Answer Man XI

<B>Reporter:</B> Yo, Answer Man. <BR><B>Answer Man: </B>Yo? <BR><B>Reporter:</B> Come on, Answer Man, why do you always give me a hard time?

AM: Yo?
Reporter: Anyway, I have another Plaxico Burress question for you.
AM: Why stop now? I learned a long time ago you reporters can't just appreciate what's going on, that you always have to look for negatives. But go ahead.
Reporter: I just need to get to the heart of whether you guys are going to keep him. More specifically, do you want to keep him and can you afford to keep him?
AM: I think it's obvious we'd like to keep him. The second question will be more difficult to answer, but let me ask you this: How much do you think it'll take to keep him?
Reporter: What do the so-called field-stretchers make these days?
AM: Laveranues Coles cost the Redskins $13 million and Peerless Price cost the Falcons $10 million.
Reporter: Well, Coles was coming off an 89-catch season for 1,264 yards and 5 touchdowns; Price had 94 catches for 1,252 yards and 9 touchdowns.
AM: So, what do you suppose Burress would cost?
Reporter: His stats aren't that eye-popping, but he's coming from a run-oriented team, and the argument can be made that he helped keep the safeties deep. So I would raise those stats, account for inflation, and give him what Price got.
AM: So you'd pay him more than Ben Roethlisberger?
Reporter: Uh, no. But that $9 million was for Ben's first contract.
AM: It doesn't matter. I do not see this team giving a wide receiver more than the record bonus they just gave to their franchise quarterback. Argue all you want, but this team, or I should say these negotiators, work in a very fundamental fashion.
Reporter: So make it $8 million.
AM: Sure, as long as the other teams oblige. Look at what they paid for Coles and Price.
Reporter: But those guys haven't lived up to their bonus money.
AM: Congratulations! You've gotten to the heart of the matter! Each week you come to me and end up answering your own questions. Now, what do you want to know about the Redskins?
Reporter: Let's start with their defense. It's highly ranked. Would you call it a smothering defense?
AM: Their defense is playing well. They've got some speed and they can match up with their corners. I think they're just playing well as a unit. You could say they're smothering.
Reporter: What do they do? Bring eight guys up?
AM: They do a lot of things. They blitz; they bring eight guys. They can do that because they have confidence in their corners. Both their safeties are playing well and they can be like extra linebackers but with the speed to cover. So they have versatility to do whatever they want to because they have confidence in their secondary.
Reporter: You guys were interested in Marcus Washington. How's he playing?
AM: He's playing well. He's talented. He's an all-around solid player. It's not hard to be right about a guy like that.
Reporter: To be honest, I'd never heard of the guy before last March.
AM: He may have been an unknown to you guys, but people who put the tape on knew he was very good.
Reporter: The other two linebackers, Antonio Pierce and Lemar Marshall, I've never heard of either of them.
AM: They're young guys with physical skills, and they're doing a serviceable job, but they're not LaVar Arrington or Michael Barrow, the guys they're replacing. As for their line, individually they're average at best, but they're playing well as a unit.
Reporter: What's the problem with their offense?
AM: They don't have an identity. They want to run; they don't want to run. They have Clinton Portis but the right side of their line is definitely beat up. The left side's pretty good. The center's average. They want to run, and start running, but they get behind and (Patrick) Ramsey is a streaky passer. He can get on some streaks and do some things or he can look real bad. Coles is a good wide receiver. (Rod) Gardner is pretty good but he's not that fast. They use a lot of three tight ends and H-back stuff that (Joe) Gibbs used to play back in the day, which will play right into our hands with our run defense. You can move everybody closer because no one's going to threaten you deep.
Reporter: Can't Coles beat you deep?
AM: Not if you can't get him the ball. Their line and the quarterback are problems.
Reporter: So how do you see this game?
AM: It's going to be a Turkey Bowl. Everybody will run the ball and both sides have strong defenses. It'll be a quick game, and a grind.

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