Washington Redskins Week 10 Mailbag: Jim Zorn, Ladell Betts, and the 2010 Draft

Brad VippermanCorrespondent INovember 11, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Jim Zorn of Washington Redskins watches on before the start of their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 11, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

So after the Redskins' most recent loss this Sunday, I was trying to decide what needed to be said. Quite frankly, I'm just happy I survived the first half of the game against the Falcons.

Sitting alone at a local bar watching our offense sputter along, I think I even had my waitress feeling sorry for me.

During the game I received a fair number of text messages from my friends. Some asked me how I felt, some asked me if Ladell Betts was worth picking up in fantasy football, and some just rubbed in the fact that my team scores less than Beavis and Butthead.

Later that night I asked all my friends, who are football fans, including a few Redskin fans, to email me questions they deemed pertinent about the current status of the Washington Redskins. Leaving out last names, for obvious reasons, this is what I wound up with.


Why does Jim Zorn always look so confused on the sideline? Do you think it's because he still can't believe he's an NFL head coach?—Adam, Phoenix

I got a few emails that all basically asked this question. At this point I don't really think there is a good answer. Zorn is so completely lost right now that he is unable to mask his sideline confusion.

There is no greater sitting duck in the league, and he is in the unique situation of guiding a sinking ship while auditioning for another job. The thing is, as an offensive mind, he's not even able to do that now that his playcalling duties have been taken away from him. 

To me, Zorn has the same look on his face that a guy gets when he knows his girl is going to dump him: that paralyzing fear mixed with misguided and almost satirical optimism.

Oh the Jim Zorn Era...I will not remember you fondly.


Why is everyone so down on Jason Campbell? He put up a heroic performance today behind arguably the league's worst offensive line. Does nobody understand how hard it is to play quarterback when you have no pass-protection?—Matt, Maryland

I don't know the answer to this question. I think Campbell has proved time and again that he is a decent NFL quarterback and certainly one capable of leading a team to the playoffs.

The problem is he has no offensive line, no real threat of a running game, and no reliable weapons to throw to (especially now that Chris Cooley is out and Santana Moss is getting double-teamed and has no time to get open downfield). 

Our young receivers haven't progressed like we would have hoped, and Clinton Portis is just mailing this season in, even before the concussion. You switch Campbell with Matt Ryan or even David Garrard right now, and we are still 2-6. Campbell isn't the problem.


Do you think Ladell Betts is a viable fantasy option from here on out?—Brian, Tucson

I actually think Betts is a better option right now than Portis is. This makes me incredibly sad because I have Portis on my fantasy team.

This also isn't just because of the obvious reason that Portis is hurt. Watching CP play recently, it just seems like he's given up. Aside from the fact that he has about as much elusiveness as Zydrunas Ilgauskas, it just seems like Portis has lost his heart. When Betts plays, he still runs like he wants to get first downs and actually move the ball.

Don't get me wrong—I love Portis for what he's done in Washington, but he's fading fast as a running back. Getting a younger, and faster, replacement should definitely be on the Redskins' offseason checklist.

Even when Portis returns, I think that Betts will remain somewhat viable. He's been playing on third downs the entire season, and I think the production that he has shown recently will earn him more playing time from here on out. Portis should regain the No. 1 job once healthy, but I expect Betts' workload to increase.


Would you ask Fred Smoot if I can wear his No. 27 jersey? I'm really looking forward to playing in Washington!—Larry Johnson, Kansas City

You stay away! We don't need Shaun Alexander 2.0!


At this point it's a virtual lock that the 'Skins are going to have a top-10 pick. Who do you think we'll take in the first round?—Luke, Virginia

I've been saying for months now that we need offensive line help in the worst way. The best offensive line prospect right now is Oklahoma State's Russell Okung. Unfortunately, I think that he'll probably be off the board by the time the Redskins pick.

Also, let's be serious...we're taking a quarterback.

Unless by some freak chance we re-sign Jason Campbell, probably to a one-year deal, we're going to take a signal caller in the first round. If I had to take a guess right now, I would say that that quarterback will be Sam Bradford. I love Jake Locker, and there's no denying Jimmy Clausen's talent, but I think Bradford will be the guy.

He's got prototypical size and all the talent to make it at the NFL level. He would have been the No. 1 overall pick had he come out last year, and as long as Dr. James Andrews (the Redskins' team doctor) gives his shoulder a vote of confidence, we could really be getting a steal in him.

He's a good leader, and maybe, just maybe, he can reconnect with Malcolm Kelly and turn him back into the productive receiver he was when they were teammates at Oklahoma.

This pick will probably change dozens of times between now and April, but as of now, this would be my guess.


Thanks to all my friends for their questions, and if any of you would like to send me a question for a future mailbag, please feel free to do so.

Until next time, let's keep our heads up and an eye towards the future. These tough times will only make the good ones feel that much better.