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.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I'm a fairly level headed fan. I'm certainly not the over-reactionary type who wants everyone fired after game 2. There's things about this game that I have thoughts about, strong thoughts, BUT it was still just game 2. Things can change for the better. Yes, they may stay the same or change for the worse, but let's see how it plays out.

Having said that, I don't remember the last time I was disappointed after a win. I'm sure there's other times, but I really can't remember it. And it really had nothing to do with the players. It was the play calling. My hair's starting to thin -- I really can't afford to be yanking it out in frustration during games.

Here's where I started gashing my hair out, though. This sequence. On Washington's first possession of the third quarter, they had a first and goal from the 7. Again, moved the ball fairly well. But it's goal line! Here's what followed: Portis for no gain, Portis for two yards up the middle and Portis, then, uh, rolling right, looking to pass... First, before the first play at the 7 I said out loud, "Please don't run it again." They ran. I said even louder on 2nd down, "Please don't run it again!" They ran it again. 3rd down, I think the Rams didn't fall for it because they knew it was far too stupid for anyone to call another run. So they seemed ready for it and had Cooley covered. (I don't like writing in all caps, but) WHY DO THEY KEEP RUNNING SO MUCH DOWN AT THE GOAL LINE!!! It's not working. They have Malcolm Kelly, or even Marko Mitchell. Why not try a jump ball against a smaller corner? That's how the Rams scored their one touchdown. It's a tough play for a corner when you have someone that tall who can jump! We didn't even try it! Why?!!!! Aghhhhh!!! (an interesting side note to this: watch the Sonny interview at with Zorn after the game. It was actually a little testy because Sonny took Zorn to task for letting Portis throw it, as opposed to the QB.)

And then the going for it on 4th twice at the end. I think they were bad decisions. The first one worked, the second didn't and our defense bailed us out. But hearing Jason Campbell talk about it afterwards left me baffled. He said that Zorn doesn't like him changing the play down there because of the crowd noise and miscommunication possibly leading to a penalty. Okay, but when you know the play you have won't work, why can't he change it?!!! Campbell said they saw the Rams were overloaded to the left and had too many to block, so it was zero surprise that Portis was stopped for a loss. Zorn said they just beat our O-line. Yes, that's what happens when you have to block more people than you have to block with.

As for Randy Thomas' injury, all offseason everyone harped on not drafting an O-lineman and not getting one in free agency. And all offseason, the front office said they liked what they have. Okay, well we're going to see now, aren't we. I think they were hoping that Thomas, and also Samuels would never get hurt. But that's kind of stupid, isn't it? They're older guys who have been through the wars and are now more prone to injuries... But I'll calm down on this for a moment. I'm willing to see how it plays out. Maybe Rinehart plays great. Let's give him a shot.

I wonder if Pete Kendall will get a call, though. He's no savior, but he's a smart veteran and it makes some sense.

I hate saying this, and I hate thinking this, but I won't be surprised at all if Detroit beats us next week. Last year it took a Santana Moss punt return to win that game... The Lions are desperate for a win. Our best hope is Stafford turning the ball over a few times and our DBs take it back for scores. I really think that will be a necessity for winning that game. I hope I'm wrong. I hope the offense, which has TALENT, and can move the ball, will score. And if I am wrong, I'll absolutely say it. I'll look forward to it, even. I want a win far, far, far more than me being right.

If you see my earlier posts, I rooted pretty hard for Anthony Alridge to make the team, although his fumbling was a problem. But the Skins last year could also move the ball. They got bogged down in the red zone. Sound familiar? They need speed to hit some home runs occasionally. I thought Alridge was the kind of guy who would provide some instant Sproles-like offense. Kind of also like Felix Jones in Dallas, who also had a big fumble tonight, but also had some huge plays and a TD.

For next week, I implore Coach Zorn to let Jason play. Do more hurry up, throw on first and/or second in the red zone. Because what you're doing in the red zone now is not working! And it's getting frustrating.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's Only One Week - But please don't waste timeouts!

It's only one week... I know people hate hearing that, but it is. Who at this time last year ever thought the Cardinals would be in the Super Bowl? Even at the end of the season, they squeaked and limped into the playoffs. And the Eagles last year were done mid-season. After the tie with the Bengals, they were toast. Uh huh. It doesn't work that way. Seasons have ebbs and flows.

Now, having said that, you don't want to see bad trends continue. I'll be playing closely to these trends against the Rams.

Let me explain. I think the Skins have talent, and I think they play hard. They're main shortcoming last week (besides shoddy tackling) was mistakes and decision making. Why were the corners giving such a cushion? Does that ever seem to work? Why were so many run plays called on 1st and 2nd when the passing game in the middle of the field was showing success? To me, both of those were bad decisions. And they contributed to the loss.

As for mistakes, the players in their mid week interviews alluded to these. Good, they're aware of them. Of course that does no good if they keep continuing them -- or just as bad, make new mistakes each week (while correcting last week's mistakes.) Mistakes get you beat, especially against good football teams.

One thing I'll pay very close attention to this week is the timeouts. To waste 2 timeouts because the play clock is running down is inexcusable (especially on a 3rd down when you don't get the 1st down). Timeouts are like diamonds -- cherish and protect them! If the Skins had all 3 timeouts at the end of the Giants game, they could have gotten the ball back (as long as the Giants didn't get a first down). But since they only had one, all New York had to do was run out the clock. FRUSTRATING! All because two timeouts were wasted... Whose fault is that? Is the play not getting into Jason fast enough? Are the players not getting into the huddle or lining up quickly enough? Is someone lined up incorrectly? I don't know, but it can't continue. Would they have beaten the Giants if they got the ball back? No way to know, but wouldn't you like for them to have the opportunity at least?

On a side note, I am so glad the video interviews posted at finally have moved the Verizon Fios commercial that I had to watch all preseason, 4 million times, to the end of the segment... Because of that commercial, I hate Verizon Fios. I will never use Verizon Fios. If Verizon Fios was the only way to watch any TV or videos ever again, I would go back to reading books (well, maybe comic books.) This is a note to any advertiser -- insist that your commercials are not overplayed, and that people have the option to not watch it. On my computer, there was no way to fast forward past the commercial, which had me pulling my hair out and screaming for all 30 seconds of the spot. Since they moved the commercial to the back end, maybe someone finally figured it out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

First game wrap-up - stupidity rules the day

You can have all the talent in the world, but if you play stupidly, you'll lose more than you'll win. That sums a up a lot of the Skins-Giants game for me. That, and bad tackling. But I'm more afraid of stupid decisions.

Let me first say, I like Coach Zorn and want to see him succeed. And I like Jason Campbell and want to see him succeed... Having said that, I was disappointed in them the first game, more Coach Zorn than Campbell. Jason made some bad decisions -- especially that awful interception when he was already over the line of scrimmage, and his not stepping up into the pocket when he had the ball stripped. But, my bigger disappointment is with Zorn. I thought he called a horrible game. The one thing that was working was the passing game over the middle. When the Patriots beat the Skins 52-7, it seemed like they kept marching down the field with the same plays. We didn't stop it, so they didn't stop doing it... But Zorn vastly underutilized this, and didn't make the Giants stop it first before moving onto other things that may have opened up because of it... I lost count how many times he called runs on 1st and 2nd and then failing on 3rd to get a first. Sooo frustrating!

I also hated his call for the Randle El trick play. It wasn't a necessary time for that. We hit them with a big running play. We were close to field goal range. Keep running or do play action! And it bothers me that he's defending it.

Randle El had a great game, but he made a stupid decision when he took that huge sack. Momentum killer.

I think more than anything, stupidity lost the game -- against a very, very good team in their stadium. But if you play stupid against the Rams and Detroit, they'll probably beat the Skins, too. That's how it works.

Stupidty list:

1) Wasted timeouts (alignment problems -- smart teams don't do this).

2) The Randle El pass was a stupid call and a stupid decision by Randle El. We just had a huge run, trickery wasn't needed there.

3) Jason Campbell -- not stepping up in the pocket when Osi stripped him. And the interception when he was over the line of scrimmage. Just run it!

4) Santana Moss -- punching a guy. He got lucky the other guy fought back. It's an emotional game but stupid penalties get you losses.

5) Portis: On one important drive, Portis could have had a first down if he kept running straight forward and plowed over someone. He has a bad habit of heading sideways and trying to outrun someone, but he's not as fast as he used to be and he gets tackled. This time it made it 3rd and 2 and the Skins didn't get the first down.

6) Play calling: It seemed like we could pass on them. Too many runs (on 1st and 2nd down) that went for 2 yards.

7) Landry: 15 yard penalties are killers, espcially against good teams.

8) Snap count penalties drawing offsides - maybe Manning should just be credited for his instead, but how come the Skins never seem to draw cadence offside infractions?

Now onto the other parts of the game:

1) DeAngelo Hall was awful, especially his tackling. Landry was the main reason for his interception. He has to do better.

2) If the secondary doesn't improve, they're in trouble all season.

3) I didn't see much of a pass rush. They played, arguably, the best O-Line in the league, but they'll never beat a team like the Giants unless they get a pass rush.

4) Some teams just match up well with other teams. In Gibbs I in the late 80s, it seemed like we usually lost to the Parcells Giants, but beat the Buddy Ryan Eagles, who in turn usually beat the Giants... If we beat the Eagles twice again, then maybe it's late 80s deja vu.

5) I think they played better than they did last year against the Giants in the first game (yeah, I'm stretching).

6) As for Haynseworth -- he's played one game, and the first game of the season. There seems to be far too many "Is he worth the contract?" stories written and blog comments today. That's idiotic. He'll get his wind and play more of each game. First games, in the heat, usually have less participation from big guys. So he needed a few breathers. Judge him at the end of the season. If he's healthy, I strongly believe he'll make a difference on this team, and we'll start seeing it soon.

Positives: It's week one against a very good team in their home stadium. The season is not over. I didn't think Jason played well, but he didn't throw 4 picks like that whiny little bitch Cutler.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I haven't updated in a while. My real life has kept me too busy, but I've followed the Anthony Alridge roller coaster ride very carefully. I thought he may have been in, but then the fumble... I like Mason, I just think Alridge is more what the Skins need right now... Mason is a better overall back, but not the change of pace home run hitter that I thought we needed... Hopefully, Alridge will be on the practice squad, and not be claimed by anyone else, and maybe even get on the roster later in the year.

Why was I so high on Alridge, even though he seems to definitely be a bit of a fumbler. Because you can teach a guy to hold on to the ball (a la Tiki Barber), but you can't teach 4.3 speed... But, you know, guys who fumble usually end up in the stands next to me.

I like going qith 2 qbs only, especially if Chase is on the practice squad. I think Randle El could be an emergency guy for one game, if needed. Good move. Right now, it means that Westbrook is the 6th corner. I have a feeling that might change, unless Carlos Rogers calf problem doesn't improve ... or Westbrook is such a demon on special teams that he's a necessity...

A little surprised that Robert Henson made the team over Cody Glenn. Not based on anything I saw, just based on the coverage. He didn't get a lot of playing time, and made some mistakes... I thought Cody Glenn, or even undrafted Darrel Young, might make it ahead of him... But there's always surprises, aren't there... Y'know, if they had a TV show of the meeting room when they make the final cuts (debating each player), wouldn't that be ratings gold in the DC market? I don't live back east anymore, but I'd watch it on satellite! Someone please make that happen.

Anyway, here's the final cuts, courtesy of

Robbie Agnone TE Undrafted Rookie
Anthony Alridge RB First-year Player
Jeremy Bridges G/T 7-year Vet
Scott Burley T Undrafted Rookie
Alex Buzbee DE First-year Player
Chase Daniel QB Undrafted Rookie
Antonio Dixon DT Undrafted Rookie
Dominique Dorsey RB First-year Player
Doug Dutch CB Undrafted Rookie
Keith Eloi WR Undrafted Rookie
Cody Glenn LB 2009 5th-Round Draft Pick
D.J. Hackett WR 6-Year Vet
Lendy Holmes S Undrafted Rookie
Rob Jackson DE 2008 7th-Round Draft Pick
Dave Rayner K 4-year Vet
Rueben Riley G First-year Player
Trent Shelton WR First-year Player
J.D. Skolnitsky DE Undrafted Rookie
Robert Thomas LB 8-year Vet
Eddie Williams FB 2009 7th-Round Draft Pick
Darrel Young LB Undrafted Rookie

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Good Alridge update

Here's a good nugget about Alridge, courtesy of Gary Fitzgerald at

"At running back, Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright look solid, but Anthony Alridge has really flashed his speed and cut-back ability when he has the chance to run with the ball. If Alridge can play well on kick returns, he could push Cartwright for a roster spot."

That's exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to hear! They need to find a way to get this guy on the team. He WILL add some TDs on some long breakaway runs. Make it happen!

Still relying on others for Alridge tidbits

So, with no interview (see previous post), I'll continue to rely on others for any dribs and drabs that have anything to do with Anthony Alridge. Here's Jason Reid's Redskins Insider post in the Washington Post today:

Job of 'Home Run Hitter' Still Open

Clinton Portis rushed for almost 1,500 yards last season despite having no gains of more than 31 yards. And the Skins' top back has had no rushes of at least 40 yards in the last three seasons.

No. 2 back Ladell Betts, expected to play a bigger role this season, rushed for more than 1,100 yards in 2006. Betts, however, had no gains of at least 30 yards in his first seven seasons.

The Skins' ground game has been productive with Portis and Betts occupying the first two spots on the depth chart. But Portis and Betts are not considered "home run hitters," speed backs capable of breaking big plays on every touch.

No. 1 wideout Santana Moss was the team's only big-play threat last season, ranking 12th in the league with 15 receptions of at least 20 yards and tied for 20th with three gains of 40 or more yards. Adding a speed back with the potential to consistently break long runs was among the items on Vinny Cerrato's to-do list to improve an offense that produced an average of only 16.6 points and ranked 28th in the 32-team league.

"It's another weapon," Cerrato said. "It's something the defense has to prepare for. And if you make a mistake, it could be a big play."

Cerrato did not attempt to address the situation in the draft, but the Skins claimed Anthony Alridge off waivers and signed free agent Dominique Dorsey from the Canadian Football League. Alridge spent the 2008 season on injured reserve with the Broncos and Dorsey excelled on special teams for the Toronto Argonauts.

Alridge is listed at 5 feet 9, 175 pounds. Dorsey's listed measurements are 5-7, 175. Obviously, they are diminutive backs, which usually is the case with speed guys. Darren Sproles is about the same size as Alridge and Dorsey, and acquiring Sproles seems to have worked pretty well for the Chargers.

"Everyone knows what Clinton and Ladell do for our offense, and we definitely need those guys to be healthy and out there to reach the level we want to as a team," quarterback Jason Campbell said. "But as an offense, you want to have as many weapons as you can. You want to give the defense as much as you can to think about. A lot of times, those little guys can do big things for you."

Alridge and Dorsey are expected to receive plenty of work in the preseason, and the Skins are hoping one of them emerges as a viable option for a situational role on offense and, potentially, a major role on special teams. Special-teams standout Rock Cartwright is entrenched as the team's primary kickoff returner after he ranked sixth in the NFC last season with an average of 25.6 yards.

Things aren't as firm on punt returns. Antwaan Randle El struggled last season and could be unseated as the top option for that role. Of course, there's a long way to go on that front. And in addition to having to prove themselves on special teams, Alridge and Dorsey must block well enough to inspire confidence in the coaching staff to use them on offense.

Marcus Mason, who is back in camp with the Skins, impressed in the 2008 preseason, but failed to make the 53-man roster, in large part, because of his deficiencies in third-down pass protection. So the formula is clear for Alridge and Dorsey: star on special teams, pick up blitzes well and you'll be in the running to stick with the Skins.

"We're going to watch 'em big time in the preseason," Cerrato said. "But they've got to be able to block. You've got to pick up the blitz."

Good stuff, Jason... If you've read any of my previous posts, this post pretty much sums up my opinion about the need for a change of page back to complement Clinton and Ladell... Let's hope Anthony makes the team. Or, I guess, Dominique Dorsey. We need someone like that... So, they have to hold on to the ball, pick up blitzes, and oh yeah, run like the wind untouched whenever they have the ball -- easy enough, right?

No Alridge interview ... for now

Okay, my interview request for Anthony was declined by the media department at Redskins Park, for now... Training camp is too busy a time for them, which I understand. Matt Taylor was nice enough to email me back regarding my request:


Thank you for your request. We will not be able to be of assistance at this time. Feel free to contact me as we move into the season and things slow down a little at Redskins Park.


I'll follow up when things slow down, the only worry is, what if Anthony doesn't make the team?

No Alridge news

I've got no Alridge news or updates today... I've actually put in an interview request. We'll see if I hear back about that. I also want his help to do some kind of fun profile on him... Again, we'll see.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More Alridge

Today, on the 24-hour Alridge channel, we get this quote, courtesy of Larry Weisman at, "Special teams is a regular position, it’s just a special position to play,” says Alridge, who spent his rookie season in 2008 on Denver’s injured reserve list. “You’ve got to be a man. You have to have courage. You have to be ready at all times. And I love doing it.

I like the sound of that. I'm really excited to see him play in preseason. I want to see him take it to the house, whether on a kickoff or as a running back... Just really, really hope he doesn't fumble. That would negate everything in the eyes of the coaches ... unless he's Devin Hester and takes it all the way nearly every time he touches it.

Alridge update

So it appears I've been spelling Anthony's last name wrong. It's Alridge, not Aldridge. Oops. As for the only update I have on him today, it's not the news I wanted to hear.

Ryan O'Halloran of the Washington Times said: "RB Anthony Alridge continues to struggle holding onto the football -- he had another fumble."

That ain't good, Anthony. Fumbling = being cut, and I want you on the team!

But maybe it was because I was spelling your name wrong... Now, all should be good. Cradle the ball, my man. Watch tapes of how Tiki Barber held it, after Tom Coughlin took over as coach. He rarely fumbled ever after that and it didn't hamper his running at all -- as his production went way up.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Anthony Alridge mission

I want Anthony Alridge to make the team! The guy is blazing fast, and would give the offense a home run hitter, which they need, especially from the RB position. I see him as the 3rd string RB. Clinton would get the bulk of the carries, Ladell would get a decent amount (hopefully more than last year), and Aldridge would get 1-3.

It's been a while since CP scored on a long run. And Ladell is capable of breaking one, but both can be caught, I think. Ain't no one catching Aldridge if he breaks one.

So, my mission is to somehow help him make the team. I have no idea how I'm going to do this. But, to start off, I want to chronicle how he's doing in training camp, and hopefully, get him to give progress reports about how he's doing. Until then, since I'm not there, I'll have to rely on others.

In Matt Terl's Redskins Blog, he writes: Of the two little speed backs (the other being Dominique Dorsey who starred in the CFL), I'm finding myself slightly more impressed by Anthony Aldridge.

And The Warpath did a nice profile about him back when he first signed (with some past YouTube clips.)

Hopefully, I'll be able to scour for more nuggets and post them here as training camp progresses.


Well, I haven't posted in a little while. I just finished up a second novel, so I was a tad preoccupied. But, I want to post about something fairly recent before I focus entirely on training camp.

It has to do with Lavar Arrington. I know a lot of us have mixed feelings about him, and here's my take.

I don’t know whether the things he says about Snyder are true or not (read Leonard Shapiro’s column on Lavar for the specifics: Shapiro column. If WaPo hasn't archived it, the column basically quoted Lavar saying Snyder doesn't know what he's doing and just tries to buy a championship), but what bothers me is that Lavar never acknowledges what his shortcomings were as a player. Let's be honest, he gambled too much. He could deliver a hell of a wallop, but he was undisciplined. He was like a home run hitter who strikes out 200 times a year. In baseball, a team can get away with that and still win, but in football it’s a much bigger problem.

I definitely remember some very specific great plays he made, but I also remember some clear blown assignments that cost the Skins games (in an Eagles game, he was supposed to cover the fullback, but rushed the passer instead, and the fullback took a swing pass and scored the game winner).

He never seemed to truly acknowledge those mistakes. And he would take umbrage if a coach would say it (Marvin Lewis called him undisciplined, and others said similar things. Greg Williams essentially didn't seem to trust him at all).

So, basically, I would respect Lavar so much more, and care more about his opinions, if he was as critical about himself as he is about others.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jason Campbell - My QB

A LOT has been written about Jason Campbell this offseason. I don’t know why. You’d think that the Redskins front office would have tried replacing him twice to garner that much ink… Oops, I just caught up on my reading.

Okay, let me start out by saying I like Jason Campbell. I believe if he’s given help (effective wide receivers – yes, that’s plural and an offensive line that can give him time to throw) he can be a QB of a Super Bowl winning team. Is he a finished product? No. And there’s no need to continue rehashing how he’s had so many new systems to learn. That’s the way it is.

But here’s what I believe he is: a guy who has talent, a great work ethic, and a great attitude. I don’t get it when people complain that he doesn’t have enough emotion. When has that been a prerequisite to be a great QB? It’s probably easier to root for a guy like that, but it’s not a necessity. Can anyone honestly tell me that Joe Montana was that much more of an emotional guy than Jason Campbell? Maybe you think if Montana was more emotional, he’d have won 6 Super Bowls instead of 4. I like Brett Favre, but (well maybe not today), but in the height of his career, he was overvalued, mainly because he was so likable and a guy who jumped around and celebrated. I’m not saying he wasn’t a great QB, I’m just saying I’d take Montana any day.

Now don’t go whining that I’m comparing JC to Montana. Of course not. All I’m saying is judge JC on the things that matter. He may not show it, but he has more passion than most QBs. Because you know the best way to measure passion? How hard you work when no one’s looking. Have you ever tried working really long hard hours at something if you didn’t love what you were doing? Money only motivates for a short time. You have to love what you’re doing to sustain it. And JC is a great and willing worker.

Next, the Skins made their bed by bringing in Zorn instead of sticking with an Al Saunders type offense. That means you have to let the players develop into it. Matt Hasselback, who had already been in the offense in Green Bay, was benched in Seattle at first. It took Zorn several years to make him a Pro Bowl QB. I believe JC is on a faster track. Let Zorn keep making him better, and give him the wide receivers, and an offensive line, and maybe a 3rd running back who can take it all the way any time he touches the ball.

Does his skill set fit the west coast offense? I think so, but it’s something to find out. Donovan McNabb also has a strong arm and he’s in a west coast offense. Does JC need a quicker release? Yes. Does he need to make some better decisions? Yes. But he’s working hard at those things, and I believe they’ll come.

As for who the Skins tried to replace him with, I’m so glad they didn’t (or were too hamstrung to be able to). I don’t like Jay Cutler. He’s a whiny little bitch. He racked up big numbers against the lamest defenses the AFC West had to offer and still threw too many interceptions. He may always be a guy who throws more TDs and for more yards than Campbell, but he’ll throw a lot more interceptions, and the kind that will kill you in the 4th quarter – the kind Favre has thrown the last few years to lose games. Plus, whiny little bitches don’t make great leaders. The Skins would have traded, what, two first rounders (and more) to get Cutler? That means no Orakpo this year, and no high draft pick next year (which hopefully will be an offensive lineman). It would’ve been such a bad trade. What scares me is it seems the only reason the Skins didn’t make it is because Denver liked Kyle Orton better than Campbell (yeah, good luck with that Denver.)

Sanchez. No one knows if he’ll be good or not. Living on the west coast, I saw him play several times, and he looked really good sometimes (The Rose Bowl against Penn State), but he also had some definite clunkers. I think Campbell is better, although maybe only slightly. But if we had Sanchez, we wouldn’t have Orakpo, and maybe wouldn’t have a high draft pick for next year. Not worth it! So glad they didn’t trade up to get him.

The thing about sports, is everything usually gets answered in time. The question is how long do you wait for the question to be answered. I think the best franchises are usually the most patient ones, and let their players and coaches develop. Will the Skins be patient? We all know they haven’t always been – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be.

After the season, we’ll know a lot more. I just hope good, sound, well-thought out decisions are made – and not rash ones for big names. Remember, Joe Gibbs was once not a big name – and was allowed to get beyond a difficult start to his first season.

The Skins are in the toughest division in football. They may go 9-7, or even 8-8 (hopefully much better than both), but if they were in the NFC West, they would probably go at least 10-6, probably better. Stay patient with this team, let them develop, draft O-lineman and let’s see what comes of it over the next few years.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I feel like talking (or more accurately, ranting) about roster sizes. I got to thinking about this when I thought about a player I’m really rooting for, Anthony Aldridge. He’s really, really fast, and plays running back (whereas usually guys with his speed are WRs or DBs). He’s a little guy so definitely not an every down back, or even a second stringer. But with so many teams successfully using 3 backs nowadays, wouldn’t a guy like that be perfect as the 3rd running back? Give him a few carries, and if he pops one, he’s taking it the distance. A home run hitter. Exactly what the Skins need because they seem to move the ball fairly well between the 20s – but they bog down a lot in the red zone. Home run hitters cure bogging down.

The problem. Rock Cartwright is very valuable on special teams. Even if he’s replaced as a kick returner, which might be a mistake because he’s very solid, he’s great as a guy covering kickoffs and punts. But I don’t think the Skins can keep both because Aldridge may not be helpful on special teams, unless he covers kickoffs. And you need more than speed to be a good kickoff returner (can he see the right holes and running lanes? I hope we find out if he has that skill in preseason). My guess is he’s not as good on returns as Rock, and will be left off the roster. I want both of them, though!!! But when you’re only allowed 53 (and only 45 to dress), it means you have to actually cut players who could help your team. And that’s just stupid, isn’t it? Any my best guess for that is the owners are too cheap to expand the rosters. Not all of them, but enough to be in the majority on the issue.

But here’s why I think their cheapness hurts the game. 1) It’s the most violent sport –why are you putting such a tough limit on depth? Not to mention, you can’t hit as hard in practice because a lot of your regulars may be beat up by mid-season, or you want to really avoid getting them injured in practice, 2) You can’t groom younger players – yes, I know that’s what the practice squad is for, but you may groom a player all year and really like him, but if another team places him on their active roster, you lose him. That’s idiotic! What other sport grooms players that they can lose? It’s fair to the player, but if they increased the roster size by at least three, and kept the rest as a practice squad, it would work better. Most likely only 1 or 2 of your practice squad guys are worthy of being on a roster, so you probably wouldn’t lose anyone off the squad.

But here’s where you can get creative with roster sizes. Couldn’t each team use an extra field goal kicker? So many games are decided by 3 points or less—why should a game be impacted so greatly if your kicker gets injured in the first quarter? And I’m not talking about a Martin Grammatica celebration injury, I’m talking what if when someone tries blocking a FG, they dive into your kicker’s leg and it breaks. The rest of the game, you’re punished for that because you probably won’t have anyone to kick field goals beyond 20 yards. So, it makes all the sense in the world to have 2 kickers. One could be one of those 40 year old veteran FG kickers, and the other a young guy with a powerful leg who could learn at the feet of the vet. And the young guy would probably handle kickoffs, and maybe even practice punting so he can be an emergency back up there, too.

What about four 4 QBs? Plenty of teams might like that option. That way you can hedge your bets by grooming two young ones. In the Redskins case, they may put Chase Daniel on the practice squad, and most likely some team won’t snag him, but what if they do and he turns out great? All because of a stupid rule.

Only allowed to dress 45 on game day to me is just as stupid. Do the owners save that much money by deactivating 6 players? What other possible reason besides cheapness would they limit it to 45? One reason I’ve heard is that expanded rosters will lead to competitive imbalance. Huh? Huh?! Am I missing something or is that a mind-numbingly stupid reason? Having only 45 dress hurts the game because players ON BOTH TEAMS get injured all the time. Having more bodies helps both teams. Seriously, what am I missing? And what if you’re in a blowout game? Why not save the vets’ legs, and put more kids in. If owners can’t afford a few extra players on gameday and a few extra on the roster, they should sell to someone who can afford to be an owner. The game shouldn’t have to suffer for their cheapness. Am I right?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kudos to Matt Birk

Matt Birk is this week's guest author for Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback at and I applaud him for what he wrote about honoring the previous generations of football players.

For all of us who love the NFL, we should somehow demand that more is done for these players who paved the way, and did so for barely any money. Now, many of them are hurting financially as their bodies are breaking down. The owners are billionaires and today's players are millionaires and they should find ways to provide for those of yesteryear. It's just the right thing to do.

Breakout player in the Beast?

Matt Mosley of ESPN asks the question in his NFC East blog today at

He picked Devin Thomas for the Skins, which I think is a good pick. However, my pick for breakout player would be Brian Orakpo -- who I think will get 8 to 10 sacks. I think Devin Thomas will get (hopefully at least) 50 catches.

Any other suggestions?

Sunday, July 5, 2009 Writer Who Pissed Me Off

So, I’m reading this article at by Adrian Hasenmayer (which I’ll post below), and I have to be honest, usually writer’s opinions don’t rankle me a whole lot, even when I disagree with them. I mean, seriously, who gives a rat’s ass? But this guy wrote something that seemed flat out wrong. He was ranking running back packages, and again, I don’t care if he placed the Skins running backs lower than I would have – because ultimately it means nothing. Y’know, it’s not like it's a playoff tiebreaker or something… But it’s what he wrote about the Skins (specifically one part) that pissed me off. Here it is:

Rank #16: There may be warning smoke before a house-fire develops in Jim Zorn's kitchen. Looking strictly at his 2008 season numbers, Portis enjoyed his best year since 2005 — and a Pro Bowl one at that — with 1,487 rushing yards and nine TDs. So why was he benched at halftime against the Ravens during the Redskins' late-season freefall? That's what he still might want to know (shh, it's because he's not much of a receiver or blocker). The veteran back was quoted recently saying he and his coach had long since patched things up. Ideally, a more prolific passing game would open things up for Portis and running mate Ladell Betts.

I don’t have a problem with most of that (although I think their backs are better than 16th), but did you see what glaringly stood out? That’s right, “Portis is not much of a blocker.” Dude, every football expert I’ve ever heard talk about Portis, has stated that he’s probably the best running back blocker in the league. And then, of course, all you need to do is use the eyeball test. If you’ve watched any Skins games in the last few years, Portis rocks incoming blitzers, often bigger than him, sometimes de-cleating them.

Now, here's what I think Hasenmayer did. He based his entire opinion on that one game against the Ravens, in which Coach Zorn said afterward that since Portis didn't practice all week (he was going through that really banged-up stage), he missed a blocking assignment.

But that's an entirely different thing than stating that Portis isn't a good blocker. No one has ever said that. If you’re going to write something, it should not be completely wrong.

I just found another quote from Mr. Hasenmayer: “Everyone knows Paris Hilton’s hideous, but at least she can act.” (okay, I made that up, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he said it.)

I honestly don’t think Mr. Hasenmayer has actually watched many Redskins games the last few years. And if that’s the case, why is he writing about football as an expert? Maybe it’s a one-time mistake. I hope so.

Here’s his full article: Positional-Power-Rankings:-RB-packages


Since I have no access to any of these people, I’ve made up all these letters. In other words, none of these people actually provided these responses. So, if you are one of these people, and you actually read this (which I’m confident is not likely, please don’t sue me.)

Redskins blogger Matt Terl writes:

Dear Stephen, there’s only one official Redskins blogger, ya dig? If I ever catch you trying to play paintball with my best friend Rocky McIntosh, I will rain Matt Teri hellfire (that’s my alter ego, and is double the strength of Matt Terl hellfire) down upon you like I did that to that bowling podcast nerd.

Me: Matt, I will do my best to respect your turf, but if Mike Williams ever invites me over to cook my famous Bison on a Stick, all bets are off.

Chris Cooley writes:

Stephen, what did you think of my video trip to Wyoming?

Me: Thanks for asking, 47. I enjoy everything Cooley, however, to be honest, all I could think of throughout the whole drive was – Why are you filming while driving?! And there’s dogs in the car! This scared the shit out of me – and I lived in fear (until you arrived safely in Wyoming) that you’d end up unconscious in a ditch with a Yorkie peeing on you. And a Cowboy fan would not only NOT help you, but film it. So Chris, listen up. Every great tight end who has ever played in the NFL was recently polled on their tips to excel. Here’s what they have said (and you can look this up): 1) Practice, practice, practice, 2) Watch film, 3) Keep your body in great shape, 4) Avoid being drenched by Yorkie piss.

So don’t ignore their advice! On the drive back, either let Christy hold the camera -- or strap it on to one of the dogs. I can put up with shots of them licking their balls for a few minutes if it means you’ll be intact for the season. Thanks.

Clinton Portis writes:

Stephen, my pockets are straight. But I realize in this difficult economic climate that not everyone’s are. So I’m opening up “Portis Pockets Straight Consulting Firm.” Can you get the word out?

Me: In the words of your coach, “Ab-so-looooot-ely.” And I will gladly sign up for your service, as my pockets are not straight. They’re the opposite of straight. They’re crooked. And all they have in them is lint.

By the way, any chance Coach Janky Spanky will be leading any kind of seminar? Or does he teach an ENTIRELY different subject? Either way, I think there’s a lot to be learned from him.

Dan Steinberg (of the D.C. Sports Bog at Washington Post) writes:

Dear Stephen, if you ever, ever, ever blog about cheese, that catheter in the cock thing you talked about in your very first post will feel like a day at the park compared to what I’ll do to you. We clear?

Me: After careful consideration, I’ve decided to honor this request.

Coach Zorn writes:

Dear Stephen, I’ve often wondered what would happen if in the middle of a game, a wayward bird swoops down and accidentally gets caught in my quarterback’s facemask -- and then out of fear pecks several holes into his forehead. Are there any drills I can do to prevent this possible problem? I have no idea who you are, or if you’d know the answer to this question, but I’m asking everyone.

Me: Coach, since you have asked, I’ve consulted many pecking experts and with their help, I’ve come up with how you should handle this. Basically, this potential problem would require two drills. The first would be similar to your dodgeball drill, but should be done in an enclosed space like an elevator, with about ten woodpeckers (definitely not an eagle, seahawk, cardinal, or falcon) fed on nothing but roids and sugar.

Then you need a drill for how to react to the likely pecking. I know there was some Robert Redford movie made about horse whispering a few years back, and so I think the answer is – a drill involving bird whispering. The goal would be to soothe the nerves of the attacking fowl before it began its vicious assault. Your QB MUST tell the bird that they like them, and that they understand their anger, and that they are on their side. Then they must promise the bird that they'll never conk it on the head and drop it in a deep fryer… I think doing those things will solve the problem, if it should ever happen. I’m very glad I could be helpful here.

Stephen’s Mom writes:

Dear Stephen, please get a real job. I’m begging you.

Me: No.

About me, your regular run of the mill Redskin fan

Who am I? I’m a writer who lives in Los Angeles. I spent the first 22 years of my life in Maryland, most of it in Columbia.

Why am I writing a Redskins blog? I don’t really have a good reason. There certainly isn’t a need for another one. How will this one be different? Well, I have zero access to anyone involved with the Redskins, so there most likely won’t be a whole lot of inside information. I also spend a lot of time writing other things (books, a comic strip, screenplays), so who knows how frequently I’ll post. I write a lot of comedy stuff, so maybe this will give me another outlet to crack jokes… But really, the only real reason I can give you is – I LOVE THE REDSKINS! I’ve been a fan since I was 5 years old, and I became a diehard at 7. I’ve hated the cowboys, that stupid star on their helmet, and that shiny color silver with a passion ever since. My devotion to the Skins borders on unhealthy.

I’ll give you some examples. I used to play on a youth basketball team which my father coached. We had a game scheduled at the same time the Skins were going to play Dallas in the NFC championship game in 1982. I could not believe that the game wasn’t going to be postponed. What was wrong with everyone? I was actually going to have to miss watching something that I considered “The most exciting event in the history of human existence” (I still believe that, by the way). Anyway, this was Unacceptable. So I had no choice but to do what I did next. Let me set the stage. My family was about to have dinner the evening before the game. When I was called down to join them, I, ahhhhhhhh – fell down the stairs. Oh, the pain, the agony. Would my ankle ever heal correctly, I said as I writhed on the floor.

My father was skeptical. He knew of my Redskins passion. I would have to be very consistent, which I was as I limped and whined in pain without fail the rest of the night. The only problem was the next morning I forgot which ankle I fake injured. I guessed it was my left, and continued my limping (with that pathetic look on your face when you’re in pain, and that occasional little moan to remind everyone that you need to be pitied). Well, no one questioned that I was limping on the wrong leg, so I got lucky there. But there was still wariness: “There doesn’t look like there’s any swelling.” “Yeah, but it still really, really hurts.” I continued to stay consistent. Too much was at stake not to. Game time for my basketball game was nearing. My father asked, “Can you play?” “I can’t, dad, it hurts too much.” He gave me that skeptical look. I couldn’t waver now. I made the injury face again as I tried moving my foot.

Well, he either believed that I was injured, or was impressed with my willingness to take a fake injury so far, because he left to coach the game. And I stayed home! Henceforth, my faking of an injury allowed me to watch the most incredible game of my young life: Redskins 31 – Cowboys 17! The Skins were going to the Super Bowl! It was something that I never even dreamed possible until they actually won the game. The Skins beating the Cowboys that day, at that time, was the greatest moment of my life. And so the moral to the story, kids, is that lying is okay as long as it involves watching a Redskin game, especially if it’s the Cowboys and it’s the playoffs.

You need more examples of my devotion? Okay, well, I would watch every second of every game in our living room with my father and brother on a nice big color TV. But there was a problem. They liked to chatter. Well for someone like me, who lived and died with every play, it made it hard to concentrate. I needed to hear everything the announcers were saying. This was not negotiable. Yet my father and brother kept talking, and sometimes not even about football! What was wrong with them? But then, the final straw came. We were watching a very important game. I’m pretty sure it was against the Giants. It was late in the fourth quarter of a close game. Skins had the ball—third and long. I’m at the peak of my concentration, when my mom barged in to the room wanting to know why my father hadn’t done anything about the leaky roof yet. What?!!! It’s third and long in the fourth quarter!!! How could anything else in the world be important right now? I didn’t care if a massive twister had snatched our roof and made off with it down the street – this was the pivotal play of the game!

So, obviously, I had enough. I thought about exploring if Joe Gibbs would adopt me, but after looking into it, the odds seemed long. So I made a choice. For the next few years, until I went to college, I chose to watch all the games in my bedroom – where I had only a 12-inch black and white TV. And I would sit about a foot and a half away and be completely locked in to everything that happened. And, you know what, it was heaven. No chatter, no roof-talk, just me and the games… I miss that little TV.

So, that gives just a small taste of my devotion. And in all my years of watching Skins games, I’ve only missed one. And it was because I had no choice. (If you’re squeamish at all, don’t read on. I realize, of course, that now you have no choice but to read on.) Okay, so the one game I missed was because, well, I was in an ER with a catheter in my cock, getting my bladder drained to avoid an infection. Yeah, that’s right, I had a rod jammed in my rod. Not a fond memory. I’m wincing just thinking about it. And at that moment, I have to be honest, I really wasn’t even thinking about the Redskins game. For me, that’s unbelievable – but when your dick is violated in a manner that even medieval torturers would think is cruel – it’s really difficult to wonder how many yards Terry Allen has against the Cardinals. When they finally took that God-Forsaken thing out, I did ask for a score update. And the Skins won! I really, sincerely, like to hope and believe that my taking one in the junk helped play a part in that victory. At least that’s what I tell myself to quell the sobbing.

So, what have we learned? I’m a major diehard Skins fan … I’ll fake any kind of injury not to miss a game … I’m not well in the head when it comes to concentrating during games … and I’ve had a horrible ER experience that I have no idea why I shared… So, without further ado, please enjoy my pointless useful Redskins blog.

Oh, and to see what else I do online, check out my weekly Hollywood web comic: STUDIO READER STAN