Archive for September, 2009

London Fletcher, DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers seem to be taking an approach that this team is only average and that if we are to succeed, the players need to take a “lunch-pail” approach to playing and build from there.  Clinton Portis and Andre Carter are disappointed by our 1-2 start, but are confident that we will rebound.  It seems to me that the first notion focuses on working as hard as possible to become something other than just an average or less-than average team into something else. The second attitude is more troublesome because disappointment reflects the idea that the team is better than 1-2 and is not playing to potential.

The good news is no one is pointing fingers as it seems like everyone in the media around here  is hoping would happen.  (Sometimes it feels like people in the D.C. media, while they criticize Snyder for the “circus-like” atmosphere they claim he has created with the team, themselves find it hard to talk about purely football-related issues when the team is not doing well). The bad news is that the face of this team is not changing – we have a lot of solid veterans, but aside from a few players, the injection of youth is not really visible.

Our BBRs are being held back in school!!!

Why is it that other teams are able to put their young skill players into positions to make plays? Malcolm Kelly, Fred Davis and Devin Thomas do not need to be our best options as pass-catchers, they just need to be productive.

Has there been some growth with these three? Yes.  Has there been enough yet? Not even close.

Our d-line is becoming more infused with youth as Golston and Alexander play larger roles. (By the way, is Montgomery going to be back next year? Should we care?) 2 of our 3 starting line-backers are under 30 and I think we are all confident in their present and contributions on the team – (with Orakpo still being an understood work in progress at LB).

After Randy Thomas’ injury, 3 of our o-line’s 5 starters are younger than 30.  This is not an aging, decrepit line. It is however an unproven line as it is constituted? Many people were scared to death about Rhino getting the start on Sunday.

To say that this team never drafts lineman on either side of the ball or only acquires skill players via free-agency is wrong.  Recent years show they are learning from past mistakes.  However, it is clear that aside from some of the BBRs who were born to not only be a Redskin, but a great or very good Redskin (Taylor, Cooley, Samuels, Horton, McIntosh, etc.), player development has been slow.

When we kept on seeing Marko Mitchell, Malcolm Kelly and Brian Orakpo doing post-game interviews during the pre-season, I don’t think any of us were ignoring some of the problems this team had, but were infused with excitement about our future and the potential benefits these players could bring to our team.

Looking around the league, you can see other young players contribute and it happens with us as well, but less often and sometimes accidentally – (i.e. Chris Horton, whose great play was eye-opening. And I guess to be fair, his solid play should be credited to the organization since he was drafted in the 7th round and has played as well as he has).

Our BBRs need a better elementary, football education!! They need to be able to run with the varsity sooner.

I’m glad Orakpo starts, but for God’s sake, let’s get Marko, Mason and Alridge in there.

Let’s run the ball more. Let’s control the game clock so we don’t have these situations where if we score or not, we only have the ball for 4 minutes. Let’s keep our defense fresh, let’s try to play all of the ever-growing number of running backs we have on this team with some regularity so they stay fresh.

And let’s win this Sunday.

Throw a ball to Mitchell, just to see what happens. Keep throwing to Kelly and let’s see if Rhino can’t build off of his first start, which by all accounts was not too bad.

I can’t give up on the season, there are 13 weeks to go. I still have seven home games and a road trip to Carolina in ten days. For my own sanity, I gotta believe a change is gonna come.  But if things are to turn around, it’s hard to see it happening without our BBRs at least partly leading the way.


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Insulted and Injured

So I don’t know what the 10 or 12 stages of grief are, but for some reason I am already at the stage of acceptance.  While I wince a little every time I think of yesterday’s game, there’s a slight numbness that has overcome my senses.  This is worrisome.  Maybe I was right with my post from last Friday that all of my sanity has left the room.

What perhaps is even more worrisome is that now we have news that many of the key cogs of our vastly disappointing team, that have contributed to our deeply disheartening 1-2 start, are now injured. Clinton Portis, London Fletcher, Albert Haynewsorth (perhaps the most serious of all), Carlos Rogers, Jason Campbell, Cornelius Griffin and of course Randy Thomas have all suffered injuries of varying degrees.

What will this mean for this Sunday’s game?   Who the hell knows?

Yes, I have begun to look ahead and have begun thinking about what we need to do to salvage the season.  It all starts with this Sunday.  If yesterday’s loss to the Lions damaged our pride and partially debilitated our season, a loss at home to the Bucs will cripple anything spirit that any of us has left.

Where do we look for inspiration especially with all of these injuries?  Does our team have the fight to come out and win a game against the Bucs even though we are severely banged up? As much as it makes me nauseous to say it, the Giants and Eagles did exactly that this past weekend.  Can we do the same?

Logic says we have the ability, but logic also says we, as fans, don’t know what to expect.

My old man told me yesterday afternoon, while we were soaking up the emotional wreckage left by the loss, that it will be very important sometime this week for Snyder of Cerrato to come out and say that Zorn is the coach of this team. They should not qualify this statement with a “for now” of “this year”, but leave it short and sweet.

I couldn’t agree more. That may help this team stop having to field questions about the coach and start worrying about the only thing that can save all of their skins – a fuc@#* win!!!

One more point: anyone who thinks Campbell is the main reason we are losing is nuts. Sure, he missed some passes, every QB does. But he has played well and has made a lot of excellent throws. Is he awesome? No, but he is doing much more to help us win than many other players on the team.  Let’s see if it becomes enough.

Let’s see and hope too that the Redskins players have not become overcome by this same, strange numbness that I feel tonight.  For all of our sake, fight for old D.C.

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Darkness settles across the land

The insults have been flying since yesterday afternoon – people are talking about yesterday’s humiliating loss to the Lions at gas pumps, in my high school classes this morning, stopped at traffic lights, at the water-cooler – everywhere.

The humiliation from yesterday’s loss doesn’t come so much from the fact that we lost the Lions- they’re a better team than the Rams and perhaps a half-dozen other teams in the NFL, but the fact that we were dominated by the Lions for three quarters yesterday.

It has taken me this long to post because I am so thouroughly perplexed by how bad we looked yesterday and I don’t know why.  I am not going to go into the details of the game because they are too awful to stomach for the moment.

DeAngelo Hall said something to the effect after the game that players in the Redskins’ locker room need to understand that they are not as good as they think they are.  This is the kind of thought process that needs to dominate the mind set of our team. Santana Moss stating that the better team (i.e the Redskins)  lost yesterday exemplifies the mindset which has taken this team from 4-1 last year then 6-2 last year to the abysmmal position where now find ourselves.

Zorn carries a lot of blame for this loss and his comments about little details that need to be corrected in order for things to turn around ring totally hollow to me.  Players have lost confidence in him (Moss and Portis are quoted as saying they questioned his decision to go for it on 4th & 1 in the 1st quarter as I, and probably most others, did too. Also, why the hell didn’t Zorn call for the last two passes of the game to go into the endzone like the Vikings did? ) The entire team played flat for the entire first half  after the failed attempt at the goal-line.  The coach needs to rally his men.

Now this team under Gibbs, who is proven to be a great leader of men, did the same thing on occasion too.  Who are the players amongst our core group who don’t have the intestinal fortitude to rebound when the chips are down? Who are the players who truly think they can waltz through games and win in the NFL? Clinton Portis, London Fletcher, Jason Campbell, Casey Rabach, Rock Cartwright – All these guys seem to be like guys who show up on Sunday and give it their all.  Maybe this team is just a group of individuals as some have said. Maybe there is no deep, DEEP, desire to win- maybe this lack of deep desire is why they so consistently screw up the details of the game which no of us can see, yet seem to effect us every week – if we take Zorn for his word.

Why do the Lions shred us in the running game for the first half when we were able to control Brandon Jacobs for most of the game two weeks ago? Why are we then able to stop the Lions’ running game for the most part in the 2nd half?

I am a fan and have always been an optimist.  I’m not like some who are saying that they have given up on the team. (These people are upset and I understand that, but my gut tells me that most are speaking emotionally after such a deeply, impactful humiliation and will be watching the Bucanners game this Sunday.) I have been a fan for almost 30 years and I will be in section 449 next week screaming my lungs out.

As a fan, I thought the Redskins would be 11-5 and thought that they matched up against the other teams in our division well. Inside, I still want to believe that they can turn it around and maybe they will. But seeing yet another game where the team pisses away a win and doesn’t show up will make a sceptic out of even the most bright-eyed optimist among us.

Right now, it’s hard to say that the Redskins are not one of the worst teams in the league and honestly it kills me to say that because I am not one of those people who can root for their team without investing my heart into it. But right now, what else can I say?

Zorn wants to win. Snyder wants to win. So does everyone else on the team. No one wants to lose. Snyder spends all the money anyone could ask of him, but no results. Is Cerrato at fault? I don’t know. I don’t know why the Lions were able to run up the middle yesterday against us when we had EIGHT men in the box. I don’t know enough about football to give any answers.

Today, one of my co-workers, a gutless born-and-bred- in- D.C. Dallas fan, asked me how I felt wearing my Redskins jacket to work. I told her I wear it everyday to work, why would I change today? I’ll wear it tomorrow and wear it next week win or lose, but as a fan, like almost all the rest of us Redskins fans, who cares about their team so deeply and with so much dedication, it hurts deep down somewhere to see our team lose with a wimper and a sigh against a team that last won a game when Bush was still president.

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Oh no

So, yeah, it happened. I really thought the Skins would right the ship this week, fired up by a week of constant media scrutiny after win.

I really thought they would fluster Stafford and establish their passing game. I really thought that they would play the kind of tantalizing game that makes fans say, “See. That’s what they can do.”

Well, I was wrong. When I woke up yesterday I decided to tell myself that no matter what, the game was going to go down to the last two minutes.

I thought this to myself when they effortlessly moved the ball down the field on their first drive. I thought it when they ran a dud play on 4th and 1 from the goal line.

I continued to think it while gritting my teeth as the Lions drove 99 yards for a touchdown. I had to remind myself when Zorn took that penalty that gave them another chance at 3rd down.

Last week I thought, “If you let a bad team stay in it, you never know what will happen in the 4th quarter.” This week, I just couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening to the defense.

The Lions are a better team than the Rams and have more hope for the near future. As for the Redskins, who do you blame? Who phoned it in? Why do some players continue to act as if the team is supremely talented and close to being elite?

And most importantly, to me, what the hell happened to the defense? Was it a lack of pass rush? Is the secondary worse than we thought? Are certain players taking off plays or not playing hard enough?

People love to question Zorn but no one ever seems to question Blache. It seems to me like that should end now. The performance in the first half was just terrifyingly bad and I just find myself at a loss.

Next week will tell us whether the team is going to try to battle back and perhaps hover around .500 for the year, or if we’re looking at a debacle, 5-11 type season where fans are reading up on who to draft starting in November.

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So after a week away from the blog in order to lick his wounds after his man Jay threw four picks against the Packers and didn’t take any blame for the loss, the hater has re-surfaced after the Steelers’ kicker gifted the Bears a win last week.  I present to you the hater:

Well, due to some work conflicts I missed my spot for picks last week.  You’ll have to take my word for it that rebounded from a horrible Week 1 to post a 10-6 mark for the week.  Hopefully we can keep this momentum up as the Bears storm into Seattle to give the beat down to Seneca Wallace and Co.

Steelers -4.5 over BENGALS.  Yes, Cincinnati upended Green Bay and my survivor pool chances all at the same time.  But this pick is not made with bitterness.  Rather, the Steelers need a statement win after two lackluster performances.  They own the Bengals and this has the makings of a rout.

LIONS +6.5 over Redskins.  Forget the game – the real question is this: if the Skins lose to the Lions, is Zorn history?  He has to be.  It’s interesting that the fans have turned their hatred away from Snyder and onto Zorn, focusing on the entity that they actually have a chance of changing.  Paging Dr. Shanahan…

Packers -6.5 over RAMS.  They should just call this game “Teaser Bowl.”

49ers +7.5 over VIKINGS.  Lesson as always: anytime you have a coach who drops his pants during halftime of his first game, he’ll eventually get the team’s attention.  Jury is still out on Minnesota – beating the Browns and the Lions in the first two weeks.  Wow.

Falcons +4.5 over PATRIOTS.  Pats games don’t get exciting until it gets cold enough for Belichek to wear that horrific cutoff sweatshirt that hasn’t been washed since 2001.  I’ll say it though…I think Tom Brady might have always been somewhat of a pretty boy wussy.  We’re just seeing it a bit more these days.

Titans +2.5 over JETS.  Rex Ryan needs to relax a little.  Wait until you’ve won a playoff game before adopting the Mr. Tough Guy stance.  It’s like someone promised Rex a free ticket to the buffet line if he became with league’s biggest a-hole within two weeks.

Chiefs +9.5 over EAGLES.  I had to adjust my screen when I first saw this – Vegas needs to forget about calling Philly’s team the “Eagles” until McNabb comes back.  Bettors need to know what they’re getting into.  I suggest: “Kevin Kolbs -9.5.”  This is a necessary public service.

Giants -7.5 over BUCS.  “Teaser Bowl II.”

RAVENS -13.5 over Browns.  The best team in football against the worst team in football.  Lay the double figures.

TEXANS -3.5 over Jags.  LOVE this game.  Texans usually pretty good at home and the Jags are potentially brutal.  Easy cover.

Bears -2.5 over SEAHAWKS.  Bears teetering on the edge of a crazy season – brutal first three games on the schedule, with a chance to come out 2-1.  Seneca Wallace for Matt Hasselback would be nice boost.  Matt Forte needs to get it going and soon.

Saints -5.5 over BILLS.  Beware this game.  Bills might be scrappy this season and the line just looks too tempting to jump all over the Saints.  I’m jumping on them anyway, but I don’t like it.

RAIDERS -1.5 over Broncos.  I know everyone is getting excited for the Broncos, but coming from a man who watched Kyle Orton extensively last season, trust me when I tell you that this will not end well.  Letdown game.

Dolphins +5.5 over CHARGERS.  You’re Norv Turner.  On fourth down, you need a yard to keep the game alive against the Ravens last week.  Your QB has been pretty good the entire game.  What do you do? (Remember…you’re Norv Turner.)  OF COURSE you run it up the gut and get stuffed.  Chargers the biggest counterfeit team of the season thus far.

CARDINALS -1.5 over Colts.  Indy has been secretly “only okay’ in their first two games.  Cards looked like they put it together in the dismantling of the Jags last week.  Fun game.

COWBOYS -9.5 over Panthers.  I honestly had no idea what to do with this game.  The Panthers are going to be mailing it in the rest of the way.  Sometimes a coach just runs his course with a team and the John Fox era is no exception.  Speaking of coaches, Wade Phillips looks like a 12-year old jumping and screaming at opposing kickers to miss their field goals at the ends of games.  Settle down, Wade.  The post-game spread is still going to be their win or lose.  Hmmm…two “fat coaches” jokes in one picks column.  I need some new material.

Last week:             10-6

Season: 14-18

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The Lions are in an unfortunate position and I don’t just mean because they’ve lost 19 games in a row.

Now, they are so epically and historically bad that teams won’t overlook them for the sole reason that they don’t want to be the team that ends the losing streak.

We’re getting all the right signals in this department out of Redskins Park this week. Since I don’t live in the area I haven’t been privy to the Chicken Little rants of fans on talk radio or anything of the sort.

I hate Snyder/Cerrato as much as the next guy and I have definitely reached this point with this team in the past, but I don’t quite feel that way this week. I feel like I’ve adjusted my expectations of the team.

They simply don’t blow people out and when you don’t blow people out you have a chance to lose games against lowly teams.

That said, they might lose some games everyone thinks they’re going to lose, but they also have a way of coming up big when no one thinks they are going to win. And while not everyone is picking them to lose against the Lions, more pundits than you’d think (including the Pro Football Talk guy that picked the Skins to go to the Superbowl this year) are picking them to lose.


Bowles has gone over some of the particulars that I had identified as well. Ernie Sims is out. Campbell and Moss have played well against the Lions. They have decent special teams. Calvin Johnson is ridiculous. Their secondary is awful and they have a rookie QB.

I like the idea of starting Rhinehart at RT for all the reasons mentioned below by Bowles, but there is there something comforting about Will Montgomery, a guy with some NFL experience playing.

It’s a chicken/egg thing with Rhinehart at this point. I doubt his ability because the team seems hellbent on not playing him.

The Skins should win this game. I don’t think they will blow them out but I think someone on offense (Portis, Moss or Kelly) will step up.

And then the week to week pendulum of the NFL national media will swing slightly back in the Redskins favor for a moment.

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Sanity has left the Room


So, because I know that I am not a journalist, and not a football expert, I reserve the right to express all of my opinions from the simple vantage point of a fan who spends way too much time of his life on the Redskins. I reserve the right to ignore all reasonable analysis of a football game which if we lose will severely damage my ability to function as a rational, mentally sound, responsible human being for the duration of next week.

Losing to the Lions won’t bother me because of what the national media says about us – (now that I live in the D.C. area, I never watch ESPN, NFL channel, etc.); it will destroy me because it means that my hopes for our great season will begin to fade.

“BEGIN to fade???… you idiot!! They’ve already faded!!”  They haven’t for me because, as I said earlier, I’m over the Rams loss…I mean the Rams win.  It does not matter to me if we win 3-2 against the Lions as long as we win.

So with all this in mind, I have no way logical, reasonable way of talking about how the Lions’ front seven is pretty good, but that they will miss the presence of their outside linebacker Ernie Sims, who seems unlikely to play. I also have no way of analyzing the fact that the Lions have some experience at the corners, but they have a rookie free safety who I hope we will be able to fool with some different looks and effective play-action-pass.  I have to ignore all sane discussions about this game because a sane discussion implies that a loss would be a sane outcome, when for me unfortunately, it just would not be.

It seems logical to let Chad Rinehart play instead of Will Mongtomery. First, you drafted him in the 3rd round last year and at the beginning of the season, he was the projected starter at Right Guard  for next year anyway. Not to mention, that if you play Montgomery and he gets hurt, he represents your back-up guard and center.

Jason Campbell has had his two best statistical days against Detroit, playing them once in our 34-4 defeat in 2007 and last year in our 25-17 victory in the Silverdome.  Logic would dictate that Campbell would rise again and have his second straight good game.

The Detroit special teams have been good this year. Logic says that we will have to continue to cover punts and kick-offs well, (Byron Westbrook has really made a mark in coverage in my mind), and while you can’t ever count on anything, we haven’t had a kick-off of punt return for over 25 yards yet, so perhaps we’re due.

Sadly for the Detroit fans, the game will be blacked-out in Detroit, but hopefully the worse thing we’ll be able to say for them is that they don’t see their team break their losing streak this week, because I don’t know what my world will look like on Sunday afternoon at 4pm if the Lions win.

Tickets are still available for the game this Sunday: Lower bowl tickets are only $54. I plan on doing the traditional, logical thing and watch the game with my old man at his house Sunday afternoon, but if someone wants to catch a flight to Detroit with me on Sunday morning, let me know, I’m ready to go crazy and see the Redskins win 20-17.

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