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Brian Orakpo decks Kevin Kolb on a brutal sack in the 1st half of the Redskins' 22-21 victory over Arizona on Sunday afternoon at FedEx. This hit was so hard that we could hear the impact from high atop Fedex Field in section 449.

So, these tidbits are being combined with my game analysis.  And really, what else do I have to provide other than tidbits from section 449?

1st of all, my buddy Ryan reported late to our meeting place.  We were supposed to meet at 10:45.  He was delayed because he got caught behind the Cardinals bus which was on its way to FedEx Field at around 10am.  By our calculations, the bus probably arrived at FedEx Field at around 11am – only 2 hours before kickoff.  That seems awfully late to me.  Maybe the Cardinals needed to sleep in because of the jetlag since if they had arrived at the stadium at 9am like most NFL teams, they would have to get up at least at 8:00am which would be like 5:00 am West Coast time. Now that is a home-field advantage.    Maybe that explains why the Cardinals stunk so bad in the 1st half.

Of course as everybody knows, that didn’t give us that much of an advantage as the game wore on and we had to grind out a gutsy victory.

There were several things that were apparent from high atop FedEx Field.  1st, DeAngelo Hall was solely assigned to Larry Fitzgerald – not exactly a light weight dude.  He did receive help from a 2-deep safety zone often, but on some plays, he was truly isolated one-on-one on one of the games best receivers.  Of course, he did get burned on the big TD by keeping his eyes on the QB and not on the receiver.  From where we sat, we could see Hall’s head turned towards Kolb.   But I don’t want to crucify Hall.  He has played better this year and he will not be the last to look foolish covering Fitzgerald.

Ryan Kerrigan did a great job on coverage.  While he gave up one big play against the Giants, I thought overall his coverage was pretty good.  On Sunday, he was even better.  Everyone knows about the ball he tipped that led to Fletcher’s interception early in the 3rd quarter, but there were several other occasions when Kolb looked in the direction of the tight end only to see Kerrigan blanket the tight end.  On top of that, Kerrigan is making excellent reads pre-snap.  He adjusted to men in motion and on his sack and two tackles on running plays, he was not fooled by the man in motion, read the formation and attacked as soon as the ball was snapped.

While it’s only two games, it doesn’t seem crazy to think that the Redskins have finally gotten something major right on this team:  Orakpo and Kerrigan both seem like the real deal and the combination of the two has already paid dividends this year and will continue to do so.

In fact, there are many BBRs that are really contributing in huge ways.  While the ‘Skins failed on Thomas and Kelly, it’s no doubt that Davis was a bull’s eye.  Everyone is talking about what a mismatch he is, but from our seats, you can see how truly fast he is and how much faster he seems this year as compared to last.   It’s obvious that the Cardinals were preoccupied with both our TE’s and when Cooley went in motion before the snap (which happened a lot more than Davis going in motion), we could clearly see the Cardinal LBs and safeties adjusting to our TE positioning.

Shanalahan also hit on Helu who is definitely the fastest runner we have had here in at least 10 years.  He is faster than Hightower and the combination was excellent on Sunday.  Not every Sunday is going to be like that, but with Sexus Rexus clearly not as crisp as he was in the season opener against the Giants, the running game was pivotal in our victory. Our offensive line was able to get the 2nd level on several occasions which helped both Hightower and Helu bust the longer runs in both the 1st and 2nd halves.  Chris Chester played much better this week as did Lichtensteiger, neither of whom got beat real bad.

Overall, the offensive line played much better this week albeit against a weaker front 4 than the Giants have.  What was clear though is that Arizona was not going to blitz which meant that Arizona was not going to expose their corners against our passing attack.  When was the last time that happened to us? If there is one major criticism I have of Sexus through two games is that he often hesitates to release the ball even when our receivers are wide open which has been happening a whole lot.  It happened a lot against Arizona and while Rexus’ 2nd interception was not totally his fault as there was a missed pass interference on the play, Sexus got rid of the ball late as Armstrong was open a lot earlier.  And if he had let it go earlier, maybe that would have been a reception, not the opposite.

The jury is still out on Trent Williams, but it’s safe to say that he played much better this week than he did against the Giants.  The Redskins hit on that draft pick too, but he will really hush his critics if he is able to control DeMarcus Ware this Monday night in Dallas.

Other BBRs who proved huge this week were Rocky McIntosh who was all over the field and of course Byron Westbrook who played solid special teams and made one of the game’s biggest plays in stripping the Cardinal receiver late in the 4th quarter to seal the victory for us.  It’s like the ‘Skins have finally started building their team the way other teams do it and so far this season, things are looking bright.

The biggest problem I probably had with the game was the play-calling.  At the end of the 1st half, after Banks had run the punt back and the face-mask penalty had put us on the 20 yard-line or so, I didn’t like the Boy Wonder dialing up a 1st down pass when we had been killing the Cardinals on the run.  Then on 3rd and 4, he passed again.  I like the aggressive play-calling (and in case you wondered, no one in section 449 thought going for it on 4th and 3 at the end of the game when Rexus hit Santana for a TD), but I think with a tired defense who was being run over all 1st half, I think 3 runs would have gotten us a 1st down and more.  Furthermore, Danny Smith calling a directional kick-off at the beginning of the 2nd half when Gano can clearly boot it out of the field of play was stupid and was frankly too cute.  And as we all know, it backfired.

The Redskins are a very well coached team now as evident by two victories during which time we have only commited 5 penalties, one of which was an intentional delay-of-game on Sunday, but sometimes, just sometimes, the coaches have been tinkering with something that was not broken.

Speaking of broken, I really wish Romo wasn’t hurt because I fear that he will pull some Monday night heroics out of his ass.

Double vision:  I know no one may be paying attention, but I find it remarkable that as I type this, the Nats are ahead 3-0 nothing against the Phils in the bottom of the 7th after having won the 1st game of the double-header.  How is it that we have played even with the Phillies, are +2 against the Mets, only -1 against the Braves and are 5-10 against the Marlins?

 

 

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Week 2 preview

There’s a lot of people who are rooting for Rex Grossman to fail:  Bears fans, NFL experts and fans of the other teams in the NFC East.  We know why the last group is.  Experts want to sound smart and most of them predicted the Redskins to be terrible this year and finish with records like 3-13, 4-12 and even 2-14.  Of course, it’s possible that any of these are still possible since our hometown heroes still have a lot to prove.  Bears fans are rooting against Rex so that they won’t be wrong either- wrong to run him out of town and wrong to think that one of the biggest jerks in the NFL, filled with bravado, Mr. Jay Cutler, is in fact better than the man that they ran out of town.

Of course, I thought Sexus was not the right man for the ‘Skins either.  And maybe me and everyone else will be proven wrong.  But of course, I would rather be proven wrong with Redskins victories rather than be right about Redskins losses.  Thus I am a fan and not a journalist.

In years past, whenever the Redskins would play a team like the Cardinals which was coming off a game where another team exposed an apparent weakness, such as Carolina did in racking up over 400 yards of passing in Cam Newton’s NFL debut, we as Redskins fans would expect the same out of our flawed team, only to be more often not disappointed at the results.  Based off of Sexus’ above-average performance against the Giants last week, a team with a defense considered far superior to Arizona’s despite its injuries, Redskins fans are optimistic Rexus can have an equally strong, if not stronger performance.  Of course, if Sexus Rexus was part of teams from the past, which seemed to brim with confidence and lack talent or youth or skill or some awful combination of all three, he would fall apart and the Redskins would find some way to lose a winnable game.  And that’s exactly what all the Bears, experts, Cowboys, Giants and Eagles fans expect to happen.  And, it goes without saying, some Redskins fans expect it too.

Will it though?  Our o-line performed less than average last week.  If the same thing happens, we could be in trouble.  But just as I don’t expect the Arizona secondary to be as bad as they were last week, I don’t expect our o-line to be as bad either.  NFL teams make adjustments.  The Cardinals have a few pass-rushers which make you nervous, but overall, I still think our offense will be able to their thing.  Shanny and the Boy Wonder called a decent game last week and I think they will also improve as they continue to see what throws Sexus is most comfortable making.  Of course Hightower will be motivated to play well against his old team who thought he was expendable.  Last week, we scored 21 offensive points with a sub-par running game.  I think we’ll be able to add 2 or 3 more points to that.

On defense, the Redskins will have to make the Cardinals one-dimensional by stuffing the run and putting pressure on Kolb.  Otherwise, Larry Fitzgerald will eat our corners alive.  Even with pressure, I still expect him to have a good game as we don’t really have anyone who can cover him one-on-one.  The ‘Skins have game-planned for Kolb before, but I’m sure they will take a fresh approach combined with what we did on our win over Philly last year in October to figure how to frustrate him.  My best hunch is that Landry will not play and now it seems like Orakpo may not either.  Rob Jackson, taken in the 7th round under the Cerrato regime, is a great BBR story and I expect him to play well in Orakpo’s place.  Of course, as representing all the truest virtues of what it means to BBR, I would like to say that Jackson will play just as well as Orakpo, but we may have to wait for him to flourish.  That being said, our defense will probably not be as strong without our two best players in Landry and Orakpo on the sidelines.

I know that the Cardinals returned a kickoff for a TD last week, but the Redskins coverage units are strong and both Gano and Rocca are hitting the ball well on changes of possession.  Factor in Banks and the special teams edge still goes to us.  We are favored by 4, but something tells me we will not win by that much.

Very simply put though, I guess I’m beginning to believe that like Cooley, Fletcher, Alexander and Sexus Rexus himself have been saying all along, this Redskins team is different.  Redskins will win 23-21.

Double vision:  How great is it for the Nats to sweep the Mets in New York?  1st of all, I love DC doing better than New York although two teams totally out of contention fighting for 3rd place in the division hardly warrants any kind of major celebration.  But this is big for the Nats on many levels.  Finishing 3rd would be huge for us considering we have never finished better than 4th in the division.  We won the season series against the Mets 10-8 and we did it all while playing our young players.  Peacock and Milone getting their 1st big league wins and getting solid contributions from our new young hitters.  Ian Desmond has been hitting very well of late which makes you wonder whether the Nats will be content to let him lead-off next year if we are unable to attract a big name lead-off man.

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Jarvis Jenkins being out for the season is indeed bad news.  Yes, forget all the JJ references, me yelling “Dynomite” from the middle of section 449 every time he made a big play this year.  Even more important, JJ will be missed sorely on the defensive front where it looked like he had played himself into a starting role.  Furthermore, he represented what was going right with this team right now – an infusion of young, hungry players who feel not entitlement and who are here to prove they that can be the next stars in the NFL.  He was a young cornerstone and he will be missed.  He is a BBR who was never able to blossom.

The question is where does this leave the ‘Skins defensively?   Well, let’s take a look at who’s definitely on the team and who will benefit from JJ’s absence?

Our secondary is:  Landry, Atogwe, Hall, Barnes, Wilson, Buchanon and Doughty

Our linebackers are:  Fletcher, Orakpo, Mcintosh, Kerrigan, Alexander and Riley

Our defensive lineman are:  Carriker,  Bowen, Cofield, Bryant

That makes 17 definite players on defense barring anymore catastrophic injuries.

On offense, here are the players we can count on being on the team:

QBs:  Grossman, Beck

Running Backs: Hightower, Torain, Helu, Young

Receivers:  Moss, Hankerson, Gaffney, Armstrong

Tight-ends: Cooley, Davis

O-linemen:  Williams, Montgomery, Lichtensteiger, Chester, Brown, Hicks

That’s 18 players on offense:

The kickers are Gano and Rocca.

That’s 37 all together.

Now who are the final 16?

I think on defense, these players have shown enough or are necessary for depth to make the team:  Fox (LB), Worthington (DT), Kedric Golston (DT),  Byron Westbrook (DB), Russel Anderson (FS), Rob Jackson (LB)

I think on offense, these players have shown enough or are necessary for depth to make the team:  Terrence Austin (WR), Mike Sellers (FB), Erik Cook (C/G),  Evan Royster (RB), Logan Paulson

That leaves 5 spots open:  Where will they go?

I think Banks will make the team. I think Oldenberg will make the team for depth at tackle.  I think Gomes from Nebraska may make the team especially if Kareem Moore goes to the PUP list and I think Brandyn Thompson will make the team.  And perhaps the last spot will go to Kellen Clemens.

I don’t think any of this is outrageous and of course I have no idea how good many of these guys are on special teams which may make the final difference in making the team or being cut.  I think we may be saying good-bye to BBRs like Horatio Blades and Chris Horton.  Beyond that, I’m not sure.

Double vision:  The last two Sundays I’ve taken nice long afternoon naps which have been quite enjoyable.  Last Sunday I awoke to catch the Nats game going into the bottom on the 8th against the Phillies only to listen to the Nats’ stirring victory on the radio as I worked in my yard.  Today I woke up in the bottom of the 11th only to listen to the Nats’ disappointing loss in the bottom of the 14th while I cleaned up in the yard after the hurricane.

After losing 6 games in a row, the Nats went from giving people hope that we may finish with a winning record to being one game from our low point of the season at 9 games below .500.  Now all of this is just cosmetics on what will ultimately be another unfulfilled season, but I do think it important for the Nats to finish strong.  I know we have to play our younger guys coming up from the minors like Moreno who hit 2 for 4 today as a pinch-hitter who stayed in the game.  But we have to keep on winning, only so that we don’t finish last in the division AGAIN.  I don’t know it matter me but finishing a distant 3rd to Atlanta and Philly would be a good stepping stone in my mind for this team.  Nothing groundbreaking there, just musings after I have watched the hometown baseball team go on what has become an increasingly rare thing around here – a long losing streak.

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Moral victory

Amid the Nats struggling to gain footing during the dog days of summer, my departure from the country, word that the Caps dressing room was too relaxed and that Ovie did not take keeping himself in shape seriously, my favorite college basketball team getting into a melee with a Chinese basketball team and the constant banter revolving Beck vs. Rex which still seems so myopic in its insistence on ignoring other aspects of our favorite football team, I needed to take a break from the blog.

To be honest, there was nothing inspiring going on, nothing to get my blood pumping.  But then, Ian Desmond, down to his last strike, hit a 2-out homerun in the bottom of the 9th to bring the Nats back even with the Phillies yesterday afternoon which ultimately led to a victory in the bottom of the 10th and a series victory.  It also meant that the Nats beat the Phillies 5 out of 9 times here in Nats park, something according to my crack research team has not been done since 2006.  It also meant that we have beaten the Phillies5 out of the last 7 times.

At this point of course, these are all nothing more than moral victories, but significant they are as the Nationals continue to demonstrate hope for their future and a mentality that we will not be anyone’s whipping boy.  It also makes me happy to see all those Philly fans drive home to Philly sad and annoyed that their afternoon was ruined.  And for all the fake Philly fans that are from this area, they got to ride the Green line embarrassed for their desertion.   I would like to think that one day, Phillies fans won’t be able to buy thousands of tickets at Nats park which is true now of Citizens Bank Park in Philly, but was not true even as recently as 5 years ago where the so-called rabid sports town of Philly turned its back on a perennial loser in the Phillies.  But the only we are going to make the transition like they did is by winning more games like we did this weekend, both on the Z man’s walk-off grand-slam and yesterday’s back-against-the-wall, clutch homerun by Desmond.

Double vision: Of course there are no moral victories in the pre-season and the Redskins are in an unenviable position where if they play well, people will say that the other team wasn’t trying while if the Redskins stink, people will say that the Redskins stunk against another team that wasn’t even trying.  Same goes for John Beck who played well against the Colts on Friday night. Whether the Colts were “trying” or not, Beck looked good and I think that if Beck and Rex finish in a tie, we will see Beck be the starter against the Giants on 9/11. This leads me to think that Beck will get the start this week against the Ravens who, if they game-plan for the ‘ Skins, will present a tougher challenge for the new hope in D.C.

To be honest, the biggest improvement in the offense this pre-season is our running game.  Hightower is proving to be a steal and he, along with Helu and Torain could present the kind of trio which could really cause defenses trouble.  Chris Chester has so far shown himself to be strong in the run-game and the whole offensive line, with a year under its belt, could become more polished in its zone-blocking scheme.  Furthermore, all three runners I mentioned above, especially Hightower, seem quite good at making one cut on each play which is required in the zone-blocking scheme Shanny runs.

My biggest concern coming out of Friday night’s game was how Trent Williams did not play well at all against Dwight Freeney.  Sure Freeney is really good, but Williams is supposed to be really good and he did not show it on Friday.  The kid needs to be better if we are going to be better this year.

More to come this week as B2BR awakes from its summer slumber.

But now, I’m back.

 

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The show is over

Getting rid of Haynsie and McNabb not only reflected on Shanalahan’s ability to deal, it also most importantly prevented the 2-ring circus which would have been training camp today in Ashburn if either or both were still on this team.  Instead, Kelli Johnson LaVar and Dukes and anyone from ESPN (who probably won’t be coming here since there is nothing to talk about) have nothing to talk about except how Shanalahan must have read this blog and started fulfilling my 300-pound wish list as fast as possible.

As I discussed earlier, signing Cofield makes us stronger and the Giants weaker.  The same could be said about Bowen whose departure from Dallas makes them weaker and us stronger.  Signing Chris Chester was also an excellent move since he came from Baltimore and everyone there talks about what a genius Ozzie Newsome is.  Well, we just took two of his young starters away from him and from all reports, the Ravens were sad to lose them and people think highly of them.  How do I know?  I don’t watch any Ravens games.  Yes, the Redskins signed a slew of receivers, but if you look closer, you’ll see that the big money was spent on my 300-pound wish list.  The Redskins made the 300-pounders part of the long-term future and gave all the receivers 1-year deals, aside from Moss. 

The only receiver aside from Moss who got a long-term deal was our own draft pick, Leonard Hanckerson.  So the ‘ Skins are focusing on developing young players and thinking about the future.  What a novel idea? 

We even made the Eagles weaker by signing away their solid punter Rocca, now leaving them dependent on some undrafted free-agent who may suck and who may not.  And frankly, we really needed a punter.  Kudos to Shanalahan for rubbing some of these signings in the face of our most hated opponents.

Back to Haynsie.  Now while dealing with Haynsie revealed the full extent of Shanny’s ego-maniacal ways, in some ways, the Shanalahan collective were not to blame for Haynsie.  As someone said on sports radio, Haynsie robbed the Redskins and Vinny Cerrato was driving the car on the way to the stick-up.  All that being said, the reason I always felt confident that Haynsie would be traded (and wrote so here) and told anyone who would listen was because some good team, like the Patriots who needed d-line help, would throw something at us.  And of course Bellichek collects 5th round picks like pennies.  So, it’s not like he gave up something dear that the Redskins can wave to us fans, but the fact of the matter is that Haynsie did not go to Philly, NY or Dallas and we can forget about the whole thing.  Snyder won’t forget so easily which may be the kind of lesson he needs to learn.

Many people have said that Stallworth is a good signing.  I’m not so sure, but at least there is little risk in signing him.  He’s like the Willie Parker/ Larry Johnson signing for last year.  Now Jabar Gaffney came with a sacrifice – we traded Jeremy Jarmon who didn’t play much last year and who was better suited for the 4-3.  What’s the sacrifice you may be asking then?  Well, everytime he tackled someone, I started singing “We be Jarmon” loud and proud from section 449.  Now I can’t do that anymore and besides, you hate to see a BBR have to go.

The Redskins also cut Rabach which me and many others have been hoping for a while too.  What’s clear is that Shanalahan had and still have a plan.   Last year they brought in a bunch of big-name stiffs because there were no free-agents that could help us last year and thus they didn’t sign anyone to long-term deals.  Well all those old duds are gone:  Johnson, Parker, Galloway, Roydell Williams (not a big name, but old) and they all been replaced with young drafted players and Gaffney and Stallworth who if they play well can stay, if not they can leave and we won’t be any worse for it in terms of the salary cap. 

The o-line still has one major issue:  right tackle.  Will they re-sign Jammal Brown and if not, who is going to play there?  Shanalahan may have painted themselves into a corner on this one since I don’t know how is out there still who could play RT and we have no significant drafted player who anyone could say now has a shot at being a starter come 9/11 against the Giants.  We may have to overpay for him or just take a chance on some unproven guy which does seem risky.

But then again, look at QB.  That’s really the elephant in the room.  All of these signings make sense for this year and the long-term and it’s nice to see my team finally thinking deeply about the long term in signing 300-pounders and keeping, hell even acquiring draft-picks.  But my happiness this year, and the happiness of all true Washingtonians this year is going to come down to how well Beck or Sexy Rexy plays.  By the way, is it possible that we are not going to re-sing Sexy and go with Kellen Clemmons?  No, that’s not possible, is it?  Maybe they look at Bulger?  None of it sounds all that good.

But the events of the last two days were good and bode well for the future.

Double vision:  the Nats are in a bad way these days.  Everything is falling apart and being in last place is really bad for our psyche.  Sure, we play in the toughest division in baseball if you count up the total wins of all 5 teams together.  And maybe, it is from top to bottom the best division, but this is our division so we have to get used to it, (unless of course they get rid of the divisions and add another wild-card team like I have rumblings about recently).  But anyway, we have to figure a way to get out of last, if we are ever going to be first.  The Marlins are not much better than us and without Josh Johnson, their pitching is certainly not better than us and on top of it, they lost something like 18 out of 21 games at one point this year.  But now, they are ahead of us.  And the Mets are way ahead of us.  The next 6 games against NY and Atlanta will be very important for the Nats and the city in terms of helping keep morale up.  If we win both series, we have a chance to get out of the basement.  If we lose both, it’s hard to see us getting out of there.

The Z man and Nix and even Werth are hitting better now, but the pitching is in bad shape all of a sudden and I’m getting very nervous about the progress of our young arms.   The plan of waiting for the future needs to start with some winning and .500 was a realistic goal for this team for what seemed like quite a while.  I’m not ready to let go of it, but without it, the idea of building for a future that’s never coming seems harder to swallow.

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One of the worst mistakes made by the Redskins, among many, these past 10 years happened when we did not re-sign Antonio Pierce for what he was worth in 2005.  What happened?  He went to New York, in the prime of his career and helped the Giants not only beat us all the time, but won a Super Bowl with them.  Pierce was not a star by any means, but a valuable, smart player who knew how to play the game, played with passion and killed us time and time again.

Ever since then, I have been searching for some player to reverse this curse and today, with the agreement in principle between Barry Cofield and the ‘Skins, the curse may have indeed been reversed.  On top of it, they got him for a reasonable $12.5 million guaranteed.  A lot of people think he will play NT, but I think he will be a DE even though he is technically listed as NT.  If we don’t end up signing the NT from the 49ers, then Cofield has the versatility to play both positions.  The dude is young and in the prime his career and fulfills my 300 pound wish list to the Redskins I discussed in earlier blogs.

Since the end of last season, I have been saying that the ‘Skins would find a trade partner for McNabb. I told the Junkies, I told Lavar and Dukes, I wrote in on the blog and no one listened to me.  People instead listened to Jason Reid, the reporter who says one thing one day then contradicts himself the next, who said no one would trade for McNabb.  (Just a moment on Reid: He wrote this column that got a lot of pub locally where he said that this year Shanny should do the opposite of everything he did last year since he did everything wrong last year.  Those are his words.  Then in a subsequent article, when he was slamming Snyder about the ‘Skins waiting list, which had some legitimacy, he then states that Snyder should not act impetuously and give Shanny some time since the coach “develop[ed] key players last season and drafte[ed] many rookies who could contribute eventually. ”  That doesn’t sound like Shanny did everything wrong last year Jason.  The point is while it is maddening to cover the ‘Skins because they do so many crazy things, it is not that hard to see the good they do from the bad and it doesn’t seem to be sound journalism to slam Shanny in one article then defend him when you are trying to slam Snyder.

Now, back to McNabb.  Now I did think the ‘Skins would get a 4th rounder instead of two 6th round picks which seem to be worth less, but we did get something and Shanalahan avoided having a two-ring circus in training camp with the traitor McNabb in one ring and Haynsie in the other.

I was really not sure the ‘Skins would re-sing Moss, but the deal worth $6 million guaranteed for 3 years is really reasonable and gives us some security moving forward.  I think it also shows that the Redskins are not going to break the bank for Holmes and certainly not Braylon Edwards and probably won’t go for Plaxico, all of which is fine with me.  I want them to continue fulfilling my 300 pound wish list, next with a NT and some o-line men.

Double vision:  The Nats are playing badly.  Little Z’s two consecutive bad performances have got me a little worried and any Nats fans should be paying close attention to his next start to see if he can bounce back so as to allay any concerns that something may not be right.  So recently, even though our bats have been silent, we had been scoring runs at a decent clip by our standards, but not getting the starting or relief pitching to back it up.  Then last night, the floor falls out and we get blown away and find ourselves in last place which is definitely deflating after the excellent stretch of baseball that we had been playing for a while.

Ian Desmond has been a mess at shortstop recently and overall our defense, from Flores looking lost behind the plate in relief behind Ramos, to the Z man combing spectacular plays with some head-scratching decisions, to even Espinosa fighting it at times, has been a mess.

Now we got Gomes in a trade for some minor leaguers. It doesn’t seem like the Nats to trade for a guy in the last year of his contract.  So they are probably bringing him in to package him in some other trade they are going to make.  Not sure who or for whom aside from the likely candidates like Marquis or a set-up reliever like everyone is mentioning.

We haven’t been 4 games under .500 since we were on a win streak that took us back to .500.  So, it’s time to get things turned around against the Marlins and next the Mets.

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Yesterday, I think everyone got very excited about the owners saying yes to the proposed CBA.  Everyone got very excited.  But at the end of the day, the players are not in a rush to sign squat.  “Why?” you may ask.  Well because, they get paid only for game checks, (17 times per year), not pres-season tickets.  So, while the owners are in a rush to get the pre-season games in, and they already cancelled one, the players can play it cool.  It’s almost like the owners are like your puppy you had when you were in 6th grade, who had that Scooby Doo look of excitement on his face when you came in, his leash in his mouth, all ready to go out and play.  I can almost here Roger Goodell handing the signed agreement over to DeMaurice Smith saying “You ready to play?  you ready?  Com’on, com’on com’on.”  Then DeMaurice and the rest of the players reps taking the contract, leaning forward on the table, giving all the papers a little tap on the table to get them all even, then leaning back with one hand behind their head, bending their fingernails down over their hands and saying “Check it out, Rog, Jer, Danny, Art, Johnny, Allie, Bobby, we’ll get back to you, alright?”  Then the owners, crushed that they can’t go out and play, drop their mouths open, the leash falls helplessly to the ground and they say, almost in a whimper, “When?”  Then the players lean a little further back in their nice leather chair and say, “I don’t know, Monday, Tuesday, something like that.” Then DeMaurice leans forward towards Rog and pats him on the head and says, “Don’t worry, we’ll call you.”

It probably all went down something like that.

Now in the meantime, everyone in town is going crazy that Shanny said lats week that he “love[s] Donovan McNabb” and in the process lied to a young, innocent Redskins fan, probably much like myself at that age, and still at this age, who just wants the best for his beloved team.  Well I ask everyone who has been calling Shanny a dirtbag, which he probably is of course, “what the hell was he supposed to do?”  Tell the kid something like, “there’s actually no way in hell he will be playing QB for the ‘Skins next year because he’s washed up, somewhat of a cry baby and represents the biggest error in judgement I’ve made in my over 30 years of coaching and I would be happy if I could get a conditional 6th round pick 5 years from for him”.

Uh, no.  That would not be exactly playing your hand well.  Similarly, he’s not going to tell the media that Haynsie is whale-size douche who is on a one-way ticket out of here once the Redskins can get anything in trade value for him.  So, while we all know Shanny lacks some grace when it comes to people skills, let’s not bash him for playing things close to the vest.

As for my free-agent wishes for the ‘Skins once this whole thing is over, I don’t want anyone who is less than 300 pounds and does not play on the o-line or d-line.  Forget everyone one else.  No receivers, no running backs, no QBs, nothing.  Maybe a corner, but that’s it in terms of fast guys.

Double vision: While I have been in absentia, I have listened to every Nats game since the all-star break and now don’t think this team has the ability to go on a run like we did earlier, win 10 out of 12 games and move within 4-5 games of the wild card.  On the flip side, now that we just gave up a series at Houston that we should have won, if not for some rare bullpen implosions which happen to everyone from time to time, I do fear that we could fall several games below .500.

Our lineup continues to show that we have the pieces which could fit together really nicely. Next year, it could look something like,

Bernadina (or free-agent lead-off man)

Espinosa

Zimmerman

free-agent clean-up or Harper

Werth

Morse

Ramos

Desmond

That’s not too bad and if Morse continues at this rate, he would just the kind of protection Werth could use in the lineup.  Now as for pitchers, only baby Zimm and Lannan are guaranteed to be around next year, but along with Strasburg, maybe Peacock and a free-agent/ re-signing Marquis, the rotation could also be pretty strong.

Triple vision: Sorry to see Fehr go, but we needed someone to leave so that we could keep Alzner around.  But as I’ve said on many occasions, Fehr never became that tough net presence the Caps thought he could be and at the end of the day became just another winger on a team with a bunch of more skilled, a now with our new acquisitions in the off-season, tougher wingers.

Too much vision: After picking up 4 points in two, tough road games, D.C. United played like shit on Wednesday night and gave up a great chance to make a strong push for the #3 spot in the East.  Now it’s uphill again.  This team lacks consistent effort.  Letting a header in on a corner is about desire and effort and at the other end of the field, no one aside from De Rosario seemed all that willing to battle and overcome the heat in hustling to become a major presence in the final third.  Disappointing.

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