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WP: Wilbon Chat (9-20-04)


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washingtonpost.com: Wilbon is joining us momentarily to answer your questions about this weekend's game and all things sports.


Michael Wilbon: Hey Gang: Sorry I couldn't be here at 1 p.m. but my train in from New York was a tad late, so here we are. We'll do mostly NFL and Ryder Cup...But what a great weekend to watch sports on TV. One of the great weekends in the last four or five years...


Salisbury, Md.: Week Two of the NFL season and the NFC East is a mess. The Giants are kicking against Coughlin, Parcells is wishing his players were as good as he is and has been public about it, and the Redskins have a GLARING QB situation. How does Gibbs resolve the Offensive situation in Washington without being the crotchity fellow that Parcells and Coughlin have so far turned out to be? P.S- I almost pulled out the paper bag this weekend watching the Skins Giants game.

Michael Wilbon: Well, it seems to be a mess more than the others TO YOU because you're a fan of a team in the NFC East. If you're paying attention to the NFC North, you can't figure out how the Packers lost to the Bears, or how Detroit is 2-0 and how Minnesota is favored (by some) to win the division...and if you're a fan of the AFC West, you're scrathing your head over the Chiefs...and if it's the NFC South, you're looking at Tampa being 0-2 and the Atlanta Vicks being 2-0...Every division has its subplots...The NFC East gets the early pub because of Gibbs and Parcells and Coughlin are in the division...


Washington, D.C.: I don't know what the hell you were watching. I almost always enjoy your columns but get off this kid's back. The first interception happened because Dockery moved to quickly on a Portis TD that was called back and then Gardner dropped the next pass that was surely A TD if caught cleanly. The second interception was Coles not finishing his route. The third was all Ramsey because he should have thrown it away. True the stats will say Ramsey 3 Int's but if you watch the game you will see that there were many mistakes made by the entire team and not just the Backup QB. Im glad they lost, because had they been given a gift this week who knows what could happen in the Dallas game. Truth be told the 'Skins have a long way to go to being a good team.

Michael Wilbon: If you want to be a Ramsey apologist, go right ahead. I've defending him a half-dozen times over the past three years. I don't know what you were watching. And in my case, I've got the benefit of watching and talking later about it, who I'm betting the ranch knows a helluva lot more than you and me put together.

Ramsey stunk.

He doesn't see the field, and every coach and scout who has seen him on film knows it and says it. So, you'll have to excuse me taking the word of coaches and professional scouts of 20 years and more...over yours kisses and hugs for Ramsey. He's got to get better, or he'll be No. 3 with an anvil really soon.


Lorton, Va.: Any hope for our QBs? Pick One...Can play improve enough for Dallas?

Michael Wilbon: By "our" I'm guessing you mean the Redskins...You'd better hope that Brunell gets better in a real hurry. I don't know if I'm ready to try the No. 3, Hasselbeck, quite yet. But I'd sure as hell have him active.

Across the room, Tony is screaming, "I want Hasselbeck. I want him right now!"


Detroit, Mich.: Detroit, 2-0, this happened a few years ago as well and we finished 8-8 (or was it 9-7, can't remember). Do you think the Lions have any chance this year to do better than last year's 5-11? They will be playing some tough teams, but considering last year many of the games they lost were only by a touchdown or a field goal, perhaps lady luck is finally on the lion's side this year and we get at least a .500 season?

Michael Wilbon: Good question (and happily, not about the Redskins)...I think the Lions will be better this year. Mariucci was a damn good coach, though underappreciated, in San Francisco all those years. In fact, the sorry, no-account 49ers (I never thought I'd write that sentence) are finding that out the hard way now...Ted Cotrell is the new defensive coordinator and he's good. They've been adding top draft picks for five years. Harrington seems to, in his third season, understand what the objective is...I like what the Lions have going on. If you look back in my season preview I picked them to go 9-7. I don't WANT that to happen, as a Bears fan...but I think it will happen.


Arlington, VA: The Redskins defense has been awfully good the first couple of games, but we're missing the big play. What's the real reason Sean Taylor isn't starting at safety and getting significant snaps during the game? Even if his ego is outsized in relation to his experience, he has proven in the preseason that he can make game changing plays. Comment on Ramsey is that he's trying to hard--pressing when he should be more conservative and throw the ball away.

Michael Wilbon: Good question on Sean Taylor. I'm told he, like most rookies, isn't ready for some situations. Because the D-Line of the Redskins hasn't been able to mount much of an unassisted pass rush, Gregg Williams feels he has to blitz. And he's not prepared to have a rookie safety out there on an island with veteran receivers (Joey Galloway in Week 1, Amani Toomer and Shockey in Week 2). It's too risky. And the secondary of the Redskins, with the exceptino of one that one after-turnover touchdown yeserday, has played well. Secondaries don't pitch shutouts. If you told any coach in the league his secondary would give up one touchdown in two weeks, he'd take it.

Taylor, remember, got burned by Galloway (who dropped the ball) the second he was left one-on-one in a blitz situation...The rook, it appears, needs to sit and watch sometimes, and play when it appears wise to put him in.

As for Ranmey, the quarterbacks I've talked to think he doesn't see the field. And a defensive player I talked to on the Giants--and I won't mention his name--told me Ramsey holds the ball way too long and isn't good if the deep receivers aren't open...


Annapolis, MD: Kyle Boller had an effective game with the Ravens, but potentially lost Todd Heap and the defense may have lost Deion. Any thoughts on replacements for these two and can Boller be consistent without his best target?

Michael Wilbon: Obviously, losing Heap would be a more severe loss than losing Deion (I love Deion, but Heap is their best receiver). Looks like Heap will miss a game or two with this ankle sprain. I don't know Baltimore's depth chart, but I know you don't just replace that kid...Deion, I'm betting, will be okay, if not this week than the next. At least I hope he is.


Louisville, Ky: Please tell me; why not start Hasselbeck, what do we (Redskins Fans) have to lose?

Michael Wilbon: By the end of the week, you may have convinced me that's the way to go...Usually, I'm not a believer in radical early-season change...And it's sure early...


Philadelphia, PA: Mike,

What did you think of the Skins Defense yesterday? They seemed much less aggressive, but overall, they stopped the run pretty well and only got burned on one big play (the Warner-Carter TD).

How good can this unit get? I get the feeling that we're going to need them to make plays and win some games throughout the season. And what's your take on Sean Taylor so far?

Michael Wilbon: The defense allowed no touchdowns in Week 1, and one touchdown yesterday. How much more do you want from a defense? Tampa's only touchdown and the Giants other touchdown came when the defense wasn't even on the field. So the defense allowed 3 points in Week 1 and 10 points in Week 2...that's 13 points total or an average of 6 1/2 points a game...That's not good enough for you? I think the defense has been great so far. And if the quarterbacks hadn't committed 5 turnovers, maybe the defensive players wouldn't have been out there so long and might have made some game-turning changes?


From Warren Brown: My beloved Brother Michael Wilbon:

The trouble with some of you Chicago people is that you were educated by Jesuits. The Jesuits are Wall Street clerics.

We New Orleans types were trained by Josephites, you know, like the carpenter dude. We regard service as an honor, not a chore.

And if that service requires me to drive Jaguars, I will drive them. If it demands that I go to Germany to examine Porsches, I will go there. If it dictates that I spend an eternity in Maybachs, I will do it. It is my duty, just as it is mine to, whenever possible, drive those little ordinary cars that Jesuit students, now in their high-earning prime, wouldn't touch.

Of course, Brother Michael, you're not a servant. You were trained by Jesuits, weren't you? Or, is that you're just a recalcitrant from "People Like Us"?

Michael Wilbon: Warren: Only you could produce these sentences and get into the Chat House with them? Welcome, Brother Warren. I've got a few service jokes, but I like my job so I won't go there...And whhat chariot is next for you? What are you recommending. (God, that Maybach is great, isn't it?)


Waldorf, MD: Any thoughts on the NHL labor issue? Who do you think is right, players or owners? Will there be a season, playoffs?

Michael Wilbon: I don't know who's right or wrong...I only know that if this league goes away for an entire season, it might just go away period. How many people, in America anyway, care? Where's the outcry outside of Detroit and St. Louis? It's sad really. I grew up watching and playing hockey. It's not my favorite sport, but I love to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs and Olympic hockey...I can't believe the two sides are so stupid...To be honest, I can't believe the players don't see that they're a few months away from having to play (perhaps forever) in Europe...It'll be worth it to the fans, however, if the NHL comes back with 18 teams with none south of...well...Washington.


McLean, VA: Obligatory DC baseball question...

With the 11.5 hour meeting that sounded like it was pounding out final details, can we start chilling the champagne, or are you still not going to believe it until you're in RFK on opening day?

Michael Wilbon: I'm a huge skeptic about baseball coming to D.C. I'm one of those wake-me-when-they-arrive people...But a 11-hour meeting does make you think they're crossing Ts and dotting Is...But I still don't trust baseball. Why would I? And who's going to pay Angelos $200 million. Mike


Washington, D.C.: Cringe-worthy moment last night at National Airport.

At the baggage claim, there were lots of Native American folks coming into town for the new museum opening on the mall tomorrow. All sorts of different jackets identifying their tribes, the various parts of the country where they came from. Mixed in the crowd, though were plenty of local Redskins fans, wearing their hats and jerseys.

How bad does this team need a new icon? I'm not a PC zealot, but still.

washingtonpost.com: Redskins Can Keep Trademark, Judge Rules (Post, Oct. 2, 2003)

Michael Wilbon: This is one of the really serious questions locally, and involving the Redskins. And it's too complicated to get into here without spending 20 minutes. I've done reporting and written columns on this issue for 20 years and it's complex. For the record: I hate the logos, all of them, that use Native American faces in any way that offends Native Americans or others...I hate the caricatures the Cleveland Indians and other teams have used on their uniforms...and unlike "Braves" or "Chiefs" or "Warriors" which I've had many Native Americans tell me they find not the least offensive, the name "Redskins" cannot be defended by anybody who isn't putting forth a self-serving position. But it bothers me, the whole 360 degrees of it...Yet, it's not like Daniel Snyder is going to change the name...ever...


Arlington, VA: WNBA, Mystics

Is Holdsclaw done as a Mystic? Surreal situation this season. Michael Adams seems to be doing a great job in his first season as coach.

Michael Wilbon: Great question. I'd cut her rather than bring her back. II'm not sure anybody will want to trade for her...Well, New York is her hometown. But I'd try first to trade her, but otherwise show her the door. And Michael Adams, as those of us who have known him expected from the start, has done a great job.


Washington, DC: If you don't mind a non-Redskins question, what's up with the Chiefs? The lack of improvement in the defense was predictable, if disappointing, given the lack of new talent (although I was sure the rehiring of Gunther Cunningham would have some effect), but the offense has been pretty putrid too. Is the lack of a decent wide receiver finally catching up to them?

Michael Wilbon: The point you make about a field-stretching receiver is valid...Also I'm just not ready to give up on the Chiefs winning the division. 0-2 is not irreversible anymore. I think Kansas City opened with two tough situations, at Denver and against a desperate Carolina team with big-hitters on defense...Let's see.


Vienna., vA: HEY Michael,

My question pertains to the 49'ers. Who do you think should be there starting quarterback. I'm a big Ken

Dorsey fan ever since he left the best University in the States. The BIG U. And to tell you the truth I dont know a lick about Tim Rattay. And Im a big 49'ers fan.

Michael Wilbon: If you're a 49ers fan, it means you're in trouble. They stink. They got rid of a potential Hall of Fame receiver in T.O. a multiple-time pro bowler in quarterback Jeff Garcia, and a very good coach in Mooch. The 49ers problem is the people calling the shots...I wouldn't have hired Erickson to coach that franchise under any condition...The problems in S.F. are much, much bigger than Rattay vs. Dorsey, neither of whom I think are big-time quarterbacks.


Michael Wilbon: Alright, as much as I'm enjoying this, I've got to start preparation for PTI...Maybe I'll find a way to answer more of these and have my colleagues at Washingtonpost.com post them later tonight or tomorrow. At any rate, we should have some kind of poll regarding next week, whether you want a Chat House on Monday before the Cowboys game, or Tuesday after the game...Thanks much. Mike


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