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Cowboys Vs. Redskins: A Conversation With Hogs Haven

Earlier today, I had a brief conversation over IM with Kevin Ewoldt who runs SB Nation's excellent Redskins blog, Hogs Haven. Below is the transcript.

Blogging The Boys:  What's your take on Mike Shanahan, is he the kind of coach you've been looking for for the Redskins?

Hogs Haven:  Absolutely. I wrote an extensive article about this for our Maple Street Press Annual. When Al Davis fired Mike Shanahan in Oakland, Shanahan said if he ever got a head coaching job again, it would be under his terms. He controls everything from the personnel and staff. When Pat Bowlen announced him as the coach, he said exactly that in his intro...that Shanahan has full control. As we all know, Snyder is a disaster when it comes to bringing in players, so there's no way Shanny would take this job without full control...the team is in good hands.

BTB:  I guess his handling of the Albert Haynesworth situation is a good example of that control. Were you happy to see the way he handled that?

HH:  The Haynesworth fiasco has been a disaster. Shanahan has done an admiral job of trying to keep it all in house, but he did say Haynesworth has gone too long without having to practice. It's a terrible mess to inherit, but yeah, I guess we're OK with how he's handling it. It's quite annoying that this is STILL dragging on, which is my only complaint in all this.

BTB:  What's going to be the final outcome, is Haynesworth going to remain a Redskins this year? And how much will he play?

HH:  I had predicted a month ago he'd never play a regular season snap again for the Redskins. They've been trying to trade him hard but we want a 2nd round pick and Titans are offering a 4th (supposedly). Haynesworth's game film from the last preseason game (he played all but like 6 snaps of 55) was ATROCIOUS. He was gassed, showed little effort accept on a fresh series, and he's a liability since he can't be trusted to secure his gaps (he's still learning the playbook from missing all the OTAs).

BTB: Switching gears...Give us an idea about Donovan McNabb and how he'll look in a Shanahan offense. What should we expect?

HH: That's a tough question because Shanahan has revealed almost none of his playbook in pre-season. Redskins players have been saying getting ready to be wow'd. After having watched Jim Zorn's offense, any play the Redskins run that is not a screen, run left, or fake FG will Wow me. Kidding aside, expect a lot of boot legs and different formations....Cooley will be lined up as WO, TE, HalfBack...same with Portis. They'll be looking for mismatches and I expect you'll see a lot of 2 TE sets....which means Fred Davis.

BTB:  What's your thoughts on the new 3-4 defense? Who do you see as 'stars' who will take advantage of the new scheme?

HH: I'm still skeptical. When the Ravens switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4, it made sense because they had an abundance of quality LBs. The Redskins have had a respectable defense the last several years, so why overhaul a good D? Especially when the personnel doesn't match? Andre Carter, an 11 sack DE, was moved to LB. He is not mobile guy that can cover, so that's a big liability. The changes were made essentially to force turnovers. The Redskins have always ranked near last in the league, and Haslett has focused on that. Orakpo will see triple the amount of rushes he saw last year, so he's the big winner in this. Laron Landry will also be on the line of scrimmage (where he should have been all along) fans are optimistic for those 2 reasons.

BTB: What's the Redskins best strategy in attacking Dallas on Sunday? What do they need to do to get the win?

HH: On offense, it's going to be stretching the field. Having Fred Davis and Chris Cooley lined out wider than usual. The farther Ware is off the line of scrimmage the better. This also facilitates the zone blocking. The Redskins will be looking for mismatches. On defense, they're going to be blitzing..a lot. Haslett is the opposite of Blache who liked to run the same Cover 2 every play...Haslett moves guys all around and every DLinemen will be rotated in. The left side of the Cowboys OLine has to be a focus point.

Thanks to Kevin for dropping some knowledge on us. My replies to his questions, here.

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