Demonstrating once again the double edged nature of modern communications, an NFL player has gotten in trouble for Facebooking. Atlanta Falcons rising fourth year reserve offensive tackle Quinn Ojinnaka was arrested Friday after a domestic altercation with his wife who had confronted him over contact with another woman via the monster social network Facebook. He says she started it when she tried to stab him with a pen, Quinn in turn did the chivalrous thing and threw her down the stairs and then out the house.
I must be the last guy on the planet not on Facebook, everywhere I go everyone is on it and connecting with everybody. Friends, family, classmates, old girlfriends, friends of friends and that girl that posts 200 status updates a day. Young, old, for business, for personal use, minimalists that lurk and new generation exhibitionists that do not know the meaning of the word privacy, it is a wonder to behold and check this out:
Time spent on social networking, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc, overtook time spent on email, this year in February. Remember this moment, 2009 was the year web 2.0 really arrived. A link to the original Nielsen study is here (PDF).
No matter how far into the future we get there is one thing that never changes: your wife does not want you getting too familiar with another woman. For those of you that had not previously realized this I advise you to write it down and put it in your wallet.
Quinn Ojinnaka: uncredited image from here.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Call them whatever you want
This week I had the opportunity to engage with a prominent non sports blogger at a meet and greet for a political candidate hosted by a mutual friend. As subject matter experts are wont to do when they have an audience, this gentleman held forth and held forth and held forth some more. When he got into the mechanics and logistics of running an active blog community he began to quantify the time commitment over and above the rest of our lives, like most bloggers writing on a given subject is not his primary source of income.
He described a two to three hour daily commitment to monitor events, crank out content and screen comments. This was the point, over an hour into our discussion, that I chose to mention by way of common experience that I too was a blogger with an active outlet, writing about the Redskins, that I had been at it nearly three years and was about to hit one th-
When he turned to me and interrupted, I don't like the name, I wish they would change it and then he walked away. Later he would come back and we would resume our discussion, perhaps a bit more formally, it was clear to me that he felt the name was racist and while I do not believe he thought me to be racist per se I do believe I ran afoul of his liberal sensibilities.
The tussle over the NFL's Washington franchise name is decades old and spurs debate in all quarters, and the story never seems to go away; a week ago yesterday a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the Redskins in the nearly 20 year case brought by American Indians to force the team to pick another name, whether based on racism or discrimination or based on economic forces by nullifying the team's trademarks thereby reducing the inherent and marketable value of the brand to zero.
This latest ruling does not touch on the nature of the brand, the name, logos and imagery, nor does it speak to whether the law considers the brand racist. Rather, this case upholds a lower court ruling that a case against the trademark was filed too late and as such the plaintiffs have no standing to pursue a case. There is no doubt this case will continue in some form.
And so it goes, I have developed a position on the name after years of exposure to arguments both sincere and non, just wait until the next time the Redskins lay a beatdown on that AFC team that guy you work with roots for, he will tell you at least my team name is not racist, I have been on all sides of the argument in my lifetime as a Redskins fan and for some people it is a great passion; just this week Tony Brown of Hog Heaven writing at Bleacher Report posted up an impassioned piece on why Redskins is important to him: the history, the colors, the fight song, the names, the Redskins are in the heart of Washington and of Redskins fans and he cannot imagine giving that up; it is penance through allegiance, forgive us if it offends your eye, it is our love and we will not compromise, because we cannot.
I have a much different opinion on the matter and it can be summarized thusly:
I DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU CALL THEM THEY ARE MY FOOTBALL TEAM
Call them whatever you want, rename them the Washington Insiders and make the logo a stylized version of the Incredibles logo. Call them the Metropolitans and make the logo a map of old DC. Potomac Thunder. Washington Monuments. It does not matter, the NFL team that plays here will be my team.
Seriously, do Ravens fans hold it against the team that they are really the Browns? Maybe a few old Colts fans but not enough to make a dent in the season ticket list. And how about those Browns, does anyone in the City of Suck hold it against the current Browns team that they are a do over franchise? Down in Houston they lost the Oilers then got the Texans, seems like that town is ok with it.
If the Redskins change their name, logo and colors it is not the end of the world. It will not happen because you think it is a racist name, they are a business and are invested in those trademarks they will defend them. If you can convince them legally or otherwise to change it then good on you. Yes I think the name should probably change. But I am fine if it does not. It does not matter, this is my team.
Redskins logo from here, surely Chris Creamer's Sports Logos is one of the best resources on the internet for dead enders like me.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Over his time at the Post Jason became a flash point for the Redskins community, as the paper and I use that term loosely moved to engage readers with comments and blogs, it permitted Jason to move away from straight reporting and to represent what he saw as well as what he thought. Some liked that about Jason and some did not.
Jason also ran afoul of the team itself, his confidence in his security at the Post permitted him to put the paper's imprimatur on what many Redskins fans were thinking and a few blogging about but that you would normally never see in straight media, like VINNY LIES AGAIN (I am paraphrasing here), at one point shadow general manager and Vinny Cerrato and Jason were in an ill advised flame war, Dan Snyder has spoken of scurrilous reporters clearly with Jason in mind and Ashburn court jester Larry Michael used to do a segment on the Redskins cable access show making fun of Jason specifically.
Despite the high quality of Jason's writing, the depth of his insight and the popularity of the Redskins Insider blog on the Post website, it must have made for some headaches for the editorial and managerial staff at the Post to have Jason around. I mean when the highest ranking official of the team he covers for a living will answer nothing but no comment to his questions and a third to a half of the comments on his very blog trash him for not being a fan boy or for not being objective enough or not swallowing the team's bullshit and printing it like all the other good little beat reporters, I can see how that might become a problem in a time when newspapers are starving and the Post is carrying two beat writers for the Redskins, Jason La Canfora and Jason Reid, whom I hope gets the lead beat writer position.
This move makes sense for Jason, he gets away from print, gets a chance to get on camera and talk rather than type and hopefully this move signals the NFL (Network) is serious about reporting, not afraid to bring in someone honest and no longer driven by talking heads that all seem somehow familiar.
Good luck Jason, thanks for keeping me up on the Redskins these last five years.
An archive of every Jason La Canfora piece appearing in the Washington Post print edition since July 2006 is here. Jason was the main driver of Redskins Insider located here, archives also go back to July 2006.
Jason La Canfora at Redskins Park in Ashburn: from here via here.
In a story breaking this hour, the Redskins have released ten year veteran right tackle Jon Jansen, a move that frankly surprises. I first heard of this move from Matt Terl's ORB (Official Redskins Blog) Twitter feed, and then found John Keim with a breaking news blurb at Washington Examiner.
After last season I presumed there would be a competition for right tackle, with Washington's signing of 400 pound Mike Williams it was looking like at least a four way battle between Jon, Mike, rising third year Stephon Heyer and 29 year old journeyman Justin Bridges.
Although it was clear Jon had a tough season I was still of the belief that he could compete for a spot, if not starting then a depth spot. I guess the team thought otherwise.
I know Jon wants to play this season and I hope he finds a team.
Jon Jansen: Washington Post photo from here.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Inquiring minds want to know.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Did just about everything
While the staff here at worldwide headquarters is heads down preparing a slew of offseason wrap up pieces, I have an update to a previously run Curly R story.
Two years ago The Curly R ran a multi part summer tent pole series on the career of former Redskins player and coach Jack Pardee, a story told through the lens of the game played between Jack's Oilers and Joe Gibbs' Redskins in November 1991 when both teams were Super Bowl contenders.
For those that do not remember this epic game between the Warren Moon Drew Hill Haywood Jeffires run and shoot Oilers and the Mark Rypien Earnest Byner Gary Clark line up and knock you around Redskins, it was the first time Jack Pardee had been back to RFK Stadium since Jack Jent Cooke and Bobby Beathard fired him after the 1980 season, Houston kicker Ian Howfield missed a 33 yard field goal to win with four seconds left in the game, Darrell Green intercepted Warren Moon in overtime and Chip Lohmiller sealed the win to move the Redskins to 9-0 on their way to 14-2 then victory in Super Bowl 26.
I researched this piece meticuously over more than six months and had no direct input from anyone associated with Jack Pardee or the Redskins, I wanted to get Jack's story right and get it on the record for today's Redskins fans, an appreciation for history is very much part of what being a Redskins fan is all about.
Fast forward two years to last week when I got an email from Jack's son Ted Pardee, a former University of Houston linebacker himself:
I am sorry I did not see this posting before now – what a great account of my father’s experience with the Redskins and a summary of what happened after. Thanks for writing – too bad my dad was not considered for the all-Redskin team a few years ago.
We Pardee’s will always love the time we lived in Washington, and Dad’s experience as a Player and Coach – both experiences were great.
Writing about people is always a more personal experience than writing about games and sport, words never die, emotions are involved and someone always has a different opinion. When I started work on this piece I set out to tell a story about a game and the story I wound up writing was about a man. I am very proud of this series, and the thought that it might invoke smiles or happy memories in the minds of the people closest to this story makes me happy.
If you have not yet read Redskins Greatest Games Volume One: Oilers at Redskins November 3 1991, head over and give it a read, as is often the case in life, football serves as a convenient metaphor, in this case for the career of Jack Pardee.
Jack, if you are reading this, thank you again for everything you did for the Redskins and for football.
Jack Pardee in 1992: Ken Levine / Getty Images from here via here.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Snyder is a good businessman and spares no expense with one of the most profitable franchises in sports. But maybe that's the problem: The young billionaire runs the team more like a first-time fantasy-football manager. Among the most expensive outlays: nearly $225 million committed to LaVar Arrington, Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Laveranues Coles and Adam Archuleta. Though those mistakes were at beginning of Snyder's tenure, Washington still hasn't come anywhere near the Super Bowl and has had five head coaches during his decade of ownership. Think Snyder learned his lesson? This past offseason, he locked up three players -- Albert Haynesworth, DeAngelo Hall and Derrick Dockery -- for a combined $162M.
...the willingness to spend money to improve the team; the stability and capabilities of the front office and management; the amenities at the team's venue; and the club's culture and interactivity with fans. Of course, weighing heavily in the decision was the team's success or failure on the field.
I will rebut the core theses of Kevin's piece at Hogs Haven, in his order:
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Steve Hartman: ...Why was it so difficult for your team to score last year?Jim Zorn: well we had a big problem during the season, almost every game from the plus fifty to the plus twenty. When we got inside the red zone, we could score. Our problem was maintaining the, er, sustaining those drives to get us into that area. Now when we did get into field goal range, many times we missed a field goal. When get a third down situation in that area, we would fail to convert. It was a big frustration, but that was part of the problem. We had our struggles, everyone tries to put out their best guys and we got a little banged up. We played four very tough defenses in the third quarter of our season and it hurt us, it really hurt us.
Now your owner is one of those front and center guys, that can be good and bad, at least you know where he is at all times, but at the same time he's shown some patience with coaches, I think Norv Turner all those years, he only made the playoffs one time and got plenty of opportunuties, so when you're talking to Daniel Snyder after the season, was there a sense of urgency, is there sort of a blueprint, a gameplan for the years ahead? How exactly does he approach it?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
He put the biscuit in the basket
The Red will be Rocking in Chinatown tonight as the Washington Capitals take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in decisive game seven of round two of the NHL playoffs and I am once again a hockey fan. Our man Alexander the Great, Alex Ovechkin leads a team that went up two games to none, then lost three straight then won the tying game on the road, Monday's game was another heart attack overtimer.
Lay back and enjoy the show, 7pm on Comcast SportsNet, and head over to On Frozen Blog to drop them a comment on the gamenight open thread.
Alex Ovechkin scoring over Marc-Andre Fleury last Saturday in Washington: Reuters Pictures from here.
Short answer: yes. I mean no.
So quarterback Jason Campbell went and took charge of minicamp. Yes the same Jason Campbell that wanted a trade if the team brought in another starter has now found his spark, something teammate Chris Cooley said this evening in an interview on NFL Network Jason needed to find, maybe all the quarterback controversy helped him to find it.
Jason Campbell will be the Redskins 2009 starting quarterback and barring injury will play the entire season. I am a Jason Campbell guy so I think this is good, minicamp reports that head coach Jim Zorn continues to work on Jason's fundamentals, technique and ball release are even better news, it is my contention that the whole of Jason Campbell's improvement as a professional quarterback last season was due to the tutelage of Jim Zorn, a man known for developing quarterbacks. If coach Zorn can make Jason more comfortable with his body on the field then the reads and passing will take care of themselves.
So if Jason will be the Redskins starter in 2009, what about after that? Jason's rookie contract is up after this season and the team has not offered him a new one, perhaps because they are not sold on him as evidenced by sweaty palmed pursuit of football nympho Jay Cutler or barely legal Mark Sanchez, I sort of envision Dan Snyder in a dirty trench coat on a hot southern California day watching from the bushes for a glimpse of Mark coming out of class, and perhaps because the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire and the team is hedging that Jason will become a restricted free agent absent a new deal.
I would expect there to be a market for Jason's services after this season though obviously with every free agent a restricted free agent if no CBA is renegotiated the market for Jason will be lower, perhaps no one would be willing to shell out a contract the Redskins can just match.
Cindy Boren at Washington Post Redskins Insider distills the issue down to a simple question: is this Jason's last year with the team. What I want to happen and what I think will happen are two entirely different things.
What I want to happen is this: give Jason Campbell starter money, a five or six year contract. Give him stability and take away the uncertainty as to whether the team wants him. If it does not work out then cut him in year two or three, happens all the time in the NFL. Of course this scenario requires the team actually to want Jason, a precondition I am not certain is fulfilled.
What I think will happen is this: regardless of their finish this season, barring a Super Bowl run, team leadership will start telegraphing that they are looking at quarterbacks in the 2010 draft, perhaps Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, perhaps Texas' Colt McCoy, maybe even a disastrous pick like Florida's Tim Tebow.
Washington is taking a quarterback in the first round next year. If they cannot get their guy at their selection they will trade up to get him, package up lower picks, 2011 second or lower round and or players to move up if they have to. Then Jason Campbell can go fuck himself, the team will have their new quarterback and Jason will be a restricted free agent. They will toy with him before ultimately letting him go after declining to match his next offer.
And even in the more optimistic scenario where the CBA is back in effect for 2010 Jason would be unrestricted and if he has a halfway decent season with no change in heart by the team on his long term status as starting quarterback he will pack his things and say later pricks.
I predict Jason Campbell will be a good quarterback in 2009 and not a Redskin in 2010.
Jason Campbell at Redskins May 2009 minicamp: AP photo from here.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Why am I doing this? It's May.
There is a Redskins themed show on in the Washington area almost every night and I never watch any of them except be accident, then last night after the Washington Capitals magically beat the Pittsburgh Penguins to force a round two game seven tomorrow in Chinatown, neighbor Bill let Comcast SportsNet, the locally focused sports network, run on and Redskins Nation came on, and right there in front of us was our very own ORB (Official Redskins Blogger) Matt Terl trying to get a word in edge wise with host Larry Michael.
So I decided I was going to check out Redskins Nation, weeknights at 10:30pm, more regularly and when I did to summarize it for the out of town Redskins fans with no access to the show. Feel free to drop a comment or shoot me a note if you have any particular feelings about this show, I know it is a team production, I am going into it with an open mind in pursuit of more information and insight about my beloved Redskins. I may have show notes.
Prelude: during Comcast SportsNite in the 10pm slot before Redskins Nation there was Nicklas Backstrom, forward for the Capitals, sporting a black ball cap with the Redskins curly R logo for today's media availability. Rock on Swedish hockey forward Redskins fans.
Cold open: Larry Michael teases Mike Williams in studio, minicamp footage and more. Opening sequence is not bad.
First segment: music ran over Larry's comments opening the interview with RT Mike Williams, that's a production issue. Mike recounts his college and pro career so far, the interview is interrupted awkwardly by LG Derrick Dockery intruding on the set. Mike discusses his college (Texas) relationship with Derrick. Derrick and his wife had a baby girl on Friday? Congratulations to them! Mike was very politic about his weight, prefers right tackle to any other position on the line. Cameraman cannot figure out how to get Mike in frame, shuttling in and out and moving side to side, another production issue. Larry awkwardly keeps looking from camera to Mike, if he is going to split his looks they need to move a camera over to Larry's right so his swings are not so far between guest and camera, it would be better if Larry just concentrated on his guest then swung back to the camera to outro the segment and go to break.
Second segment: begins with Larry teasing the Capitals, CSN has coverage tomorrow, I will be watching and Curly R will once again be a Capitals blog. One hundred and twenty-four days until the season opener, Larry teases an early betting line on the game... after the next break. Coverage moves to taped coverage of OTAs with Larry voice over, all linemen working on footwork, they all look like they are dancing. OL Will Montgomery is from Centreville High School? Way to go local boy! Then coverage of lineman doing ten yard dashes, timed by assistant strength and conditioning coach Harrison Bernstein, who just turns 31 tomorrow. There must have been more exciting practice field coverage than that.
Back in the studio, Larry is envisioning Brian Orakpo and Albert Haynesworth on the line togther... mmm QB sandwich. Larry say Pro Football Weekly is projecting Brian as a possible rookie of the year. Really bold prediction there guys, he was a high draft pick and will play for a great defense. Second segment ends with tease of our man blogger Matt Terl in the next segment.
Third segment: opens with tease of Capitals-Penguins game tomorrow, then around the NFL. Favre blah blah blah. Then on to OUR MAN MATT TERL, Larry, show our man Matt a little love in this segment, Larry just said this was his favorite segment but not because of Matt. Matt's most valuable insight was regarding the competition for the number two quarterback spot, after three days of camp Matt is not ready to cut Colt Brennan. Larry answered a question about a Georgia Redskins fan wanting to see Redskins Nation, Larry informed us that team generated media is territorial like broadcast coverage and that it cannot be shown in Georgia. However Redskins Nation will be running shows on weekly opponents in the regular season, Washington plays Atlanta so we know we will see footage of the 1992 raining seat cushions playoff game. Matt was generally impressed by the rookies at minicamp though did not get a chance to see them all. Show outro ran a really old sounding version of team song Hail to the Redskins.
All in all not bad, I look forward to tomorrow night.
Comcast SportsNet Redskins Nation logo, detail from here.
High steppin into 2009
Please join me in wishing Redskins defensive end Andre Carter a happy birthday, Andre turns 30 the big three oh today.
Andre came to the Redskins with the 2006 class of free agents and has been a stead presence on the right side of the line. He must be bursting to get back on the field with the additions of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in free agency and outside linebacker slash defensive end Brian Orakpo through the draft. I think it is safe to predict Andre's sack totals will go back up this year.
Happy birthday Andre!
Andre Carter in a very unnatural position: AP photo from here.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Becoming one with his city
Please join me and the entire staff of The Curly R in wishing Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn a happy birthday, Jim turns 56 today.
Happy birthday coach, bring us an early Christmas present this fall.
Jim Zorn with his family at the Washington Capitals 4-3 playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on 4 May 2009: Getty Images from here.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
One hell of an admission
The Washington Post's Jason La Canfora, about the most knowledgeable Redskins writer right now, had a great piece in the Saturday edition on the emerging contours of a likely and frequent topic of the Redskins 2009 season and that is the state of the offensive line and how the early numbers are really against the kind of unit performance Washington will need to get back into the playoffs.
Bottom line: it's bad kids and it appears that everyone inside and outside Redskins Park knows it. A sample from the Post piece includes Clinton Portis:
I'm not the GM, I'm not the owner. I'm not the head coach. I talk to 'em, but my opinion... you voice your opinion.
I can read his opinion through those ellipses. Head coach Jim Zorn himself:
That position [right tackle], right now, you hate to say it's up for grabs, because it looks like we don't know what we're doing.
The coach just said they do not know what they are doing at right tackle. Well they say the first step to getting better is realizing you have a problem. A quote from an anonymous NFL executive:
If signing a guy like [410 pound Mike Williams who has been out of football for three seasons] isn't a sign of desperation, I don't know what is. I'm not sure what they're doing on the offensive line.
Another year of neglect, let us walk down the line:
Incumbent: Chris Samuels
Age: 32 on opening day 2009
2008 performance: generally solid through twelve games; nursed a lingering knee injury that caused him to miss one game; tore right triceps in game thirteen and was lost for the season; Pro Bowl selection.
2009 outlook: Chris will be 32 and recovering from surgery, did not participate in minicamp while recovering. Backup scenario unclear, there is third year middling tackle Stephon Heyer and one of several possibilities in free agency, rookie or otherwise.
What's wrong with this picture: team officials, starting with owner Dan Snyder, do not believe that 32 is quote old unquote for a left tackle, perhaps this is why they went with defensive end slash linebacker Brian Orakpo and not blue chip left tackle prospect Michael Oher out of the University of Mississippi, who if he were to work out could protect Redskin quarterback blindsides for years to come.
This is not an editorial comment on whether Brian will be a good player but rather an illustration of the opportunity cost involved, Washington already had a top five defense and the team went with more defense and not quarterback protection.
So into 2009 Chris comes, 32 and with knee and arm injuries from last year, and no established backup in place.
Incumbent: Derrick Dockery
Age: turns 29 in September
2008 performance: Pete Kendall started every game the last two seasons at left guard for Washington, at 36, a free agent and in search of a starting job and starting money Washington went in another direction and re signed 28 year old Derrick Dockery. Derrick is a boomerang Redskin, returning to Washington after two years in Buffalo, no one can really explain why they let him go, he had a good year and was not all that expensive.
2009 outlook: the position should be in good shape with Derrick, Pete had a great two year run and I still hold out hope that he will come back and re sign as a depth player, that would make this position about the most solid on the team.
What's wrong with this picture: although the position is in good shape now, decisions have consequences. If Washington had moved to re sign Derrick after 2006, or secure a better option than Todd Wade they could have saved this year's fourth round pick, the price for Pete's services, meaning they either a) would still have a legitimate left guard incumbent, b) would have had a fourth round pick to use on a lineman or c) may not have had to pay 27 million dollars over five years to Derrick bolster the position.
Incumbent: Casey Rabach
Age: turns 32 in September
2008 performance: Casey is a reliable starter, having only missed one game in two seasons and precious few snaps during the rest. Casey does have a tendency every now and again to commit penalties and or miss blocks in clusters.
2009 outlook: despite Casey's age I think this position is generally in good shape, the key here is depth, there has been no consistent backup with Mike Pucillo in 2007 and Justin Geisinger in 2008, Mike is no longer with the team and Justin is not a natural center. There is some hope, one of the better rookie free agent signings be the Redskins might be Edwin Williams out of the University of Maryland, he was a top ten rated center and managed to slip out of the draft, there could be some depth on the horizon.
What's wrong with this picture: Casey has been consistent, like most other positions along the line the team has been reacting rather than proacting. A 32 year old center with no backup in the wings? How is that smart no matter whether your quarterback is Jason Campbell, Mark Sanchez or Jay Cutler.
Incumbent: Randy Thomas
Age: 33 at season opener
2008 performance: Randy played every game in 2008 after missing all or most of fifteen games in 2007 due to a torn triceps suffered in game two of that season.
2009 outlook: Although many have decided Randy is in decline I tend to think the problem is with the right side as a whole, Randy can still be serviceable to good, optimistically, lack of legitimate backup is disconcerting.
What's wrong with this picture: the past two seasons Jason Fabini was the backup right guard, Jason started 13 games in Randy's absence with the triceps injury in 2007, 34 years old himself Jason was not re signed by the Redskins and is currently a free agent, like Pete Kendall he may be a good investment as a backup, he acquitted himself quite nicely two years ago and without much game wear and tear might still be able to play.
Incumbent: Stephon Heyer started 3 games and Jon Jansen started 11 games at right tackle (Jon missed game fourteen against the Bengals and game fifteen against the Eagles with a knee sprain and would have started those games had he been available)
Age: Stephon will be 25 and Jon will be 33 when the season starts
2008 performance: this was the real weak spot last season, Jon was demoted to backup in camp, with Stephon getting the job in a decision I still think was suspect, the caricature for both players was that Jon could no longer pass block effectively and Stephon was still learning to get nasty in run blocking. After three games Jon got the job back when Stephon hurt his shoulder and never gave it back, the whole right side of the line was a problem all year.
2009 outlook: the team does not consider Jon a starter any longer (op. cit.) though Jon seems to think otherwise. Stephon is a rising third year player and is a Joe Bugel favorite, Joe may see potential or Joe just may not want to quit on his guy, it is not uncommon for offensive linemen to take three to five years to mature. The team appears to be telegraphing their opinion on the matter, bringing in a 400 pound guy out of the league since 2005 and a 29 year old journeyman with legal troubles.
What's wrong with this picture: neither of the tackle positions is well served with the scattergun approach; that is to say going into camp with ten year veteran second round pick and longest tenured Redskin Jon Jansen, rising third year undrafted Stephon Heyer, 400 pound Mike Williams and well traveled Jeremy Bridges is not a plan, that is desperation, that is throwing as much shit at the wall as you can and hoping something sticks.
The Redskins have spent a lot of time and money recently on receivers, tight ends and defensive ends and have done little to give the quarterback the protection he needs. I lay the bulk of last year's 2-8 decline to the end squarely at the feet of the offensive line.
If nothing really changes in the offseason then expect that nothing will really change in the regular season.
Redskins offensive line on the first day of May 2009 minicamp: Joel Richardson / Washington Post photo from here.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Not so secret ingredient
Judy Battista, the great football writer at the New York Times, had a good piece in yesterday's edition about the creep of the NFL into every corner of the calendar, the Super Bowl bleeds into the Combine, then free agency, the Draft, then minicamp, organized team activities, more free agency then finally training camp, the preseason, the regular season, the post season, rinse repeat.
If you are a football fan then you love it, there is news all year, spasms of activity separated by long stretches of fan speculation and obsessing on minutiae, hanging on every coded word spoken by every coach and team executive.
Kind of a macrocosm of the regular season isn't it? Like a soap opera addicts we have little real action relative to down time, we fill the week with trash talk, commiseration, speculation and armchair coaching.
Thank god for Sirius NFL Radio, for all its warts and its too frequent pro league position it keeps me entertained and my jones fed year round. And that brings me to the gaping hole in Judy's piece. Not only was the satellite radio channel and deal to broadcast every game not mentioned, there was no mention of the rise of alt media complementing the NFL's year round schedule, going hand in hand, by the football addicts, for the football addicts.
And I am not simply talking about blogs, no sirree. Blogs, the well written and regular ones, are certainly a major element of that, there are others as well.
Sports Blog Network, the beneficiary of a large round of funding late last year, is popping up as link outs on NHL.com and Yahoo Sports. Blog syndication networks like Sphere are putting content right into traditional media pages with relevance.
National Football Post, an independent network of writers covering the full scope of the game. Imagine a newspaper where every section was about the NFL.
Cold Hard Football Facts, independent statistics, better and more granular than any traditional media outlet could justify publishing, it is like grain alcohol.
Pro Football Talk, the incredibly reliable rumor mill, putting Chris Mortenson to shame.
Podcasts and internet radio, like Harry Hog, as a matter of fact I have been invited to sit in on a couple of internet radio shows this season and yes guys I will get those pictures from when I ran into you at the December Bengals game in Cincinnati before camp.
And there are many others, the world of football reporting is very open right now, everyone can find their fetish and satisfy it safely and without shame whether you are into straight news, wild opinion, you like to touch numbers or even if you crave the voyeurism of fondling content generated by the players themselves.
To be sure the league is pushing a year round agenda, the NFL is a juggernaut with no sign of slowing down, as we speak I am already blocking out my piece on this weekend's minicamp, and that is the point. There are more outlets, those outlets can generate a legitimate audience and the league will only be working more closely every year with alt media.
The divisions between media outlets are crumbling, from the league's perspective it is just all NFL all the time and I take it in the main line.
Redskins 2009 seventh round draft pick Marko Mitchell at the NFL Combine in February: Getty Images from here.