Sunday, May 31, 2009

Redskins Origins

When you look at the origins of the Washington Redskins, I find it interesting how the Redskins became the Redskins. They weren't always the Redskins, matter of fact they weren't always based in Washington (or Virginia or Maryland for that matter). Usually teams are named based on their locales and events (or careers) that influenced that city and their history. So the Ravens for example make sense in Baltimore for Edgar Allen Poe. The Steelers, Packers and 49ers were named after professions. Some teams just like animals and named the team after fierce creatures. But where did the Redskins name and logo come from? You might be surprised.

With the annual topic of "Is the Washington Redskins name and logo offensive?" brought back up recently (go look it up) I thought I would delve into the origins of where the Redskins name came from and also who came up with the modern/current logo. No debate here (again, there are plenty of websites to do that) on the topic, just an origin of where everything came from and why.

*(The following historical info. I found from The Redskins Encyclopedia on pages 2 and 3 by author Michael Richman. I highly suggest you pick up a copy, it is a wonderful source for Redskins history and stats.)

*Originally, the Washington Redskins were the Boston Braves. The Braves' name for the franchise was created because they played at Braves Field, home of the baseball team the Boston Braves (now the Atlanta Braves). Original, huh? But, Redskins historian Michael Richman notes that many football teams at the time took the local baseball team's name (I believe there were Yankee, Dodger and Pirate teams at one time) so fans could root for one team. I guess it's good that the Skins didn't originate in DC or they'd be the Senators or the Nationals........

*In 1932 , owner George Preston Marshall moved his team to Fenway Park (home of the Boston Red Sox). Marshall wanted to keep the Native American/Indian theme but also have fans identify with the baseball team, so he changed the team's name. Thus, the Boston Redskins and eventually the Washington Redskins (when they moved to DC) were born.

This brings me to the Redskins current logo. In the late 60's the Skins current helmet was the yellow "R" helmet (see below, it was also used as the 2007 throwback helmet).

I believe this helmet was designed by the legendary coach Vince Lombardi.

The Redskins were approached by Walter Wetzel (a Native American who was the president of the National Congress of American Indians and chairman of the Blackfeet Nation). Wetzel suggested that the team use a Indian chieftain to replace the "R" and emphasize the Redskins Native American/Indian ties.
"Back then, (in the 1960s) there was only the letter "R" on the helmet, so I requested a few pictures to be sent down from my reservation of Indian chiefs," Wetzel explained.
Wetzel said he walked into the office of the Washington Redskins and said, "I came here to see you guys about seeing a real Indian on the helmets."

-from "Tribal Leader Rubbed Elbows With Elite"
By: Shawn White Wolf
helenair.com (website/article link)

Eventually, a final design was made and the Redskins incorporated the new logo to a burgundy helmet with yellow(gold) and white stripes in 1972. It has remained the main helmet of the team ever since (with some slight modifications over the years). You would recognize it as this helmet with this logo:


The Redskins organization have made it clear that they have no current plans to change the name or logo, Wetzel's reply to this:
"I felt good about that, and they are proud to wear it".

(Special Thanks goes to TK of ExtremeSkins, without his post back in 2004 I would have not known about Walter Wetzel in the first place and his place in Redskins and US history).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This Weekend on IIWII

I have a post that I'm working on about the origins of the Redskins name and logo.....but I'm still trying to make it a non-opinionated piece vs. getting into a "Is the name offensive?" debate (there are plenty of places to discuss that).

But if you don't know who is Walter Wetzel or how the Boston Red Sox played a role in Redskins history, you should read this.

Maybe some other Redskins news and notes...even though there's really not that much going on (OTAs do start next week however).

There are a few movies I would like to see this weekend including Pixar's Up and Terminator Salvation, so maybe I'll get a review posted.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday Night Videos (Belated edition) Heavy Metal Legos

It's Memorial Day weekend so here's a late edition of Friday Night Videos......

It's Metallica, Slipknot and S.O.A.D in Lego goodness....

Enjoy! (found via YesButNoButYes)

Whiplash


Enter Sandman


Chop Suey!


Slipknot


and a Bonus Master of Puppets (or is that Muppets?)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm Writing Again.....

No, not just this blog.
I've always enjoyed writing and telling stories. Matter of fact, when I was a teenager I actually wrote and tried to self publish my own comics.

I did about three issues of a comic/magazine called The Destroyer. Issues #1 and #2 never got any further than being made and tucked away in a shoe box. Issue #3 was actually mass produced (ie. I went to a copy shop and had them make about 10 copies using a photocopier) and sold to a few of my friends who were either nice enough to buy one or actually were surprised I got it done.

The highlight of issue three was a story about a bratty kid, a giant evil Easter Bunny and a really big Bazooka.........yikes!

As I got older, I came to the following conclusions:
1. I'm a lousy artist.
2. It's hard to get into the comics industry and doesn't pay that well unless you're really good.
3. I felt there were other avenues that I needed to go to find and have a good paying career.

So here I am today.
My friend is currently finishing up a book (his first) and once he's done that, he has suggested that we collaborate on one. So now, I'm trying to get back into the writing flow myself.
I have a very (I mean very, very) short story that I'm writing and hopefully it can lead to bigger and brighter projects.
When it gets closer to being finished maybe I'll share some of it here (It's actually a bit morbid).

I know, not a Redskins topic or anything else......just thought I'd share with the 1-2 people out there.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Let's Look at the Schedule..........

About a week or so before the draft, the NFL came out with the schedule. Of course, Comcast royally pissed me off that day because......I had thought they had taken off NFL Network a week or so early (my two NFLN channels on my digital package weren't there anymore)- at the time NFLN was scheduled to leave Comcast on May 1st (Update: Long Term Contract has been signed, NFLN isn't going anywhere, yay!). So I missed the schedule preview show as my DVR had no channel to record said program. In the end I found out that NFLN had been moved, so at least I still had a channel that I was paying extra to receive (also, my draft entitled F*** You Comcast never was published on IIWII), but I missed the two hours of overhype for talks of games that might mean little when the team actually plays said games.

Anyway.....the Skins schedule came out and frankly I didn't say that much about it for the following reasons:
1. Strength of schedule really means little in the modern NFL.
2. Too geared up for the draft to focus on a schedule for the 2009 season that was many months away.
3. I knew there would be a helluva lull from the 1st OTAs/Mini- Camp to the next bunch of OTAs (which barring injury, OTAs really mean little to the fans IMO) to training camp. So now is a perfect time to look at the schedule when nothing else is happening.

Here's the Schedule from Redskins.com:

2009 PRESEASON
DATE OPPONENT TIME NETWORK SCORE
8/13 Ravens@ Ravens 7:30 p.m. ET Comcast SportsNet / NBC-4
8/22 <span class=VS Steelers

7:30 p.m. ET Comcast SportsNet / NBC-4
8/28 PatriotsVS Patriots 8 p.m. ET CBS
9/3 Jaguars@ Jaguars 7:30 p.m. ET Comcast SportsNet / NBC-4
2009 REGULAR SEASON
DATE OPPONENT TIME NETWORK SCORE
9/13 Giants@ Giants 4:15 p.m. ET FOX
9/20 RamsVS Rams 1:00 p.m. ET FOX
9/27 Lions@ Lions 1:00 p.m. ET FOX
10/4 BuccaneersVS Buccaneers 1:00 p.m. ET FOX
10/11 Panthers@ Panthers 1:00 p.m. ET FOX
10/18 ChiefsVS Chiefs 1:00 p.m. ET CBS
10/26 EaglesVS Eagles 8:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
11/08 Falcons@ Falcons 1:00 p.m. ET FOX
11/15 BroncosVS Broncos 1:00 p.m. ET CBS
11/22 Cowboys@ Cowboys 1:00 p.m. ET FOX
11/29 Eagles@ Eagles 1:00 p.m. ET FOX
12/6 SaintsVS Saints 1:00 p.m. ET FOX
12/13 Raiders@ Raiders 4:05 p.m. ET FOX
12/21 GiantsVS Giants 8:30 p.m. ET ESPN
12/27 CowboysVS Cowboys 8:20 p.m. ET NBC
1/3 Chargers@ Chargers 4:15 p.m. ET FOX

To be honest, none of the home games really excite me. Sure we get Dallas, NY and Philly as normally planned. But looking at the opponents outside the the NFCE, I gotta say.......bleh.

-The Rams were a gimme win last year and all the Skins did were make themselves look like laughing stocks losing to them. The only good part was that Dallas lost to them even worse the week later. It will be the same deal this year, even with Spags. (Steve Spagnuolo former Giants D-coordinator) as their new head coach.

- The Bucs just aren't the same team the Skins had a mini-rivalry with back when Gibbs and Gruden were the coaches.

- Don't care that much about the AFCW teams.....more on that later.

- The Saints might be a good game to watch. Drew Brees vs. The Redskins amped up D.

I also hate when the Skins play prime-time games. They don't tend to play well. As a fan, it screws with your schedule (especially if you have to work the next day). Most of all, Redskin fans tend to bail on home MNF/SNF games. Just look at last years debacle when the Steelers came to town and the Skins fans who showed got outnumbered.....at FedEx!!!!!!!

As one of the 100 Redskins fans that showed......I'll say it nicely, IT F****ING SUCKED!!!!!!!
So after that joke of a game of course the NFL decides that the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys will come to FedEx for MNF or SNF. Brilliant!!!

I would have liked to see the Panthers and Falcons come back to FedEx but at least Norv and the Chargers won't be at FedEx (Skins always play bad around Norv......he's their Kryptonite).

Also, for any ExtremeSkin members out there:
I will pop on ExtremeSkins and continue the 12th Man/Sore Throat Crew threads that I've done on ES the last few years but I think IIWII will play a role with that and maybe the discussion will be focused more on It Is What It Is.....than dealing with all the downers on ES that just want to bitch and moan and call everybody an idiot for supporting the team on the official message board of the Redskins.

As for the games and how the Skins will fare:
Pre-Season
@ Baltimore
Thoughts: The Ravens always play tough, physical football (much like the NFCE) so this will be fun to watch. However, I would hope that players like Portis, Campbell, Haynesworth, Samuels etc. play one series or less. Hopefully we'll get to see a lot of Colt Brennan vs. a tough Ravens D.
Who Wins? Who Cares.

Vs Pittsburgh
Thoughts: Same as above. I'm hoping the fans turns out to counter the Steelers fan return to FedEx, but I doubt it......great, I'll be the only Redskin fan in 403 again......(frowns)
Who Wins? Who Cares.

Vs New England
Thoughts: Hopefully this dress rehearsal will be better than last year's game vs. the Panthers. Plus, we'll find out how rusty Brady will be. 1st prime time game, I'm hoping the Skins will show up.
Who Wins? Probably the Pats, but I'd like to see the Skins win here.

@ Jacksonville
Thoughts: Throw away game.....fun to watch the guys on the bubble, that's about it.
Who Wins? Nobody Cares about this game- as long as no injuries.

Regular Season
Week 1: @ Giants
Thoughts: Tough way to start the season going to NY. Funny thing, if the Skins can just generate some offense they could have probably beaten the Giants last year. A good early test of the Skins.
Who Wins? Giants

Week 2: vs. Rams
Thoughts: This is a pay back game from last year and the home opener......they better win this one.
Who Wins? The Skins better win this one. 'Nuff said.

Week 3: @ Lions
Thoughts: Lions historically have struggled against the Skins. Jim Schwartz won't change that trend in just three weeks.
Who Wins? Skins

Week 4: Vs. Bucs
Thoughts: I have no clue what the Bucs are/will be doing at the point. New head coach and staff should make them struggle a bit. I give the advantage to the home team.
Who Wins? Skins

Week 5: @ Panthers
Thoughts: I like the Panthers in Match-ups and with the home field here.......Rob (a Panthers fan) will be happy about this.
Who Wins? Panthers

Week 6: Vs. Chiefs
Thoughts: I like what the Chiefs are doing, but let's face it they're rebuilding. The Chiefs will not become the Patriots in one year.
Who Wins? Redskins

Week 7: Vs. Eagles
Thoughts: First year in a few that the Eagles come to FedEx first. A MNF game to boot. I don't like this one to go the Skins way........
Who Wins? Eagles (I feel ill just typing this)

Week 8: BYE
Thoughts: At this point based on my guesses, the Skins would be 4-3. But, they'd also be 0-2 vs. the NFCE.

Week 9: @ Falcons
Thoughts: At this point we'll know if the Falcons are a one year wonder or a legitimate playoff team. I like the Falcons at home on this one.
Who Wins? Falcons

Week 10: Vs. Broncos
Thoughts: Josh Mcdaniels and Pat Bowlen have seemed to take the Broncos in the wrong direction. I also expect Jason Campbell to have a career day for many reasons.
Who Wins? Skins

Week 11: @ Cowboys
Thoughts: This will be the point of the season that Dallas will either still be hot or starting to slide. The 1PM start in Dallas is strange.
Who Wins? Skins

Week 12: @ Eagles
Thoughts: Eagles haven't fared well at home vs. the Skins the last few years. I think the Skins might take this one.
Who Wins? Skins

Week 13: Vs. Saints
Thoughts: Again, I feel good about this one based on the Skins D.
Who Wins? Skins

Week 14: @ Raiders
Thoughts: By this time will know if Al Davis is a genius or just completely nuts. I'm leaning towards nuts.
Who Wins? Skins

Week 15: Vs. Giants
Thoughts: Another MNF against a really good defense.
Who Wins? Giants

Week 16: Vs. Cowboys
Thoughts: I like the Skins sweeping Dallas this year.....no reason outside that I think the Cowboys haven't gotten better (actually worse losing Canty and TO and most of their DBs) and Wade Phillips is just not a very good head coach.
Who Wins? Skins

Week 17: @ Chargers
Thoughts: Curse of Norv returns here.
Who Wins? Chargers

My Early guess prediction: 10-6 with a 3-3 NFCE record.
Who knows, it's possible.

Bored? Here's Some Stuff to Keep You Occupied for a Few Minutes

BANG! Cartoons has a new Cartoon up.....and it's a good one!

Especially, if you wonder what's up with Al Davis and the Raiders. Or if you're sick of the Brett Favre watch (click on picture above).

If you have a somewhat morbid sense of humor (I know I do!!!!), check out Ross Horsley's My First Dictionary blog.

Since it's Memorial Day weekend and 4th of July is not that far away.....here's a Fireworks ad that's not hot.


Fun with Peter King via KSK
and a Bonus article in tribute for Dr. Z here.

frankly, not much else going on......

Stay tuned this weekend.....I will have some things coming to the blog.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quick Blurbs about Brian Orakpo

"You Like Me, You Really Like Me!!!!"


So far 24 people have voted on the Skins drafting Orakpo and 100% of the voters were happy with the move. When was the last time Redskin fans actually agreed on something?

Just found a nice 4 part article by CBSportsline that follows Brian Orakpo from the end of his season with Texas to the Skins first mini-camp.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Star Trek Review



Quick Take: J.J. Abrams and company reboot the Star Trek franchise in a unique and interesting way. Not only do they pay homage to the original franchise but create a new franchise in a way that will be very different than that of the original. The acting is amazing. Special effects are on par if not much better than any seen in previous Star Trek shows or films and the plot is enjoyable, fast paced and not confusing or containing any hiccups. An enjoyable film for anybody that is a fan of the previous Star Trek shows or a person that has no clue what Star Trek is about. I highly recommend you to catch this in the theaters while you can.

****Warning Major Spoilers Ahead****

Synopsis: To make things easier for me to write this.....I'm going to give you the link for the IMDB synopsis. It's pretty thorough and lengthy and probably more than I would put in my synopsis version....... you can read it here.

Ok, now to the review Good, Bad and Ugly style:

The Good

- The opening scene where George Kirk sacrifices himself (and the USS Kelvin) in order to save the lives of his crew, his wife and newborn son was amazing. It made the Mrs. cry both times when she watched it and it is a near tear-jerker for myself. This scene emotionally drags you right into the film.

- The Origins of Kirk and Spock. With Kirk's dad dead, Kirk becomes a smart but rebellious young man that is willing to take on any challenge (including fighting four Starfleet cadets at once). Spock has a chip on his shoulder based on the prejudice of being half human and half Vulcan. It was a nice way to explain why they do some of the things they do throughout the film and it also made you care about the characters. Spock in particular as he comes off as a bit of a prick in his early interactions with Kirk.

- Homage to the original franchise. If you're a fan of the original Star Trek series or movies then you'll appreciate the detail that was placed into certain scenes. Kirk winning in a no-win scenario (The Kobayashi Maru- I also liked that we learn that Spock programmed the scenario). Bones with his "I'm a Doctor not a Physicist damn it!" rant. Chekov's trouble with pronouncing the letter v. Yet, they didn't over do it. I remember watching Superman Returns and feeling that some scenes were shot identically to it's preceding Superman films and certain homages were forced in there.....not helping develop the plot or the scene.

- Cast and character development. I thought the casting for the film was great. Star Trek is a hard film because of it's notable characters and the actors that played those characters. How many people can do Kirk but overdo Shatner's style, making it more parody than performance? Chris Pine did Kirk in his own way. Gone were the pauses that Shatner is known for (although the wife did notice that Pine did a lot of grunting in Trek). But it was still Kirk. You can say that about most of the cast. It was slightly different but it was still "the" character that we know and love. The only exception to this was Karl Urban's take on McCoy. Again, if not done correctly this could have come of as parody and not performance. Urban however must have tapped into the late DeForest Kelley because his McCoy was dead-on. Great performance.
I also liked the take on Uhura and how she plays an important role in the film (outside of being Spock's love interest).

-Plot. Time travel stories can be very tricky, especially if done wrong. It can be confusing, things don't make much sense and in the end you don't care. The Star Trek franchise has done it well a few times in past films including Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home and Star Trek: First Contact. Star Trek also is successful in not only doing a time travel story, but radically altering the events that lead to the crew of the Enterprise coming together and altering the future. This is the first time that I can remember where a story has been altered but it doesn't feel like it was a retcon just because the writers couldn't come up with anything else to tie up a story. Plus, this has left me wondering what's next for this new Star Trek universe? What will happen to the Vulcans? Can they survive with so many of their population gone. Will some notable Vulcan characters that were in other movies and TV shows now exist? Intriguing questions that actually make me want to see a Star Trek sequel.

- Special Effects. Lots of explosions. Make up looked great. I also liked how Abrams focused on elements of the ship (ie. being built, escape pods, the shuttle bay on the Enterprise).

-Humor. Liked that the film used a large deal of humor to go along with the drama of the film. Star Trek throughout it's history has it's humorous moments, especially with the original series and it's Space Cowboy nature.

- Leonard Nimoy. It's always great to see him as Spock. I also liked how his role was actually relevant and significant to the plot and not just a meaningless cameo.

The Bad
This is me being the most nitpicky and I know somebody will complain about it....so ignore this for the most part.

- Would have liked to see the Narada do battle with the Klingons ( as mentioned but not shown in the movie). There is a rumor out there that Nero and his crew get captured by the Klingons during their 25 year wait for Spock. Maybe this will be a deleted scene in the DVD extras?

- Thought the Kirk/Spock-Prime run in was way too coincidental on the ice planet. Also, the Spock "I wanted you and Kirk to work together to develop the friendship" plan was very risky. But, it was explained and we all know that Spock and Kirk would be friends eventually anyway.

The Ugly
Star Trek is only one of a few franchises that has done a reboot in the last few years. The most notable ones to date is James Bond (Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace) and Batman (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight). We'll also see a slight reboot later this month with the release of Terminator Salvation. I don't believe I've ever seen a reboot like this before where the previous franchise is acknowledged as existing, yet the future of the Star Trek universe has been altered in such a way that anything can now happen and the fans can't really complain because it's been executed so well I believe that people will want to see what happens next.
One can only hope that the future of the Star Trek universe will remain as interesting and unpredictable as Star Trek itself. If you have any interest in seeing Star Trek in the theater, do so and if you are near one.......see it in IMAX. Just watch out for the IMAX experience that really isn't in a IMAX theater (this did happen to me as well, even though the film quality was awesome).

Final Grade: A
(Ed. Note: I'm a big fan of the Star Trek Universe, not a Trekkie IMO but I've watched all the Trek films, ST:TNG and the original series. Just letting you know since my take on Trek may be different from that of a person who's never seen it before. Matter of fact my friend Dan gave Star Trek a B- b/c he didn't get some of the concepts since he'd never watched Star Trek before)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Night Videos: Star Trek: TNG Re-dubbed

On my way to see Star Trek for the 2nd time.......

felt like doing a FNV and it's a highlights from Jandrew Edits.....enjoy, and feel free to check out their site (link is on the right under the Entertainment category).







Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rock the Red.....Game 7 Caps/Penguins

I'm not the biggest hockey fan (just could never get into it like football) but I do root for the Caps. if/when they're playing and I've been following their playoff run here. Tonight is game 7 of the series with the Penguins.

Go Caps!!!!

I always will support the local DC teams.

Update: Caps lose 6-2.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Redskins News and Notes 5/12/09

Player Moves
- Skins signed former Titans WR Roydell Williams and WR Keith Eloi from University of Nebraska-Omaha. Highlights of Williams can be seen here and Eloi can be seen here.

- Skins also added D-lineman J.D. Skolnitsky from James Madison and Darrel Young a linebacker from Villanova (click on their names to read profiles).

- Skins cut P Zac Atterberry, which really isn't a surprise after the signing of former Colt, Hunter Smith.

- It's official, the Skins also signed former Panther G/T Jeremy Bridges
, who impressed during the mini-camp.

Some interesting tidbits that are non-Redskins related.....sort of.
1. Comcast's Redskin Nation has now been extended to the weekend.
There is a weekend edition now that is played on Saturdays at the normal time of 6PM and sometime Sundays (around noon?). Mostly highlights of the past week shows, but some original content as well.

2. Brian Mitchell is no longer on ESPN 980 and Doc Walker has left the "Locker Room" and will replace Mitchell on the John Thompson show. The "Locker Room" will now be only featuring Kevin Sheehan.

3. Brett Favre will still not go away!!!!

(Photoshopped Favre-Viking created by Cory Hollenhorst)

Just when you thought Favre was going to stay retired, now it's rumored that Favre has begun working out with high-school kids throwing the football. It's a risky move for Favre in my opinion, especially if he does become a Viking. Vikings fans don't like Favre (it would be like Tony Romo becoming a Redskin) and the Packers fans would probably lose any love for Favre. Barring a Super Bowl win, I think it would tarnish his reputation (especially if he left the Vikings after only one season).
Either way, Favre got his ego stroked this season. Somebody made the effort to get a hold of Favre (and/or beg his greatness to return to football). Guess I shouldn't care that much since the Skins don't play the Viking this season (barring playoffs) but I'm just sick of the Favre story and wish he'd stay retired.

No Vinny quotes this week, but I'm thinking of maybe doing a Vinny IIWII shirt, since the Vinny quotes have become a highlight of the site.

Here's the idea:

Front:
It Is What It Is.......

Picture A:
or Picture B:



Back: http://walkingdeadmanblog.blogspot.com/

I wouldn't sell this but maybe make about a dozen of them and hand them out at games or give them as prizes to readers. Maybe just a way to promote the site.......something I'm thinking about.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Updates

With the draft over and nothing much to say about football in the next few months......

I'm adding some extra links to some new blogs worth checking out they're on the right side in the blogroll and Entertainment sections.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Review


Quick Take: This movie is a prequel to the current X-Men trilogy of films. It highlights the origins of Wolverine, Sabertooth and of William Stryker (main villain of X2: X-Men United) and how they get to/show up in the X-films. The film introduces many new characters from the X-Men/Marvel Universe to the big screen. Overall, the film had many issues with continuity, character development and plot. If you're a big fan of the X-Men/Wolverine or the trilogy, you may want to see this in the theaters but I would recommend to most to wait for DVD or when it comes to cable.

*** Warning: Major Spoilers Below***


Synopsis: The movie starts with a flashback to the 1800's as a boy, James, lies in bed ill and is being cared for by his father and his friend, Victor, then all hell breaks loose. The Caretaker barges in drunk, rambling and attacks James' mother and kills his father. Bone Claws pop out of young James' hands and he kills The Caretaker (Ed. Note- we are never given the name of the Caretaker in the movie, but his name is Logan from the Origin mini-series), finds out The Caretaker is his biological dad and that Victor is is half-brother. They run off. If you didn't get it by now James is none other than Logan aka Wolverine and Victor is Sabertooth.

Cue Credits......Sabertooth and Wolverine fighting in the Civil War, WW1, WW2, Korean War and then Vietnam. Sabertooth is becoming more and more bloodthirsty and starts taking out his fellow soldiers which leads him and Logan in jail (after getting shot up by a firing squad). They get an offer from Stryker to join his mutant version of "the dirty dozen" or to stay in jail. They agree.

The team consists of various Marvel characters notably Deadpool, Agent Zero and The Blob. Eventually, Wolverine quits the group after a mission in Africa goes wrong and Sabertooth and Stryker threaten to slaughter a whole village if they don't get the information they want (it's for the location of a meteorite that will be used to make adamantium- plot point!). Logan returns home to Canada and becomes a lumberjack. Cue Monty Python......wait for it.......Now:

He's got his little cabin in the woods and a frequently nude lady by his side (Kayla Silverfox). All is good in the world, but all isn't good for long as Sabertooth has gone rogue and is killing his former teammates (including Dominic Monaghan's character). Sabertooth kills Kayla and this puts Wolverine in a rage. Wanting revenge, Wolverine re-joins with Stryker and allows Stryker to bond his skeleton to adamantium, which would allow Logan to be able to kill Sabertooth.

There's just one problem.......this has been all a ruse. Kayla's not dead and Sabertooth is not a rogue agent. They're all working for Stryker for their own reasons and this was all just a set up to see if a person like Wolverine could survive the bonding process. Stryker is trying to create the ultimate mutant killing machine in order to wipe all mutants off the planet. Wolverine goes semi-berzerker and escapes.

I'm going to cut out most of the remaing plot here........you're not missing much.
Wolverine recruits Gambit to show him where Stryker's headquarters is located. Wolverine and Sabertooth team up to kill Stryker but have to fight Deadpool, who has been augmented with various powers (like Cyclops' eye blasts), adamantium and is being controlled by Stryker. They kill Deadpool and Sabertooth leaves. Kayla is killed by adamantium bullets fired by Stryker and Logan loses his memory by being shot in the head twice by same said bullets.

Cue end credits.........bonus after end credits, Deadpool isn't dead after all (even though he was decapitated by Wolverine).
Review time: Good, Bad and Ugly style.

The Good
- I did like the homage to classic Marvel/Wolverine stories presented in the movie. Origin, Weapon X, and the classic "Happy Birthday" issue of Wolverine (vol. 2, issue #10) that explains why Wolverine and Sabertooth hate each other (the death of SilverFox).
(Eat this piece of wood.....you need more fiber!!!)

- Liev Schreiber's performance as Sabertooth. Sabertooth is a smart, cunning, vicious, bloodthirsty serial killer/assassin and Schreiber plays this to a tee. Honestly, his performance is the major highlight of the film. I also found that Sabertooth is Wolverine's brother was an interesting spin. That has yet to be confirmed in the comics as far as I'm aware (I haven't read an issue of Wolverine in about 2 years or more).

- I liked the Gambit cameo (played by Friday Night Lights' Taylor Kitsch). I thought this was one of the few moments when the FX actually looked good (when he throws the playing cards at Wolverine). I did notice that his cajun accent disappeared part of the way through the performance however.

The Bad
-One of the things that makes me so mad about this film is the use of the talent. Dominic Monaghan is a good actor. You've probably seen what he can do by either watching his performance as Merry in Lord of the Rings or as Charlie in Lost. In Wolverine he basically does this: looks bored, puts his finger to his head and closes his eyes, gets killed. You can say just about the same for Ryan Reynolds who has such a bit role as Deadpool. Reynolds was made to be the "Merc with a Mouth" (just watch Blade: Trinity), but again he only has about 5-10 minutes tops of screen time. And rumor has it that there is a Deadpool spin-off movie in the works. I'm not sure who'd want to see it since nobody (outside of fanboy comic fans) got to see what Deadpool is about and what drives the character.

- FX was weak in many spots. Some of Wolverine's CGI claws looked terrible (note: in particular look at the scenes when he's at the farm house). Make up was equally bad. That scene with Prof. Xavier at the end was just horrible.....

- Way too many cameos. Did we really need Cyclops in the film? Out side of another bad/weak FX scene with optic blasts, it wasn't necessary. I also didn't like the Xavier cameo. Also, why in the hell was Emma Frost in this film and why is she Silverfox's sister? Add that the FX for Frost's "diamond coated skin" was again horrible.

-Wolverine is an anti-hero. There were a few scenes in Wolverine where Wolverine would have killed people. In this film he didn't. He never became the "animal" in the Weapon X sequence....he just seemed a little miffed. Jackman is still Wolverine to me, but there was something in this movie that was lacking compared to that of when he was in the X-Men trilogy.

The Ugly
X-Men Origins: Wolverine had the potential to be a great film. Jackman was returning as Wolverine/Logan, the cast seemed to be very talented and 20th Century Fox invested $150 million (now being the standard investment of blockbuster action films and comic book films) into this movie. The problem is that the plot was weak, the special effects were very hit and miss and the film focused more on cameos than on the the central characters hoping to land a future spin-off film. If you're a Hugh Jackman fan or a major X-men fan, then you may want to check this out.......but I'd save your money and wait until it comes out on DVD or on cable. I really don't think you're missing much.

Final Grade: C-

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What's a Saturady Without......Yard Work!!!!

Wanted to drop in before I start some back-breaking yard work......

2 movie reviews will be up soon. 1 is almost done, I'm hoping to have both done before Monday.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the new Star Trek film. One I liked, one not so much.

Plenty of Redskins stuff to talk about as well.......

See you soon
-WD

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Redskins News and Notes 5/3/2009

Where to start?
There has been a great deal of things going on with the Redskins in only a week plus. The draft, UDFA signings and now mini-camp. This will probably be a very long edition of Redskins N&Ns so I'll try to break it down into chunks so you can read what you want and skip the rest........

Let's get started.

Before the Draft............

Right before the draft, the Skins tried to address the O line needs by signing former first round draft pick (4th overall, 2002) Mike Williams. Here's the whole back story as memory serves from the Skinscast podcast. Williams had been out of the NFL for a few years and was in Texas selling oil shares. He's friends with Derrick Dockery and he and his wife were living with the Dockerys. At this time Williams was around 45o lbs. Williams started to work out with Dockery and lose weight. At one point, Williams ( around 410 lbs. when this occurred) got the passion back to play football and Dockery told the Skins about Williams. The Skins signed him immediately to a one year, vet minimum contract. Currently, Williams is working out at Redskins Park and trying to get into game shape. He did not participate with the team during mini-camp, but was working on individual drills with the coaches. The Skins would like him to be down to about 370-375 lbs. by the start of training camp. (Mike Williams as of now, picture from Redskins Blog)

I listened to the Locker Room with Rick "Doc" Walker and Kevin Sheehan last week (or was it the week before?) and Doc just talked about how much of a monster Williams looks like in real life and that there would only be a few defensive linemen who would want to line up against this guy (Albert Haynesworth was one Doc mentioned).

Personally, I don't mind the move. If the Skins can get Williams in shape and he has a passion to play he could be a real monster on the field especially in the run game. Also, I seriously doubt Justin Tuck or DeMarcus Ware could bull rush him. I do worry about the speedier edge rushers against him (good thing Andre Carter, Chris Wilson and Brian Orakpo can test him in training camp) though. Either way add Mike Williams to the list of tackles looking to be the starting right tackle (Devin Clark, Jon Jansen and Stephon Heyer are in the mix). I also knew that with the addition of Williams, I didn't think the Skins would take Michael Oher at #13.

Draft Day Ramblings
I already wrote about some of the things that happened with other teams during the draft so I won't write about that much here. I spent most of my draft day on the couch watching the NFL Network broadcast (thankfully NFLN is still on Comcast, I don't watch it everyday but it's a good source for football news) and DVRed the ESPN version. Here's the food list:

- Ribs and fries from Famous Daves
- Red Stripe (Hooooray beer!!!) and Yuengling
- Watergate salad (homemade)

I enjoyed round one. When the Jets made the move to draft Sanchez, I was probably as happy as the Jet fans. At the time, the Skins only had five picks and in my opinion, the O and D lines had to be addressed in the draft. I'm not the only one, most Redskins fans that I have talked to and that have voted on the IIWII polls pretty much said the same thing. As I said on the Draft Coverage Thread:
The draft started off well as the New York Jets moved up to pick #5 (from #17) in order to jump the Redskins and the Bucs to get Mark Sanchez. This caused a general ripple effect as the following things happened:

This was the ideal draft for the Redskins fan. Brian Orakpo was there, Michael Oher was there and even Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga where there. The Skins really couldn't go wrong here as long as they didn't draft a WR, TE, DB or QB. I loved the Orakpo pick (more on that later) and was hoping the Skins were on pace for a great draft.

By round two, I could care less. After a few beers, plenty of ribs and the happiness of Orakpo I kind of kept track of picks but it just wasn't that big of a deal (the Skins were done picking). I just was keeping up so I could figure out what Dan's (my friend and a Ravens fan) team was doing. The Ravens took Michael Oher and Paul Kruger.....guys I liked, but the Ravens never addressed the need at WR (much like the Skins addressing the O-line) so he wasn't that happy.

Wasn't nearly as happy with the Day 2 moves (more on that later as well). I spent most of the day listening to the NFLN broadcast and catching up on months of comics.......

There were a few things that both ESPN and NFLN did that annoyed the hell out of me:
1. I hated the million analysts that were brought in. Do we really need coaches who focus on QBs to talk about other positions? Same goes with former players who were great at one position now trying to be experts on other positions. Why isn't Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper, Todd Mcshay and others who actually break down game film and scout these young men talking about the picks? All I want on each player is a) positives, b) negatives and c) how this player will fit the team's scheme and needs, while the highlights are playing.

2. Commercials. Is there anyway, the coverage could break into a commercial if a big trade or move is made?

3. Please don't talk about teams, or Brett Favre or the Jay Cutler saga or TO or Dallas Cowboys Hard Knocks when players are being drafted. I'd like to know about a player please. Who the hell is Cody Glenn? You'll never know if you try to find out during draft coverage.......I had to do the research myself (highlights, info. etc.). Don't even get me started on finding out anything about Henson.

Notes: Go back to Meaningless Mock Madness 3.0 (my final mock). Yours truly got 8 of the first 13 picks right!!! Larry Michael (on Redskins Nation) mentioned NFP's Michael Lombardi only got 2 of 32 and Mayock got 9 of 32. NFL Draft Countdown got 4 of 13. Not bad for a guy with no NFL sources outside of getting an email from Mike Florio, 2 from Bram Weinstein, meeting Matt Terl at the Redskins/Ravens tailgate and having Larry Michael read two smart-assed emails of mine on Redskins Radio/Redskins Nation. I guess I'll have to keep doing mocks..........

Draft Day Analysis

Brian Orakpo:
Almost everybody liked (or loved) the Orakpo move. I think it's for a few reasons:
1. The Skins haven't drafted a first round DE since Kennard Lang in 1997. Since then, I believe the highest D-linemen drafted since then was Anthony Montgomery in the 5th round. It's been a long time coming.
2. Nobody thought he'd be there at #13. I'm very glad Aaron Maybin went to Buffalo and not Orakpo.
3. With Albert Haynesworth in the middle, and Carter on the other side......this D-line looks beyond scary and Orakpo should have some early success.
4. Orakpo was rated by many as the best pass rusher in the draft (or at least #2, with Maybin as #1) and again when was the last time the Redskins had an elite pass rusher? I'm thinking Manley. I know some would say Mann.....but I really think Mann was the better all around DE (better run stuffer and good pass rusher) while Dexter was the sack machine.
5. I like the move so much, I am really tempted to purchase an Orakpo jersey........something I swore I would not do with current players (especially rookies). I think right now I'll stay with my Dexter jerseys (see one below) and maybe a Portis one......but the temptation remains........


Kevin Barnes- I was hoping O line here, but I actually like this move. I think Barnes will probably need to bulk up slightly, but he has good size and speed. I like the height in particular because WRs like Plaxico Burress and Roy Williams will cause our smaller corners some problems with "jump balls" in the red zone. Barnes may help that a little. I see Barnes challenging Smoot for the nickle spot. Also, this pick says a lot about last years pick JT Tryon. Tryon didn't impress last year and was barely on the field even with Springs hurt all the time and Rogers being nicked up.

And All the Rest........
Cody Glenn- didn't like the move honestly. There were good linemen on the board in my opinion and Glenn has issues with injury and off field issues. He's a one year LB, most of his career he was a RB and during that time he had injury issues. He was suspended in his final three games at Nebraska for unknown reasons. Glenn claimed it was ticket scalping, but he lied. We still don't know why he was suspended.......and now at mini-camp he was injured (pulled hamstring). I got a Dallas Sartz feeling about this pick.........hope I'm wrong. I wish him the best and hopes he'll be a Skin for a long time.
Robert Henson- I got an HB Blades feeling about this pick, was impressed by some of his footage and I think of the picks from round 5 through 7, Henson has the best shot of making the 53 man roster.
Eddie Williams- will have a hard time making the roster. This will be a year where a bunch of RBs will try to make the 53. At best I see Williams as Sellers' backup as a FB/H-back. Probably a practice squad guy who will earn a roster spot only if he excels in special teams.
Marko Mitchell- I've heard mixed commentary on him. Some say he's really fast, others not. But he does has something the Redskins lack- height. If Malcomb Kelly can't stay healthy enough to get on the field, Mitchell may have a shot to make the team. Probably will be a practice squad guy especially with the current WRs on the team and the possibility of some veteran WRs joining the team during camp.

The IIWII Gut Reaction Grade
Drafts really shouldn't be graded after it happens. I mean sure, based on team needs you can opine whether the team did a good job addressing said needs. However, based on players being drafted right now, do we have any clue if any of these players will succeed in the NFL? No. Orakpo could be the next Dexter Manley or the next bust. Who would have thought after the 2008 draft that Chris Horton would have been the most successful player as of a year later?

However, we all like to throw grades around.....so I give it a C/C+. The Skins had three issues of concern: O-line, D-line (namely DE) and SOLB. They addressed the DE spot with Orakpo (some could argue 2 spots as he's working to learn SOLB, but I'd rather have him as a DE). The O-line was never addressed via the draft (unless you count UDFAs). Jason Taylor cost the Redskins a 2nd rounder for what was a failed experiment. Barnes may or may not be a stretch, but barring his shoulder injury may have been a higher pick- so another good move IMO. The remaining players seem to be at best depth players, at worst just throwing names at a dart board. There is no way Vinny Cerrato can come on Redskins Nation or any other show and tout Best Player Available in day two of this draft like he did in day 1 of the 2008 draft. I could be wrong, but the Skins tend to do well in round 1 and then in rounds 6 and 7. But again some of the final picks seem to be throw away moves. Let's not forget the 4th round pick as well......it was for Pete Kendall which was a small price to pay a guard who played very well for two seasons.

How do you feel about the draft? IIWII has three poll questions about drafting Brian Orakpo, Kevin Barnes and the overall draft. Let your opinion be known!!!!!

Larry Michael Must Think I'm a "Hater" Too...........
(That Deadman is just another Hater and probably has sources too)

Larry was talking about the draft grades given out by Michael Lombardi on NFLN. I believe Lombardi also gave the Skins a C (might have been a C+ or C-) because he thinks Orakpo is ok and the Skins lost the 2nd rounder to Taylor. However, he gave the Cowboys an incomplete grade because of Roy Williams (sorry Mike, but if you go by failed experiments then the Cowboys deserve an F. Williams cost the 'Boys a 1st, 3rd and a 5th for 1 TD and less than twenty catches. It also led to the ousting of TO- so this made the Cowboys better?). Larry then went on about the "haters" as he calls them (he's right about a few of them). So am I a hater based on my draft opinions?

Not really. Actually, I like Larry. I think you just have to realize that Larry Michael (much like most of what comes from Redskins.com) is going to provide the fans with info. and news that highlights what the Redskins are doing (usually from the Redskins POV). Not being critical of all/any moves that the Skins make. Remember, Larry is the current "voice of the Redskins" and you don't want either him or his predecessor (Frank Herzog) to bad mouth the team.

Then Came the UDFAs
As you probably know by now, the Skins signed another 13 players to the team. This is where you look for those rare diamonds and the Skins have found a few that at least have hung around on the team like Devin Clark, Byron Westbrook and of course Stephon Heyer. This year's group looks like they'll have a hard time making the team, especially the TEs, DTs, DBs and QB. But I am keeping an eye on one player: C, Edwin Williams who played for the Terps.

There had been some suggestions that the Skins were looking at him as a 5th rounder. Pro Football Weekly had him as a mid-to-late round prospect. So he has some promise. Keep an eye out for him in training camp and in the preseason. He may fill a dire need as the Skins have been looking for a solid back up center (and possibly Casey Rabach's heir apparent). Want to learn more? The Redskins Blog has two interviews here and here worth checking out.

Welcome Back........
Now sporting #24 (formerly held by Shawn Springs) the fan favorite has returned after being claimed off waivers by the Skins (he was released by the Jets). Mason will try again to make the team but will have to do so by doing well in Special Teams. Don't get too excited Mason fans, the competition will be even tougher this year.
Last year the Skins kept 4 RBs at the end of camp (Portis, Betts, Cartwright and Sellers) and this year I expect them to keep 4-5. If you just say 5 RBs (assume Portis and Sellers are locks), Mason will have to out perform some RBs/FBs like Betts (probably a lock also), Cartwright, Aldrige, Dorsey, Evans and Williams to grab a spot. At worst with guys like Brennan and Mason out there, it will at least make pre-season interesting to watch.

So Long, Farewell..........

Khary Campbell- who is not coming back to the Skins after passing on a vet. minimum offer per the Washington Times. Campbell was the co-captain of the Special Teams unit last year. Good luck with your future team, Khary.

Ryan Boschetti- who is trying to make the roster of the Oakland Raiders per the Washington Times. Good luck in Oakland, Ryan.

Finally, Minicamp News

I swear this blog entry is taking forever to finish....almost done. I'll make some of this quick as you've probably been following the camp anyway.

The Skins hosted between 113-116 players. This included the current roster, drafted rookies, UDFAs, rookies attempting to make the roster as a try out and veterans also looking to latch onto a team.

Chris Samuels, Randy Thomas, Santana Moss, Malcolmb Kelly and James Thrash were all out because of injuries.

With the injuries the starting O-Line consisted of : Devin Clark (LT), Derrick Dockery (LG), Casey Rabach (C), Chad Rinehart (RG), Stephon Heyer (RT).
hmmm............interesting.

Starting D-line consisted of Andre Carter, Albert Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin and Phillip Daniels.

Chris Wilson and Brian Orakpo did drills with the linebacker corps.

Jon Jansen worked as a Guard and as a Center (I'm guessing he'll be this year's Jason Fabini -ie. a utility lineman).

The Skins are on the verge of signing veteran G/T Jeremy Bridges and are going to offer vet. minimum deals to WRs DJ Hackett and Kelley Washington.

Cody Glenn and Devin Thomas suffered injuries, but are considered to be fine.

Clinton Portis still hates preseason/mini-camps/OTAs/practice/rain and the swine flu......and is still one of the most witty guys on the team (but of course everybody takes everything CP says as serious and are freaking out as I type).

There are many things I could continue to write about, but I just don't have the time. I will say that I think this year's camp (when the Skins open with 80 players on the roster) it will be very hard for the coaches (and the fans for that matter) to determine the final 53 players. There are going to be a few surprises (ie some known veteran/current Skins may not make the team IMO) and some tough choices to be made. This just means that the Skins will have a really deep roster which is something that many fans have been concerned about for years (the depth).

Mini-camp Links
Coverage by the Post: Here
Coverage by the Times: Redskins 360
Coverage by Redskins.com: Mini-Camp Practice Report
Coverage by The Redskins Blog:
Day 1 (AM)
Day 1 (PM)
Day 2 (AM)
Day 2 (PM)
Day 3

Final Notes
If you noticed, I skipped any stuff on Jason Campbell. He's moved on and so have I on the Cutler/Sanchez drama. Jason knows what he has to do. Good news is that he has most of the fan base supporting him.

Did I mention that there is a new Skinscast podcast covering the draft? Good work by Pappas and co.

Like I said, I skipped draft day at FedEx......but is it true that people were chanting Orakpo before the draft started? To be honest, I really didn't think he would fall to #13 especially with Cleveland, GB, SF and Buffalo in need for a OLB/DE pass rusher. But I did have him going to the Skins at #13 in my final Meaningless Mock. Who knows?

The Post is reporting the signing of FA WR Trent Shelton, who tried out at the mini-camp.

Notable Vinny Quotes of the Week


"I called Denver and said do you want to flip flop and he said 'you're going to get your guy.'"
-Vinny on April 25th (about trading up with Denver to get Orakpo)
Ed. Note: Be thankful Mike Shanahan isn't the Coach/GM of the Broncos anymore or the Skins probably would have given up their 2010 2nd or 3rd rounder to move up one spot.

"Stephon [Heyer] is doing a great job. Now it's time for [Chad] Rinehart, Devin Clark and some of the guys from last year that we've been training for a year to step up."

- Vinny on April 26th (on why the Skins did not address O-Line in the draft)