Friday, February 29, 2008

Coming Monday

Thursday update: Friday. Definitely Friday. Unless it's over the weekend. Or Monday.

Wednesday update: would you believe Thursday?

Tuesday update: ok let's try Wednesday. I took the staff on vacation last week and they are having a hard time getting back in the swing.

Monday update: looks like I missed my Monday window, let's try again for Tuesday.

The compleat annotated chronology of the Redskins coaching hire. Every day, every event, every story. How we went from Joe Gibbs to Jim Zorn.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday. Or possibly Saturday. Slight chance of Sunday. Or Monday. Only on Curly R.

Image from here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Brandon Lloyd: Buh-bye

So close yet never really ever that close

With a hat tip to Emilio Garcia-Ruiz and an early look at Jason La Canfora's piece in Wednesday's paper, the Redskins have finally parted ways with receiver Brandon Lloyd, a player that truly will go down as one of the biggest busts in team history. Twenty-five catches 378 yards in two seasons, 23 games, between suspensions, quote unquote bronchitis and a broken collarbone Brandon missed nine games.

Yes Redskins fans can bitch and moan about the price the team paid, 3rd and 4th round draft picks in trade plus a seven year 31 million dollar contract and Redskins fans legitimately can question whether the team did its due diligence investigating Brandon as a locker room shit disturber but please.

Even if the team overpaid and even if Brandon is not a great influence to those around him there is no way the team could have anticipated he would be such a black hole.

All Brandon ever seemed to care about was keeping it real, being a playa and gaming Halo. Football never seemed to be a priority for Brandon. A better, more accomplished and more respected player leaving the team would deserve the full Curly R restrospective treatment, Brandon does not qualify. Of all the sad stories of weak effort and nonchalance in the face of competition one Brandon Lloyd story stands out: the missed 50 yard catch in game 14 of the 2006 season against the New Orleans Saints.

Goodbye Brandon, you will not be missed by Redskins fans, if you are lucky we will see you next year playing somewhere else for veteran minimum.

Brandon Lloyd and Roy Williams: uncredited photo from here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Closing the Barn Door After the Horse Is Gone

Religion is the hiding place of scoundrels

Well well well what do you know but the Redskins are suddenly with the program, exec VP of football Vinny Cerrato has said the Redskins will not be major players in free agency this offseason.

Before we fall down at Vinny's football feet and applaud the new strategic direction of the team let us review the previous two years.

2007 offseason: London Fletcher, five years 25 million dollars. London was 31 when he signed that deal and before readers lambaste me yes, London was the Redskins' leading tackler this year as he is every year whichever team he plays for that's not the point. He is earning his money now and has nowhere to go but down as far as value.

2006 offseason: Andre Carter and Adam Archuleta, each six years 30 million dollars. Antwaan Randle El, seven years 31 million. Brandon Lloyd, seven years 29 million. Andre did not earn his money in 2006 and looked like a better value in 2007. Adam flopped and was gone after one year. Antwaan had a great 2006 and injuries slowed him in 2007. Brandon, well that's beneath discussion.

That's 145 million dollars just on those five players.

Now after eight years of setting the market on top drawer players in free agency suddenly the Redskins are getting football religion, the team realizes simply paying the most for whoever is top rated that year may be way to stay in the news in April but is not the way to build a Super Bowl team. If this is Vinny's influence, if this is him making his push back on GI Joe Dan Snyder then it's a good start and we'll see if it holds up.

The reality is it is a pretty weak offseason for top drawer free agent talent. That the Redskins are even just pretending not to be every agent's wet dream when it comes to leverage with players' current teams is progress.

Vinny Cerrato: John McDonnell / Washington Post from here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pro Bowl Boys

Mahalo y'all

LOL Jocks reminded me that Ethan Albright was the lowest rated player in EA Madden 07 with a 59 and that he overcame those low expectations and went to the Pro Bowl. I love LOL Jocks.

Chris Cooley, Chris Samuels and Ethan Albright in Hawai'i at the Pro Bowl from here. Not pictured: all the dirty filthy disgusting ways Chris Cooley would like to defile these Samoan babes

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Blogger Deathsport: Week Seventeen Results

I am the winner of 2007 Blogger Deathsport

Blogger Deathsport: NFL Pick'em wraps for week seventeen and its inaugural season. Your final week's results:

1. TexSkins with 11 wins, 5 losses and 1 push. Finishing strong.

2. Curly R at 10-5-1. Had my eye on the title the whole time.

3. CommonPrejudice at 7-8-1. When third is last.

T-5. Post Game Heroes at 0-0-0. Most disappointing.

T-5. Skin Patrol at 0-0-0. What with the after Christmas sales it was hectic that week.

Brag post summary: TexSkins now has three brag posts in reserve, Curly R and Post Game Heroes each has two brag posts in reserve. Brag post credits never expire.

Final season records, seventeen weeks:

1. (1) Curly R: 139-105-12 or 57.0% with three weekly wins.
2. (2) Post Game Heroes: 123-106-11 or 53.7% with four weekly wins.
3. (3) TexSkins: 121-116-12 or 51.0% with three weekly wins.
4. (4) Skin Patrol: 91-110-9 or 45.3% with no weekly wins. Again that's no weekly wins.
5. (5) CommonPrejudice: 110-134-12 or 45.0% with one weekly win.

Pushes are excluded from percentage as they can neither be won nor lost, thanks to my colleagues Skin Patrol, Dagger, TexSkins and Brian for playing along. Next season we will be expanding Blogger Deathsport to include more fellow bloggers.

The inaugural season of Blogger Deathsport may be over, detailed season breakdowns to follow, I guarantee I'll find a way to remind Skin Patrol that he could not pull off a win in seventeen tries.

Bragging rights from here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Redskins New Coaching Staff Is Complete

Gentlemen start your expectations

With the hiring of running backs coach Stump Mitchell (and the jettisoning of Super Bowl tailback Earnest Byner), quote offensive assistant unquote Chris Meidt and offensive coordinator Sherman Smith (op. cit.) the Redskins new coaching staff is complete. There is no quarterbacks coach. Jim Zorn will call the plays.

For better or for worse folks, there it is.

Sherman Smith Topps playing card from here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thank You Earnest Byner

Redskins fans remember

An other shoe has fallen at Redskins Park, running backs coach Earnest Byner is no longer with the team, an unfortunate by product of the stumbly and drawn out way in which the Redskins went about hiring a new coach.

Earnest has been replaced by Stump Mitchell, head coach Jim Zorn's former coaching colleague in Seattle, Stump coached running backs there including two pretty good ones, Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris.

This fan has no problem with the notion that a head coach should have his own people, his own choice of coaches, which is of course one reason why I think this was a botched search process, Jim had minimal input on his coaches, most of them were in place and as such team management is giving Jim wide latitude in rounding out his roster, Titans running game coordinator Sherman Smith is expected to come over tomorrow to become the offensive candidate for Jim Zorn whom Sherman refers to twice in this piece as quote Z-man unquote.

Jason La Canfora goes into more detail as usual at Redskins Insider than in the print piece and it is disappointing what the Redskins put Earnest through before firing him.

After the 2005 playoff run most of Joe Gibbs' assistants got three year contracts, except for Earnest who for some reason got a two year deal. Why? I have no idea. His relationship with Joe Gibbs goes back to 1989 and I cannot imagine Joe would not have wanted to take care of him.

So after this past season Earnest's deal was up. He went and interviewed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their running backs coach position but pulled out before the Buccaneers made a decision, Redskins management was in the process of giving him a one year deal to stay with the team and Earnest wanted to stay in Washington.

Meanwhile Jim Zorn openly wanted Stump Mitchell and there was talk of what essentially would amount to the Redskins and Seahawks trading running backs coaches.

When Earnest got back from Florida to sign his contract with the Redskins the team told him things had changed, fast forward and Stump is in, Earnest is out and it is 14 February, there are no open coaching spots left.

Thanks a lot Dan Snyder for more crappy management, you just screwed one of the greatest Redskins tailbacks ever right out of town and blocked him from getting a job.

Curly R has written about Earnest Byner's playing days as recently as last November, Earnest picked himself up after his dismissal from the Browns in 1989 and took the Redskins to the Super Bowl. Later he would come back and coach Clinton Portis during his team record season in 2005, he was Ladell Betts' position coach in 2006 when Clinton was hurt and the passing game was just awful, in nine starts plus other action Ladell racked up six 100 yard games including five in a row at the end of the season, ending up with 1154 yards, a pleasant surprise in an otherwise disappointing season.

Earnest Byner deserves a much more in depth profile piece on Curly R, and he will get it. Thank you Earnest, Redskins fans will not forget you.

Earnest Byner cutting through a hole the size of a Mack truck in Super Bowl 26 from here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I love it when the maid comes

A quick update, I have added back the Haloscan recent comments feature at right below the masthead. This item disappeared when I upgraded Curly R's template in the fall and a few readers, notably lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery have asked to have it back. This widget lists the eight most recent comments to the site.

Any other bloggers out there interested in this widget, I'll share the code, Haloscan appears to have removed it from their site and I had to troll teh tubenets to find it. Any other Blogger bloggers out there still using Blogger comments and not Haloscan, well you need to switch.

Also I'd like to extend a blogger welcome to Nate at Maroon and Black, a new Redskins blog named after Jim Zorn's unfortunate incorrect reference to Redskins colors at his introductory news conference. Nate also writes for Nats Triple Play, an excellent Washington Nationals blog, we had some interaction when I was writing daily for The Curly W and he will be a great addition to Redskinsland.

Maybe someday I'll get to rebuilding teh blogroll but until then if you are a Redskins themed blog you need to get registered at Fair Catch, see link at right, there are only five Redskins blogs listed that post regularly and by now there are a whole lot more of us. We'd be the dominant group there if we were all listed. Let me know if you have questions.

French maid from here.

Chad Johnson? OH NOES!

Keep this guy off the team

The Chad Johnson rumors three examples one / two / three are swelling like a hammered thumb and I need to put some frame around this situation for Redskins fans. The Redskins do not need Chad Johnson and would be making a huge mistake to acquire him for two reasons: the Redskins already have a deep threat and Chad is just out for the money.

Chad's agent is douchebag Drew Rosenhaus but that is not really a reason not to do it other than generic distaste for the guy because he also represents Redskins Clinton Portis, London Fletcher and Santana Moss as well as the departed Sean Taylor.

1. The Redskins already have a deep threat and his name is Santana Moss. Over his three seasons in Washington Santana has produced a very steady 15 yards per catch. in 2005 he was out of his mind setting the Redskins single season record for yards, in 2006 the offense was down but he held on and in 2007 he was hurt for much of the season yet managed to shine through the Redskins stretch run. There is no question that regardless of quarterback Santana is the number one option.

Chad is also a steady player at 15 yards per catch and shows no signs of slowing down after seven seasons, the same number as Santana, Chad is a legitimate high volume deep ball receiver.

Therein lies the problem, a team can only have one top drawer high dollar player at that position at a time. Santana is the Redskins' number one receiver, there are not enough catches to go around with Chad and Santana in the deep spot, whatever offense the Redskins run this season possession catches will be a big part of it.

What the Redskins need for 2008 is not another deep threat, not Chad Johnson, they need to get Santana Moss healthy enough to play a full season, Santana's numbers will take care of themselves. Between James Thrash, Reche Caldwell and Keenan McCardell the team should be able to take care of its possession receiver needs for the guy that complements Antwaan Randle El. If one or more of those three guys aren't available or can't get it done then you go after a more established possession receiver but another premier deep threat is not what the Redskins need this offseason.

2. Chad is just in this for the money. I suppose they all are right, but Chad seems to have become perfectly Terrell Owens like recently. He is going into his eighth season, he fears for his career and he desperately wants a big payday. He wants to break away from his team and his need to get paid exceeds his ability to deliver.

And he's trying to walk away from his team mad. After the 2005 season the Bengals ripped up Chad's contract and gave him a new one that has paid him 16 million over the past two seasons. According to Solomon Wilcots as heard by me on Sirius NFL Radio last night who claims to have talked to Chad right after he signed that deal, Chad was to have said that he would never forget what the Bengals did for him and that he appreciated that the team was making a commitment for the long run.

Now for some reason he wants out. Parting with Chad now by trade or release would cost the Bengals eight million dollars against the cap. Chad doesn't care, just like his mentor TO he's way past the team play concept. For the Bengals to give him up means they are really done with him. And the fact that the team is in this position in the first place appears to be because Chad is an ass and not so much because the team has been a bad actor.

The Bengals have stated they have no intention of giving Chad up but as usual douche bag Drew Rosenhaus is fomenting the situation in the media, trying to force the team's hand.

If the Redskins were to acquire him it would come at a cost, potentially first and third round draft picks, that's two service picks, two players that are expected to come in, make the team and play through a rookie contract. The Redskins giving those up is a return to wasteful ways and in signing Chad would be bringing on a player that will have his hand out for more in two years.

Have a look at how much time Kirkendall at Cincy Jungle has devoted to Chad, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here that's all just in the last month.

The Redskins like most teams could use another deep threat but you what else they can use? Draft picks. Do not make this trade Dan.

Chad Johnson aka Ocho Cinco uncredited image from here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jim Fassel Comes Clean

Blame Dan Snyder

I just heard a replay of Jim Fassel's early morning interview with Bob Pappa and Randy Cross on Sirius NFL Radio. He was very open about what happened with him in the process of interviewing for the Redskins job, he mentions bloggers though not in the same context as he did yesterday on the John Thompson show.

Sorry, no transcript or link to the interview, if one appears I will post it. Jim is pretty sure he was actually the first to interview for the Redskins job though this contradicts the official timeline, he may be wrong or talking about a less formal discussion he may have had with Dan Snyder or other team officials before the Jim Schwartz interview.

As has been reported earlier, Dan's Redskins One plane was tracked to Arizona several times, they were all for Jim Fassel, not Russ Grimm as was thought at the time. As far as we know there was never any contact between the Redskins and Russ Grimm in this process.

Jim surfaced as that mystery candidate two weeks before the Super Bowl. Jim Fassel endorsed Jim Zorn on offense and Dan went in with talks with Jim Zorn and hired him, still planning on hiring Jim Fassel.

Jim was certain in the next week, the week before the Super Bowl that he was getting the job. So certain that he was continuing to negotiate assistants with Dan Snyder that week. Then going into the Super Bowl Dan went silent on Jim Fassel and then Steve Spagnuolo became hot after his defense pummeled Tom Brady. The Spagnuolo interview and dropout, Ron Meeks' second interview, Steve Mariucci's interview.

After all the chips fell Jim Fassel was still the front runner, then Dan Snyder punked him. This was after Jim did as the owner wanted and kept his talks and interviews with the Redskins under wraps, Jim did not even tell people close to him about this, at the behest of the owner. This makes the out of town fuck buddy analogy even tighter.

To hear Jim Fassel characterize it, Dan had too much time on his hands. Instead of making a decision and living with it and starting to move forward Dan overthought it, started getting ideas and then we got to where we are with Jim Zorn getting promoted. There was no plan.

Redskins blogs came up in the context of blogs being out there and not necessarily being in favor of his candidacy but Jim concluded that thought by laughing at the notion that Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato would take their cues from blogs, this may be something of a retreat from his comments yesterday on DC local radio when he seemed to imply that bloggers, commenters and message board posters got under the skin of Dan Snyder, fomented indecision at Redskins Park and contributed to the process being so drawn out that Jim faded as a candidate like a hardon while you're looking for a rubber.


Tim Ryan and Pat Kirwan on Sirius NFL Radio, they host the show after Bob Pappa and Randy Cross, opened the show today with a discussion of Jim Fassel and the Redskins and they generally agreed Jim Fassel got hosed and Dan Snyder wound up making a seriously questionable decision to hire promote Jim Zorn.

But Pat threw up an interesting out for Dan Snyder: if Fassel was the guy, the Dan was comfortable with, the guy that recommended Jim Zorn and then wound up getting passed over for the guy he helped Dan find, because like with Wade Phillips in Dallas Jim Fassel may have been the coach of the present but like Jason Garrett Jim Zorn was the coach of the future, then to help with that transition Dan could have had his cake and eaten it too by asking Jim Zorn to take Jim Fassel as his offensive coordinator.

Think about that, it would have been Jim Zorn's offense, like Mike Holmgren and Andy Reid he'll be calling his own plays, but you get Jim Fassel to help bring some discipline and experience to the process.

As is stands now Jim Zorn is the head coach of the Washington Redskins, he has no experience managing a team, designing an offense or calling plays. His top choice for offensive coordinator is a guy that also has never been a coordinator and even if Jim Zorn will be calling the plays it cannot hurt to have someone on the sideline that knows a thing or two about managing a team.

But that's overcome by events now, that ship has sailed, Jim Fassel is out of the picture, Jim Fassel is justifiably concerned by how his reputation may have been hurt by Dan Snyder in this whole process and he is speaking out to set the record straight.

Jim Fassel hoisting the NFC Championship trophy: AP photo from here.

You Fear Me!

Left to right: Chris Mottram, Skin Patrol, Unsilent Majority, me. Not pictured: Dan Steinberg (changing tampon)

With a hat tip to Steve in Tennessee, the motley crew of bloggers above is getting some tongue in cheek blame from the Washington Post's DC Sports Bog for the tanking of Jim Fassel's bid for head coach of the Redskins, Dan Steinberg singles out these four posts here, here, here and here.

Yes it is true there was an outcry against Jim Fassel, so bad that it made it into Jason La Canfora's straight reporting in the print edition of the Washington Post, it is very rare that blogs, message boards and or the journopopulism of Redskinsland makes it into non opinion pieces of a major newspaper. Columns yes. Straight pieces no.

I was not in favor of Jim Fassel in a general way. In that way that after boot camp (Marty Schottenheimer), free love (Steve Spurrier) and home movies (Joe Gibbs) reheated oatmeal is not exciting. But it is still good for you.

You want to see some blowback on Jim Fassel? Check out reader comments on this Redskins Insider post, also a Washington Post property.

My comment on the Jim Fassel situation was largely about how Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato were mismanaging the situation, not qualitatively about Jim Fassel. In fact, I think Jim Fassel would have been a great candidate.

Here is what Curly R published about Jim Fassel through this process:

22 January, the news breaks that Jim was the mystery candidate and had in fact already had a second interview:

I won't hop on the same anti Jim Fassel bandwagon as Jason La Canfora's readers at Redskins Insider (op. cit.), I will just say it is odd. We know Jim wants another shot at a head coaching job and that Jim was a finalist for the Redskins job in 2004 before Dan Snyder miraculously reconstituted Joe Gibbs.

Jim has some bona fides. In 1997 he brought the Giants back to the playoffs in his first year after a three year lapse, with Dave Brown and Danny Kanell splitting quarterback and Charles Way (Wahoowa!), Tyrone Wheatley and Tiki Barber (Wahoowa!) in the backfield, none of those guys got 700 yards rushing.

Three years later he took the Giants to Super Bowl 35, all told the Giants made three playoff trips in seven seasons under Jim Fassel. Check your history sports fans, that would be one more trip than in any seven year stretch for the Redskins going back to 1991.

The thing that gives me pause on Jim Fassel would be that in the first place he did not get another head coaching job immediately after taking a team to the Super Bowl and then openly declaring he wanted another job before he got fired, then three years later in 2004. No jobs were forthcoming.

24 January (op. cit.), Jim was obviously as close as you can get to getting the job and then for some reason the job was pulled. Contrary to Dan Steinberg's implication by inclusion, this piece reports on the inside baseball of does he or does he not get the job and begins to prepare Redskins fans that the next head coach is not going to be a blockbuster. In the lens of Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier and Joe Gibbs Jim Fassel is plain vanilla.

30 January, a piece exclusively on the non hiring of Jim Fassel and how any notion of fan opinion and blogger opinion playing any role in whether Dan Snyder would hire Jim Fassel is a complete fantasy:

The Jim Fassel non hiring. When Jim's name surfaced as the quote mystery candidate unquote, the one that interviewed after Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and before Gregg Williams' first interview, there was serious fan outrage, so much so that it made it into the print edition of the Washington Post.

Jim was offered, then un offered the job, and now says he feels manipulated by the Redskins and the process. That said Jim still remains a strong candidate for the job.

But there is a narrative out there that is untrue, one that pretends at giving Dan Snyder credit for listening to Redskins fans...

...So why then do we believe the not hiring of Jim Fassel has anything to do with fans? Answer: it does not. The not hiring of Jim Fassel is all about Dan Snyder's search for the next big thing, what's over the next hill. Shit if I can get Jim Fassel this easily who else can I get? No need to make a quick decision, it's not like Jim is going anywhere.

Dan had a flash of Jim Fassel coaching the team and he backed down not because you or I thought it was a bad idea, but because he could conceive a better idea. That said, Jim may still be the coach, which would be fine with me at this point. With Vinny running the show now, I just don't know.

I didn't sink Jim Fassel, Dan Snyder sank Jim Fassel. Jim Fassel would have been a fine coach, just not an earth shattering hire so he died on the vine. Dan Synder doesn't consider my opinion or the opinion of any other Redskins fan. That's part of the problem.

Mean Girls screencap from here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Now we'll play a little game I call...

How bout

Update: I have wrongly attributed What if to Skin Patrol when it was actually shit disturber TexSkins. Curly R regrets the inconvenience to goody two shoes Skin Patrol associated with rabble rousing. - BF

If Skin Patrol TexSkins gets to play what if then I get to play How bout, the game of harsh reality and obvious bias. Let the games begin:

How bout Jim Zorn? How bout career assistant, loved in Seattle but no pre hire buzz, just as likely to fold under pressure as be mediocre. Do not forecast immediate success with Washington.

How bout ownership trying to do the right thing all along and finding Jim Zorn as a logical outcome of a well thought out strategy? How bout Waterworld? How bout New Coke?

How bout Jim Fassel as a washed up media liability? How bout Jim Fassel was the best head coaching candidate in the bunch. I feel bad for Jim, he is clearly wallowing and now going all the way back to regret taking the Baltimore offense coordinator position for Brian Billick. How bout both those guys get another shot in the league.

How bout if Steve Mariucci aka Mooch was just posturing for the Redskins job? How bout Mooch is a backslapping carpetbagger more intent on setting up his next big score than his next playoff run. I'll bet Mooch went into an interview with Dan Snyder, tried to press all the right buttons and came off looking like a huge bootlicker.

How bout if Mooch didn't add anything in the interview process that Jim Zorn hadn't already covered? How bout Mooch is a guy with three things Jim Zorn doesn't have: experience as a top coordinator, experience as a head coach with three teams and playoff wins.

How bout if Steve Spagnuolo aka Spags is a few years away from being a good head coach? How bout Spags spent eight years working under legend Jim Johnson in Philadelphia and is in his 26th year of coaching, sometimes promotions come late and coaches move up quickly.

How bout if Ron Meeks was not ready or How bout if Jim Zorn / Greg Blache is a better team than Ron Meeks / Greg Blache? How bout if Al Gore were president?

How bout if Jim Mora really didn't want to leave Seattle? How bout no one in this business cares that much about a city. How bout coachkiller himself Michael Vick getting Jim Mora fired in Atlanta.

How bout Jim Zorn was a common thread in all Redskins coaching interviews? How bout Dan Snyder putting it there, like the burled teak in his Maybach or the king size bed on Redskins One, just impossible to get through a conversation without him mentioning it.

How bout if instead of stashing Jim Zorn like Jerral W. Jones stashed Jason Garrett, Dan Snyder just said fuck it he's our guy of the future let's let him get into it? How bout Jerral W. Jones deciding not to sacrifice 32 games to Jason's OJT.

How bout if Jim Zorn really is the next big thing? How bout if he's not?

How bout if he was the next big thing and the Redskins kept him down as a coordinator and another team wound up benefiting from his head coaching prowess? How bout if it doesn't work out it's management's responsibility either way.

How bout if Mike Holmgren is the one true descendant of Bill Walsh and Jim Zorn has accordingly inherited mad skillz? How bout Jim Zorn fell out of favor on his own team, How bout he was looking at a lame duck 2008 in Seattle and How bout if he were all that and a decaf skim latte future Seahawks coach Jim Mora would have been all over keeping him.

How bout if Jim Zorn is the right guy in the right place with the right system and the right personnel? How bout this management team's track record? How bout wondering whether a franchise with nearly 40 years of consistent offensive philosophy can pivot to a new thing and not suffer on the field or with the fans? How bout maintaining continuity from Joe Gibbs, the man that gave four more years of his life to this team only to see it jettisoned right to his face.

How bout if I am all wrong about this and Jim Zorn turns out to be teh mang? How bout we play the percentages, risk return and the percentages don't favor success? How bout if it's true writing about how I was wrong is another dozen pieces I don't have to think about, they write themselves?

How bout if ownership got one right and I am blinded by bitterness and distrust of Dan Snyder? How bout if they didn't? How bout if Dan Snyder has spent the past four years straining on the john, plotting how he would do things differently with the Redskins after Joe Gibbs finally left, just like he did with Norval Turner and Steve Spurrier? How bout those success stories?

How bout if it all turns out right and the Redskins are a winner and I had to admit Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato called this one right? How bout I am so confident that won't happen that I will pledge never to write another mean thing about Dan Snyder if the Redskins win a Super Bowl under Jim Zorn.

How bout if in a few years I had to apologize to Dan Snyder over all this? How bout my love for the Redskins is greater than my dislike of the Redskins' owner.

So, how bout it?

Jim Zorn meal McDonald's sign from here. Go make your own.

One Hell of a Management Team You Got There

Rooting around in the dark

Well 32 days later and there's your big news, the studio that brought you true grit Marty Schottenheimer, weird science Steve Spurrier and return of the king Joe Gibbs brings you the next Redskins head coach: former NFL quarterback, Seahawks and Lions quarterbacks coach and Redskins offensive coordinator Jim Zorn, Dan Snyder's plan nine from Redskins Park.

Jim Zorn number of Redskins offensive plays coordinated: zero
Jim Zorn number of seasons as head coach or top coordinator: zero
Jim Zorn Redskins position for which first interviewed 23 January: not head coach

Jim may yet work out for the Redskins, I have thoughts on that for another post, my intent here is merely to wonder aloud why a team whose unexpected coaching vacancy left a team top heavy with coaching experience, two former head coaches in the top spots and in a year with only three other league vacancies should have had their pick of coaches needed 32 days to hire a guy two steps below head coach and out of favor on his previous team.


If this was the first round in the Vinny Cerrato era then we just took a beating.

By not taking immediate action on Gregg Williams, Al Saunders and sincere commitment to continuity the team sacrificed goodwill in the coaching community. Jim Mora and Steve Spagnulo recognized the team has no football sense and used Dan Snyder to get better deals, Jim Mora to be the future head coach of the Seahawks and Steve Spagnuolo a raise with the Giants, you have to look at Steve Spagnuolo as the prohibitive favorite next coach of the Giants. Everybody else, the search process just kept looking over the next hill to see if a pot of gold was there and time just ran out.

Good enough is never enough even when you want it, not when you are used to whatever you want.

I think the team wanted Gregg Williams but he was likely not overly fawning and I believe Gregg presented himself and Al Saunders as a unit maybe even with Greg Blache, Al would remain assistant head coach and get to run the offense his way, Greg would run the defense and slam there's your continuity. Dan and Vinny did not want Al Saunders and it went south for them both from there. Whiff.

Jim Schwartz, who interviewed before Gregg was a coordinator interview despite official designation to the contrary, he potentially could have been a defensive coordinator for Gregg Williams if Greg Blache had retired as planned and the Redskins would have had to offer a bigger deal and compensation. Once Gregg went out of favor Jim Schwartz went with him. Whiff.

Ron Meeks I don't think was ever a real contender, he was genuinely qualified and he met the rule, the team never wanted him, obviously he could not even rate safety candidate. Whiff.

Jim Mora was making a play for Seattle not Washington. All last season we read about Mike Holmgren oh losses hurt more now intense football malaise blah blah blah but by fishing with the Redskins Jim is telling Mike and Seahawks ownership they need to shit or get off the pot if you want me let's make a plan and Mike says ok one more season then it's yours. Dan got used, whiff.

Jim Fassel is like your out of town fuck buddy, you see each other every few years, have a few and hook up and then ignore his calls, he stops after a few weeks. Whiff.

Jim Zorn, well he wanted to stay in Seattle, he did not take the offensive coordinator position when first offered but shit rolls downhill and when Jim Mora's talking to the Redskins led him to get named Seahawks coach of the future we learned Jim Mora favors Gregg Knapp as his offensive coordinator so at best it's no growth in Seattle for Jim Zorn so he moved on to Washington as a first time coordinator and playcaller. There apparently was no competition for Jim Zorn's services. Glancing blow.

Steve Mariucci got sussed out and it looked like Jim Fassel or Steve, both had expressed approval of the coaches in place. Jim Fassel was disliked by Redskinsland so intensely that we are led to believe Jim's unpopularity gave Dan Snyder pause. Steve Mariucci feels like a carpetbagger. Whiff.

In the leadup to the Super Bowl, almost a month later Steve Spagnuolo and Josh McDaniels were suddenly in the discussion but this was really just a delaying tactic, buying time for what I do not know. Josh took himself out wisely, not only is he not ready Bill Belichick destroys his proteges, he is the black widow coach. Whiff.

After Steve's unit's performance in the Super Bowl he was suddenly flavor of the month. He interviewed for two days with Dan Snyder, probably barely concealing his laughter the whole time and then went back to New York and got a lot more money. Whiff.

All the while the Redskins were trolling for the big name. They were looking for a beeg juan, I really think despite pretending to keep expectations down Dan and Vinny were trying to land a name candidate, first it was Pete Carroll and Bill Cowher then I don't know who, did it move down to Jim Fassel and Steve Mariucci, then up to the next big thing with Spags?

What does it tell you about Redskins management that the big idea to look at Jim Zorn for the head coaching job as the eighth and final candidate on the 30th day of the search came during an interview with the seventh candidate who in support of his own qualifications reminded Dan and Vinny that other guys in the past have had limited top coordinator experience before getting head coaching jobs.

After all that they were back to Jim Fassel and by this time the fan displeasure meme had taken root and they just said, hey that gives me an idea and there you have it, Jim Zorn promoted from Seahawks quarterbacks coach to Redskins offensive coordinator to Redskins head coach in a span of 15 days.


So in all this why did Russ Grimm's phone never ring: simple. Dan Snyder knows Russ Grimm is eventually a loser for him. Russ is a sympathetic character for Redskins fans. No matter what happens, Dan will get the blame for failing and Russ will get credit for winning. Then one day when Dan has to fire Russ, then my friend Dan finds true bottom in the hearts of Redskins fans.

Russ will never coach for this team while Dan owns it, neither will any of Joe Gibbs' proteges, anyone that represents true Redskins football.

Somewhere Jim Fassel is hunched over straight bourbon griping bout I used to be somebody.

All right Jim Zorn, get in there, get to it, let's see what you got.

Composite image by me; clockwise from top: Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato: Doug Mills / AP from here; Vinny Cerrato: John McDonnell / Washington Post from here; Dan Snyder: uncredited image from here; Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder: uncredited image from here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Redskins Players Salute Sean Taylor at the Pro Bowl

Remembering a teammate

The 2007 season, the season of Sean Taylor came to a close yesterday at the 2008 Pro Bowl in Honolulu. The three Redskins players on the NFC roster, Ethan Albright, Chris Samuels and Chris Cooley, all wore Sean's number 21 on their jerseys.

After the game the jerseys were to be auctioned with proceeds going to the trust fund established for Sean's daughter Jackie. I cannot find a link to these auctions yet but when I do I will post it.

Redskins longsnapper Ethan Albright, left tackle Chris Samuels and tight end Chris Cooley at the 2008 Pro Bowl wearing number 21 jerseys in honor of fallen teammate Sean Taylor: Paul Sakuma / AP photo from here.

Does this Look Like Confidence to You?

The god, the glazed, it's ugly

I don't want to be too much read-y into one photo but this is what the Washington Post chose to run in today's paper, page A8 accompanying Jason Reid's aka Other Jason's front page piece on new Redskins head coach Jim Zorn, conflatulations by the way to Other Jason for cracking the A section.

I would not exactly call the expression on Joe Gibbs' face one of extreme pleasure. Never one to read in to the meaning of one photo and I have kids so I take a lot of photos and know how still images can tell completely different stories from instant to instant. Let us remember this is the Washington Post, the flagship media property for the Redskins. I think the paper is through the use of this photo expressing exactly the same feeling I have about the hiring of Jim Zorn: are you fucking kidding me?

To make the editorial comment in the use of the image more obvious, the headline recapitulation on page A8 continuing this story, immediately above that photo?

New Redskins Coach Zorn Has A Lot To Live Up To

I'm also pretty sure that's Tanya Snyder's only expression. Curly R will lovingly break down this hire starting tonight.

Joe Gibbs and Tanya Snyder: John McDonnell / Washington Post from here.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Welcome Jim Zorn

Meet your new Redskins head coach

Closing out what will appear to many as a bungled search, the Redskins hire former Redskins offensive coordinator Jim Zorn as head coach.

Welcome Jim, we are happy to have you, someone or anyone at this point. Coverage to follow will not be entirely favorable though this is not about Jim per se.

Jim Zorn: Dean Rutz / Seattle Times from here.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Waiver Wire, 2/7/2008

I still got nothing, I'd call it existential nausea if football mattered so let's tour our Redskins blogbuds, there has been an outstanding quality to the offal during coach watch:

First is Lee Gibbons at The Redskin Report, two years ago he wrote a three part piece on Art Monk for the Hall of Fame and you know I love the multi part series, I did not see it the first time, I am glad he republished it and Lee I'm sorry I did not pimp it last week before the vote when it would have been more er timely. Go read it part one part two part three.

I don't know where Bucktown Skins Fan got this Dan Snyder road map to success but I love it.

Rich Tandler reports via the NFL (Network) that as of 7 pm last night Thursday Jim Fassel has had no contact with the team. Head exploding in three... two... one...

Greg Trippiedi at Hog Heaven just did an outstanding piece on the Redskins salary cap situation, he's also running a crucial series a complete profile on each player with cap numbers, this will be useful in the offseason, here's Rocky McIntosh and LaRon Landry and the rest of the series is here.

David J. Warner at Redskins AOL Sportsblog notes that the Jaguars hiring Gregg Williams to run the defense might help Jacksonville land Bear safety linebacker Lance Briggs, the Redskins made a run at him last season. I wrote a piece on Gregg Williams for Chris at Big Cat Country before he got the job. (thanks to Chris for the catch, duh)

Bram Weinstein at Covering the Redskins got an interview with Dan Snyder on Tuesday at the Art Monk Darrell Green Hall of Fame reception at Redskins Park. Said Dan was open. Wonder if he'd be open to me telling him he's doing it wrong.

David Wagner at Riggo's Rag has some really good ideas about possible future Super Bowl ads, these are really funny and totally possible even the one with peeing.

Looks like Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign is sort of without a reason to exist.

Something else I noticed but did not note was a couple of excellent Skin Patrol freakouts. On Dan Snyder from a hilar post that sounds like it was written with a tequila hangover, go read it it's bitter, here is the punchline:

With each passing day I'm less convinced that there actually exists any coach out there who is both willing and capable of coming to Washington and coaching up this team, with its peculiar ownership, to levels concomitant to their hopes and aspirations. It occurs to me that since Dan Snyder purchased the team in 1999, we've gone to three postseasons. Two of them were with Gregg Williams, one of them was with Al Saunders. If the strategy for dealing with persons who aid this franchise in achieving widely recognized (by fans, at least) minimum milestones for "success"ful seasons is to fire them, then it is difficult for me to imagine how this team can possibly achieve and maintain "success" regardless of the then, now, or future staff of our beloved Redskins. Bewares are in order for both Jim Zorn and Greg Blache, who would do well not to find themselves in any postseason contests lest they likewise get "afford[ed] closure" that is apparently so benevolent. Call me crazy, but if I were a coach I'd trade in that closure for being treated like a fucking adult any day. More precisely, I'd recommend ownership shove that closure somewhere uncomfortable.

Then the next day, on Dan Snyder via Erik Wemple's inane Washington City Paper piece (site is down as of publish):
Wemple anticipates my next point:

There are probably some nincompoops, too, who feel that the Skins' recent moves to lock up a D coordinator and and O coordinator were stupid moves, considering that, hey, they haven't even hired a head coach yet. Well, here's a preemptive strike against any such moron: Snyder knows that head coaches are cronyists: They'll hire who they know, no matter how good or bad they are. Coaches just want their buddies sitting alongside them in the film room as they all chew tobacco.

And now the icepick in the forehead:

Besides being a nincompoop and a moron, I also disagree strongly with the premise that coaches are merely cronyists. Joe Gibbs, for instance, left play calling duties largely to Gregg Williams and Al Saunders, neither of them Gibbs "cronies" from yesteryear. More importantly, if Dan Snyder wanted to limit the amount of head coaching candidates to merely those people who would accept a job without having veto decisions on coordinating positions (to thus stem the alleged cronyism), he could have done so beforehand. Instead he hires the offensive coordinators so as to even limit input from competent head coaches about who their staff should be made of. (And when I say their staff, I really mean their entire staff.) Snyder can wield total control over coordinator hires over any coach he hires as easily as he can interview and select for those jobs prior to the head coach's arrival. He's the owner, after all.

Therein lies another major criticism to Wemple's article. Dan Snyder is the owner of a football team. He didn't play college football because he dropped out. His prowess was in marketing and business, and few doubt he's plenty capable at both. His experience with football was exclusively as a fan up until that moment he purchased the team in 1999, and little that has happened since attributable directly to him tells us that he's developed into a keen football mind. His decisions have been overwhelmingly disappointing. So, even knowing that Dan Snyder understands some fundamental point about cronyism among NFL staffs that the rest of us, besides Erik Wemple of course, can't figure out, why on earth does this thus qualify him to hire coordinators of football offenses and defenses? In virtue of what, exactly, is he then the guy to turn to?

I love the way the punditry says Williams got sandbagged, mistreated, etc., etc. Wise finds it outrageous that no one from the Redskins called Williams for more than a week after his last interview. Jeez, what a white-collar felony! Wake up-the guy got four bites at the apple. Don't you think there's a chance he said some stupid stuff in those sessions?

To his last question I'd respond: I am sure Gregg Williams said some "stuff" that made him a very unattractive coaching candidate for Daniel Snyder's football team. For instance, I think he might have said something like "If I accept this job, I want control over personnel decisions at least comparable to what Joe Gibbs had." Or he said "If I accept this job, I would like an opportunity to assist in the hiring of my assistant coaches." Or perhaps he said "Dan Snyder, I plan on winning games" to which Dan's head fucking exploded.

For all that bla bla bla, what Erik Wemple really missed was that Head Coaching searches aren't merely about being thorough, they're also about being right. Redskins fans have lost faith that Dan Snyder is capable of being right very often, and many have already decided that he's erred in this process. Had he interviewed 100 people 100 times and ultimately settled on Faye Abbott (who is dead by the way), he'd still be wrong.


This is an open thread

Thursday, February 07, 2008

How the Hell Did I Miss This

Found at Bucktown Skins Fan. Awsum. Subscribe to this guy.

Well I Had to Post Something Sometime

Maybe the Mittster can coach the Redskins, he's available

For all Dan Snyder's machinations, to try and steal the Super Bowl spotlight, a plan to announce a bold hire in the week after, it's looking more and more like the Redskins are headed toward an underwhelming and anticlimactic head coaching hire.

Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo used his Redskins interview to get a massive new contract with the Giants, he's out.

Gregg Williams was disrespected and left town.

Al Saunders was never in consideration.

Jim Schwartz Perfigliano was given a new contract by the Titans, he's out.

Jim Fassel outrage was so high the owner pulled him from consideration.

Steve Mariucci, the guy who only looks for work when contracts from the teams that fired him expire, looked for a few days like the dark horse candidate turned front runner. He seems off the board.

Ron Meeks had two interviews and then nothing.

So that leaves... Jim Fassel?

You didn't really think that whole fan outrage causes Dan Snyder to drop Jim Fassel from consideration was real did you?

Well, did you?

Former Presidential candidate and world class douche bag Mitt Romney from here.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Evil Empire Is Vanquished

But the bad guys win

The New York Giants did it, they beat the undefeated New England Patriots 17-14 in a low scoring and outstanding Super Bowl 42. Conflatulations to Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and the Giants.

Now where were we when we hated the Giants?

Plaxico Burress making his second catch of the game, for the win: Tom Hood / European Press Agency from here.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Art Monk and Darrell Green Elected to Hall of Fame

At first; at last

Redskins legends cornerback Darrell Green and receiver Art Monk were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame today. Darrell played for 20 years, all for the Redskins, returned his first interception his rookie year for a touchdown on his way to 54 career INTs and a 19 year consecutive streak with at least one. He was in his first year of eligibility.

Art was in his eighth year of eligibility, he played 13 of his 15 years with the Redskins, was the first receiver to catch 100 passes in a season and the only player to do it in the 80s. When he retired he had the NFL records for most catches and consecutive games with catches.

Congratulations to both, I feel like a kid again. Tough luck to Russ Grimm, we'll get you in next year.

Other coverage: Redskins Insider, The Redskin Report, Hog Heaven.

Composite image by me, Darrell Green detail from image here; Art Monk uncredited Washington Post image from here.

Friday, February 01, 2008

If It's Steve Mariucci I'm Going to Puke

I think he got fired from here too

It is beginning to look more and more like Steve Mariucci is the leading candidate for the Redskins head coaching position and I could not be less happy.

First Jason La Canfora connected the dots last Sunday: new offensive coordinator Jim Zorn is a Mike Holmgren disciple, same as Steve. Greg Blache was with the Packers for Mike Holmgren's first two years in 1992 and 1993. When Steve tool his ill fated job as Lions head coach he tried to get Greg from the Bears to be his defensive coordinator.

The next day Jason reported the Redskins had hired Larry Brooks to coach the defensive line, replacing Greg Blache. Larry worked for Mike Holmgren in Green Bay and followed him to Seattle. Then after following Greg Blache to the Bears in 2003 went to Detroit to work for Mariucci.

Overarching all these personnel moves is Vinny Cerrato, San Francisco 49ers personnel executive during Steve's tenure as 49ers head coach.

Later that day David Wagner at Riggo's Rag reported on seeing an awkward exchange on NFL (Network) between Steve and Deion Sanders, so awkward was it that after a commercial break they put Steve back on air to deny he was taking the Redskins job. Thanks to Hail Redskins, here is the video, helpfully from NFL (Network).

The next day, Tuesday Dan Steinberg linked to Washington Post video of NFL (Network) host Rich Eisen talking about Steve, it is amusing for its obfuscatory value.

Same day Jason La Canfora put it in context for us: it's Vinny Cerrato's team right now. It is becoming more and more clear that he has a free hand to build this team and Dan Snyder is letting him have his shot. I think this is a mistake.

Following day, Wednesday, Jason reported that Steve quote has increased his behind the scenes efforts unquote to get the job. Seems to me that this would be a natural response to a secret candidacy that was suddenly discovered, rather than keep denying it you sort of hint at it in a way that won't violate your current contract with the NFL (Network).

Next day, yesterday, Jason sums up the four candidates for coach and leads with Steve.

Steve Mariucci is a carpetbagger, a grifter who only looks for work when his last score dries up. He should not be the head coach of the Washington Redskins.

Steve Mariucci from here.

Darrell Green is Blogging

I had a two year head start and his blog still caught mine from behind

Please join me in welcoming former Redskins cornerback, one of the greatest players in NFL history, Darrell Green to the community of the ponderous and unqualified, the blogosphere. Darrell is in Glendale Arizona for the Super Bowl and will be posting his thoughts, so far he has commented on his family, Dan and Tonya Snyder, how the 2008 Redskins coaching staff is like Lee Marvin and The Dirty Dozen, on traveling with kids and more fawning on Dan and Tonya Snyder.

Darrell will be posting at his blog on as well as his website at

Oh I almost forgot, Darrell is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist this year. My football memories of Darrell Green go back more than 20 years. Thank you Darrell.

Darrell Green from here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Antonio Pierce

It's not just me

Les Carpenter has a piece in today's Washington Post on former Redskins and current Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce and it's not flattering to Redskins owner Dan Snyder and the team dynamic. Go read it. Choice quotes:

He blasts the owner, Daniel Snyder, yet still calls him "Mr. Snyder," the way so many people do at Redskins Park.

"I still have respect for the man," Pierce said. "I just don't like the way he does business."

There is no question after the 2004 season when Antonio was going into his fifth season and the Redskins were the number three defense that the team should have signed him to a longterm deal. Was it Dan Snyder, tiring of his toys, looking for the next big thing? Or was it Gregg Williams, so confident in himself and his system that he saw Antonio as disposable? Probably a little of both.


...[H]e remains haunted and perplexed by the Redskins experience.

He said he has spoken with several Washington players, and all of them are confused by what is going on with the search for a head coach...

...[The players] also are disturbed by the indecision of management and the fact that opposing players are calling them, wondering who will take a job as a head coach on a team where the coordinators have been determined.

Leadership issues on line one for you Mr. Snyder. The Redskins have put themselves in a bad spot as far as team unity. EITHER the new head coach is some pliant boob that is happy to take Dan's coaches lock stock and barrel and no doubt suffer the constant oversight of Dan and that snake Vinny Cerrato.

OR it's Steve Mariucci and the players will continue to ponder why everything has to be done in such goddamn secrecy, why the previous coaches had to get the silent treatment and if Dan is so paranoid about the coach how does he feel about the players. That takes us back to the pre Joe Gibbs II theory of Redskins' free agency: players come here to get paid, not win football games.

And then the gutpunch:

"I just don't understand the mind-set of that organization," Pierce said. "What you need to have in this league is an identity. They don't have an identity. They haven't done anything to keep something going. Joe Gibbs was supposed to bring consistency, but now he's not there anymore, so you think they would hire Gregg Williams or Al Saunders to keep the continuity, but now both of those guys are gone. I look at the turnover, and I'm amazed.

"In New England you see a team with players who have all been together for those Super Bowls four different years. They have the same guys. The Giants have had the same continuity for three or four years. If you want to build a winning team you have to build consistency."

He added while many of the defensive players are happy Blache will bring some stability, "they are unhappy that Gregg isn't there."

A few years ago, before he left, he believed the Redskins were on the verge of starting something big. He thought there were the makings of a nucleus of a defense that could dominate for a few seasons. He thought he would be a vital piece of that defense. Then piece by piece, that broke apart, and there aren't many players, he is convinced, to fill the void.

"I'm not an owner, I can't speak for [Snyder], but in football on an everyday basis, you need normal," he said. "It was never normal. There is no consistency. It's still going on."

He laughed.

"For four years they had stability with Joe Gibbs. Now it's back to the hoopla," he said. "I loved the players over there. I had a lot of respect for Gregg Williams. A lot of people I know still have connections over there. I like them. But the front office, I have little to say anything good about."

Antonio played in Washington four seasons and has now played for a division rival for three. He knows what he is talking about.

Antonio Pierce as a Redskin from here.