Wondering about a player's status? Trying to recall a past game? Want some insight on the Redskins? Redskins.com's Gary Fitzgerald opens up the mailbag on Tuesday and answers fan questions.
Question: How come the team is so confident in two kickers--Graham Gano and Justin Medlock--that are so inexperienced? Is there any possibility that the team signs a veteran All-Pro caliber kicker, such as Shayne Graham?
-- Jason A.
Gary: Good question. I have to admit I'm a little surprised that team officials did not pursue veteran free agents Jay Feely, Mike Nugent and Neil Rackers this offseason. (Feely landed in Arizona, Nugent signed with Cincinnati and Rackers joined Houston.) Graham remains available in free agency, although he is rumored to be close to signing with Baltimore. Even though Graham had two missed field goals in the playoffs last year for the Bengals, he has made 85.2 percent of his field goal attempts and earned a 2005 Pro Bowl berth.
Head coach Mike Shanahan said he expects to go into training camp with first-year kickers Gano and Medlock competing for the job. Gano connected on all four field goal attempts and 6-of-7 PATs in a late-season stint with the Redskins last year. Medlock has never kicked in an NFL game. If Gano and Medlock both struggle in preseason, don't be surprised if Shanahan considers other options. For years in Denver, Shanahan relied on Jason Elam, a three-time Pro Bowler, so he knows the value of a reliable kicker.
Question: Hey Gary, do you think Anderson Russell will make the team? If so, could you see him playing any this season? He's a four-year starter at Ohio State and has good size and experience.
-- Lamar H.
Gary: Russell, like all of the rookies, is in learning mode. At 6-0 and 205 pounds, he can play either free or strong safety--versatility is something that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett values. Once Russell gets up to speed, especially on special teams, he could compete to be a fourth or fifth safety or maybe earn a practice squad spot. Russell was regarded as a team leader at Ohio State, an attribute also in his favor. He went undrafted after posting 194 career tackles, three sacks, six interceptions and four forced fumbles for the Buckeyes.
Question: We have added a load of D-linemen this offseason--linebackers, too. How many of each do you expect us to carry with the hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense that we'll be using?
-- Brian J.
Gary: It depends on the versatility of the collection of defensive linemen and the linebackers. Andre Carter, Brian Orakpo, Lorenzo Alexander and Chris Wilson have now played both positions, so they can alternate depending on the alignment coaches want to deploy. Most 3-4 teams carry five or six defensive lineman and nine linebackers, and I would expect the Redskins to follow suit.
Question: Hi Gary, love the question/answer articles you produce. When is the Sean Taylor trial starting? I have been eagerly anticipating the trial, but not only has it been postponed on a couple of occasions, now I can't find any information at all.
-- Dave A.
Gary: Like you, I have read that the Taylor trial has been postponed numerous times. Sorry I can't be more specific. Here at Redskins.com, we choose to focus on Taylor's legacy as a football player and a father. We won't be covering the trial.