Sunday, August 30, 2009

And Then There Were 75

The Redskins made their 5 cuts today as the roster had to be cut down 75.

Notable cuts included Devin Clark, Marques Hagans and Alfred Fincher. I'm a little surprised about Fincher, but it means that the Skins have confidence in guys like Wilson and Orakpo in being able to play LB.

The cut of Clark makes me think that I may be right about the Skins looking at waiver wires for another tackle.

So Who Makes the Team?

As many of you know there are two cutting dates as we get to the final 53 man roster. One comes on Tuesday as 5 players are cut. The next takes place after the final preseason game as the Skins have to cut 22 players. We'll have a good idea who will make the squad after the first five are gone, because it's in those five cuts that the team usually let's a veteran who might make a team somewhere else go and have as much time to make another roster. It's the rare nice thing a team can do when they basically fire you. A great example of this was with Marcus Mason last year as the Skins just didn't have the roster room to keep him but know he has enough talent to be an NFL player.

So I'd expect a surprise move (or maybe a fan favorite cut) or two in these first five cuts, after that there will be a few bubble spots that hopefully will be resolved after the Jacksonville game but in the end may just come down to something the coaches did or didn't see in practice.

Here's my general 53 as of today- note this will be tweaked a bit when the first cuts come and I will have a practice squad also. I'm going 25 offense, 25 defense and 3 STers.......but again after the first five cuts, I'll probably change that.

QB- Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Colt Brennan
Only the #3 spot is in question and I think Brennan saved his job with the TD to Mitchell. This can easily change if Brennan looks horrible in Jacksonville and Daniel has another great game. Plus, Daniel can go on practice squad.

FB- Mike Sellers
No brainer and Eddie Williams probably joins the practice squad, to be called up if Sellers gets injured.

RB- Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, 4th running back
This is where the first five cuts will come into play.....I'm convinced after last year that the Skins will keep a 4th RB and that it will be either Mason or Dorsey. The Skins need an impact player behind Portis and I don't think Betts or Cartwright is that guy.

WR- Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle-El, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, Marko Mitchell
Mitchell has outright won the job. Sure he's caught the ball well, but I was impressed by his downfield blocking that freed up Cooley for another 10 yards or so. Could Mitchell be 2009's Chris Horton?

TE- Chris Cooley, Fred Davis, Todd Yoder
No surprise here.

O-line- Chris Samuels, Derrick Dockery, Casey Rabach, Randy Thomas, Stephon Heyer, Chad Rinehart, Jeremy Bridges, Will Montgomery, lineman not on roster
I've given you my opinion on Mike Williams. Barring a great and healthy performance against Jacksonville I think the Skins may need to look elsewhere for another tackle.

D-line- Andre Carter, Albert Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin, Phillip Daniels, Kedric Golston, Anthony Montgomery, Lorenzo Alexander, Jeremy Jarmon
This is the toughest choices but I have reasoning for most of it. Excluding the starters, Alexander plays everything including special teams. Jarmon is the future of this team, but probably could play DE and DT in a pinch. Buzbee, Jackson and Wynn lose out because both Orakpo and Wilson can play DE and LB. Only two players I'm not 100% sure about is Montgomery and Golston. But I think they beat out the other players based on their time here.

DE/LB- Chris Wilson, Brian Orakpo
Wilson has played well and can play special teams.......he may come in and cause confusion now that he's become a LB.

LB- London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, HB Blades, Robert Thomas, Robert Henson, Alfred Fincher
It comes down to special teams ability with Henson, Thomas and Fincher. Cody Glenn is still a very green LB and will be a practice squad project.

DB- Carlos Rogers, DeAngelo Hall, Fred Smoot, Justin Tryon, Kevin Barnes, Laron Landry, Chris Horton, Reed Doughty, Kareem Moore
Tryon has done enough to show that he deserves time on the field.

STers- Ethan Albright, Hunter Smith, Dave Rayner
Albright and Smith have no competition. Rayner looked very good on kickoffs. Neither he or Suisham have had much opportunities at FGs. Right now I think if you flip a coin you may determine who the Redskins' kicker will be this year.

Practice Squad- Chase Daniel, Eddie Williams, Keith Eloi, Cody Glenn, Edwin Williams, Antonio Dixon, Robert Agnone, Lendy Holmes
I wouldn't be surprised if Agnone and Holmes weren't on the final PS roster.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

So Did I Get What I Wanted?

Let's go back to my pregame blog on what I expected and hoped to see.......

Don't worry I will do a better breakdown tomorrow on the game, because many questions were answered and a few questions came up about this team.

But until then let's look at the checklist from last night:

1. Score points!!!!!!! Success
The 1st team scored 17 before leaving early in the third. Finally some proof that this offense has some life in it. The O looked good.

2.
Better Red Zone calls by Zorn- Success
Got to say that the Z-Man did take some shots in the air and threw a fade to Kelly with Campbell out there. Yes, they failed. But, the key is that they are getting a chance to have game reps in the preseason. Work out the kinks now, score the TDs in the regular season. I expect that play alone to give Kelly 5 TDs this year. Also, thank you coach fro using Mason to punch in the ball instead of Betts.

3. Let Campbell Throw the Damn Ball- Success
22 attempts!!!! I wanted at least 20 and I got my wish. Look what Campbell does when you give him a chance to get into some sort of rhythm. 13/22 for 209. Wow. Something to work with and Campbell will get a week or so of a break from the "Bench Campbell" crowd. Patriots are not a lightweight D, they're decent and Campbell lit up the starters.

4. I Want a Sack!!!!!- Fail
This was the one area I expected the most success and it didn't happen. Andre Carter finally got a well deserved sack, but it just wasn't enough personally. That said, I still liked the increased pressure by the Redskins D and I felt it did disrupt Brady somewhat at times (but not enough).

5. Get Angry, Get Hungry!!!!!- Success
Yeah, I saw that at times. Good to see......

For the rest of the list:
  • Continued improvement by the O-line (Yes- no sacks by the first team)
  • Some decent runs (No)
  • Devin Thomas running better routes and making some plays (Yes)
  • More good reps. by Malcolm Kelly (Yes)
  • Some improvement by the secondary (namely Barnes, Smoot and Tryon) (Yes X's 3)
  • The Skins generating some turnovers (Yes, 3 turnovers)
  • Better play from from players who've struggled. (Yes and No)

Friday, August 28, 2009

What I Expect From Tonight

Ok, this is dress rehearsal, I have a few things that I want to see tonight from the 1st teamers that I expect to see now and this season. If it doesn't happen, I won't be happy. Some of these things should be happening now and my expectations are high.

1. Score points!!!!!!! No and I don't mean Suisham/Rayner field goals. Sure, field goals are fine and all but I expect 14 points (ie. 2 touchdowns) at minimum tonight.......or I will not be happy. Don't care how the O does it but they need to.

2. Better Red Zone calls by Zorn- Ok, coach no more three plays to Betts inside the two. It doesn't work. Let's see a fade to Kelly. A bubble screen to Moss. Do something with Cooley. A draw to CP. A Campbell bootleg/scramble.......something.

3. Let Campbell Throw the Damn Ball- 4/13 is unacceptable in two games. Did you know that Mark Brunell has more attempts than Campbell so far? I want to see at minimum 20 attempts out of Jason. He can't get better if he can't get into a rhythm and have a chance to work out the kinks. 30 attempts are even better. Get it done Jason, I'm rooting for you.

4. I Want a Sack!!!!- I love the pressure by the 1st teamers so far, but I want Tom Brady eating so turf tonight. Carter, Daniels, Haynesworth, Orakpo whoever......I want to see some sacks tonight. At least 2-3.

5. Get Angry, Get Hungry!!!!! I want guys angry when they don't execute. I want guys to want to beat the crap out of the other team.......we don't see enough of this.

What I'd like to see:

  • Continued improvement by the O-line
  • Some decent runs
  • Devin Thomas running better routes and making some plays
  • More good reps. by Malcolm Kelly
  • Some improvement by the secondary (namely Barnes, Smoot and Tryon)
  • The Skins generating some turnovers
  • Better play from from players who've struggled.



And a win would be nice.........

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Mike Williams Experiment Should Be Over

(Photo by Rick Snider)

I've been rooting for the amazing return of Mike Williams ever since he was signed with the Skins. His tale of weight loss and his comeback have been inspirational, however I think people really need to look at the reality of the story and not the fairy-talesque nature of the story that was being sold to everybody.

Here's the deal: Right now the Redskins only have two offensive tackles that have shown enough to play on the field during game day; Chris Samuels and Stephon Heyer. Outside of that, the pickings so to speak are very thin. Chad Rinehart and Jeremy Bridges seem to be better suited to play guard. The other tackles on the squad haven't been talked about much but are generally inexperienced at best and not going to be on this team come cuts.

Then there's Mike Williams. You know that he wants to be there because of the effort he made to lose weight. The coaches have stated that he's improved daily and has the right attitude but there have been some major bumps in the road. First, Williams has really struggled in camp against speedier DEs (Chris Wilson just to throw a name out there) in pass protection based on what I've read/heard. Second, Williams has been pretty injury prone. Here's a list off the top of my head: cramps, strained abdominal muscle, groin pull/strain, sprained ankle. It's hard to judge whether or not Williams could be a serious asset because he can't get on the field. He played in the Ravens game (word is he did well) but had to leave because of the ab. strain. He was unable to play in the Steelers game.

That leaves only two games left to go. He will probably have limited time in the game against the Patriots because the starters will go a minimum of the 1st have and could go into the third quarter if Coach Zorn feels it's needed. That leaves just the game against the Jaguars to determine if Williams can be useful in 2009. Not a lot of time for the Skins to evaluate if Williams should stay here or if they need to look elsewhere.

Frankly, the way I look at it, the Redskins have about 8 guys already that will make the roster on the line right now. The 5 starters and probably C/G Will Montgomery, G/T Jeremy Bridges (I'd say mostly a guard and a emergency tackle) and G Chad Rinehart (heir to the starting right guard spot). That means if the Skins keep 9 (which they probably will) O-linemen, the Skins must find a player who could be a solid RT/LT......let's face it, you can't convince me that Chris Samuels and Stephon Heyer (mostly Heyer) will remain healthy the entire year.

That mean that out of Batiste, Riley, Clark and Williams the Skins need to find a reliable tackle who could start if required but mostly be a solid performer in spot duty. I'm not sure that guy is currently on the roster. I know Williams has been a great story for the Redskins and Larry Michael to tell but I think that for what the Redskins need, Williams isn't the happy ending to the 2009 Redskins O-line story.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Initial Thoughts From Pre-Season Game 2

(Ned Dishman photo from Redskins.com)

Rain, Rain Go Away!!!!!
First, I have to admit something. I'm a fair weather preseason fan. With the deluge of rain coming down at FedEx last night, I decided to stay home and scream at the TV. Had this been a regular season game, I would have been there (trust me, I've been through plenty of them through the years the Giants game last year was horrible) instead I was like a pouting kid most of Friday and Saturday.
Redskins Rally Towels Again?
So I guess I missed out on the rally towels for this year. No matter, I have plenty from last year and actually I like the Burgundy Redskins Radio towels from last year better (although they've ruined a few of my white T-shirts when I took them to games when it rained). I find it interesting how personal the Redskins brass took the Pittsburgh game and how they're trying to counter the terrible towels and opposing fan turnout. I guess it's nice that the Skins are giving out things.......but do we really need to become the poor man's Steelers. I want to see the old RFK days of stadium shaking and crowd noise. If anything, bring back the seat cushions to throw.

The Game
Overall we learned some things but not a great deal. The first team offense was able to move the ball well but not able to punch it in. The first team defense is a scary one but still struggles to stop third and long situations. The special teams units struggled, although made a few positive plays. Some players stepped up and a few didn't or dropped off and it's a concern either way.

There were a few units that stood out in the game. First, the starting O-line again looked good. This time we saw what one would expect to be the regular starters this year as Randy Thomas rejoined the fray. He looked fresh and seemed to have no problems blocking on either run or pass. This time the Steelers never sacked Campbell once and even the depth overall played well with limited hits and only 2 sacks overall (mostly during Chase Daniel and Colt Brennan's time). I also liked the improved run blocking to go alone with the pocket they made for Campbell's passing The D-line still caused problems to the opposing offenses, but this time they did a much better job stopping the run. The running backs also had a good game as each of the running backs made an impact on at least one play.

Overall, the Skins fared well against the world champs, but if you really want to go by mostly 1st team comparisons, the Skins lost 10-3. The good news is that they did exactly what you want to see a team do in preseason: improve. Now let's look at some of the players who improved upon last week's performance, who stood out (good and bad) and who's winning the competition to make the team.

Who Improved
Fred Davis- After last week's two fumble performance he comes up with a special teams turnover and on the resulting play after catches a Chase Daniel pass (holds onto it) and scores a TD. It's a good way to get back into the good graces with the coaches.

JT Tryon- Not picked on last night. There were times when he has beaten, but used his speed to catch up and bat balls away. Overall a better showing than last week. Also, made a nice tackle on special teams.

Who Stood Out (Good and Bad)

Good
Andre Carter, Albert Haynesworth, Cornelius Griffin- All three wreaked havoc in the backfield on multiple occasions. Haynesworth is so far living up to his contract taking on double teams and still penetrating to make plays.

Marko Mitchell- Clinton Portis told everybody to look out for him prior to the game and he showed why. Mitchell looks like he may have a strong shot at winning the 5th WR spot, especially if he can play special teams.

Clinton Portis- 5 carries for 26 yds. and a key block to save Campbell from a sack........does not have to take another snap for the rest of the preseason as far as I'm concerned.

Malcolm Kelly- Looked good and probably will be the #2 WR this season.

Dominique Dorsey- A long shot to make the team but a decent performance as a RB and the best performance as a punt returner

Chase Daniel- The performance was great. At worst the Skins consider him a practice squad possibility. At best, he challenges and beats Brennan for the #3 role.

Chris Wilson and Alex Buzbee- sacks will help keep you on the roster. These guys are still on the bubble and will have to play well to make the team.

Bad
Jason Campbell- 1/7 for 1o yards is not good. Yes, he threw two deep balls that were incomplete and had to throw away a few balls, but the numbers from both preseason games don't lie (4/13; 48 yds) is a serious concern especially when he has time to throw the ball.

Colt Brennan- Had a much better performance this week, but everybody will remember his INT and what Chase Daniel did over any positives. Brennan is clearly not locked up a roster spot and will have to do much better if he doesn't want to be cut.

Jim Zorn- The Skins 1st team drives down and fails to score into the Red Zone again. Maybe Zorn was looking at the run game in short yardage, but I wondered why the Skins didn't try the fade to Kelly or a bubble screen to Moss? The Skins need to find ways to score in the Red Zone and develop some confidence or it will be 2008 all over again.

The Battle For 53

I think this season, there were many battles going into camp. Granted most of them were depth issues but I think many of them have already been resolved. Here's a few:

RT- Stephon Heyer.
This was supposed to be a battle between Heyer, Bridges and Williams. In the end, there never was a competition. Williams has struggled with speed rushers and injury and Bridges has shown to be a better guard and possible back up tackle than a starter. My biggest question now is who is the back up to Samuels and Heyer? Right now I think it will be a player that is currently not on the roster, depth is really bad at tackle right now.

#2 QB- Todd Collins
Many (myself included) felt this would be Brennan's year to become Jason Campbell's backup and possible replacement if he fails. Collins has shown otherwise. So far Collins is 13/20 for 109 yds. and one INT (I put the INT on Devin Thomas personally). He's done everything you want him to and if not for the lack of mobility and limited arm strength, I'd be arguing that maybe Collins should start against the Giants.

Player of the Game: Brian Orakpo


(Photo from Comcast SportsNet)

There is no doubt in my mind that Orakpo has a good shot to be DRotY. He was all over the field last night and teams have already decided that Orakpo is enough of a threat that they'll need to double team him. I expect him to have a great deal of sacks and tackles for loss this season. Man, is this guy a beast.

Next game: vs. Patriots @ FedEx

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Project Runway is Back!!!!!



("Make it work people or I'll have Heidi kick your ass")

I generally hate reality TV. I personally can't stand all of the America's Survivors Dancing with the Idols who have talent Big Brother shows. The only exceptions are the Japanese version of Iron Chef and Project Runway. I'm not sure why I really like Project Runway since I'm not into fashion (Redskin jersey, jeans and a Metallica T-shirt and I'm pretty much set for life) but it's a well put together production and the contestants actually make stuff and are fighting to make a career for themselves in the very tough fashion world. Tim Gunn is one of the rare hosts that isn't annoying, actually tries to help the contestants and well he's got style. Heidi Klum is, well.....a Supermodel with a brain and a personality (rare traits for many of the beautiful people).

It starts tonight on Lifetime (starting 8PM EST). Just lie to your room mates and tell them that they've moved NFL network again.

Update: It's actually tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh God NO!!!!!!! Just Go Away pt.2

So now it's official.......and I feel ill.


Favre is a Viking

Photobucket
(Ha Ha, thought I was retired......Suckers!!!!!!)

Maybe I'm just cynical but is it just me or I think this was planned all along? Let's see, by signing now Favre has been able to skip most of training camp. Plus, he gets all of the attention because Mike Vick already has a new team so there is no more speculation about him.

Yes.......it's all Favre all the time and it drives me nuts personally. There are actually some pretty good quarterbacks in the NFL who don't have the name Favre on the back of their jerseys and yet ESPN and most of the other outlets will be on non-stop Favre watch.

So the Vikings are Superbowl or bust pretty much now, forget the Giants or the Eagles it's the Vikings that will be everybody's favorite now. But a warning to coach Brad Childress, the last coach who hedged his bets on the aging quarterback that's well over hyped, he got fired.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Thoughts on the Redskins/Ravens Game

This was a hard game to watch for me. Not because of the final outcome (although that was hard to watch) but because pre-season is incredibly dull and each team plays theses games differently. Some teams want to win, while some are just looking at scenarios. Some are just looking at players and what they do well and what they don't do well. I'm not sure what the Redskins were trying to do this past Thursday, but the final result was a 23-0 loss and mostly more questions to be asked than questions answered.

When I watched this game I did it from two different perspectives. One was as the Redskins fan, for which I have been for a very, very long time. The second was as a football fan who wanted to analyze position performance and how individual players/units looked compared to the final score or how the team played overall. As a Redskins fan I was generally frustrated. The result was very similar to how the 2008 season ended. The offense couldn't score and the defense would give up enough to lead to a FG but made it hard for a touchdown. Also, what really bothers me about the Skins offense is that in order for them to score they have to be perfect.

How many times in 2008 do the Skins have to play perfect offense in order to score? This means no penalties, no drops, no fumbles, no sacks, no bad passes. I saw this happen again and again in this game and it bothered me. As a Redskins fan, am I in panic mode? No not yet, I saw some good things but not as much as I wanted to see and the worries from last year don't seem to be fixed as much as I'd like to see.

As a fan trying to analyze the game, here's what I thought. The Ravens won a 3 to 0 game that had some starters out there for a few series. Let's remember that Portis, Randy Thomas, Santana Moss, Carlos Rogers and Albert Haynesworth were out. Same goes for Terrell Suggs of the Ravens. Looking at first team units, this is what stood out for me: The O-line looked quite good in pass protection, something that they struggled with most of last year. Campbell also looked good, but I still worry about the speed of his delivery and his progressions. The Om Field did a pass by pass analysis of how the O-line and Campbell fared in the game. It's a great read and I fully agree with his opinion. There wasn't much of a run game and it was mostly run on the right side (Rinehart and Heyer) which is the Redskins weaker side in run blocking. The D-line looked scary on their pass rush (Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo would have had at least 3-4 sacks had they not been held so much) but looked equally atrocious in run defense. I also worry about the depth at a few positions (RB, O-line and CB) as the Skins expected players to step up and shine and very few young players and rookies did so. Zorn's "soft" comments were justified in my opinion.

Of course, you must take all of this with a huge grain of salt. Will this game tell us about the Redskins or the Ravens for that matter? No. But it will show each team what they need to work on. Even the Ravens made a boatload of mistakes (namely getting beaten by the D-line and having to hold on every play) and will get a chance to work with their team to improve. This is also a chance to look at players and figure out what they can and can't do and how to adjust your schemes to maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. Finally, it's a chance to determine who really needs to be here and who doesn't. There are guys on both teams that probably wrote their tickets off this team on Thursday.

I'm going to finish this post with some players and how they performed and for this post I will use catchphrases from that last few Skins coaches to summarize how they did.

Super Smart

Brian Orakpo- So far this guy has done nothing but prove that he is the real deal when it comes to an elite pass rusher. His performance as a SOLB was ok from what I saw but still a serious work in progress. I really hope the Skins just use him mostly as a DE even if it means Carter or Daniels has to lose some snaps in the process.

Andre Carter- Also looked beast like and was literally held non-stop by Jared Gaither and other linemen to prevent Flacco from being flattened. Hope he plays like this in the regular season.

Jeremy Jarmon- For a guy who the Skins had pegged as a project in 2009 and a possible starter in 2010, Jarmon is already fighting for playing time. He was all over anybody with the ball and excelled at stopping runs but also pressuring the QB.

Todd Collins- Looked the most comfortable and had the quicker release of the three QBs. I think he's pretty much locked up the #2 spot.

DeAngelo Hall and the Red Zone D- The Ravens 1st team O had 7 chances to score from around the 10 yard line and failed. It's a good early sign. Hall's deflected pass was just a great example.

Staying Medium

Jason Campbell- Consistent, but nothing really spectacular. I'd like to see a deep pass soon, the check downs aren't doing much for me.

Chad Rinehart and Stephon Heyer- Looked good in pass protection, still need to improve upon the run game.

Chris Cooley- Nice catch early in the game but blew a block also.

Robert Henson- Made a few nice tackles and plays, but dropped a sure INT and got away with what should have been pass interference.

Need to Coach 'em Up

Fred Davis- This guy has so much talent it's amazing. But he has to learn how to hold onto the ball.......fumbles kills any "Wow Factor" that is made by a great catch and run.

Marques Hagans- Got to make the catch even if it's somewhat overthrown.

JT Tryon- Will not make this team if he isn't more physical. Nobody should get that open on a slant.

Surprise Player to Watch for Next Game
Antonio Dixon (#75)- He's a long shot for the team with the depth at the DT position, but he played very well for what I saw and much like Jarmon, was all over the ball carriers and had 5 tackles with four tackles for a loss. If he keeps playing like this, I have to think he'll earn a spot on the practice squad or find a home with another team. I guess I wasn't the only one who noticed since the Redskins wrote an article about him (read it here).

Next Game: @ FedEx vs. Pittsburgh.

Michael Vick Has a New Home.......

Yep, you probably know by now Vick is an Eagle. It was a surprising move by the Eagles as they were not one of the teams that appeared interested in obtaining Vick. For Vick, it's a great move generally speaking. First, he gets a decent salary ($1.6 million) in his first year with an option in year two for about $5.2 million. Secondly, there is minimal pressure on Vick to challenge for a starting role since there is no competition as the Eagles have McNabb. Third, I expect less public outrage with the Eagle fans. Oh sure, early opinion by the Philly faithful has been negative but this is from the same fan base that booed Mcnabb when he was drafted, same with Santa Claus. So for them to hate Vick would be normal procedure. Plus, I can't wait for game days at the Linc. Drunken Eagle fans vs. PETA protesters, should be fun to watch.

But the question to ask really is whether this is a good move for the Eagles and I'll get to that in a second. First comes the issues with Vick, his past offences and how the rest of the world is handling it.

This has been interesting alone to see how people react to the news of Michael Vick and his return. There are people who support his for various reasons and those who are against him. It's also interesting to see how the NFL handled this compared to other players who have gotten in trouble like Donte Stallworth, Plaxico Buress and Pacman Jones. First, I do believe in second chances and once time has been served a person should have a chance to be productive in society. However, with that said the NFL wasn't required to re-sign him like some think. Nor, was it "collusion" by the 32 teams had they not signed him. 31 of the 32 teams are owned by one person or group (The Packers are publicly owned by stockholders) and they have to weigh the public outrage with how the player will help the team succeed (and/or if the player will make the team more profitable, c'mon football is a business let's not forget that).

For those who think Vick should have never played in the NFL again, it really comes down to talent. What Vick did was pretty terrible but the NFL has had a numerous amount of 'bad eggs' so to speak in the league including players who been convicted of drug possession, assault, battery, domestic violence, DUI/DWI, weapon possession and manslaughter. So why should you be surprised that he's back?

Now will he be a huge factor to improve the Eagles? I don't think so. Matter of fact the move made me scratch my head when I first heard about it (during the Ravens/Redskins game). As a quarterback it's a bad fit to me. Remember why I thought Vick would be a bad move for the Skins? Legal and moral issues aside, it's because the Redskins currently run a West Coast system. In this scheme, the passing plays are usually shorter, accurate passes. Vick ran a WCO system in Atlanta during Jim Mora's tenure and I think he struggled with it. First, Vick isn't very accurate (53.8% vs. Mcnabb's 58.9%). Second, I'm not fully convinced that Vick ever achieved the touch to get the ball out quickly to his receivers but to make the ball catch able. How many people thought Roddy White was a total bust until Vick left?

There will be some things that Vick will help with the Eagles. First, he has had success in the NFL and is a much better back up QB than Kevin Kolb who looked terrible in his appearance against the Ravens last year. Second, teams will have to game plan for Vick, whether he's a QB in a Wildcat formation (Have the Eagles ran Wildcat? I don't think they have but what do I know?) a possible WR or RB. Vick is a very dangerous threat when he has the ball because of his ability to outrun and outplay tacklers.

Can Vick still even do that after two years of exile? That's what we'll find out in two weeks and what the Eagles will be betting on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Testing.......

This is a quick test to determine if my RSS feed is working correctly. It hasn't been coming up correctly on BGO and I'm trying to figure out the problem.


Carry on......


Update, got it working!!!!!

Notable Quote of Today............

"We're Coming to Your Stadium to Steal Your Balls."
-Fred Smoot
(Comcast SportsNite 8/11/2009)
Great T-Shirt idea for anybody out there.
Gotta love Fred Smoot.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Let's Look At......

(The Redskins are expecting a lot from Devin Thomas if they are to succeed in 2009)

The Wide Receivers

This will be a moment of truth year for the wide receiver corp. and for Executive VP of Football Operations (a.k.a. the officially unofficial GM) Vinny Cerrato. As you probably know by now Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly were drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft. Neither had great rookie seasons hindered by injury and the inability to earn time on the field and/or be productive.
This year at least one of them must step up and take a starting role on this team or the Redskins will continue to struggle in the passing game and Cerrato will continue to be criticized for drafting two WRs and a TE when the team needed continued depth on the O and D lines.

2008 Summary: For Santana Moss, the 2008 season started out to be a highly productive one. Moss scored a TD in each of his first three games including the game winning TD against the Saints.

Moss had a pretty consistent year but teams started double covering and shadowing their zone coverage at him to make it more difficult for Moss to get open. Antwaan Randle-El had an ok season and played well when used in trick plays, but one would wish the #2's numbers would be higher if only to take some of the pressure off of Moss. James Thrash was mostly a special teams ace who was used for the occasional catch, but mostly he was a decoy and used primarily as a run blocker. There was very little production from rookies Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. Kelly barely took the field because of his knee injuries and Thomas was a very raw prospect. However, towards the end of the season Thomas did score his first TD (on a reverse) and started to show some promise.

2008 Stats (From NFL.com)
Santana Moss 79 1044 13.2 67 6
Antwaan Randle El 53 593 11.2 31 4
Devin Thomas 15 120 8.0 18 0
James Thrash 9 81 9.0 29 1

Malcolm Kelly 3 18 6.0 7


Current Roster: Keith Eloi*, D.J. Hackett, Marques Hagans, Malcolm Kelly, Marko Mitchell*, Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle-El, Trent Shelton, Devin Thomas
*Rookie

Biggest Position Battle:
Antwaan Randle-El vs. Devin Thomas vs. Malcolm Kelly
(Who's the #2 WR?)

Antwaan Randle-El actually had career numbers in TDs (4) and receptions (53) in 2008, but I have always felt he's been out of position ever since the Redskins signed him. Remember, Randle-El was supposed to be the #3 WR in a three receiver set with Santana Moss and Brandon Lloyd. However, Lloyd was a complete dud and Randle-El had to take that spot. I personally would like to see Randle-El in the slot more often and let his speed and agility take advantages of some mismatches. Thomas seems to be a good fit if he can stay healthy. Thomas has the speed to be a deep threat and a frame similar to that of a Owens or Boldin. The biggest concern in the past was his route running and timing. Now, he seems to be struggling with nagging injuries (hamstring) that continues to slow his progression and his number of reps. Kelly is more like a Plaxico Burress in frame and many thought he would be more polished and pro-ready than Thomas. However, he's a year behind everybody now so he'll have to play catch up. Also, the team is using Kelly very cautiously after having another knee surgery in the offseason.

Bonus Position Battle:
Who's the 5th and Possibly 6th WR?
With James Thrash being cut/retiring due to a neck injury, there has been at least one if not two openings for depth at the WR position. D.J. Hackett was a highly coveted free agent WR by the Skins in 2008 before the draft. Hackett knows the system and appears to be making good progress in camp. The downside on Hackett is that he's very injury prone and probably won't be much of a special teams participant. Marques Hagans has been on many practice squads and is trying to break into a roster spot. Word out of camp has indicated that he's been filling in when Thomas, Kelly and Moss have been limited. Also, Hagans is trying to make an impact on special teams and he may be able to serve as a punt returner. Marko Mitchell and Keith Eloi have had moments in camp but may be relegated to the practice squad.

Player(s) to Watch: Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly- It's really a no brainer. The Redskins are expecting these guys to produce now. The Redskins front office has a limited amount of patience and their grace period is gone. Thomas and Kelly could radically improve the offense with their skills if they can get on the field. Both have different abilities that could give Jason Campbell many options.
(If Malcolm Kelly can stay healthy, his size could cause opposing defenders many problems)

The Redskins have the players in place to make the WR position very dangerous, but many of the younger players will need to step up and live up to their reputations also health will be a key factor. If this unit can stay healthy and produce, expect the Redskins pass attack to be much better than it was in 2008.

The Imaginarium Looks Pretty Good......

2009 has been to me a rather dreadful year of movies after an amazing 2008. Sadly, a few of the good looking 2009 movies that I have been interested in seeing like The Hurt Locker and Moon don't play in my area because of such a limited release.

But I have higher hopes for the release of Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus having a decent amount of screens when its released in October. This is the final role for the late Heath Ledger and I have to say after his amazing oscar winning performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight, well I definitely want to see what he'll do in a Gilliam film (Ed Note: He was in a previous Gilliam film The Brothers Grimm, which was ok but not one of my favorite Gilliam films).

The plot sounds interesting to say the least (via comingsoon.net):
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" is a fantastical morality tale, set in the present day. It tells the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary 'Imaginarium', a traveling show where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Blessed with the extraordinary gift of guiding the imaginations of others, Dr Parnassus is cursed with a dark secret. Long ago he made a bet with the devil, Mr Nick, in which he won immortality. Many centuries later, on meeting his one true love, Dr Parnassus made another deal with the devil, trading his immortality for youth, on condition that when his first-born reached its 16th birthday he or she would become the property of Mr Nick.

Valentina is now rapidly approaching this 'coming of age' milestone and Dr Parnassus is desperate to protect her from her impending fate. Mr Nick arrives to collect but, always keen to make a bet, renegotiates the wager. Now the winner of Valentina will be determined by whoever seduces the first five souls. Enlisting a series of wild, comical and compelling characters in his journey, Dr Parnassus promises his daughter's hand in marriage to the man that helps him win. In this captivating, explosive and wonderfully imaginative race against time, Dr Parnassus must fight to save his daughter in a never-ending landscape of surreal obstacles - and undo the mistakes of his past once and for all.
and you can guarantee that Gilliam will come up with some crazy ideas to tell his story- Just watch the trailer.



(and some bonus scenes)




And if you're not familiar with the works of Terry Gilliam, he directed one of my favorite films of all time, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (see below).







Saturday, August 8, 2009

Let's Look At.........

The Offensive Line

(The fate of the 2009 season may rest on the shoulders of Samuels, Dockery and Rabach)

Going into camp, this was my biggest unit of concern. I mean, it really doesn't matter how much Jason Campbell has improved or how much poise and professionalism he has if he doesn't have time to throw the ball and is on his back all day. Doesn't matter if any of the 2008 2nd rounders are ready to play if they can't get the ball. Even Clinton Portis can't do what he does best if no one can open at least a crease for him to get through.

The early word out of camp is that the O-line is struggling. Now there can be a bunch of reasons for this:
1. The O is always behind the D when camp starts. It's normal and the O seems to need time to develop and gel vs. the D which can come out strong right out of the gates.

2. The Redskins D-line is vastly improved with Haynesworth and Orakpo. Don't forget that Daniels and Wynn are healthy, rested and in better shape.

3. Lots of rust on Samuels and Thomas. Plus, Dockery is on a new team. This all is true. Dockery was a Skin, but that was over two years ago. Samuels is coming off knee and arm surgeries and Thomas is coming off neck surgery ( a freaking broken neck!!!!). So I'm not surprised that there will be some rust on some of these guys.

4. They're not that good? Maybe. But I think it's too soon to tell either way. Let's at least see what this team does against the Patriots in week three of the preseason.

2008 Summary: The season started out well and eventually fell apart due to age and injury. Early on, Clinton Portis was having holes and he was having which looked like would be a career year. Jason Campbell also was having time enough to get some plays off and have a good but conservative season. There was the occasional sack, but nothing too severe that worried most fans. Injuries started as early as the game vs. the Cardinals as Stephon Heyer went down and was replaced by Jon Jansen. Randy Thomas suffered an injury that could have left him permanently crippled had he been hit wrong. Chris Samuels tore his triceps against the Ravens and Pete Kendall had bad knees that required him to sit out practice. While the Skins started out well, it wasn't long until things fell apart and it started with the O-line. Jason Campbell was sacked 38 times in 2008, including a dreadful 7 times vs. Pittsburgh. If you watched the Pittsburgh game (I was at that mess) it was so ugly that Campbell would get hit as soon as he snapped the ball and it came from everywhere.

As the season went along, it was clear that Jon Jansen is no longer a pass blocker. Sure, he can still run block pretty well but he was getting beat regularly on pass plays. The team still kept Heyer out despite recovering from his injury which makes you wonder if they felt Heyer could get the job done. There was little depth on the team and we saw little of 3rd round rookie Chad Rinehart. Then came the report from The Post which gave a scathing review of the O-line from the team (or at least a source who was in the personnel meetings). In this, there were concerns that Rinehart may not be serviceable. That Jansen wasn't really starter caliber anymore and Heyer may not be the solution to replace him. That Kendall and Thomas had health issues and that the team probably needed significant upgrades at both guard and the right tackle positions. Plus, both Samuels and Rabach are getting older and the Skins may need to start to get younger.

See why I was adamant on drafting Michael Oher? Of course, I didn't think Brian Orakpo would be there at #13.

The Offseason: The Skins did attempt to at least start to improve the O-line. Jason Fabini and Pete Kendall weren't resigned. Jon Jansen was cut (and then signed by the Lions). The Skins tried to go younger by bringing in G/T Jeremy Bridges and C/G Will Montgomery. Then the Skins got a coup by bringing back LG Derrick Dockery (cut by Buffalo). Also, the Skins brought in Dockery's friend and former 1st round bust Mike Williams who lost 108 lbs. to get into playing shape. However, the Skins failed to draft any offensive linemen during the draft. The main reason was that after the 1st round picks went, the team didn't have very high grades on the remaining players.

Current Roster: D'Anthony Batiste, Jeremy Bridges, Scott Burley*, Devin Clark, Derrick Dockery, Stephon Heyer, Will Montgomery, Casey Rabach, Ruben Riley, Chad Rinehart, Chris Samuels, Randy Thomas, Edwin Williams*, Mike Williams
* Rookie

Biggest Position Battle:
Stephon Heyer vs. The Field
(For Right Tackle)

Heyer has been named the starter going into camp, but the coaches have pretty much stated that it's an open competition. Most consider Mike Williams and Jeremy Bridges at the top competitors for the position. So far however based on the camp reports I've read and listened to from the Post (Jason Reid) and from the Skincast guys (Reffkin, Murphy and Pappas) it looks like Heyer is the clear favorite with Williams and Bridges battling for the back up spot. I also wonder if Devin Clark will be given a shot, or if the Skins plan on using him as a possible back up to Samuels. Clark has been filling in at LT when Samuels is out.

Bonus Position Battle:
Who's the Backup Guard?

This will be a huge battle primarily between Chad Rinehart, Jeremy Bridges and Will Montgomery. Most likely, I see all three players making the 53 man roster but who is the primary backup guard will be very telling. Both Bridges and Montgomery have had starts at guard in their NFL careers, but I see Montgomery to be the primary backup for Casey Rabach (barring an amazing camp by rookie Edwin Williams). Rinehart has yet to play in a regular season game and Bridges so far looks to be depth as either a tackle or a guard. Randy Thomas' health has not been good. He's having both knee and elbow problems and just recovered from a broken neck and the surgery to fix said broken neck. So, I would guess that whomever becomes the primary backup will see some time and it may be sooner than later.

Players to Watch:
1. Chad Rinehart- overshadowed by Devin Thomas, Malcom Kelly and Fred Davis, Rinehart never took the field in 2008 despite multiple injures that took out a few of the starters. There was serious concern mentioned in the above article by the Post and through other sources that Rinehart just isn't "getting it". However, Coach Bugel has said that he's starting to figure out what he needs to do. Rinehart right now should be the heir apparent to Randy Thomas' spot at right guard and the Redskins look like they'll need Rinehart to step up sooner than later. There should be some pressure for Rinehart to step into the role. The last guard selected by the Skins in the 3rd round started in his first year and is currently a starter.........and that guard is none other than Derrick Dockery.

2. Edwin Williams- The undrafted rookie from Maryland is a long shot to make the team but has some measurables (namely size 315lbs) that could help him in his quest to make the roster. I think he'll probably make the practice squad but you never know, Stephon Heyer also made the roster in a similar position as Williams, so anything can happen. Williams was considered to be a possible 5th-7th round talent but went undrafted. Maybe the Redskins have found another gem?

3. Casey Rabach, Chris Samuels, Randy Thomas and Stephon Heyer- this is all about injuries. Samuels and Thomas are coming off bad injuries from last year. Currently Heyer (knee), Rabach (calf) and Thomas (knee, elbow) have missed time in training camp with injuries and the team is being very careful with Samuels. This is four of the five starters and you have to be concerned about this issue.

Projected Starters: Chris Samuels (LT), Derrick Dockery (LG), Casey Rabach (C), Randy Thomas (RG), Stephon Heyer (RT). Jason Campbell will probably get the blame if the Redskins fail this year, but any knowledgeable Redskins fan will tell you that most championships are started in the trenches. Many of us lived during the days of "The Hogs", so we know what a good offensive line can do for a team. The current "Dirtbags" don't have to be on that level, but they need to do enough to give Campbell time and give Portis an opening.......something that was done at the beginning of 2008 and didn't happen by season's end.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tickets please.....


So yesterday, the season tickets came- here's how they look for 2009. Sorry for the blurriness, took this with my cell phone as I wanted to pop this entry out quick. Another picture below.



Here is the list of players:
1. Jason Campbell ( Presason week 2 vs. Steelers)
*Ironic that his picture is on this one as he was sacked 7 times last year vs. the Steelers
2. Laron Landry (Preseason week 3 vs. Patriots)
3. DeAngelo Hall ( vs. Rams)
4. Clinton Portis (vs. Bucs)
5. Albert Haynesworth (vs. Chiefs)
6. Chris Samuels (vs. Eagles)
7. London Fletcher (vs. Broncos)
8. Chris Cooley (vs. Saints)
9. Fred Smoot (vs. Giants)
10. Santana Moss (vs. Cowboys)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What is Synvisc and Why Should You Care (Haynesworth's Knee)?

So the big news is that Albert Haynesworth has been rested a few times during training camp. Also, he's had an injection for his knee. Of course this is causing a freak out by some and a shrug by some others (like me).

So what was Big Al given? It was a Synvisc injection.

So you know what you should be asking: What is Synvisc?

(info. from drugs.com)
Basically, Synvisc is an injection of a derivative of Hyaluronic acid. It is similar to a substance (synovial fluid) that naturally occurs in the body that lubricates the joints and cartilage and works as a shock absorber. Normally, it's used in patients with osetoarthritis but can be used for other reasons. (Ed. Note: I am not suggesting that Haynesworth has osteoarthritis, just describing for that it is used)

It's painful as hell because the doctor injects it into he actual joint......

So here's my opinion/guess: Haynesworth had a knee sprain last year that cost him some time. The Skins decided to give him the shot, that may provide up to six months of cushion per each shot (if he uses the new Synvisc-One) and it sounds like he's had the injection before. Let's face it, Haynesworth is a athlete that has to drive his legs (ie. his knees) on every play. He's a huge man (350lbs per his profile on Redskins.com) and he's not getting any younger (yes, he's 28 years old but as you get older your body starts to slow down it's production of many things like cartilage and synovial fluid).

So if anything, this may slow and/or prevent some damage to his knee and help him be on the field more often.

I know that there are a few in the media that would love to say: "See, we told you so. Haynesworth only plays hard for a contract and can't stay healthy." "Snyder overpays for bust talent again." But it's too early to freak out and consider the signing of Haynesworth a mistake or a not thoroughly evaluated move.

For the fan, knee injuries are tricky things. However, unless I hear the word microfracture or some sort of ligament tear I would keep my concern to a minimal.

Monday, August 3, 2009

This Deserves It's Own Post........

Redskins fans have their own obsession. We're a pretty die hard fan base as far as I'm concerned. Despite being generally mediocre since 1992 (through the ownership of the late Jack Kent Cooke, his son John and the current tenure of Daniel Snyder) FedEx/RFK continues it's tradition of general admission sell outs and support by the DC/Metro area and it's fanbase. There has been a growing trend that has the fans in a divide that is starting to have a Red state/Blue state feel to it as you have your optimists (a.k.a. homers, which I am proudly in this category) and your pessimists (a.k.a realists as they like to call themselves) and there is banter and every view is skewed based on their feelings. That's about it.

Then you have the Bengals fans and the WhoDey Revolution.
With training camp underway, they decided to send a message about their disdain for the franchise that they only have 1 scout on staff via airplane banner (see pic below).


Photobucket

But they weren't done, the next day they added another message:

Photobucket

discussing the stadium tax the fans/tax payers paid for to build a new stadium for a team that been pretty inept each and every year (with exception for the year that Palmer tore his ACL vs. Pittsburgh in the playoffs).

Of course, this haven't made the Bengals brass happy and they've been trying to get the planes stopped.

I applaud WDR for their attempts to call the Bengals out and try to make some changes. Will it work? Who knows. But at least it seems to be more effective at least in making headlines than trying to boycott games/merchandise and holding up signs that would say "Fire Brown!" or something like that.

Links:
WDR Invades Georgetown pt.1
WDR Invades Georgetown pt.2

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Blackest Night Is Here/Other Updates

Actually, DC Comics' Blackest Night has been out for about 3 weeks now, but since I get my comics on a monthly basis via DCBS I will be getting a chance to read it starting today (hopefully) so expect to see a comic review here on IIWII sooner than later.........

and I will be extensively covering the Blackest Night storylines, even though it may be about a month behind everybody else.

Football

I plan on doing a Redskins and NFL News and notes as we get closer to the end of the week.

Let's Look At...... will get finished. Yes, I'm slow.......but I don't do this for any commercial sites and I'm not getting paid, so no deadlines (other than what I have in my head). Plus, you have plenty of stuff to read around the web.