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First Cuts: NFL Rules of Thumb, D.J. Hackett, and Todd Yoder

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Among other notable NFL adages, like "Wide receivers take roughly three seasons to develop," is the one that goes, "Defenses are always ahead of offenses in August and September." The scrimmage this past weekend was a glaring testament to this. With roughly half of the probable first day starters absent from the offense on Saturday, Jason Campbell worked against the second defense mostly. And though they moved the ball, they struggled to put it in the end zone. In fact, if you watched the post-scrimmage interview of Jason Campbell, it sounded strikingly similar to ones we saw last year during the season. I could swear I have heard lines like this before from JC:

"We were able to move the ball well."

"We should have gotten into the end zone but we will go back and watch the film and make the corrections."

"We have to do better in the red zone."

When you have a dominant defense like we do, is it fair to worry that your offense is going to spend August spinning its wheels? I think in reality the #1 offense and the #1 defense spend a lot of time apart in practice, but when they do square off, don't you get the sense that all of the positive energy generated by making plays is getting sucked up by our defense?

I think when you watch the first few weeks of the regular season, you can see where defenses are taking advantage of offenses that have yet to find their rhythm. Our offense spent an entire year trying to find a rhythm in 2008. If we go longer than September before we find our groove offensively, you will not be hearing about how it takes a few games to get on the same page offensively. You will be hearing about Mike Shanahan's whereabouts and Colt Brennan's readiness.

I also took note of D.J. Hackett's post-scrimmage interview. You have to hand it to guys like him. They are here long enough to get fitted for equipment and they are talking like they have been here for a decade. Nothing really newsworthy there, but I always find it funny when you hear a guy like that talk after practice or a scrimmage talking about how "we have a big year ahead of us", and how "we need to do a couple of things better and we will be a force." It is genius really...like they can interview themselves into our future. If D.J. Hackett can earn a spot on this roster, more power to him. But can we please get some more great interviews with Malcolm Kelly, Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, and even Marko Mitchell? If they are not careful, they will not have the post-game interview quotes to make this team.

Finally, is Todd Yoder going to make this team? I feel like he is that tight end that you have to have that can get out there and do the dirty work, while mixing in 3 or 4 huge touchdowns during the course of the season. Yoder has officially secured a spot in my heart usually reserved for guys like Terry Orr/Ron Middleton/James Jenkins. I loved those guys. And just when I worried if you could get Cooley, Davis, and Yoder on the same team on the same day, I am comforted by the notion that Orr, Middleton and Jenkins were all on the same Redskins team. Oh, and that team won Super Bowl XXVI (with another tight end you may remember--Don Warren.)