Start sports blog. LOSE ALL FREE TIME.
Wherein we discuss Dallas in decline.
Image by me with apologies to Advice Dog.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
But let's not get carried away
Takeaway Drill: No serious injuries except for the one that may be, or not; second top AFC defense in as many weeks; speaking of, nice looking Redskins defense you got there, let's not talk about the offense right now.
Quick jump to
Jets won the toss and deferred, the Redskins get the ball to start the first quarter, Rex Grossman at quarterback for Washington's first drive, Rex finds Joey Galloway on the first play, then to Santana Moss for a first down, that is that though and two plays later the Redskins are punting. New York's first possession, second year pro Mark Sanchez at quarterback, Braylon Edwards catches a first down, this is a long drive than ends with a 41 yard field goal by Nick Folk, former Cowboys kicker, Redskins defense was soft, Jets take an early 3-0 lead. The Redskins get the ball for the second time, Anthony Armstrong and Chris Cooley in motion as receiver, then Santana for 29, thanks to linebacker Bart Scott for the roughing the passer call, the drive stalls in Jets territory and Graham Gano kicks a 27 yard field goal, the game is tied 3-3. The Jets get the ball for the second time, Ladainian Tomlinson gets the ball and takes the first carry 45 yards, Jets score another first down and that is the end of the first quarter with the game tied 3-3.
The second quarter starts with the Jets continuing their second possession, London Fletcher makes a great play in pass coverage and the Jets are punting. Washington's third possession starts with a long incomplete to Santana Moss from the Redskins ten to the Jets 32, 58 yards in the air, next play was nothing to Willie Parker, two plays later the Redskins are punting. The Jets get the ball for the third time, it is a three and out featuring a 55 yard incomplete by Mark Sanchez, Jets punt... but waterbug return man and aspiring receiver Brandon Banks fumbles the punt return and the Jets recover, New York's fourth possession starts on the Redskins 34 yard line, just as it looks like the Jets are about to go in for an easy score DeAngelo Hall intercepts Mark Sanchez on third and eight from the Redskins thirteen, he takes the ball 34 yards, Redskins ball. The Redskins get the ball for the fourth time, Rex strongarms it into Joey Galloway, two plays later a tipped ball stalls the drive, Graham Gano lines up and belts a 42 yard field goal and the Redskins take a 6-3 lead. The Jets fifth possession has something though I do not notice until linebacker Chris Wilson sacks Mark Sanchez and the Jets are punting. Washington's fifth possession from the Washington five yard line, Keiland Williams for nothing then Rex bobbles a good shotgun snap into the end zone, Rex kicks the ball out the back of the end zone for a safety making the game 6-5 Washington. The Redskins free kick to the Jets for New York's sixth possession, on first down Mark Sanchez passes to former Steeler and current stoner Santonio Holmes, cornerback Phillip Buchanon strips the ball and linebacker Perry Riley recovers for Washington, one play drive, upheld by replay bitches. Washington's sixth drive starts with a long incomplete to Santana, Keiland Williams catches for first down, I hadsome blah blah, Rex fumbles and the Jets recover but teh ball is awarded to Washington, it happens to be fourth down and the Redskins punt. New York's seventh possession starts with eleven seconds left in the half, Ladainian Tomlinson for fourteen and the Jets are going to try a 62 yard field goal, no good and that is the half as the Redskins lead 6-5.
The Jets get the ball to start the third quarter, New York's eighth drive, Mark Sanchez still in the game, on third and short the pressure is there and Vonnie Holliday stops Mark short and the Jets punt. The Redskins get the ball for the seventh time, John Beck in the game at quarterback, Larry Johnson at tailback, John finds receiver Terence Austin for a long first down, we would see him again on a Santana Moss receiver screen in traffic for another first down, a corner blitz on third down stalls this drive and Graham Gano kicks a 41 yard field goal, Redskins now lead 9-5, this was a good drive. New York gets the ball for the ninth time, Mark Sanchez still in the game, good pressure on the passer by the backups, there is no Jets running game apparent, this is a long drive that goes through the end of the quarter with the Redskins leading 9-5.
The Jets continue their ninth drive into the fourth quarter in scoring position and in fact tight end Dustin Keller catches a short pass and pushes it over the goal line for a touchdown, former Cowboys kicker Nick Folk misses the extra point and Jets now lead 11-9. Washington gets the ball for the eighth time, Richard Bartel in at quarterback and he goes long long to Brandon Banks to start the drive, Brandon draws the offensive pass interference and that pushes the Redskins back to their twelve yard line, Fred Davis drops a pass, an intentional grounding is not called then a give up run on third and 25 and Washington is punting from the end zone. New York's tenth drive starts on Washington's side of the field, former Redskin Mark Brunell in the game, Jeremy Jarmon blows through the line easily on third down for a sack and the Jets are punting. The Redskins get the ball for the ninth time, John Beck is back in the game at quarterback, on third and thirteen from the Redskins three Brandon Banks catches in traffic and dashes for a first down, that is pretty much it for that drive and the Redskins punt. The Jets' eleventh possession is blah blah and FUMBLE, cornerback Ramzee Robinson recovers, Redskins ball. Washington's tenth drive has Richard Bartel back in the game, he connect immediately with rookie tight end Logan Paulsen, then a fifteen yard out to Brandon Banks, then a long Larry Johnson run to the right, two plays later Larry takes a trap screen over the middle for fifteen yards and a touchdown, Redskins now lead 16-11, nice work by Richard Bartel on this drive. The Jets get the ball for the twelfth time, Mark Brunell in the game, he fumbles on first down, defensive end Darrion Scott knocks the ball loose and Kevin Barnes recovers, Redskins ball. Washington gets the ball for the eleventh time with less than two minutes left in the game, everyone is done for the night, the team uses six plays to suck out the clock and that is that as the Redskins win 16-11 to move to 2-1 in the preseason, all in all a good game.
Soapbox: Forget everything you know about the second half, particularly the fourth quarter, all that Richard Bartel - John Beck back and forth and Larry Johnson scoring big at the end of the game, that is all worthless from an evaluation standpoint. It was all about the first two quarters.
Rex Grossman was far from an embarrassment, Clinton Portis sprained his ankle, Joey Galloway caught passes, DeAngelo Hall grabbed another interception.
It is hard to evaluate this team in that period, principally because it is preseason and it is difficult to evaluate most teams objectively; we know the team is keeping a lot of stuff under wrap and nothing I see tells me this is a team destined for a failure of a season.
What I see is a team that is still coming together. New players, new system, new dynamics. Have a look at the last two Redskins games, here I am excluding preseason game one against the Bills because I have come to realize they are that hapless, and focusing instead on the Jets and Ravens, two good offenses and two superior defenses.
The run game could be better, I honestly do not think head coach Shanahan needs to see one hundred yard ground games in preseason, we all know the running game is going to be there, even if it needs to be set up by the passing game a la Andy Reid's Eagles. Let these offensive linemen line up and knock some people around for a while and they will get in a run blocking groove; it is all Clinton Portis and all others are tied at number two, it really does not matter who is backing Clinton up.
The passing game is in good shape, Joey Galloway and Santana Moss both dropped what would have been long completions, there are no Randy Mosses or Jerry Rices or Steve Smiths on this team and the Redskins are going to have do without that playmaker this season; 2010 is all about finding one or two players in that mostly undistinguished group of pass catchers that Donovan McNabb can bond with; Chris Cooley, Santana Moss and one other will get us through, and if those two guys get hurt then there are bigger problems.
Rex Grossman is still a starting caliber quarterback, I fear we will get a good long look at what he can do this season, no one should expect Peyton Manning out of Rex, he looked sharp last night and if the line can block for him he will be able to find the open man. With Rex the Redskins may not be heading to the Super Bowl in Mike Shanahan Year One, we are not talking Danny Wuerffel either.
It is all in the difference between jelling and struggling; you want to see a team that is struggling? Go and have a look at that Cowboys-Texans game from Saturday night. Dallas looked like a bunch of amateurs, you know you are having a bad night when the preseason announcers start piling on.
Chattering Class: Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post writes (op. cit.) that there are still many questions about how this team really will perform, and I agree and as I have written above I attribute this more to coming together than to falling apart.
Tracee Hamilton also at the Post loves herself some receiver Anthony Armstrong (op. cit.) and I agree, I really think the guy looks like the new Santana Moss. With the team preparing for life after Santana starting in 2011 we may have a guy the team can keep. Main question of course is, can he extend it into the regular season, and can he keep it up for sixteen games plus playoffs.
Omnibus: Uniform watch: The preferred uniform of white jerseys and burgundy pants.
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert and Joe Theismann, not my favorite, much prefer Mike Patrick teamed up with Joe.
Joey Galloway now has a stat line, catching the first pass of the game. On that possession there was a near hookup, then another on the next drive. Rex and Joey hooked up in the second quarter as well, good arm, good catch.
Willie Parker opened the game at tailback and fell right down. Next carry, second possession, also fall down, same with third. Fourth was positive yards but maybe like three yards, fifth was a fall down at the line. Sixth was in third drive and nahthing. Seventh was an eight yard carry, feels good man.
Opening defensive line: Adam Carriker, Maake Kemoeatu, Kedric Golston, is this really a starting line? Albert Haynesworth made an appearance in the opening defensive series, not officially a starter but might as well be.
Redskins second possession, first quarter, Dono on the sideline in sweats with an earpiece. Big smile as always. One possession later we see offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan talking to Rex Grossman, Dono was right there listening.
Wedge rule: Jets were penalized for having four men on the wedge on the kickoff after the Redskins first field goal, a two year old rule but first time I have seen it enforced.
London Calling: Jets second possession, second quarter, London Fletcher was out in pass coverage, stretched out 20 yards downfield to break up a pass.
Rex's Arm: Redskins third possession, second quarter, Rex tossed the ball from the Redskins ten to the Jets 32, that is 58 yards in the air. Rex can rip it. On the ensuing Jets possession Mark Sanchez ripped an incomplete 55 yards from the Jets 36 to the Redskins seven, these guys can throw it.
Working titles for gamewrap: I Feel Pretty Good About Rex;
My big takeaway from the first half is, Rex can play.
At halftime Joe Theismann was impressed by the Redskins offensive line blocking, Trent Williams appears to have recovered from last week.
During the Redskins first possession of the second half Rick Doc Walker talked to left guard Derrick Dockery, he led the interview by saying that he was quote challenged unquote to do better. Coaching?
Larry Johnson in the second half, still not looking good.
The backups actually put together a good drive, Washington's first in the second half.
On this five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Joe Theismann reminds us that as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Jim Haslett had to play every game of the season on the road.
Jets second possession of second half, Albert Haynesworth pushed the pocket back and slammed Mark Sanchez to the ground with one hand.
Chris Horton lined up at strong safety in the second half, new guy Tyrone Carter was at free safety, saw Chris take a couple of bad angles.
21st century faux pas? During a sideline interview by Rick Doc Walker with defensive end Adam Carriker, Joe Theismann asked from the booth if that was gum or chew, ie chewing tobacco in Adam's mouth. Aside from Joe being orally fixated on a young man tobacco is gauche. It was sunflower seeds Adam was chewing on.
Mark Brunell? Holy shit, I did not know New Orleans let him go and I am surprised Mark is still in the game. He did good things for the Redskins in 2005 and then it all went downhill from there.
Ooh Larry Johnson gets a good carry. In the fourth quarter. Two possessions later he showed that he can run downfield when there is no one around him. Two plays later Larry catches a screen and takes it in for a touchdown, he almost fell on the way in, I am not trying to be down on Larry, at this point Larry Johnson sucks is a meme and he needs to displace that.
Plus ten internets for neighbor Bill pointing out that third string quarterback John Beck wears legendary Redskins kicker Mark Moseley's number three. Link http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/sports/images/redskins/oldies/markm.jpg
Does Jason Taylor have anything left in the tank? He was out there in the fourth quarter and I never saw him spotlighted except when he was heaving on the bench.
The Mastermind: Getting pretty accustomed to head coach Mike Shanahan pacing the sidelines in that long sleeve mock turtleneck, he seems pretty calm and agitated no matter the situation, maybe that is the deal.
Number Five: Quarterback Donovan McNabb did not play with a sprained left ankle, the story was that his ankle was sprained so badly that if this was a regular season game Dono would not have played.
Silver and Back: Rookie left tackle Trent Williams had a much better night than last week against the Ravens and Terrell Suggs, Trent held well against linebackers Calvin Pace and Jason Taylor, Calvin injured his foot in this game and did not play the entire first half and former Redskin Jason Taylor appears to have nothing left in the tank, I guess this means that Trent can play well enough to stay out of the headlines against in an average matchup which I would call good progress for any rookie.
Albert the Butthurt: Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth came in to the game at right defensive end on the fourth play of the Redskins first defensive series and played about thirty snaps, lining up at nose tackle and end, he played well and now he's all smug and shit.
Washington Post recap, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos, video highlights.
Next up, the final tuneup as the Redskins travel to Arizona to play the Kurt Warnerless Cardinals, Washington will travel farther for this game than any other team this season for any preseason or regular season game. Fifth (fifth!) year first round Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Matt Leinart was pulled nine plays into Saturday's game, head coach Ken Whisenhunt denies Matt is out of favor because Matt was not brought to the team by coach Whisenhunt which of course means Matt is out of favor because Matt was not brought to the team by coach Whisenhunt. That and he sucks.
Rex Grossman: Getty Images from here. Matt Leinart and his beer bong from here.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Out of the Box: Time to play the geography game as the Redskins of Maryland leave Virginia to play the Jets of New Jersey at a new stadium with an old name, backups front and center at 7:00 pm on local media.
Quick jump to
The Story So Far: After a disappointing preseason game two loss at home to the Ravens last Saturday, the Redskins were left with a string of injuries and questions about roster depth and execution. On the injury side, Kareem Moore, a training camp star and replacement for LaRon Landry at the free safety spot, fullback Mike Sellers, rookie left tackle Trent Williams and quarterback Donovan McNabb all were hurt to some degree.
On the bright side though the starting defense played well against a Baltimore offense that is expected to be very good this season, is it true what they say that defenses come together faster than offenses?
And that was not even the whole story, after the game defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth dumped on the team like a little whiny ass titty baby, Albert really is one of those people whose problems become your problems. By Monday we had learned that Albert had a condition more complicated than simple dehydration, he had a condition called rhabdomyolysis that brought on by reporting to NFL training camp FUCKING OUT OF SHAPE. By Tuesday everyone was singing from the time to move on hymnal. Many fans feel that way as well while others really would like to see the team stick it to Albert. It is funny how easily these millionaires in burgundy and gold forget that our lives, and by that I do not just mean the lives of pajama wearing parents' basement dwelling loser bloggers like myself, I mean the lives of Redskins fans everywhere, are wrapped up in theirs. I wonder if mishandling the Albert Haynesworth situation is what got Redskins public relations director Zack Bolno fired.
How are things shaping up as you see them? Do you realistically think the team has a chance to be better than 8-8? How about better than 4-12?
Curly R Aside: Is the Washington Post, my hometown newspaper and the journal of record for the Washington Redskins, going to the extreme in trying to find ways to generate more content for less money? First there was the Fan Blog, the big idea that the Post could get a crew of DC regional sports fans to run a separate blog within the network of in house blogs at the Post. These bloggers would have a publishing schedule, their work would be moderated by the Post and they would receive no compensation, in fact the paper was explicit that being associated with the Washington Post name alone should be enough for you.
After I ran my thoughts on it I got an email from a good friend who runs a political blog, he told me the Post approached him recently, as well as a blogger he knows on the other end of the spectrum, and asked both if they would like to join the Post network as an unpaid affiliate. Both have spent years building a brand and doing things their way and they both said no.
End times are here for the profession of professional journalisming, it is cannibalizing itself.
Oppo Research: The Jets look to be a great team this year if they can ever get their center Nick Mangold and their shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis signed. Check out double boomerang Jet receiver Laveranues Coles' bitch slap of Redskins owner Dan Snyder, talk about burning your bridges.
Trainer's Table: As indicated above, there were a number of injuries in last week's game that have hung over until this week with the worst being to Donovan McNabb's ankle, he did not practice at all this week, was declared out of tonight's game on Tuesday with coach Shanahan indicating that the sprain is bad enough that Dono would be out this week if it were the regular season (op. cit.). On Wednesday coach Shanahan basically ruled Dono out for both the final two preseason games as a precaution. Dono does not like this (op. cit.).
In terms of severity, free safety Kareem Moore's injury is the worst, a sprain of the medial collateral ligament, he could be out six weeks from injury, that would put him missing somewhere near a month of the regular season, old friends Chris Horton and Reed Doughty will compete for that spot now that LaRon Landry has moved back to the strong safety spot, a better spot for him. The team also signed former Steeler safety Tyrone Carter, perhaps in recognition that both Reed and Chris are better at the strong safety spot.
Rookie left tackle Trent Williams appears to have healed from the elbow bruise he got in the Ravens game, Trent was seen on the sidelines wearing a sling in the second half of that game.
As insurance against severity of leg injury to fullback Mike Sellers who was rolled up in the pile in the second quarter of that same game, the team signed another former Steeler, this one fullback Cary Davis who blocked for Willie Parker in Super Bowl 43.
Still nothing from receiver Malcolm Kelly, he did not even make the trip. Next stop cutsville for Malcolm.
Gameplan: Preseason game three is traditionally the time when starters play into the third quarter as the quote dress rehearsal unquote for the regular season, funny thing is that the understudies will be front and center for it. With not Donovan McNabb at quarterback and not Clinton Portis at tailback we could be seeing the Redskins starting lineup in midseason form.
Willie Parker gets his crack as ball carrier, I have no idea what to expect, I would also expect that receivers the team wants on the roster will get the most playing time and those that are destined for cuts will be sitting.
My Take in 60 Words or Less: Hold on, no more injuries, if you are safely on the 2010 roster then remember it is fucking preseason. If you are on or outside the bubble, play your ass off, that's burgundy and gold you are wearing.
Broadcast coverage, once again I think the best way to watch this game is on Comcast SportsNet high definition if you are in the Washington DC area.
Enjoy the game, Friday Night Movie Night with the kiddos takes precedence over preseason football, tonight we are watching the 1981 classic Clash of the Titans, I will be watching this game on DVR delay starting around 9:00 pm and probably finish up the evening with a bourbon and some ShedTV.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmet logos from here.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Green on one side
It would be one thing if the Washington Post was running a competition, call it DC's Top Blogger, in which the winner gets a paying gig off the street as a sports writer at one of the nation's top newspapers. It is another thing entirely that one of the most respected media outlets in the country is banking on its name to solicit volunteers that will write stories for free.
When Curly R started in August of 2006 there were already at least 250 NFL blogs, maybe closer to 350 as tracked in the early days by Fair Catch, a rating service for NFL blogs, Fair Catch was replaced by Ball Hype which itself has reached end of life.
Since then the number of NFL related blogs has exploded, I am sure there are thousands now and I am not even sure there is an easy method of quantifying them. The growth has been very exciting, new voices, new perspectives and new outlets most benefit the fan, which is what professional sports is really all about.
The rise of this independent and or alternative media has had a profound effect on the traditional media, newspapers, radio and TV broadcast and cable news, the sports media and the net effect has been deleterious to those established and closed business models, the decline of traditional media is well documented and not at issue here.
If we then view the decline of insular media as a neutral concept, neither good nor bad but simply a fact, and we understand that money and eyeballs fuel media, then as money and eyeballs migrate away from traditional media and into alt media then the invisible hand of the market will eventually push the traditional media to adopt practices to win back or retain those eyeballs, or else suffer a permanent reduction in market.
The invisible hand first happened in 2006 when the Washington Post launched its series of in house blogs, including Redskins Insider and DC Sports Bog, both in the same month Curly R debuted. At the time I thought it was a great idea, as long as the in house bloggers, who were really the beat writers for their sport, were to be given the freedom to practice the arts that have come to characterize what we call quote blogging unquote: timeliness, non neutral viewpoint, broadness of scope, flexible adherence to style conventions.
Well they were and both have become very good and very popular, former WaPo Redskins beat writer Jason La Canfora in particular cultivated a blog culture on Redskins Insider, to a fault at times considering how often he angered Redskins management with his skeptical approach to news coming from the team. Jason Reid and his team continue the success of Redskins Insider, it is hands down the best source for first cut news as it happens, many of the posts that hit are short and not polished but highly informative, later the reader can compare the print versions and see how they were Postified.
Now the Washington Post wants to take what it no doubt regards as the next logical step, the paper has announced it is creating a new in house blog run by fans, this Fan Blog will cover Washington sports from top to bottom and from the sounds of it they want quite a commitment. Interested parties were invited to submit an application via a web form by midnight Sunday and the blog rolls out in September.
Immediate reader reaction was crickets, this Redskins Insider post on the Fan Blog has one comment, about the fact that there are no comments and this Early Lead post introducing the blog and application process has exactly none comments.
Later that evening Sports editor Cindy Boren posted an FAQ on the Early Lead blog, here we learn about whether or not these writing positions are compensated, that
Sadly, the answer is no. We hope that for some people, the large audience a site like washingtonpost.com could provide is enough motivation to post here, but we understand [zero compensation for generating content at Washington Post] may not work for everyone.
Clarification in brackets by me. Later in the comments of this piece (comments do not have permalinks) WaPo writer Jon DeNunzio writes that the paper is working to keep the focus of the blog narrow, establish schedules for topical or team based content and moderate, read: edit, the posts.
So let us recap: The Washington Post, the newspaper with the fifth largest print circulation in the nation this year and the second largest online audience last year by this metric, wants to add what amount to unpaid interns to churn out moderated and scheduled content that will compete directly with the work of paid professionals. Likely the WaPo will sell advertisements onto the Fan Blog webpages and excerpt content into the ad supported print edition where it will also crowd out the work of professional journalists.
This is called cannibalizing your market and it is easy to see why this is unpopular, I will bet you it is as unpopular with the Post writers whose work and therefore value it will dilute as it is unpopular with the readers leaving comments that ask rhetorically why would I write for the Post if I was not going to get paid, get a credential or own the work, and why would I want to read the amateur work of comment whore yahoos promoted to the front page?
This is the apocryphal dividing line of the title to this post, the barrier which cannot be crossed.
I love doing what I do on this blog, I can tell you that if the Washington Post came and asked me to join their staff it would be hard to say no to unless they offered not to pay me then it would be very easy to say no. I already do not get paid for Curly R and for not getting paid I have no schedule or content moderation standards other than that which I put forth. I have no mommy on this blog and no payroll to make.
The Washington Post on the other hand is part of a giant and profitable conglomerate and even if the core newspaper operations are not profitable in themselves the Post employees are not refusing the subsidies from the other units in the form of salaries. Anyone that would take this gig is essentially crossing a picket line and taking work from a professional journalist and generating free work for a company that will profit from it and deny you the rights to ownership.
I do not understand why the Post is doing this, they could ask any one of us bloggers toiling on our own time and own dime to contribute and we would, they could ask to re post our work and we would let them. That will not work for the Post though because the Post would have to credit our work in the agate type, and the Post gets cited, it does not cite.
Instead, competing amateur writers out then not paying them and putting them on a schedule to publish moderated work is going to result in a product that is substandard to the main work of the Post. If readers want to read fan rants or amateur work dressed up like real journalism then they can get it in a million places other than the Post. The Post should stay far away from this.
I also know the Post and other traditional media outlets subscribe to Sphere and other content syndicate networks, Curly R is in several of them and the linkbacks from random media sites appear in the Sitemeter all the time, I do not get any money for that because that is not the model; the business model for an independent outlet like this one is to sell ads directly on my site, the more people that come the more ad impressions are delivered, the Post pays the syndicate and gets the content on its site, the syndicate delivers the eyeballs to me, I am on my own for a business plan.
All this said, anyone with aspirations of real journalism and the time and inclination to donate their services, I wish them luck, I have been there, in 1995 I interviewed for and was offered an intern position with WRC NBC 4's George Michael in sports, the reason I ended up not taking the gig had nothing to do with the fact that it was unpaid.
I will read the new blog and will apply exactly the same rules of engagement to this new blog as I do to any content I encounter on the internets: Quality is king, if the work is good I will patronize it. If it is crap it will be ignored.
Dividing line from here via here.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Cut from stone
Scary how well built is Redskins safety LaRon Landry, subject of Jason Reid's column today in the Washington Post, after taking over the free safety spot in 2007 following the death of teammate Sean Taylor, LaRon went on a slow career spiral culminating last season with double moves fool LaRon becoming an NFL meme.
He is re energized and ready for some hitting closer to the line, he had a great game Saturday, causing a fumble and even successfully faking an injury to stop the clock when he did not want to burn a timeout.
As for the fashion statement, I am ok with the toss, seriously dude what is with the tassels?
LaRon Landry: Jonathan Newton / Washington Post from here.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Also this was bad and Albert Haynesworth is cancer
Takeaway Drill: Tough sledding as the starting offense struggles on first and second down; injuries arrive in preseason; the starting defense looks good, drops off from there; Albert Haynesworth puts it all out there.
Quick jump to
Washington wins the toss and elects to receive to start the first quarter, the Redskins first drive is kept alive by a 13 yard dart from quarterback Donovan McNabb to receiver Santana Moss, tight end Chris Cooley does the same thing on third and fourteen, barely getting over the chains, this drive looks dead before Dono finds receiver Anthony Armstrong deep for 45 yards to the Baltimore seven, tight end Fred Davis drops a pass in the end zone, Dono throws behind Anthony Armstrong, kicker Graham Gano kicks a 25 yard field goal and the Redskins open a 3-0 lead. The Ravens get the ball for the first time, Joe Flacco under center, they open with a reverse then Ray Rice for a first down, after that a penalty and good Washington pass rush and the Ravens are punting. Washington's second drive, Larry Johnson still in the backfield, we also see Clinton Portis on this drive, actually twice and the Redskins punt. Why did Larry come out? Baltimore's second possession features more Ray Rice but goes six and out and the Ravens punt, they down this punt inside the Redskins five yard line. The Redskins get the ball for the third time, on first down Dono dodges a safety sack in the end zone, Larry Johnson bobbles it six times and drops it, Larry is not looking good, Chris Cooley bails the team out on second down, every play on this drive that went to Larry Johnson was a loss, every play that went to Clinton Portis was a gain, do the math as the Redskins punt. The Ravens get the ball for the third time, one first down pass to Ray Rice and that is the end of the quarter with the Redskins leading 3-0.
Baltimore continues its third possession into the second quarter, Joe Flacoo still in the game, a silly penalty then a big Anquan Boldin catch moves the Ravens, Baltimore stalls on the Washington four yard line and Billy Cundiff comes in for a 26 yard field goal, and it is tied 3-3. Washington gets the ball for the fourth time, Dono still in the game for the Redskins, not much for Larry Johnson on first down, after the Mike Sellers injury timeout Santana Moss catches a 23 yarded down the middle, on the next play Ravens defensive back Cary Williams intercepts a short pass on a long throw to Santana Moss, Baltimore ball. The Ravens fourth possession starts on the Redskins 37 after the interception, only two plays as LaRon strips Donte Stallworth and the Redskins recover the fumble. The Redskins fifth possession starts poorly with a hard rush on Donovan then the next pass is right into the hands of LaRon's brother Dawan Landry who cannot hold onto the interception, on third down Anthony Armstrong was wide open but the ball was long, Redskins punt. Baltimore's fifth possession, defensive starters still in the game, they move in chunks before stalling at midfield, this drive featured a good hit on Joe Flacco by London Fletcher, then the Ravens pull bullcrap fake punt and take the ball 47 yards to the Washington one yard line, on the next play Willis McGahee goes in for the touchdown and the game is now 10-3 Ravens. Washington's sixth possession starts with a bum rush through the middle of the line, Donovan is called for intentional grounding, loss of down and a thirteen yard loss, the Redskins get it all back on the next play as Dono finds Santana short near the goal line, Santana scoots 26 yards for a first down, then again to Santana for 17, then Larry nearly fumbles, two incomplete, including a third and long pass into Santana's shoulder pads, the Redskins are punting. The Ravens get the ball for the sixth time, Marc Bulger is in the game at quarterback for Baltimore, starters still in the game for Washington, Marc completes five passes in a row before stalling at the Washington 24 yard line, Billy Cundiff kicks a 42 yard field goal and the game is now 13-3 Ravens. The Redskins seventh possession, Donovan is still in the game, they move forty yards in four plays including a nice catch in traffic by Anthony Armstrong, kicker Graham Gano sets up for 47 yard field goal, it is wide right and the ball goes back to Baltimore. The Ravens seventh possession is a one play kneeldown ending the half with the Ravens leading 13-3.
Baltimore gets the ball to start the third quarter, the Ravens eighth possession, Marc Bulger still in the game for Baltimore, Albert Haynesworth now in the game with Chris Horton and the rest of the second defense, a three and out and the Ravens are punting. The Redskins get the ball for the eighth time, Rex Grossman in the game, a three and out, punt. The Ravens ninth possession starts on Baltimore's six yard line after a holding penalty, a fourteen play, 94 yard drive, consuming eight minutes, a regular season masterpiece of a drive, it ends with tailback Jalen Parmele going in for the score from three yards out and the Ravens are now leading 20-3. Washington gets the ball fro the ninth time, this drives gets off to a good start with a long pass from Rex Grossman to Brandon Banks, we see Willie Parker in the game, the Redskins move well, Keiland Williams gets in the game for a 24 yard catch, on fourth and four from the Baltimore eighteen Ravens linebacker Jason Phillips comes through the middle unblocked, his Rex, fumbles, Ravens ball. Troy Smith is in at quarterback for the Ravens for their tenth possession, two plays to midfield and the quarter ends 20-3 Ravens.
The Ravens continue their tenth possession into the fourth quarter, Chris Wilson comes in for a sack on first down, Troy tries to scramble on second down, the Ravens punt but down the ball at the Washington six. The Redskins start their tenth drive deep in their own territory, Keiland Williams figures early, lots of Baltimore pressure and it is a five and out punt. Baltimore gets the ball for the eleventh time, another good drive and the Redskins seem to be the takers not the givers, it ends with a Shane Graham 24 yard field goal to make the game 23-3 Ravens. Washington gets the ball for the eleventh time, the highlight of this drive appears to be a good catch and run by tight end Fred Davis, I admit I am having a hard time staying focused amidst mediocrity and my neighbors, this drive ends on the Baltimore ten yard line, Rex Grossman is chased out of the pocket to the right and throws an interception to former Cowboy Ken Hamlin, Ravens ball. The Ravens twelfth possession blah blah punt. Redskins twelfth possession yada yada Rex Grossman fumbles it away. Baltimore has a one play thirteenth drive, a Troy Smith kneeldown and the game is over, Ravens win 23-3 to drop the Redskins to 1-1 in the preseason.
Soapbox: If you look at this game, preseason or not, as a game the Redskins tried to win then this was a pretty bad night. The Redskins scored three points in the whole game, all in the first quarter and the Ravens went on a 23-0 run to close out the game. There were injuries after a training camp and first preseason game free of them. The showcase tailback was terrible and last though certainly not least was the Albert the Butthurt melting down after the game, just putting it all out there for all to see. Let us walk these results in the context of the preseason and break each one down:
The starting offense: Only able to perform on third down, on the first three third downs in the game quarterback Donovan McNabb connected on long passes to three different receivers. While this is heartening, that ability for Dono to hook up downfield and with a variety of pass catchers, the lack of productivity on first and second down was alarming. Donovan's interception in the second quarter was poorly thrown.
The showcase tailback: Head coach Mike Shanahan has indicated that each of his three stooges at tailback will get a night to show off, Clinton Portis was last week, Larry Johnson was this week and Willie Parker will be next week. Well Larry was terrible, so bad that I now fear for his roster spot. Statistics aside as we were watching the game it was just obvious that Larry had no pop through the hole, was not able to block well and dropped his only reception opportunity. As a runner he seemed to fall at first contact and not punch through the hole. When we saw Clinton Portis come in in the first quarter, something Larry did not do in Clinton's game, then saw Willie Parker come in in the third quarter we knew Larry was not only having a bad night but that he was being materially downgraded by the coaches.
Clinton Portis so far is your starting tailback in Washington, every play he was in there he seemed to hit the hole or make his block.
The starting defense: Played very well in the first half, forced to Ravens punts in the first quarter and a field goal to start the second. Later in the first half DeAngelo Hall would engage receiver Donte Stallworth long enough for LaRon Landry to deliver a jarring hit that knocked the ball loose, the Redskins swarming defense got the ball, was given right back by the offense on an interception on the ensuing drive. As for the touchdown, the bulk of those Baltimore yards came on the fake punt, the defensive unit took the field with the Ravens at the six yard line.
Injuries: Starting free safety Kareem Moore and starting fullback Mike Sellers both went out of the game with leg injuries in the second quarter, these were the most serious injuries, Kareem injured his right medial collateral ligament and could be out four to six weeks. Less was known about Mike's injury though the team signed former Steelers fullback Cary Davis to the roster, the Redskins other main fullback is Darrel Young, a converted linebacker, and rookie Dennis Morris has also played fullback though the team prefers Dennis at tight end. Rookie left tackle Trent Williams and quarterback Donovan McNabb both left the field fine with their units and appeared later in injury garb, Trent with a sling on a bruised elbow and Donovan with ice on his ankle.
After an injury free training camp and preseason so far these injuries were a bit jarring and I can only hope they do not extend too far into the regular season; while I think the Redskins could easily do better at fullback the free safety, left tackle and quarterback are all critical positions of little depth. Cue Eagles fans hysterically screaming I told you so.
Albert the Butthurt: The game ended, I finished my Walkthrough and Omnibus notes, which are the only notes I take on a game in real time, and clamshelled my laptop, poured a drink and prepared to take in the post game as a fan with my neighbors, I suppose my surprise was as big as anyone watching defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth's puerile tantrum in the locker room following the game, accusing the Redskins of downplaying the medical condition that caused Albert to miss the final three days of practice in camp, all for the supposed purpose of humiliating him for missing the ENTIRE offseason program, in this tirade we also learned that Albert is already promising not to be here next year for the offseason program and that playing in either both the second string defense and or third quarter of a preseason game are below a veteran of his stature.
For those of us that thought all the drama was behind the team for the season this was a bit of a shock to hear that Albert still feels to put upon. It is clear that he really really really still thinks that head coach Mike Shanahan is singling him out for specific humiliation. That we will learn more about the medical condition that caused Albert to miss the final three days of camp practice is now inevitable, I look forward to Albert playing it all up for as much as he can, if anyone thought Albert and coach Shanahan could get along we now know that will not happen ever.
And what is this about the Redskins marching band playing Hail to the Redskins after the Ravens scored their first touchdown?
Chattering Class: Mike Wise at the Washington Post oddly had two columns posted today, the first was about positive progress in the face of a tough game, Dono can go deep, LaRon Landry is obviously happy back near the line of scrimmage, and Trent Williams had such a bad night against Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs that the matchup with DeMarcus Ware on opening night is all that much bigger of a deal. In this column Mike also mentions that former Redskins head coach Jim Zorn and owner Dan Snyder never managed to have their reunion, and that may be because someone wanted it that way.
The second Mike Wise column was a rhetorical piece asking whether head coach Mike Shanahan wants to win over Albert the Butthurt or win games. The essence of this piece is coach Shanahan needs to sue for peace and put Albert where he will be on opening day, that he should be playing with the first teamers since we all know that is where he will be. I disagree with this premise, I think Albert is playing in the third quarter with the second string because according to the team's practice time, practice performance and conditioning guidelines, Albert is only qualified to play that spot. And he may and maybe should open the season there.
Omnibus: Uniform watch: The preferred home combination of white jersey and burgundy pants, two for two so far.
Broadcasters: Mike Patrick and Joe Theismann, this will be a much better broadcast than last week's with Kenny Albert. Rick Doc Walker is the sideline reporter, love him, occasionally get a little tired of him, he has been working the market since sports radio was stood up around 1996.
Looks like I may done goofed again, I came to neighbor Bill's house and he had already started recording the game on NBC 4, the high def channel is once again broadcasting standard def. Should have taken reader LS's advice to set record to CSN.
Good pregame bumper with London Fletcher, he could be reciting the phone book or reading a Applebee's menu and he would sound like a leader.
As expected, Larry Johnson comes out at ball carrier, we will likely see him for most of the first half.
In the first drive we saw Clinton Portis in on third down, the first time as a blocker and the second as a receiver.
Three third downs in a row on the first drive and Dono comes through, to Santana, to Chris Cooley and to Anthony Armstrong.
WHIFF! Brian Orakpo totally missed Ray Rice on BAL's first possession, Ray dropped the pitch and Brian had him dead to rights and just missed, LaRon Landry cleared Ray out at the sideline though.
First BAL possession, the Washington pass rush looks pretty good, two plays in a row Joe Flacco was hurrying up.
Say what? I thought Larry Johnson was supposed to be the feature back tonight, Clinton Portis replaced Larry on second down of the Redskins second possession, first quarter.
Going ugly early: In the Redskins third possession, first quarter, Donovan McNabb was almost sacked in the end zone, Larry Johnson bobbled is six times SIX TIMES, then two plays later runs and falls at the line, so far the Larry-O-Meter is sucking. Clinton came in for one play, a first down, then on the next play Larry bumbles into the line and loses three yards on third and one.
Preseason for the refs as well, the delay of game call on London Fletcher in the Ravens third possession, second quarter, was totally bogus, he boomped it at the line by accident, the Ravens were not even in the down set yet.
Ouchie? LaRon Landry was fine fine fine in the Ravens third possession, second quarter, then fell down clutching his right leg. Turned out to be a cramp, Joe Theismann made what neighbor Scott thinks is an unintentional pun: "He even scared the cramp out of his leg!"
Whoa I had forgotten the Ravens traded for Anquan Boldin, that is their big receiver they tried to get as far back as 2004 with the failed Terrell Owens trade.
Boo-boo: In the Redskins fourth drive, second quarter, Mike Sellers went down, was rolled up his back in the pile, it looked really painful, Darrel Young replaced him. Later in the quarter the report was simply left leg injury.
Heads up defense: The Ravens fourth possession, second quarter was ended on a great defensive sequence, Joe Flacco tossed a ten yard buttonhook to Donte Stallworth who turned upfield, DeAngelo Hall engaged Donte, holding him up, LaRon came in and just creamed Donte from the left, the ball came out near the sideline and bounced off LaRon's leg to stay in bounds, three Redskins led by nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu jumped for the ball and missed, London Fletcher fell on it just as free safety Kareem Moore came in a whacked the shit out of London, who held the ball, good defensive play boys.
Kareemed: In the Ravens fifth possession, second quarter, in the bullcrap fake punt Kareem Moore got hurt, he was on the ground for a minute or two, London came over and told Kareem to buck the fuck up and Kareem got off the field on his own power. After the Ravens touchdown we saw him on the sideline, motionless on a trainer's table.
Special team proooobbbblems: The Ravens fake punt then confusion on the ensuing touchdown extra point, special teams coach Danny Smith will be all over them tomorrow.
Larry Johnson's struggles continue, in Washington's sixth possession, second quarter, Larry gets the ball at midfield for a two yard falling forward gain and almost fumbles, it was ruled down, Larry is not impressing in his audition.
Working titles for gamewrap: Redskins Have a Weak Johnson
The Redskins defense, still starters, looked pretty limp at the end of the first half as Marc Bulger carved them up on the way to a field goal.
Brandon Banks! Got a chance to shine on the punt return following the Ravens eighth possession, a holding penalty nullified a 27 yard return, the penalty was on Ryan Torain.
Is anybody here to play? The second string defense came in to start the second half and promptly gave up a 94 yard drive. Reed Doughty, Chris Horton, Albert Haynesworth, Adam Carriker, Lorenzo Alexander,
New rule: In the Ravens ninth possession, third quarter, Ravens tailback Jalen Parmele's helmet came off and the play was immediately blown dead, Joe Theismann and Mike Patrick alerted us to this new rule ending the play to protect the player. I think this is a good rule.
Not with the Papa Johns: Mike and Joe in the booth WHORING AGAIN with an empty pizza box. At least give us a used box so it looked like someone enjoyed the frigging pie.
Rotation be damned: Larry Johnson was inconsistent to be generous in his debut and was spelled by Clinton Portis, now in the second half we see Willie Parker in the game, I would have thought coach Shanahan was saving Willie for next game, this is not good for Larry.
Descent into madness: In the second half as the teams progressed through second and third strings, the Redskins seemed to lose all ability to be effective, the fourth quarter alone was two turnovers and a five and out.
Bad sign: Rookie left tackle Trent Williams on the sideline in the fourth quarter with pads off and right arm in a sling, they were calling it an elbow contusion. We will be keeping an eye on this.
Starting to get ragged here, that forward progress call in the fourth quarter was bullshit, it should have been a fumble, the player was still fighting for yardage.
All in all not a terrific not a great night out for the defense and some injuries to boot. Cannot wait to hear the excuses for this one.
The Mastermind: With the team not performing all that well there were plenty of shots of head coach Mike Shanahan pacing the sidelines in a formfitting athletic mock turtleneck that appeared to have a strange cut pattern on the back, like there was extra room for a second spine or a mind control device.
Number Five: Quarterback Donovan McNabb was less than fifty percent and tossed an interception, he had a tough night with the big exception being third down, Dono was three for three for 73 yards and three first downs on his first three third downs, but was oh for four on the next three third downs. He seemed to leave the game fine at the end of the first half, came back to the sideline in the second half with his left ankle wrapped in ice.
Silver and Back: Rookie left tackle Trent Williams had a tough night, Trent was pretty well abused by Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, no stranger to harassing Redskins, in 2008 Terrell put out two Redskins offensive linemen out for the season, left tackle Chris Samuels and backup left tackle Justin Geisinger. As a preseason learning experience it should have been good, as a practical experience it sucked because Trent bruised his right elbow at some point and was on the sideline in a sling.
Washington Post recap, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos, video highlights.
Next up, Washington heads out to New Jersey for preseason game three against the New York Jets, a team with Super Bowl aspirations and who may be getting two time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis back this week from a twenty four day hold out. Check out the bitch slap former Redskins and double boomerang Jets receiver Laveranues Coles has for Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
Donovan McNabb enduring a sack by Terrell Suggs, perhaps the one that hurt Dono's ankle: AP photo from here. Two time former and current Jets receiver Laveranues Coles: AP photo from here.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Out of the Box: Does it seem like the Redskins play the Ravens every year? That is because they, the team up the road a bit is coming down to Redskins Stadium for the second preseason game for both teams, get out the bourbon and take a seat, 7:00 pm on local media.
Quick jump to
The Story So Far: The Ravens and Redskins is a designated regional rivalry by the NFL and as such the Redskins will play the Ravens ever year; on the years Washington does not play Baltimore in the regular, you can bet there will be a preseason game. This was the case in the 2009 preseason opener when Ladell Betts took the field in a jersey that read BETTIS on the back, the game was a 23-0 shutout by the Ravens in Baltimore.
In 2008 it was a regular season match, the Ravens were part of the second half swoon, after losing 24-10 in Baltimore the Redskins were 7-6 and eliminated from the playoffs in all ways but mathematically. Terrell Suggs put left tackle both left tackle Chris Samuels and backup left tackle Justin Geisinger out for the season in the span of just a couple of plays.
In 2007 it was the preseason finale, at home for the Redskins a game was cut famously cut short by an incredibly violent storm, fans were ushered out of their seats twice, one of those times being told to seek shelter in cars in the parking lot which I guess is not as big a deal as if you are stuck in the storm of the season and took Metro. The main takeaway from this game was LaRon Landry looked like a grownup and Marcus Mason was the best Redskins ball carrier in preseason.
The 2006 game was, as you might expect, also the preseason finale, a 17-10 loss in which the Redskins took it easy, completing a winless preseason, this gamewrap finishes with an ominous excerpt from a Michael Wilbon piece about how the veteran core of this team and veteran coaches of that Redskins team were poised for a solid playoff run. I expressed some doubt at the time, even I could have had no idea how disastrous 2006 would be.
Meanwhile back in 2010, since a surprisingly easy win over a pretty hapless Bills team in the preseason opener, defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth decided he was down with this defense after all which is not as good as an apology or returning the check, it is something. Albert missed the final three practices of camp and thirteen of eighteen overall, because he felt sick or had dehydration or a headache something, bullshit detector going off (op. cit.).
The main story though seemed to be the receivers, it is quite a motley group of eleven, I have my ideas how this will shake out and a number of tastemakers got together at DC Pro Sports Report for a roundtable on it and even they were not in consensus. Suffice to say the Redskins do not have one solid gamechanger at the receiver position, a weakness the team will need to hide in the regular season with solid possession passing, good tight end play and a straight ahead running game.
Cornerback Carlos Rogers is supposedly having a good preseason, he may be another beneficiary of a fresh start with new head coach Mike Shanahan, Carlos is one of two Redskins players, linebacker Rocky McIntosh is the other along with former Redskin quarterback Jason Campbell, that would have been a free agent in the old collective bargaining agreement system, I read with humor that Carlos' resentment toward the team has been growing every year since his 2005 drafting, if that is in fact the case then his attitude toward the team exactly matches fan attitude toward Carlos. Do not expect Carlos suddenly to become an order of magnitude better in his sixth season.
We learned a little more of the journey of backup quarterback Rex Grossman, he played last season in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's system in Houston and looked pretty good in last week's game. He has had a couple of really serious football injuries and that Super Bowl 41 loss to Peyton Manning and the Colts must seem like a long time ago to Rex.
Monday former Eagles tailback Brian Westbrook signed with the 49ers, ending speculation that he might sign in Washington
Training camp officially broke Thursday after the morning practice (ibid.), the players are no longer required to stay in the team residence or suffer two a days, they will now assume a normal season practice schedule.
Friday linebacker London Fletcher was named Redskins Defensive Player of the Year for the third straight season, the guy is football immortal.
In its Training Camp Tracker series the Washington Post spotlighted 34 year old long snapper James Dearth, in camp to compete with 22 year old Nick Sundberg, both of whom are vying to replace 39 year old Ethan Albright who was mysteriously not re signed; fullback Darrel Young, a converted linebacker who likely will back up fullback Mike Sellers; tight end slash fullback Dennis Morris, a decorated college tight end who is apparently having a tough camp trying to make it as third tight end; and punter Josh Bidwell who missed all of last season with a hip injury, for the fifth year in a row I say I say, maybe we have a good solution at punter.
Curly R Aside: Longtime readers will remember that I was a regular contributor to Sports Blog Nation Redskins entry Hogs Haven back in the day from 2006 to 2009, Hogs Haven and Curly R both started within a week of each other in August of 2006 and former Hogs Haven anchorblogger Will Allensworth became a good blogfriend. Well SBN reorganized about a year and a half ago, Will moved on to law school and Hogs Haven was passed to Kevin Ewoldt and Ken Meringolo, the former editors of Ahern Inquirer.
They went and got big, SBN is funded and they have become a legitimate news outlet, complete with exclusive interviews with Redskins owner Dan Snyder. They have gone off and done things Curly R cannot and maybe should not do.
Now Ken and Kevin have gone off the deep end, they have invited your author to pen a weekly Tuesday column, the first one will debut next week. The regular feature will be called The Folsom Point and it will be about, get this, they promised to let me write BOUT WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT TO.
Hope to see you there Tuesday.
Oppo Research: The only story you need to know for this week's preseason game is The Return of the Z-Man, Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn returns to Washington for the first time since being fired in January, as I wrote on Thursday, the Jim Zorn years will not be remembered in any way as a good period for the Redskins as a team, a business and a franchise.
I must say though, Mike Wise makes reference to people, likely inside the Redskins organization, thinking that coach Zorn got too big for his britches in the first year of 2008, a fast 6-2 start, bike rides with the president and the endorsements, media and money that come with being the head coach of the Washington Redskins.
This is of course complete bullshit, Jim Zorn held up his end, team management failed to build a team, a culture or a business around Jim Zorn. Too complicated an offense for quarterback Jason Campbell? Are you kidding me? How about undrafted free agents and morbidly obese men off the street on the offensive line. Too big for his britches? How about Machiavelli in a cheap vest Vinny Cerrato so desperate to protect himself that he wound up throwing the entire team and all the fans under the bus.
I never said Jim Zorn was a genius or the next Vince Lombardi, what I wrote Wednesday and what was consistent in my coverage of the Jim Zorn Years was this: Do not trust the guy, do not give the guy the tools and when he fails you think he takes the fall, we all know what happened there, amateurs in the front office. Look no further than the massive degrees of change in the Redskins this year to validate this position.
Trainer's Table: Right tackle Jammal Brown seems better from his hip injury and should play tonight, receiver Malcolm Kelly though struggled all week with his injured hamstring and has only a slim chance to play tonight. I still think Malcolm is out of here.
Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth missed the final three days of practice, Tuesday not feeling well, Wednesday dehydration and Thursday heat exhaustion, with coach Shanahan giving a different reason each day, he is still scheduled to play tonight, will continue to line up with the second team.
Receiver Mike Furrey was placed on injured reserve and is gone for the season, Mike suffered a concussion on 2 August, just three days into camp, and has not recovered well enough to play, he was a long shot to make the roster and I cannot figure why the Redskins would not have given him an injury settlement and sent him on his way.
Gameplan: The starters are going to play a little longer in this game, maybe thirty snaps as opposed to the fifteen to eighteen in the last game, this is a standard progression for the second preseason game, and with the starters in the backfield we will see tailback Larry Johnson, last week was Clinton Portis turn and next week will be Willie Parker's turn, coach Shanahan wants to evaluate them each with as little prejudice toward the other as possible. Did you know Larry Johnson was more of less of a complete asshole in Kansas City? At least he fits right in with the social media morons on the Redskins.
My Take in 60 Words or Less: I liked the first taste, what else you got?
Washington Post preview. Broadcast coverage, a note to Redskins fans in the Washington DC area, I got burned by NBC in Washington, both standard definition channel 4 and high definition channel 504, on FIOS that is. Couple of tips came in from readers, go to Comcast SportsNet's high def feed, that one was on time and looked good last week.
Enjoy the game, once again I will be enjoying it with neighbors on Swarthmore Drive, ShedTV is how we (t)roll.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmet logos from here.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Donovan's Contract Extension Is Not a Story But Donovan's Contract Extension Is Not a Story Is a Story
How many times will he do this?
As far back as 2008 there have been stories linking Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb to his former position coach and offensive coordinator Brad Childress in Minnesota, after the Vikings NFC Championship loss in January 2010 whereafter Brett Favre said he needed to step away from football and contemplate his future, Dono was linked again to Minnesota in trade rumors.
Now since the moment Brett Favre announced on 3 August to a Minnesota journalist that he was leaking a story that Brett Favre was set to retire and not play his 20th NFL season in 2010, a story that turned out to be all kinds of bullshit needed to fill Brett's giant ego- ah fuck it, Mike Florio, take it away:
We've been insisting that, before Favre returns, he needs to persuade everyone that he won't return. Just like he did last year.Since that moment there has been an interesting undercurrent of speculation about Donovan McNabb and the Minnesota Vikings. The story goes like this:
Donovan has always wanted to play for Brad Childress; this of course is not just a player preference, like Brett Favre Dono would be attracted to the Vikings because they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender, behind Minnesota's line Brett had his best year ever and the Vikings were one game from the Super Bowl.
With no Brett in 2010 the Vikings would go back to mediocre behind Tarvaris Jackson and come 2011, if there is football at all, the clamor to get a solid quarterback into the Metrodome before the core of this Vikings team falls apart would become a shriek.
Meanwhile back in 2010 with Brett out of the way in Minnesota in 2011, Dono would hem and haw and fail to sign a longish term deal with the Redskins and that despite his protestations to the contrary, Dono would be one and done in Washington then off to Minnesota, a team that has become to addicted to old quarterbacks like me to Dame Judi Dench. Read about it here and in comments here by none other than our own lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery.
That Brett decided to come play football in 2010 does not necessarily foreclose these possibilities, unless Brett comes really close to a Super Bowl once again and is injury free I think he will actually retire after a round twenty years.
So if Dono does not sign a contract with the Redskins, it does not need to be because Brett is or is not with the Vikings; playing on a one year deal Dono could sign with whomever he wants, he could even sign for a year with the Jets then go join the Vikings in 2012 as a 35 year old :0
None of this isreally the point though, the question I have is, why has Donovan McNabb not signed a contract extension? The Redskins are a team that has traditionally been free with cash and had no problem convincing players contract terms were generous. From the standard form six year thirty million dollar contract that Chris Cooley and Brandon Lloyd and Adam Archuleta and London Fletcher all signed to the whopper hundred million dollar matzoh that Albert Hayneswoth signed, the Redskins are adept and comfortable playing at the top of the market.
There must be something going on, some reason Dono and the team are not moving on a deal. It is either Donovan that wants to wait and see or the team does. Given what I know about the team and how they like to pay players as if they are going to retire in Washington, it seems logical to me that the team would be ready to talk and this is all on Team Donovan for not making it happen.
BUT, what if this is new real actual general manager Bruce Allen insisting on not putting the cart in front of the horse? Perhaps testing Dono and his agents, letting Dono know he cannot walk all over the team the way Brett has in Minnesota. Maybe they are not close in negotiations. Maybe no one put an tasker in Bruce's calendar.
You will recall I have written before that Bruce Allen and head coach Mike are playing with house money this year, that there is nothing they can do to screw it up worse than it was when they got here and I think that also includes losing Donovan McNabb. If he is gone and we hear later that there was just no way to work out a deal that worked for the team economically I will cheer it on principle alone.
Another angle is the timing, Dono restructured his contract in Philadelphia in June of 2009, he arrived in Washington on that contract with one year, this season, remaining on it.
Somewhere, early after Dono's arrival in Washington, I read that the reason the team could not tear up Dono's contract and give him a new one was due to a league rule prohibiting two contract actions in the same year, that would have meant that Dono was ineligible for a new contract until June of this year, and so for all of April, May and at least part of June there was nothing that could happen by rule. For the third time I ask, if anyone out there has the rule or a citation please drop it in comments or send me an email.
The timing would matter if Dono was waiting around for Brett to decide whether he wanted to play again, then decide whether to sign an extension with Washington based on his early projections of options for 2011.
Donovan left a hero in Philadelphia, even if Eagles head coach Andy Reid is doing his best to sully the legacy, the fans there seem to realize it was the team that did Dono wrong and not vice versa. If Dono talks this big about wanting to retire a Redskin and then bolts to another team in the face of a fair offer from Washington there is are going to be a lot of Redskins fans pissed off at Donovan McNabb.
I bought your jersey Donovan, do not make me need another next year.
Donovan McNabb: Jonathan Newton / Washington Post from here.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
We'll always have Z-Shades
The way things went down at the ragged end of 2009 you just knew the whole idea in owner Dan Snyder's mind was to wipe it away as fast as possible and move on and he did, in a big way. The problem for Dan Snyder though is that, like a bad breakup ex girlfriend in the same social circle, Jim Zorn popped right back up down the road in Baltimore, as a result Redskins fans, love or hate Jim Zorn, are not going to get the chance to move on any time soon.
First get into the Wayback machine for a one graf review of 2009:
A crappy team and managerial infighting bred fan unrest and the Burgundy Revolution, the team was actually removing fans and threatening cancellation of season tickets for articles of clothing and paper signs. Then with three games to go, all three turned out to be losses, shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato quote resigned unquote and in less than two hours was replaced by Bruce Allen, son of Redskins legend George Allen, as real actual general manager. Head coach Jim Zorn was marched all night from San Diego then dispatched at dawn, we had butterfiles for 24 hours as Mike Shanahan was spotted in town then BAM it was over, time to close the door on the Jim Zorn Era.
And that era is going to be remembered as the true bottom of the barrel, amateur hour in Ashburn, a two year slow burn of incompetence that left the team, its players, its fanbase and its history in blasted wreckage.
It all started in the muddled coaching search after Joe Gibbs left in January 2008, the team spent 32 days into February looking for a coach and making the team a league laughingstock, into this moment shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato was promoted to Executive Vice President of Football Operations.
Jim Zorn was hired as offensive coordinator largely on perennial candidate Jim Fassel's recommendation, though at the time I thought it looked more like the rubber stamp of a guy that would have done anything to get a head coaching job. After chasing off all the other respectable candidates and taking Steve Spagnuolo's advice not to consider lack of coordinator experience as a black mark on Jim Zorn's resume, Redskins management interviewed Zorn for the job and by all accounts Vinny Cerrato, who would be system-connected to Jim Zorn from Bill Walsh through Mike Holmgren, became a big Jim Zorn fan and the deal was done.
Well we all know how that worked out, 6-2 then 2-6 in 2008, by the start of the 2009 season Jim Zorn and Vinny Cerrato were not speaking, that whole second Jim Zorn year was a series of Inception-like bad dreams within bad dreams, while the season collapsed in extreme slow motion on the next level down the fans and the team were at war, and on the next level below that Dan Snyder was interviewing for every position on the team, including that of Vinny Cerrato, Dan's confidant and bulletproof guy for a decade.
Now it is all in the rear view and Redskins fans have reason to hope, even if just for hope's sake. So what are the big takeways of the Jim Zorn era? Many of them are obvious and do not require advanced degrees to discern: A players hire A players, B players hire C players; Management, coaching and players need to air differences indoors; As a rule do not interview an assistant for his boss's job; Leave the fans alone, they are the conscience of the team; Building and maintaining a roster really is hard; If you do not believe in a guy, let him go that moment, do not string anyone along.
I think I could go on and if you have a good one liner takeaway from the Jim Zorn debacle, drop it in comments.
In the aftermath, a year and a half after he was hired and seven months after he was fired I have a view on the whole thing: It could have worked.
It was not really Jim Zorn that was the problem, yes he was inexperienced and yes he was unable to motivate a veteran team with a lot of big contracts and not enough hungry youth.
The problem lay in the management atmosphere. A guy like Jim Zorn can succeed if he has defined boundaries and a strong support infrastructure, make a play yard for the guy and let him be him, make good roster and contract decisions, back up the guy in public and give him time to get it together.
Andy Reid and Jon Gruden, they had some success moving from analogous positions to head coach and they had the infrastructure to make it work. In the new generation of wunderkinds, every Josh McDaniels and Raheem Morris is not going to light it up out of the gate, I will bet the ones that do have the support of a real football organization around them. For two years the Redskins did not when they really needed it and it sank everyone.
Nota bene, Jim Zorn and Dan Snyder have not talked since coach Zorn was fired and he is not certain if they will talk Saturday. Remember kids, every year the Redskins do not play the Ravens in the regular season, they play in the preseason so we will be treated to this awkward fest annually for as long and Jim Zorn is in Baltimore which I hope is a long time.
Jason Campbell and Jim Zorn: Gregg Trott / Getty Images from here.