Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blown Cover

Just another Sunday night

Update 6:50pm: even Len Pasquarelli is down with the Giant-bashing

If the past three losses have represented the slow and confounding deterioration of a team once regarded as possessing Super Bowl potential, this week has been the equivalent of a freight train rumbling downhill with its brake lines purposely sliced.

The knives are out. Ever since Eli Manning came out and said he would not play for the San Diego Chargers so don't bother drafting me, I've been waiting for this. You see, Eli's father Archie Manning was a lovable loser, an outstanding quarterback on terrible teams. He played for the Saints from 1971 to 1981, and never during that time did New Orleans post a winning record. Still bitter, Archie convinced his son Eli, who followed his father's footsteps in attending Ole Miss, that being drafted by a bad team was tough enough, but a bad team in a limited media market was worse. With the media coverage in a city like New York, there was no way Eli could go off and be good (like Archie) and not draw a great team around him. Back in Archie's day, the Saints were not expected to be good, so there was no sense of urgency by the team. Archie wanted to be sure that never happened to his boy.

So he convinced Eli flatly to reject the idea of playing for San Diego. In the labor-driven world of the NFL, where agents continue to push for ever-richer contracts most players will never see the end of, players can refuse to renegotiate if they disappoint but demand new contracts if they excel and assessment of 'dead money' is an annual fact of capology, one of the last places the owners control the flow is the draft. You don't get to pick your team, it gets to pick you, just like on the playground. Playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right, and for my part, it was a disrespect to the league for the Mannings (and Peyton was right there with dad and bro on ESPN) to use the media to force San Diego's hand.

How's that working out for Eli now Archie? Last Sunday, the New York Times ran a piece on Eli, discussing the implications of high draft picks not panning out. Money quote:

What if Manning is merely another decent quarterback? What if the ability that he has shown so far is all the Giants will get, for however many years they put their faith in him?

As an added bonus, the very stability Archie was hoping to give his son by putting him in a major market is about to vanish:

Manning’s play could affect several decisions the Giants will face: whether to extend Coughlin’s contract beyond the 2007 season; whether Coughlin shuffles any assistant coaches this off-season, particularly the offensive coordinator, John Hufnagel, and the quarterbacks coach, Kevin Gilbride; whether the replacement for General Manager Ernie Accorsi, who is retiring, is one of his disciples inside the organization or someone from outside; and whether the Giants pursue another quarterback next off-season, maybe a veteran to push Manning, if not replace him.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are contenders with Philip Rivers (15TD / 6 INTs, 7th in passer rating, 1oth in passing yards, 8th in passing TDs) , who used the extra draft picks thrown in by the Giants to pick Nate Kaeding (17-for-19 on field goals) and Shawne Merriman (such a badass the league had to suspend him).

Today, the Washington Post piles on with a great article called 'Start Spreading the Blame.' The Giants are flaming out, with Plaxico Burress the target of Michael Strahan, who in turn nearly beat up a reporter. Tiki (Wahoowa!) called out the coach's playcalling again. And then there's Eli:

The quarterback has been horrible of late, putting up passer ratings of 28.3, 51.9 and 59.1 in the last three games...Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad had the Giants not essentially traded quarterback Philip Rivers, now starring for San Diego, and the draft pick that became last season's defensive rookie of the year, linebacker Shawne Merriman, for Manning.

Ouch. So much for all those endorsements.

As a post-script, it should be noted that Peyton Manning was selected first overall in 1998 by Indianapolis, which was coming off a 3-13 season in 1997, had fired coach Lindy Infante and hired a new coach in Jim Mora Sr. As a media market, I think Indianapolis makes San Diego look like New York, so where was svengali Archie then? To my thinking, this means one of two things: either Peyton told his father to take a flying leap, I'm going where I get drafted, or Archie simply had more confidence in Peyton's ability to success on his own, without the father's influence.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Comments on a Couple of Media Pieces

Je make comments-uh

I wanted to toss out my thoughts on a couple of pieces I've seen lately regarding the Redskins.

Brian at Common Prejudice pointed this one out to me, an ESPN piece by Tom Friend titled 'Reeling Redskins Awash in Troubles.' Master4Caster at Running Redskins posted up a good take on it today as well.

First, this is generally a good piece in that it is inside baseball on some of what ails the Redskins defense. The loss of key players and some of the injuries and bad assumptions by the coaching staff is stuff we all know. The parts about the politics of coaching, Steven Jackson and Jerry Gray, is something I have not read about thus far this season. I would think we would have read about this earlier if there were real problems or anonymous team officials or players were leaking stories about coaching and locker room disarray (like the players did against Marty Schottenheimer). I just have a hard time believing accomplished coaches such as Joe Gibbs and Gregg Williams could tolerate this stuff, or permit disorganization or poor communications. I'm not saying I don't believe it, but if there were problems, the Washington Post would find out about it before ESPN.

He makes some allusions to controversies of yore, such as 'one year the punter...' or 'one year a player...' without providing backup. As a writer I personally don't feel comfortable motivating a piece with these kinds of historical references without a citation. If not a link, then how about a date? Something to provide some credibility to what you are about to say, which is 'the old man's lost it, and I'm proving it comparatively.' With the journalistic and archival resources of ESPN and his own writing from the Washington Post, Tom should be able to provide a better reference.

As the final set-up, he categorically names the Redskins as the biggest flop of the 2006 season, which I am not necessarily inclined to disagree with, but I don't like his criteria for determination. Ok, so Miami is a good story because they got a veteran in Joey Harrington to back up the big-ticket free agent in Daunte Culpepper, and when the big-ticket free agent got hurt (Daunte Culpepper's 'injury' is just benching in disguise) Joey stepped in and got it done. Good on Miami, and it raises some organizational questions for the team in the offseason.

Tampa Bay? Tom says they lost their starting quarterback and so should not be expected to do anything, but so did Pittsburgh two years ago (Tommy 'You can never have too much insurance' Maddox), and Big Ben Roethlisberger stepped in and ripped off 13 wins in a row. Sure Ben was a first round pick and Bruce Gradkowski was a 6th round pick, but does that matter once you're on the field? Kyle Orton, a 4th round pick in 2005, went 10-5 as a starter in Chicago when Rex Grossman went down (again). Once you're on the field, you're expected to play, and if 6th round pick Bruce Gradkowski is not player enough to get it done, then shame on Tampa Bay for not stocking a veteran between Chris Simms and Bruce.

Finally, Tom says Pittsburgh is going through a 'predictable post-Super Bowl malaise.' Wait, I thought it was the Super Bowl loser that had the slump. In the past 20 years, the Super Bowl winner is a combined 210-109 in the season after winning the big game. In fact, in the past 20 years, there have been only 4 teams with losing records in the year after the Super Bowl. Quick stat:

Last 20 years: 210-109 w-l, 65.8% wins (quite very nearly 2 out of 3)
Last 10 years: 103-57 w-l, 64.4% wins (also very quite nearly 2 out of 3)

So it's actually the Steelers that are the exception and the post-Super Bowl slump is not predominant in the winner, and therefore I would not call it 'predictable.' Stats pulled from Database Football. (look mom, a citation!) And it's amusing that with 2 wins no one even considers the Raider to be a disappointment.

As for the meat of the hit piece on Gregg Williams, I can't really argue with the facts. The guy got a huge payraise, and basically got to run the defense the way he wanted...which is exactly how Richie Petitbon got to do things. Losing Antonio Pierce, Fred Smoot and Walt Harris hurt, no question. If the Redskins can so easily attract free agents from other teams with big $$$, then why can't they hang onto their defensive players with big $$$? On this point, I disagree with Tom, who says Gregg Williams is arrogant and believes his scheme is the solution, not so much the players. I think the point he misses is that while Gregg Williams is no doubt arrogant and believes the system is paramount, don't discount the fact the players can be arrogant as well. If we make it into a battle of wills I guess Gregg Williams says 'sure they're good players but we can work without them' and Smoot, Pierce and Harris say 'sure he's a good coach but I can succeed in another system.' This season, the Redskins sure are hurting without those guys. LaVar Arrington, we don't miss him.

Moving on, I don't think it's a shock there is a disgruntled player on the team. I'm sure you can find them on every team. That we first heard from this player 11 weeks into the season is what amazes me. Does anyone else think it might be Adam Archuleta? A guy talking about how it's scheme over players in Gregg's mind? Someone with buyer's remorse, that mebbe should have passed on the money and gone to Chicago? I think I can get behind the notion that, like a newbie playing Madden on SNES (I just dated myself), Gregg is running some variation of the same defense over and over, hoping eventually the opposing offense will play into it, though I do not believe it's necessarily out of pure stubbornness. With the depleted corps he has had to deal with keeping the playbook small was perhaps his judgement. Note how different the defense looked, more wide open, in the Panthers game.

And finally, the regression of players, disrespecting players, ignoring pouty coaches and letting the entire secondary be un-coached into oblivion, well, there is definitely something up with the defense, though I have a hard time believing it's this soap operatic. Fans heard rumors during Norv Turner's tenure, while Marty was here and while Steve Spurrier was here, and this is the first time I've heard of this with this staff. If it's a war of wills and Gregg is putting loyalty to mediocre coaches over the team, that shit needs to change, and pronto. I'm not for getting rid of Gregg based on this season's results. After the last two seasons, you really need to give him another year to prove his scheme, a la Spurrier, needs the best players to be successful, in which case you get rid of his ass because the Redskins have made it a point to plug players in on defense, not identify and retain the bestest players in the league.

Ok the other piece will have to wait.

French frog pilfered from here, where also I learned all about French TV personality Melissa Theuriau, who is reason enough to be French.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mike Vanderjagt?

Would The Danny actually do this?

Update 5:45 pm: Jason says Redskins are not interested. I'm not entirely convinced, since the team has fed him bad information before.

The Cowboys have cut Mike Vanderjagt, the prized free agent acquisition from Indianapolis signed this offseason to a 5.5 million dollar contract, with a 2.5 million dollar signing bonus. Thanks to this cut, the Cowboys will get hit with a dead-money penalty of 1.8 million dollars against the cap next season. Some choice Dallas media market quotes:

Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram:

Mike Vanderjagt discovered Monday that to keep a job, it's sometimes necessary to actually perform like "the most accurate kicker in NFL history" rather than just talk about it.

Same paper, different article:

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called Mike Vanderjagt on Monday afternoon to inform him that he had been released. While Jones said he was sick about the decision, he told Vanderjagt that "some people in the organization lacked confidence in him."

"Some people" would be coach Bill Parcells, who clearly never trusted the most accurate kicker in NFL history.

So now that Vanderjagt

plans to put his home up for sale and cancel a charity event he had planned for December. He will return to his home in Canada and aims to be back in the NFL next season,

does anyone besides me and Wilbert Montgomery think this one has Dan Snyder written all over it? He's the bestest ever, high profile, been in clutch games and the current excuse for a kicker is just 5-for-10, including 1-for-3 between 30 and 39 yards. Vanderjagt is a guy that once made all 37 field goals in a season. I think that's wattage Dan Snyder is inexorably drawn to and I think Bob Novak better get back on his GMAT prep. The big question of course is whether Mike has lost his touch, if it's a mechanical thing he can fix or if it's all in his head.

And Canada? That makes three football people we know, Brian Hunter, Lee Gibbons and Vanderjagt, all from Canada. I thought you guys had the CFL. Keep your good beer and backbacon to yourselves you hosers.

Uncredited photo of Vanderjagt's potentially game-tying miss in the 2005 playoffs against the Steelers from teh internets.

Guest Post: Cursed

We post good takes

Sunday evening, after the epic defensive struggle that was the Redskins-Panthers game, I received an email from one of my oldest friends, Zuul, a lifelong Redskins fan trapped in Bronco country. Zuul has forgotten more about Redskins football than I know, and I am pleased he finally acceeded to my groveling pleas for a guest post.


Karma is a powerful force in sports. Is there any better explanation for what was wrong with Red Sox all those years than to simply blame it on the Curse of the Bambino? So why point the finger at Mark Brunell or The Dan for the continuing woes of the Redskins organization? Perhaps there is something a little simpler, if perhaps more esoteric than a stat sheet, to explain the annual exercise in mediocrity that we have come to accept as the Redskins. The Redskins are cursed like the Red Sox, even if the Skins never had a legend like the Babe to send packing.

But wait, you say, the Redskins did have The Babe and they did give him the royal shaft. The Curse of Babe Laufenberg! Was there ever a player that earned a spot on the roster and a chance to at least hold the clipboard the way Babe did? Those pre-season come-from-behind thrillers were often better than anything Joe Gibbs could squeeze out of the team during the regular season with the Diesel in traction Mondays through Saturdays and Joey T throwing the ball into the ground and to guys with the other colored jerseys. For a franchise that made a living out of developing 47th rounders with names like Humphries, Rypien, Schroeder – all of which either took a team to the Super Bowl or got traded for a guy who would get a team there (Jim Lachey), there was ample room on the injured reserve (a.k.a. Joe’s taxi squad) for a proven winner like The Babe. With a revolving door on the active roster for quarterbacks, if there was room for a guy like Cary Conklin during Joe Gibbs’ tenure, then, as Mr. Cooke would have said, there bloody well ought to been room for The Babe.

Sure enough, The Babe was discarded like an old sock and left to eventually become the Jess Atkinson of the Dallas news market. Save for the miraculous turnaround in Super Bowl XXII, teams under Joe Gibbs I never fared as well playing from behind the way they did when the Babe was under center. Just picture that deer-in-the-headlights look in Ryp’s eyes whenever he was asked to step out from his cannon-armed robot shell and make a play on his own. Forget it.

Not that the Skins’ handling of the Babe caused the same type of gash in the space-time continuum that the Red Sox opened up with their dealing away the Bambino. No, the Laufenberg affair was more symbolic of the hidden plague that has followed the Redskins around for years. Maybe it’s an identity crisis.

Save for the occasional exception, the Redskins of “old” were never the glamour boys, tough guys, Hollywood showboats, or any of the other characteristics that have always defined teams like the Cowboys, Steelers, Raiders, Niners, etc. George Allen got the Redskins to win by trading away a decade’s worth of draft picks from his old Rams team and milking the best possible play out of the old guys with his hip-hip-hooray attitude. Joe Gibbs I made a living off of relatively intelligent, moderately talented scheme players at most positions and the biggest and most agile monsters he could put on the O-line. During the same periods in the 70s and 80s, other teams were making their living off of big name superstars.

When free agency first hit under Plan A and Plan B, marquee players were not yet readily available and Charley Casserly did an admirable job of rounding out Bobby Beathard’s core team with as many no-name specialists as he could jam onto the roster. There will still be no superstars on Joe’s teams. But after Super Bowl XXVI, the impending doom of true free agency began to loom over the organization and set the stage for a Joe Gibbs flight to racing. While Joe was off tinkering under the hood, superstars showed up all over the open market, every team in the NFL got itself a 300-pound O-line, and the west coast offense became the prevailing offensive philosophy. This is not your father’s NFL. This isn’t the NFL from which Joe Gibbs fled after the 1992 season. But don’t blame Joe, he only came back for the – ehhemm -- love of the game.

So what about those supserstars? Al Davis collects them like trophies, but let’s just say that Heisman Trophy winners don’t mix with the Redskins. Desmond Howard (oddly enough, drafted under Joe Gibbs I) just signaled the beginning of the team’s identity crisis. Ethan Horton, Alvin Harper, Deion Sanders, Jeremiah Trotter, Adam Archuletta, and on and on…’s as if this organiztion has decided that, as much as it hates to bring in superstars, it is a necessary evil if the Skins are going to compete in the modern NFL. But here is one problem – just because a guy has a name like Marino doesn’t mean he can win big games. Moreover, just because a guy’s agent and the folks at Nike think a guy is a superstar doesn’t mean the guy really is. Dan Snyder has proven that a superstar salary does not a superstar make.

What happened to the hip-hip-hooray guys and intelligent players that used to define this organization? Remember, there are supposed to be just a handful of Dexter Manleys and Alvin Waltons thrown in on a team for extra fire. Santana Moss? Yes, he is faster than a gazelle and runs great routes, but come on, this guy is dumber than any player Joe Gibbs I ever had on his offense. Clinton Portis? Multiply Joe Thiesman’s ego by Gary Clark’s and you still don’t even come close, and not even Dexter himself was as much of a punk as Portis. Ok, we’ll designate Sean Taylor as the token bad boy and cut him a break. The players that have come to define the Redskins look a hell of a lot like all the other Ocho Cinco type pieces of trash out there.

We won’t even consider that Joe Gibbs himself has admitted to not putting in the kind of hours he used to. Joe Gibbs return to D.C. has proven to be no more inspiring than Heath Shuler’s is likely to be, and at least Heath is virtually assured a more successful second tour of duty inside the Beltway. Just as Heath is about to discover what it means to compromise yourself in order to get anything done, Joe Gibbs has obviously had to compromise his own principles in order to coach in the modern NFL, it’s starting to show, and it ain’t pretty.

Finally, there is a haunted house phenomenon in this organization. Jack Kent Cooke’s legacy is not the great success the organization enjoyed in his time, but rather, it’s that bloody stadium. It may be the biggest in the league, but it is a lifeless slab of concrete out in the middle of BFE. RFK was a living, breathing, moving home, but this colossus that Mr. Cooke never saw in use barely even qualifies as a house. It is a fitting legacy for an lonely old jillionaire that got his sweetest revenge from the grave by shafting his son and then watching Dan Snyder kill himself slowly with ulcerous frustration and agony.

Despite all these bugaboos, the Redskins organization could turn this around. This is not the Lions or even the Cardinals. This is a Redskins organization that has not totally lost itself and just needs a shock. Maybe The Dan will sell to someone better suited to handle football stewardship. Maybe Al Saunders and Gregg Williams will bring in the personnel they need for their schemes – either genuine superstars, or just guys who make plays. Whatever it is, I hope it comes soon, because I am starting to think that the Redskins are just the Wizards in disguise.


Noted without additional comment.

Kansas fencepost: Don Palmer

Monday, November 27, 2006

Unearthing Ancient Redskins Football

Big plays win games

Redskins football -noun
1. tough defense, conservative offense, wait for the big play.
2. what was played Sunday
3. what I want to see five more times this year

Redskins beat Panthers 17-13. The Legend of Jason Campbell is forming. His helmet radio went Democrat in the 4th quarter. They got the formation in, but not the play. Alone in the huddle, he called the play that led to the Cooley touchdown. Let us toast our new local star, Jason Campbell. *klink*

Part of the joy of Redskins football is frustrating other teams in games where nothing happens. An alternate title for this post could have been 'Panthers Can't Score Enough to Win.' Jake Delhomme was rattled all day. Go ahead, force the Redskins into 4 three-and-outs. They don't care. They'll hang in there. Hallmark: a defense that makes plays, and doesn't allow long passes. Shawn Springs is finally back. He blanketed Steve Smith, making Smith look just average with 5 catches for 34 yards. Carlos Rogers also acquitted himself, holding Keyshawn Johnson to 6 catches for 38 yards. That's right, the top two Panther receivers combined for 72 yards. As I've written before, watch how the character of a Gregg Williams defense changes when there is quality corner play.

And that pesky third quarter wasn't so bad for the Redskins. Play by play shows all three Panthers drives in the quarter were three-and-outs. 3rd quarter to-do list for the Redskins: 1) make sure nothing happens. 2) score. Rocky got into the game, getting a hand on a Panthers punt. Everyone was contributing.

I saw a lot of smiles out there, like guys were having fun and trying to win, not trying not to lose.

Other thoughts: Joe Gibbs made a huge mistake challenging the Steve Smith TD catch in the 4th quarter. The Panthers at that point were up three points and wasting a challenge wasted a timeout they might have needed later. Ladell is awesome. Did I say that already? Sean Taylor. He's a beast and he seems to be in on every defensive play. Vernon Fox, replacing 65 year old Troy Vincent replacing the 30 million dollar benchwarmer, set the tone early with an INT. Message: you're going to have to try harder in this house. And soooooomeone is getting profiled tomorrow! And I agree with George Solomon, the man that turned me down for a job, that this mess ain't all Joe Gibbs' fault at in the least. Dan Snyder needs to separate himself from Vinny the snake Cerrato. Bob Novak isn't a great kicker. I think he was 4-for-9 at the point he missed the FG in the 2nd quarter. Once more dog of a game and he gets his own feature.

Duckett Watch: 7 carries for 24 yards. Season now projecting to 27 carries for 130 yards. TJ is looking more and more like a...backup running back. Ladell got his labell rung in the first quarter and TJ came in, but with Ladell looking like a starter, there's no way for TJ to get into a rhythm. The good news is that with TJ and Ladell both free agents after this season, they can keep one if the other draws bigger money. I'd like to have Ladell on the sidelines again next year. He works with this offense.

B-Lloyd Blues: one catch for 8 yards. This guy just frustrates me. Balls bounce off his hands and I don't feel like he will make the big play when called on.

Being Mark Brunell: he got on camera once, for reaction to Bob Novak's missed field goal in the 2nd quarter. With so much time on his hands, I'm worried about Mark, so I found a list of volunteer and leisure programs for seniors in Fairfax County here.

And Curly R is proud to announce a new weekly feature, Arch Deluxe, on the life and times of 30 million dollar special teams player Adam Archuleta. Not only did Archuleta not play a down on defense that I saw, his assignment on the punting team is to be Derrick Frost's 'personal protector.' Adam Seward got a piece of Frost's punt at the end of the half and two plays and ten yards later, Jon Kasay is kicking a field goal to send the Panthers ahead at the half. When it rains it pours, and the forecast is for continued shittiness the rest of the season.

The Giants lost. This is of course good in its own right, but after Sunday's New York Times piece on Eli, it's that much sweeter, like honey on your toast. Yeppers, he's looking like an average quarterback at best.

The Eagles lost. This is of course good in its own right, but after rubbernecking all week at Bleeding Green Nation, the bloom is coming off the Andy Reid rose and we may get to see an implosion of spectacular proportions as the city turns on the team and begins to devour it whole.

A good day in the nation's capital.

Chris Cooley scoring, on field: AP photo

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Game 11: Redskins (3-7) vs. Panthers (6-4)


This could get ugly fast. The NFC South-leading Carolina Panthers are coming to Fed Ex field on Sunday, fresh off a 15-0 shutout of the St. Louis Rams. The Panthers stifling defense allowed the once-mighty Rams only 111 total yards of offense in the game. This does not bode well for the damaged Redskins offense, who will take the field without Clinton Portis and possibly Santana Moss. (ed. note: Santana says Santana will play. -Ben)

Jason Campbell will get his second start behind center for the Redskins, and the young quarterback is really the only reason for Skins fans to watch this game. Campbell had a decent debut last week, going 19 for 34 for 196 yards and 2 TDs last week, but he'll be hard pressed to repeat that success against the Panthers. (ed. note: Jaws loves Jason Campbell. -Ben)

The Redskins may be foundering, but don't expect the Panthers to let up at all. They are locked in a mortal struggle for the NFC South crown with Atlanta and New Orleans nipping at their heels in the division standings. The Panthers must press on without injured running back DeShaun Foster, which is good news for the Redskins' horrible run defense.

The only other saving grace for the Skins is that the game will be played in the friendly confines of FedEx field, where they are 2-2 this season. If you're going to FedEx you should be in for some nice weather; the forecast calls for sunny skies and 63 degree temperatures. The weather may be warm, but I'll be watching from home so I can turn off the TV if the action on the field gets too chilly.

Update, Sat 9am: Ben in with some additional thoughts. For the Panthers on offense, Steve Smith is the name of this game. The Redskins have no answers in the secondary, where the corners are veak and the FS position is toast. Adam Archuleta doesn't play and 55 year old Troy Vincent is injured. This means we'll be seeing more of Vernon Fox, so good luck with that. We need the Everywhere Man Quantex device so we can create 6 Sean Taylor clones to play linebacker and DB.

And apparently, Joe Gibbs had a closed-door rantfest on Wednesday, and I admit as I was watching the news on Wednesday night that the look I saw on Gibbs' face as he walked the practice field looked more like the Old Joe than at any point this year. Wilbon thinks it might work, but it's too late.

Offensively for the Redskins, let's see who steps it up. B-Lloyd has been a B-Bust. Santana is playing hurt and David Patten has been rechristened David Nutten by The Curly R. Maybe Antwaan Randle El will present. A friend asked me this week what I thought about the Redskins running game, and I said it would be a great idea. After running only 14 times last week, I hope the Redskins will try and control the tempo on the ground. Forget about Ladell's fumble last week. It was his first lost fumble of the year, and if the Redskins had been 7-3 at the time or up by two touchdowns in the game, we wouldn't be talking about it. And speaking of fumbles, Tiki may be holding the ball better, but he fumbled again off the field, calling out Tom Coughlin on playcalling, earning a sit-down with the coach, and we know how much Tom loooooooves when players feed the New York media beast. It makes me happy the Giants are imploding.

This is a gameday open thread.

Friday, November 24, 2006

5 Questions with the Panthers

It's the day after Thanksgiving. You're still full from dinner, you're hung over, and you're stuck at the in-laws house 'til Sunday. Even worse, you are required to head to the malls today and there's no NFL football on for another two days. What's a Thanksgiving-weary Redskins fan gonna do? The same thing you do every Friday: it's time for 5 Questions!

This week I exchanged pleasantries with Dave, who blogs about the Carolina Panthers over at the AOL Fan House. You can read my answers to Dave's questions at this link.

Curly R: What is the best Thanksgiving menu item of all time? Defend your choice.

Dave: Dude, it's *all* about the turkey. Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird, and every Thanksgiving, I remember why --because it's damn tasty.

Curly R: The Panthers have come a long way since that 1-15 season five years ago. To what do you attribute this success?

Dave: Realizing that George Seifert couldn't actually coach, for starters. I think John Fox and GM Marty Hurney came in here with a blueprint for the kind of team they wanted, and they picked players who fit their plan and who have executed it fairly well. Not everything is perfect -- especially at running back, where Eric Shelton has been a bust and DeShaun Foster has been forced into becoming a Stephen Davis clone -- but it's as solid a group as you'll find in the NFC.

Curly R: The NFC South is a true horse race this season, with all but Tampa Bay in a position to possibly win the division. I think Carolina has the edge because their next four games are all against struggling opponents (Redskins, Eagles, Giants, Steelers). A sweep of those teams could make the last two against the Saints and Falcons you agree?

Dave: No, I don't, because games against division rivals are NEVER irrelevant, especially now. Just because these teams have slipped a bit the last few weeks doesn't mean they're out of it. Atlanta and New Orleans have many of these same teams left on their schedule, and they are both capable of bouncing back from their slumps, just like Carolina bounced back from those losses against Cincinnati and Dallas. If all those injuries the Giants and Eagles suffered drag them down, it's entirely possible that all three teams could make the playoffs, which makes those divisional battles all the more important.

Curly R: Which was more disappointing...losing Super Bowl XXXVIII by a field goal with four seconds left, or only getting to see one of Janet Jackson's boobs during the halftime show?

Dave: Y'know, Jackson family boobs aren't really a high priority for me. I have high-speed Internet at home, and there's a gentlemen's club in Raleigh, so I can look at boobs pretty much whenever I want. If Janet wants to come to my house and give me a private showing, that's one thing, but I'd much rather see the Panthers win a title.

Curly R: I know that the Panthers are relative newcomers to the league, but who would Panthers fans consider to be their greatest rival?

Dave: I actually think that's still open for debate. The games against the Buccaneers are usually more intense, but there's definitely more fan hatred toward the Falcons -- possibly because despite the Panthers' 1-7 start in 2004, that team still might have made the playoffs if not for Michael Vick's improbable end zone dive that won the game for Atlanta. I don't think either of the Vick brothers are particularly welcome in Charlotte.


Thanks, Dave for answering our questions. Speaking of Michael Vick and Atlanta, they'll be coming to town next week to further embarrass the Redskins at FedEx. As always, we'll have the burning questions next Friday.

Infamous "Wardrobe Malfunction" pic liberated from Wikipedia.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Football Thread

The real fool is the one that gets between me and Thanksgiving football

Update: I have completed the itinerary of my day. I hope everyone had as action-packed a Thanksgiving as I.

I am sure no one is reading Redskins blogs today, but while I am stuck at my in-laws, I might as well make myself productive in a way that my wife would not necessarily agree is actually productive, which is to say writing for a blog instead of engaging in tedious discussion of people I don't know. Look, there's my wife now, taking a break from her own family to watch the Dolphins score. Joey Harrington looked good on that drive. Wow what a catch just now by Roy Williams.

FYI, I'm also blogmenting at Pride of Detroit and The Phinsider. Two weeks ago, Curly R traded 5 bye week questions with Pride of Detroit. You can read that here.

Riffing on an as-usual hilarious post at Kissing Suzy Kolber, I thought I would post up my Thanksgiving schedule as it has unfurled so far.

0245: stagger home drunk on bourbon from neighbor's house after playing Halo and Gears of War on Xbox 360 for 5 hours. Quiver in bed with eyes closed for three hours.

0630: kids wake up, come in try and wake me up; are unsuccessful.

0700: wife in shower, I am one-quarter awake, kids are already so hyper they appear blurred. There is something on TV, is it Jimmy Neutron? Maybe Jojo and her goddamn Circus? What I really need is three more solid hours of silence, cool and this comforter.

0715: no use fighting it, everyone else is up and dressed. Shower. For 30 minutes.

0745: eat breakfast, a thin gruel of blood and iron filings, or at least that's how it tastes.

0815: leave Alexandria for Charlottesville. Listen to satellite radio the whole way, but never move the dial off wife's choice (Sirius 18, The Spectrum). This is called 'paying it forward,' since I plan to watch football belligerently in four hours.

1100: arrive in-laws in Charlottesville. Kids are so happy to see grandparents and dog that they literally bounce, up and down up and down. Think about bottle of bourbon in travel bag, decide to wait.

1130: in-laws' dog is having attention anxiety with the introduction of two four year olds, and needs a walk, so wife and I walk the dog, a border collie. Three blocks from house, dog lays the most vile and soft bowel evacuation I have touched in ten years, and I changed two sets of diapers for two years. One more reason we are not pet people.

1200: return dog, crack bottle, a $13 bottle of Rebel Yell. Maybe teh best value at Virginia ABC. It's goooooooood.

1215: second bourbon. Kids are eating a little pre-nap snack. Take them upstairs for nap, wish I could get in and take a nap.

1230: football begins.

1300: there appear to be no running plays in this game. Wife wanders in to TV room, wonders why I am antisocial, which allows her to be antisocial for ten minutes.

1355: Thanksgiving dinner begins. Rolls, sweet potato pie with the little marshmallows, lima beans, mashed potatos, cranberry sauce, stuffing with gravy, light & dark meeeeeeeat.

1420: seconds. Concentrate on turkey, stuffing, taters and gravy.

1445: wander outside to play on tire swing with kids. They love it but I'm too full and it makes me vomit a little in my mouth.

1510: back to football. Miami has built a steady lead to 27-10, and there still appear to be no running plays in this game.

1520: discover comment on this growing post by Lee at The Redskin Report. Did not know he was Canadian. Lee, I have a friend that is always up for a green card marriage if you want to try and become a US citizen. But you'll have move to Massachusetts if you catch my drift.

1535: surrender computer to kids to practice interneting.

1645: regain computer but kids have commandeered TV to watch Cyberchase. Plot return of football.

1640: 4yr old #1 wanders over to me and says, "dad, I thought you were going to leave." Can take hint.

1700: leave in-laws with wife for hotel. As I look at my watch to note the time, observe I have not corrected for daylight savings time, which was a month and a half ago. I wear a watch, but use my phone as a timepiece; come to grips with being a jewelry-wearer.

1715: with a night off and no kids, cruise by movie theater adjacent to hotel; only showing Happy Feet (two screens), FLushed Away and Santa Clause 3: The Desperation of the Tim Allen. So lay up in hotel room and watch football.

1730: Tony Romo is awesome

1800: Tony Romo is awesome

1830: Tony Romo is awesome

1900: Tony Romo is awesome

1930: Tony Romo is awesome

2030: leave with wife in search of drink and football because, as noted above, the Denver -KC game is only on NFL Network. Fail in first attempt in only plac eopen on Downtown Mall, but stay for two bourbons.

2145: leave bar-with-no-football, go to Corner, find place with game. Get carded, which does not happen often anymore. Have a bourbon.

2200: wife discovers high school friends in upstairs bar, know where this is going, so switch over from bourbon to soda water with bitters and lime. Wife begins pounding Stella Artois with friends. Watch Denver-KC game over this group's shoulders, occasionally adding an 'mmhmm' or a chuckle.

2330: leave bar, pour wife into minivan. Back to hotel.

2345: force wife to drink two glasses of water, she passes out. Watch football highlights until midnight.

2400: sleep, knowing no kids for at least 12 hours.

Other Curly R Thanksgiving Football Threads: 2007 :: 2008 :: 2009 :: 2010

Foolball cards wacky sticker pinched from here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Things I'm Not Thankful For

Never pardon a turkey

I have intense Redskins malaise. The Buccaneers averaged almost a whole yard on the ground over their season average against the Redskins. Former Redskins cornerback Walt Harris himself has twice as many interceptions as the entire Redskins team. A Hall of Fame coach has simply disappeared his team's principles, as though they were enemy combatants. Players on the defense seem to be setting themselves up for a big DON'T LOOK AT ME.

I have intense Redskins malaise. Hogs Haven has a post on the Redskins 3 Stooges. Counter Trey says The Future Is In The Future. Skinsaphrenia reminds me the highest-paid safety in NFL history is now backing up a guy one step from the street. Hog Heaven has a list of good and bad from the Tampa Bay game, and the bad is twice as long as the good. The Redskin Report tries to cheer me up with good things about being bad, but a chuckle makes a terrible playoff seed. Lee also reminds me for the Carolina game that former UNC basketball player Julius Peppers has 11 sacks this season. The Redskins have 13. Total.

I have intense Redskins malaise. Tomorrow I will be dining on turkey with stuffing and all manner of holiday delicacy before plopping my arse down for football. But today, I have intense malaise. It makes me more bitter that there is a third NFL game on tomorrow, but thanks to greedy NFL executives and greedier cable operators, unless you get NFL Network (I don't on Cox) or live in Kansas City or Denver (NFL Network games must be broadcast locally to the team markets, presumably dependent upon blackout rules), you won't see it. And it's a night game. That's right, there's a third game on tomorrow and the majority of the nation won't see it.

Curly R aside: this thing is pretty cool. The online edition of this article doesn't have a picture of the KangarooTV device, but here it is. It looks like a cross between a Star Trek tricorder and a Sony Walkman Sport.

If I had a DirecTV subscription, I would want one of these, they're satellite TV-on-the-go for sporting events. You can set them to record, play back and set alerts to change the channel when there is a score in another game. Perfect for that tedious weekend work function or 4yr old's birthday party. They are pushing them hard in racing and football markets, and apparently you can rent one at Redskins Stadium for $40 a game. I've never brought a radio or mini-TV to a game, and for all the times I wish I had one, I am glad I did not have another thing to distract me and force me to keep my eyes off the game I just spent $100 to get into.

Why do I have intense malaise? Because I am not thankful. Not thankful for a Redskins defensive secondary that couldn't cover a bagel with cream cheese. Not thankful for a $30 million safety that rides the bench. Not thankful for front office boobs that overestimate talent. Not thankful for a team so bad bad teams look good. Not thankful for a 700-page playbook. Not thankful for a receiver that only makes circus catches, and even then only some. Not thankful for coaches with a winning past and a losing present. Not thankful for weak-armed quarterbacks. Not thankful for veteran defensive tackles that lose starting jobs to 6th round draft picks. Not thankful for the 19th overall offense. Not thankful for the 30th overall defense. Not thankful for the 4th most penalties in the league (though I am thankful Dallas is number one) and definitely not thankful for the 2nd most penalty yards in the league (though again I am thankful Dallas is number one). Not thankful for a 36.9% mark on 3rd down. Not thankful for the 30th ranked passing defense. Not thankful for the 18th ranked run defense. Not thankful for the fewest takeaways in the league (but I am thankful for the second fewest giveaways -- at least the other teams can't take away what the Redskins don't have). Not thankful for first-round pick cornerbacks that blame everyone but themselves for blown coverage. Not thankful for another cornerback that waits all offseason to have surgery when he could have had it in the spring or summer and been ready for the season. Thankful for the hardest hitter in the game, but not thankful that he commits stupid 15 yard penalties with painful regularity. Not thankful for coaches that realized a month after the fans that big changes were needed. Not thankful for 3-7 and sinking.

What am I thankful for? That this isn't Philadelphia. That Eli Manning looks superduper average. That Martyball is going to ride into the Super Bowl. That no combination of circumstances will force me to support Redskins Coach Bill Parcells. Thankful that I am getting a break one time.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving from the staff of the Curly R.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

RIP Andre Waters

Andre Waters, 1962-2006

Andre Waters was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound yesterday. Redskins fans over 25 remember well Eagles defensive back Andre 'Dirty' Waters. He played for the Eagles from 1984 to 1993, leading the team four times in tackles, and was a key player on one of the greatest NFL defenses ever put together, the 1991 Eagles unit that allowed both the fewest run yards and fewest pass yards in the league.

He was a hard hitter and a hard-working player, and his style perfectly typified the defensive attitude of the team during the Buddy Ryan years, that no team had a right to move the ball against the Eagles. I am sorry to see him gone. Andre Waters was 44.

Being Mark Brunell

A guide for coping

You're Mark Brunell. You got benched. Your backup The new starter looked good and could actually throw the ball down the field. You can't understand how you can have a career year and then get fed to the chipper. You need time to get used to not being a starter. What do you do? How do you cope? Mark, The Curly R is here to help. Yesterday, I sat down with Dr. Al Kuholic, a clinical psychologist and specialist in the field of unfulfilled expectations here in the DC area to discuss how athletes cope with not being very good. Some of Dr. Kuholics former patients include Joe Namath, Dexter Manley, Bam Morris and Koren Robinson.


Curly R: Mark must be feeling low right now. What's the best thing he can do to keep his mind off the benching?

Al Kuholic: I would give Mark the advice first passed down from the eminent Dr. Blutarsky, then a 7th year pre-med student to his patient, Flounder, and that is "drink heavily." It is also better for Mark to remain indoors so as not to expose himself to any object or symbol that might remind him of his new situation as not the best quarterback on a last place team.

Curly R: many athletes fear losing lucrative endorsements after being demoted. What advice would you give Mark about protecting his marketability?

Al Kuholic: every chapter is a new opportunity and Mark should consider seeking out products that reflect his new situation. Perhaps he could endorse the brand of tweezers he uses to pull bench splinters out of his ass. He could consider pitching for an office supply chain, since he will be seen with a clipboard more often, or for a detergent company, since his uniform will now always be crisp, spotless and sparkling white.

Curly R: are there support groups for athletes facing this kind of change in status?

Al Kuholic: yes, there are many many of these in Washington. Mark Price, who the Bullets traded a first-round pick for 1996 but wound up playing a total of 127 minutes for the team because of a bum foot, and Jaromir Jagr, who was barely able to stop gambling long enough to put on a Capitals sweater run two of the more high profile groups, the Still Getting Paid Society and Time for You to Respect and Acknowledge Individual Efforts (TURKIEs).

Curly R: will Mark experience any physical changes or impacts as a result of his change in status?

Al Kuholic: the immediate physical reaction is the thousand yard stare, paired with occasional hopeful glances at the coach, and forced butt-pats of encouragement for the new starter. Longer term, Mark will experience a relaxing of the sphincter and a general reduction in stress as he comes to terms with expectations that don't go past 'just stand there.'

Curly R: now that Mark will have more time on his hands, what can he do to stay productive?

Al Kuholic: he could start a blog, like his compatriot-in-demotion Drew Bledsoe, chronicling his adventures in a way he never could as a starter. He could get involved in commerce, like retired Dallas Cowboy Nate Newton, or find creative ways to help out the team from off the field, like Wayne Gretzky's wife.

Curly R BONUS QUESTION: does Mark's new status limit his ability to get work in Washington?

Al Kuholic: of course not! After a ten year exile, all failed Redskins quarterbacks are permitted to return to Washington as conservative Democrats via the electoral process.

Jason Campbell in the Tampa Bay game: detail from AP photo
Mark Brunell on sideline in Tampa: detail from AP photo

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dono Tears ACL; Eagles QB Done for Season

Because that's really the headline from this game, right?

Ahh the land of the Moral Victory. The America-hating Washington Post reserves front-page, above the fold real estate for the Redskins Jason Campbell today, taking a break from its relentless and shrill liberal media Bush-bashing. Boswell says look on the bright side, Campbell is a keeper.

Meanwhile back on Earth the Redskins defense was giving up more than 350 yards to the 30th ranked offense in the league. The Redskins continue to be a breath of fresh air for every team they play. This week: the 31st ranked rushing attack, featuring a frustrated former Rookie of the Year in Carnell Williams gets a big day with 167 yards on the ground, including 122 from Williams, a franchise back in a sophomore slump with only one previous 100-yard game this season. Sean Taylor did donate one standard issue Signature Hit to Michael Clayton after the silly double-reverse. After that, the peanut gallery noted there were some drops and some hesitation on the part of the Buccaneers players when Sean was in the vicinity.

Offensively, the Redskins ran the ball a whole 8 times in the first half and I counted a total of 14 carries for 50 yards from Redskins backs. That's not going to answer the mail. Gibbs was furious, said the Redskins had lost their "principles." The team gave up after the Tampa Bay field goal in the 4th quarter. There was no sense of urgency in the final two Redskins drives, no sense that they could overcome a 10 point deficit in 4 minutes. Taking their time, questionable play calls, just wanting to end it and get home. Good thing the Aztecs aren't in charge anymore because the losing team was usually killed.

Curly R aside: ok, I don't know what the Redskins were trying to do with the Duckett trade either Les, but I'm now officially a Duckett guy. His sample size is still small and I am not ready to anoint him the Next Big Thing, but I saw him run hard in the first half and I think he could fit with this team. That said, the Redskins can't keep Ladell and TJ after this season, and Ladell has done nothing to lose his spot.

The team is totally falling apart.

Christian Fauria is on IR. Did he really exist in the first place?

Santana didn't play and I'm betting any takers a dollar that he finishes the season on IR too.

Adam Archuleta's agent has waded into the pool, claiming the Redskins are scapegoating his client since the defense continues to suck with Arch on the bench. Newsflash to Adam Archuleta's agent: the defense continues to suck because the Adam was kind of the plan at safety so when his replacements, a 35 yr old and a guy off the street, suck, it's because by the time we found out Adam sucked Pierson Prioleau was gone for the season and the only thing left at safety were league droppings. I wonder if Reed Doughty can play FS because the Redskins drafted Doughty as Sean Taylor's SS backup and Sean Taylor runs on alien technology so there are few opportunities for Doughty to get in the game.

Rocky McIntosh still isn't fitting into the basic defensive and yielding no return on his investment as a 2nd round pick which cost the Redskins 2 picks to pick.

Todd Yoder? Is this some kind of a joke? Because I'm not laughing.

Duckett Watch: 5 carries for 26 yards, and looking every bit a starter. Season now projecting to 19 carries for 105 yards.

B-Lloyd Blues: it's an undahdog pictcha. The two understudies, Jason and Brandon, take center stage to prove they can play in this league. With Mark and Santana on the sidelines, the Redskins go play-action on the first play from scrimmage, a streaking Brandon Lloyd is open long, the scene plays out in slow motion, the only sounds Brandon's breath and heartbeat and the whistling of the football through the air. Jason's perfectly placed spiral arcs down into, and passes through, the open hands of Brandon Lloyd. Cut back to full speed, Brandon finishes with two catches for 24 yards.

Campbell's Stew: this will be the last edition of Campbell's Stew, what with Jason's promotion. Next week we will promo a new feature in this space called Being Mark Brunell. Jason looked good, going 19/34 for 196 yards and 2 TDs. The best thing though was watching him go deep. I am pleased and look forward to seeing positive progress in his development.

Let the separation begin. The Eagles lost Dono and will now sink into the bottom half with the Redskins. Meanwhile the Cowboys beat the Colts with solid offense and solider defense and the Giants play tonight against the Jaguars.

Hogs Haven recap. Best Bucs Blog recaplet, now with more Macaca. Skinsaphrenia. The Redskin Report.

Jason & Brandon: detail from photo by Jonathan Newton / Washington Post

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Game 10: Redskins (3-6) at Buccaneers (2-7)

A real clash of the titans yesirree bob. Last season, Washington was 10-6 and Tampa Bay was 11-5 and they played an epically vacuous first-round playoff game with the Chris Simms throwing 2 INTs and the Sean Taylor getting ejected for spitting on Carnell Williams. Now, Tampa Bay has three starters on IR and new backup Luke McCown went directly from the PUP list to #2 QB. I expect we'll see Luke under center at some point this season.

Bruce Gradkowski is this year's Kyle Orton, pressed into service when the starter Chris Simms went down with a splenectomy. Bruce has played valiantly, starting the last six games and throwing 7 TD over 3 INTs. But he's also been sacked 15 times over that period, and I saw him trip over his own feet not once but twice in the Eagles game.

And speaking of that Eagles game, boy the Buccaneers look a lot like the Redskins don't they? Tampa Bay has two wins, a one-point victory over Cincinnati, a thought-to-be-legitimate team with an identity problem and no-way-that-should-have-happened two-point win over the Eagles. Recall if you will that there was no way Brian Westbrook should have taken that Dono dump 52 yards to paydirt, and then no way-er Matt Bryant should have been able to pull off that 62 yard field goal. Those two wins look a lot like the Redskins' two wins over the Jaguars and Cowboys. That third Redskins win? Well unfortunately for the Buccaneers, there is no Texans equivalent on the Tampa Bay schedule. This piece in the Tampa Tribune could have been written about the Redskins. This piece reads like it was written about Clinton.

In terms of the actual matchup, the Buccaneers just want to lay low for two quarters and hang on until the 15 minutes after halftime when Mr. Halftime Adjustments Gibbs has been sucking wind. The Buccaneers are 30th in the league in total offense and 24th in total defense. The Redskins somehow manage to hang in the middle of the pack at 16th, guessing on the strength of the running game, and are 30th in defense. The Washington Post says it's all about Jason. I say it's all about Ladell. If he's hot, we won't see much of TJ Duckett.

Offensively, the Redskins will be sending in the JV, with Jason Campbell making his first career start and with Clinton on IR and Santana likely out with a hammy, Ladell and Brandon Lloyd move front and center. Or maybe Antwaan Randle El. Who knows, they both have been kind of absent. Anyone find the football irony funny that Gradkowski is a 6th round draft choice, not projected as the future of the franchise, and has 6 more games experience than Jason Campbell, a former first rounder but whose rebate is about to expire? Despite this headline, Jason isn't an actual rookie.

Defensively, it might be a good idea for the Redskins to concetrate on stopping the run. The Buccaneers are 31st in the league, averaging 81 yards on the ground. It might be tempting for Greggy to say wow they're horrible on the ground so let's press them in coverage to which I say make teams play like they do, not like you want them to play. Playing an aggressive pass defense is a golden ticket to 150 yards for Carnell Williams.

You know it's getting bad when applehead himself, Brian Mitchell is taking Joe Gibbs to task. Coach, get back to you being you.

Hogs Haven previews: Offense, Defense, Miscellany. I'll be liveblogging as I can here and over there. This is a gameday open thread.

Friday, November 17, 2006

5 Questions with the Buccaneers

If this week's matchup with Tampa were a movie, it might be called "Pirates of The Gulf of Mexico: Curse of the Overrated Coaches." The Redskins and the Buccaneers are both enjoying dreadful seasons, but one lucky team will get to pad its paltry win total this week down at the Ray Jay in Tampa. The other team will be that much closer to a top-five draft pick.

To celebrate this dubious occasion, we've exchanged questions with Brendan and Sarah of Best Bucs Blog. We've consulted our independent marketing focus group and confirmed that their blog is, indeed, the Best Freakin' Bucs Blog anywhere. Without further ado, here are their answers to our lame questions. Here is the link to Brendan and Sarah's answers. Head over there, read our answers and drop a comment.

Curly R: Given the success that he's had in Indy, do you ever miss Tony Dungy as the Bucs head coach? Granted, Jon Gruden is no slouch, but he's had up and down years with the Bucs while Dungy's made the playoffs every year.

BBB: Would you rather have a Super Bowl and three losing seasons or Division Championships followed by early exits from the playoffs? Tampa Bay will always love Dungy (as evidenced by the great deal of support from the community when his son passed away) but Gruden is our guy now. He's a top ten coach in this league.

Curly R: Do you ever miss the old Buccaneers uniforms? I mean, the winking, tangerine-colored pirate with a sword in his mouth was awesome!

BBB: Hells yeah, I'm hoping they rock the Creamsicle jerseys for the Thanksgiving game. Bring Back the Winking Pirate!

Curly R: Is there any hope for Chris Simms to succeed as the Bucs QB, or is he finished after a cold start and a bad injury? Is Bruce Gradkowski the long-term solution at QB or just a stop-gap while the team regroups for next season?

BBB: Since they're on the same subject I'll answer these together.

If Grads keeps playing like he is now Simms will be back. The Bucs are in a similar situation to where the Bears where at last season with their quarterbacks. The injured starter is better than everyone thinnks and the backup who is now starting is not as good as everyone thinks .

There is always the chance some team will swoop in on the Simms bidding and inflate his price, in which case there's a good chance the Bucs back off. But if Simms is back with the Bucs next season he is the starter and the future.

Curly R: What's your favorite Bucs moment of all time?

BBB: Ronde Barber's interception for a touchdown during the 2002-2003 NFC Championship Game. It was the moment we knew for sure that Tampa Bay was going to The Super Bowl. My phone started ringing off the hook with phone calls from all over the country congratulating me on the Bucs win.

I'll just add the caveat that I was with a bunch of over-confident Eagles fans at the time. There is nothing like enjoying your opponent's misery. Good thing the Skins game is just a few days away.


I think that might have been a bit of smack talking at the end there! May the best (or least bad) team win, and thanks to Brendan and Sarah for answering our questions!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Emmitt I'll Always Remember You This Way

He's the NFL's all-time leading runner and look what he lets me do to him

So Emmitt Smith won ABC's Dancing with the Stars TV 'competition.' Well actually he tied it but when they opened the voting to the viewers Mario Lopez came up short. Either the Saved By The Bell demo is not watching, or the homophobes are still punishing Lopez for playing Greg Louganis.

Emmitt Smith. On January 2, 1994, he ran for 168 yards to clinch the division and his third consecutive rushing title in Giants Stadium. With a dislocated shoulder, his left arm hanging like a salami.

Emmitt Smith. A man who now dresses up in fancy clothes and dances on TV for our amusement. Emmitt Smith has become OJ Simpson (pre-murder that is, when he was being dragged around under trucks in Leslie Nielsen movies). See you in Scary Movie 5, Em.

Emmitt Smith apparently being sodomized: AP photo

SI to Joe: Go Away. Curly R to SI: Go to Hell.

Sports Illustrated is fishwrap

Here's a quick way to get a Redskins fan's hackles up: put Joe Gibbs in the same category as Albert Haynesworth and Matt Millen. Even the most pessimistic Redskins fan still has confidence in old Joe, even if we don't really get a chance to cash that confidence in until next season. If there's anything that makes me want to see the Redskins go out and kick the shit out of the Buccaneers this Sunday, it's stupid shit like this.

SI is running a piece right now called Ten NFL guys who need to get Joe is listed at number 6 of ten, between Albert Haynesworth (stomped another player, creating a gushing wound requiring 40 stitches to close) and Olindo Mare (I confess I didn't really even know he was still in the league). Here's the text of what SI had to say about Joe:

His team did make the playoffs last year, but this doesn't appear to be a franchise headed toward the Super Bowl anytime soon. Don't be surprised if Gibbs leaves the team or joins its front office this offseason.
Nashville police asked Andre Gurode if he wanted to press charges against Haynesworth. Randy Moss openly disrespects his coach and his team. Matt Millen's record as GM:
2001 2-14
2002 3-13
2003 5-11
2004 6-10
2005 5-11
2006 so far 2-7. Gibbs II worst season so far matches Millen's best season so far and I'll bet a bottle of bourbon with Mr. Mop if he's reading this that the Redskins finish better this year than the Lions. Jon Kitna makes Trent Dilfer look like Matt Hasselbeck.

Hey there SI: if you want to spotlight someone in the Redskins organization that needs to go, allow me to do the honors:

BTW, the Redskins got two in this list. Adam Archuleta is number 10. With the amount of money he makes, the team won't jettison Arch yet, they'll put him on the mentally unable to perform (MUP) list, try and get him to the level he was playing in St. Louis, then dump him after 2007 if he is still sucking.

Photo detail of Joe Gibbs: Simon Bruty / Sports Illustrated

Waiver Wire, 10/16/2006

Well it's been three days since the switch from decaf to regular was announced, so let's see what Redskinsland has to say about it. News and notes from the world of the Redskins.

Master4Caster at Running Redskins is out of energy, so he's just telling Redskins jokes. Most of them are actually Cowboys jokes. A gret link in this post to MSH at No One Appreciates Me. At All, with news the the Redskins have signed Jim Brown, Curtis Martin and Michael Jordan. Dan Snyder's reactions to questions from a reporter about the wisdom of this deal:

"Let me turn the tables for just a moment, and ask you a question," Snyder said. "How much money do you make?"

When the reporter responded that he did not see how that was relevant, Snyder persisted.

"Seriously. How much? I know you people don't make that much. I'll be generous and say $50,000 a year. Well, the Redskins -- which I own -- are worth more than $1 billion. That is my worth. See this fingernail? I'm going to bite it off. One second. Okay, see it on the floor now? That's a $50,000 fingernail, easy. So basically, that's you. I literally just chewed you up and spit you out. So maybe we should think twice before we decide to wear the Daddy Pants, okay?"
David Gaines at Skinsaphrenia is upbeat on the swap of Mark for Jason and Clinton for Ladell, but in a 1995-Bengals-maybe-Dave-Shula-can-still-get-it-out-of-the-ditch kind of way.

Skin Patrol at Hogs Haven has a good piece on the Redskin defense's inability to create turnovers. Tom Boswell wrote an interesting 'statistically this shouldn't be happening' column on turnover differential. It is shaping up like the Redskins are going to defy all logic this year.

The ever-intrepid Lee at The Redskin Report now is pushing Redskins merch in partnership with Amazon. You're about two months too late Lee, but I still may head over there for a Cooley jersey (Cheerleader not included). And how's this for a headline-nutgraf combination:
Campbell Gives a Reason to Hope

Jason Campbell is not going to lead the Redskins to the playoffs this year.
That's how bad it is in Redskinsland.

Counter Trey looks at a few plays that changed the Eagles game. And it's true, everyone but Redskins fans wants to see Joe Gibbs fail and leave, because what's happening this year is not Joe Gibbs football.

Finally, Jason La Canfora at Redskins Insider has an interesting question: will Mark Brunell be back? I think yes, and if 2005 is a guide, he'll be the starter by game 2 of next season. Remember how Mark was benched in the 9th game of 2004 (Mark was just demoted after the 9th game of this season), but Mark said he wanted to stay with the team and Joe ominously said Mark was still going to be a big part of this team? One Shuler Treatment later and Patrick was on the bench after one series in 2005.

And for those of you wondering about Adam Archuleta's contract and what it means for the Redskis going forward, there is an incredibly wonky piece on it, with the inrticacies of option bonuses, guaranteed money and dead-cap money. Bottom line: unless Archuleta magically starts to get this defense (and I hold out hope that he will and we will see him reinserted back into the starting slot), he is going to cost the Redskins $7 million against the cap in 2008, reagardless of almost any action the Redskins take.

Next: NFC Beast Notes. Time to get back on that train and find out what the good teams in the NFC Beast are up to.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Depends on What the Meaning of 'Broken' Is

No plans to use his ring finger anyway

So now Clinton might be going onto IR, ending his season. This injury was initially forecast after the Eagles game by Bubba Tyer, a man with 30 years experience in sports medicine, to keep him out up to four weeks. Now mysteriously this injury is being upgraded to six weeks, or right before the last game of the season.

Obviously he may really be hurt worse that first reported, or maybe the team is beginning to tuck away the stars under contract to get ready for next year. It is fer sher true that Clinton has taken a beating for his trouble this season. And Santana is hurting too, according to Howard Bryant, who also points out what we saw at the game (don't know if it came across on TV) and I wrote about Monday, that after the Sheldon Brown INT, Santana barely moved to chase the play, instead just walking off to the sideline. Anyone want to bet a dollar that Santana's hamstring takes a turn for the worse?Anyone still think the Redskins aren't playing for next season?

Fine. Move Ladell to #1 and let's see TJ for real. Move B-Lloyd to #1 and let's see if he and Jason can have some fun out there.

And since he has not qualified for his own Curly R profile yet, I can't bear to write the 'here comes Jason' piece, so I'll just link to the WaPo. Let's just hope his football name is not Jason because he's only good in
October and

X-ray of fractured 4th metacarpal bone from here

Game Journal: Redskins at Eagles, 10/12/2006

So I was in Philadelphia for game nine Sunday. Due to the weather, I did not get as many good pics as I wanted but I think you'll get some idea of my game experience. All in all, it was good time, alternately wet and miserable, and just wet. This makes 14 of the past 15 Redskins-Eagles games Wilbert Montgomery and I have attended together, regardless of venue. The last time I missed a Redskins-Eagles was October 8, 2000 at Philadelphia which was also the last time the Redskins won in Philadelphia before last season.

Wilbert Montgomery and his wife and kids stayed at our place Saturday night. Since we all had kids, we have not had many chances to go to dinner as adults, so got a sitter for the four kids and went to Marrakesh in DC. It was great, a fixed-menu, fixed-price giant Moroccan meal but beware, they only take cash and checks.

It was raining very hard in Alexandria when we left for the game at 8am Sunday. We arrived at Wilmington, DE around 11am where we picked up Wilbert Montgomery's sister and Wilbert Montgomery's sister's husband. After leaving my morning coffee there, we got back on I-95, arriving at the stadium around 11:40am

Approaching Lincoln Financial Field from the south on I-95. We had outrun the storm...for now.

The view crossing the gap in the stadium. The Linc really is a great looking ballpark. I normally try and grab a pic of Liberty 1 and 2, the skyscrapers to the north past the stadium, but it was so foggy from the approaching storm that they were invisible.

All the Philadelphia stadiums are grouped together in the warehouse district on the south side of town, and parking restrictions are suspended, or at least relaxed on gameday, and these spots are free. Wilbert Montgomery always parks in the same area, on the north end of South Lawrence Street at Packer Avenue, right across from Liberty Fish Company.

How I know I am in Philadelphia.

We set up the tailgate quickly, ate steak and risotto. First insult: 11:42am. GO HOME LOSER! from a passing Corolla. I determined the two goofballs across the street were probably cool and went over to ask for a picture. I asked their names, but I forget them, so if you guys remembered that I told you the blog was Curly R, thanks.

The Hulk, your blogger and a sort of Bird Man.

South Lawrence Street between Packer Avenue and Pattison Avenue. I presume this is a Terrell Owens jersey, though I suppose it could be a Todd Pinkston or James Thrash jersey.

On the walk to the stadium a very drunk guy merged with our group on Pattison Avenue. After some perfunctory chit-chat very drunk guy perpetrates my hat and throws it over the fence to the parking lot. Another bunch of guys grabbed it, but they were cool and brought it back, handing it to Wilbert Montgomery's sister. Very drunk guy was obviously unhappy that his compatriots returned the property because he perpetrated the hat again, out of Wilbert Montgomery's sister's hands and ran off and I mean ran off like a sprinter, for two blocks. I don't think he ever looked back. I got out the old camera and got this picture of the perpetrator fleeing the scene.

Very drunk perpetrator is directly under the right yellow stoplight in the green coat and white hat. If you enlarge this picture, you will see a few red pixels in the perpetrator's right hand. It was an old hat and I only wore it on gamedays and I hope he likes it.

Walking in the northeast gate.

11:14 1st qtr, Eagles 1st & 10 at Eagles 36

Then, it started to rain. Second quarter. It continued to rain harder every minute for the rest of the game.

Replay of Sheldon Brown's pick-6. 6:23 3rd qtr. I just love that his stadium piece is the opening of 24. I thought they were showing the trailer for season 6.

It started to get cold. It's been a while since I wore my gore-tex jacket in the weather, and it's not waterproof anymore. This severely reduced my enjoyment in the 4th quarter and I watched much of it from the concourse. It was mostly laughable as Dono and the Eagles ran the game down with a 9 minute, 13 play drive.

Walking out, cold and wet.

I was home in time to see the Bears lay an ass whooping on the Giants, a game in which Tiki Barber and his successor at the University of Virginia, Thomas Jones, both had great games. Wahoowa!

Wilbert Montgomery and I will reprise this trip at Redskins Stadium on December 10, our 15th in the past 16 Redskins-Eagles games. In the 14 games I have attended in this series, the Redskins are 4-10 (with two of those last season) so let's go Jason Campbell and Ladell Betts.

All photos by me