Thursday, May 26, 2011

Say it Ain't so CP......

One of my favorite Redskins in the Gibbs 2.0 era to the current Shanahan team has been Clinton Portis. One of the best blocking RBs of all time, CP proved to many doubters that he was an incredibly versatile back as he excelled in Mike Shanahan's zone scheme during his Denver days and then did well as a power runner in Joe Gibbs' more smash mouthed run scheme.

(Portis possibly doing this in a Giants, Eagles or Cowboys jersey? That's just wrong)
I've been a fan of his personality and his toughness during his tenure as a Skin. I even overlooked and defended Portis to other Skin fans who didn't like some of his commentary either about former head coach Jim Zorn, or his work effort during practice and in the off season (ie. many suggested Portis was out of shape, especially in 2008 and 2009).

Of course now CP wants to pull a Lavar Arrington and join another NFC East team, namely the Giants.

“To go to the Giants and get to play the Redskins twice a year after them feeling I wasn’t capable any more, I think that would be outstanding,”
- Clinton Portis 5/25/11

Good luck with that. CP has always used the me vs. the world comments to motivate him. It's worked for me as well in the past. I hope it can help him find another team and do well. That said, it's clear that his body has aged in NFL years to that of a very old player. Personally, even if he was in great shape and motivated (kind of like last year) I have doubts that CP would make it through a 16 game season.

I wanted to write something awful here about if/when he played the Skins he'd fumble a bunch and look terrible, but I can't do it. I still like the player and respect his game too much to do that, even if he did just commit fan suicide with about 99% of the Redskins fan base.

Here's the lesson to take away from all of this: Never buy a jersey of a current player unless you know that player will a) retire with your team, b) is so popular and well respected in the league that no fan (opposing or rooting for the same team) or yourself can shame you for owning that player's jersey c) is a player that you like so much that even if he isn't with your team you're proud that he played for your team (perfect example: London Fletcher. All fans of the Rams, Bills or Redskins should be proud that Fletcher was a part of their organization.). Sadly, I've been burned twice by some former Redskins who I really liked and then irritated me to a point where I probably won't wear they're jerseys again. Clinton Portis may just join that group.

Full Transcript of the Portis Interview via Real Redskins
Rich Tandler does some fact checking on the Portis comments (again via Real Redskins)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday Night Videos: The End is Nigh

According to some, The Rapture is scheduled for tomorrow. That means the end of the world or the apocalypse. This isn't the first time that it's been predicted and it (probably) won't be the last. So, while we wait for the end, here is some music to get you through tomorrow.

Not much going on in the football world still, but I'll have some more analysis coming up on the Skins, John Beck, the quarterback situation, the schedule and other NFL stuff......

.....that is if we get through tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Final Thoughts on the 2011 Draft

(Would the Redskins draft gone differently if Locker was available at 10?)
The draft has been over for almost three weeks. Since there's nothing really going on with the NFL, here's some final thoughts about the draft both pertaining to the Redskins and the NFL in general.

- I really would have loved to see Mike Shanahan's big board. Of course, if I ever did see it I would probably not be allowed to leave Redskins Park until I'm old, senile and gray. The big question has to be what the Redskins would have done if Jake Locker was still available when the Skins picked at #10. Of all the quarterback prospects that were supposedly linked to the Redskins, only Locker was the one I thought the Skins had a true interest. It wouldn't have surprised me in the least if they had selected him. Of course if they did that then Locker wouldn't have Hankerson to throw to or Helu to run the ball. I think either way the Skins were looking for a trading partner to get additional picks and build the roster.

- I do love how obsessed sports media is with the quarterback position. It really is the driving force of the draft. It was funny to see how the Redskins were the daily story as they were linked to Gabbert, Locker, Mallett, Ponder and Dalton mostly. Then the Skins trade out so the Jaguars can draft Gabbert and *poof* not much to say about the Redskins draft by the talking heads at ESPN or NFLN since they passed on a QB.

- More overused  sports catch phrases to go along with "It is what it is": High Motor and Blue Collar Player. I'm guilty of using the phrases as well. Funny thing is that some people use the phrases and have no clue what they mean. I'm talking the "experts" who should understand what the phrases means and yet some of them don't.

- Can ESPN and NFLN delay the player/team phone call shots until after the pick is announced? My biggest pet peeve to draft coverage is when the networks tip the viewer on who the pick will be before the player is announced. They've done a slightly better job not having the announcers blow the pick, but now are showing the "phone call". I personally would like the surprise and then pan to the phone call....maybe that's just me.

-I'm just saying but..... Jim Harbaugh is renowned for being a master QB coach. Heck, he was a former QB. Mike Shanahan has coached many a legendary QB in his days as well. So why did both teams, desperate for a franchise QB, pass up Blaine Gabbert? Do they know something or saw something on tape that the experts missed?

- Did the Browns make the trade of the century and then get the better WR? No doubt Julio Jones is a talented  player and should be a great WR in the NFL. That said, I've had concerns about him staying healthy for a full 16 games based on his injury history and style of physical play. A WR at #6 overall in general is a risk but to move down and give up a boatload of 2011 and 2012 picks to get said player is an extreme risk. The Falcons must be convinced that they needed just one more elite WR to get to the Super Bowl, Me, I'm not that convinced. What could be worse for the Falcons is that the Browns used their 2nd round pick (#59 overall) to draft Greg Little. Little has some serious talent and may have been a possible 1st rounder if he hadn't been suspended in 2010. This will be an interesting storyline to follow in 2011, if there is a 2011 season.....

- 1999 Redux? The Vikings have admitted that they reached on Ponder. Andy Dalton was probably a reach. While I like Kaepernick's potential, I still think the 49ers reached a bit for him as well. Is this another quarterback class that will mirror the 1999 class? What's even more interesting is that 2012's class may be a good one if you're looking for a franchise QB. Maybe, I'm just defending the Skins decision to not go QB, but this year just seemed to be a bad year to find your starting QB for the next 10 years.

- The Eagles draft a kicker in the 4th round. Really? It makes the Skins drafting a punter in 2008 (Durant Brooks) not looking like a bad risk after all.

- Cam Newton has the "Vick Factor" and it got him drafted #1 overall. Remember Mike Vick before he went to jail? Remember the Mike Vick Experience and how crowds oooohed and ahhhhed as Vick juked and ran by possible tacklers. It sold jerseys and made Atlanta Falcons football watchable and possibly respectable. While Michael Vick wasn't the Falcon's QB when the Falcons finally went from average NFL team to legitimate Super Bowl contender, some of the credit has to be given to him that started the chain reaction for Atlanta's rise from mediocrity to greatness. Carolina hopes for the same thing with Newton minus the jail time and hopefully he'll be at the helm when the Panthers return to greatness......

- The 2011 draft probably won't be remembered well. It was a quiet draft filled with many D-line talents and solid depth in later rounds. Sadly, it may be remembered for only the quarterbacks because it was the quarterbacks that were the main topic of this draft. If only one QB pans out of this group, the entire draft will be remembered as the draft where way too many QBs were drafted way too high.

- Overall, the Redskins did a good job. Day three picks are questionable in a few spots. You can argue some redundancy in a few selections and lack of OL picks, but when you get into the 5th round and beyond you start to look at depth and guys who can be an impact on special teams. I find it funny that the Skins are getting marked down because they didn't reach for a QB. Yes, the Skins didn't address a need but if you're giving initial grades, wouldn't the values of the players selected play a more significant role?

OK that's it on the 2011 draft. Now time to start looking at the Redskins QB "controversy" brewing in least until football will finally start up again.

* Photo via Seattlesportsbro

Sunday, May 15, 2011

500. Thank You's and Time for a Change

This is really post #525 or #526....I started to write this almost a month ago, but with the lockout possibility being lifted (what amounted to being one whole day) and the draft build up, I decided to wait until I had a moment to work on something that didn't deal with what's going on with the Redskins or the NFL.

In less than three years IIWII has hit the 500 mark in our articles. Granted, some of the posts were updates, videos or had minimal content but nonetheless here we are at the 500 mark. I was just going to say thanks to the 12 or so people out there that read IIWII and thanks some of the fellow bloggers/beat writers/journalists for supporting IIWII in one way or the other.

But then I thought maybe this would be a good time to overhaul the blog.......
......and that's exactly what I'm doing.

First, I've modified the template of the site a bit. I got rid of the black background and went with a more classic Redskins motif of Burgundy and Gold (mixed with black text and some white in portions of the blog). Next I'm making a few changes in some of the items on the sidebar. I've added a Flickr link and while it's still in early development, eventually you'll get to look at pictures from various Redskin events and games. There are a ton of pictures that I've taken that I've never used on the blog. The pictures aren't on caliber with someone like Homer McFanboy, but I like taking them and figured I'd share with the readers what I've (and some others) taken. There will be some additional links to pages that talks about the site and the writers; who we are and what we're trying to do on IIWII. There will also be some modifications on our blog roll and other aspects of the blog that should be noticeable sooner or later. It'll take some time, I'm playing with a few ideas and still tweaking some things (see the title header for example).

The content will stay mostly the same. IIWII is almost fully dedicated to the Redskins with some occasional articles dealing with the NFL or football already, so there's nothing new there. I still plan to keep doing the occasional Friday Night Videos post. I've had mixed opinions on doing them (some love FNV others hate it and thinks it takes away from covering the Skins) but everybody needs a funny video or some music now or then. There will also be an occasional post about some of the other DC sport teams from time to time if I feel like writing about them.

Two more things. The URL will eventually be changed. You still will be able to access IIWII via but you may want to change your bookmark or link to the site once I make the change. Secondly, if you like what IIWII has done, please leave a comment or drop us a line at the IIWII email. Maybe you want to read about something that IIWII or any other Skins site isn't covering, drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.

Finally, I would really like to thank everybody who is reading IIWII. We do know that we have some regulars that visit the blog and if you are one of those people, thanks. I hope that you're enjoying the site. Wanted to thank all of the fellow Skin Bloggers (see our Blog Roll) who have IIWII in their Blog Rolls or Favorites on their sites. Special thanks to Post Game Heroes for being the first blog to list us in their Blog Roll section. More special thanks to Cindy Boren at The Early Lead for linking IIWII during the fan fight at the Vikings game. Special thanks to Matt Terl for linking IIWII in a few posts (btw. if you haven't read Matt Terl's official blog of the Washington Redskins, you really need to ASAP). Finally, a special shout out to Haphazzard over at ExtremeSkins for posting IIWII articles in their news forum and BGO founders Om and Boone for giving IIWII an additional home over at BGO and in their Redskins blog feeds.

Until the next 500 or so posts, thanks again for reading.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Taking a Couple of Days Off.....

With nothing going on in the NFL and just some rumors floating about about possible players the Redskins may target if/when we see free agency, I figured I would take a few days off. For example, I spent most of my weekend (when I wasn't working the real job) doing yard work and cleaning up the leaves deposited from last fall and winter.

This week will probably remain limited in the content. Busy with work, the yard and irritated with the lockout has made me more apathetic towards writing about football. That said, I still have some more thoughts on John Beck, the draft and the Redskins coming soon.

Don't even get me started with the Redskins ticket office......not very happy with them at the moment. This stems from an offer the Skins put out to their season ticket holders and giving complimentary tickets to upcoming events at FedEx based on paying in full prior to a given deadline. If you would like to read more about that topic leave me some comments that you want to read about it and I'll write the story.

One last thing, there will be some changes to the blog coming. I've thought about making some changes for awhile and I think that now's the time to head that direction. Shouldn't affect the content that much (hopefully, you like what we've been doing here at IIWII if not sorry....) but it should make the blog even more Redskins centered and possibly even more accessible to the fans of the Redskins.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Night Videos: "I'm Thor!!!"

This week Hollywood is starting their 2011 run of Marvel Comics inspired movies that will tie into 2012's The Avengers with the release of Thor. The SyFy (ugh, still hate that. I have been calling the channel "SIFFY"  ever since the name change.) channel is releasing a awful knock off called Almighty Thor. In honor of all of this Thor-ness I wanted to celebrate with a few clips from Conan O'Brien.
Truly, these clips may change your view of these movies and/or The Avengers.

(clips found via Warming Glow Update: You Tube clips have been removed but TeamCoCo has them including a new one)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quick Thoughts: John Beck as Starting QB?

(Will John Beck be leading the Redskins huddle in 2011?)
It's been a bad day to be a DC Sports fan. The Caps lost again to the Lightning and are down 0-3 in a best of seven. The Nationals as well lost to the Phillies 4-1. So, let's look at the only hot topic going on with the Skins.

Almost 3 weeks ago had you asked the casual Redskin fans who was John Beck, it would be questionable if they would be able to tell you. Beck had been mostly the #3 QB on the roster and helped run the scout team during practice. Beck, originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2007 draft by the Miami Dolphins, was traded to the Skins from the Ravens for CB Doug Dutch during the 2010 training camp. Not much had been said about him since then. The only time he was mentioned was as an afterthought when the Skins announced at the end of the season that Donovan McNabb would be made the #3 quarterback because coach Shanahan wanted to see how Beck handled the backup role on the roster.

That was until almost 3 weeks ago......

In a story by The Post, Beck comments (while attending a player run mini-camp) that he wants to be the guy (ie. the starting QB) for the Skins in 2011. People generally pass it off as personal motivation more than actual reality while visions of Jake Lockers, Blaine Gabberts and Christian Ponders dance in their heads. Then comes the draft and the Skins decide not to draft a QB in their 12 player draft class. Mike Shanahan then comes out and gives Beck a great deal of praise including that he had Beck as the highest rated QB coming out of the 2007 draft (looking back he might be right with names like Russell, Quinn, Edwards, Kolb and Stanton in the same class).

The idea has been planted. Let's see if it becomes a reality. Looking back at my comments on Beck in 2010, who's possible.

John Pappas mentioned that I should keep an eye on John Beck during the practice and from what I saw, I can see why the Skins made the trade for him. First, it seems like Beck has a strong arm. Maybe not Jason Campbell caliber, but he can throw hard accurate passes in close spaces. Beck has a quick release and is mobile (both important in a Mike/Kyle Shanahan system). He made some mistakes but I'll be curious to see how he looks by week four of the pre-season.    
 -From Training Camp Report 8/7/10

If Beck can play at the NFL level like he did at BYU, we could have something special. More on John Beck coming up soon.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Your 2011 Washington Redskins Draft Class

Before I write about the picks let's look at the Skins draft board one last time:

#16 (1st) Ryan Kerrigan OLB, Purdue
#41 (2nd) Jarvis Jenkins DE/DT, Clemson
#79 (3rd) Leonard Hankerson WR, The U
#105 (4th) Roy Helu Jr. RB, Nebraska
#146 (5th) DeJon Gomes DB, Nebraska
#155 (5th) Niles Paul WR, Nebraska
#177 (6th) Evan Royster RB, Penn St.
#178 (6th) Aldrick Robinson WR, Southern Methodist
#213 (7th) Brandyn Thompson CB, Boise St.
#217 (7th) Maurice Hurt OG, Florida
#224 (7th) Markus White OLB/DE, Florida St.
#253 (7th) Chris Neild NT, West Virginia

Overall thoughts: The Redskins had needs almost at every position other than TE and S and I believe that with the number of picks they accumulated, they made some major upgrades at a few positions. The Redskins drafted more players than any other team in the draft. Kevin Sheehan on ESPN 980 made a great point that the draft is a crap shoot and in the Redskins case the more opportunities to roll a 7 the better off you are. Like Sheehan has stated, if only 1/3 of the class pans out, the Skins end up with 4 significant contributors. Some have speculated that the Skins may have as many as 7 rookie starters coming from this class. I'm thinking there's a chance for maybe 5. The only negative views I've read from pundits and fans was that the Redskins didn't address the QB position and/or draft more offensive linemen. The Skins could have taken Blaine Gabbert at #10, but if the Redskins had doubts on the player or didn't feel that he could contribute in 2011 then why not wait for 2012. 2012's class may have 4 potential franchise QBs, with at least a few being day one starters. By trading down, the Skins were able to pick up 1-2 potential starters (Hankerson, Helu) and grab a bunch of other players who may be solid contributors in 2011 and beyond. To me it was the right move to trade back. I also believe that the Redskins stuck to their board and picked the best players available to fill needs. So while the Skins didn't draft much OL, at least we won't see another Chad Rinehart being selected too high (Ed. Note: Rinehart was selected in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft, most had him as a 5th-6th round selection).

What I also like is that the Redskins looked for hard working, blue collar, team players. Many of the players drafted were either team captains or played a leadership role on their respective teams. Mike Shanahan really is sending a message to the team. The days of the "I'm here to get paid" and "it's all about me" are over. I still am convinced that the Skins aren't there yet. Aren't close. It's going to take 1-2 more good drafts to start to solidify the roster and have the complete foundation. That said, the Redskins are on the right path and I urge the Redskins fan base to be patient for another 1-2 seasons; especially if the team struggles in 2011. As Redskin fans, we've been pretty patient for over a decade of mediocrity. Only Joe Gibbs could muster 2 playoff berths for this franchise (just going to show again why Gibbs is in the HOF, he did so much with so little help it's amazing). Mike Shanahan got this team that was even worse than when Gibbs took over but he's setting a tone and building a foundation. Stick with this team, they will be going places (emphasis aimed to Mr. Snyder) -- let's see what this franchise looks like in 2012 and 2013.

Now let's look at the new Redskins:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What We've Learned From the Redskins 2011 Draft

I'll have more stuff up today about the players drafted, the Skins future QB and some targets in free agency but let's quickly look at the Skins draft and see what we know about the team.

1. The Skins biggest need was in the defensive front seven. I think that could have been many Skin fans general assessment of the team in 2010. The line struggled to stop the run and had little pass rush (except for Brian Orakpo who had the sleeper hold put on him usually 2-3 times a game)

(Tampa LT or Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake ? You decide. Photo via DC Sports Bog via @chaztopher)
In a division that has three decent (sometimes excellent) passers in Manning, Romo and Vick and two of those three teams love to beat the Skins by running the ball down our perspective throats (Giants, Cowboys), the Skins have to have players that are going to be nasty. The Redskins need a front seven that will destroy the run and hit the QB every time he thinks about even throwing the ball. They started to address those issues by drafting 2 OLBs (Kerrigan, White) a 3-4 DE (Jenkins) and a NT (Neild).

2. The Skins QB for 2011 is/has been already on this team. I have to write has been because I think the 2011 QB on this team will be either Rex Grossman or John Beck. I'll be writing more on Beck soon because I think it'll likely be him as the starter at some point. Grossman will put points up but always tends to make a key INT or fumble. The roster could be worse at the position look at Arizona for an example. My early theory: Skins build the roster in 2011 with the 12 draft picks and then work on signing young OL and developing from within (see: Erik Cook, Selvish Capers, Clint Oldenburg etc.). In 2012's draft, I expect the Skins to target a franchise QB early and maybe trade up like the Jets did for Sanchez to get him.

3. Shanny is no Vinny. Mike Shanahan mentioned trading back to acquire more picks this season to fill multiple needs on the roster. When the Skins came up at #10, Blaine Gabbert was there for the picking. It would have been a classic (ie. Snyder tenure) move. Go with the top rookie QB on most boards. Give  the Skins fans a glimmer of future hope (our next "The future is Now!!!" QB like Jason Campbell was in '05), sell more tickets, sell more jerseys and give Mike Shanahan another 1-2 years of cushion from fans waiting for the QB to develop. Instead, Mike Shanahan made a shrewd move. He traded with Jacksonville, made them cough up a 2nd rounder (steep price IMO) and took a blue collar, high motor kid in Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan will be loved in DC if he pans out (Skins fans love the blue collar guys see The Hogs and Riggo) but he'll never be a splashy superstar in the football world that the Skins have drafted in previous years. Then, Shanahan uses that 2nd round pick to move back multiple times. That move got the Skins Leonard Hankerson and Roy Helu.

The thing to take out of this is that the Skins changed strategy. Shanahan was patient. He studied the board, moved back when he could to acquire picks and move up if he had a player he really liked. Then he went and tried to fill needs. While I was getting tired of seeing multiple WRs coming off the board, I at least knew that the Skins didn't blow all of their early picks on 1 position. I don't think we would have ever seen a draft like this from Cerrato. Even when it looked like Vinny was going to pull a draft like this off in 2008, he still found ways to screw it up (see 2nd round 2008, reached in 3rd and 4th rounds and drafted a punter in the 6th). Maybe things would have been different had Jake Locker been available at #10 or if Christian Ponder was there at #16 or Kaepernick at #41. We will never know. What I do know is that the Skins weren't the team this year reaching for a QB and went the safer route by skipping the one popular pick to get many players to help the team overall. I can't see that happening with the previous FO.

4. No RB is safe. When the Skins draft two RBs it's clear that the team felt they needed improvement at the position. It's true. Ryan Torain is a good back and was productive in 2010, but he can't stay healthy. The Skins need reliable backs that don't break down often. Keiland Williams improved throughout the season, but he's more of a blocker (has become a good pass blocker) and pass catching threat than RB. By adding two more RBs to the roster, it's going to force the current Skins to step up. A shaky depth position now has become deep with multiple RBs to compete at training camp.

5. No WR is safe either. Hankerson is a lock to make the team. I would guess Anthony Armstrong will as well. I would also guess that Santana Moss or a free agent veteran will be on the final 53 man roster. That leaves 2 draft picks, Terrence Austin, Brandon Banks, Malcolm Kelly and other WRs left to battle for 2-3 spots on the roster. Again, the Skins are looking for competition and may the best men win the job.

6. Skins will still use free agency to get better. I don't believe that you build a team only through the draft. You have to use free agency to find players to improve upon depth and find a potential starter. The problem with the Redskins is that in many past seasons they always go after the biggest name and the guys who make highlight reels. It didn't matter if the player would work well in the locker room or if he even fit the scheme. Expect the Skins to be a bit more shrewd in this free agent class. I think they will target a couple of O-line prospects, a corner and a WR. Some of this could be resigning current Redskins like Santana Moss or Carlos Rogers. Even with 12 draft picks the Skins still have holes to address. No wonder the team went 6-10 in 2010.

7. Safety Depth. The Skins seem set at starter when it comes to safety. But in the NFL that means little. LaRon Landry missed a large portion of 2010 with a tendon injury. With his berserker style of play, the Skins would need depth. Drafting Dejon Gomes says to me that the Skins have concerns about the depth. Reed Doughty may be a free agent. Both Chris Horton and Kareem Moore have struggled with injuries. There are some other guys as well on the roster as well. Mike Shanahan loves competition and clearly he feels that the Skins need some at this position.

8. Corner Depth. Same can be said about the corner position. Beyond DeAngelo Hall, I'm not sure what the Skins have pertaining to corner. Can Kevin Barnes develop into a #2/nickle corner or would he be better converting to FS? It's clear that Shanahan and the coaching staff feels that there is little depth in the position and need to either get younger or possibly upgrade the position a bit.

9. Skins happy with ILBs? 2011 will be interesting to watch at the ILB position. In particular watching the development of Robert Henson and Perry Riley. Both seem to be potential starters at ILB next to London Fletcher (my guess is that Rocky McIntosh probably won't be back, ideally he's a WOLB in a 4-3 and a free agent). Henson wowed some last year in preseason until he suffered a season ending injury against Arizona. Riley showed potential and could be starting the season. H.B. Blades also could be considered, but I think he also may be a free agent depending on the CBA.

10. Lockouts Suck. The Skins were able to introduce Ryan Kerrigan and give him a playbook before the stay was given by the 8th circuit appeals court. Problem is that 11 of the 12 players drafted were day 2-7 picks. Thanks to the lockout, these players don't get playbooks (unless a crafty Mike Shanahan slipped some vets and or Kerrigan some extra playbooks to distribute to the rookies). Also, many of the draft picks are developmental prospects. They need to get into the weight room, they need to start working with coaches. They need the opportunity to get signed by the team (bet many have forgotten that huh?). This makes the 2011 draft very frustrating. Also, the Skins can't sign any UDFAs. The real losers of all of this are the rookies caught up in this mess.