Archive for August, 2010

Oops, sorry!

Ok, so I guess I was wrong about Malcolm Kelly and the PUP list.  He does not qualify. I have been right about Haynsie all along, but wrong about Kelly.

At this point, I think the Redskins should put him on IR.  Don’t cut ties with him yet because you never know and I’m sure he’s not making that much money, at least compared with some other folks on the team.  He’s got too many tangible qualities to just release like that.

In the meantime, I heard that Antonio Bryant was released from the Bengals.  The  ‘Skins were interested in him before, maybe they will be interested in him again.   Kelly not being on the team also makes it seem more likely that Banks will make the team.  If I were the Redskins, I would let him return every punt on Thursday to get an extended look at him.  Thomas will now definitely be on the team, not that there was any doubt before in my mind, and maybe Roydell Williams will sneak on.  It depends how many running backs we keep.

It’s funny, with all this talk about receivers, it seems pretty clear that if there was an NFL draft held today that wide-receiver would be our #1 team need.  Cerrato was not so crazy after all in picking up two receivers in the same draft in 2008.  The only problem is that neither has proven to be all that good.

Frankly speaking, look at the Cerrato picks that are major players on this team:  Cooley, Davis, Thomas, Golston, McIntosh, Rogers, Landry, Moore, Doughty, Alexander, Wilson.  Not bad, not awesome, but certainly not awful.

Thursday night should be interesting.

Double vision: Last night was the 1st time in a long time that I tuned in to no parts of the Nats game.  But they won!  That makes 3 in a row.  We have not won 4 in a row all year.   Zimmerman on the mound today.  Change is in the air.


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A head-shaker

Strasburg requiring Tommy John surgery is one of those moments when you read something, lean back in your chair, shake your head and say “Damn” out loud.  There’s no way to sugar-coat it, no bright side to look on, no possible way to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sure there is a high rate of success with the surgery and all we can hope is that Strasburg comes back the phenom he was this year, but really, how confident are you that he is going to return exactly the same or better than this year.

Since I run this blog, I am able to see how people found me – meaning I can see what searches they entered to arrive at B2BR.  Without doubt, the biggest search that landed them here were the words “D.C. Sports Curse”.

So the truth of the matter is that many D.C. sports fans think that we as sports fans are cursed.  It’s hard to say that Strasburg’s injury was because of a curse.  A curse to me is when a lot of things have to align together to go wrong.  Arenas’ initial knee-injury was a direct result of the curse against the Bullets.  Because he was late to the game, he played at a point of the game where he would normally not play and got injured during that particular part of the game.

However, when a team like the Nats who has nothing really going for him at the moment gets someone like Strasburg and he gets injured after playing less than one season, and if you compound that with all the other pain and misery that we have endured recently here in D.C., anyone would understand why folks around here are beginning to believe that something supernatural is running the show around here.

Double vision: The Redskins were far from supernatural on Friday night.  Our defense was again strong, causing turnovers and generally giving Mark Sanchez a headache.  Two of the main contributors to that headache were Haynesworth and Hall two guys who have been the object of much criticism around here.

Our run defense left a lot to be desired again and you know the Cowboys are going to try to exploit what has to this point seemed to be the main weakness of our defense.

I thinks it’s safe to say that Haynsie will be starting against the Cowboys.  I have been right about very little recently when it comes to the Redskins, but I was right about Haynsie all along.

The offense made plays, but until someone proves differently, I have seen nothing this year to make me think that this offense will be any better than last year.  Sure we scored 42 against Buffalo, but then we scored 3 and 16.  That’s 61 points which comes out to a little more than 20 points a game.  If we score 20 a game this year, we will probably go 8-8 or 9-7 because, like I said, our defense will be strong.

But this lack of scoring gives us all the more reason to keep folks like Brandon Banks and Ryan Torain around – guys who can take it to the house anytime they touch the ball.  We need some good luck, some “I can’t believe that guy just scored on that play” kind of points this year if we are going to have a successful season.

So counting my desire to put Malcolm Kelly on the PUP list, your receivers for the team against Dallas will be:  Moss, Thomas, Armstrong, Galloway and Banks.  That group is not that great, but looks a lot better when you include Cooley and Davis.

One more thing, I think Barnes has played himself into the 3rd corner spot and may be the 1st guy off the bench if either Rogers or Hall gets hurt.

Other than that, the grey cloud of Strasburg’s injury will hang over us until September 12th when pandemonium erupts on this town in a way we have not seen since December, 2007.

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Put the BBR on the PUP

So Lil’ Sigmund, a.k.a Coach Shanny, has been playing mind games with someone else besides Haynsie.   Anyone?….Anyone?…Can anyone guess who Lil’ Sigmund has been screwing with through the media?

You guessed it…..our beloved BBR Malcolm Kelly.

At first Lil’ Sigmund was on Kelly’s side, saying things to the media such as “Well, with a hamstring you never know. It could take a day to heal or it could take a week.”

As recently as this week though, he has said stuff like “I never thought it would take a hamstring this long to heal”, prompting Kelly to respond, in a charming southern drawl, that he was at 85-90% and if he had to, he could play.  But he wants “to put his best foot forward on tape”.   (By the way, how does someone know what percentage of the way their body has healed anyway?  Either you’re playing or not).

Now Kelly is no Big Al.  Unlike Big Al he seems to be a genuinely nice fellow and unlike big Al, he has never accomplished anything in this league.  However, also unlike Big Al, Shanalahan like Kelly and want to see him stick around.

Like Lil’ Sigmund, I also did not think Kelly’s hamstring would take this long to heal, and since he will not play tonight against the Jets, his only shot will be against the Cardinals.  At the end of  the day though, I think Kelly will be put on the PUP list and will miss the first six games of the year and then will be given a shot to re-enter the team mid-season.  By that time, chances are that someone, (hopefully no one very important – gulp!), will be injured and Kelly would take his spot on the team.

Much has been made in the last 24 hours about the Redskins wearing burgundy jerseys at home this year.  I am also for the move, but am not sure that we will be seeing gold pants anytime soon.  If anything, the ‘Skins may bust  the gold pants out on another special occasion, such as the night game against the Eagles or the Colts.  Because really, nothing needs to be added to the opener against Dallas to get our blood pumping.

It’s hard for me to appreciate how good-looking the Redskins cheerleaders are from my seats high in section 449, but my buddy Ryan sure loves them.  It turns out they’re really hot as voted on by other NFL players.   I guess that’s something to be proud of.

Maybe it’s time to talk to my old man about purchasing some club seats so that if we are ever losing at the 2 minute warning, at least we can look at some young ladies who are easy on the eyes while drowning our sorrows away.

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Pandora’s Box

Having kids is the greatest thing that can happen to someone, but it’s tough and recently me and my wife have found how challenging it is to have the number of children in the house double from 1 to 2.  All that being said, it is, as everyone says, a labor of love.  It’s also a job that becomes easier at times when a close friend or family member sends you a gift for your child that really helps out.

This is what happened to me and my wife last week when we were happily surprised to see that my wife’s sister, who resides in Georgia with her husband, sent us a gift for our newborn.  I opened up the package and much to my disgust, they had sent us 3 Dallas Cowboy onesies.

Now, before I proceed, let me make it clear that they know very well what team  my household supports.  In fact, I have often been badgered by phone calls by my sister in law’s family when the Cowboys have beaten the Redskins only to have been greeted by deadpan indifference when I have tried to do the same when the ‘Skins beat Dallas.

The truth of the matter is that they’re not hard-core Cowboy fans, they’re casual fans, from New Orleans, who decided to pick the Cowboys because their home-town team was so bad for so many years.  But last year, when the Saints won it all, they quickly picked up the cause of that most annoying of phrases, “Who ‘dat nation?”

But you see this is what is so grating about phony Cowboys fans not from Texas.  They think that because they casually adopted Dallas as their team that anyone could do the same or even more bizarre, that a Redskins fan would actually let his 1st born son wear anything that had that disgusting emblem on them.   It boggles the mind.

So, now we don’t have any extra onesies and we continue to make incessant trips to the washing machine as our newborn son copes with the challenges of the first weeks of his life.

Now to other important Redskins news:

My opinion is that McNabb is not as badly injured as has  been disclosed by Shanny.  In Monday’s press conference, he kept on saying that he would not get into any details about player injuries “for obvious reasons”.   Then all of a sudden we find out that McNabb would not play if this week was a regular season game due to his bad ankle.  Why would Shanny all of a sudden allow this information to become public?  It doesn’t make any sense.  I think he is trying to throw people off.  I have heard people on sports radio call him the little General which is a good nickname, but between all the mind games he is playing with Haynsie and the media, I am going to start calling him lil’ Sigmund.

The bad news about McNabb’s injury is that he won’t play on Friday and may only play a little against Arizona because it will the last pre-season game.  Is anyone else worried that the team may not have enough time to gel between now and Sept. 12th against the Cowboys?  My old man has been telling me  that he is predicting a rough beginning to the season because of how many new players are on the team and because they have to learn a new scheme.    I’m beginning to believe that he may be right.

One player who is clearly adjusting well to lil’ Sigmund’s offense is Anthony Armstrong.  Now those of you who have followed this blog know that we were on board 100% with Marko Mitchell last year.  We yearned to see him play with the 1st team so that he could prove himself during pre-season and when he made the team, we pleaded for Zorn to play him regularly.  Well none of that happened and now Mitchell is playing for some other team and like all ex-Redskins, he is dead to me.

Anthony Armstrong on the other hand has a lot going for him that Mitchell didn’t.  All of his exploits, for the most part, have come against the 1st team opposing defense.  He is already proving himself.  On Saturday, he caught everything thrown at him. And let’s face it, he gets open.

In sharp contrast, we have our other beloved BBR, Devin Thomas, who continues to have trouble getting separation and when he is thrown balls, he drops them.  Sure he put on a great double-move in the Bills game, but he was a non-factor against the Ravens.  Armstrong has made his presence felt every time he’s on the field and is making us all forget about past and present pre-season BBR legends for the moment.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Trent Williams this week against the Jets.  If he has another rough outing, lil’ Sigmund is going to have to devise some schemes where Cooley and Davis help him out against the Cowboys which may limit what we can do with our two most difficult match-ups for opposing defenses.  Williams seems to be the real deal so far and there’s no shame in being beaten by Suggs as he was on several occasions against Baltimore, but the reality is that the Cowboys are going to be just as tough rushing the passer and I bet he’s going to need some help.

Speaking of helping block, Larry Johnson couldn’t do it.  Ever since he joined the team, I have kinda been rooting for Johnson to do well because he is from here and grew up rooting for the Redskins.  It’s almost like he was me, living his dream, except that he is talented and rich and I just write this blog.  But man was he bad on Saturday?

Sometimes it’s hard for fans to digest the pre-season, and I include myself in that bunch, because you think you’re watching real football, but in reality, what you are looking at is great athletes, wearing your hometown colors and running plays like we used to draw up in the dirt.   So maybe Johnson did not play as bad as I think when pass-blocking, but boy it sure looked like it.

Double vision: Saturday night was a bad night considered the spat of injuries to the Redskins and of course Strasburg.   It’s sad that we probably won’t see him anymore this season.  But doesn’t it seem uncanny with all the growth we have made in developing position players, that we can’t keep any young pitcher healthy except for John Lannan?  And let’s face it, between him, Strasburg, J. Zimmerman and even Detweiler, he’s probably got the least long-term potential.

Feeling a little snake bit these days with the Nats

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So now we know that three Redskins have a heavy foot on the pedal.  News broke yesterday that Malcolm Kelly joins Fred Davis and Trent Williams on charges of driving way too fast.

There are two ways of looking at all of this:  One is that these Redskins are obviously in such a rush to get to meetings with Shanny that they are risking life and limb to get to Redskins Park on time, all the time.  This is much like how I drove this past Friday weaving in and out of N.E./N.W. D.C. traffic as I raced my wife, who was in active labor, to the hospital.

The other way of looking at this is that law enforcement needs to make sure that we have only folks born and bred in the D.C. area on our local police forces.  Because come on, what Redskins fan who happened to pull over three of our most promising young players would jam them up like this?  Who cares if they were speeding?  They’re Redskins.  Let them go.

Can you imagine how many times Riggo, Sonny Jurgenson, Billy Kilmer or any member of the Hogs would have gotten in trouble behind the wheel if law enforcement had been so uptight about small things like driving 90 MPH in a 55 MPH zone?  Who knows how many fewer Super Bowls we would have won if Dexter Manley, Russ Grimm or Wilbur Marshall had been dealt with so harshly?

The flip side is that this shows how much Shanny has got everyone by the balls in Redskins Park.  I bet no one shows up late to meetings anymore.

Some of you may ask how am I so sure that Davis, Williams and Kelly were speeding in order to make it on time to Redskins Park?  Well to me, what other reason could a multi-millionaire professional athlete have for speeding?  It’s not like he’s speeding like a bat out of hell to pay his sprint cell phone bill because it’s going to be cut off if he doesn’t get there before the store closes.

All I know is that if the Redskins start out 1-3, I better not be hearing any cops call up local sports radio and complain.  Stop jammin’ our boys up.

On one other note, the one man who has not been breaking a sweat of late is Big Al.  His head is hurting and he had heat stroke at some point.  Now with anyone else, as usual, this would not be news.  But with Haynsie, it’s important, very important.

Sounds like Hanysie is taking a little break.   I hope nothing is seriously wrong with his head because if anyone would have been caught for speeding around Redskins Park, I would imagine it would have been him with his checkered driving record.  My bet is that he won’t play Saturday and then get ramped for the 3rd pre-season game, re-claim his spot on the starting lineup and then sit out the 4th pre-season game.

Until later……

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Scenes from an alternate dimension as McNabb hands the ball of to Portis in pre-game warm-ups this past Friday night

As I did not watch the Redskins’ 1st pre-season game on Friday night, this picture, taken during warm-ups by one of  B2BR’s ambitious photographers, still retains a slightly bizzaro-world feeling for me.  The reason I did not watch the game was because my wife went into labor with our 2nd child who was safely born at 7:15 pm on Friday night.

Some of you might be saying to yourselves, “but he could have still flipped on the game”.  True, but I guess there is one thing I care more about than D.C. sports.

All that being said, I did have a bizarre experience in the hospital which made me think back to when my 1st child was born in Philadelphia almost three years ago.  She was born on a Sunday, October 14th.  Some of you might remember that day as the day we lost to Green Bay when we Santana Moss got stripped of the ball and took himself out of the game.  Anyway, I never saw the game because I was in the delivery suite with my wife.  But there were some Redskins fans, two to be exact in the labor and delivery suite, one of whom was  our nurse for a period of time and the other who was a technician. Both were Redskins fans from here in D.C. who had had the misfortune, like me, to have been transplanted into Eagle territory.

They were keeping tabs on the game and giving me occasional updates as was Walton via text message.  Well, while I was in a joyous mood when my daughter was born later that night, I found my two fellow Redskins fans a little down in the dumps as I found out that the Redskins lost to Green Bay and we saw our record drop to 3-2.

Later on,  I thought to myself that even though we lost,  it was kinda cool that my daughter was born in a hospital in Philly, but still somewhat surrounded by Redskins fans.

Maybe I thought it would be a sign of things to come.  Maybe it would usher in a new era of Redskins dominance.  As we all know, that didn’t happen.

On Friday afternoon, as my wife was in the midst of a painful labor, we found out that our nurse was a Dallas fan who had moved to D.C. from Texas recently.  We also found out that the anesthesiologist who helped my wife during her c-section was an Eagles fan who had recently moved here from Philly.

Obviously I did not trust these people with the health and safety of my family and asked that they be immediately removed from the labor and delivery suite.  But I still couldn’t help but see the irony of the situation considering the presence of the two Redskins fans who were present at my daugher’s birth.

So then what happened? The Redskins won and won big 42-17.  Of course I know it’s pre-season, but still, maybe, just maybe, the birth of my son under such strange circumstances could be ushering in a new era of Redskins dominance.

Maybe just maybe, this reversal in coincidences means something.   After all, all of this did happen on Friday the 13th, a bad day for many but one that will always be associated with good things forme.

It’s of course to early to tell, but as this blog is written on B2BR’s 1-year anniversary, it may go down in the annals of time as marking a moment when the tide shifted in our favor.

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Sticking to the program

Takoma Park lost power again yesterday.  Fortunately for us though, power was restored in a matter of hours, not days.  D.C., normally considered a fairly weather neutral area, has had in the course of 6 months: 3 huge blizzards, record heat, flash floods, two tornado like systems this summer and an earthquake.

Of course through it all, Shanalahan has been sticking to their program and tonight we get our 1st glimpse of what our team will look like this year.

Where are the real competitions to keep an eye on?

Special teams, especially long snapper, punt and kick returner

RT behind Jammal Brown:  (By the way, has anyone ever seen that name spelled with two ‘m’s?)  – i.e. who will play after Stephon Heyer’s night is over and what will they look like?

Wide receiver:  Can Devin Thomas move up the depth chart and pass the likes of Roydell Williams and Anthony Montgomery?

RB:  Will Ryan Torain solidify himself ahead of Willie Parker?

Secondary:  Can Kevin Barnes win the nickel job this year or does Phillip Buchanan have that on lock down?  Is Justin Tryon going to make the team?

I’m not that worried about the Lorenzo Alexander/ Andre Carter battle because I believe both will get a lot of playing time and if Alexander plays consistently well this year, which he has every year as  Redskin, then it will be his job going into the future as he is much younger than Carter.

Emotionally, I will have to get used to seeing McNabb throw balls in burgundy and gold.  That may be the most significant thing that occurs tonight.

And of course,  let’s see how all three sides of the football look in general.

Now, off the field, I found it very interesting that Jerry Jones praised the Eagles and put down the Redskins yesterday by saying that the Eagles would be a much more consistent team without McNabb.  1st of all, how the hell does he know how good Kevin Kolb will be?  He could be consistently a lot worse than McNabb was.  But beyond that, what I find most intriguing is that Jones fears the Eagles much more than the Redskins, maybe for good reason, maybe not.  We’ll see soon enough.

The reason I say this though is that he was praising the Eagles.  If a rival praises another rival before the season starts, it’s because the 1st rival wants to fill the 2nd with notions of grandeur, ultimately leading to the 2nd rival’s demise.  We’ve seen this happen often here in D.C. where we were supposed to be awesome in 2006 and look what happened.  Similarly, last year the Giants were supposed to be the best team since the ’85 Bears and looked what happened to them.

Yes sir, I am happy that everyone thinks we will stink.  I’m happy the Cowboys think they will roll us on September 12th.

Double vision: Good to hear that the Caps have agreed with Belanger on a deal for next year.  I think that automatically pencils him in as 3rd line center.  That’s the kind of game he has.

Now the rumors have it that Fleischmann is on the trading block for a defenseman.  Who could it be?  I certainly don’t know, but with the signing of Belanger, we certainly have gotten crowded at the point.  The question is what are our best quality options?

Obviously Backstrom is 1st line.  Let’s say I’m right and Belanger is on the 3rd line.  If Fleischmann is traded, my bet is the competition for 2nd line center will be between Johannson, Laich and Perreault with the Caps probably giving Johannson every chance to win the job. And at the end of the day, the 4th line center duty will be still be shared by Steckel and Gordon.

Would hate to see Flash go, but as we all know, even when you’re name is Ovie of Backstrom, it’s not about one guy, it’s about a team.

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