The present and future?
Friday 25 July 2008
WaPo training camp tracker: undrafted rookie DE JT Mapu, Jim Zorn's latest oddball exercise, the bag drill
More not good news just flowing in on the rookie receivers. Both Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly have hamstring pulls and will not be in the intrasquad scrimmage tomorrow. The Redskins are nursing a number of training camp injuries, I wonder how many of these are serious and how many are not serious and the team simply does not want to risk it. Last season the Redskins had an epidemic of hamstring and to a lesser extent groin problems, the team opened training camp earlier than most other teams and it's damn hot out there.
The morning practice was spent in short yardage and with significant player on player contact. Bring on the hitting. Ladell Betts took a big hit but walked it off. There were some other collisions, every one was fine. Rich Tandler liveblogged it here, here, here and here. And after he got home he wrote about how great Jason Campbell looks.
Jason La Canfora at the WaPo reports that the NFL rules committee has finalized and put into effect some new rules for the 2008 season: one defensive player can wear a wire like the QB (that will be linebacker London Fletcher), players cannot be forced out now and still have a pass ruled complete, they must get relevant body parts in bounds. It is also of note that Chris Samuels and LaRon Landry made the league generated tape of penalty no nos distributed to all teams.
In tailback grove, the Redskins will be more of a zone blocking team at the line in the running game (op. cit.). In this type of blocking offensive linemen have an area for which they are responsible for blocking and the ball carrier can hit more than one possible hole, depending on what the defense gives. Offensive coordinator Sherman Smith is committed to it and running backs coach Stump Mitchell can teach this new technique to the Redskins backs. Funny this all doesn't sound very much like we will have the same power running schemes as last year. Oh well maybe it's just me.
In safety city Reed Doughty has serious hearing loss, serious enough that he uses two hearing aids when not playing (he or they could get hurt or damaged in play). Although Reed's hearing problem has gotten worse in the past year the fact remains that the Redskins did not know even of the extent of Reed's hearing loss back in 2006 when he was drafted. That tends to indicate it was a condition that he hid from NFL scouts.
On the special teams ranch defensive linemen Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston fielded punts in the afternoon special teams practice. Why, I think we will never know.
Ron Burgundy is there.
Matt Terl at The ORB (The Official Redskins Blog) got an exclusive with Sports Illustrated Peter King. Great get Matt, I still think Peter is a douche bag for cockblocking Art Monk for so long. Peter did say Jason Campbell had a great practice which is a little like saying SI's last issue had that one good page.
Dan Dan the Sports Bog man has a Moby Dickish obsession with the NFL's and the Redskins' total ban on video to the extent that he went to Chris Cooley's mom's house to get him in a video interview. Awsum get Dan, I guess. And Fred Smoot is as loquacious as ever. Dan also reports that the previous week's top ten WaPo sports stories were all Redskins stories. Fucking duh.
Chris Cooley (yes he's down here with the writers and not up in tight end township) gives fans planning on attending tomorrow's Fan Appreciation Day ten tips on getting autographs. Surprisingly asking Chris about getting a Redskins Cheerleader fired from a premiere dance gig and then dumping her or openly speculating on the scale of his alcohol habit are not among them.
Colt Brennan has such a dedicated following that Tony Brown at Hog Heaven just puts Colt's name in blog posts to draw traffic. That's a cheap way to get hits Tony, and I want Curly R readers to know I'd never resort blatantly to putting Colt Brennan's name in a post for no real reason, nor would I consider writing stuff about Colt Brennan that really did not have to do with Colt Brennan just so I could get Colt Brennan hits. Colt Brennan.
Jason Campbell and Colt Brennan: Susan Walsh / AP from here.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
All your hamstring are belong to us
Thursday 24 July 2008
WaPo training camp tracker: rookie defensive end Rob Jackson, Jim Zorn makes players perform feats of coordination against type to earn early quitting time, Jim Zorn may be the Redskins' fourth QB this year.
In the morning practice rookie receiver Devin Thomas, the Redskins top pick, strained his hamstring and was carted off the field. Devin may be out 10-14 days and will likely miss the first two preseason games, it was Jason Campbell's fault for leading Devin on a long pass pattern, see if everyone listened to me and we got Brett Favre this never would have happened thanks a lot Jason.
In safety city, Shawn Springs got in some reps at safety in the morning practice. LaRon Landry and rookie Kareem Moore did not play in the morning, LaRon as a precaution with a left hammy (op. cit.) and Kareem with a lingering knee, as it happens the Redskins knew Kareem had had recent knee surgery and were happy he was still around in the sixth round. He should be fine by the season open. I hope the injury the Redskins knew about when they drafted Kareem does not hurt Kareem's chances of making the team.
In the quaint hamlet of offensive line, again with Casey Rabach aka Casey Nutsach and the scrotum.
In coach county Jim Zorn brought out the pad throwing drill (op. cit.). Apparently Jason Campbell likes to punish the other QBs, and I'll be since as the starter he is always getting pummeled. And that playbook still ain't gone be no 700 pages.
In linebacker town HB Blades is taking snaps as middle linebacker London Fletcher's backup (ibid.). This is good news bad news for HB, as the middle linebacker he is positioned for a leadership role on the defense, as London's backup statistically he will not get much chance to be on the field during games. Last season HB started as London's backup, did not get much time and then played a good amount of weakside linebacker after Rocky McIntosh went down.
In quarterback ville Todd Collins had what Jason LaCa called quote another unquote rough practice with some wild throws (ibid.). With Colt Brennan the young gun and Derek Devine the coach's pet I wonder if Todd's position is safe. They paid him a bunch of money for a three season extension, if the team was to cut Todd is would cost them in the neighborhood of three million in dead cap money, money they could not use to sign any other player. Speaking of Colt Brennan, he can fake play the ukulele.
In punter palisades there still is really no battle between Derrick Frost and Durant Brooks (ibid.). Poor Derrick must be going insane.
In fullback village, Mike Sellers and Indiana Jones have something in common.
On the special teams ranch from the official site via Hogs Haven, special teams coach expects the Redskins will use the same returns players, Rock Cartwright for kickoffs and Antwaan Randle El for punts. I expect some changes here frankly. Last season the the Redskins were 8th in kickoff returns and 26th in punt returns, both by average return. With all the new blood I think we will see some new faces returning kicks as the season wears on.
Ron Burgundy is there.
Greg at Hog Heaven lists his five most critical Redskins players for the upcoming season. Hard to winnow it down to five though I cannot his selections and rationales. Later the same day, Tony Brown notes Joe Theismann said... never mind I'm tired of Joey T.
Lee at The Redskin Report has a good piece on comparisons to the Jason Taylor deal, he believes it will be a net plus for the Redskins, though only incrementally, not world changing.
From DC Sports Bog, Clinton Portis is part of the Chris Cooley brigade, you know that new meme that says hey I'm a guy just like you I just make a lot of money. I hurt too. Yes Clinton and Chris we all have troubles and we all look at the difficult things in life as difficult regardless of how they may look to others. We don't want to hear how we are just alike. Let's just keep it separate, you play football and I'll watch mkay? In other Sports Bog news, Jim Zorn truly is a renaissance man. Redskins hats.
Rich Tandler is getting concerned about James Thrash making the roster. If he does, that means Anthony Mix is odd man out.
This is a pretty cool widget. I might try it out. I also keep getting emails from a company that wants me to try out a mapping widget that tracks NFL games. I don't know how I feel about mucking up this site with additional stuff. I am thinking about commissioning a new logo though. Reader comments welcome.
Devin Thomas: Susan Walsh / AP from here.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I'll bet this guy can cook up some serious kickass tailgate food
For those that do not know, last month Discovery Channel launched Planet Green, the quote first and only 24-hour eco-lifestyle television network unquote, Planet Green's stated target market is quote college students, baby boomers and new parents who have demonstrated an interest in improving the planet by changing their ways of living unquote.
Now you can add to that list Redskins fans.
Emeril Lagasse of Emeril Lagasse fame has a show on Planet Green called Emeril Green, where
[Emeril] shares how the best meals start with high quality produce, seafood and meats, and helps families get inspired by using fresh and seasonal ingredients. On location at Whole Foods Market, Lagasse works with everyday cooks with real culinary challenges, enlisting the help of the knowledgeable team at Whole Foods Market and other experts to hand pick the best ingredients for every recipe, turning ordinary meals into extraordinary experiences. Faced with questions about quality, cost, taste and even some daunting food dares, Lagasse helps viewers conquer their culinary fears with an open mind and a healthy curiosity.
And prepare for serious football drinking.
I got an email on Sunday from a cast coordinator at Emeril Green, fully reprinted below:
Hey Redskins Fans,
We are offering you a unique spin on your normal tailgating experience. Have Chef Emeril Lagasse add a little spice to your pre-game meal. We are looking for Redskins fans to appear on Emeril Green to cook tailgating food with Chef Emeril. If you are interested please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include the following: name, address, occupation, age, and a little bit of info on what your current tailgating meal includes. Thanks!
I cannot stress how cool this would be and how much I would like this lucky Redskins fan(s) to get recruited from the loyal readership of Redskinsland. Other bloggers reading this that were not contacted by Planet Green, please post up or link.
There are many NFL league cities that are associated with a particular tailgate food, ribs and BBQ in Kansas City, brats in Green Bay, chili in Pittsburgh, crack cocaine in Oakland and bitter bitter bile in Philadelphia.
There is no food specifically associated with Redskins, therefore the submissions here should represent a broad range of options from which the producers can choose.
Get in there, make your submission, I do not know if this is a competition with fans from other cities, let's make sure they get a Redskins fan out there.
Emeril Lagasse from here.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
God Jon what did you eat last night, moose?
Wednesday 23 July 2008
WaPo training camp tracker: rookie safety Chris Horton, Jim Zorn didn't know how to deal with a storm which is weird coming from Seattle, Jason Taylor on number 55.
In receiver estates, the Redskins are hoping to get more out of their WRs than last season which was only marginally better than 2006 which was a little better than 2005 when the Redskins receiving corps was Santana Moss and three commuter dummies.*
My early prediction of the regular season receiver depth chart: Santana, Antwaan Randle El, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, James Thrash, Anthony Mix (maybe).
In cornerback land, the Redskins' seem to be pushing cornerbacks closer to the line of scrimmage in a press coverage rather than dropping them off the line in man to man or cover-2 as in the days of Gregg Williams. In press coverage the CBs duel with the receivers at the line and try to knock them off their routes, or at least disrupt the timing of the pattern. The downside here is if your guys are not physical enough or miss the contact or get juked at the line then the receiver is free and clear until and unless the safety can get over and make a play. Press coverage is part of an aggressive defensive style, not one prone to laying back and seeing what the offense gives. Fred Smoot is also giving out new nicknames for the season. So will I at some point.
In defensive line burg Demetric Evans is looking good this year and with the loss of Phillip Daniels may play a bigger role this season (op. cit.), when Jason Taylor needs a blow or it is an obvious running down, Jason Taylor is not know for his run stopping abilities, Demetric may see some time at left defensive end, Demetric is ten pounds heavier than last year (op. cit.).
In punter palisades there seems to be little in the way of competition right now with the I am sure aptly named Jugs machines doing the work. Derrick Frost must just be sweating balls, is it me or is it hot out here?
Players were in pads for the early practice most veterans had the afternoon off, rooks and youngsters had to stay and work.
In linebacker town, everyone please join me in welcoming London Fletcher's new baby boy, Courtney Fletcher (op. cit.). London I know you already have a girl, I have three boys so let me give you a head's up, boys are like a whole different creature.
In the quaint hamlet of offensive line Jon Jansen has the smelliest fahts on the team. A big guy with that many miles of intestine and that much red meat in his diet, yeah I'll bet his ass is rotten. And what is it with Casey Rabach aka Casey Nutsach and Jon Jansen and the obsession with each other's genitalia?
In coach county Jim Zorn is loquacious and the playbook ain't gone be no 700 pages.
Video of left tackle Chris Samuels and fullback Mike Sellers testing boating tubes? Priceless.
Lee at The Redskin Report is not in the Brett Favre for the Redskins camp. Somehow all this Brett Favre stuff gets attributed to me.
Michael Farnham at Hog Heaven appears to be attending camp, he says there is no quarterback competition, Jason Campbell seems to be in control of what of the offense Jim Zorn has asked him to learn, and that the receiving corps may be the best looking in a while. A long while.
From Will at Hogs Haven, Jason LaCa at Redskins Insider put up a piece (op. cit.) early that morning that per Jim Zorn Santana Moss was not out of the question returning punts this year, there being more help at receiver these days. Will digs up a good youtube of Santana and notes that Santana is the University of Miami's all time leading punt returner. Yes, he is the most dangerous man on the team in open space.
Suit of armor check, interior waterfall check, giant saltwater fishtank check, outdoor waterfall and outdoor living room check... check, welcome to Clinton Portis' house, happy birthday CP.
A Redskins themed prosthetic leg? Good for this guy, it is kind of sad that with the prevalence of injuries from the Endless Wars has contributed to the creation of an all new market for NFL licensing. In full disclosure Army sergeant Kevin Brown is a veteran of the Endless Wars but lost his leg in a motorcycle accident after coming home safely from his tour in Iraq. Seth if you are reading this please don't be a dipshit when you get back, keep it safe and on the road.
* Joking, of course, who didn't love David Patten, James Thrash and Taylor Jacobs, 47 catches between the three of them in 2005, we kid because we love.
The Redskins offensive line, running on methane: John McDonnell / Washington Post from here.
This is what I'm dealing with here people
For the next hour and ten minutes I am in Dallas Texas. The home of the hated Cowboys, big hair, jeans in the summer, white gravy, blue eyeshadow, fringed jackets, and
Longhorns Red Raiders schwag everywhere.
For the irony deficient yes I am poking some fun at my fellow Redskins fans here in the Lone Star State.
Mudpit diving at the 2007 Redneck Games in Dallas: Nicole Fruge / San Antonio Express News via AP from here.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
If it's Saturday then there must be a new Redskins blog, everybody welcome Bleeding Burgundy, written I assume pseudonymously by Ron Burgundy. Dude's a lifer and just got off the season ticket waiting list after ten years. He has been to at least four training camp days and has good first hand info from them, including the day Phillip Daniels went down.
Ron's reaction to the Jason Taylor trade can be summed up this way:
Overall, the D-Line seems to have good camaraderie and the size and speed of Carter/Taylor makes you envision Tony Romo's head crammed up his ass for a safety come September 28th.
Computer monitor flying out the window from here.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Tuesday 22 July 2008
WaPo training camp tracker: punter Durant Brooks, Jim Zorn's dodgeball drill, let the dancing jokes begin.
A crazy morning storm shut down the early practice and sent players, staff and fans alike scrambling for cover. Unfortunately for the fans, eligible cover did not include inside the Redskins Park building. The rain did not come early enough to prevent Clinton Portis from turning his ankle in the early practice. However, he returned in the afternoon practice and went full speed, getting creamed at one point by linebacker HB Blades.
Speaking of Clinton, in tailback grove Jim Zorn said something many coaches would not, that Clinton Portis is motivated by money (previewed by Jason LaCa here.). In the immediate aftermath of the Redskins playoff loss to the Seahawks in January, Clinton Portis let it be known that he was open to restructuring his contract which would have moved his salary cap number for the 2008 season to 8.4 million dollars.
My take at the time was that Clinton Portis, in the light of his 2007 preseason meltdown and then after the pain of Sean Taylor's death and the team healing and coming together for a four game run to make the playoffs to somehow make some football sense of Sean's death that his offer was premised on keeping the core team together, the Redskins football family. Well in just a few days and then weeks this team was blowed up with Joe Gibbs, Al Saunders, Gregg Williams and Clinton's position coach Earnest Byner all gone. Gone.
In April Clinton got his new deal, one that gave him more than 9 million dollars in signing bonus and 15 million guaranteed overall, through the 2010 season.
It is perhaps cynical for me to say that what Clinton may have lost in terms of respect for the team (all the departures in the wake of Sean's death when they came so far in such a short time, all in Sean's name) the team made up to him in cash (he's 26 with slowing production). Mike Wise thinks Clinton has grown up somewhat and that may be the case, Clinton had a lot of growing up to do so that fact may be true by default.
Many head coaches would realize admitting a player is motivated by money may have the effect of alienating that player, none of these rich guys wants to be seen as motivated primarily by money. Jim Zorn continues to exist without guile and establish himself as someone who is not as concerned about his media image and yet still not a dick like Buddy Ryan or Tom Coughlin. Maybe Jim Zorn is just a new age coach that is comfortable talking about players and money. All Clinton needs to do is stick around another two seasons to be the Redskins' all time leading rusher.
In coach county, Jason La Canfora at Redskins Insider already has seen enough to know that Jim Zorn and Joe Gibbs are going to shape up as verrruh different coaches. The words he uses for Jim Zorn are quote cool confidence unquote. We will see whether he learns to be humble in the face of early losses or if like Steve Spurrier he never loses confidence in his abilities. Steve Spurrier.
In defensive line burg Andre Carter would not give up his number 99 so Jason Taylor, a big fan of double number combinations, is taking 55 (op. cit.).
In linebacker town London Fletcher was excused from practice so he could be with his wife for the birth of his second child, they were expecting a boy (ibid.).
Jason LaCa at Redskins Insider has a good piece (op. cit.) on linebacker depth and how the Redskins need more of it. Their front line starters will not be able to contribute a lot on special teams, Rocky McIntosh is coming off a gruesome knee injury and London Fletcher and Marcus Washington are both over 30 (and Marcus has been injured the past two seasons). The next level of depth with HP Blades and Khary Campbell is primarily geared toward special teams but not as able to contribute on defense and the rest are marginal right now, expect the Redskins are looking at other teams' waiver wires.
In the quaint hamlet of offensive line, Jason La Canfora at the WaPo finally gets around to that worried piece on the offensive line, age and injuries are mounting, do they have one more good season of knock your ass down blocking left in the tank? For Curly R the offensive line has been a major concern all offseason and the age and experience and lack of young transitional players was one of my main arguments for bringing Brett Favre over to the Redskins.
In receiver estates I learned James Thrash is only 32, for some reason I thought he was older, like 40. Like Jason LaCa I was and still am worried about James, what with the Redskins adding three new pass catchers in the draft and a couple in free agency (hello Billy McMullen, Wahoowa!) it seemed to be pretty certain he was gone. However he appears to have impressed Jim Zorn and the offensive coaches, we will have to see whether the team tries to keep six receivers or three tight ends to see if there is room for James. Tips and tricks from the 2006 and 2007 Redskins: if James Thrash is on the field, 80 percent chance it is a running play.
In tight end township Chris Cooley is a preening whiner and Dan Steinberg needs to adjust his meds or find a bigger bottle of whiskey.
On the media front, Dan Dan the Sports Bog Man got dinged dinged the Dan Snyder Dinged for posting video of Redskins fans, videos he created, from Redskins Park on the Sports Bog. The WaPo made him take them down quote on advice of counsel unquote in the face of the NFL's year old rule on the prohibition of posting of video content on non NFL owned properties.* Let me tell you gentle readers that this is one of the biggest fucking bullshit policies in history and the NFL would do well to rescind it and instead work to differentiate their own video offerings. Policing this stuff is as stupid as the RIAA developing a public relations plan that was premised on suing its customers. Later in the day Dan was still lamenting.
Michael Farnham at Hog Heaven was at camp this day and has some photos and reviews.
CaptChaosSidekick at Hogs Haven noted that NFL guru Pat Kirwan thinks the Redskins are a top five NFL team coming into this training camp as far as depth.
* Dan Steinberg implies in his post that this is the policy of the team, not the league and empirically the level of restriction imposed by the team appears to be greater than that of the league. Information on the league's video posting policy from a year ago can be found here, here, here and here. I could not find anything about the Redskins' team policy on video, I did find this post from AOL Fanhouse on 2008 changes to the league's 2007 policy. lol, she compares this policy to Chinese government media policies.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
WaPo training camp tracker: rookie CB Justin Tryon, Z-Shades, Chris Cooley's beard.
Day two was all about Jason Taylor. Looks like Vinny was right, Jason Taylor says he will honor the rest of his contract, meaning the Redskins will have him through the 2008 and 2009 seasons. There was no renegotiation involved in this acquisition, I expect there will be a new contract involved somewheres around here at some point, to put some scratch in Jason's pocket and convert part of that big annual salary (8 million dollars next year) into bonus to lower the cap impact. However, in an interview on WTEM with Redskins employees Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban, Jason seemed to hedge a little on guaranteeing playing two years.
In the afternoon Jason Taylor had his introductory press conference, he was predictably charming. And then some.
After a second coming of Deion Sanders piece the day before, Mike Wise at the WaPo is suddenly in manlove with Jason and he has a good observation about one thing: Jason Taylor's smoovness is going to help the somewhat awkward and with a small ego Jim Zorn to get acclimated to Washington. This is also what Brett Favre would have brought to this team, cover for the new coach to get settled.
The Redskins defense in general is awestruck over the deal, there are some damn good football players on that side of the ball now.
In defensive line burg Phillip Daniels says he will be back (op. cit.). Next year at this time he will be 36. A number of commenters here and other places have noted that the man replacing Phillip, Jason Taylor, is nearly two years younger than Phillip. Still thinking that was a good trade. Later Phillip spoke to the media. It was a bummer. We also learned he wants to go into coaching.
In quarterback ville, Jason Campbell is unhappy with his play so far in camp which is a weird thing to say since in two days he has barely thrown at all. Jim Zorn, having seen the same sample of quarterback play, is happy.
In cornerback land, Fred Smoot aka Pappy O'Daniels is already back on the field one day after rolling his ankle on day one (also op. cit.).
In safety city, rookie Kareem Moore did not practice in the afternoon, he had offseason surgery and they were checking him out.
We learned new coach Jim Zorn does not approve of rookie hazing. That's fucking bullshit, I wonder what horrible thing happened to him as a player in Seattle that he still squirms at the thought.
It was fullback Mike Sellers' birthday, he is 33.
Jason Taylor at introductory press conference: Lawrence Jackson from here.
I thought you needed testicles to play football
I will definitely be trolling for the Virginia Wine Lover's August issue, Redskins backup quarterback Todd Collins is the cover boy. Our pride of Walpole is a wine lover. How far we have fallen since John Riggins.
Get yourself a real booze habit you pussy.
Todd Collins hoping for an enchanted evening and then maybe some snuggling from here.
This is a bummer
Sunday 20 July 2008
WaPo training camp tracker, just getting started.
Things got off to a rough start Sunday on the first day of training camp. An hour into drills, 12 year veteran and four year Redskin defensive end Phillip Daniels injured his left knee, the Washington Post's two Jasons were so all over the story the timestamp on Redskins Insider is actually before the injury. Makes you wonder how long Dan Snyder will be able to hold out before buying the Post and renaming it The Koons Ford Papa Johns Redskins Post brought to you by the People of the Oil and Gas Industry, when Congress taxes oil companies we all pay.
Phillip's injury at first looked like a hyperextended knee but sadly turned out to be torn left ACL, Phillip is done for the season, a bummer big guy, we'll miss you this year. Hope to see you back ready to go next season.
This injury very quickly exposed how thin the Redskins are at the end positions, the team has not stewarded the position well since Dan Snyder took over. The Redskins did draft a defensive end, in the seventh round, it looks like Rob Jackson just made the team.
But then it got worse, in the afternoon practice Georgetown's own Alex Buzbee went down, at first it looked like an ankle, not that simple, he ruptured his right Achilles tendon and is out for the season.
Within six hours the Redskins had addressed this sudden lack of defensive ends by trading away two draft picks for disgruntled Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, Miami had made peace with losing Jason and he had vowed not to attend camps or report. Miami gets Washington's second rounder next year and Washington's sixth rounder in 2010. Washington gets 34 year old Jason Taylor, with two years and 16 million dollars left on his contract. The Redskins are assuming the contract as is. This is a pretty big story and merits greater consideration. Mike Wise just has to bring up Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders.
In quarterback ville, Jim Zorn tried to lurk with the reporters and threw out a question to Jason Campbell. I think these two guys are going to get along just fine Brett Favre.
Over in cornerback land, Fred Smoot turned his ankle (also op. cit.), an injury not expected to keep him off the field long. Fred calls the period between the Super Bowl and NFL training camp the Dead Season, I call it the Desert but the meaning is the same: football is better than baseball and it's like not even close.
Carlos Rogers, coming back from torn ACL and MCL in the right knee did a little work but not much. I say let him rest.
Shawn Springs was on time and on the field, there was a story about what a shit bummer his offseason was, I have great sympathy for his situation. That said, return the fucking phone call when coach calls. Shawn and Jim Zorn had not spoken before the start of camp.
On the defensive side, Lorenzo Alexander aka Scarface found out he will be playing defense only, no more reps on the offensive line (ibid.). That of course assumes there is not a string of injuries on the line as there was offseason with right tackle Jon Jansen and right guard Randy Thomas both missing most of the season.
Online chat with WaPo reporter Jason La Canfora.
Washington Post training camp photo gallery, some of these photos have changed since Sunday, perhaps they will rotate through this gallery throughout camp.
Phillip Daniels sacking Eli Manning in 2004: Joe Giza / Washington Post from here.
Official does as official is
Another day another new Redskins blog except this one comes directly from the team, yes ladies and gentlemen the Redskins have an offical blog, to go with the official message board, an offical pizza and an official sporting goods provider and an official sports drink.
Dan Dan the Sports Bog Man interviews Matt Terl, formerly of The Internet is for Zorn, a blog that appears sadly to have come to an end after four long and storied months, wow can you really believe it's been that long? Welcome back aboard Matt, I look forward to reading and searching for vague signs of toadiness. PS- start lobbying for air time on Red Zebra, get a proposal together for a regular segment, be silly and talk to a lot of fans at games, check the blogs and stuff and then talk about it all on the radio.
Computer monitor flying out the window from here.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas kept trying to set his sister Katina up with Jason Taylor and he eventually went out with her. They married in 2001 and are The. Most. Beautiful. Couple. Evar. They have had some tough times, she has filed twice for divorce and he almost quit football after the 2006 season to work it out.
Zach and Jason were teammates and best friends for a decade, Zach arriving in the 1996 draft and Jason in the 1997. Once in re: Zach's sister, a Miami sports writer writes that Zach told him
"I want [Katina and Jason] to be together, I think it's great. The family loves Jason. But I told Jason if he was going to go there, make sure you don't hurt her. Don't mess with her mind, you know? If things don't work out, that happens. But if he does something to hurt her or mess her over, that I told him not to do."
Then Thomas paused and put it all in perspective:
"Because blood is thicker than water, you know?"
Zach left the Dolphins this offseason to join the Dallas Cowboys. Now Jason and Zach will still see each other at work, just not every day. I'll bet that's a complicated relationship.
Jason and Katina Taylor from here.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday and Monday stories
So the Redskins swapped a second rounder next year and a sixth rounder in 2010 for defensive end Jason Taylor after defensive ends Phillip Daniels and Alex Buzbee were both lost for the year on day one of camp. The Redskins assume Jason's contract with no changes, he is due around 8 million dollars each of the next two years. Jason has been unhappy with the perennially rebuilding Miami Dolphins and wanted out and Bill Parcells is always happy to oblige players that do not want to be near him.
Jason may play one year, maybe two, before going off to Hollywood, whatever that means. Vinny Cerrato is pretty certain Jason Taylor will play at least two seasons for the Redskins. Predictably, lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery made a bleating noise, something about Bruce Smith. lol, what if Jason Taylor comes here and turns the team and the media against Jim Zorn the way Bruce Smith did to Marty Schottenheimer?
This was a pretty good deal for the Redskins. While it blatantly exposed the lack of attention the team has paid to this position, it does give the Redskins a player that can contribute now. As with my Brett Favre argument, this Redskins team is a veteran team and they are tooled to win now or verrruh soon. Anything the team can do to hold the line no pun intended is the right thing to do. Second rounder though, that's got to hurt.
This also means the end of the Brett Favre courtship, there was never an active indication from the team that the Redskins were interested though Dan Snyder never came out and denied it. The value the team gave a way for a rent a player in Jason Taylor represents the value they would have given away for a rent a player in Brett Favre. Pulling the trigger on Brett now would see seriously declining returns in terms of maintaining future growth through the draft. More on this in another post.
Bill at The Redskin Report has an interesting take on how the Redskins using their top three picks for pass catchers now looks like maybe an unwise gamble considering lack of depth at defensive end and what it cost to get Jason Taylor for one season, maybe two.
Rich Tandler at Real Redskins thinks or rather thought before the trade that a second rounder was too much to give up and 8 million too much to pay for Jason. He also touches on the lack of depth at the position, the team should be able to absorb this hit without having to pull the trigger on a Jason Taylor. Later in the day Rich blockquotes himself, calls the deal more dumb than smart and notes that the Redskins are only two puzzle pieces away from being a dominant team: an experienced head coach and an experienced quarterback lol. The next day Rich rounds up some higher profile opinions.
Greg at Hog Heaven notes that Jason Taylor was defensive MVP in 2006 but that his and the Dolphins' run stopping abilities declined in 2007, don't forget the Dolphins were 1-15 last year. If a defensive end's first signs of age are losing a step against the run then it could be risky business with two pass rushers in there on every down (Andre Carter being the other). Later Greg gives us an idea of what to expect with Jason Taylor on the team, poor run blocking being the one that sort of grabbed me.
Jason La Canfora puts it best:
...[T]o me, this is a move the Skins had to make. You're talking about picking up dudes who can, most likely, barely play in the NFL, if at all, versus getting a future Hall of Famer and [a] premier sack guy in the league over the last 10 years.
I can get behind that. The next morning Jason LaCa put it in different perspective: would the Redskins have given up (35 yr old) Phillip Daniels and (undrafted 2nd year man) Alex Buzbee for a 34 yr old Pro Bowler? The answer is yes. Later in the same morning (I hope this guy is not doing it all on his blackberry) Jason LaCa finally gets to the thing I thought when I first heard about the trade: the Dan Snyder Hollywood connection. After his football career is over Jason Taylor wants to become the next The Rock. Then even later he rips Vinny Cerrato a new one over petty deceit.
Mike Wise also at the WaPo makes fun of the deal.
Michael Farnham (Tony Brown's got a whole stable now) at Hog Heaven writes great idea, Redskins run defense will suffer and that is ok, it was still the right deal.
Rich Tandler at Real Redskins has thought some more about it and likes, the big downside is that this is the only deal the team can make this year which is ok with me.
Lee Gibbons at The Redskin Report looks at some comparison deals to the Jason Taylor trade and assesses this will be a net improvement for the defense, though incrementally and not a world changer. In other words we did not get worse.
Seems like I remember another pretty good football player going on Dancing with the Stars and looking a damn fool. Oh yeah.
Jason Taylor and partner Edyta Sliwinska from here. Bonus pic and video here.
Partners in crime and commode flushing
Don Breaux retired from the Redskins and football last week after 27 years coaching in the NFL. Don has a heart condition and is 67 years old, my friend take it easy and get out on that boat or on that deck or in that easy chair, what ever suits your retirement self.
Don was a quarterback with the Chargers and Broncos in 1963 and 1965 respectively, back in AFL days. He got his coaching start with the Jets in 1972 and joined rookie head coach Joe Gibbs' staff in 1981.
He was with Joe Gibbs the whole way, both times. Don was running backs coach for the Redskins in his and Joe's first stint ending in 1993, the period that produced John Riggins, Joe Washington, George Rogers, Earnest Byner and Gerald Riggs. The Redskins won three Super Bowls during that period.
When Joe came back to the Redskins in 2004 he brought Don with him, Don was offensive coordinator even though Joe and later Al Saunders called the plays. He was set to stay on board with rookie head coach Jim Zorn's staff before deciding the retired life is better for him. Even so, Don was at Redskins Park yesterday for the start of camp, can't keep himself away.
From the entire staff of The Curly R, thank you Don Breaux for your contribution to Redskins football. Go enjoy yourself.
Don Breaux and Joe Gibbs from September 2004: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images from here via here.
Then I'm afraid to see the Redskins offense.
Jim Zorn quote invented unquote portable shade for his players on the sideline, is this guy already sounding like a players' coach or what?
Hey coach, it's called a shade canopy and you can get one real easy, they even take Redskins MasterCard.
Zumbrellas, Zawnings, Z-Shades, whatever, from here.
Update: Lee from The Redskin Report has also asked for feed updates, readers also help get content to people working behind firewalls. Drop me a comment with other recommendations and such, I'm a fan of Google Reader but I know there are others out there.
For some time now I have gotten my critical Redskins news via Google Reader, I went back last night nad updated all my feeds, this way it all comes to me. I highly recommend Google Reader.
Some notable bugaboos though:
David and Ryan at the Washington Times, the Redskins 360 blog does not have a feed I can grab. You should get one. Ever since the WashTimes website redo I have been reading it more regularly.
Mark at DC Examiner, when I try and grab the DC Redskins Examiner blog it gives me some funky YouTube link that is not you. Petition your overlords for a working feed.
SportzAssassin, Michael David Smith et al, there is no grabbable feed for Redskins AOL Fanhouse.
Electrical switch from here.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Interesting times indeed
The Curly R begins coverage of its third Redskins season with a crazy first day. Hat tip to drwnc in comments and then Will at Hogs Haven.
Yes it appears to be the case that defensive end Phillip Daniels is gone for the season. And so is Alex Buzbee. That's a guy at the front of the depth chart and a guy at the back.
As a Redskins fan I am unused to mourning periods this short.
Because the Redskins traded a 2009 second rounder and a 2010 sixth rounder to the Dolphins for six time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Taylor (op. cit.). That's right, that Jason Taylor.
Shit feels like I should have more to say but I can't so I ought to work this out in better detail tomorrow.
Jason Taylor from here, mmm m he is all man.
Just throw some more money at it why not
You risk damage to your brand when you do big things on the cheap. That way always costs more in the long run. The Curly R's four part series on Dan Snyder's media empire concludes.
Part One: Out of Suitors
Part Two: Overestimating
Part Three: Underwhelming
Part Four: If You Can't Beat Em, Buy Em
Plan D: If the fools won't pay us ten million and our signal is weak and then no one noticed when we boosted it then we shall buy the greatest sports talk nation in all the land! Muwahahaha!
If a game is broadcast in the city and no one tunes in, does it make money? That was something of the quandary faced by Dan Snyder after the 2007 season. The 2006 season broadcasts had been mostly unheard on terrestrial radio due to the weakness of the signals of the three stations comprising Triple X ESPN Radio. For 2007 Dan Snyder's Red Zebra Broadcasting made a deal to air game broadcasts on a DC classic rock station. Arbitron shrugged, there was no measurable change in aggregate ratings for the games.
Again Dan was faced with a problem, how to make a bigger splash, after all the Redskins ARE Washington, how can you make money off broadcasting the Redskins if no one can hear it or putting them on a given station does not improve the ratings profile for that station?
So he did what any good business man would: the thing he should have done in the first place.
And so did Dan Snyder go to Clear Channel and make a deal to buy SportsTalk 980 WTEM, the original and flagship sports talk station in the Washington DC for the past 16 years. A 24.5 million dollar deal, one that also included two other stations, the area left talker WWRC 1260 AM and a right talker WTNT 570 AM. WTEM will now be the flagship station with games and at times probably other content simulcast onto the other five stations (op. cit.).
WTEM had orignally been on 570 AM and went by the moniker The Team. Tony Kornheiser debuted as a local radio host here in 1992, it was almost completely local talent, on the strength of talking Redskins alone you can make money in this town.
In 1998 the station moved to 980 AM, broadcasting 50000 watts, 10 times the 570 AM signal strength. Dan Snyder had snagged WTEM general manager Bennett Zier to run Red Zebra, it had been Bennett that negotiated WTEM's original three year deal with then living Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke to air games on The Team, Bennett is now gone and replaced with former ESPN Radio general manager Bruce Gilbert, between Bennett and Bruce that's a lot of talent.
For years, for the entire span of WTEM's life it had the superior Redskins pregame and postgame shows. The WJFK pregame show was always so noisy and seemed to be so reluctant to go outside itself for insight, all homerrific all the time. Meanwhile over at WTEM they drill way down.
The Redskins now return to The Team, a station essentially premised on the existence of the Redskins.
Awsum right? Perfect marrying of the business interests and the marketplace, all those sports fans listening on the radio, like ticket holders at Redskins Stadium just waiting until their next opportunity to pay seven dollars for a beer.
Not exactly, this is a risky purchase. SportsTalk 980 has been tough on the Redskins at times, host Steve Czaban is regularly harsh on the team and last season after the Redskins lost a lead at the half giving up 21 unanswered points and losing to the Giants on the last play SportsTalk 980 contributor and former Redskin tailback and return man Brian Mitchell got into it with current Redskins tailback Clinton Portis.
Not that the SportsTalk 980 guys are antagonistic except maybe for Czabe, the point is that SportsTalk 980 covers the Redskins at arm's length, the team previously had no seat at the editorial table and therefore the station had no incentive to shade its coverage toward the happy side or out right to blow sunshine up area skirts.
Right off the bat the Washington Post, a media entity still independent from the Redskins, reported on unease on the SportsTalk 980 staff (op. cit.). Then the firings and content and schedule shuffling began.
First, Hall of Famer, Redskins legend and drunk John Riggins lost his show (op. cit.), although he will stay with the network as a contributor, he is out as a host. Of course that had nothing to do with John's occasionally brusque coverage of Dan Snyder, right? Then WTEM Redskins beat reporter Jerry Coleman got the axe. While I never had the opportunity to enjoy Jerry's work, Jerry was respected enough that Ryan O'Halloran used Washington Times real estate to lament it.
Then and as predicted the ESPN slate of coverage moves back to WTEM, where it had originally been until Dan Snyder's Red Zebra had snatched it from WTEM in 2006. Dan promptly put the ESPN content on the three Triple X stations where no one could hear it.
And while all the local hosts, former Georgetown Hoyas basketball coach John Thompson, himself know to be tough on the Redskins from time to time, former Redskin Rick Doc Walker, perhaps best known before his start in broadcasting as the H-back tight end that sealed the left side for Riggo on 70 Chip, that 4th and 1 piece of NFL lore born during Super Bowl 17 and Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban all stay, there is certainly less room now for local talent and I tend to think the bloodletting is not yet over. If I had to bet I would say Czabe and Doc Walker are short timers, Czabe is downright caustic to Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato and Snyder is not partial to former players from before his time.
There is legitimate cause for concern, for fans about the objectivity of the coverage and for Red Zebra about the value of their investment. If area sports fans do not believe in the coverage they will not listen, forcing advertising rates and revenue downwards. At least smart guy with some relevant experience said
"This is a terrible thing for fans," said Charles Warner, a former radio station executive and journalism professor at the University of Missouri, who now serves as an industry consultant. "When a team owns a radio station, I don't think fans' needs are served at all. It's a terrible idea."
Yeah this ought to be great for fans that have not always been in er agreement with the way Dan Snyder runs the team.
Back in January 2007 when I was writing baseball at The Curly W there was a mini controversy over the objectivity of the reporter assigned by Major League Baseball to cover the Washington Nationals for mlb.com. I can't bring myself to block quote myself, if you go read it you can hear in the reporter's attitude overtones of Dan Snyder a year in, bunkering down against accusations of polluting WTEM and driving out the best people. You can also hear overtones of fan opinion of a team run media outlet, the biggest one in the market.
And this particular story revolved around a less popular sport in town (baseball) and fan concerns about objective coverage by an entity one place removed from the team itself (the league). Apply this situation to the most popular game in town and make it about the objectivity of the dominant sports talker in town and you have a recipe for PR disaster.
Add to the 24 million dollars for this purchase the 33 million for the original three low power Triple X stations and you have a 57 million dollar layout in the past two years, so far with no serious ratings improvement and now risking the credibility and popularity of the established sports talk station in town.
Expect a new sports talk station in the DC area to be announced any day.
Dan, I do not approve of your owning WTEM even though I do not listen to it because in theory I would if I did not have Sirius and XM in my car but that is beside the point. You make the product, the market naturally will try to prevent you from controlling the message within the fan base of Redskins products and services. Therefore I expect WTEM to decline in influence and listenership, not a deadly amout, enough to annoy you and make the overall aggregate investment look poorly executed.
Epilogue: as I put the finishing touches on this post for today, the Brett Favre story threw my schedule off and then I have been training camp crazy, I noted in today's Washington Post a humorous take on Dan Snyder's media ownership by longtime and former WaPo sports editor George Solomon:
That station had been known for the last 16 years as WTEM -- "The Voice of the Fan" -- before Redskins owner Dan Snyder's Red Zebra media company bought most of the radio stations in town, as well as Qatar's Al-Jazeera (WJAZ) and North Korean State Radio (NKSR)...
...But gone from Snyder's Triple X is John Riggins's afternoon show -- the Hall of Fame fullback being slotted into ESPN-980's programming as a "commentator," according to Red Zebra chief Bruce Gilbert. "John will be integrated into our programming all week, as well as postgame and day-after game roles," Gilbert said.
Translation: Riggo lost his gig.
Image from here.
When many stories become one
It's finally here sports fans, the Redskins have opened camp. As ever with any NFL team and Dan Snyder's Redskins teams in particular, there are many story lines:
How will the new system work, how will the new receivers fit in with the veterans, how does the competition look at DB, will the defensive line continue to progress with the young players, how does the offensive line look, etc etc yada yada and so on and so forth.
We all know it really boils down to one question: how will new head coach Jim Zorn fare? Never before a play caller or coordinator much less a head coach, he brings an all new shtick and a mostly all new offensive coaching staff to a team that has spent the past four seasons under the watchful eye of Hall of Famer and Washington DC legend Joe Gibbs.
I advise Redskins fans to go check out Les Carpenter's 5000 word piece on Jim Zorn and what an awsum dood he is in today's Washington Post, complete with photo gallery including some hilar pics of coach Zorn when he was a ragged looking quarterback with the Seattle Seahawks in the 70s.
This is it coach Zorn, your honeymoon is over, welcome to Washington, go win us a Super Bowl.
See? I can get through a post without mentioning how well Brett Favre would fit with this team.
New Redskins coach Jim Zorn: detail of photo by John McDonnell / Washington Post from here.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I think we just knocked out the this would hurt Jason Campbell's development argument
Thanks to Mark Newgent and the brand new DC Redskins Examiner blog, I remembered that Jason Campbell grew up watching Brett Favre, if Brett has played for 17 seasons and Jason is 26 years old then Brett would have played his first game for the Packers when Jason was 10. And then continued playing up until the very day Jason and Brett met in a professional game last season, oh for want of a couple Sean Taylor picks.
So strong is Jason's admiration for Brett, Jason grew up in Taylorsville Mississippi, less than 100 miles from Brett's home town of Kiln Mississippi, that last year a no doubt bashful Jason Campbell, wondering what the hell he was doing, showed up unannounced like a stalker at Brett's compound in Hattiesburg and rang the bell and when no one answered, left.
Brett and Jason have met and have talked and that bond is no doubt stronger since Jason joined the elite ranks of NFL starting quarterbacks and then nearly led the Redskins to a road win over the Packers last season.
I bet if you ask Jason Campbell if bringing Brett Favre onto the Redskins would hurt his development as a quarterback Jason would say hail no son. Wouldn't you like to learn a thing or two on the job from your idol before he retires?
Brett Favre and Jason Campbell: imoages from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel from here.
Keeping the customer satisfied
Quick update, I am rebuilding the Curly R blogroll, starting with taking down Fair Catch, that service has been ended in favor of Ballhype. Curly R's blogroll will probably never be as large or as encompassing as Hogs Haven's blogroll, if you want to go deep, head over there and go down that list.
If you want Curly R to come to you, there are several ways to subscribe, by email or pop us into a reader like say Google Reader.
As ever, links to Ballhype and Digg are at the bottom of each post, if you see something you like, link us over.
Naughty maid photo from a place I go to read the articles.
Mo coverage mo betta
I'd like to say welcome to Mark Newgent, author of the DC Examiner's new Redskins blog. The guy is a lifetime Redskins fan of about my vintage, just got his season tickets and I look forward to his coverage of this coming season. Welcome Mark!
Computer monitor flying out the window from here.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
How disappointing. Now we all know or should or if you did not now you do that the NFL Radio channel on Sirius satellite radio is an official NFL property, tied up with the seven year 220 million dollar deal to broadcast NFL games.
I have in the past noted a pro-ownership / pro-management bias to NFL Radio and let me tell you it is in full bloom right now with the Brett Favre situation in Green Bay.
This morning on The Opening Drive, Randy Cross and Carl Banks were giving it hard to Packer fans that either did not understand why the team would not release Brett or why they would not welcome him back with open arms and reinstall him as the starter.
He left on his own terms and went back on his word, the contract he signed is the letter of the law and both entities are bound by it, you can't just throw your name around and expect to get what you want, whatever you have done in the past matters not to decision making going forward, etc etc yada yada.
All very disappointing to hear from two football greats. Randy Cross was an offensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers from 1976 to 1988, three time Pro Bowler, three time Super Bowl champ.
Carl Banks was a Pro Bowl linebacker, mainly with the New York Giants and also played a year with the Redskins in 1993 (this very morning he disparaged his time with the Redskins as a quote stop unquote between New York and Cleveland but that's not why I am unhappy with him), finishing in Cleveland and retiring after the 1995 season.
And while I do not expect former players to take up for current players as a matter of course, I also do not expect former players so transparently to advocate for ownership and to lack objectivity.
Perhaps there is some lingering bitterness, I have seen and heard from time to time as players from previous eras, many of whom with high profiles at the top of the earning bracket of the time, look poorly upon today's players with their astronomical salaries and pooh pooh whenever a player does not get what he wants, it's a variation of the back in my day we had two a days in August, played for our dinner AND WE LIKED IT!
Along with this classist view of the modern player comes an implicit or at times explicit accusation of lack of toughness, that we played quote real unquote football in my day.
More likely, and Randy and Carl are normally pretty standup guys when the discussion is not deliberately centered on management versus player issues, it is pressure to toe the company line, that the NFL ultimately determines whether they get to get paid for this and so they need to promulgate the league's and therefore the owners' collective position.
This is not a position borne of random consideration, it is a result of the facts being intentionally misrepresented to reinforce a specific messaging, that Brett holds no cards in this debate.
While those facts may be correct, Brett is still under contract, the team can reinstate him to the roster, the team can do whatever they want with him, whatever, the reality is that this will end differently. Line up the following scenarios with the practical reality of today's NFL and meet me at the bottom, I'll tell you exactly what's going to happen:
The Packers are scheduled to pay Brett Favre 12 million dollars this season.
The Packers are committed to Aaron Rodgers as the team's starter.
Were it to come down to it, Brett Favre would annihilate Aaron Rodgers in training camp, Brett is still the superior quarterback in every way that matters. This is not to disparage Aaron Rodgers, there is simply no way he can perform at his best and with the support of his teammates with a hot Brett Favre out there trying to prove a point.
The Packers cannot start Aaron Rodgers after Brett Favre beats him in camp.
Even if Aaron Rodgers were to beat out Brett Favre in camp, the Packers will not want to carry a 12 million dollar backup quarterback. Brett will refuse any entreaty to renegotiate and lower his salary, forcing the team to suck it up or cut him.
Even if the Packers could and did want to carry a 12 million dollar backup quarterback, it would be a PR nightmare for the team, fans would be chanting Brett's name at every game, sideline cameras focused on Brett after every Aaron Rodgers incomplete or interception, chum in the water with the entire sports media establishment circling like sharks, the end result being a terrible season for the Packers and maybe a firing or two.
Anyone reading or following this story knows how it will end: either the team will release Brett or there will be a pro forma trade to the team he wants for a third round pick or lower. As immortal as Brett Favre and the team both are, the team will not risk wrecking literally a generation's worth of goodwill from fans and the league by trying to make Brett look small and petty.
Carl and Randy both know the deal, Brett Favre has earned the privilege to call his own shots, we are well into the second decade where contract terms matter little to player movement and conduct. Just tell it like it is: Packers, get with the program, let Brett go to sign wherever he wants, even with a division rival, hug him on the way out, keep the scheduled jersey retirement ceremony, be the good sport, you got him for 16 years, you're both ready to move on, don't be a pissant.
Lapdog from here.