our wideouts are solid, the balls mght end up being spread around so much that no single receiver ends up a fantasy stud. QB Joe Flacco should make a lt of plays and while not a stud (yet), he would be a solid 2nd QB on your fantasy roster. Always consider the Ravens defense as a top fanasy defense. Duds? Todd Heap is healthy and playing well but with the two new TE draft picks, Heap's time might be limited and therefore not so favorable. Also, for a guy only having just over 100 carries last year Willis McGahee still finished in the top five in TD's scored although it might be hard to replicate that in 2010.
5.) We had this discussion on our site earlier this week, what are your thoughts on a Ravens vs Skins rivalry? Do you think there is one and would be your standing if the NFL wanted to pit us against each every year (like MLB does)? Might work out well as us Ravens fans certainly have no love for our DC NFL neighbors. As long as the 'skins keep playing from the basement of the NFC East, I'd be glad to have my Ravens help your 'Skins get a higher draft pick every year (oh, zing!).
Last question: How is the CB situation and how is Doug Dutch faring? Corner is definitely a weak link right now but as I said earlier, if the Ravens can muster up a solid pass rush, who the corners are will be irrelevant as the QB's will have to get rid of the ball quickly and if no pass rush, any decent QB will pick us apart regardless of whom the DB's are. Doug Dutch is learning the system and apparently the Ravens were looking at him oming out of college so they jumped at the chance to get him for a backup QB that was expendable. He is far behind on the depth chart but then again, with our injuries, who knows who will step up next? Peace!