Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wasting timeouts LOSES games!

I think people who don't really follow football will assign most of the blame for the loss to the Cowgirls on Shawn Suisham. I don't. Missing field goals is part of the game. Their kicker missed one, too.

I blame it on clock mismanagement. Not just in the 2nd half, either, as the first half mismanagement was actually more damaging because the FG Suisham missed didn't need to be attempted if there were more timeouts. They could have scored a TD (possibly) or gotten a little closer (fairly probable). But they didn't value their timeouts. Two of them were wasted outright.

One particular instance that I yelled at the TV was after a first down completion near the end of the first half. The Skins called their last timeout instead of running to the line of scrimmage and spiking the ball. That's just awful, awful clock management...

Simply put, timeouts should be treated like gold, and only, only, only used when all the other options are really bad (EX: Your defense has 12 men on the field and if the ball is snapped they'll get a first down from the penalty, or if it's 4th down and you need time to get the right play in.) I mean, seriously, if you analyzed how important it is to have timeouts at the end of halves and then tracked all the timeouts coaches take -- you'd be amazed at just how stupid their decision seems. And yet they keep doing it. Not just Zorn, although he seems to specialize in it... The only thing that frustrates me more during a game is poor effort (Like DeAngelo Halls' missed tackles on Manningham in the Giants game and on Delhomme in the Carolina game). Why coaches can't realize that oftentimes taking a delay of game is smarter than wasting a timeout, especially in the 2nd half, boggles my mind.

You can't control the bounce of the ball, when it will be tipped, or if a field goal will always be true -- but you can control your decision making, and clock management falls entirely under decision making. I would guess at least 2 (probably more) games are lost each week due to bad clock management... In reading Bill Simmons, I know he's been a longtime proponent of having a clock management expert on each coaching staff -- and that being their only job (he goes further to suggest you can hire a 15-year-old Madden game expert to do the job -- and sadly that kid would make better decisions than a lot of these coaches who waste timeouts).

That's what I blame this loss on. The Defense played great. The offense played gutty (with all the O-line and RB injuries) against a good Dallas D... The coach let his team down by wasting timeouts in both halves -- and not coaching his players to value them more.

In the second half, if the timeouts weren't wasted, the game wouldn't have been over after the interception. Granted, the odds wouldn't have been good because they still needed to get the ball back, and then drive the field with little time... But, it was the first half wasted timeouts that cost points, and this game.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shut Up, DeAngelo!

I was wrong... I had a conversation with a friend over the summer about DeAngelo Hall. He called me laughing that the Skins re-signed Hall (and for quite a bit more than chump change). My argument was, he's a ball hawk and any attitude problems will be policed by the team because they had strong enough leaders.

Again, I was wrong... Very, very wrong. To hear DeAngelo talking about what the team needs to do to get better makes me ill. He might be the worst tackler I've ever seen in a cornerback. And he's not that great a cover guy to make up for it. If you have an absolute shutdown corner, then you may be able to get away with poor tackling from the guy. And I say maybe, because poor tackling can always kill you.

But DeAngelo, holy crap he sucks at tackling. And the nerve to then voice his opinion about how others on the team need to play. How they need to care as much as him. He's freakin' delusional. Every time he talks, a player on the team should show him his attempted tackle on Mario Manningham in the Giants game, and then another player should show him his attempted tackle on Jake Delhomme (who dragged him several yards for the game sealing first down), and then another player should show his attempted tackle of Michael Turner against the Falcons after the Skins finally had some momentum. Each of those attempts were beyond pathetic. Someone with any common sense would never open their mouths about anything other than how poorly he played...

I pray that whoever the new GM is (And I pray that we have a new strong GM next year) will make the right choice on this and send DeAngelo packing. Please!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Charting the game

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I thought I'd chart the game, writing thoughts and comments about every series. I guess I had some small hope that in doing so, I could figure out what ails this team besides the obvious "It's the O-line" kind of analysis.

So, here goes:

1st Philly series: Touchdown, Desean Jackson... (Comment: Just bad execution from the D meeting up with good execution from the O. (Comment: I'm not going to be a hypocrite and deride Vinny for not picking this guy, because at the time NOBODY thought we needed another small WR. And I don't think anyone thought Jackson would be this good... That doesn't get Vinny off the hook for who he did pick, though).

1st Redskins series: Jason Campbell couldn't catch the snap, which while not perfect, was catchable. (Comment: Bad execution. Not catching snaps comes down to simple concentration. I know he doesn't trust his O-line enough and so is probably looking at the D at that point, but c'mon man, good QBs don't screw up like that. That's on you, Jason... I've been a Jason supporter, but I gotta call it like I see it. He's been disappointing this year. He's talked about not being able to get into a rhythm a lot this year. That sounds lame. A QB needs to find a way to play well. If you're relying on playcalling or feel to get in a rhythm, then you're not all that trustworthy. Imagine being in a Super Bowl worried about whether your QB will be able to get in a rhythm. I hope he never talks about rhythm again, unless it's in reference to maybe Todd Yoder's dancing.).

2nd Philly series: They seem to be moving the ball fairly easily. The runs are all going for 4 or 5 yards, and the passes 8 or more yards. Jaworski (Jaws from now on) noticed that when Orakpo was on the line, McNabb audibled into a run. It gained 3 yards, but I don't think he made the tackle... (Comment: I think next year Orakpo will hopefully be a full time DE, but he'll need to get bigger, so he won't get run on. I think he will get bigger)... Series ended with a bad McNabb pass into good Skins coverage... No real pass rush, though.

2nd Redskins series: Portis loses a yard and a half. (Comment: I've seen more behind the line of scrimmage tackles on our backs this year than I can ever remember. And it happened when Samuels and Thomas were healthy as well. They say 4 O-linemen can block the play right and if one doesn't, or if a back or tight end doesn't, the play ends. I don't know if they're playing musical chairs to see who misses the block each time, but it happens way too much, and is a big reason why they stink on offense. Good offenses would have a hard time being in 2nd and long all the time.)... Skins get a 1st down on a penalty. (Comment: I don't know if I'll be able to sing "Hail to the Redskins" this game at all, so I sang it here.)... A horrible Jason play. He looked indecisive even with good protection... A 3rd down checkdown pass to Betts. Doesn't get the 1st. (Comment: I don't like this play. The odds are too low. Maybe with a bad O-line you have no choice to keep doing these, though.)... They punt to the extremely slow, un-quick DeSean Jackson. He gets a good runback. Not a wise decision.

3rd Philly series: They moved the ball enough to give the Skins bad field position. (Comment: Unfortunately, the defense has to be perfect in order to overcome the Skins woeful offense. Either constant 3 and outs or preferably turnovers. But this defense, while good, is not the Ravens in their Superbowl year, or the Steelers last year, or the 85 Bears... They're solid, just not great.)

3rd Skins series: A 2 yard run. Campbell's pass knocked in the air and intercepted for a TD. Eagles 14-0. Montgomery called out by Jaws and Gruden for not knocking the tackle's hand down. Apparently, in this play with a short drop, that's vital for the O-lineman to do. (Comment: The vaunted Vinny O-line depth comes through again. How does Vinny account for the Rhinehart pick? A side note. Over at the WaPo blogs, there's a fun little tete a tete between someone who goes by the name Barno1 and someone who goes by Poopy_McPoop. Whenever I would read anything Barno wrote, I always envisioned a big fat purple dinosaur with a picture of Snyder on one side of his keyboard and Vinny on the other and him singing to them, "I love you, you love me." But their back and forth got me to thinking, wouldn't it be great to have them on one of those political type point/counterpoint shows -- but only if Barno is dressed like a big fat purple dinosaur and Poopy in a diaper with Snyder's face on it. Larry King could host it.)

Larry King: Poopy, the offensive line. Your thoughts?
Larry King: I believe Poopy just crapped on Dan Snyder's face... Barno, rebuttal.
Barno: If Samuels and Thomas didn't get hurt, this would be a great offensive line.
Larry King: I think what he's trying to say is how wise was it to assume two older, injury prone players were going to stay healthy?
Larry King: And I think he also questioned how good the rest of the line actually is. Heyer's been playing like the remnants of Poopy's diaper.

Well, you get the jist (or is it Gist?). Hopefully, someone makes that show happen... How pathetic is this season that I'm hoping for a show featuring two blog commenters who I've never seen and don't know their real names? Back to the game, mercifully.

4th Skins series: 2 good Portis runs over left/center. End of quarter...

2nd Quarter: Campbell fumbles, showing a lack of awareness. (Comment: He looked gimpy and didn't appear as fast as he has been, but he still has to sense that guy and get rid of the ball quicker or just tuck and run and get what you can.) Cooley injured. (Comment: Cliched when it rains it pours moment. The yellow hair did nothing to protect him.)

4th Philly series: 3 and out. Field goal. (Comment: The Skins offense has given Philly 10 points. The Skins offense has given the Skins 0 points. Maybe they don't know the rules of football.)

5th Skins series: The referees are confused. They called number 35 on the Skins for a penalty, but I have no idea who 35 is... Okay, it was on Philly. Good return by Rock.
All right, a very good drive. Good throws and good decisions, especially on the TD. Fred Davis with 2 catches in place of Cooley. (Comment: Let's hope Davis doesn't dye his hair yellow at halftime). Devin Thomas first receiving TD... I really liked the Rock Cartwright run. He looked fast! I'd give him a few more carries this game. It feels like he's playing with a lot of fight.

5th Philly series: The kickoff only traveled to the 18. Weak. Good D to make them punt.

6th Skins series: Randle El can't catch the punt! Before the punt, I was asking why no Moss in this situation. The Skins had momentum, a big Moss return here could have been huge. (Comment: Like most, I've thought Randle El wasn't very good at returning punts anymore, but he was dependable in catching it, which is important, too... Well, this muff was horrible. It took away all the momentum, and the Skins rarely have had momentum this year. This may have been the game right here.)

6th Philly series: Good D stand after El's turnover. The D is playing with some passion right now, which is good to see. DeAngelo Hall actually made a good tackle. (Comment: Gruden praised DeAngelo as a complete ballplayer... Uh, someone please show Gruden Hall's attempted tackles against Manningham and Jake Delhomme and ask if that was a complete ballplayer making those plays.)

7th Skins series: Portis no gain. (Comment: I think Portis is the highest paid back in the league right now. No cap next year, this has to change. I'd probably cut him unless he takes some kind of cut. He shouldn't be a featured back anymore. He should be in a 2 or 3 back rotation. And be in on 3rd down passing situations because, honestly, his pass blocking is what he does best at this point in his career.) Jaws shows us that if Jason had stayed with Moss after the pump fake it would have been an easy touchdown. (Comment: Great job of analysis because we can't see that kind of thing on television.) Campbell sacked. This failed series was on Jason... And 3rd and longs for this O-line are too difficult... Bad punt. DeSean Jackson probably a factor.

7th Philly series: Another good D stand so far. Nice sack by Doughty. (Comment: Mike Tirico is the first announcer in weeks to pronounce Doughty's name right. The middle of his name should sound like "OUT"...) It's 3rd and 23. DeSean Jackson WIDE OPEN for TD! PATHETIC!!!How? How?!!! Uncovered! No pass rush, but still, that should never happen. Looks like Carlos Rogers fell for a fake, and Horton not in position to help. Just pathetic! (Comment: I don't know if you can tell, but I'm not happy right now.)

8th Skins series: Betts tackled out of bounds near the benches. Flag called. Overturned call. I've seen some really bad overturn calls this year. The ref gets it right the first time and then is talked out of it by someone who apparently is not operating with 20/20 vision. (Comment: Is 20/20 vision a requirement to be a ref?)

Halftime analysis: When you watch on TV, you don't always get a sense of what's really going on, especially in the passing game. But Jaws and Gruden pointed out some of Jason's bad decisions. For the most part, they've done great color commentary. I grew up reading Kornheiser, but I'll always prefer actual football analysis from the broadcasting crew... As for the game so far, this team isn't good enough to overcome any turnovers or any blown coverages. When you have multiples of both, it ain't good.

3rd Quarter:

1st Skins series:
Good start. Until the penalties. Heyer is just not good enough. Strange 3rd down screen to Sellers.

1st Philly series: Why can't the Skins recover fumbles? It was a great sack by Carter. Wilson has to find that ball -- it was there for the taking. That's a potential game-changing play NOT made.

2nd Skins series: Moss looks like he was tutored by Randle-El on that punt... Jaws gave great analysis on the sack. A good discussion about audibling. Both Jaws and Gruden felt like that was a play that couldn't work and an audible was needed. (Comment: They felt the Skins don't have an audible system. I don't think that's correct. I remember in Norv Turner's offense there wasn't audibling, but I think Zorn allows for it. Will have to look into that one more.)

2nd Philly series: Jarmon looks quick, although he needed to make that McCoy tackle. London Fletcher's facemask seemed so unnecessary with someone else tackling the guy. Players have to be more aware. I know it's happening full speed, but you can't win with mistakes like that (Comment: The Skins ain't winning this year regardless so that last comment is directed more to teams in general.)... Wilson's having a good game. I guess he's in place of Orakpo who went out with an injury. Haven't heard an update on his status... I don't like the side safety blitz. It takes too long and never seems to work.

3rd Skins series: Heyer's going to get Jason killed. (Comment: Smart football people = good offensive line depth. Nuff said.)

End of 3rd quarter: Jaws said there was no juice or energy at the Skins practice he saw. How many 2-4 teams with lots of turmoil about the coach have juice or energy at practice?

4th Quarter:

3rd Philly series: Nice play by Golston (batted ball)... Golston injured. Haven't gotten updates on Cooley or Orakpo. Would be nice to hear something.

4th Skins series: Good field position after a bad punt. DeAneglo Hall was back there... Is there really time to run the ball now?... You can't take a sack there. Did Jason have time, though? Why is Fred Davis blocking Trent Cole? I can't believe not even a field goal attempt on this possession. (Comment: Back to the Davis blocking Cole thing. That has to be on the coaches. First, a tight end should never have to pass block one on one the other team's top DE. The odds for success are way too low... But the Skins know what kind of blocker Davis is. They know he's putrid at it. How could he be put in that position? Coaches can bemoan execution, but they have to put the players in place to execute first.) (2nd comment: I hate seeing the Skins lose, but rock bottom will hopefully mean BIG changes. They have to, don't they? Snyder can't be that oblivious to everything, can he? Solutions: 1. No more involvement in football decisions for Snyder, 2. Fire Vinny, 3. Hire a great GM and get the hell out of his way...
ding, ding, ding -- I'm the one millionth customer to make that observation--this week. What do I win? A get-out-of-free chokehold card by a FedEx stadium security guy if I ever write "Snyder Sucks" on a napkin.)

4th Philly series: I think I saw Orakpo back on the Haynesworth sack, which looks like he fell backwards into. Still, a sack's a sack. I actually think Haynesworth has played well. Carter's sacks are way up due to him, absolutely.

5th Skins series: Another Devin Thomas sighting. Good job... Levi Jones in for Heyer. Heyer back in. I don't like when Fred Davis jumps in the air. It's too easy to fumble that way... Bad decision on 4th down. If you're actually trying to still win this game, which a coach and team should always be doing, then the right call was a field goal and then an onside kick... Another 4th down: since they didn't go for the FG last time, and lots of clock was eaten up, might as well go for it on 4th here. Let's see what happens? Fumbled snap! Wow! Can't snap the ball correctly on 4th and goal. Devin Thomas was wide open for another TD if Rabach just snapped it... Are they the Washington Generals right now?

5th Philly series: They punt. Yeah, I'm tired.

6th Skins series: Jason's got to throw the ball. Does Fred Davis know how to block even a little? Did his lack of blocking show in his college tapes? A 2nd round tight end should be at least somewhat competent in blocking... Skins TD. It's always nice to score, but let's be honest, Philly's D has let up.

That's all. Game over. I'm done.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Debating Cerrato

So, I just read the transcript of Cerrato's radio show. It kind of boggles my mind how clueless he seems to be. But almost as bad, is I, and many, many fans feel like we're being lied to.

He makes the meeting he had with Zorn sound cordial. "Hey, buddy, let's have a new play caller." "How about I think about it?" "Sure, buddy, call me later." I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but he's lost that benefit. So, believing that Cerrato whipped out the contract and said Zorn had no choice, is what I think happened.

I also think Snyder did try to hire Shanahan a few weeks ago, and was rebuffed.

And Cerrato goes all ape shit that Dan doesn't talk during the season out of respect for the football people. Wow! That's only okay if you're not involved in football-making decisions, like potentially hiring new coaches in-season...

One of the most galling things, however, about Cerrato's radio diatribe, is he seems to take NO ACCOUNTABILITY for his role. The offensive line, you jackass! That's on you! You deemed them good enough. You deemed the depth good enough should your two best, and older injury prone linemen, get hurt. That is the main reason why this offensive football team is bad. They don't run block well and they're virtually pathetic at pass blocking. Changing playcallers is a too-little too-late bandaid.

Has Zorn been a good playcaller? Not particularly, but execution hasn't been there either. It's amazing how much better execution usually is when you have an offensive line that leads to a good running game, and time for the QB to throw. Jason can barely do play-action without a guy in his face as soon as turns around.

Cerrato, fans don't like to be lied to. You're bad at your job, and we can all only hope that you don't have it at the end of the year. When nearly everyone thinks it was a bad idea to change playcallers the way you did it, except you and probably Snyder, that makes you clueless.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Well, this sure is a dismal time to be a diehard Redskins fan. But to be honest with you, I was more angry and upset after last week's loss to Carolina... This week, I was just numb. I thought we'd probably beat the Chiefs (not overly confident of it, though), but I didn't think this team would win more than once or twice the rest of the year regardless.

After the Carolina game, some (albeit a small minority) were saying they only lost because of a fluke play on the punt. What that game masked (because the defense set up the offense at the 10 and the 1), was how utterly inept the offense had become. They could literally do nothing against a below average Carolina defense... I knew then, virtually 100%, what I had pretty much known already, their offensive line is historically bad, and you just can't win with that bad an O-line.

I knew they had a bad O-line in the 2nd half of last year, and I knew their O-line upgrades were somewhat laughable in the offseason, but until you actually see it play out, you hope against hope that it works out.

But here's why I'm actually optimistic. I think hitting rock bottom was the only way to make Dan Snyder see the light. I'm not 100% positive that he sees the light, but he'd have to be pretty blind to not have his previous mindset, in which he doesn't believe he's part of the problem, altered.

Now, do I think he'll sell the team? Not really, although I don't feel as steadfast about that as much as before. I'd say there may now be a 1-5% chance that he would sell the team. Why? Because maybe it's hard for a person to deal with being so hated. Maybe it's hard on his family. Maybe he doesn't think it's worth it to keep putting them through such a horrible time...

I still don't think he'll sell, though, BUT the percentage that he alters how he runs things changes. Before today, I would have said there was a 10-20% chance he'd fire Vinny and step back as one of the decision-makers. I'd now say there's a 60% chance he'll fire Vinny, and a 25% chance he'll step back as a decision-maker...

Yes, I'd love both those numbers to be 100%, but at least there's hope for it happening now... That's what rock bottom can do. It sheds people of their enablers and let's them finally see the light. If this team barely beat Carolina and KC and muddled to 8-8, then nothing would change about the front office structure. Zorn would be fired, but as we now painfully have confirmed, he ain't the whole problem.

Do I want the Skins to lose the rest of the year? No, it pains me when they lose. But if there's hope that that losing leads to changes (and a high draft pick) then knowing that somehow eases my pain.

If Snyder does decide to sell the team, how much would it parallel the feeling after the wicked witch of the West was killed by Dorothy? Redskins fans in unison would have their own ecstatic "Ding Dong the witch is dead" type chant... Ah, dare to dream (Note: I don't want Snyder dead. That's evil. The game of life is more important than the game of football... I just want him to either be an entirely different type of owner, or sell the team).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My interview with Daniel Snyder

I've posted the transcript of the hard-hitting interview I did with the Skins' owner, Daniel Snyder.

Me: Thank you for the interview, Dan.

Daniel Snyder: You’re welcome.

Me: Let me first say, agreeing to do an interview with me is genius. Because no one reads my blog. Hell, even I have better things to do than read my blog. But now you can say you haven’t stayed silent. Brilliant.

Daniel Snyder: Thanks.

Me: Yeah, I wouldn’t get used to compliments, though.

Daniel Snyder: (chuckles uncomfortably) Uh oh.

Me: Let’s get right to it. No sugarcoating. Most Redskins fans believe that you are willing to spend money to win, but they don’t think you know enough about football to be making actual football decisions – such as hiring the coach, picking players, undermining players, making ill-advised trades. What would you say to them?

Daniel Snyder: They don’t know my real role. I’m not making decisions. The Redskins make decisions. We all agree on them.

Me: I, and I think many others, have trouble believing that.

Daniel Snyder: That’s because the media has painted it in a false way.

Me: The media that you don’t talk to.

Daniel Snyder: Maybe they’re not worth talking to.

Me: But if you don’t talk to anyone who delivers information to the public, ie – the fans, then how are we to know what you’re doing?

Daniel Snyder: I just told you what I’m doing.

Me: And I still have trouble believing it... Here’s my problem with your lack of media openness. If you’re the kind of owner who hires a GM and gets out of his way, then okay, no one needs to hear from you. But you’re not that kind of owner. You make decisions. And when those decisions go bad, we don’t get to hear why you made them. That seems to be a glaring lack of accountability.

Daniel Snyder: If certain media organizations have an angle that they want to pursue, there’s no point in me talking. They’re going to spin it to meet that angle.

Me: Uh, you could do radio interviews. You could do national interviews with ESPN or others. But actually, I think you’re paranoid. The Washington Post or the Times or anyone else covering you is not out to get you.

Daniel Snyder: Have you actually read their coverage?

Me: Yes, I read everything. And I can’t really say I disagree with most of their perceptions of you.

Daniel Snyder: That’s because you, like them, don’t actually know what’s going on.

Me: All right, well, hopefully, you’ll fill us all in as to what’s really going on.

Daniel Snyder: If your questions are fair, I will.

Me: Let’s get away from the media, and back to the team. Do you think you’re a good owner?

Daniel Snyder: How do you define good owner?

Me: We can start with a win-loss record.

Daniel Snyder: I made mistakes early on, and I’ve been upfront about that.

Me: What specifically do you think those mistakes were, and I ask that, because honestly, I still think you’re making the same mistakes.

Daniel Snyder: I’ve said I was impatient.

Me: And you’re not now?

Daniel Snyder: No. I have an aggressive philosophy and I’m not going to stop being aggressive.

Me: But if you’re making bad decisions while being aggressive, isn’t that a problem?

Daniel Snyder: Sitting back and not making decisions, in my view, is a problem.

Me: If you fire Zorn, is that being impatient?

Daniel Snyder: No decisions will be made until the end of the season.

Me: If you fire him after the season, you gave him 2 seasons. Is that being impatient?

Daniel Snyder: At the end of every season we do a thorough evaluation, and from that we determine how to move forward. All we care about is making the team better.

Me: You’re skirting around the impatience issue. There was a report that you would have fired him if they lost to the Eagles last year, the second to last game.

Daniel Snyder: You didn’t hear me say that.

Me: But that’s because you don’t talk... Is it the same answer for how it’s been reported that you asked Shanahan to take over this year, but were rebuffed.

Daniel Snyder: That’s the media.

Me: Okay, I see I’m not getting anywhere with that. It’d be a lot easier if you did some quick TV interview and said, “I didn’t try to hire Shanahan” or “no coaching decisions will be made until the end of the season.” That would help end the speculation, unless of course you were lying.

Daniel Snyder: Was there a question there?

Me: Let’s get back to mistakes and go through the history. Bringing in Jeff George, a mistake or not?

Daniel Snyder: He didn’t work out like I hoped, but remember, I didn’t make the decision to get rid of him.

Me: I don’t think that was a mistake. The mistake was bringing him in, which undermined your coach and starting QB, Brad Johnson, who won a Super Bowl a few years later.

Daniel Snyder: I said I was impatient early on.

Me: Was firing Norv before the season was over a mistake?

Daniel Snyder: I’ve acknowledged that was a mistake.

Me: Was hiring Marty Schottenheimer a mistake?

Daniel Snyder: This is all old news.

Me: No, it isn’t because I’m trying to find out if your mindset is the same today as it was back then. So, again, was hiring Marty Schottenheimer a mistake?

Daniel Snyder: At the time, it was the right decision.

Me: And firing him after one year.

Daniel Snyder: It wasn’t working.

Me: He finished the year 8-3. And he said when you fired him that you did so because you weren’t having any fun.

Daniel Snyder: That’s taken out of context.

Me: What’s the correct context, then?

Daniel Snyder: He created an uncomfortable atmosphere for everyone, not just me.

Me: But don’t wins and losses matter more than an uncomfortable atmosphere?

Daniel Snyder: Our record was 8-8.

Me: I think you fired him because you wanted to be more involved and the 8-8 record was just a way for you to justify it to the fans.

Daniel Snyder: That’s your opinion.

Me: If he had gone 13-3 and made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs, could you have put up with an “uncomfortable atmosphere”?

Daniel Snyder: I don’t think it was a tenable situation with him.

Me: What about if he won the Super Bowl?

Daniel Snyder: He didn’t. It’s pointless to answer that.

Me: No it isn’t because the majority of fans need convincing that you being involved isn’t more important than the team winning.

Daniel Snyder: If we won the Super Bowl, I’d be happy.

Me: See, here’s the crux of the issue. I, and many, many others, don’t think the Skins will ever win a Super Bowl with you being so involved in decision making.

Daniel Snyder: You don’t know what my role is, so that’s a ridiculous statement.

Me: I’m fairly confident that you have a definite hand in making football decisions. And, I’m sorry, I just don’t think you’re an astute football person. I also don’t think you create the right atmosphere as the head of the organization. I actually worry that you don’t know what the right atmosphere is. And the fans are losing hope because you don’t seem to get that, so we fear nothing will ever change.

Daniel Snyder: I can assure the fans that I’ll do whatever it takes to win.

Me: Even if that means you getting out of the way?

Daniel Snyder: I’ll do whatever it takes.

Me: So, why don’t you get out of the way, then?

Daniel Snyder: Again, you’re assuming something that is incorrect. I’m not the sole decision maker. We make decisions as a group. Front office, coaches. I’m part of the group.

Me: Well the group didn’t hire the group... So who did hire the group?

Daniel Snyder: Who specifically are you asking about?

Me: Let’s start with Vinny.

Daniel Snyder: Vinny takes a lot of unnecessary heat.

Me: Let’s go with the 2008 draft. I blogged about this. Vinny, or THE GROUP, traded out of the first round to have 2 second round picks to give you 3 2nd round picks, in which you drafted Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, and Malcolm Kelley. The team you traded with, Atlanta, used that pick to draft Sam Baker, an offensive tackle out of USC. He’s been a starter since day 1. He’s started at right tackle, and is now their starting left tackle... Do you think that was a good trade?

Daniel Snyder: It’s too early to tell.

Me: You don’t think you could use a starting offensive tackle?

Daniel Snyder: I didn’t say that.

Me: This is something I don’t get about you. I, like you, grew up on the Joe Gibbs Redskins. The biggest strength of those Super Bowl winning teams was a dominant offensive line.

Daniel Snyder: And Art Monk and Gary Clark and Darrell Green and good running backs.

Me: Yeah, you need good players at other positions, but without a great offensive line, you’re nothing. Case in point, they won 3 Super Bowls with 3 different quarterbacks, different running backs, some different wide receivers – especially in the first one. And a good, but not Steel Curtain-like defense. The one great thing they had in all of those was offensive line.

Daniel Snyder: I don’t disagree.

Me: Yet, your GROUP of decision makers has left this most important unit a mess.

Daniel Snyder: We can’t control injuries.

Me: But if everyone: fans, pundits, mutes, are saying that guys like Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas are getting up there in age, and are injury prone, which played out exactly as all of us worried, why couldn’t the GROUP see that?

Daniel Snyder: We made a calculation.

Me: That’s your answer. Maybe it is good you don’t give interviews. C’mon.

Daniel Snyder: If we lived in hindsight, every decision would be right.

Me: But everyone else saw this as a problem. The second half of last year went south largely due to the play of the offensive line. It’s been reported that you guys at Redskins Park evaluated it that way, too. And yet you did nothing.

Daniel Snyder: We brought back Dockery, and brought in Mike Williams.

Me: I’m going to assume you made a joke there... Let’s face it, your offensive line is one of the worst in the league. Your quarterback rarely has time to throw. Your running backs have taken more 3 and 4 yard losses this year than I can ever remember. You can’t win with a bad offensive line.

Daniel Snyder: Again, injuries can’t be controlled.

Me: So, let me get your mindset. You go into the season with this O-line believing that you should win the division, and so when the team ends up being lousy, you don’t feel, as one of the GROUP deciders, that you’re as much to blame as anyone.

Daniel Snyder: We’re 2 and 3. The season is not over.

Me: Okay, is it fair to say they’ve been less than stellar up to this point?

Daniel Snyder: We’re 2 and 3. No one’s happy about that.

Me: Do you think they’re going to the playoffs?

Daniel Snyder: There’s a lot of season left. So there’s no way to know.

Me: Did you expect to win this year?

Daniel Snyder: Of course.

Me: So, if you expected them to win, do you expect them to be in the playoffs?

Daniel Snyder: There’s no point in re-asking it. It’s the same answer.

Me: Okay, fine. But, is it fair to say that unless this team does go to the playoffs, you’re going to fire your coach?

Daniel Snyder: We’ll make all those kind of decisions at the end of the season.

Me: So, you won’t be firing him in-season?

Daniel Snyder: Let me just say any decision I make is what I believe is best for the Redskins.

Me: If you do fire him at some point, would he be the only one to get the axe?

Daniel Snyder: Do you think the coach has done a good job?

Me: No, he’s in over his head. But I didn’t hire him. You did. You told Coach Gibbs that Zorn would make a great head coach. He was your and Vinny’s pick. And yet there’s no accountability for that.

Daniel Snyder: What do you think the accountability should be?

Me: I think you should fire Vinny, too. The draft he was most in charge of didn’t pan out—

Daniel Snyder: Horton panned out.

Me: Yes, your seventh rounder panned out. But if you guys thought he was starter material you wouldn’t have drafted him in the 7th round.

Daniel Snyder: So, what, we get no credit for it?

Me: No, you get credit for it, but when you pick in the early rounds, you EXPECT those players to pan out. When they don’t, and when you pass on starting offensive tackles, it’s a bad draft.

Daniel Snyder: Like I said, way too early to tell.

Me: Let’s get back to Vinny. His choice of head coach didn’t pan out, since, despite your attempts to deflect, we both know you’re going to fire Zorn. So, besides the off the chart ratings for his radio show, what good is Vinny?

Daniel Snyder: Again, your assumption that it’s all on one person is incorrect.

Me: No, it isn’t. I’d suggest you fire yourself, too. There, it’s on at least 2 people... But since that’s not going to happen, I go back to the plea of me and most fans, hire a great GM and get out of his way. If he asks you to recruit a free agent, then gas up the plane and take your checkbook. But you shouldn’t be leading the charge.

Daniel Snyder: Do you know how many so-called great GMs have missed on draft picks? It’s an inexact thing.

Me: Well, one, I think it’s fair for fans to expect accountability. And two, okay, let’s assume I’m being harsh on Vinny. And maybe I am. Maybe he’s actually a good evaluator of football talent. I have my doubts, but I’m not unwavering about them. Here’s the problem, though, as I see it. He can’t control you. A strong GM would not want you involved, or would find some way to make you think you’re more involved than you are. So, because of that, I think Vinny needs to go.

Daniel Snyder: I don’t think we’re doing anything but rehashing now.

Me: Okay, back to what I started with, then. Mistakes. Was Spurrier a mistake?

Daniel Snyder: We didn’t win... How come you haven’t pointed out the years we went to the playoffs?

Me: The first time was your first year as an owner so you didn’t have time to mess things up yet. You took care of that the next year. The other two, with Gibbs there, I think you were held somewhat in check. As soon as he left, you were back to your old ways, and the team is spiraling downward... Why didn’t you hire Gregg Williams?

Daniel Snyder: He wasn’t the right fit.

Me: You didn’t like him personally, right?

Daniel Snyder: Me liking him or not wasn’t the determining factor.

Me: I think it played a huge part, since whoever you hired would have to be a part of the GROUP, and also wouldn’t have a problem with being in that kind of arrangement. Gregg Williams may have been the right coach for the job, but he was going to be a pain in the ass for you and the other GROUP members.

Daniel Snyder: How do you know he would have been the right coach?

Me: There’s no way to know, that’s right. But my point goes back to the thing with Schottenheimer. You’d rather be involved than hire people who don’t want you to be as involved, even though they might deliver wins.

Daniel Snyder: I don’t see it that way.

Me: I know. That’s the problem. Until you do, all Skins fans are in trouble.

Daniel Snyder: Again, we’re spinning our wheels here.

Me: I can talk about other things, if you wish... How about suing fans?

Daniel Snyder: I think we’re done.

And we were done... After the interview, I re-read my Zorn thoughts and wanted to flesh out my opinion of him. I like him. I think he's a good guy. Just not a good head coach. Maybe he would have been a good OC. And he was a good QB coach... But I'm torn by the fact that I'm more of a proponent of the Steeler way, where they're obviously patient with their coaches. And I also think you need to give a coach the right weapons (good O-line, good receivers, etc.). However, all I can evaluate right now is what I've seen, and while I hope against hope this O-line turns it around and becomes good, and that the young WRs turn it around and become productive, I don't think up to this point, they can be called good weapons...

So, if I'm a proponent of patience and providing good personnel to a coach, how do I explain my opinion of Zorn?... First, he should not be fired during the season. That's pointless, especially since he's the QB coach and offensive coordinator and playcaller... Let it play out...

But, as I said, all we can do is evaluate what we've seen so far. And so far, in every game, he's made at least one really bad decision. When you have a mediocre team, your coach cannot make bad decisions. The team is not good enough to overcome them. Or in the case of their 2 wins, barely overcome them against teams they should have blown out... And so I think that's the problem with Coach Zorn. If you have a pattern of making bad decisions, you're probably a bad decision-maker. That won't change, and it's not helped at all by the fact that he didn't think his bad decisions were bad...

So, as you can tell from the interview, if I were owner, I would wait until the end of the season and evaluate. If this team turns it around and becomes a winner this year, then make decisions based off that. If they don't, it's time for a wholesale change. The kind where the owner butts out. Hire that great GM and get out of the way!

Actually, I think even if the team does win this year, which obviously I'm skeptical of at this point, I still think the owner should butt out. He's just not football smart. You win year after year with football smart people captaining the ship. That's my hope for the Redskins future, because I do love this team, and I hurt badly when they lose -- and I want to have hope!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Under-reported Vinny personnel move

I haven't really been posting lately because I think writing when you're angry or frustrated leads to bad writing. So for the most part, I've decided to do as thorough an evaluation of every aspect of this team (admittedly it will be my opinion, but I won't half-ass it by just throwing up my immediate frustrated thoughts), and post it after the season.

But some things I do want to address. I think there's an under-reported aspect to the job Vinny did in the 2008 draft. Remember, the Skins traded out of the first round with Atlanta to get two picks in the 2nd round. There's no way to determine if it was a good choice at the time -- but now that time has passed, it can be evaluated. Making a move like that is only smart if a) the players you take in the 2nd round pan out (or at least one of them), and b) the player you could have taken isn't someone you could have definitely needed.

Well, at what point do we determine if the 2nd round picks (Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, Malcolm Kelley) are busts? Hopefully, it's still a little early to determine that, but it doesn't look promising at this point. But the bigger issue is b. The player that Atlanta took with that pick was Sam Baker from USC who I believe has been a starter from day 1. Last year I think he was a right tackle, and this year has him listed as the starting left tackle. That's who the Redskins didn't pick. Devin Thomas/Fred Davis versus Sam Baker.

So, what are we to make of that? Should we expect accountability from Vinny and whoever else made that decision? Uh, yeah. That's what so frustrating to me and so many other fans. There seems to be NO accountability. The front office/owner seems to think they've provided the coaches with the players to win. While I have issues with the coach (who I like personally, but makes horrible decisions which are too hard for a mediocre team to overcome), it seems Snyder (and I'm assuming Vinny) blame the coach completely. They'll just replace him and keep everything else business as usual. For Skins fans' sake, I hope not...

Yeah, I realize I've just started writing in frustration after I said I wouldn't, but at least I waited until Tuesday to post this, so as to allow myself to not say anything in the heat of the moment.

Further on accountability, Snyder and Vinny pronounced Zorn was their guy... Maybe, just maybe, they aren't actually smart enough to be making such choices. Why do the majority of fans and pundits see that, and not them? I guess it's hard for them because the consequences will be Vinny out of a job, and Danny not having as much fun since he won't be as involved. Well, Danny, your fun = Skins mediocrity and fans misery.