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McElroy: Chatting with Joe Theismann on the eve of a new season in Washington
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McElroy: Chatting with Joe Theismann on the eve of a new season in Washington

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Former Washington quarterback and NFL broadcaster Joe Theismann shares his thoughts on the upcoming Washington season, the addition of Ryan Fitzpatrick, and how this offense can help elevate the defense.

Question: Joe, it was a different era of the NFL, but what do you remember about that time when the preseason was done, the roster had been established, and you were just waiting for Week 1 to get underway?

Answer: It’s a sense of relief, to be honest with you. All of the preliminary work is over now. Now you get to really sink your teeth into getting ready for the Chargers.

I looked forward to really getting down to the nitty gritty and seeing really just how good we can be. A lot of the stuff you do in camp is individual work. You work against 7-on-7, but now, now you’re at the time where it really makes a difference.

Question: You call the games on television for the preseason. What do you think you’ve learned about Washington during the past 40 days during camp?

Answer: The question mark to me was the wide receiver position. How deep could we be there?

Three positions: offensive line, wide receiver and corner: Where are we going to be?

William Jackson hasn’t played much football. Kendall Fuller is sort of a “Jack of all trades” and does a terrific job playing inside and outside. [Benjamin] St. Juste I really, really liked the way he’s developed.

Those were the three areas that I looked at.

There’s a lot of newness everywhere in the National Football League and in particular on the Washington Football Team. But Ron [Rivera] specifically went out and looked for people who were versatile and also basically were good people, so there’s versatility and then he wanted to create competition.

Jaret Patterson probably would be the biggest surprise making the roster, but that was because of what he did in practice.

Question: Ryan Fitzpatrick has shown a lot in 16 years. But at times he can be Fitzpatrick, “Fitzmagic” and “Fitz-tragic”? How do you see Ryan adding to this offense?

Answer: The one I like is Ryan Fitzmagic. That’s the part we’re looking for. Fitz was playing really well in Miami last year. They had a very good defense as a supporting cast.

People have asked me what’s the most important thing a quarterback can possess? I can tell you flat out it’s a great defense, and I believe we’re going to be in that category this year.

Fitz has great anticipation. Nothing he will see will surprise him. They can blitz if they want, they can do anything they want, but he’s going to be able to recognize it. I think he brings a sense of calm during the game as well.

No matter what happens, you’re going to see the same Fitz. It looks like a straight line on an EKG. There’s not much up, not much down to it.

Question: With all the new additions to this offense, how do you envision this Washington offense being different?

Answer: I think the one thing that you’re going to see different this year will be the ball going down the field more. For the last four or five years, because of the quarterback situation and the constant turnover, I think Scott [Turner] was very limited last year. That’s why you saw J.D. McKissic catch so many balls. That’s why you saw Logan Thomas catch so many balls. That’s why you saw Terry McLaurin catch so many of those. Those were the three guys who were far and away — it was the meat of the passing game.

I don’t know exactly what Curtis Samuel’s situation is going to be, but you believe that Dyami Brown’s going to make a difference, Adam Humphries is [as well]. So all those catches that we saw go to three guys will be probably spread out over five or six.

This football team has to score points, Wes. That’s the only way that you’re going to keep the wolves at bay on this football team is scoring some points.

You have to remember Chase Young was defensive rookie of the year last year and only had 7½ sacks. Think of the impact that he had in other places that people thought he was good enough to be the rookie of the year on defense. If you get a lead, if you get a 14- to 17-point lead in the fourth quarter or a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter, how many sacks do you think this kid can generate, and Montez Sweat on the other side?

If Chase doesn’t hit double digits, it’s because the offense didn’t do its job.

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