As regular as Old Faithful on 40% bran flakes
Blogger Deathsport wraps for week seven, Brian takes the week and the brag post rich get richer:
1. Brian Hunter on a tiebreak with 8 wins and 6 losses. Secretary of Untraceable Donations.
2. Ben Folsom at 8-6, Secretary of Detritus
T-3. Will Allensworth at 7-7, Secretary of Manageable Third Downs
T-3. TexSkins at 7-7, Secretary of Ball Flow
T-3. Derek at 7-7, Secretary of Nonreasonable Expectations
T-3. Gamecocker at 7-7, Secretary of Mixed Messaging
T-7. Dagger at 5-9, Secretary of What Was I Saying
T-7. Gonzo at 5-9, Secretary of Behind the Curve
9. Blitzburgh at 4-10, Secretary of That Not So Fresh Feeling
10. River City Rage at 0-14, even when doing the lord's work the lord wants you to make picks.
Brag post summary: Will, TexSkins and Brian each has two brag posts. Brag posts never expire.
Season records through seven weeks, Will is still on top despite his percentage dropping three weeks in a row, Brian rockets three places in one week:
1. (1) Will Allensworth at 64-34-3 or 65% with two weekly wins
2. (2) TexSkins at 56-42-3 or 57% with two weekly wins
3. (4) Derek at 52-47-3 or 53% with no weekly wins
4. (7) Brian Hunter 51-48-3 or 52% with two weekly wins
T-5. (5) Dagger at 49-50-3 or 49% with no weekly wins
T-5. (5) Gonzo at 49-50-3 or 49% with no weekly wins
7. (9) Ben Folsom at 48-51-3 or 48% with no weekly wins
T-8. (8) Blitzburgh at 39-46-2 or 46% with no weekly wins
T-8. (3) River City Rage at 39-46-2 or 46% with no weekly wins
10. (10) Gamecocker at 44-55-3 or 44% with no weekly wins
Pushes are excluded from percentages as they can be neither won not nor lost (there were no pushes this week).
NFL map from here via here.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Those wacky Eagles fans
A little preview of Curly R's Redskins at Eagles game journal from Sunday 5 October. While we tailgated lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery had Eagles flagship radio station WIP blaring from his car, this recording is of To Hell with the Redskins, a parody of the Redskins fight song Hail to the Redskins. The video cuts in after the opening chorus, original words and audio for comparison can be found here, among other places. Here are the lyrics to this version:
Daniel Snyder is hated by his own team
Doesn't matter who he signs they can't win
Til you are broke
The owner is a joke
Ha! Ha! Ha!
So the hell with the Redskins
The owner is a farce
Take a feather from your mascot
Clinton Portis wears a dress on Wednesdays
But we know he's still a girl on Sundays
To run her mouth
As her son
Ha! Ha! Ha!
The hell with the Redskins
A Birds vic-tor-y
Skins on the short path
To a date of misery
E! A! G! L! E! S! Eagles!
Good stuff, this was also uploaded to Youtube here. Moments after this video was recorded we departed for the stadium where the Redskins beat the Eagles 23-17 to drop the Eagles to 3-4.
Video by me, yes Wilbert Montgomery drives a Volvo. It surprises me too, Wilbert Montgomery comes across more like a Hyundai kind of guy.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Content it king. Cash is King Kong.
Conflatulations to the SportsBlogs Nation aka SB Nation, I read today they SB Nation has secured a quote mid seven figures unquote round of venture financing from technology leaders and luminaries such as former AOL executive and current Washington Capitals hockey owner Ted Leonsis and Accel Partners, one of the original backers of Facebook.
With this money I assume SB Nation will market their services to higher end corporate advertisers, online and with that kind of money probably also in the traditional media, magazines and the sides of buses. With that kind of money, mid seven figures means three to seven million dollars, they can afford to upgrade talent at the low end, with more an 150 network affiliate blogs all levels of talent and eyeballs are no doubt represented. I would not be surprised to see in key markets top bloggers cross over as featured contributors to tradmed outlets, newspapers, radio, local TV. Rather than pay someone to generate stuff they can just get paid by SB Nation to contribute pre vetted content. It's the new pay to play.
Not familiar with SB Nation? It is the network of sports blogs conceived by Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame, like Daily Kos itself all the SB Nation blogs are community sites with front pages and the ability for users to create accounts and post user generated blogs within blogs, the best of which can be posted to the front page. All SB Nation blogs have a similar look and feel, Curly R's best friend Hogs Haven, along with Bleeding Green Nation, Behind the Steel Curtain, Daily Norseman, are all SB Nation blogs, and so on for every NFL team. SB Nation also covers NBA, NHL, MLB, boxing, mixed martial arts, auto racing, college sports, etc etc and so on and so forth.
Regardless of quality, when an SB Nation blog enters your market there is a good chance it will become the top dog. Each member blog has the network support of every other property, meaning they can leverage the main metrics for blog success, and that is links from other blogs and media sites.
Under the current arrangement, SB Nation owns the graphics and site infrastructure, the writing and the internet addresses, while the equity partners (the writers and owners of the sites) share in ad revenue with the network. I have it on good confidence from multiple sources that SB Nation is a great network and does not burden its site owners.
But here is the thing, these guys do not own their own writing. All writing is property of the network. Maybe that does not matter, maybe these guys just want to write and will give up ownership for the perch or for the chance to get paid or earn a quote real gig unquote with a tradmed outlet. Maybe knowing there is ultimately someone else controlling the editorial content is not a problem.
Think about it, our friends Jason La Canfora at the Washington Post and that shit disturber Ryan O'Halloran at the Washington Times do not own their own writing, that I know of. They toil for premiere outlets, publish daily and then move on. They get a salary and their success is determined as much by their ability as it is by their employer and what that employer and content owner deems they are worth.
So the network model, surrendering ownership for a cut is one way to do it, not the way Curly R is doing it, at least not right now. Like 99.9% of the other sports blogs out there, Curly R has no revenue, no ads, no business relationships and no editorial limits.
The development of this blog has been 100% organic, I put it out there and you found me, there has been no marketing and everyone that links to me does it based on the quality of the writing and not on any other factor.
Monetizing this thing was never a goal of Curly R, and now that the number of daily visitors numbers in the hundreds, monetizing is still not a primary goal. I get multiple unsolicited offers a week to run ads on Curly R and I have not engaged any of them. As a side note to any of you out there that are asking, my apologies for failing to respond, I am not ready to engage on advertising and have not put the effort into a form letter response, I owe every one of you a note.
That said, why would I ever surrender ownership of my work? Maybe my mind would change if ESPN offered me a column or NBC asked me to do a regular spot, but neither of those is happening any time soon.
No, the model for success for an independent blog like this one is to negotiate my own ads and rates, to plug into a blog ad network or solicit local advertising, after all despite the nation wide footprint of displaced Redskins fans ultimately the largest audience for Redskins news is here in Washington, I have thought often about running only advertising local to Alexandria and the Washington area, maybe 20 to 40 percent of Curly R traffic is local, trending to 40 to 60 percent over the next two years.
Sports blogging is moving into a new era, putting even more pressure on the traditional media to cope, cooperate or prepare to lose more eyeballs. And as sports blogging, loosely and generally defined as unaffiliated individuals sitting down in front of computers and through the use of low cost technologies placing their writing, opinions and analysis on sporting topics in direct competition with established media outlets and their associated professionals and experts, moves into the mainstream, along come the challenges of the mainstream: content, control, tone, topicality, ownership.
The money is following the demand and everybody's got to serve somebody.
SBNation logo from here.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Monday 7pm update: we have learned the perpetrator, it was Ryan O'Halloran at the Washington Times, more on Jim Zorn's freak out here.
Jim Zorn: (to unidentified reporter) [cut] and when we got that ball at the minus five yard line, we were determined to go score, ok? Is that what you were... [trails off]
There is a three second pause, response from reporter is unheard.
Jim Zorn: ok well then I, [points at reporter to his front right] you keep looking, you keep rolling your eyes [steps away from podium, steps back] and I'm getting ticked off and I'm getting ticked and I think I'm [slams podium] answering your question. Are you ok?
Response is unheard.
Jim Zorn: ok. [turns to next question]
There is also an odd video cue. Right as Jim Zorn begins the freak out the electronic background changes from Bank of America powder blue to evil black punctuated by Budweiser and Redskins logos.
It will be interesting to find out who was the subject of Jim Zorn's freak out.
Vidcap from here.
Can't catch me
Takeaway drill: once again sticking to the gameplan pays off, penalties and turnovers hold the Redskins back but the stronger team wins. The defense again arrives to rescue the offense and some big individual performances take the day.
Monday walkthrough: indoors in Detroit the Redskins get a Halloween scare from the inferior Lions before putting the home team away 25-17, move to 6-2 in their largest margin of victory this season. A slow start put the Redskins at a disadvantage, the team took the long view and trusted the defense to carry the day. Santana Moss and Clinton Portis are awesome.
The Redskins took the ball to start the first quarter and went to Santana Moss three times in a row to get things started. Shredding would be the operative turn as the Redskins score positive yardage on the first six plays before Jason Campbell carries on a busted pass play for no yards. A receiver screen to Santana inside the five and suddenly the Lions were playing real goal line defense. The Redskins cannot punch it in and settle for a field goal. One false start later and the attempt is pushed back to a 25 yarder, Redskins score first to go up 3-0. The Lions got the ball back and cannot do much, punt. Washington's second possession continued the first as the Redskins moved easily, Shaun Alexander stepping in for Clinton Portis. On the fourth play of the drive at midfield Jason Campbell was gang tackled and finally committed his first turnover, fumbling the ball away. The Lions keep the Redskins off balance and take the ball in for a touchdown to pull ahead 7-3. The Redskins got the ball back and one play before the end of the quarter with the Lions leading 7-3. (Quarterly reports: Washington Post)
The Redskins continued their possession to start the second quarter, Shaun Alexander came out and Clinton Portis came back in, a false start and no room to run and the Redskins are punting. The Lions put together a good drive, all on quarterback Dan Orlovsky's arm, move 44 yards before Jason Hason kicks a 43 yard field goal to send the Lions up by a touchdown 10-3. Washington gets the ball back for the fourth time at their 30 yard line, march 52 yards before Jon Jansen commits a ticky tack facemask, the penalty put the Shaun Suisham out of range and his 50 yard attempt misses wide right. Detroit gets the ball for the fourth time with 3:24 left in the half and look more like the Lions as they burn less than a minute off the clock moving no yards, punt the ball back to the Redskins who have 2:22 left in the half to make something happen. A five yard Clinton Portis run, an 18 yard catch by Chris Cooley, a nine yard sack of Jason Campbell then a first down catch by Chris Cooley is negated by Jon Jansen's second penalty, a hold. James Thrash made it up with a 29 yard catch, then another Chris Cooley commits an offensive pass interference to take back his own first down catch. An offsides penalty by the Lions gives the Redskins some yards back but does not give time back as the Redskins start the final progression with seventeen seconds left. Chris Cooley atones for the interference with a first down catch but there are only ten seconds left. One more eleven yard catch by Santana Moss and Shaun Suisham sets up and kicks a 47 yard field goal to narrow the Lions lead to 10-6 at the end of the half. (Quarterly report: Washington Post)
The Lions got the ball to start the third quarter, the Lions could not get much going including a false start that saved a sack and the Lions punt. The Redskins get the ball for the sixth time and start with Clinton Portis tripping over Randy Thomas but the team recovers with a 31 yard pass to Antwaan Randle El who cuts it back for another ten. Clinton runs short twice and Chris Cooley drops a first down catch and the Redskins settle for a 45 yard Shaun Suisham field goal to cut the Lions lead to one, 10-9 Detroit. The Lions get the ball for the second time in the half, sixth overall, Fred Smoot just misses deflecting a pass to Shaun McDonald for a first down and the rest was three and out for a punt. LaRon Landry commits a flagrant block in the back on the return to pin the Redskins back at their own four on the seventh drive. A key 17 yard catch by Chris Cooley, two solid runs by Clinton Portis, a 15 yard facemask on Detroit linebacker Ryan Nece, all work to set up Jason Campbell to Santana Moss down the right sideline for 50 yards and a touchdown to put the Redskins up 16-10. Detroit returner Brandon Middleton fumbled the return but it went out of bounds and the Lions retained possession but three and outed, featuring a near interception by Carlos Rogers in front of Calvin Johnson. Washington got the ball back, both teams called timeouts, Santana caught a 16 yard pass then three and out for the Redskins. Ryan Plackemeier's punt puts the Lions at their own eleven yard line, they manage one ten yard play before the end of the third quarter with the Redskins leading 16-10. (Quarterly reports: Washington Post)
Detroit still has the ball to start the fourth quarter, three Lions penalties in four plays and it is third and seventeen for the Lions. The ninth Redskins possession never happened as Santana Moss catches Nick Harris' punt at the Washington 20, shakes off a confused Devin Thomas and takes the ball 80 yards for a touchdown, the Redskins miss the two point conversion and lead 22-10. The Lions get the ball for the ninth time and move easily as the Redskins are simply trying not to give up the big play, give up a big play as Calvin Johnson takes a Dan Orlovsky pass 17 yards for a touchdown to make the score 22-17 Redskins. LaRon Landry commits a facemask penalty on that play, which is assessed on the kickoff resulting in a touchback. The Redskins tenth drive starts with a 20 yard catch by Santana Moss, he went off the field after that play, Chris Cooley caught a seven yarder and it took Clinton Portis two plays to secure the first down. Four minutes left in the game, and it is Clinton to the right for four. Next play Clinton takes the ball off left tackle for 31 yards and goes down on the play. He gets up and limps off, is replaced by Shaun Alexander who goes nowhere on two plays. Clinton Portis comes back in the game and Jason Campbell fumbles for the second time, it is recovered by right tackle Jon Jansen. Shaun Suisham kicks a 42 yard field goal to make the game 25-17 Redskins. Detroit gets the ball back down eight with 1:51 left in the game, receiver Brandon Middleton drops a sure catch, an eight yard catch by Shaun McDonald, a first down catch by Calvin Johnson, a six yard catch by Mike Furrey, an incomplete, a terrific pass deflection by Fred Smoot, a solid hit by London Fletcher on Calvin Johnson to deny the first down and it is Redskins ball, one play in victory formation and the game is over, Redskins win 25-17. (Quarterly reports: Washington Post)
Soapbox: it did not start well, the Lions had not scored any first quarter points and been way outscored in the first quarter, the Redskins got stopped at the goal and then let the Lions come down the field for seven, shades of the Rams game.
Penalties were a problem in the first half of this game, not only were there too many but they also came at bad times. This is unacceptable, three penalties by Jon Jansen though those were pretty much offset by the fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.
With Chris Samuels out Stephon Heyer started at left tackle for the first time and was tuh tuh terrible, Detroit right defensive end DeWayne White simply pwnd Stephon, going for sacks in the second, third and fourth quarters, the third quarter sack was negated by a Lions penalty and the fourth quarter sack caused Jason's second fumble of the game and season. Photographer Toni Sandys at the Washington Post captured Stephon getting what for from coach Jim Zorn after a DeWayne sack, that photo is from the fourth quarter. With Jim Zorn getting in Clinton Portis' grill in the first quarter after putting Shaun Alexander in and then pounding the podium in rage at a reporter in the post game press conference, the freak out on Stephon went without much notice. Stephon was the promoted right tackle at the start of the season and now with Stephon is having a hard time as a top reserve, he needs some coaching.
Clinton Portis had another great game but seemed to be running short or tentatively in the second half, maybe Detroit was clogging the interior running lanes.
What can't you say about Jason Campbell? Yes the two funbles were bad, still no interceptions and it is clear he is making his reads and throwing with a lot of poise. Occasionally we still see Jason missing an open receiver, more often than not he is making the right call.
All in all the kind of game you can get fake frustrated about in winning, in the post game press conference coach Jim Zorn reminded us that the team went 3-1 in their first four games and 3-1 in their second four games.
Today the team missed Shawn Springs, Chris Samuels and Chris Horton, and still the Redskins dominated statistically. Yes it is true that some time this kind of performance is going to bite the Redskins in the ass, it is also true that being good and not scoring a lot generally means you can get better and score more. The Redskins still have room to grow in 2008 and that is good, no one looking at the playoffs should be peaking right now.
Chattering class: at the Washington Post columnist Jason La Canfora goes to some length to discuss and demonstrate the rapid development of Jason Campbell and the consistency of both Jason Campbell and Santana Moss. Mike Wise writes that despite outward appearances of discomfort and disagreement the Redskins are jelling. Sally Jenkins' topic is Jim Zorn's frustrations with casual mistakes. Blogger Jason La Canfora at the Washington Post runs his Monday Morning H-back.
As usual Les Carpenter gets the now mandatory front page A1 piece, sitting alongside the story of Barack Obama's eight point lead in the traditionally conservative Commonwealth of Virginia and senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell's struggle to win his reelection in very conservative Kentucky.
Over at the Washington Times shit disturber Ryan O'Halloran does his Monday Morning Quarterback.
Omnibus: Chris Samuels was a late scratch and did not play, it ends his streak of 73 consecutive games started. Stephon Heyer started at left tackle. Chris Horton also was inactive with an ankle sprain. Newly signed safety Mike Green was in on two plays early on the Lions firt drive.
After not getting a touchdown on the opening drive the broadcast cut to Jim Zorn cursing damn! with a body convulsion, that is about the most emotion we have seen yet from coach Zorn. As we now know by the time the game was over we would get to see a whole lot more.
Jason Campbell opened the game ten for ten passing. The first incompletion was down the sideline to Santana Moss, as was the next, both were catchable balls.
Tailback Shaun Alexander made his first appearance on the Redskins second drive.
Jason Campbell finally committed a turnover, fumbling the ball on a sack at midfield. Still no interceptions.
The first quarter holding call on Leigh Torrence was not replayed but was key, it kept what would be a scoring drive for Detroit alive. Those points by the Lions were the first ever in the first quarter this season.
As the Lions got the ball for the second time the broadcast cut to Jim Zorn yelling at Clinton Portis, color analyst Brian Billick surmised Clinton was not excited about Shaun Alexander being in the game. It did not bode well for team performance.
Both of Jon Jansen's penalties in the first half, the facemask and the hold, both pulled back first critical first downs. Most unfortunate.
In the first half the Redskins had the ball for 22 of the 30 minutes of game time, had a 250-95 advantage in total yards. One turnover, the Jason Campbell fumble and six penalties for 48 yards kept the Redskins down as they trailed by four at the half. Leigh Torrence's hold helped the Lions score their touchdown, Stephon Heyer's false start turned a third and five into a third and ten, the Redskins had to punt, Jon Jansen's facemask turned a third and one that Shaun Alexander ran for three on into a punt, Jon Jansen's hold negated a 19 yard first down catch by Chris Cooley, Chris Cooley's offensive pass interference negated his own first down, all in the first half, UNACCEPTABLE!
After Santana Moss caught the 50 yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to put the Redskins up 15-10, it is notable that Jim Zorn did not go for two which would have put the team up by an even touchdown. Coach Zorn was not chasing the points. Later in the fourth quarter after Santana Moss' punt return touchdown the Redskins did go for two and missed. Fourth quarter is where you start whipping out the conversion card, good work by coach Zorn.
The incomplete pass from Dan Orlovsky to Calvin Johnson in the third quarter after the Redskins scored, the pass went through Carlos Rogers' hands, hit his helmet, deflected back to him and he still missed it. Time for coach Zorn to run the defensive back INT drill again?
Third quarter sideline shot of Jim Zorn: still not happy.
On the fourth quarter Santana Moss punt return for a touchdown, two observations: first, Antwaan Randle El likely would not have made that play, and second, Devin Thomas is a dumbass, it was as if he tried to tackle Santana as he collided with his backfield teammate.
Late fourth quarter sideline shot of Jim Zorn: much happier.
This game: Clinton Portis' fifth consecutive game over 120 yards rushing. In the game broadcast and this Washington Post post game FYI it was stated that Clinton becomes only the second player since OJ Simpson to do this five games in a row twice. If that is the case I cannot find it, the closest Clinton came was in 2003 with the Broncos, seven total games at 120 yards or more but only four games in a row. If I missed something someone out there please tell me.
Jon Jansen atoned for his two damaging first half penalties by recovering Jason Campbell's second fumble in the fourth quarter.
Calvin Johnson finished the game with four catches for 57 yards, the third game in a row where Carlos Rogers has had top cover duties and limited the opponents' top receiver. He is really having a solid season.
Shaun Suisham, a native of Wallaceburg Ontario, right across Lake St. Clair from Detroit, had three bus loads of family and friends come from north of the border for the game (op. cit.).
Today the Redskins beat the spread, -7.5. This was also Washington's largest margin of victory of the season.
Zorn can be its own reward: Jim Zorn gets through a frustrating game with a win, moves to 6-2 career as head coach. For much of the game coach Zorn prowled the sidelines with a grumpy look on his face, we witnessed him chew out Clinton Portis for sulking after Shaun Alexander went in and saw him yell at Stephon Heyer for letting through yet another DeWayne White sack. After the game coach Zorn freaked out on a reporter, accusing the reporter, who turned out to be Ryan O'Halloran at the Washington Times, of rolling his eyes at the coach. Jim Zorn said he was quote getting ticked off unquote and slammed his fist on the podium to be sure Ryan got coach Zorn's point. It was quite uncomfortable.
Washington Post / AP recap, box score, play by play, photos. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos.
Other recaps: Rob Birgfeld at DCist,
Next up, the Pittsburgh Steelers come to Redskins Stadium on Monday Night Football. Last Thursday Steelers second leading receiver Santonio Holmes was involved in a pot bust when police found marijuana in his car at a traffic stop after practice (yes I know that is Hines Ward, I could not turn down that photo).
Santana Moss on his 80 yard punt return touchdown: Paul Sancya / AP photo from here. Hines Ward composite image by me, Hines Ward uncredited image from here, marijuana bud from here.
Out of the box: the two game home stand is over and the Redskins are traveling to play the worst team in the league, a game with real playoff implications, a 1pm ET kickoff at the Silverdome. Another opportunity for the Redskins to stay on track or let go another.
The story so far: a team that lives on the edge, and is it not nice for a change to have the Redskins come out on top in close games rather than on the losing end? Going into the midpoint of the schedule the Redskins have built a 5-2 record with no game decided by more than nine points and no win by more than seven. The Redskins are playing very well, this is a veteran team with excellent game planning and an infusion of good young talent playing well in a bunch of areas. It is a running team that is incorporating Jim Zorn's west coast offense around a framework of power running and ground containment defense with excellent individual performances in the defensive secondary.
The offensive line rocks. The bad news is that Stephon Heyer, the right tackle promoted to starter at the beginning of the season and then hurt his shoulder against the Saints, has been demoted, Jon Jansen is back at RT full time. The good news is that Jon Jansen is run blocking like a mad man and doing enough in the passing game to allow Jason Campbell to keep his wits, still no interceptions or fumbles. And even though they have a complicated relationship, Clinton Portis and his offensive line are on the same page.
Cornerback Shawn Springs started the season blanketing receivers and now that he is out for the second week in a row, Redskins fans did not even notice Shawn's absence, Carlos Rogers has become the cornerback Redskins fans hoped for (ibid.) when the team drafted him as the number nine overall in 2005. In retrospect Carlos was not even close to ready to be the number one cover corner in 2006 when Shawn Springs had abdominal surgery, 2007 was a learning experience for him with the knee injury, Carlos is more attentive to detail and spends a great deal more time watching film. The future is bright for Carlos and the Redskins at this position, Shawn will be gone next year.
The Redskins are 1-1 in band two, still playing defense here, 3-1 is the solid perform.
Curly R aside: Jason La Canfora continues to develop into a great football columnist, his latest piece is an in depth diagram of Rock Cartwright's second quarter punt return stop of the Browns' Josh Cribbs. Jason is taking the granularity of knowledge he has accumulated as a beat writer and is sharpening his focus to illustrate larger points about the team. I look forward to the full transition of Jason LaCa to columnist.
Curly R aside continues: the new legend of Jim Zorn continues, this week with the Lions game on the calendar it is the look back at Jim Zorn taking the play calling duties with just a few hours notice in 2000 under head coach Bobby Ross when offensive coordinator Sylvester Croom fell ill. The story, that coach Zorn calmly took Sylvester's plays and rearranged them to suit his tastes, foreshadows coach Zorn walking into the Redskins and using what he had, ie a solid running game, to suit his philosophy. Jim Zorn is quickly becoming beloved in a city where there have been few beloved coaches in the past 30 years.
Oppo research: if the Rams were bad two weeks ago, the Lions are two weeks more bad so there is your parable of the team you look past. Detroit has fired its general manager, put its healthy enough to play quarterback on injured reserve and traded its number one receiver, their only real weapon is second year receiver Calvin Johnson. They are winless, punchless, directionless, aimless and humorless. The Rams were this bad and the Redskins lost.
More numbers: the Lions are really bad, defensive edition: last in yards per game defense, 30th in points per game, 31st in rushing yards per game, 31st in passing yards per game.
Really bad offensive edition: 27th in yards per game offense, 28th in points per game, 30th in rushing yards, 22nd in passing yards per game.
The Redskins are 13-2 overall against the Lions, the two losses were both in Detroit. Bottom line, the Redskins need to see the warning signs of overconfidence and stay vigilant.
Trainer's table: in the second quarter of last week's game against the Browns Jason Campbell slipped on a snap and tweaked his groin, it should not be a problem, just another one of the many little things in the life of an NFL player that sometimes add up.
Of real concern is Shawn Springs and Jason Taylor, Shawn is out with the calf injury again and Jason has to have another surgery on his compartment syndrome injury. Shawn has appeared in half the Redskins' games this season, perhaps the team wants to see him playing in the second half of the season and perhaps he is more hurt than they are letting on. Good thing Carlos Rogers has become a top drawer cornerback in this league (yeah!).
Jason Taylor missed two games with that injury and has been mostly missing from the last two games, his stitches leaked blood in the Browns game (op. cit.) and he needs to have another procedure next week to drain accumulated blood. It is never good to have to open up a previous surgery and this will be another setback for Jason Taylor.
Also of concern is defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin. He hurt his shoulder last week and is in a lot of pain (ibid.), looks like coach Zorn will sit Cornelius in favor of Anthony Montgomery.
And down near unconcerned is rookie receiver Malcolm Kelly, his knees are just not cooperating, he is not progressing in the offense and it looks like the team may have put Malcolm on injured reserve after the bye (op. cit.). Bordering on a wasted pick, that one.
Gameplan: attack and defend, the numbers tell us the Redskins should win this game easily. Do not step on the rake and crack your balls.
My take in 60 words or less: expect this will not be a blowout no matter how bad the Lions appear to be. The Redskins are in full playoff mode, they are going to gameplan exactly for each team and only enough to win. Jim Zorn will continue to play it conservative with Clinton Portis and ride that pony until someone stops it. If the team is hot to start expect key reserves to get some time.
Washington Post / AP preview, Redskins Gameday (PDF), keys to the game,
the Zorn Zone Watch. Redskins injury report, projected starters, roster; Lions injury report, projected starters, roster. Broadcast coverage, note for Detroit area Redskins fans, this game is blacked out because Lions fans are losing hope.
Outside big screen football on neighbor's back deck, there is lots to love about fall. Thanks to Mrs. Curly R for the kitchen pass. Enjoy the Redskins and every other game.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmets from here.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Saturday 1 Nov late night: week eight results are in, Curly R flailed again at 5-8, what the hell happened to my ability to pick games against the spread?
Blogger Deathsport rolls on with week eight, I am still stuck in the basement and too many games this season have been good for me to lose. Will is still crushing and I am in danger of getting fired from my own blog. Your players:
Will Allensworth at Hogs Haven
TexSkins at Hogs Haven
Dagger at Post Game Heroes
Brian Hunter at Common Prejudice NFL
Derek at Iggles Blog
Blitzburgh at Behind the Steel Curtain
River City Rage at Big Cat Country (no picks = FAIL)
Gonzo at Daily Norseman
Gamecocker at Horseshoe Digest
And now the picks:
ATL @ PHI (-9)
Pick: Falcons. To lose and cover, the Eagles I still don't know.
Result: Eagles. Pat Kirwan is high on the Eagles.
KC @ NYJ (-13)
Pick: Chiefs. the Jets are not thirteen points better than anyone.
Result: Chiefs. Yup.
STL @ NE (-7)
Pick: Patriots. This is the lock of the week.
Result: PUSH. Wrong again.
BUF (1.5) @ MIA
Pick: Bills. With a line this close take the better team.
Result: Dolphins. This Miami team is random in Bill Parcell's first year.
OAK @ BAL (-7)
Pick: Ravens. Baltimore is proving to be a very good bad team.
Result: Ravens. Oakland is a pretty bad bad team.
WAS (-7.5) @ DET
Pick: Redskins. If Washington covers it will be their largest victory margin of the season.
Result: Redskins. By a half point which was also the Redskins largest winning margin of the season.
ARZ @ CAR (-4.5)
Pick: Panthers. Giant concrete fist.
Result: Cardinals. Damn, a half point short.
SD (-3) @ NO
Pick: Chargers. No home field advantage for no one and the Saints are dying a little at a time.
Result: Saints. Saints have a great offense, no defense.
TB @ DAL (-1.5)
Pick: Buccaneers. Brad Johnson may not be viable after this week.
Result: Cowboys. Wrong again.
CIN @ HOU (-9.5)
Pick: Bengals. This is a too large spread.
Result: Texans. Bengals were slaughtered.
CLE @ JAX (-7.5)
Pick: Jaguars. Let the good times roll.
Result: Browns. Phenomenally bad week continues.
NYG @ PIT (-2.5)
Pick: Steelers. This is a momentum game, the Giants get to start finding out who they really are.
Result: Giants. Pittsburgh really let me down.
SEA @ SF (-5)
Pick: Seahawks. Mike Singletary does not get the Jim Haslett bump.
Result: Seahawks. Mike Singletary does drop trou.
IND @ TEN (off the board = straight up even)
Pick: Titans. Unless they realize they are flying.
Result: Titans. If Tennessee keeps it up they may be pretty good this season.
R. Crumb illustration from here.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The Redskins are not the only pro team in town. Or so I have been told.
I am behind in my shoutouts, my apologies to everyone I have promised, today's shoutout goes to Spence, PennSkinsFan and the guys at DC Pro Sports Report.
Started in January 2007 as the DC Sports Blog, Spence and PennSkinsFan covered Washington Capitals hockey, Washington Bullets Wizards basketball and Washington Nationals baseball. Redskins football was not covered regularly on the DC Sports Blog, as the authors covered Washington's most beloved pro team at HailRedskins.com, where they meticulously maintained the premiere area mock NFL draft.
Well it so happened that a couple of months before DC Sports Blog's appearance a little outlet called the Washington Post debuted a too snarky by half little outlet called the DC Sports Bog. For some time the DC Sports Blog and DC Sports Bog lay, side by side in Will Allensworth's blogroll, happily confusing the shit out of readers.
Maybe due to confusion, maybe as result of that multimillion dollar marketing study, the guys determined wisely that a name change was in order and DC Pro Sports Report was born. Curious though, DC Sports Blog's last post was published in May 2007, while DC Pro Sports Report's first post is dated in February of 2008. What the hell were they doing for nine months? Building a separatist arsenal of heavy weapons? Visiting Barack Obama at a mosque in Saudi?
Further consolidating their power, in July of this year they announced they had severed their relationship with HailRedskins.com and were moving their Redskins coverage and mock NFL draft over to DCPSR, along with links to many many other mock drafts, if you cannot find what you are looking for there then you are looking for the wrong thing.
Four times the teams to cover, four times the love to spread and their regular Smoke Signals Redskins feature is a must read. You can find DCPSR in my blogroll at right, click over and give them some love.
Computer monitor flying out the window from here.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
As long as Curly R is going to shout out to producing blogs, Redskins and otherwise, we also want to draw attention to our colleagues that have gone by the wayside, regular or promising blogs that have ended, in some cases just... disappeared. Perhaps a few of these authors will touch base with us, pen a guest post or maybe even be shamed into resuming their fine work, in the world of the Redskins more voices is more better.
Our inaugural Missing Bloggers Report is on Skinsaphrenia. Started in May of 2006 by David Gaines, three months before Will Allensworth started Hogs Haven and I started Curly R, I was a regular reader of David's, he covered anything and everything and by no means was limited to football happenings nor was he a bootlicker, he had his own opinion and agenda.
Skinsaphrenia published 191 pieces over 22 months, ending in March of 2007. David's final piece was on rumors swirling over the 2007 draft, with the Redskins talking about JaMarcus Russell and Lance Briggs.
Wherever you are David I hope you are doing well, you are always welcome around these parts.
Image from the incredible story of a World War II American P-38 uncovered on a beach in Wales in 2007: AP photo from here.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Even the best hockey player in the world knows it
Washington Capitals 6' 2" 220 pound right hand left winger Alex Ovechkin, NHL 2007-2008 winner of the Hart Trophy (league MVP), Pearson Award (most outstanding player), Ross Trophy (most points) and Richard Trophy (most goals), the man that led the Capitals from last in 2006 to first in 2007 and the third seed in the playoffs, attended the Redskins-Browns game on Sunday. He asked many questions about the rules.
Alex Ovechkin at the Redskins-Browns game on 19 October 2008: uncredited image from here.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday update: game tape review tonight I hope, check back this evening for more detail. -Ben
Sunday update: Hail to the Redskins my friends, hit refresh, this gamewrap is evolving, I am sitting out on my neighbor's deck watching the Tampa Bay game and running stats. Drop a comment or shoot me an email with your take on the game to help me. -Ben
Takeaway drill: conservative on offense, smothering on defense, Clinton Portis is a supermarket pony. Good defense is the laboratory for an emerging offense and Greg Blache is mad mad I tell you.
Monday walkthrough: sunny and cool in Landover with a bad loss last week the Washington Redskins outlast the Cleveland Browns 14-11, move to 5-2. The Redskins offense kept it simple and let the defense lead the way. Josh Cribbs will remember Carlos Rogers.
Soapbox: Clinton Portis is all you really need to know. Run blocking is the best thing this team is doing right now and I love it.
Omnibus: Shaun Rogers is a frighteningly large man.
Chris Horton continues to be the steal of the draft, he is everywhere, at this rate I have started to consider Chris for my next jersey purchase.
12:39 left fourth quarter color commenter Solomon Wilcots who I love on Sirius NFL Radio, after 26 yard Clinton Portis run said quote you love the vision of Clinton Portis unquote.
Washington Post recap, box score, play by play, photos. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos.
Other recaps: Spence at DC Pro Sports Report has a post game quick take. Money quote:
It was a fairly unimaginative game plan by Head Coach Jim Zorn, who never wavered from his desire to win the game by running the ball early and often. The running game worked well, so Zorn is vindicated on that point, but the fact is the Redskins simply are not scoring many touchdowns. Sooner or later, that is going to cost them unless they can improve their scoring somehow.
Next up: the Redskins two game home stand is over, Washington travels to Detroit to play the Lions who are still looking for their first win. Band two is still in play.
Clinton Portis: Gerald Herbert / AP photo from here.
Out of the box: band two got off to a bad start but that was last week, the Washington Redskins are at home today against another under .500 team as the Cleveland Browns come for a visit at the unusual home game time of 4:15pm ET. The Redskins are swearing they have focus. And they better, from here on in all games have playoff implications.
The story so far: the honeymoon is over, we're all moved in together and now his stuff is starting to replace ours. After shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato and head coach Jim Zorn sort of contradicted one another on Monday over rookie punter Durant Brooks it went down anyway, Durant has been cut and former Seattle punter Ryan Plackemeier was signed.
Also Monday we learned Ladell Betts' knee injury suffered in the Redskins' last drive of the Rams game was more serious than it appeared and he could be out
two weeks at least four weeks who knows. The Redskins reacted to this news by signing former Seattle tailback and 2005 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander. Hunh.
Going to a almost bizarre, Monday we also learned that demoted though still seeing plenty of game action safety Reed Doughty has a nerve injury in his back that is causing numbness in his left foot (op. cit. and op. cit.), this had been reported as recently as last Thursday as simply back problems, both back and nerve injuries are nothing to fuck with, they shut Reed down on Tuesday signed former surprise surprise Seattle safety Mike Green.
Three players from Jim Zorn's former team. To be fair Mike Green also played for defensive coordinator Greg Blache in Chicago but still. Three players. I mean seriously what are the chances right?
Durant was just awful in a league where the difference between the best and worst punters is 11 yards. Ryan played little this season, one game before being cut and I think this is viewed as a if we are going to be this bad at this position I'd rather do it with someone I know move. Durant could be back if clears waivers and we might see him next season. I say what the heck, you wasted a draft pick on him, hold a competition in 2009 training camp and see what happens.
Reed in my estimation was suffering, I saw him behind the play way too many times, typified for me by the DeSean Jackson punt return for a touchdown in game five against the Eagles, he seemed to have an angle and just never could make a move.
This in comparison to Chris Horton who we hear more and more about not being in the right place, notably the final Marc Bulger pass, a wobbly almost quacking rainbow that should have been easily batted away if not intercepted that was caught by Donnie Avery on Leigh Torrence, apparently Chris was supposed to have blitzed and did not, but what we actually see from play to play is Chris on the TV screens in the pile.
Reed may still be valuable to the team though he seemed to imply ominously that he was shut down too quickly and still could have played a game or two while he worked out his treatment options, surgery versus rehab. He was a 2006 sixth round pick whose contract is up at the end of the season, that may be it for Reed. Another bad sign for Reed? Shaun Alexander now has his number 37.
From coaches' point of view as re: comfort level these moves make sense, none of the new players is expected to make a serious impact immediately and the team is trying to get better or at least stop getting worse.
Curly R aside: everybody does realize right that the Shaun Alexander move violates team design, Rock Cartwright has not had serious carries since 2005 when was one short of 200, including a hundred yard game that season, but he has been the designated third tailback whether I like it or not, he knows the system and his teammates trust him. Shaun has not played competitive football since January and the idea that he could come into a game and be productive seems totally crazy to me. Give him the ball and he will more likely fumble it than break a big one. I hope I am wrong. What do you think is the Shaun Alexander trust level in that locker room? In any event it could be moot, it would or will take more than one week to get Shaun into game shape, right about the time Ladell is coming back so then you can say well we never got to see Shaun so you cut Justin Tryon and move him to the practice squad so you can keep him and then you have four tailbacks on the roster which is what you said you did not want to do when you cut Marcus Mason. At least Ladell is being a big boy about this (ibid.). There is no chance Shaun will take Ladell's spot. Mike Wise, no Clinton does not need a backup like Shaun. And please, no more former Seattle coaches trying to tell me that Shaun's football inactivity is actually a good thing.This one does not pass the laugh test.
Curly R aside continues: note to Washington Post right win apologist ombudswoman Deborah Howell, I guess it is tempting to use the analogy of Post coverage of the Washington Redskins football team versus the Washington Capitals hockey team to make some point about coverage of Barack Obama versus John McCain. Just don't. In other media coverage news, yes the Redskins dominate the Post sports section, win or lose. This town does not give a crap about baseball from July to January. Get over it. Also Rich Tandler catches Sally Jenkins reversing herself, hilarious. Finally, Jason La Canfora is a pretty damn good columnist, he nails it, the Redskins got caught last week overthinking.
Oppo research: the place was on fire in Cleveland, the Browns were sucking and Derek Anderson was about to get benched for Quinn Brady which I think every other AFC North team is still hoping will happen. Then the Browns smacked up the Super Bowl champion Giants for both New York's first loss and New York's first road loss since week one of last season and suddenly they think they have a team again. Braylon Edwards is as dangerous as any top receiver in the league. This Browns team will be more vulnerable if Kellen Winslow is out again.
Trainer's table: we have entered the heart of the NFL season where injuries are now quote nagging unquote and teams will use their injury reports and who appears on them to game the opponent.
The biggest injury concern for me is Shawn Springs, he has missed two games and did not start last week against the Rams, Shawn really seems to be unavailable a good lot of the time now which is disconcerting despite having Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot as well, for the second year in a row I will go ahead and predict Shawn will not be with the team next season. He is a game time decision for today.
And speaking of Fred Smoot he has a groin pull severe enough to put his availability in doubt. Down Shawn Springs and Fred Smoot would not be a good thing. The whole secondary is dinged up (op. cit.), if we are to believe the injury reports.
Chris Samuels dinged his knee in the Rams game and came out for a few plays, he is expected to play. Stephon Heyer is well enough to play but coach Zorn is going with Jon Jansen again (op. cit.), this will be his fourth start since getting demoted to start the season.
Gameplan: after last week there is no question this Browns team has Washington's attention. Expectations have already become so large for this team that if they lose today the mood will be dark tomorrow.
On offense, just keep at it. With Ladell out and Shaun Alexander a newbie again coach Zorn could go one of two ways, he could simply put Rock Cartwright or Shaun Alexander in there for Ladell's percentages, he could simply give all those carries to Clinton Portis or he could put in an offensive game plan that is more pass heavy to take advantage of Jason Campbell's confidence. Either way = steady diet of Clinton. The passing game has been getting enough done though I would like to see Santana Moss get back in the game, there is no other real deep threat and the longer the Redskins need to hunker down the easier it will be for opposing teams to solve them.
On defense the team is suddenly even thinner at safety where Reed Doughty was the cagey veteran of three whole years. I like this idea of moving LaRon Landry around at safety (op. cit. and op. cit.) but let us not get to carried away. What LaRon gives the team in passing coverage I think exceeds what he could give nearer to the line of scrimmage. Safety play will be key with Shawn Springs and Fred Smoot dinged. The line and linebackers need to continue their excellent pattern of containing opposing runners, forcing them into the middle where they can get fewer yards.
My take in 60 words or less: Once again the Redskins are measurably the better team here. The team has shown an ability to scout an opponent's offense and the consistency is there on offense. They need to win and I don't care about the final score. I'll be pissed if the Ravens game goes over. I hate Redskins football on CBS.
Washington Post / AP preview, Redskins Gameday (PDF), keys to the game, the Zorn Zone. Redskins injury report, projected starters; Browns injury report, projected starters. Skinscast weather, broadcast coverage.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmets from here.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Wednesday 29 Oct update: results for week seven finally in, Curly R went 8-6, tied with first but we lost on a tiebreak, we are still in the bottom half of the draw.
Blogger Deathsport rolls on, week seven is here and it seems like the NFL is all around me just not with me. Your players:
Will Allensworth at Hogs Haven
TexSkins at Hogs Haven
Dagger at Post Game Heroes
Brian Hunter at Common Prejudice NFL
Derek at Iggles Blog
Blitzburgh at Behind the Steel Curtain
River City Rage at Big Cat Country (no picks = FAIL)
Gonzo at Daily Norseman
Gamecocker at Horseshoe Digest
Weekly picks from Wednesday here, and now your picks:
SF @ NYG (-10.5)
Pick: 49ers. This is an example of a pick that makes me uncomfortable either way.
Result: Giants. And Mike Nolan exits stage right.
PIT (-10) @ CIN
Pick: Bengals. Division game at home, if Cincinnati can't save this line then I am done with them. Until 14 December that is.
Result: Steelers. Now I am getting worried for Washington's MNF date with Pittsburgh.
TEN (-8) @ KC
Pick: Titans. Rollin rollin rollin on a river.
Result: Titans. The best 6-0 team in the league.
MIN @ CHI (-3)
Pick: Bears. This is a lock.
Result: Bears. A barnburner? Who'da thunk it.
SD @ BUF (off the board = straight up even)
Pick: Bills. Have to take home team here.
Result: Bills. If the Chargers are going to get better they will have to start with 3-4.
NO @ CAR (-3)
Pick: Panthers. I would have put this line at least minus five.
Result: Panthers. Wow the Saints took it in the fleur de lis this week.
DAL (-7) @ STL
Pick: Rams. Dallas is teetering.
Result: Rams. I hope I look back and see this was the tipping point.
BAL @ MIA (-3)
Pick: Dolphins. Baltimore is huh huh eh done.
Result: Ravens. Who are these teams?
DET @ HOU (-8.5)
Pick: Lions. Prediction is Texans win, do not cover.
Result: Lions. My prediction was exactly correct.
NYJ (-3) @ OAK
Pick: Jets. Because who can pick Oakland with a straight face.
Result: Oakland. Wow New York should be ashamed of itself.
IND (-1.5) @ GB
Pick: Packers. The Colts are looking more like a regular NFL team so I go with the home pick.
Result: Packers. The Colts make regular look good.
CLE @ WAS (-7)
Pick: Redskins. Because that line is about right.
Result: Browns. My first string happy to be wrong on this one for the week.
SEA @ TB (-10.5)
Pick: Buccaneers. Traveling east is a thing they can never figure out in Seattle.
Result: Seahawks. By a fucking half point.
DEN @ NE (-3)
Pick: Patriots. Lots of offense in this game.
Result: Patriots. By New England that is.
Alice Cooper in John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness from here.
The Joe the Plumber of football pools
Blogger Deathsport wraps for week six, Will is still humming along but this week he is the sidekick as TexSkins takes the week. Your week six results:
1. TexSkins with 11 wins and 3 losses, doesn't change the fact that he pals around with terrorists.
2. Blitzburgh at 10-4, the Bob Barr of the pool.
T-3. Will Allensworth at 9-5, still insisting TexSkins will raise your taxes.
T-3. Derek at 9-5, comes to blog meetings with street money.
5. Brian Hunter at 8-6, makes Bernie Sanders look like Rick Santorum.
6. Dagger at 7-7, now the second secessionist I know.
7. Ben Folsom at 6-8, thinks Barack's passion has a two drink minimum.
T-8. River City Rage at 5-9, focused on a worthwhile objective.
T-8. Gonzo at 5-9, the Paul Wellstone of his gun club.
T-8. Gamecocker at 5-9, with Steve Spurrier in the gulag.
Brag post summary: Will and TexSkins each has two brag posts, Brian can has one brag post. Brag posts never expire.
Season records through six weeks. :
1. (1) Will Allensworth at 57-27-3 or 68% with two weekly wins
2. (4) TexSkins at 49-35-3 or 58% with two weekly wins
3. (2) River City Rage at 39-32-2 or 55% with no weekly wins
4. (6) Derek at 45-40-3 or 53% with no weekly wins
T-5. (5) Dagger at 44-41-3 or 52% with no weekly wins
T-5. (3) Gonzo at 44-41-3 or 52% with no weekly wins
7. (7) Brian Hunter at 43-42-3 or 51% with one weekly win
8. (10) Blitzburgh at 35-36-2 or 49% with no weekly wins
9. (8) Ben Folsom at 40-45-3 or 47% with no weekly wins
10. (9) Gamecocker at 37-48-3 or 44% with no weekly wins
Pushes are excluded from percentages as they can be neither won not nor lost (there were two pushes this week). Week seven picks out from here on Wednesday's lines.
NFL map from here via here.