At The Park Today: Talking To Peter King

A mildly alarming number of readers knew in advance that SI.com writer Peter King’s tour of NFL training camps was stopping at Redskins Park today, and a few of them wrote me with questions for him. I interrupted King in the media room and asked him for a few minutes of his time, but he was running down info on the ongoing Brett Favre saga and asked me to come back. Once I did catch up with him, I asked him the questions I had received (and one of my own) and found him to be candid, informed, and remarkably optimistic about what he saw at Redskins Park today.


How has your view of the Redskins changed over the Dan Snyder era?

I would say I thought Snyder was beyond impetuous early on, wasted a tremendous amount of cap money and came here thinking he could buy a championship. You can’t, obviously. And this year, I think the Redskins had a tremendously smart offseason, because they were nineteen million over the cap seven months ago, and last week they were nine million under the cap, and they didn’t even have to do very much to trade for Jason Taylor.

So because they were disciplined in the offseason and didn’t go out and overspend for a lousy player, like Brandon Lloyd, they had enough money to go out and trade for Jason Taylor.

I think a decade in this business, you start to learn things, and I think he realizes now you can’t just buy a championship. Now, who knows? He might become Joe Impetuous again if he’s got some cap money next year. I don’t know.

But if I were a Redskins fan, I think I’d look at this year and say, “I think this is a pretty good year for us.”

I got this one a few times, so I’m going to ask you, but I also have a follow-up of my own. Why do you hate the Redskins, or why are you biased against them?

Over the last few years, I think they’ve done a lot of stupid things roster-wise, signing players and overspending, signing all these receivers who are basically the same sized guy, the same player. I just think they haven’t been a really smart team.

Now, I’ll tell you this. I get a lot of people who are Patriots fans who say “Why do you hate the Patriots?” and I get a lot of people who live in other parts of the country who say “Why are you in love with the Patriots?”

So, I don’t know, if you write some negative things about a team, I think people feel like you hate ‘em. If you go several years and are outspoken against Art Monk to the Hall of Fame, people think you hate the Redskins.

But that’s just the way it is in our business. If you have an opinion, you sometimes get crucified for having one.

All right, that anticipates my follow up: are there any teams whose fans don’t think you hate them?

The fans of the Houston Texans are not passionate. The fans of the Arizona Cardinals are not passionate. I mean, I came out here this morning, and all you see are people who are just NUTTY about the Redskins. They’re out of their minds. They’re crazy.

Now, I go to a lot of different camps. I’ll be at seventeen different camps this year. This will be in the top 3 among enthusiastic fanbases that I see. And so I expect that to happen, and I don’t throw my hands in the air and say, “Ah, you bunch of idiots,” you know? It’s just the way fans are. Fans love their team, and if you say something bad about their team, they’re not going to be happy about it, so it’s fine.

Two more. Are you excited to see Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick back together on Sunday Night Football?

I think it’ll be fun from the standpoint of being a fan of comedy and good TV and quick-witted people. I’ll tell you this: last year I was on the set with Olbermann and Bob Costas and there were times where I would have to say to myself, “Okay, say something that isn’t stupid.” Because I’m listening to them, and we’re on live TV, and they’d be so fun and so clever that it’s almost intimidating.

I think it’ll be really fun to see both those guys together, and that they’ll have a lot of fun things to say.

Okay. Finally: tell us something you saw at camp today that’s not going to make it into your Postcard From Camp, but that Redskins fans would want to know.

I’ll tell you something that IS going to make it into my postcard: I thought Jason Campbell had one of the best camp practices I’ve ever seen a quarterback have.

Really!

I mean, if he had four balls hit the ground in two hours, I’ll be surprised. I mean, the touch on this passes, his accuracy downfield, I was highly, highly impressed.

Now, I’ve seen him a few times over the years, and I’ve thought he’s okay, but I never saw him like I saw him today.

Do you think it’s Coach Zorn? What do you think it is?

I think it’s maturation, I think it’s fourth year in the NFL, I think it’s a lot of things. Now, you know what I like about him? He could have sat there with his eight different offensive systems in the last nine years of his football life and he could’ve said, “Woe is me, I am so sick of this crap, I’m going to go buy my own team so I can run the offense that I would want to run.”

But all he did was – evidently he MUST have – put his nose to the grindstone and learned another offense.

Now, you always, always hesitate [to judge] when there’s nobody rushing. I mean, one of the best camp practices I saw last year was Rex Grossman and I have become convinced now that Grossman is great when he knows he’s not going to get hit. And he still MIGHT be great. But I saw him two practices last year, he was fantastic, and then he was Rex Grossman when the lights came on. So we’ll see about Jason Campbell.

But, if I’m a Redskins fan watching this practice today, I go home and I’m really excited.

39 Responses

  1. Matt- great interview!

  2. That was fantastic.. he gets on my every last nerve but I love that he was really honest with his answers. I am really trying not to get to excited about the JC comment… but its kind of hard not to!

  3. Thanks Matt. You’ve really hit your stride in the blog. This is a great resource!

  4. I agree – good questions, great interview, especially the follow up at the end asking him WHY he thought so highly of Campbell. And I also agree I’m trying not to let it get me excited too soon.

  5. well peter the redskins player aquisitions that were so “stupid” couldnt have been that bad…they did make the playoffs 2 out of the past 3 years. There is no way he gets Patriots fans that think he hates them…he loves the Pats. I mean I know hes a red sox guy and a new england guy but dont feed us bs about the pats while sweeping their cheating ways under the rug.

  6. Matt,

    What a really great interview. I imagine you only had a limited amount of time, but your questions were great and elicited some really surprising answers. I’ve been supportive throughout, figuring it’d just take you some time to get used to your new surroundings, and I’m glad that your posts continue to better the previous one.

    Good job man.

  7. Interesting that he criticized the drafting of three receivers (that he claims are clones of each other) and two are nicked up now. Wideouts tend to be somewhat injury prone. If one of the three becomes a a productive part of the offense this year I would consider that pretty good.

  8. awesome questions, especially the one about olbermann. god i love that guy and i didn’t know he was going to be on sunday night football this season. I don’t know if I’m more excited about that or the Skins winning the Super Bowl this year….

  9. @ Jon — I think he’s speaking more of the acquisitions earlier in Snyder’s tenure (i.e. someone like Neon Deion). In the last few years, he’s held back considerably when it comes to spending — with someone like Lloyd being the obvious exception — so I think he’s giving Danny Boy some credit for maturing a bit over the last few offseasons.

    And I agree — this blog has made serious strides in it’s first week. Congrats on a nice start, Matt… looking forward to reading throughout the season.

  10. Matt – Loved the Q&A – lots of great info – Peter King is always wrong with his picks but is still so knowledgeable about the game. Thanks!

  11. Good Job on the interview

  12. Matt – Good job with the most informed NFL insider :)

    Peter King is way too smart and devious – he fully understands the detrimental impact of his positive words (i.e. Rex Grossman). Don’t be fooled – he clearly despises the Redskins. In fact he hates the Skins so much he is trying to put what is known as a “Bell Curse” on Jason Campbell.

    Bell Curse – In January 2007 the Detroit Lions acquired Tatum Bell following two 1,000+ combined yard seasons in Denver. A third 1,000 yard season was a virtual ‘lock’ and with new offensive coordinator Mike Martz calling the plays – Bell was certain to make it to Honolulu. In August 2007, Peter “Kiss of Death” King proclaims “I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t gain 1,400 yards and score eight TDs in Detroit”. Tatum Bell amassed 182 rushing yards in the first five games before he was benched for the remainder of the season. The only reasonable explanation for the failure of Bell’s 2007-08 campaign was Peter King’s preseason prediction. King’s prediction became known as the “Bell Curse”.

    Please feel free to add the term “Bell Curse” to Wikipedia (the most accurate source of information on the web unless of course you include Peter King’s postcards from camp).

    The next time you get a chance to talk to Peter King maybe you could ask him what he likes about Tony Romo – I figure his answer would be worth 2 wins for the Skins.

  13. Matt – what a great interview and thank you for giving an in-depth account of training camp to those of us who cannot attend.

  14. Great stuff!

  15. Man, keep the good news on Jason Campbell rolling! I love it!

  16. Great interview. Just happened to read his camp postcard and surfed over here for a night cap read and in comparison to the SI piece IMO your interview was much more interesting. Good job! But don’t give up visiting the odd parts of the park like the equipment room. Those stories are money too!

  17. I am suprised by his comments also. I am trying to figure out if he was talking about the receivers we drafted or ARE and Moss in the past. I was impressed by his JC comments. I am hopeful he will have a good year. Also just because you hate a teams own doesn’t mean you always have to be biased against the team itself.

  18. [...] At The Park Today: Talking To Peter King A mildly alarming number of readers knew in advance that SI.com writer Peter King’s tour of NFL training camps [...] [...]

  19. Great interview Matt. Peter King was very positive about us for once.

    Also, Keith Olbermann is a horrific, mean-spirited political hack. Football and politics don’t mix well.

    Keep up the good work.

  20. [...] The official Redskins blogger interviewed Peter King. [...]

  21. Wait, where’s Biff?

  22. Matt,

    I believe King should have taken a cue from his “Olbermann/Costas” point and kept his mouth shut instead of spewing ill-informed garbage about Texans fans. Redskin fans may be NUTTY, but that is no way to truly judge the passion of a fan base, least of all link us to the perpetual stink and shame that is the Cardinals abysmal organization.

    We successfully kicked a lousy owner out of town and banished him to the Smoky Mountains while attracting the BEST owner in football. Since our inaugural season, we’ve only sold out EVERY game and creating one of the best tailgating scenes in the NFL (http://theultimatetailgater.blogspot.com/2007/09/texans-tailgating.html). He should not confuse the friendliness, knowledge, savvy, and intense scrutiny of our fans with a lack of passion only in comparison to in your face loudness. That is a lazy observation and one a first year journalism student should not be allowed to make, let alone the famous Peter King.

    I invite Mr. King and anyone else to sample the best that Texas has to offer to visit the Platinum lot on any Texans game day. I assure you, you will see first hand just how wrong he is. Oh, by the way, we have already accomplished something that no Redskins team in history has done or will ever do for that matter…steal fans away from the Cowgirls! GO TEXANS!!!

  23. i really enjoyed the interview. never liked peter king because he never holds punches when criticizing the skins. he is dead on with snyder. and although i love the atmosphere at the games, I would substitute a good tailgate for a lombardi trophy!

  24. There is no place more passionate in the world about football than Texas. Peter King once again proved that the majority of the media is talking completely out of their ass. I wish I could monkey slap this prick. Never mention the Texans and the Cardinals in the same breath again. Chupa la polla, cabroncito.

  25. i am taking this from a texans blog which was written in response to Peter King’s dig: “THOUSANDS OF TEXANS FANS DECIDED THAT SPENDING THEIR RESPECTIVE WEEKENDS IN 95-PLUS-DEGREE HEAT AND 90-PLUS-PERCENT HUMIDITY WHILE WATCHING A TEAM THAT HAS NEVER MADE THE PLAYOFFS WAS A GOOD IDEA. BECAUSE THEY LOVE THEIR TEAM.” Peter King is your typical head of the ass east coast media talking head. You will not find more passionate football fans than those in the Lone Star state.

  26. or head up the ass…i was irritated and typed to quick

  27. [...] a response to this little tidbit. Here is the inflammatory [...]

  28. What makes you think that Texans fans are not passionate? Get your facts straight senior writer Peter. Your not inside the NFL, The NFL is in you. Don’t you know the Texans have sold out every game in their existence, with more season ticket holders than the Cowboys? Who correlates smoking a peace pipe with NFL negotiations? You make about as much sense as putting Ricky Williams in a game against the Steelers after he just smoked a blunt. How are you employed by SI? Oh thats right, nobody reads SI unless its the swimsuit edition or if they bought the calendar from a dollar general store. By the way, football night in america is the worst pregame show ive ever witnessed in my life. Don’t worry about the ratings because everyone watches the game, on mute. Thank the man for NFL network. CNN is going to assassinate me for this one haha. I wont be back for your response so shoot me down – HTOWN

  29. [...] first I heard of it was my own interview with King, conducted while he was making the visit to Ashburn that would become his Training Camp Postcard. I [...]

  30. I AM A TEXAN FAN…..AND I AM VERY PASSIONATE! Everyone that joins me in my stadium on game day is passionate!

    Don’t try to call us out without more research!

    OUT!

  31. [...] Those are the words of SI.com’s Peter King via The Official Blog of the Washington Redskins. [...]

  32. Passion!!! Heck…I drive 350 miles round trip from Austin to Houston to see my beloved Texans!! Do some research before you talk!

  33. COME TO HOUSTON AND SIT DOWN NEXT TO ME AND SAY THAT IM NOT PASSIONATE!!!!!!

  34. [...] King has suggested that Redskins fans are “among the top three most enthusiastic“. Joe Gibbs used to call Redskins fans “the greatest fans in the world” so often [...]

  35. Hey King, I don’t know whose Texan’s fans YOU”RE talking about but most surely not mine! Texan’s fans are indeed passionate.. I’m Texan to the core and the Texan’s rock! Can’t say as I ever was a dallas cowgirl fan but it’s true that the Texan’s are stealing all the dallas fan’s.. Houston must be doing something right! King, dear old man, do a little more research on ‘passion’ before you write articles that miss the mark by a mile. I don’t think you’d know passionate if it bit you on the ***.
    IMHO

  36. King you have no class. I would usually let this go but I am passionate about my team. You can have your big market teams payolla coverage. Sold out every game and we havent been a very good team but we show up and represent every sunday. That’s our team. Not your’s. Go Texans!

  37. It doesn’t surprise me, just another journalist who has something negative to say about the Texans, and never give no love to the Texans, much less the fans. Like many of my fellow TEXAN fans have stated, he doesn’t know how about TEXANS Football, much less their Fans! I live in South Texas (Rio Grand Valley), where the majority of football fans down here are COWGURL Fans, but I proudly support and wear my TEXANS gear ans show my support for my TEXANS. King, go to a Texans game, do some tailgating and you will sew hat TEXANS fans are about!!!!

  38. Nice blog, i will visit you soon :)

  39. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was
    great. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

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