Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Someone Had to Go

Not a made guy

After twelve games and thirteen weeks of regular season football the Washington Redskins finally held someone accountable for poor performance and it was the kicker. Shaun Suisham has been released.

After starting the season twelve for twelve in the first nine games of the 2009 season, Shaun missed two kicks at Dallas in game ten, a 39 yarder at the end of the half and a fifty yarder in the fourth quarter that even with the second quarter miss would have put the Redskins up by nine points, a touchdown and some insurance with just over seven minutes left in the game. On the ensuing Dallas drive the Cowboys went easily down the field and scored a touchdown, putting them up by the one point margin of victory in a 7-6 Redskins loss.

In game eleven at Philadelphia Shaun only had one field goal opportunity and made it, the next week the action came back home as the entire team collaborated on what has to be one of the worst Redskins losses in the past twenty years as Shaun missed a 23 yard chip shot from the right hashmark with less than two minutes to play in regulation. That field goal would have put Washington up by ten points, 33-23, leaving the Saints needing two scores in less than two minutes with no timeouts to use. The Saints then went right down the field and scored then won it in overtime.

While Shaun's gaffe was just one of at least seven serious errors that day, here are the top five, add Kareem Moore's catch and release Saints touchdown and Jason Campbell's late interception that nearly gave the game away in regulation, yes although Shaun's was just one of several Redskins fuckups Sunday, it was the worst because a 23 yard field goal is just two yards longer than an extra point, Shaun must pay the ultimate football price according to the ancient precepts of unequal justice in football: kickers are not star players, therefore they make nice and easy scapegoats.

Look at your list of Redskins stars, do you think any of them will ever be held accountable for poor play and poor decisions? Albert Haynesworth the gasser, DeAngelo Hall the couch cushion, LaRon Landry the biter, Antwaan Randle El the waver, Vinny Cerrato the decider, Dan Snyder the hider.

Both Clinton Portis and Chris Cooley could have been back this season, there are still four weeks left, the season does not end until 3 January 2010, but those guys get the star player treatment, the why bother bringing back an expensive key contributor with nothing to play for? Well fucking duh, because Redskins fans want to see them out there earning their money.

Only low men on the totem pole get the accountability treatment, swapping a seventh round pick at safety, Chris Horton for a sixth rounder, Reed Doughty because Chris drew a fatal pass interference call at Detroit, a call that head coach Jim Zorn furiously argued against at the time and which would have been moot if the offense could play a lick.

Only the whipping boys get the accountability treatment, Jim Zorn being stripped of playcalling when it is obvious to anyone that watches the Redskins the offensive line could not block its way out of a wet paper bag, if coach Zorn was guilty of anything earlier in the season it was that he did not queue up enough plays from the far right column of the playcard, the one with the big red label that reads PLAYS DESIGNED TO WORK WITH NO BLOCKING.

Only the lame ducks get the accountability treatment, cornerback Carlos Rogers biting on double moves for touchdowns against the Eagles and again three weeks later against the Broncos, the latter of which got him benched for the rest of the Denver game, and Carlos did start or play the entire next game against Dallas either. The team has made up its mind and Carlos is gone, his best chance of staying in 2010 is as a restricted free agent in the absence of a salary cap.

Meanwhile LaRon Landry bites hard on receiver double moves for long touchdowns, twice in the same game (op. cit.), we can say what we want about Shaun Suisham's miss, Sunday's loss is really on LaRon Landry, and I yet here we are heading into Wednesday and I have as yet not read the story of LaRon's benching or any form of football punishment for losing the game for us.

And when you think about that it is nuts, if the double moves on Carlos were really such an issue then one would expect the team to have worked on them specifically since the Denver game, making LaRon's game costing mistakes that much worse, that much more bush league, it might even mean we are starting to see that LaRon is not entirely coachable.

But I digress, this piece is about the cutting of Shaun Suisham. Despite long snapper Ethan Albright and holder punter Hunter the Punter Smith manning up to take their share of the blame, the team judged the flaw in the play the kick itself and took action against the kicker.

Yesterday the team tried out kickers, bringing in former Redskins kicker Nick Novak aka Bob Novak, Mike Nugent, Shane Andrus and Graham Gano, with the job going to former Florida State University and United Football League kicker Graham Gano, which sounds a lot like grab guano. So the kicking game starts over for the final quarter of the season. Welcome to Washington Graham, here we can has opinions.

Shaun leaves the Redskins as the most accurate kicker in franchise history among kickers with one hundred or more attempts, better than the exalted Chip Lohmiller and the sainted Mark Moseley.

Thanks Shaun, good luck, that's football.

Shaun Suisham after missing a 23 yard field goal against New Orleans in game twelve: Reuters Pictures from here.