Friday, August 28, 2009

Preseason Game 3: Redskins (1-1) vs. Patriots (1-1)


Out of the box: The most meaningful of all the meaningless games is upon us, the proverbial third preseason game, the best barometer so far of real team progress, the Redskins host the New England Patriots for a preseason game tonight at 8pm on CBS.


The story so far: You always have to keep preseason in perspective. With even more secrecy than the regular season coaches make decisions about what to show the rest of the league when ramping up a team. Is the team running the real offense? What elements of the performance are weighted the most for grading? What are the players really being asked to do?

It is in this context that the Redskins arrive at the third, traditionally most consequential preseason game. It is the next to last preseason game, the teams that play in the Hall of Fame Game have an additional fifth preseason game, that starters traditionally play a half or more and try to get into a rhythm simulating the regular season. As teams move to the final preseason game starters usually sit after on drive and the rest of the game is making decisions about bubble players.

For reference, last year's preseason game four, Washington played in the HoF Game and so their and the Colts' game four was everyone else's game three, was a face first 47-3 wipeout against the Panthers, the starters played the entire first half and Jason Campbell had to wait until the second quarter to get his first completion.

Meanwhile back in this year the starting offense has not scored a touchdown. The starting defense has not forced a three and out. While the city seems to burn all around them, head coach Jim Zorn and quarterback Jason Campbell, their fates intertwined in 2009, are taking the long view; their measures of progress are clearly not shared by the entire city.

The depth chart continues to come together, no real surprises so far. Todd Collins was named the number two quarterback and coach Zorn emphasized the race for number three is still on, as Rick Snider writes in today's Washington Examiner, even if the competition is not serious, coach Zorn has to say it is so Colt Brennan will not get comfortable and so as not to disrespect Chase Daniel. John Keim also at the Examiner disagrees, says it is a real competition. In the end, it will be Colt as number three and Chase gone or on the practice squad.

Could it be that the offensive line is not total trash? Coach Zorn seems to think so and if the performance in the main against the Steelers is an indication, with good protection, time for the quarterbacks to set up their throws and lanes for the runners. Joe Bugel certainly is high on his line (ibid.), then again he thinks he could coach up Sailor Moon to play guard. And the sham competition is finally over, Stephon Heyer at right tackle, Mike Williams looks to make the roster but is more bubblier than Jeremy Bridges, simply because Jeremy can play two positions, in theory.

Players continue to develop and in praise you can hears hints of a roster spot. Defensive end Chris Wilson, potentially an odd man out at a loaded DE position continues to draw praise in making the move to strongside defensive endbacker (op. cit.), the same hybrid position that will be played by rookie first round pick Brian Orakpo. Chris Wilson is a Curly R favorite and I hope he makes the team.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall has a bit of a chip on his shoulder for this season, after the Raiders gave up the farm to acquire him from the Falcons in 2007 then blew him up and released hom from the richest ever contract for a cornerback eight games into his first season in Oakland, DeAngelo worked out all summer and is ready to come and kick ass. He says the money affected him in Oakland, let us hope it does not here. At least not as much.

The last time these teams met it was a brutal 52-7 blowout on the Patriots' way to an undefeated regular season, cornerback Carlos Rogers blew out his right knee in gruesome fashion and there was hand wringing about whether New England was running up scores disrespectfully. That was a rough week for Redskins fans, about as bad as it got, until Sean Taylor was shot and killed.


Curly R aside: Does anyone here miss Shawn Springs? I am comflicted about Shawn, he was inarguably a shutdown corner when he was on his game, I still harbor some ill will about his waiting until training camp to get his separated abdomen looked at when that old injury had originally been seriously aggravated back in the January 2006 playoff game against Seattle, and over his five seasons in Washington he missed sixteen games, fourteen of those in the final three seasons. After a while I began to get the sense that he did not really want to play. I hope things go well for him in New England, with our luck they will win the Super Bowl this year.

Curly R aside continues: who is this town's top sports star? It seems to come down to Clinton Portis and Alex Ovechkin for some reason. I would say Ovie in a walkover. Clinton's apex was 2005.


Oppo research: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the steely eyed bad guy from the movies reduced to a simpering henpecked shell of a married man making the bed every morning and moving his porn stash to a new hiding place every month, is back from the knee injury that kept him out for all but one quarter of play in 2008, last season he had all the time in the world to figure out exactly how Gisele likes her oatmeal and practice his expressions of dinner conversation interest in the mirror. Hey Tom, just don't think of Leo DiCaprio up in there.


Trainer's table: Cornerback Carlos Rogers aggravated his strained left calf in the Steelers game, he was expected to play tonight(op. cit.) but will not, this concerns me, the team will now be relying more on 2008 fourth round pick cornerback Justin Tryon, which I am not sure is a good thing (ibid.). Kick returner Rock Cartwright has a groin pull (op. cit.) and also will miss this game (op. cit.).

Left tackle Chris Samuels had a sore knee early in the week, and fullback Mike Sellers and tailback Ladell Betts were sore to start the week (op. cit.), all three are expected to play.


Gameplan: Put the starting offense in, let them go as long as they can, do not punish them with needless playing time if it is not working. Keep it vanilla, put the receiving plays in the hands of Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, one of these guys has to take the number two spot. We already know what Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El can do.

On defense do not keep it vanilla. Let Albert Haynesworth and Brian Orakpo and the case of thousands of Redskins in your backfield run loose. Let the league get a gooood long look at what is in store for them. If the Redskins start preoccupying all their 2009 opponents with gameplanning the Redskins defense, maybe the offense can sneak in for a few points. And work on that pesky third down problem (op. cit.).

In the second half, put those young players out there and see if they can win it again. Paraphrasing fullback Eddie Williams from this week, these games may be meaningless to most of us, they mean something to those trying to make the team.


My take in 60 words or less: Let's see some first team offense. Let's see some more first team defense kicking ass in the opponent's backfield.


SkinsCast weather, rainy and 70s, bring your summer slicker.

Enjoy the game, I will be in attendance at Redskins Stadium with the neighbor we call Tony Almeida and neighbor Bill, I will be DVR'ing the game for a review late tonight or tomorrow.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmets from here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Now I Am That Guy

Boy do I feel dumb

When I was in the music business a flash in the pan act called Ugly Kid Joe played at my nightclub, they had some radio success in 1992 with (I Hate) Everything About You, a song that was featured in the Wayne's World movie.

They arrived at my club, a place in Charlottesville called Trax where I did more than four hundred gigs as house sound engineer and probably another one hundred as an apprentice engineer or soundman for a band playing at the club, with what we called the LA Attitude, they rolled in on a tour bus, had an all business staff of west coast pros, would not mingle with the locals and were quite simply total dicks.

They filled the club, probably more than 600 people that night, maybe more, my recollection is hazy. They performed their hit to end the show, then performed their other big radio hit as an encore, an electric cover of Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle. The almost completely under 30 crowd went nuts.

In the aftermath of the show as I wandered the stage and floor tearing down for the evening I eavesdropped on a number of conversations by young people in the crowd waiting for the band to come back out and sign autographs and visit with the fans, which they never did, after cursing us jerkwater rednecks and our shitty club, dressing room, staff and facilities they hopped they ass back on they tour bus and headed out of town.

In these overheard conversations I was struck by a common thread: there were young people in the crowd, mostly teenagers, that ACTUALLY THOUGHT CAT'S IN THE CRADLE WAS AN UGLY KID JOE ORIGINAL. Comments like dude how did they come up with that song and wow he must have had a hard time growing up judging from those lyrics.

After the show on beer detail we had a good laugh about that, there was some kid who was going to hear the Harry Chapin original on the radio or on his dad's stereo and say hey those guys are covering Ugly Kid Joe! Upon which the dad would have a good laugh and pop another Prozac.


Well today on my iPod a Pretenders song popped up, from the soundtrack to the movie Boys on the Side, the song was called Every Day is Like Sunday. I recognized it immediately from the NFL commercials that started running last year, I love the refrain from that song and the accompanying NFL imagery and often find myself singing it alone when I am working on the blog because well, when you write a seven day a week blog about the NFL every day is a little like Sunday.

I confess I had not heard that song before and did not even know it was a quote real unquote song, for all I knew it was made up for the commercial and performed by union studio cats making scale in LA. Ha, a Pretenders song used for an NFL commercial, pretty clever I thought.

Then I decided to Google it. Every Day is Like Sunday is not a Pretenders song, it is a Morrissey song. It was originally released on Morrissey's 1998 album Viva Hate, the Pretenders covered it for the soundtrack to Boys on the Side, released in 1995.

A quick check of the Google results finds a lot of people pissed off at the commercialism or having a good laugh at how dark the lyrics actually are if you listen to them.

But the Jeff Bridges - Jessica Lange King Kong from 1976, the one where he climbs the World Trade Center towers, that's totally the original that Peter Jackson copied, right?

Idiot test from here.


Wake up, it is more than just a website

As I was chunking together my I love Jason Campbell post, now pushed to tonight, I stumbled around midnight last night on the new website rollout, once again I am not a happy camper.

The last revamp was August 2007 and despite a glowing review at the time, that update really did improve the site's usability, there is something I did not realize until I began putting together gamewraps for the 2007 season: all the old links to game stats and box scores 2006 and prior were gone, forever.

Of course you could go find the stats, they did not go away, what had happened was they changed all the link paths under the new hierarchy. So this link from the 2006 season is now three years in the grave, replaced by this link.

(of course and part of the story is that the second link for that 2006 game, that is not the same link as it would have been 24 hours ago when they changed them again)

Why is that a problem? Because schmucks like me use as more than a diversion, it is a reference. All those links from 2006 are gone, the citations of statistics, box scores, play by plays, they are dead links. And that kind of pisses me off.

I know a little about enterprise database and web design and a key principle for any resource with historical data is durable links. The writing of conversion tables from old link methodologies to new ones is not complex and is a must. There is no reason links to dynamic and data driven pages ever need to change; simply tell the database how to translate an old request into a new one. It is that simple kids.

So now around midnight the NFL rolled out an ever newerer, slickier site and it looks good.

But they fucked with the links again. This time they are not completely dead like the example above, game related links from after the August 2007 revamp now drop the reader into the Game Center main page for the game. So this link to the full play be play from the Steeler preseason game last Saturday now drops you into the main Game Center page here. If I want to see the play by play, which still has its own link, I need to go here. And so on and so forth with the box score, etc.

So unfortunately for me and readers looking into games past, all the game links I pulled out for the 2007 and 2008 seasons are all wrong. Unlike the 2007 revamp they are not completely dead, but they still force the reader to go looking. I do not have an intern to go back and freshen up these links, I will have to take time myself and then wonder why I did it in two years when they change up the hierarchy again.


Image from here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hope He Kept the Receipt


Watch your hang time. Jerral W. Jones' new Cowboys Stadium has a problem: the mammoth video screens hanging over midfield are too low. Already a punter in a preseason game, AJ Trapasso of the Titans has hit the board in a game. That a game could be decided by a punt conking off an object in the field of play is a big deal with the league and the league office fully intends to address this before the season opens.

You want to know the funny thing? Jerral W. Jones doesn't give a shit.

And he has a point, his argument does have a leg to stand on and that is that he flew the dual 72 foot by 162 foot video screens 90 feet above the playing field. League rules call for a minimum of 85 feet of clearance above the field.

Problem is though, that rule is obviously outdated, or intended for another purpose, such as cameras and lights flown toward the edges of the playing space. Having a permanent structure hanging over the meaty part of the field in an area where it will be in play is likely not a scenario envisioned by the 85 foot rule.

How do I know that? Because there is not another NFL stadium that has a center hung board of any kind. They are de rigeur for hockey and basketball arenas, the big black squares covered in screens, stats and advertising suspended over center ice. Every other NFL stadium has the video screens mounted above the end zones.

And while center hung scoreboards and video screens will no doubt become more common with the domed and hybrid dome stadiums that every team will eventually have, this is a unique problem.

Coaches are already devising plausible scenarios for screwing up games and not only when the ball hits the board; should teams be forced to punt where and how they do not want to in order to avoid the object in play? Should the board simply be in the field of play, like the referees, or the end zone nets in the Arena Football League? Boom one, carom off the board, play on?

The league competition committee is looking at the matter, Jerral W. Jones is already complaining that it would cost him two million dollars to raise the board to any other height (op. cit.), my guess is that he will slow walk the process, get the league to take a let's see what happens approach at the start of the season. The new stadium hosts U2 in October and the board is already scheduled for temporary raising to accommodate U2's awesome quadriped stage that will be set up at midfield (op. cit.).

I will bet a dollar after the show when the board comes back down it will be one hundred ten feet above the field.

Stadium FAIL.


That two sided video screen weighs 1.2 million pounds, I know a little about rigging and how big heavy objects are flown over crowds and I know how seriously safety is taken in these situations. Still I might be a little nervous playing under a million pounds, it would take less than two and a half seconds to hit the ground were it to fall, not a lot of time to get out of the way.

The gigantic 72 foot by 160 foot dual screens hanging over the field at the new Cowboys Stadium: Tom Pennington / Getty Images from here. A photo gallery of this awesome new stadium is here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NFLol, 140 Characters at a Time

Come on, everybody's doing it

I came across a funny thing on the Washington Post today, if you are into following your favorite NFL players on Twitter, you need to check out YA Twittle, it aggregates the tweets of top NFL players, there must be 110 or 120 listed, you can link out direct to their Twitter feeds or you can browse the NFLol of players prattling 140 characters at a time.

Not to be confused, YA Tittle is of course the former San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants quarterback, Yelberton Abraham played seventeen seasons of professional football from 1948 to 1964 spanning the All America Football Conference and National Football League, winning two Most Valuable Player awards, leading the Giants to three straight NFL Championship games and going to seven Pro Bowls. In 1963 YA threw 36 touchdown passes, an NFL record that would last 21 years until Dan Marino broke it in 1984, Dan of course had two additional games on the schedule by that time.

YA was inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame in 1971.


So, should 49ers and Giants fans be pissed that a Washington paper has co-opted one of their legends? It would be like if the San Francisco Chronicle renamed their celebrity death pool Riggo-mortis or if the New York Times changed their Dining section to Jack Kent Cooking.

Update Wed 26 Aug: helpful reader Dallas posted up a link in
comments to this SportsSpyder Twitter aggregator, this feed includes NFL players, beat writers, media, bloggers and NFL related personalities, hat tip for the link.

Twitter unfiltered, box from here.

Colt vs. Chase: Really?

Are we really even having this conversation?

The lede: Undrafted rookie quarterback Chase Daniel finally sees his first NFL action, outduels rival Colt Brennan and leads the Redskins on two touchdown drives in a comeback win over the defending Super Bowl champions!

What a story! Colt you better watch your ass!


I have just summarized the last 72 hours of Redskins coverage. See also:

Jason Reid, Washington Post
Dan Steinberg, Washington Post
John Keim, Washington Examiner
Joseph White, Associated Press
Both the Washington Post and Washington Times have polls on the subject, Chase is leading the WashTimes poll by nearly 100 votes and 25 percentage points.

Take a breath folks, it was preseason. Chase got his turn and made the best of it, exactly like Colt did last season when he was raw like a burlap speedo. It does not mean anything in the grand scheme and I am going to go ahead and prognosticate, now that Todd Collins has been named the number two quarterback and we can turn out attention to the competition for number three: Colt Brennan will be the Redskins number three quarterback, and Chase Daniel will be on the practice squad, at best.

So Colt, don't start thinking pineapples, shave ice and North Shore yet.

Last season in Colt we saw a gunslinger, an undersized improvisor with good field vision and a feel for the rhythm of the game. In the offseason, a player's coach though he may be, head coach Jim Zorn told Colt he was going to have to improve his mechanics and get to where his progress could be measured and his outcomes more predictable.

How could the coaches ever put the game in his hands if they were not positive he could execute the gameplan, as the coaches intended and at the level the NFL demands?

Footwork, release, progressions, staying in the pocket and not jackrabbiting, internalizing gameplan components, memorization, reaction, reading defenses, adjusting blocking schemes, keeping the confidence of teammates. These are all the things that can be measured, and measured against standards established by the coach. I am sure Jim Zorn is a cast iron bitch when it comes to his quarterbacks.

What we are seeing this year is Colt Brennan playing through his adjustment to becoming a professional quarterback. The Colt we know and love is still in there, and it may ultimately be his undoing, the sidearm delivery, the Brett Favre devil may care force it in there or try and throw it away down the center of the field. That Colt is trying damn hard to become a quarterback that an NFL team would want to keep and realistically one day give a shot at running the team.

The Colt we saw last year would never make it in the NFL, after a few games grace the other teams would have film and then proceed to eat him alive. The Colt we see this year is an NFL quarterback emerging, still an unfinished product.

Chase, well he is this year's gunslinger. Similar type of college system, dude cranked it, just like Colt. And like Colt last year, the coaches just told Chase to get out there and show us what you got, although the fans were measuring completions and touchdowns, the coaches were measuring potential, blind to Chase's appearance of success. They have to decide if he is worth investing the system and knowledge in. Although Chase is no doubt learning a great deal from coach Zorn every day, I have no doubt quarterback school does not really start until you make the roster.

To put it another way, if Chase were to make the team, I would bet you a dollar after a year in the program that he looks more like Colt does now.

And let us look at the production Saturday night, Chase had three possessions, one of which was a one play drive after a special teams turnover so in terms of game flow Hunter the Punter Smith's punt was more like a long pass to Fred Davis. Yes it resulted in a touchdown, that was a good outcome.

Colt's one serious drive in the fourth quarter looked a lot like Chase's first drive in the third quarter. On that drive Chase took the Redskins from the Washington 40 to a touchdown, 60 yards over 7:29 of game time, fourteen plays, nine running plays, four completions, one incompletion, 33 yards rushing and 27 yards passing. The outcome was a touchdown pass from three yards out.

Colt took the Redskins from the Washington 20 to the Pittsburgh 11, 69 yards over 7:34 of game time, thirteen plays, eight running plays, three completions, one incompletion and one interception, 32 yards rushing and 42 yards passing. The outcome was an interception from 11 yards out.

Those look like pretty much the same drive to me, the only difference was the outcome. In preseason coaches look at the process as much as the outcome, Colt gets a ding for forcing a pass and Chase gets a gold star for finding the end zone, in the main I will bet you when charted Sunday these drives were rated almost the same.

To put it another way, there is no way to say Chase Daniel is far superior to Colt Brennan as an NFL caliber quarterback based on the second half of the Steelers game. Despite what you may infer from the piece in the Examiner linked above, John Keim agrees.

Yes Colt had a rough night in Baltimore, six drives, no points, five punts and an interception. The whole team had a rough night. Whether in preseason game three this Friday or in the preseason finale next week, Chase will get another long stretch and we will see if he can keep it up.

I am not dogging Chase, it is great to have him on the team, Redskins fans really revel in the minutiae and the competition between two undersized guys that will not play anyway is more exciting that talking about the kicking competition and keeps fans from obsessing on whether the starting offense is really that bad. Chase versus Colt is a shovel ready story for the media.

Unfortunately Chase came a year too late, that position is already filled, Colt is similar and with a whole year's extra experience. The Redskins will not keep Chase on the regular roster. To be dazzled by the young gun to the point of letting go a guy with a year in the system, that is Dan Snyder, not Jim Zorn.

If Chase has the coach's eye he will be signed to the practice squad, assuming he clears waivers which I have no doubt he will. From there he can sit a year, learn the system, wait for the call and be ready to come back with a year of Zornification and see what might happen in 2010.

Composite image by me. Chase Daniel: detail of AP photo from here. Colt Brennan: Mark Duncan / AP photo from here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Shortest Eagles Career Ever


A neighbor asked me the other night, what was the deal with the Eagles signing that quarterback guy whose contract was immediately invalidated by the league? I had heard a little about it but the story had come and gone while I was focused the Redskins. That is when the neighbor we call Tony Almeida said, that's the point, I can't find anything on this story, it's like it was buried.

So I went home and checked it out, here is what happened:

On Monday 10 August Eagles second string quarterback Kevin Kolb suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. With only Donovan McNabb and AJ Feeley on the roster, teams are never without three quarterbacks in preseason and often have four the better to keep things greased, the Eagles signed former University of Delaware and Arena Football League quarterback Matt Nagy to a contract the same day.

It was a great story, lifetime Eagles fan Matt Nagy, who coincidentally also happened to be the Eagles coaching intern, part of the coaching staff, fulfulling the dream. The signing was even reported locally in eastern Pennsylvania, Matt went to high school in Manheim Pennsylvania, about 90 minutes west of Philadelphia, to make perfect sense since, you know, as a coach Matt had a good feeling for the system.

Less than twenty-four hours later on Tuesday 11 August though, the league office had invalidated Matt's contract and the team announced they would not be re signing him. The team made no other comment. Hunh.

Later in the afternoon Pro Football Talk reported that it looked like the league was disallowing the signing based on the fact that Matt is on the coaching staff and would have access to the playbook and system that a player off the street would not. Why, if this type of signing was permitted then what would stop the Eagles from hiring a coaching intern at every player position?

PFT then posted an update (op. cit.) saying that the ubiquitous league source had told them the contract disapproval was somewhow related to Matt's contract with the AFL. And neither I nor Mike Florio can understand how a guy's contract with defunct football league with no ties to the NFL could inhibit or prohibit his signing with an NFL team.

So that begs the next question, if the Eagles were caught trying to create a new taxi squad of non roster players then why was it not reported as such? Perhaps because the rules are clear and the Eagles proceeded in a way they knew or should have known was against the rules? Seems to me the league would want to use this as an opportunity to clarify for the viewing audience exactly the rules pertaining to stockpiling players off book.


The same day the Nagy contract was invalidated Philadelphia signed former Temple quarterback Adam DiMichele, a guy that looks like he is still in high school, he became the camp arm. As Temple's quarterback Adam played all his home games at Eagles Stadium.

Then two days after that, on Thursday 13 August, the Eagles signed Michael Vick to a two year contract.

I think someone needs to test the Eagles braintrust for prion disease, they seem to have lost their ability to follow the rules or make good decisions at the quarterback position.

Former Eagles quarterback Matt Nagy: uncredited image from here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jailbreak on Every Down

Pouring like rain

Takeaway drill: A lot more fun to watch, Clinton Portis makes a real different in this offense; Pittsburgh is not so formidable without Big Ben; the Redskins defense at times must have seemed to Pittsburgh quarterbacks like it was a whiteout.


Monday Sunday walkthrough: The Redskins turn in a different kind of preseason performance, excellent defense and good enough offense, the Redskins went toe to toe, unit to unit with the Steelers and win 17-13 to move to 1-1 in the preseason.

The Redskins took the ball to start the first quarter, Jason Campbell started Washington's first drive with a long bomb to Malcolm Kelly, it came down near Malcolm into coverage and was incomplete. A near intentional grounding and a tipped pass over the middle and it was time to punt... except Washington ran a fake punt to Rock Cartwright, after some confusion and a penalty the Redskins had a first down. The Redskins go on from that near three and out to execute a nearly perfect drive, Ladell Betts cannot get in to the end zone on third down and the Redskins settle for a short field goal to go up 3-0. The Steelers get the ball for their first drive, it was like Pittsburgh was playing in a whiteout, only a bad penalty call extended the drive, the Steelers punted after eight plays covering six yards. The Redskins got the ball for the second time and looked wild, it was a three and out. Pittsburgh's second possession started with more harassment by Washington's defense, the Steelers abandoned the run and three big pass plays got them down to the goal line, Willie Parker goes in from three yards out to make the game 7-3 Steelers. Washington's got the ball for the third time, two Rock Cartwright carries and the quarter was over, Steelers lead 7-3.

Washington continued its third drive into the second quarter, one Jason Campbell incomplete and the Redskins were three and out, three drives and Jason Campbell is now one for six. The Steelers third possession starts with more Redskins in the Pittsburgh backfield, three and out. Todd Collins and Marcus Mason come in for Washington's fourth possession, both are productive but the Redskins stall at midfield and punt. The Steelers' fourth possession stalls after seven plays, punt. The Redskins get the ball for the fifth time with good field position, all solid backups at this point and it shows, three and out. Pittsburgh's fifth possession is long and ugly and mostly passing and ends with a 34 yard field goal to put the Steelers up 10-3. Washington gets the ball for the sixth time and struggles before Todd Collins throws an interception, Devin Thomas was in poor position. With three seconds left the Steelers attempt a 53 yard field goal with their sixth possession, it is no good but an offsides penalty on Washington gives Pittsburgh a second try from 48 yards, also no good, the clock expires and the half ends with the Steelers leading 10-3.

Pittsburgh gets the ball to start the third quarter, its seventh possession, three runs and it is time to punt. The Redskins' seventh possession finds Todd Collins and Marcus Mason still in charge, a long and serious drive, Chase Daniel may have replaced Todd Collins midway in this drive, it was all about Marcus Mason, seven carries, one catches for 37 total yards on this drive, Chase floats one to the left of the end zone and Marko Mitchell pulls it in for a touchdown, 10-10 tie game. The Steelers' eighth possession is another long one, six passes and no runs and end with a 41 yard Pittsburgh field goal, 13-10 Steelers. Washington got the ball for the eighth time, Chase Daniel and Dominique Dorsey in charge, six plays later the quarter was over with Pittsburgh leading 13-10.

Washington's eight drive continued into the fourth quarter, three plays in and the Redskins were stalled at midfield. Hunter the Punter Smith punted, the Steelers' Joe Burnett fielded the punt, Fred Davis hit him and he fumbled, linebacker Darrel Young recovered and the Redskins moved to their ninth possession. Which was one play as Chase Daniel found Fred Davis eighteen yards for a touchdown, 17-13 Redskins. Pittsburgh's ninth drive starts with another terrific kick return, ends with a three and out. Colt Brennan came in for Washington's tenth drive, Dominique Dorsey looked good carrying the ball and the Colt magic was back, the Redskins moved easily down the field until his pass to the goal line was intercepted, Steelers ball for the tenth time. Pittsburgh scrumped and dallied from their 35 to the Washington 35, it was pretty ragged overall, on fourth and six Jeremy Jarmon put pressure on the pocket and the pass was incomplete, Redskins got the ball for the eleventh and final time, victory formation, two kneeldowns and game over, Redskins win 17-13.


Soapbox: If this is more what the real Redskins look like (pun intended Rich) then I am very pleased. Washington's starting offense moved easily, at least on the ground. All the way down the depth chart the front seven defense dominated.

Jason Campbell was not impressive, finished one for seven. I am not ready to hold it against him yet. Next game, the proverbial third preseason game is when the starters go the longest. We shall see then.

Marcus Mason finally had a chance to shine.

Did I mention the defense was terrific?

Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward are both great NFL receivers.


Chattering class: Rich Tandler writes there is no reason to get to bummed about Jason Campbell's performance and kind of bitchslaps two tradmed columnists.

Mike Wise at the Washington Post either had a hangover or blueballs when he wrote this column. 1) Dude lighten up, you were the one two years ago telling us to lighten up so take some of your own advice and stop talking about how shitty everything is and 2) The self-inflicted FAIL trifecta: attacking Redskins fans for either coming out in the rain or not coming out in the rain I cannot be sure of what you are unhappy about there, complaining about working preseason games and mocking Washington Post management for sending a platoon of reporters to cover the Redskins, that one subject guaranteed to excite all WaPo readers at a time when excited readers are more valuable than ever? Well played.

Tom Boswell also at the Washington Post writes that the Redskins are still no good no matter what you thought you saw at that game. Two preseason games in and already Tom is calling it another uninspired and mediocre season from the Redskins.

Did Emilio Garcia-Ruiz hold an editorial meeting and tell his columnists to dump on the Redskins for a week just to see what would happen?


Omnibus: Once again the Redskins Broadcast Network has Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann as the broadcast team. Over at neighbor Bill's house so we get to see it in high definition.

Uniform watch: preferred home uniforms featuring white jerseys and burgundy pants.

The game at Redskins Stadium started in a complete fog of smoke from fireworks, the humidity kept it hanging around.

A fake punt?! The Redskins threw three consecutive passes, if you can call the second down nearly intentional grounding a pass that consumed all of 30 seconds then kept the drive alive with a fake punt, the Steelers committed a holding on the play to tack on another five yards.

On that Redskins first drive Jason Campbell took off to scramble and was tackled by Brett Keisel, the Steelers defensive end that nearly ended Jason's season with a dirty hit, Brett was ultimately fined $12k5 for that hit.

Almost did not recognize head coach Jim Zorn in that burgundy baseball cap, which featured the Redskins Indian logo, not the curly R, I guess maybe coach Zorn will let that one stay with Joe Gibbs.

The Redskins were jobbed at the end of that first excellent drive, Ladell Betts appeared to me to cross the first down line inside the one yard line on second down, then on third down fullback Mike Sellers missed a block that might have sprung Ladell. All in all a typical Redskins drive from 2008, looks good in the middle of the field, cannot hit paydirt in the red zone.

Shaun Suisham came out for the field goal at the end of the first drive, coach Zorn giving the incumbent the first crack over challenger Dave Rayner.

Ben Roethlisberger did not play, he was hurt two days ago in practice. Charlie Batch came out when the Steelers got the ball for the first time.

On Pittsburgh's first offensive play we got the daily double, Andre Carter batted Charlie Batch's pass and the holding penalty on the Steelers. That drive would have ended three and out for the Steelers, DeAngelo Hall drew a fucking bogus penalty when he ran into the receiver. DeAngelo could not alter his trajectory and tried to pull up, it is not DeAngelo's fault the ball was well overthrown and uncatchable. That drive ultimately went six yards in eight plays.

First quarter quote by Joe Theismann: the Steelers have always complemented (complimented?) themselves.

Clinton Portis came out after the second drive, Rock Cartwright came in for the third and the drop off was obvious, I love Rock, he is not a serious option at tailback.

Kelli Johnson interviewed Santana Moss right after they showed Keith Eloi's YouTubes jumping into a pick bed and backwards out of a pool filled with water, Santana felt compelled to tell us he had a 45 inch vertical coming out of college, little self conscious Santana?

Two games now and I am ready to say it: Reed Doughty looks a lot better this year, two great consecutive plays in the second quarter. I was ready to let Reed go after last season. Maybe that back injury really was bad. Welcome back Reed.

Dennis Dixon, the Steelers third string quarterback is pretty good. Strong arm, fairly accurate and damn quick on his feet, we will be keeping an eye on Dennis.

Jimi Hendrix award? At the end of the first half the broadcast team harangued Brian Orakpo for getting tired in the second quarter while lauding him for his college qualifications which included, according to Joe Theismann, the Jimi Hendrix award. What he meant was the Hendricks award, named after Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks, given to the nation's best college defensive end. The Jimi Hendrix award is something totally different.

Right over the head of Gay? To end the first half Todd Collins threw a pass to DJ Hackett, it was high and went over the head of Pittsburgh cornerback William Gay. The only way to improve on that spoken boner is if DJ had caught it and Gay forced it out with a reach around.

Preseason bloopers: in the third quarter, Pittsburgh's eighth possession, the Steelers sent the field goal team on the field... on third down. They were pulled back, incomplete pass then they went with the field goal team again, successfully.

Run Chase run, on the next drive, the Redskins eighth, Chase broke the pocket on third and long and was damn fast downfield for a first down.

Saw Jeremy Bridges lined up at left tackle in the fourth quarter. That is three spots away from his best position.

Fast forward to the post game, good interview with Jim Zorn, talking about the need for the team to up the intensity, then Jason Campbell came out to talk to Kelli Johnson still in the flak jacket quarterbacks wear under their pads, it was kind of a disarmed look, could our Jason be getting more comfortable with himself and our attention?

Then defensive coordinator Greg Blache was up for the post game TC interview, dude is awesome, had the full rundown of how each unit did in each segment of the game, and ended up prescribing a better performance next time for this team.


Shooter: Jason Campbell was a disappointing one for seven on three drives, at least two of those incompletes were good passes missed by the receivers. After the game being interviewed by a hot blonde while essentially wearing his underwear, he was upbeat which tells me it did not hurt his confidence.

Fat Contract Albert: Prize acquisition defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth made his preseason debut and what a difference one player can make. The Redskins defensive line was already upgraded with Brian Orakpo, the return of Phillip Daniels and Jason Taylor dancing out of Washington, throw in man mountain Albert and it was blizzard conditions for the Steelers quarterbacks.

OH CRAPPO: once again Brian Orakpo was incredible, the dude looks like a serious player. The broadcast team pointed out in the second half that maybe Brian was winded, that might be his only weakness so far, having a rookie's endurance and conditioning.


Washington Post recap, photos. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recap. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos, video highlights.

Next up, another game at Redskins Stadium as the Patriots come to town, Tom Brady is back from missing a year with a knee injury and I sure as hell remember that 52-7 beatdown in 2007.

Cornelius Griffin meeting Charlie Batch: Peter Diana / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from here. Tom Brady carrying Gisele Bundchen's shit around from here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Preseason Game 2: Redskins (0-1) vs Steelers (1-0)


Out of the box: How often does that happen, the Super Bowl champions come to visit you at your house? For the Redskins tonight they can only hope this guest is not as rude as last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers come back to Redskins stadium for a 7:30 preseason football game.


The story so far: In the preseason there are always two storylines for each game, how is the team progressing and how did the team fare last time it played the opponent in a for real game. To the latter thread, the Steelers came to Redskins Stadium with a retinue of yellow flag waving fans numbering in the thousands on a cold Monday night game nine last season and with a backup quarterback beat the tar out of Washington, it was the beginning of the beginning of the end for a team that started 6-2, ended 8-8. Even though it is preseason that game must stick in the craw of some players. Throw in Pittsburgh defensive end Brett Keisel's dirty hit on Jason Campbell in 2007 preseason game two and there could be some bad blood.

To the other thread the Redskins are coming off a weak zero point performance in Baltimore against the Ravens last week in preseason game one in which Washington's vaunted defense gave up 500 yards and allowed 23 points, the day after the game head coach Jim Zorn called the team soft... five separate times. Bright spots were to be found, like early game offensive line blocking and individual performances by Brian Orakpo and Jeremy Jarmon and there were no serious injuries, in general it was just a blah game.

In the ensuing week there was lots of Redskins news. Quarterback Colt Brennan was rumored to be courting Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's sloppy seconds Jessica Simpson, if that is true it will take an astrophysicist to measure the interval of time between the confirmation and when Redskins fans turn their love of Colt into mocking hatred from which Colt will never recover in this town.

Cornerback Fred Smoot, a nine year veteran, took some snaps at safety (op. cit. and op. cit.), it is not uncommon for cornerbacks to play some safety as they get older, see also Shawn Springs, Troy Vincent and Rod Woodson. Whether Fred is back there or not this season the Redskins are stacked at safety. Defensive end Phillip Daniels got all misty eyed about coming back at 36 and realizing like most of us in life that he did not appreciate the experience of being in his prime.

A fight finally broke out, maybe things are not going so well in camp, maybe it was a choregraphed response to being called soft.


Curly R aside: the Redskins are in another legal dispute and once again making things difficult from themselves, this time it is a pack of former employees in ticket sales, the team changed them from salaried (exempt) to hourly (non exempt) as a result of a court case involving ticket sales staff of an NBA team. The Redskins employees then requested back pay for overtime they would have been paid had they been hourly in the first place, the team refused then people started getting fired or quitting. The central question in the case seems to me to be, is the switch to hourly equitable for the employees, this would answer the question as to whether back pay would be owed, a fairly straightforward legal question. However as they are wont to do the team is making it more difficult for itself with unfortunately timed er, coincidences of people getting fired. It is difficult to overstate that, despite being worth millions and having enormous influence in the marketplace, each NFL franchise is essentially a small business and as such is subject to poor decision making and lack of transparency common to many small businesses run essentially by one person.

Curly R aside continues: has GOT to be the stupidest thing ever, to ban the use of Twitter and cell phones, presumably for texting to sites or people that will relay, by the media at practices (op. cit.). Why don't you just write their stories for them? In banning instant reporting the team is seeking to prevent injuries and strategy from leaking to the public, it makes some sense, another bad PR move though, telling the media they cannot report.


Oppo research: Ben Roethlisberger is hurt but then again he always is. Brett Kimo van Oelhoffen Keisel still plays defensive end. Santonio Holmes may or may not be stoned. If you need more go check out Curly R fave Behind the Steel Curtain. They mock us there.


Trainer's table: Right tackle Mike Williams, the formerly 400 pound man that has lost 111 pounds in six months, strained an abdominal in the Ravens game, he should be back tonight (ibid.). Defensive end Phillip Daniels and tight end Chris Cooley sat out Wednesday's practice, Phillip with soreness in his reconstructed knee and Chris with back spasms, neither is considered serious. Overall the Redskins injury situation is very good.


Gameplan: More of the same preseason plan, show a little more leg, let the offense do a little more and let us see if they can score some points, coach Zorn will let the first team offense play into the second quarter tonight.

Let Fred Davis have the ball again, his two fumble performance last week may be a fluke, we need to find out. Work the running game a little harder, the Redskins know what they have in tailbacks Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright, spread it around and see if Marcus Mason and the other comic book tailbacks can do anything.

Two players that did not play last week, tailback Clinton Portis and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who cannot figure out his way around town, will play tonight.

Figure out if among the five receivers vying for the fifth spot, who among Marko Mitchell, Marques Hagans (Wahoowa!), DJ Hackett, Trent Shelton and Keith Eloi is standing out.

Do not worry about the defensive line, they are good to go. Focus on the secondary and linebackers, except for London Fletcher that is, did you know only Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Ronde Barber (Wahoowa!) have more consecutive starts than London?

Make some progress in the competition for kicker, neither Dave Rayner nor incumbent Shaun Suisham has distinguished (op. cit.).

Get fourth string quarterback Chase Daniel out there and see what he can do. He is facing long odds competing with Todd Collins and Colt Brennan, the team needs to give him a chance to perform. It is true, Washington loves its backup quarterbacks.


My take in 60 words or less: Preseason or not, the first team offense needs to create some positive outcomes, the offensive line needs to be more consistent, is Stephon Heyer ready to be a full time NFL starter? Justin Tryon, Kevin Barnes and Robert Henson need to get off the shit list.


Mark Steven at The Om Field has a wish list; SkinsCast weather, the game will be on NBC and Comcast SportsNet in Washington markets.

This is a gameday open thread.

NFL helmets from here.

Your Redskins Weekend Television Coverage

Eyeballs glued

With thanks to the intrepid staff of the Washington Redskins, here is your weekend television schedule for Redskins related television entertainment:

Inside the Redskins
Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Get to know a little bit about Redskins first round pick, Brian Orakpo, Coach Zorn gives his keys to the Pittsburgh game and Chris Cooley gets wired up on the practice field, hosted by Larry Michael.

The Jim Zorn Show
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Hosts Dan Hellie and Larry Weisman sit down with the Coach to get his thoughts on what he took away from the Baltimore game, as well as what the Redskins have in store for Pittsburgh.

Redskins Late Night
Sunday (after SNL), 1:30 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Watch Redskins Late Night with host Chris Paul and special guest Redskins legend Joe Theismann. Larry Landover and Crystal are back to answer your fan questions plus Redskins rides, Beauties on the Beach and a whole lot more!

Redskins Game Plan
Sunday, 11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Hosted Lindsday Czarniak takes you inside Redskin Park to talk all things Burgundy and Gold.

Redskins Nation
Comcast SportsNet
Daily, 6 p.m. & 10:30 p.m.
Host Larry Michael gives you your daily dose of news and notes.

Redskins-Steelers preseason game preview is next. Enjoy your Saturday.

Old time family television from here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Didn't Look Any Better on Tape

Yeah that's about right for this game

Takeaway drill: getting off to an inauspicious start in 2009, getting blanked just up the road; offense missing in action, there were no standouts; defense was uneven, Brian Orakpo and Jeremy Jarmon both look like great pick ups; three magic words: no serious injuries.


Monday Friday walkthrough: a weak performance with a few bright spots, the defense showed promise and the offense never came out of draft as the Ravens pummel the Redskins 23-0, the Redskins are now 0-1 in the 2009 preseason.

The Redskins got the ball to start the first quarter, their first possession started well with Ladell Bettis (lol) and Chris Cooley resetting the chains twice, Jason Campbell got nervous and overthrew Devin Thomas and Marques Hagans (Wahoowa!) and the first drive ended barely 25 yards downfield. The Raven first possession started with a Redskins defensive jailbreak, Joe Flacco was lucky to get rid of it weakly. Baltimore turned it around pretty quickly as tailback Ray Rice exploited a hole over the middle between London Fletcher and LaRon Landry for a 34 yard catch and run. The Ravens stalled at the goal line and had to settle for a field goal, 3-0 Baltimore. Washington's second possession was a four and out featuring a good looking pass to Antwaan Randle El. Baltimore's second possession was more on than off for nearly forty yards as the first quarter ended 3-0 Ravens.

Baltimore picked up where they left off to start the second quarter and continued to drive ugly for a field goal to push the Ravens lead to 6-0. Washington put Todd Collins in at quarterback for their third drive... and he immediately throws a near interception. Curly R favorite tailback Marcus Mason gets a carry for five yards on the way to a three and out. Baltimore starts their third drive with excellent field position and goes literally nowhere as Troy Smith comes in at quarterback for a three and out. Washington's fourth drive is Marcus Mason and Todd Collins and a three and out. Baltimore's fourth drive starts with a 35 yard bomb by Troy Smith to former Eagles tight end LJ Smith, the Ravens actually go backward from there on a four and out. Todd Collins came out of his two drive coma for the Redskins fifth drive, moving the team 56 yards, the drive almost ended on a Fred Davis fumble, fortunately Fred recovered his own fumble and saved the drive so he could fumble it away five plays later. Baltimore's fifth drive starts with good field position, despite some good defensive line play weak secondary play allows Troy Smith to hook up with some guy named Harper for a touchdown, 13-0 Ravens. Washington got the ball for the sixth time with five seconds left, Rock Cartwright comes in at tailback for one carry to end the half with Baltimore leading 13-0.

The Ravens got the ball to start the third quarter, their sixth possession, Washington started going deep into the roster and the defense got ragged, Baltimore drove 69 yards in almost five and a half minutes to settle for a 39 yard field goal to push Baltimore's lead to 16-0. Colt Brennan came in at quarterback for Washington's seventh drive, it was mainly a dud and ended four and out. Troy Smith stayed in for Baltimore's seventh possession, a drive that featured a near interception and Redskins in the Ravens backfield, a three and out. Washington's eighth drive was moving smoothly with good blocking, six plays into a productive possession and Colt was hit as he threw and it was intercepted. The Ravens eighth possession started with great field position, recognizing their lead they just ran the ball three times and the Redskins third string defense, mainly the line, held for a three and out. The Redskins got the ball for the ninth time... and nothin, three and out on awful blocking. Third string quarterback John Beck comes in for the last two plays of the third quarter as the Ravens start their ninth possession moving twenty yards backwards, third quarter ends with the Ravens leading 16-0.

The Ravens continued their ninth possession to start the fourth quarter, John Beck connects for thirteen yards on third and nineteen and the Ravens complete the three and out. Washington returns the favor with terrible blocking on their tenth drive on a three and out. Four straight passes for the Ravens on their tenth possession, a three and out. Washington's eleventh drive, things really looking ragged now with no real blocking, four and out. Baltimore's eleventh drive starts deep in their own territory, Washington's defense totally collapses and John Beck hooks up with some guy named Foster for 64 yards before a Cedric Peerman (Wahoowa!) seven year run for a score, Ravens go up 23-0. The Redskins get the ball back for the twelfth and final time, holding, sack, incomplete and then a big four yard completion on third and 25 and the Redskins were punting with 6:44 left in the game. Baltimore took the ball for their twelfth and final time, Troy Smith was back in the game, exhaustion, inexperience and lack of talent was everywheres, the Ravens miss a 28 yard field goal as time expires, game over, Redskins head home from a 23-0 shutout by the Ravens.


Soapbox: what to say what to say, adjusted for preseason it was not as bad as it looked, because it looked realy bad. I saw some good blocking early on, a lack of depth along the offensive line as the evening wore on and generally excellent play by the defensive front seven. Sloppy play be the secondary reserves and not a lot from the ground game without Clinton Portis.

For the two drives Jason Campbell was on the field, Washington managed no points, I will say though that I saw a quarterback with time to throw and moving through his reads. Progress.

Brian Orakpo was all up in the Ravens backfield.

No serious injuries.


Chattering class: Mike Wise at the Washington Post is just blah on everything about this game, except Brian Orakpo, Mike actually uses the terms emasculated and frightening to describe what Brian did to the Ravens offensive line.

Michael Wilbon, also at the WaPo writes that... never mind, it's all about Michael Vick, not the Redskins.


Omnibus: I was out of town for the game, hence the timing of this gamewrap, and set the DVR to record. Either I recorded the wrong feed or the game was not broadcast in high definition, very disappointing.

The broadcast team of Mike Patrick and Joe Thiesmann was nice to see, Joe was always a homer in preseason when he did not have a national audience to show he was not a real homer, now that Joe does not have a national NFL gig perhaps he can be unafraid to speak his mind for better or for worse. Kelli Johnson on the sideline, I like her too, she and Jill Sorenson always seem to be having fun on Comcast SportsNet. Lindsay Czarniak, not so much for me.

In the pregame segment Mike and Joe ran excerpts from an interview with head coach Jim Zorn, the key comment from coach and I quote was that he is hoping for the 2009 Redskins to be quote extremely tough,... punishing opponents on the field unquote. I do not necessarily think coach Zorn did not get that last year, it is good to see himn triggering early on those things Redskins fans want to see. Finesse is way down the Gallup poll.

Uniform watch: standard road uniform of burgundy jersey and white pants.

Nice work by the Redskins equipment staff, tailback Ladell Betts took the field with his name spelled Bettis, as in Jerome, on the back of his jersey. Great attention to detail guys, Ladell has only been with the team eight years. So I guess we have a new nickname for Ladell, Short Bus? Later as the game wore on I began to wonder, was it intentional? A prank on Ladell?

Mike Patrick reminded us London Fletcher has never missed a game in his eleven year NFL career. Wow.

The Ravens first drive featured a really gratuitous hold by Ravens left tackle Oneil Cousins on Andre Carter, Joe Flacco left the pocket and ran it to fourth and inches, the Ravens went on to score. I know it is preseason and all but give me a break on the no calls refs!

During a commercial break in the first quarter a Larry Michael voiceover commercial for quote very affordable unquote Redskins season tickets ran, I think conventional wisdom is quickly coalescing on the notion that the Redskins twenty year waiting list is long in the rearview. This might be the season the shit hits the fan, I am not yet saying the bee word, blackout, but we might be talking about it at some point this season. In the next break we saw a commercial for the Redskins Virginia Lottery twenty dollar scratch off game. The same commercial ran again in the second quarter, and again once in the third and the fourth.

Nice second quarter totally legal falling out of bounds hit on Ravens receiver Marcus Smith by safety Reed Doughty, pass incomplete. This after Reed fell down earlier on the same Ravens drive but then got up to make the play.

Joe Theismann was right, the Redskins offensive line did not look awful for that first drive, let us hope that is the line we see going forward.

More poor preparation and or lazy execution: as the Washington offense took the field for their first drive of the second quarter Mike Patrick announced our new Redskins quarterback was Kerry Collins. Uh no that would be Todd Collins, Kerry is the other incredibly old dude still playing in the NFL, for Tennessee.

Ha! Kelli Washington in a second quarter sideline spot with tailback Clinton Portis asked why Ladell Betts' jersey read Bettis, Clinton then said Brant must have been drinking, is Brant the Redskins equipment manager? Matt Terl help me out here.

More FLAGRANT sponsor tie in, Papa John Schnatter himself had a full segment in the booth with Mike and Joe as the game went on silently behind them. At least they had the courtesy to run that bit when the Ravens had the ball. Dan $nyder.

The penalty on the Ravens in the second quarter to start Baltimore's fourth drive reminded me: this game featured a match up of the Redskins actual first round pick and the first round pick many Redskins fans were hoping for, offensive tackle Michael Oher. Having him up the road, it will be easy to measure how they measure up in terms of development and contribution.

Marcus Mason has switched his number from 23 to 24. DeAngelo Hall now owns number 23.

Three times in the first half cornerback Justin Tryon was beaten badly, twice on an inside slant route and once on a middle out route. Twice in the first half Fred Davis fumbled. Twice late in the second quarter rookie cornerback Kevin Barnes gave up big passes, including a touchdown.

Todd Collins had three drives, looked awful on the first two and terrific on the third. He seemed to be in sync with the receivers, Malcolm Kelly, Devin Thomas, Fred Davis, Eddie Williams and Marcus Mason all caught passes on that drive. Too bad Fred fumbled it away. OH WELL I guess that is why we have Chris Cooley and Todd Yoder.

GREAT halftime segment on Sammy Baugh, lots of action footage and interview snippets from late in Sammy's life, the thing he was most proud of in the NFL was the game in which he intercepted four passes on defense and threw four touchdowns on offense.

I fully understand the second half of the first preseason game is going to drop off, but come on guys, it got real ragged real quick when the team started going deep into the roster. Doug Dutch, Robert Henson and Lendy Holmes all came out and made mistakes quick. Two false starts by and a sack allowed on reserve left tackle Devin Clark, not impressive.

Colt Brennan's interception in the third quarter came on a cornerback blitz by a rookie who dashed through a hole between Devin Clark and D'Anthony Batiste big enough to drive a truck through. Sloppy.

Around the end of the third quarter everyone started looking ragged, that ninth Ravens drive that crossed from the third into the fourth quarter blew up from their own bad blocking and penalties.

Being that the two local teams were playing in Baltimore, Kelli Washington helpfully pointed out that six former University of Maryland players were among the two rosters. Probably will not be that way on opening day though.

Things did not get any better later in the fourth quarter, Kevin Barnes and Michael Grant both gave up big plays, man the Ravens were doing themselves in with poor blocking, all the Redskins had to do was not give up the long plays and the front seven would have taken care of it. Yes I know it is preseason, I still get annoyed.

Great look by rookie defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, he seemed to jump three feet in the air to bat the ball down. Two plays later Jeremy got around the right tackle and chased John Beckj out of the pocket and helped end the Baltimore drive. Plenty of athleticism there, he looked good in what I saw.

Colt played the entire fourth quarter, fourth string quarterback Chase Daniel never got into the game.


Shooter: two drives for Jason Campbell, no points, six passes attempted. Jason did not look bad, did not look terrific, and got the hook after one quarter.

Fat Contract Albert: new acquisition Albert Haynesworth did not play though he did give a hilarious sideline interview with NBC's Lindsey Czarniak, this guy is going to be good for a quote and does not seem to shy away from media. So far.

OH CRAPPO: rookie first round pick Brian Orakpo was awsum, he was all over the Raven backfield, I know he is looking to move to linebacker, he looked pretty damn good lining up at end.


Washington Post recap, photos. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos, video highlights.

Next up, the Steelers and Big Ben Roethlisberger, along with the Ravens an annual preseason opponent in one form or another. It was two years ago that Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel came in on a dirty and low hit on Jason Campbell's knee that earned Brett a $12k5 fine.

Ladell Betts Bettis uniform from here, Ben Roethlisberger from here.

Traditional Media Deathspiral Enters Endgame

Think hard on this one before running off all those eyeballs

The Los Angeles Time ran a story today about how Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is pushing other media companies hard to join together in an online news consortium, one that effectively could set new policy for access to online news and media, and by that I mean pay for it.

It is no secret that the biggest, oldest media companies have struggled with profitability models for delivering online content. The original sin was swallowing the Gen X notion that information wants to be free, that after centuries of controlling all the delivery mechanisms for information suddenly this new channel, the internet, appeared and destroyed the old ways of doing things.

So everyone put out their content for free to consumers, patterned after the model for broadcast television where advertisers pay, not the consumers.

A few outlets like the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times kept paywalls up. A few, like the New York Times, yo-yo'ed between paywall and advertiser sponsored.

In the current model most, like the Washington Post, charge no fee but require a registration so they can capture demographic information and target you with specific ads on the pages and in email newsletters and offers.

Then the market for online advertising cratered.

Meanwhile the rise of Craigslist and its ilk of online swap and classifieds sites have killed newspapers' abilities to harvest community revenue.

Now throw in blogs and social networking and traditional media companies are facing a serious dilution of their influence, or so they believe.

Now they want to put the burden back on the consumer with paywalls, you would have to pay some per article or per session fee, or a subscription fee or earn free online access with an offline subscription.

These companies need to consider seriously the potential impacts forcing readers to pay for everything on line. Consider this:

When I link to a Washington Post piece on the Redskins, who wins and who loses? I consumed their content then regurgitated it in some related form, be it a secondary reporting, opinion, historical perspective, etc. I linked back to the piece because I want readers to see my source material and fact check it for themselves. That is good journalism.

So did those eyeballs on Curly R take eyeballs away from the WaPo? Well that is what AP and Murdoch think.

I do not, I tend to view it the other way round, there are Redskins fans out there either not seeing the Post or needing more than the Post can deliver, why do you think they have so many in house blogs now? It is to provide a more timely and less formal side of the operation in support of today's information soaked consumers.

I exist in symbiosis with every source to which I link. See me, see them.

And I am fundamentally not against paying for content. I have subscribed to the Washington Post seven days a week for thirteen years, I am also a seven day subscriber to the New York Times and I have purchased subscriptions or contributed dollars to the new media outlets and blogs I frequent the most. I can tell you from direct experience that good journalism costs time and money.

I do not have an easy answer for the media companies. What I can tell you for sure is if media companies like the WaPo try and lock down content, complementary outlets like Curly R will shrink or die out in large numbers. For some in those boardrooms that is part of the point and they will get it. These papers will also see their traffic grind to a halt, the New York Times right now gets over two million visits a day, back in 2006 when things were better in the economy the NYT peaked at 227,000 paid subscribers, good for ten million dollars a year in incremental revenue, nothing to sneeze at to be sure, right now the NYT is spending roughly 844 million dollars a year on materials and wages, with a subscriber base hovering around 800,000. Ten million is ten million, in the face of these giant offline operating costs let us not pretend that charging for online content is the way to structural balance.

Right now in a boardroom somewhere there are dueling revenue models going at it, one with ten times the eyeballs of the other and with variable sponsorship revenue, one with guaranteed cash on the barrel head annuitized subscriber revenue and one tenth the traffic. And it is a heated discussion.

I can tell you I will probably pay for an online subscription to the Post, it is my hometown paper. But I sure as shit am not going to link out to articles that people will have to pay for and without the references, the sourcing, the context and the historical perspective, all backed up by linkouts, there is no Curly R. On some level they must know Curly R is good for business at the Post, they link out to me.

Oh and a parting thought, I came across that LA Times article linked at top from the Huffington Post, linked out from there to the source piece, read both for free, then linked out from here to that piece. For god's sake if you made it all the way down to the end of this piece, please go back and link through to the source material, it may save both of us.

Dollar sign in the clouds from here.

I Hope This Was a Punking

And not someone's serious contribution to the discourse

Because if I read this right, a FOX Las Vegas viewer actually thinks it was not Michael Vick's fault, it was the dogs' because they, again we are talking about the dogs, could have walked away at any time.

[ ... ]

Now as I reread before posting, this must be a gag, someone with as black a sense of humor as mine and with the balls to call it into the station. I would presume and probably be wrong that anyone that actually thought the animals were the ones at fault here and not Michael Vick would realize he was so far in the moral minority that he would be wise not to share with his neighbor much less a television audience.

Going to be a good fun long season for Eagles fans.

Hat tip to lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery for the spot, image from here via KSK.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Seen on Metro

Everyone is a winner except the two of every three tickets played

The Redskins Virginia Lottery scratch off ticket, that twenty dollar scratcher mind you, is being advertised on the DC Metro. I snapped this picture on my camera phone tonight on the Red Line heading out of Union Station.

Let the jokes begin, I will start:


If I win the million dollars can I use it to sign a right tackle?


See, the lottery really is like being a Redskins fan, most of the time you get nothing for your money and winning it all is seems like one in a million.

Readers leave me some zingers in comments.

Photo by me.