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Because What The Team Really Needs Is A Quarterback Controversy

Posted by Matt Terl on February 5, 2009 – 2:20 pm

Over at the National Football Post, Michael Lombardi has a go at projecting the top free agent quarterbacks for this offseason. The list itself is pretty much what you’d expect, and not particularly interesting: Matt Cassel, Kurt Warner, Kerry Collins, and so on. (Jeff Garcia has to be appalled to find himself ranked behind Luke McCown and good ol’ Patrick Ramsey, incidentally.)

But buried in the paragraph on Pittsburgh backup Byron Leftwich — ranked number five on Lombardi’s list — is this little tidbit.

Byron Leftwich, Pittsburgh, 28; 6-5, 245; 5.03; 2003; 1st round (7th overall); Thomas Condon – He wants to go to Washington and compete for a starting position with his hometown Redskins. Not sure that will happen since the ‘Skins have indicated they will not be active in the free-agent market. Leftwich has a dominating presence in the locker room and might be a perfect fit for the new offense Scott Linehan is designing in Detroit. Leftwich has some Dante Culpepper-like qualities in his play, and when his weight was down, he was more athletic and had better foot movement.

There are a few reasons to take this with a grain of salt. First (and most basically), because if the team does decide to be active in the free agent market, I can’t imagine it would be in the quarterback department. But also because of the specific phrasing Lombardi uses here: “He wants to go to Washington and compete for a starting position….” I want the cabinet over my head to open up and start spitting out wads of cash, but that doesn’t mean it’s particularly likely to happen. Read more »

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Thursday, February 5: The New Tight Ends Coach Does NOT Balance Rocks

Posted by Matt Terl on February 5, 2009 – 11:04 am

When the team announced the hiring of Liberty University offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Scott Wachenheim as the new tight ends coach, I immediately Googled his name to see what would come up. I knew he was an old acquaintance of Coach Jim Zorn’s, so — given Zorn’s wide-ranging collection of hobbies — the possibilities seemed pretty much limitless.

And when I came across a Scott Wachenheim who considered himself a learner in the somewhat bizarre-sounding field of rock balancing, it seemed pretty much a done deal that this was the new tight ends coach. Sure, the rock-balancing picture didn’t look much like his headshot at Liberty, but I was too blinded by the vision of a 2009 full of fascinating press conferences to care.

When I got a chance to speak to Wachenheim, those specific hopes were dashed. “It’s not me,” he said. “That’s some other guy. I don’t know him, I’ve never met him, and I don’t even think we’re related.”

This was something of a disappointment to me, but the rest of what he had to say made him sound like a promising NFL assistant coach (which, if I’m being honest, is probably not a field in which rock balancing or strange hobbies play much of a role).

What was appealing about coming to the Redskins?

“First of all, NFL football is football at its highest level, and if you are a competitor you always want to compete at the highest level against the very best coaches. So, to me that is the most appealing aspect: having the opportunity to test my abilities against the very best in the business.

“I’m also very intrigued and excited about working with Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, as well as Jim Zorn, whom I’ve known for 15 years.”

I know you worked with him at Utah State. Did you know him before then?

“I met Coach Zorn at Utah State.”

Coach Zorn has quickly developed a relationship here as an interesting guy. Do you share any of his hobbies? Read more »

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