Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Update: I Shouldn't be Harassed at the Next Game for My Fire Vinny Shirt

From Matt Terl @ Redskins Blog:
http://blog.redskins.com/2009/10/27/your-t-shirts-are-okay-with-fedexfield-also-lots-of-mike-wise/
However, your T-shirts are allowed as long as they don't feature profanity, and much of what reportedly went down Monday night with the confiscating of shirts should not have happened. Here's Donovan's direct quote to me:

"Our policy regarding messages on T-shirts and other clothing is simple: if it doesn't display profanity, it's fine," he said. "It's not our policy to regulate clothing based on the message it displays. We've heard the anecdotal reports that some stadium personnel were being over-zealous in their handling of this matter Monday night. We apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced as well as fans who were distressed by the reports, and we'll be working with all stadium employees to be certain that the policy is correctly enforced at future games at FedExField."

Ok, so here's the deal. I'll be wearing my Fire Vinny t-shirt (all it says is Fire Vinny, no profanity or obscene words) for the remainder of the games I attend this season. Skins are on the record. We'll see what happens.......

Skins fall 27-17 to Eagles....

Well,
We've learned one thing last night. Playcalling isn't the main issue with this team. It really comes down to lack of execution and lack of personnel. While the D generally played tough, they gave up two major big plays that resulted in TDs for DeSean Jackson. One was a blown containment by Andre Carter on a reverse and poor tackling by our corners and safety on the run down. The second, was a blown coverage by either Carlos Rogers or Chris Horton (or both). The Redskins only consistent weapon on offense went down with a broken ankle/foot (Chris Cooley) and this team just continues to find ways to shoot themselves in the foot with poor execution, penalties and turnovers.

I also wanted to talk about the Eagles for a moment. I'm not impressed, let's just say that about the Eagles. Their version of the Wildcat is ineffective, Mcnabb is about the same as ever: a good quarterback that can hurt you if you don't pressure him; if you pressure him, he throws ground balls. Westbrook is hurt (again). Their defense is solid and still crazy blitzing, but I think teams with a good O-line will be able to run on them. Also, a team with a quicker throwing QB will smoke them when they bring the house. If the Skins remove some of the serious blunders that they made, this game is much closer than the final score. With the exception of DeSean Jackson, nobody on either team really wowed me.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good
Sherm Lewis/Sherm Smith- I know, I know. Same playbook, only 17 points scored..... but look at two stats that seem rather improved over the other games. The Skins actually won the time of possession and they were 2/3 in the Red Zone in scoring. And those two scores were TDs. Plus, I was dead wrong on blown timeouts and delay of penalties that I figured would occur.

Shawn Suisham- Made a 47 yard FG. Is 9/9 on the season. Nice kickoffs all season long.

Fred Davis- stepped into Chris Cooley's role and led the team in catches. Scored his first career TD. A good start.....now, let's work on that blocking.

Devin Thomas- 1st TD catch of his career. I've given the WR a great deal of flack lately, but both he and Moss were wide open many times last night.

Front Seven of the D- With exception to Andre Carter's blown containment, the D-line and the linebackers looked sharp. Kudos to Jeremy Jarmon and Albert Haynesworth who stood out with Carter and Alexander.

Reed Doughty- Nice sack on McNabb, always swarms to the ball.

The Bad
Jason Campbell- fumbled snaps, strip fumbled, threw a terrible INT for a TD off a deflection, when Campbell threw into the lane where the Eagles ran an overload blitz. Missed a great deal of open targets and looked tentative in the pocket. I have never seen a QB who regularly takes almost a half to get comfortable in the pocket. Sorry, JC I have been pulling for you but I don't think it will happen here. Wish you the best of luck in 2010.......maybe Oakland will be a better fit.

O-line- No run game. Campbell getting sacked 6 times. Rabach having poor snaps. We have the two worst starting tackles in the league. I can only hope Levi Jones will be ready for the Falcons game. At this point it can't get much worse.

Chris Horton and Carlos Rogers- What happened fellas? How do you let Jackson blow coverage like that?

Andre Carter- Overall had a great game, but 1 blown containment cost the Skins big.

Antwaan Randle-El- This play was the dagger as far as I'm concerned. It's bad enough that ARE isn't a punt returner anymore, but now he can't even fair catch the ball. At this point either Moss, Tryon, Hall or Thomas should be returning punts. Period.

Chris Cooley- bad hair, then breaks his ankle. The good news is that he may be back in 4-5 weeks. The bad news, he's still playing for a team that will probably be 2-8 (or worse) by then.

The Refs- It didn't affect the the game's outcome, but it was a lousy performance in a nationwide game. Pitiful. Lot's of missed calls. Calling penalties on one team and trying to access the penalty on the other team.....sheesh.

The Ugly
Despite the playcalling controversy this week, it didn't play much of a factor. I don't think Zorn would have done better, but I think he may have done slightly worse. Either way this team still lacks the personnel to do anything. And other players are making boneheaded mistakes or just waiting for this season to end. Zorn's not coaching them up........

Vinny has no clue- When asked publicly about the patchwork O-line, Vinny mentions that the line was addressed by adding Derrick Dockery and Mike Williams. Dockery was a good move, but Mike Williams ladies and gents? This was the guy that I thought should have been cut in training camp. Also, after knowing about Samuels and Thomas' injury history, why didn't the Skins prepare for them to be out at some point? They didn't and it shows.

Why Would Gruden Come Here? - Seriously. Unless they cleaned house, if I was Tom Cable I wouldn't come to coach this team. Gruden and Jaws had a field day making fun of the Skins on MNF. I don't blame them.

Don't You Have Better Things to do Mr. Snyder?- DC Sports Bog is reporting how security is harassing fans by throwing away and banning homemade signs and forcing fans to take off or turn inside-out t-shirts that are protesting the ownership and/or making fun of Snyder and Vinny (or the current situation- ie. BINGO shirts).
I'm not happy about this one bit. And yes, I will be wearing my Fire Vinny shirt for the Broncos game and beyond.

Let me make this clear, you have security there to protect fans, players, media and everybody from people that want to cause trouble......and I don't mean protesters wearing shirts. I expect security and the PGC police to do just that. If your focus in on if somebody has a Snyder Sucks t-shirt, then something is clearly wrong and I strongly suggest that your security's main focus should be safety. Plus, this only makes ownership look even more ridiculous to the rest of the world.

Hooray BYE week........

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekly Picks 10/26/2009

I'm a little late on this so again here's my list of winners this week:
Colts
Steelers
Patriots
Bears
Chargers
Packers
Texans
Panthers
Jets
Falcons
Dolphins
Giants
Eagles

Last Week: 9-5
Season: 57-33

Redskins Weekly Round Up

Wow,
It has been an interesting week at Redskins Park. Interesting if you're a media person. Abysmal if you are a Redskins fan.

First, the injuries:
- Clinton Portis is still nicked up but is expected to start on Monday
- DeAngelo Hall has a sore knee
- Albert Haynesworth has a ankle issue
- Cornelius Griffin has a banged up elbow
All these guys should play on Monday.

Chris Samuels Done For The Year (Forever?)
With a stinger and a history of spinal stenosis, Chris Samuels looks like he'll be headed to the IR in order to prevent any further damage to his spine. It looks like this is it for #60, although neither Samuels or the team have officially said the dreaded R (retirement) word yet. It's a true shame that Samuels has only seen a few seasons of playoffs. He really has been the anchor for th O-line for the past few years and the only spot where the Redskins could regularly get yards when they ran the ball. You figure the amount of highly talented DEs he has had to face in his career and that only a few of them has really smoked him, showed the talent level Samuels has/had.
We'll miss you Chris. I just wish you could have played for better teams.

Roster Moves
Skins cut P Glenn Pakulak, RB Marcus Mason and RB Anthony Alridge
Skins re-sign Renaldo Wynn and sign LT Levi Jones and RB Quinton Ganther

Wynn being re-signed is no surprise, but if Hunter Smith still can't go, expect him to be cut again and Pakulak to be re-signed. Mason was a bit of a surprise but in the few times the Skins used him, he didn't do much (6 carries/19yds, 3.2 avg). Plus, he's not the best pass blocker and with this patchwork O-line, that's not going to work. Alridge is still one of those head shakers......you cut him because he can't hold onto the ball. So when Randy Thomas is IRed, instead of bringing in a OG (Pete Kendall is still out there!!!!!!) you bring back Alridge? Then you never use him? It makes no sense especially when you wind up using your main back up RT as the RG (because either Chad Rinehart is injured or the coaches don't have confidence in him) and then have to bring in a 3rd string LT to replace an injured Chris Samuels (to block against Julius Peppers no less). The Skins still have back ups at other positions be the starters on the O-line (Will Montgomery will be the RG although he's also the #2 C behind Casey Rabach).

Levi Jones was a needed move, although his signing to me is just trying to put a band-aid (or duct tape, chewing gum.....add your own phrase) on a badly bleeding wound. Jones, by many has been considered an underachiever. Which would explain why he was available. Jones should be a better fit at LT than Stephon Heyer or D'Batiste. I don't know that much about Quinton Ganther, but here's the link to his history and stats.

Zorn Demoted
By now, you know about Zorn's demotion from the playcalling duties. By now you also know that it will be Sherm Lewis calling the plays to Sherm Smith who will relay the plays to Jason Campbell. Speaking of guys named Sherm (or Sherman) here's what Jason Campbell may have to do to avoid the multitude of Eagles blitzers this week:


(Who doesn't love The Jeffersons?)

Even though Zorn has said the new system should run smoothly, I expect to see our 1st half timeouts used up by the middle of the 1st quarter. I also expect at least three delay of game penalties and a frustrated Jason Campbell. Part of me wants to see Campbell just go off and start running the no huddle with him calling about a dozen plays Sonny Jurgensen style. I think Campbell would get some respect from his detractors if he did this as a **** you to the current situation.

First thing is that this just looks bad overall. The front office is trying to scape goat the head coach as the problem of all of this. Mind you, Zorn deserves a great deal of blame on the lack of productivity from his offense. Especially in the Red Zone and yes, I would in particular blame some of the missteps on the playcalling. But there has been an extreme lack of execution by the players. Also, look at the personnel. The O-line is in shambles. Portis is dinged/older and there is nobody behind him who can run the ball (Betts is a decent draw play runner and pass catcher/blocker, but that's really about it). Campbell is still struggling and the WR corp. disappears for periods.

Much of this blame should be on the front office.
Also, what does this say about Snyder and Cerrato (or Snyderrato) when they brought Jim Zorn in to be the offensive coordinator? I would assume even if Mariucci or Fassel had gotten the job, Zorn probably would have been the playcaller. Zorn was way over his head from the get go.

Let the Zorn/Vinny Soap Opera begin:
There has been a regular subtle back and forth between Zorn and the FO since the demotion. Totally understandable. But it has gotten to the point where there seems to be a general daily back and forth between the two. "This didn't happen. Yes it did." "Vote of confidence, I'm not aware of it". Then you throw in the Steve Largent comments and it looks like the Skins are trying to get Zorn to quit, yet Zorn is forcing them to fire him.
It feels like a bad episode of Melrose Place or some other soap opera.
Frankly, I don't care.
Zorn will have plenty to say when he's fired at the end of the season. Snyderrato will have some type of spin about the whole situation.
Until then gentlemen, may I suggest you both getting your respective heads out of your asses and find a way to fix the current problems?
Both of you are to blame for this sinking ship......fix the damn problem.
Quit crying to the media. This is football, not some crappy reality series. You are not Jon and Kate.

John Gruden at the Park.......
Just for MNF preperation.

Notable Vinny Quote of the Week

"A different voice is good. To change the voice, to change something on offense to get a spark -- to me, that's all it was."
(Vinny on his Radio Show, via the Washington Times)

Maybe we need a different voice in ownership and the front office to get that spark hmmmmm.........?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekly Picks......10/18/2009

I'm going to go through this pretty quickly. Didn't do that great last week (7-7).
So here's my list of winners:

Jaguars
Redskins
Bengals
Vikings
Packers
Steelers
Saints
Panthers
Seahawks
Eagles
Jets
Patriots
Falcons
Broncos

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekend Link Dump, Friday Night Videos

I don't know where you are at the moment, but for us in the DC/VA/MD area it's cold, wet and windy. Perfect weather to sleep in, get in some comfy clothes and watch a good movie or whatever is on TV. Sadly, the Sunday football schedule around here sucks. Here's some links and videos to waste your time:

John Riggins goes off on the Redskins. While I agree with him almost 100%, he really seems to be enjoying it. Especially about the comment about being last in the NFCE.


DC Pro Sports Report is hosting a weekly Round Table to discuss the Skins. This weeks question: Fire Jim Zorn Now Or Later?

BANG! Has another new cartoon discussing the new "Tom Brady Rule" with quarterbacks in the most humorous way possible. Also, check out the Bang Cartton Radio Hour.

New Skinscast ep. is up......lots of info. on why the Washington Examiner is reporting Jon Gruden is at the top of Snyder's coaching wish list.

Christmas is coming soon and sometimes you really need a drill sargent to get those elves to get to work (NSFW- language).

(Thanks to Sarge for finding this gem)

Tired of infomercials? Well, here's Infomercial Hell....where nothing works, maybe the solution is just to give up.

(From Everything is Terrible!)

Bram Weinstein thinks the Redskins will win with Snyder.....eventually

Songs stuck in my head this past week.........

(Tonic's Open Up Your Eyes)

and



(Peter Murphy's Cuts You Up)

Also, for any fans of Adult Swims The Venture Bros., season 4 starts Sunday at Midnight (or would that be considered Monday Morning?)

Finally, this is post #200. Amazing how much stuff I've had to write about in about 10 months........

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What A New Coach Should Want From the Redskins

By now almost 99% of Redskin fans know that Jim Zorn will be gone by the end of the 2009 season (if not sooner) and we also know that Snyder will be interested in a few coaches that have done well and that are currently on the market like Shanahan, Holmgren, Gruden, Cowher and Dungy. However, any head coach that isn't naive or desperate for a paycheck would know that the Redskins organization is in shambles.

And it starts at the top (to quote Carlos Rogers)........

I have to think that most of those guys listed would not come to this team with the current structure, so what should the Redskins do to get one of these guys here?

Here's a list of things that if I was going to coach the Skins would expect in changes from this organization. I think any coach would expect this unless they were truly naive or just were happy with the 5-10 million paycheck.
(Note: This was going to be The Redskins Manifesto with some other things added, but the change in philosophy was the main point)

1. Change Philosophy- The Skins need to conclude that most of what they've done the past few years have been wrong, thus this new regime is going to work differently from the top down in how we do business, run the team, develop personnel, address the media, deal with fans. There needs to be a firm commitment from ownership and the front office and without that, nothing will ever be accomplished.

2. Vinny Cerrato Must be Terminated- While Vinny seems to have some football acumen, it is clearly overshadowed by the fact that he's Daniel Snyder's "Right Hand Man" and it also seems clear that it's Snyder running the show moreso than the Executive VP of player personnel. The Redskins need a "football guy" who knows football, knows the league and knows how to run and manage a team and all of its various departments (at least on the football side of operations).

3. Hire a GM- Good GMs, real football guys, are out there. Since Jon Gruden seems to be a favorite of Snyder's, here's a name for you: Bruce Allen. Find a GM who has some experience and let him run the team. That means Snyder gives up enough power so that the GM has authority to tell him "NO". Remember Mr. Snyder, Jack Kent Cooke won Superbowls with GMs. You can't be a trend setter if you fail and this current set up (Snyder/Vinny running the show) isn't working, nor will it ever.

4. Accountability- Here's a quick question that may stump die hard Redskin fans: Who drafted Sean Taylor? Was it Snyder, Cerrato, Gibbs, Gregg Williams, Clinton Portis? That's the point. It was hard to tell who was doing what and who was signing off on what. That's been a big problem. Who's really running the show and has been running the show? All signs pre and post- Gibbs 2.0 point to Dan Snyder (via Vinny). The Redskins need to have accountability in all aspects of football operations from the owner down to the players. If there is accountability, then people will work harder to get the job done and done correctly.

5. Have a Plan- The Skins are a reactionary team. Instead of planning ahead for problems in the future (like an aging O-line) or having a plan in place, the Skins currently react by radically changing things or by overspending on free agents that will provide a quick fix to all of the problems (and they usually don't). What this team needs to do simply is have a plan. What type of coach do you want to lead this team? What type of scheme do you want to run and do you currently have the players here to run said scheme? What type of players will you need to run said scheme? Those are just a few questions, but you get the point......if the Skins plan ahead they may avoid some of the pitfalls they have fallen into over the past decade and save some money in the process.

5b. Have a Backup Plan- The Redskins should always have a list of GMs, potential head coaches, potential assistant coaches, scouts and players on hand. Sometimes coaches quit, get promoted (to other teams) or other reasons, same with front office people and same with players. If the Redskins have lists ready of potential candidates, they won't be caught flatfooted like they did when Gibbs left in 2007 and the Skins had no idea who they would bring in to replace him.

6. Stick to the Plan- Once the plan has been set up.....stick with it! How many times have the Redskins brought in players and even coaches that don't fit the current structure or scheme....thus making the situation worse.

7. Let the Coach Bring in His People and Players- Don't hamstring the coach by forcing him to use other coaches and schemes that he won't be comfortable. It didn't work with Zorn and it won't work with the next guy. Again, you are not a trend setter if your "trend" fails miserably.

8. Patience- Building a winning team from scratch takes time. The Redskins must allow this coach enough time (minimal 3 years; window 3-5 years) to build his team via draft and free agency. For everyone to learn the scheme and to gel as a unit. The hunger to win should always be there, but it takes time to develop the swagger and learn to win.

9. Honesty- With the fans and the media. You want to win a Superbowl every year. So does 31 other teams, but the organization needs the admit that it's starting over and doing it right this time. If the Redskins try to downplay any big moves or keep the big splashes to a minimal, maybe the fans will give the organization (especially the coach and the players) time to develop.

10. Evaluation- No plan is perfect. There are always bumps in the road. This is why the team and the organization needs to re-evaluate things at all levels and determine what needs to be adjusted......and don't go overboard. Most teams already does this and the Redskins do this at times as well, but it needs to be stated.

11. Win First, Market the Team Second- If the Redskins win, the Redskins will make boatloads of money. So instead of focusing on how to market the team and sell jerseys, the concentration needs to be on what it will take to win. "If you build it, they will come" and FedEx will be packed.

If the Redskins are willing to change their practices and team philosophy they, like other teams, have a good chance to turn things around and become a winning franchise again. It's up to Daniel Snyder to find the right people to do the job and let them do it. If he can do this, he could one day turn from the most hated owner to one of the greatest.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekly Picks 10/11/2009

So far I've been doing good on my weekly picks. I'm 41-21 (.661) for the season and that's not bad. Of course, it's only good for 18th place in the BGO pick 'em league, but it's a decent start for a long season.

Anyway, cue the music........


1PM Bengals (3-1) @ Ravens (3-1) (Ravens favored by 8.5)
Hard to believe that the Bengals are just one fluke play away from being 4-0. However, if the Browns played a little better, they're arguably 2-2. I'm not sure what to think about the Bengals, but I do know what to think about the Ravens. They're pretty damn good. Barring some questionable calls (the idiotic Tom Brady rule) and a dropped pass, the Ravens could a 4-0 team as well. I like the Ravens at home, but maybe closer than the spread.
Prediction: Ravens 27- 20

1PM Buccaneers (0-4) @ Eagles (2-1) (Eagles favored by 14)
With exception to last week's game vs. the Redskins, the Bucs have looked generally horrible and I don't think that changes this week. Expect the Eagles to take advantage of an inexperienced QB and a shoddy defense.
Prediction: Eagles 34- 16

1PM Browns (0-4) @ Bills (1-3) (Bills favored by 6)
Another ugly game this week. Braylon Edwards is gone. T.O. is a shell of his former self. Unless your a fan of either team (or play fantasy football or in a pick 'em league) don't wast your time with this one.
Prediction: Bills 16-13

1PM Steelers (2-2) @ Lions (1-3) (Steelers favored by 10.5)
This could be an upset game, but the Steelers are a much better team than the Redskins and I believe that they'll find a way to win. If they want to stay in competition for the AFCN title, they have to win this game.
Prediction: Steelers 24-14

1PM Redskins (2-2) @ Panthers (0-3) (Panthers favored by 3.5)
You know me. I normally take the Skins, because I'm such a homer. That streak ends today. The Skins are 0-2 on the road. They have been really mediocre all year. Zorn is about to be fired. Lewis comes in to be a "Bob" and Portis/Sellers are fighting. Add to that with a poor run D, the fact that Carolina is much better than their record shows. I expect Carolina to really trounce the Skins on the O-line. Man, I hope I'm wrong.
Prediction: Panthers 26-13 (I wouldn't be surprised if it was much worse)

1PM Cowboys (2-2) @ Chiefs (0-4) (Cowboys favored by 9)
The Chiefs might have a shot if the attack the Cowboys early and take advantage of the home field advantage.....but I doubt it.
Prediction: Cowboys 24- 13

1PM Raiders (1-3) @ Giants (4-0) (Giants favored by 16)
If David Carr started for the G-Men, I think the Gians would still win this one easily.
Prediction: Giants 34-10

1PM Vikings (4-0) @ Rams (0-4) (Vikings favored by 10)
Today would be a good day to give Brett Favre an early break. The Rams should be done by the 2nd quarter.
Prediction: Vikings 28-3

4:05PM Falcons (2-1) @ 49ers (3-1) (49ers favored by 2.5)
Even with the bye week, I think the 49ers are the better team.
Prediction: 49ers 24-21

4:15PM Texans (2-2) @ Cardinals (1-2) (Cardinals favored by 5.5)
This is a toss up. I think the Texans win with their D attacking Warner.
Prediction: Texans 27- 21

4:15PM Patriots (3-1) @ Broncos (4-0) (Patriots favored by 3)
The teacher bests the student in this match up.
Prediction: Patriots 20- 13

4:15PM Jaguars (2-2) @ Seahawks (1-3) (Seahawks favored by 1)
Tough game. The Jags are a tough team to figure out, I'm guessing they'll win today but who knows?
Prediction: Jags 17- 14

8:20PM Colts (4-0) @ Titans (0-4) (Colts favored by 3)
Titans really need a win, but it won't be this week.
Prediction: Colts 34- 20

8:30PM (MNF) Jets (3-1) @ Dolphins ( Jets favored by 2)
I like the Jets here.
Prediction: Jets 20-17

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why Zorn Didn't Bring in Collins?

There were many that suggested that it was time for Zorn to bench Jason Campbell in favor for veteran Todd Collins. When asked by the media if he thought about giving Campbell the hook, Zorn simply said "No".

Now many feel that this was because Zorn is deeply loyal to Campbell or that Zorn knows his job rides on Campbell's success........I say that there is more to it than that.
To me, there are reasons why he kept Campbell in there and in this game is was clearly the right move.

First, we know what Collins brings to the table: experience and quick release. Collins is a very smart guy who does his homework and prepares himself as if he will be starting. We've seen that mental reps. for him equate actual practice reps. He also tends to know where everybody is on the field and how to get the ball to them. His problems are also noteable: he's not really mobile and he has limited arm strength.

So, let's look at the game and figure if Collins would have been better than Campbell. The O-line at times really struggled against the Bucs front four and the occasional blitz packages. Campbell was sacked a few times and fumbled, but Campbell also made some plays with his feet which led to drive continuing first downs. Had Collins been in there, he may have avoided some of the sacks and hits by getting the ball out earlier or just throwing it away. However, Collins lack of mobility would have prevented the conversion of a few key third downs. Also, there was a key play by Campbell to Cooley in which Campbell plays actions the stretch play into a bootleg and then throws across his body to Chris Cooley for a big gain.

Zorn knows the deal and it's a deal that has been argued for probably the last 2-3 years. The O-line just isn't that great, especially in pass protection. Campbell has his problems and so does the WRs, but I think Zorn knew that the protection was limited and that they needed to throw to win the game (it seems clear by the pass choices, even after multiple INTs, that Zorn saw something in Tampa's D that would give Campbell an opportunity to go deep). Of the two QBs. Campbell is the only one who is mobile enough to make plays with his feet when the pocket collapses or if nobody is open.

Makes sense to me and prevents any quarterback controversy. Good news for Zorn is that his gamble worked and one has to hope that it will give the Skins some momentum going into this weeks game vs. the Panthers.

A Tale of Two Halves and My Gameday Experience


Skins Win 16-13
(......and my sanity is restored for another week)

* Skip to the Game Time section of this post if you want to read about only the game and not the adventures of your pal Walking Deadman

My day started at 4:45 AM. I had already packed most of my stuff for the game (grill, cooler, chairs, jerseys, football, tables etc.) and just had to pack up the food, drinks and any other items that I can think of before we leave (yet, I always still find a way to forget something that I could use when tailgating).

By 6:15 AM my friend, lets call him SHD, shows and we load up his stuff into the car. We're on our way by 6:30AM (on time to be there at FedEx by the time the gates open).

The ride to FedEx is about the same as normal. We make a stop about a half hour out to get some ice, some coffee (Caffeine is our friend!!!!!) and some breakfast (to quote Homer Simpson: Ummm Donuts). The only difficult element of the day was the fog on the 'shore side of the trip. I nearly ran a red at one intersection because I couldn't see the light until I was right on top of it. As you make your way to FedEx, you normally see fellow Skins fans make their trek as well and there is the occasional honking of horns or fist pumping/saluting it's pretty easy to tell where I'm going since my car is adorned with flags, decals and helmet magnets.

So we get to the gates off of Morgan Blvd. at around 8:50 AM. There's some guy on Sportstalk 980 ranting about making us big money if we call his 1-800 hotline. Of course, he's giving away many of his picks for free all we have to do is call the number. SHD says "Well if he's giving them away for free why won't he just tell us on the air"? The radio guy screams "I WILL MAKE YOU LOTS OF MONEY!!!!! If you only had the insider info about these games that I do!!!!" We had some off color jokes and Simpson's references made about the rantings of a guy that seemed to know as much about football as any other person. I do admit that I love these prognosticator infomericals....they're hilarious.

They opened the gates about 5 minutes early, which was a blessing because the coffee was catching up with us. It always pays to get there early because then you have the pick of the lot and we found a nice place away from the traffic over by a fence. Some interesting things of note:
1) It seems like everybody shows up to ask you for money. We had people asking to help the homeless/hungry, people selling candy bars for prom and a guy playing sax for tips (he played Hail to the Redskins well). 2) The sorority handing out the Think Pink ribbons were out in the parking lots handing them out. 3) Despite the utter frustration and pretty much consensus opinion that the Redskins are a mediocre bunch at best, a large crowd showed up. Maybe because tailgates are the best party in town, I suppose. Maybe, the fans thought the Skins might actually have a chance to win? It's clear that the fans aren't happy, just read the Sports Bog's take on the game but they showed none the less.......I guess the tickets are already paid for, might as well go. That was my opinion.

Game Time
Frankly, the Redskins are a lousy, lousy team. Time, poor judgement and bad moves in drafting and personnel have caught up to us and it clearly has shown with the 2009 Redskins. On the opening drive, Jason Campbell is sacked twice and fumbles. The resulting play leads to Tampa's only touchdown.

Complete miscues by the offense including two Jason Campbell INTs, poor blocking by the O-line, predictable play calls (the Skins only ran stretch plays to the left and right and the occasional draw play in their run scheme....at least that's what I saw) and poorly run routes by many of the WRs.

Only the play by the defense kept this team alive. While giving up some yardage on the ground, they kept Tampa far enough away on most drives to force Mike Nugent to kick field goals. Luckily, with some of the wind and Nugent struggling, Nugent was only 1/3 in his 1st half attempts. We're at halftime down 10-0.

At this point I'm having a mild Mike Valenti rant up in Section 403.


My voice was already starting to crack from all of the screaming in the 1st half. No, I didn't boo if you were curious. As I have said before, I don't boo my team. However, as I have said before for those who have I don't blame them. Especially when you pay what you have to pay to see this team and that's not counting if you buy food/merchandise/drinks, the drive time to get to FedEx and the effort to make the trek there.

"Make Plays!!!!!" "I did my job, I showed up to play!!!" I was saying in my best hoarse Valenti voice. Sure it was in jest, but I was pissed what a way to end a weekend off. What a waste of my time. I could be at home watching the Red Zone channel. Somehow, we decided to stay for the second half and finally my team showed up. It wasn't pretty but there were some moments.

Portis ran the ball in spurts and the O-line gave him some holes to get yardage. It's been rare this season to see gains of 5-7 yards but we were finally seeing it. A nice pick by Hall set up the Redskins first score and the Skins were down 10-3. Then the Skins finally had a effective drive and Campbell hit Cooley for the TD (I need to re-watch this drive on TV, SHD dropped his phone and we were in the process of finding it when Cooley scored). Of course, for every good play the Skins make, they tend to make a bad one. Ronde Barber came around untouched and blocked the extra point, so the Skins remain down 10-9.

It was the bomb to Moss that made it for everybody as Campbell heave a ball that hovered enough for Moss to get ahead of the corner and make the catch. Moss still has that great speed and you have to hope that this play and the play last week in Detroit will help the Skins open up something for players other than Cooley and Randel-El. 16-10 Skins.

The D continued to hold their ground and stop the offense from scoring a TD despite letting Nugent convert another FG. The crowd noise at this point was great and again, I need to re-watch this game to see how it sounded on the TV. In the end, it was the D that finished it off with a Jarmon forced fumbled that was recoved by Chris Horton. Who knew that the kneel down is one of the best plays of the game? Skins win 16-13.

The defense had a much better game as they held the Bucs to 2/13 on 3rd down conversions (15%). Much better than the 51% they were averaging in the prior three games. Jason Campbell made plays in this game both good and bad. He needs to be better at preventing fumbles. The 3 INT game is a rarity for him (and a good performance by Tampa's Aqib Talib) and you wonder if Campbell was trying to force the ball to make a play (2 of the three INTs I'd say was the case, the third I wonder if it was a bad route by Kelly). I still wonder about the playcalling by Zorn as some of the plays were predictable, but I did like how Zorn turned a stretch play (used only a dozen times in this game) into a play action bootleg to Cooley for a big gain. The O-line blocking still looks average to poor in many cases and it doesn't look like their is a big push on run plays. Chris Samuels looked like he was struggling and that is a major concern. Hunter Smith's injury (groin) is also a big concern as he's been one of the few reliable players this season.

A win is a win, but we have to remember that this was against a team that other good teams have relatively destroyed. Also, for right now and the next few seasons (heck, maybe until Snyder is no longer the owner) never take the Skins if they are favored to win by more than five.

Here's some things I'm thinking about this team right now.
1. Clinton Portis- I'm convinced that either CP is more banged up than we know or has hit that 30 year wall already (yes, I know CP is 28 but for football he's an old 28 and has been in this league for a very long time) or a little of both. He fought for those yards and is still one of the toughest players on the field, but he has clearly lost some of that burst and speed from previous years. I have a feeling that he'll be averaging around 3.5-4.0 yards per carry this season.

2. It's time to start Marko Mitchell- Malcolm Kelly, Devin Thomas and Fred Davis have been non-factors. The Skins aren't really using Kelly's height advantage, so why not bench one of these guys and give Mitchell a shot. He was the most productive WR in the preseason. Could he really be any worse than what we're seeing with these guys right now? Also, let's see more of Todd Yoder. He's a better blocker than Davis and seems to be a good target for Campbell in the Red Zone.

3. Carlos Rogers will never be an elite corner- You can argue that Rogers is the best corner on the team right now. He is the best cover corner. He tackles and hits better than any of the other guys. He plays the run well. However, he has hands of stone and can't hold onto anything. Rogers dropped another INT that could have easily been a TD. Every time he does this I think of the Rock Eater from The Neverending Story:

(They look like good, strong hands don't they?)

4. Brian Orakpo and Jeremy Jarmon will be the Skins starting defensive ends for a long time- Orakpo got sack #2 of this season and his career yesterday and Jarmon saw a decent amount of playing time at DT and DE and forced the game ending fumble. It's nice to see a few of Vinny's draftees pan out. Now if they would just move Orakpo to starting DE and find a SLB, then I'd be happy.

5. Was the PA announcer tailgating? The PA announcer at FedEx made a few blunders at the game and while he normally is excellent it was kind of funny. He called Clinton Portis "Porter". He gave credit to DeAngelo Hall for a really nice hit by Carlos Rogers (Really? I can't ever tell them apart from each other. Their styles are so similar *note sarcasm*). The play/drive of the 1st half was a 15 yard pass from Campbell to Moss........that's not the PA guy's fault it's just sad overall.

6. Shawn Suisham can punt (well enough)- After the injury to Smith, Suisham came out and punted three times for a mediocre 25.3 average. Mind you, that's not that much worse than what the punters on the team last year were doing. The key punt however came on the last Redskins offensive drive. With the Skins around mid-field, Suisham punted the ball out of bounds on the Tampa 19. It forced the Bucs to play hurry up offense and gave the Skins opportunities to make some plays. Overall, it wasn't pretty but it was well enough for this game. Skins better hope Smith gets healthy quick or can find a really good punter off the street.

Only two things of note happened for us post-game. One was that myself, SHD (who is a Ravens fan rooting for the Skins BTW) and some of the people around us were being thanked for being so loud when the team was on defense. It was a highlight for me personally since as many of you know my goal is to one day have FedEx rocking the way RFK used to (of course you need a winning team to help with that) rock with the crowd noise. Second, was the quote of the day. It was on a sign held by two ladies as they were walking out of the stadium.

"Don't hate the playas (or the game). Hate the owner."


Very interesting commentary on the Skins and their organization, don't you think?
Finally got home around 8PM......it was a very long day to say the least.

Missed the Weekly Picks, Here's the MNF Pick at Least

Sorry,
In the process of getting ready for the Bucs/Skins game, I ran out of time to do my weekly picks.
The good news is that I'm so far 10-3 for the week. Figures. Jacksonville is completely un-predictable, the Chargers suck (especially when I pick them to win!!!!) and the rare time I pick Dallas to win they don't.

Anyway here's the MNF prediction:
Packers @ Vikings
Vikings win this is a close battle and ESPN celebrates since their hero has a good game. Did I mention I'm sick of Favre? Maybe it's not Favre personally (although the prima donna routine that he's been running for the last 4-5 seasons is highly annoying) but the media and the fans who laud him like he's the greatest QB ever. He's up there, but there are a great deal of QBs that are playing today (like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady for example) that are better.
Prediction: Vikings 27-24

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Redskins Manifesto is Coming...........

I had a post in my head about what I think the Redskins as an organization would need to do to fix things and make this team functional again. It's a long, lengthy thought process that covers from the top to bottom. Granted, it would be vague in parts because I'm not a football guy on the inside but hopefully the theory would be valid.

As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that it would be way too long in just one post, so I'm going to do a multi-part series on the topic.

I ask that if you are a reader of IIWII and like to discuss football, as this comes out, please provide some input on where my ideas are flawed or dead on.

I know that this will be an effort in futility because I seriously doubt any element will be addressed by the Redskins. However, it is a chance for you the reader to see how my mind sees a successful team and maybe how you see a successful team. Or, what it takes to make a team a success.