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