This week we’re chatting with Rich Tandler from Real Redskins, which is a pretty impressive blog, content wise. Tandler has even written a book on the team, The Redskins Chronicle which appears to be a real labor of love. He includes in the book original accounts of all 1,040 games the Redskins played from when they arrived in D. C. in 1937 through the 2008 season, plus box scores.

Quick trivia question….where did the Redskins play before they moved to Washington in 1937? (answer below)

What’s been the biggest surprise of Redskins camp thus far?

It came in the last preseason game—the emergence of Chase Daniel as a threat to make the squad as the #3 quarterback. That’s not an insignificant role since both Jason Campbell and Todd Collins are in the final years of their contracts. It wasn’t so much that he came in and threw two TD’s against the Steelers, third team vs. third team, but the smooth performance and polished fundamentals he displayed in doing so. The Pats won’t see him on Friday night; they’ll see Colt Brennan, the incumbent #3 who will be fighting to hang on. Brennan is a gunslinger but what looked daring and natural last year looks sloppy this year.

What impact do you see Albert Haynesworth having on the team this year? Is he going to be worth the money?

While nobody can be worth that much money—actually, it’s more like $46 million over 3 years but who’s counting—Haynesworth could come close. On paper, he should draw enough attention in the middle to make rushing lanes for Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo straight lines to the quarterback. The added pressure on the QB should force more turnovers. The sacks and takeaways should turn the defense from a nice, bend-but-don’t-break-except-when-it-really-counts unit into a truly dominant defense. That’s how it’s drawn up on the board, we’ll see how it looks on grass. So far, there is no sign that Haynesworth is slacking off after his big payday. He’s in great shape, he has participated in everything and has proven to be a great teammate. So far, so good, but we’re not very far along. Ask me again in November.

What can Patriots fans expect from Shawn Springs? Does he have anything left?

If Springs stays on the field you have a smart, athletic cornerback and a great guy to have in the locker room. Actually, his reputation for being fragile has been somewhat overstated. He had problems with a sports hernia in 2006 and a calf injury that had him in and out of the lineup last year. Other than that he’s been reasonably durable.

Got any spare linebackers sitting around? We might be looking for some.

Although the Redskins are a 4-3 team they are installing a couple of 3-4 style hybrid strong side linebackers. First-round draft pick Brian Orakpo and holdover Chris Wilson are in a two-point stance on running downs and in a pass rushing position on third. Even given that, the LB position is pretty tight. What, Junior Seau of the AARP isn’t good enough?

How secure is Jim Zorn’s job? Do you see Daniel Snyder making a call to Mike Shanahan next offseason, even if Zorn does well?

I think that Zorn’s job security is better than most believe it is. Snyder stuck his neck way, way out when hired Zorn in a stunning ending to the Neverending Story that was the coaching search of 2008. If Zorn is at or near .500 after two years on the job I think that Snyder will look like a fool if he cans him. Everyone will say, rightly so, that he needed to give Zorn more time to prove himself. Bottom line, if Zorn goes 8-8 he’s safe. At 7-9 or even 6-10 he might be OK if it’s obvious that he still has the team. If they’re 5-11 or worse, Snyder’s on the horn to Shanny (and/or Cowher and/or Gruden).

Thanks, Rich!

Here’s the Q&A we did for Rich’s site: Behind Enemy Lines: The Patriots


Trivia answer: The franchise now known as the Washington Redskins was founded as the Boston Braves in 1932. The next year they became the Boston Redskins and played in Boston through the 1936 season. Yes, the NFL existed in Boston before the Patriots!

Actually the Redskins weren’t the first or only attempt to bring pro football to Boston. The famous Pottsville Maroons, moved to Boston in 1928 and became the Boston Bulldogs, but disbanded after that one season. Then, after the Redskins left, the expansion Boston Yanks were formed in 1944, played a few seasons and then moved to New York in 1949 and became the New York Bulldogs, but were disbanded the following year.

For more on the story of the Pottsville Maroons, you’d want to check out this book: Breaker Boys: The NFL’s Greatest Team and the Stolen 1925 Championship