Monday, October 31, 2011

If You Like Dr. Who, Maybe This Will Make You Feel Better

Not much to say about the Redskins lately that I haven't already written in the past three weeks, so IIWII is going to focus on more entertaining and happy things than our current state of Burgundy and Gold. Remember, IIWII is more than just the Redskins......see the tagline:

"A Blog About the Washington Redskins, Football, Sports and other Pop Culture"

So in honor of Halloween (happy Halloween, by the way....) here's a cheerful video made by the cast and crew of Dr. Who (the 10th doctor, David Tennant) doing a a farewell to The Proclaimer's "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles". I've always been a fan of Dr. Who ever since I saw it on MPT (along with Red Dwarf and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) while I was growing up. I've recently gotten back into the show with the 11th incarnation of The Doctor (Matt Smith) but have enjoyed going back and watching Tennant's run as The Doctor as well.

Hope you enjoy it. Consider it an early Friday Night Videos......

(Original story via Buzzfeed, Hat tip to i09 where I first found out about the video).

More on the Redskins, sports and other pop culture coming up.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Game Recap: Redskins @ Bills: Saved By Zero?

(The London Fletcher INT is the only thing worth celebrating this week  GIF via.)
Well, not much worth saying on this edition of the game recap. The Redskins generally looked putrid against a good Bills team. The Redskins fall in Toronto 23-0. Funny thing is that the Bills are supposed to be really bad this season and yet have emerged to be a serious threat in the AFC. That has to give hope to some Redskin fans who are hoping that at some point this franchise can turn itself around instead of crumple into the fetal position at the first signs of struggling or injuries.

The defense gave up a large quantity of yards (390) to the high powered Bills offense, which was somewhat expected. What wasn't expected was the complete lack of offense against one of the lowest ranked defenses in the league. The Redskins surrendered 9 sacks to the Bills. Worth noting is that the Bills only had 4 sacks on the season prior to today's game. The Redskins quickly went away from the run which was ineffective in 9 attempts (9 carries for 16 yards; 12 for 26 if you include John Beck's 3 scrambles) and tried to air the ball under heavy pressure from the Bills. The sacks were a combination of John Beck holding onto the ball too long and very poor pass blocking. This had to be the worst pass blocking performance I've seen from the Redskins possibly ever and that says a lot. I still remember games against the Steelers where Jason Campbell would get hit as soon as the ball is snapped.

The most surprising thing I could tell you that might make you feel better is that this game could be worse than it was. If not for a London Fletcher INT of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone, a fumble and a missed FG the Bills could have put up much more on the scoreboard than 23. Also, the lone silver lining may be twofold. First, the notion of the Redskins being a playoff contender should be out of your minds by now. It's a rebuilding year, possibly the first of many over the next couple of seasons. So, take a deep breath and try to find some good in what's not so good. At least we can admit to ourselves that we're rebuilding might help dealing with the week to week struggles. Hopefully the Redskins will get this as well and continue to build the talent and depth of this roster. Second, while I'm not convinced that the 'Skins are bad enough to qualify for "Suck for Luck" it helps their draft status. No, I'm not saying I want the 'Skins to lose. But when there is not a lot of things to be happy about, I'm trying to make lemonade from a lemon of a game.

Good, Bad and Ugly time....

The Good

Sav Rocca (6 punts, Net avg. 42.8 yards, LNG 57, 2 inside the 20) - Rocca kept the Redskins in the game by trying to change the field position. It forced the Bills to make long drives in order to score.

London Fletcher (20 tackles, 12 solo; 0.5 sacks, 1 INT)- Fletcher did struggle at times in coverage against speedier TEs, but he was all over the field making plays and trying to win this game by himself.

Ryan Kerrigan (5 tackles)- Kerrigan made some nice tackles and had at least two for losses.

The Bad

Offense- only 178 total yards. 2 INTs. 9 sacks given up. It was a pretty horrible day. There was clearly a lack of execution by the line. John Beck looked confused and not sure where to go with the ball. I'm also assuming that there wasn't a great deal of separation between the Redskin receivers and the Bills DBs. Some suggest that Grossman should be back at QB and I'm not convinced that's the case. The Redskins have regressed week by week. Maybe it started in the Eagles game when both Kory Lichtensteiger and Trent Williams were injured, but it is arguable that this started as early as the game against the Cowboys. Rex Grossman wouldn't have fared that much better if he was getting hit as much as Beck did today. Granted, Beck is to blame for some of those hits/sacks but he didn't have much help.

Danny Smith- Can we have a game where Graham Gano can attempt a FG without it being blocked? This is now the third FG this season that has been blocked. That has to go on the coach. If the players aren't executing, then you have to find players who can execute. If there is a weakness to your blocking scheme, then you have to fix that weakness. Same with Brandon Banks poor decisions to come out of the end zone on kickoffs or the blocking. A FG wouldn't have changed the outcome of this week, but it would have stopped a shutout.

Offensive Playcalling- I don't understand the playcalling in this game. The runs not working and you're down by 10-13 points, so I understand why you may leave the run. What I don't understand is why did every pass have to be 15-20 yards down field. You have Niles Paul and Leonard Hankerson, can't John Beck throw a slant now and then? How about a curl route? It seemed that the only 2nd half adjustment was to throw deep to Anthony Armstrong. It didn't work because he was always covered or Beck couldn't get to him.

Run defense- 138 yards on the ground just is unacceptable. Got to stop the run and try to make a team one dimensional.

Rocky McIntosh- This is another week he's missed tackles and it's cost the Redskins big yards both on the ground and in the air. Maybe it was the injury to the ankle. That said, the coaches should have kept Fox in there. He was playing better in my opinion.

The Ugly

- I believe that this is the first career shut out for Mike Shanahan as a coach in the NFL. At least as a head coach.

- Leonard Hankerson caught his first career NFL pass. Hopefully it will be the first of many and that Hankerson won't be the next Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly.

- Speaking of former Redskins, did you notice one of the starting offensive guards for the Bills? Yep, that was former 3rd rounder Chad Rinehart. Amazing that the Skins never tend to get much out of players and then they shine with another team. Drives me nuts, maybe that's just my perception.

- The real problem with the Skins is lack of depth. There isn't much at the guard position which has forced the Skins to make Erik Cook the center and move Will Montgomery to LG. Montgomery is a better center and Cook hasn't shown much. Maurice Hurt isn't ready to start because he's a rookie. We have the same problem at WR, LT, and RB. Either the talent there is limited or too young and need to be developed. Welcome to a rebuilding team.

- Redskins 3rd down efficiency 4/14 (28%); Bills 7/14 (50%). Notice that good teams, winning teams tend to be well above 35% in a game. Usually they're in the 40-50% range. This is still a problem that has carried over from 2010.

- Fred Davis has stood out in 2011. Of course he's a free agent at the end of this year and there will be a debate about bringing him back. I think the Redskin want him back, but Davis will probably not only want a pay raise but an affirmation that he's the #1 TE on this team. At this point, I would have no problem with that.

- Did the Redskins even target Logan Paulsen this week? Just wondering.

- So far in 2011 Skins are: 3-4, 2-1 (Home), 1-3 (Road), 1-2 (vs. NFCE), 3-3 (vs. NFC), 0-1 (vs. AFC)

Next week isn't going to be much better as the 'Skins host the 6-1 49ers. Maybe jet lag and underestimating the 'Skins can help. Who knows?

NFL Week 8 Picks

Still not a bad week although I missed five games. But c'mon who really had the Ravens losing to the Jags? But I've jumped 8 spots over in the BGO pick'em league with a record of 68-35. How is it against the spread? That I'm not sure, but overall a good year picking so far. Not much at 1 PM but a decent amount of 4PM and prime time games this week.

For entertainment purposes only. Point spread based on the home team.

1PM Games
Saints @ Rams (+13.0)
Is Bradford playing today? Does it really matter? The big question for the Rams is who should they draft at #1 overall. Or should they try and trade out and get somebody else's draft board to trade away Andrew Luck?
Pick: Saints

Dolphins @ Giants (-10.0)
Another weak 1PM game. I hope the Red Zone channel keeps flipping through these games. Giants should win this one, but they have that tendency (like the Skins) to play down to their opponents.
Pick: Giants

Cardinals @ Ravens (-12.5)
Ray Lewis has got to be pissed after last weeks performance. The good news for Baltimore is that Arizona is horrible travelling to the East coast for 1PM games. Lesson in all of this: Don't trade for QBs with Andy Reid. The Eagles picked up some good picks to get rid of two QBs who weren't going to help his team.
Pick: Ravens

Vikings @ Panthers (-3.0)
Ponder vs. Newton. A battle of 1st round QBs. This might be one of the better 1PM games to watch today. I like the Panthers at home. They know how to use Newton and his abilities.
Pick: Panthers

Colts @ Titans (-8.0)
Major prediction here......the Colts score against the Titans will be better than it was against the Saints last week. They'll still lose though.
Pick: Titans

Jaguars @ Texans (-10.0)
I don't think the Jags will have a repeat performance against the Texans, but you never know. Going with the Texans but I think it will be a closer score than the spread will have you believe.
Pick: Jaguars

4PM Games
Lions @ Broncos (+3.5)
Are we going to see more Tebow magic today? Maybe. But remember in 2011 the Lions are a much, much better team than the Dolphins.
Pick: Lions

Redskins @ Bills (in Toronto) (-5.0)
Here's the problems. The Bills are a team designed to run up the score. The Bills have a (+9) TO differential playing a team that has been bad about turning over the ball (Skins -6 TO diff.). The 2ndary is so banged up that Brandyn Thompson was re-signed off the practice squad. Can the Skins win? Yes. Will they? I highly doubt it if the Bills score early and force turnovers.
Pick: Bills 31-20

Bengals @ Seahawks (+2.5)
Something tells me to go Seahawks here because I'm picking too many favorites this week. I just can't do that though. I don't trust the Bengals and would not bet any money on this game.....still picking them though.
Pick: Bengals

Browns @ 49ers (-9.0)
Great maybe with another win this week, the 49ers will overlook the Redskins next week. One can hope.
Pick: 49ers

Patriots @ Steelers (+2.5)
Pats coming off a bye and Steelers coming back from playing on the west coast. I like the team who's had the rest this week.
Pick: Patriots

Cowboys @ Eagles (-3.5)
I like the Cowboys here. Expect Mike Vick to get pressure all day.
Pick: Cowboys

Chargers @ Chiefs (-3.5)
I can see the Chiefs pulling out another surprise win here, but I'm going with the Chargers again.
Pick: Chargers

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Updates: Thoughts on the 'Skins through 6, Why No Posts?

(Weeks 6 & 7: Not the best two weeks in the 2011 season for the Redskins)

It's been a long couple of weeks for me. The 'Skins have played some pretty bad football over the last week and combined with a busy work schedule, I just haven't had that much time to write about the Redskins. There's no need to rant about the Redskins at this point. If you're a fan (like me), you've already heard it or did just that last Sunday. I know I wasn't too happy and made that opinion clear a few times on Twitter but there's no reason to write an article about it. Plus, there's no reason to have a meltdown about the Redskins at this point in the season. They are 3-3. The fact that they are still in the race for the NFC East should be impressive since they've lost some key starters and are in the process of rebuilding a broken franchise.

When I originally looked at the schedule, I thought the 'Skins were likely to be 2-4 at this point (Losses to: Giants, Cowboys, Rams, Eagles; Wins against: Cardinals and Panthers). So 3-3 isn't too bad in retrospect. I still think the 'Skins have a chance to go 8-8. They play the Eagles well at the Linc. as they do the Cowboys at FedEx. Miami and Minnesota are bad teams (with exception to Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen) and there is a chance the Redskins may play the remaining teams on the schedule well enough to eke out a victory here or there. I know there is a facet of the Redskins fan base that wants the 'Skins to win the "Suck for Luck" competition, but the fact of the matter is that the 'Skins just aren't bad enough of a team to be getting Andrew Luck.

Alright, with that out of the way, let me write about what I'm hoping to get done this weekend on IIWII. I don't plan on doing a full blown game recap of the Redskins @ Panthers game, but I do plan on making some final thoughts on the game. At some point, I plan on skimming through the game one more time to focus on some players and then do a post about the game. Late tonight/ early tomorrow, I will be posting my Week 8 picks and doing a brief  preview of the 'Skins/Bills game.

Right now I'm doing some scouting. I'm watching QB Ryan Tannehill as Texas A&M hosts Mizzou. So far, I'm liking what I'm seeing from Tannehill. Also, he seems to play in a pro style offense that runs a few plays similar to what Mike/Kyle Shanahan runs in DC. Later today, I'll be watching the Baylor/OSU game to scout Baylor's QB Robert Griffin and to look at OSU's WR Justin Blackmon (projected to be a high 1st rounder in the 2012 draft).

Stay Tuned.......

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Beck Gets 2nd Chance, But Is It Enough? Redskins/Panthers Preview

John Beck should be starting for the Redskins today. Not because of the poor performance of Rex Grossman last week (more on that in a moment) but because of the current situation that's taking place on the offensive line. With an entirely new left side and a center getting his first career start, the Redskins will need the mobility of a John Beck to help continue plays, make first downs with him running the ball and to just have time to get away and git rid of a pass before getting hit or sacked. The run game struggled last week and with Kyle Shanahan's tendency to try play action even when the run isn't working, they'll need a QB who can at least make the Carolina defense respect his ability to run with the football. Rex Grossman can't do that.

We knew what we were getting with Grossman. He's a QB who tends to throw as many TDs in a game as turnovers (combined fumbles and INTs). It's something that you can live with if your run game is working and your defense is limiting opposing team scores. However, when your run game is non-existent and the defense is struggling, you can't throw 4 INTs. Grossman knows this, so does his coaches. Although I really respect the fact that his teammates stood up for him and wanted him to start today.

The key for today won't be Beck. It will be the Redskins run game. Can the O-line open holes for the RBs? Can either Torain, Hightower or Helu see holes, cut through them and plow through players at the second level? If they can, the Skins have a good chance to win. Beck seems to be a bit more game manager than gunslinger compared to Grossman.

I don't like the matchup on D. They tend to struggle with mobile QBs. They tend to struggle with shiftier RBs more this season.

This is a game where a struggling team either beats the lowly Redskins or the Redskins find a way to pick themselves up and find a way to get back on track despite the obstacles of injury.

NFL Week 7 Picks

 * Point spread based on home team, for entertainment purposes only

1 PM Games
Chargers @ Jets (-1.5)
The Jets run defense is 28th in the league. 28th! That's horrible for a team that prides itself on stopping the run. This should be a classic Norv Turner game (run the ball, play action deep) as long as he doesn't find a way to lose (which is also classic Norv Turner).
Pick: Chargers

Seahawks @ Browns (-3.0)
Two teams that can't run the ball come to Cleveland and will have to throw in cold weather with gusting wind. Should be a good day for fantasy defenses. Quick fact: There is no such thing as a Seahawk. It's a fictional name and goes into the realm of other mythological birds like the Phoenix and Big Bird.
Pick: Browns

Falcons @ Lions (-4.0)
Lions don't have much available in the run game, but the Falcons are depleted. Julio Jones is out for today (something that doesn't surprise me if you read any of my draft coverage on him) and John Abraham is limited. Oh, and don't forget that the Lions are still a little pissed after the Harbaugh/Swartz war of words from last week.
Pick: Lions

Redskins @ Panthers (-2.5)
The Redskins tend to struggle against struggling teams. Matter of fact, recently the Redskins tend to provide the "elixir of life" to teams that reeling. This will be a tough game for Washington and I'm not sure that John Beck will help a Redskins team that really looked bad last week (well, until John Beck came into the game). Edit: Going with the Skins at last second. Can't pick against them, I'm such a homer.
Pick: Panthers Skins

Bears @ Buccaneers (+1.0)
And we have our first Neutral Site game of the year. This game is being played in London. Almost every game over there seems to take place when its raining. Tough call on this game. I'm going with the Bears though for some reason.
Pick: Bears

Broncos @ Dolphins (-3.0)
It's Tim Tebow day down in Miami as the Dolphins celebrate Florida's national championship from a few years ago. Broncos win this one. I'm fully convinced that this team has given up on Tony Sparano.
Pick: Broncos

Texans @ Titans (-3.0)
Hard to believe that the AFCS is coming down to these two teams. Welcome to a world without Peyton Manning.
Pick: Titans

4 PM Games
Steelers @ Cardinals (+4.0)
A poor version  of a Super Bowl matchup form a few years ago. I miss Kurt Warner too Arizona.
Pick: Steelers

Chiefs @ Raiders (-3.5)
The Raiders are incredibly banged up. Carson Palmer is not in football shape an hasn't had time to read the playbook. This would be the type of game the Chiefs would steal, despite being pretty bad. I'm 24th in my pick'em league, so what the hell.
Pick: Chiefs

Packers @ Vikings (+8.0)
Ponder starts at QB for the 1st time. Viking fans miss Brett Favre, not as a Viking but as a Packer. He struggled at the Metrodome when he was with Green Bay (and his last year as the Vikings QB).
Pick: Packers

Rams @ Cowboys (-12.0)
No Sam Bradford? Well that just takes any hope and turns it to no hope that the Rams win this one.
Pick: Cowboys

Colts @ Saints (-14.0)
I'm not even watching this game.
Pick: Saints

Ravens @ Jaguars (+7.5)
What is this, crappy prime time game week?
Pick: Ravens

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What is Andrew Luck Worth to the Redskins?

(More than likely Luck will go #1 in the 2012 draft, but who will be No. 1?)
The bigger question is maybe what a team that falls to #1 wants for a player like Luck and if its in the Redskins interest to even make a play for such a high valued commodity. Barring an amazing turnaround by Rex Grossman or an All-Pro performance by John Beck, it's clear that the Redskins will need to look towards the future and draft a quarterback in the 2012 draft.

As of this writing (according to The Huddle Report) the Redskins would be drafting #16 overall if the season ended today. That means in order to get Andrew Luck, the Redskins would have to move down 15 spots. That would seem to probably require at least two first round picks (possibly a third) and 1-2 2nd round picks. Steep price for a team that has changed it ways and is now valuing draft picks and trying to build the team through the draft.

The good news is that this could be a very talented quarterback class. Could is the word since many of the top prospects are either juniors or redshirt juniors which mean they are eligible to play in the college ranks for at least one more year. Even Luck could opt out of the NFL as he is a redshirt junior and has one more year of eligibility.

At this point there looks like there could be as many as 5 first round caliber prospects with another 3-4 2nd and 3rd round prospects. If you follow college football keep an eye on Landry Jones*, Matt Barkley*, Ryan Tannehill, Robert Griffin*, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins and Ryan Lindley. If not, keep following IIWII. As we get closer to the draft I will do profiles on some of these players and will compare and contrast how they would fit the Shanahan scheme. As with every year, IIWII will be covering The Combine, Senior Bowl, East/West Shrine game, Texas vs. The Nation and various bowl games looking a prospects and who may be a good fit for the 'Skins.

* Still have college eligibility.

Eagles/Redskins Week 6 Game Recap

*Ed Note: The breakdown will be short compared to previous recaps. Not much to say on that.
(At least for this game and maybe next week at Carolina)

This was a week that could define the 2011 Redskins in many ways. What many expected was to see the Redskins beat a struggling rival at home. This would have literally crushed the competition as the "Dream Team" would continue to watch their season go down in flames. It would have also guaranteed the Redskins another week at the top of the NFCE as they try to win the division for the first time since 1999.

Instead, we got a reality check.......

For the second time in two years at FedEx, the Eagles come out with a dominating performance. Their offense couldn't be stopped and the 30th ranked run defense shut down one of the league's better run units. Meanwhile Rex Grossman must have had become color blind because he was doing a better job getting the ball to Eagle defenders than his receivers. Add key injuries to the mix and one can say that this was just a horrible and infuriating game.

There aren't many bright spots in this one. John Beck coming into the game to try and rally the team back was one. It seemed to work a bit as the Skins cut the lead to 20-13. But poor clock management combined with the Redskins defense unable to stop the run sealed the game for the Eagles.

What looked like a feel good story for a Redskins team on the rise has now gone into a tailspin. Grossman has been benched. LG, Kory Lichtenstiger has been placed on IR. Chris Cooley is out for an indefinite period with a severely broken finger and LT, Trent Williams will miss possibly multiple games with a high ankle sprain. Fans and media alike have been frantic this week about the state of the team and this franchise and frankly, I wonder why?

Maybe they got caught up in playoff talk. It's possible when the 'Skins had gone 3-1 in four games including a win against the Giants at home. What people fail to realize is that ever since week two, this team has struggled. They came back and found a way to win at home against a poor Cardinals team. They then played poorly and lost to the Cowboys despite a strong performance by the defense. Then they held onto a victory against the now 0-5 Rams. With exception to Sam Bradford  and a few other players, that team is horrible. Arguably one of the worst teams in the league this year. Of course, the 2010 Redskins would have lost to them. So, with the 2011 team you can see improvement but this franchise has a long way to go before they can be the team that Redskin fans deserve to watch on Sundays.

What about the Eagles you ask? Well, they have more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. When Vick has time he can find Maclin or Jackson and if he can't he can just run. McCoy also runs like he bathes in oil. If he doesn't slip through players, then he just runs by them like he did Rocky McIntosh on one play. But the Eagles don't look like those teams of the past where McNabb or Vick just dismantled defenses and the defenses destroyed opposing offenses. Matter of fact, the NFCE on a whole has been pretty weak this season. I would argue that it could be the 2nd weakest division in the NFC. At least the NFCS and NFCW have one dominating team in their division (Saints, 49ers).

I think the sports media has broken down the Grossman vs. Beck stuff so I won't break that down here. I will mention it for each player in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Speaking of which, time for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good

John Beck (8/15, 117 yards; rushing: 2 carries, 14 yards; 1 TD)- Jimmy at Blogging the bEeast does a nice breakdown of every Beck pass, so check out his views. Beck provided a momentum shift for the team and it helped lead to the Skins sole TD of the game. What worked the most for Beck was his ability to move in the pocket and scramble/run. I have a feeling we'll have "Good John" and "Bad John" moments as well because he is inconsistent. That said, Beck may have some upside and unlike Grossman may get better as the season progresses.

Graham Gano (2/2, LNG 50)- Gano had a game with no muffed holds, poor blocking and he hit his FGs including a very long 50 yarder that set up the team's first score. Nice to see him coming through.

Fred Davis (6 catches, 95 yards)- Had the best game of the receivers. Did have a couple of drops and could have played at least one of the INTs better.

Sav Rocca (4 punts, AVG. 42.5 yards, 2 inside 20, 0 TBs, LNG 53)- nice numbers as usual.

The Bad

Run Defense/Pass Rush- Gave up 192 yards on the ground (5.1 ypc). Just horrible especially when it's late in the game and they couldn't stop the run. Especially when the Eagles had issues with the O-line. Same can be said with the pass rush.....of course, the refs don't like to call holding against the Eagles for some reason in this game.

O-line- Held to 42 yards rushing (14 coming from John Beck) against one of the worst run defenses in the league. Makes no sense and this was happening before the injuries took place.

Rex Grossman (9/22, 143; 4 INT)- Grossman hasn't showed much "Good Rex" this season. It's been mostly bad and it's still the same poor decisions that he made in Chicago. You can live with the mistakes if the TD to INT/Fumble ratio is even or favoring the TD side. When it favors the INT/Fumble side, you need to be benched. For 2011: 6 TDs to 11 INT/Fumbles. That won't work.

The Ugly

- We'll get to see how good the depth at OL really is on the roster. Sean Locklear will probably be starting at either RT or LT. Erik Cook will be the starting C and Will Montgomery will move to LG. Maurice Hurt is being promoted to the practice squad.

- Losing Chris Cooley may not be as bad as you think. We all love "Captain Chaos" but Cooley hasn't been much of a threat this year as a pass catching TE. His blocking is somewhat better but with his injury, we'll see more of Logan Paulsen and Mike Sellers. Both are more blocking TEs than pass catchers and one has to hope that will help the Redskins run game which helps the pass game.

- Panthers aren't that much different than the Eagles. So hopefully this game will help the Skins make better adjustments on dealing with Cam Newton, Steve Smith and the Carolina run game.

- John Beck should start against Carolina. With the injuries to the O-line and the threat Beck can cause with his feet, it makes sense to start him over Grossman (who has limited mobility and is fumble prone).

- DC is/was Grossman's last chance to start in the NFL. There didn't seem to be that many NFL teams showing interest in Rex Grossman as a free agent this season and the Redskins only signed him for one year. Makes you wonder if he'll have a job next year if the Redskins don't bring him back. At this point it will be hard to say if they will.

- How injured is Tim Hightower? Neither Helu or Torain was getting far against the Eagles. I was surprised to not see him especially when he came out during introductions as the starting RB.

- The ref calls wouldn't have changed the Redskins play but they really were making some questionable calls in favor of Philadelphia. The personal foul on Orakpo call should have been an intentional  grounding call against Vick. Let's just say I don't trust the NFL when it comes to their "hero for change" Mike Vick.

- Despite a crappy performance, the Redskin fans stayed and tried to support the team and get loud. I'm proud of the fan base for doing so. And they have a right to be angry about this game, even though I'm not.

- Hopefully Anthony Armstrong will be back next week. So far the Redskins have no threat deep and opposing defenses are playing them that way.

- I got some crap on Twitter before the season for looking at 2012 QBs for next year's draft. Now you know why. Grossman is not the answer and I don't think Beck is either (long term). It's clear to me that the 2012 draft needs to focus on a franchise QB, a playmaking WR (2nd round?) and more O-line depth. No I'm not giving up on Leonard Hankerson at this point but they still haven't found that playmaking WR as of now.

'Skins hit the road to face the Panthers next........

Saturday, October 15, 2011

NFL Week 6 Picks

This is a weird week because with exception of two games, I'm picking the home team. Also, with exception of one game, I'm going to take the favorite. Like I said....weird.

* Point spread based on home team, for entertainment purposes only.

1 PM Games
Panthers @ Falcons (-5.0)
I'm not sold on the Falcons and Cam Newton is bound to do enough to lead his team to victory eventually. That said, I still like the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. They need a victory and should get it this week.
Pick: Falcons

49ers @ Lions (-6.5)
Again, I like the home team in this one. Both teams have played well in the first five weeks. I expect Detroit to just be a bit better.
Pick: Lions

Colts @ Bengals (-7.0)
I hate the points on this game, but I still see the Colts losing this one especially with the rumors of Colt veterans available via trade coming out this week.
Pick: Bengals

Eagles @ Redskins (-1.0)
Everybody is picking against the Redskins this week (at least most DC sports media that is). It makes sense I suppose. The Eagles play the Skins better at FedEx over the last decade than they do at The Linc. The Skins were destroyed last year on MNF at FedEx by the Eagles. Also, this is the classic game where the Skins could cause serious damage to a NFCE team and really elevate themselves; yet, they find a way to lose. After all of that, you'd think that this would be the week I pick against the 'Skins. Wrong! The Eagles have no starting OTs this week (depends on if King Dunlap is available) and no Trent Cole. If the 'Skins really have turned around as a franchise they win this week. I think they have and will win.
Pick: Redskins 27-24

Rams @ Packers (-14.0)
The Rams are horrible. The Packers play like they are the world champs. What else is there to say?
Pick: Packers

Jaguars @ Steelers (-12.5)
I'm wondering which Florida coach gets fired first: Del Rio or Sparano? At this point I don't see either of them making it to the end of the season. This game won't help.
Pick: Steelers

Bills @ Giants (-3.5)
Many believe that this is a classic Tom Coughlin type of win for the Giants. They tend to win when they aren't expected and after a really bad loss. They could be right, but with Eli's turnovers and the Bills high scoring offense I don't think so.
Pick: Bills

4 PM Games
Browns @ Raiders (EVEN)
Make a drinking game out of this one. Drink once every time Al Davis is mentioned. Drink twice if catchphrases "Just Win, Baby!" or "Commitment to Excellence" is mentioned. Bonus drink for camera pans of costumed Raider fans in the Black Hole crying.
Pick: Raiders

Texans @ Ravens (-7.0)
The Texans are starting to look like the Texans again (a good team that always finds ways to lose). Derrick Mason won't be enough to beat a tough Baltimore team. This will be the 2nd time in a matter of weeks he gets to lose to his former team.
Pick: Ravens

Saints @ Buccaneers (+4.5)
Not sure what has gone wrong in Tampa, but something has. It has also led to a lot of high scoring losses. Saints aren't going to make things any better.
Pick: Saints

Game of the Week
Cowboys @ Patriots (-7.0)
The Cowboys have one of the better D's in the league. The Patriots have one of the better offenses. The Patriots have one of the worst D's in the league. The Cowboys O is banged up still and likes to turn the ball over. This should be a good game, but I see the Pats edging out the Cowboys because they make less mistakes.
Pick: Patriots

Vikings @ Bears (-3.5)
This is a tough one because of the Bears struggles as of late. But I see their defense playing better and forcing a few turnovers for the win.
Pick: Bears

Dolphins @ Jets (-7.5)
What a crappy game. Neither team has a working offense and both defenses are overrated. Where's Joe Namath when we need him to try and kiss Suzy Kolber again?
Pick: Jets

Friday, October 14, 2011

2011 1st Qtr. Thoughts

("Good Rex" showed up for the Giants game, but we haven't seen as much of him since.)
 I know the pundits are saying that the 'Skins could be 4-0 or 0-4 and I know that many have said that the Skins are one of the worst 3-1 teams in the league. That said, the 'Skins are 3-1. Period. Are they one of the best teams in the league? To be honest, watching teams like Buffalo, New England, Green Bay, Detroit and New Orleans (just to name a few) I'd have to say no. But, at this point in the season, the Redskins are doing enough of the right things to find success and pull off wins.

This is clearly a better Redskins team than it was last year. These four games show this clearly. Last year the Redskins couldn't hang with the Giants. Injuries wouldn't have mattered, the 'Skins couldn't beat them. This year, the 'Skins win by 14. Last year the 'Skins would have blown the lead to Arizona (like they did with Houston) and would have been able to come back. This year, they lost the lead but came back and won the game. Last year the 'Skins would have blown a lead against St. Louis and lost the game badly. This year the 'Skins started to squander a 17 point lead but held on late to win by 7.

Want to know why? Well most Redskins fans (including some guy who writes a blog named after a popular sports catchphrase) will tell you that it starts in the trenches. They are right. The defensive line has radically improved and with a strong line the linebackers can do their jobs and the DBs don't have as much pressure on them to be perfect on every play. The defense is currently ranked 3rd in the league with points allowed (15.8 PPG average), is 6th in the league with yardage per game allowed (296.5 YPG, worth noting they are 2nd best in the NFC behind Dallas) and are tied for 4th in the league with sacks (15). At this point the Skins are on pace to have 60 sacks this season (last season the Redskins couldn't do have of that and finished 2010 with 29.0 sacks). What is worth noting the most is that the Redskins are currently 1st in the league in preventing 3rd down conversions. I know the Dallas 3rd and 21 conversion will be burned in our brains for a long time, but that was only 1 of 13 conversions that has happened out of 50 tries. 26% is pretty impressive compared to last year's number (35%). Against both the run and the pass, the Redskins are about 50 yards better than the 2010 version.

The O-line has also been a major factor in the team's success. I still think they can get better as the season progresses. So far the Skins are averaging 126.8 YPG on the ground compared to 91.2 YPG in 2010. What might be worth noting is that the coaches have been more determined to run the ball this year compared to 2010. The Skins are in the top 10 in sacks allowed (8) but are in the middle of the pack with hits allowed (24). The Redskins tend to be in the middle of the pack with most other categories including 3rd down conversions (37%) and YPG (356.0). What is worth noting is that the 'Skins are 2nd in the league in time of possession which is key for a team that still struggles to score (20.8 PPG, 22nd in the league). What will be key as the season continues will be how much the 'Skins will rely on the run compared to the pass. But most importantly the season may come down to the Redskins biggest wild card: Rex Grossman.

 I'm not convinced that Grossman will be better than what we've seen during his tenure. Grossman at times looks brilliant and at other times looks down right horrible. His play will play a significant outcome in the Redskins final record. Rich Campbell of The Times wrote an article about it and I completely agree with him. Grossman needs to find his targets and to get rid of the ball when he has to. It's the bad decisions and the fumbles that kills the 'Skins. Hopefully we'll see more of the "Good Rex" and less of the "Bad Rex" as the season continues.

News and Notes
- The Redskins are currently 2-0 at home on the season. Last year they went 2-6 at FedEx field. The Redskins can do well if they can take advantage of the home field. If you win the fans will come and many Redskins fans keep showing up to support the team despite a decade of mediocrity.

-Chris Cooley ties Mike Ditka in career catches for a TE despite an ailing knee.

- Could Ryan Kerrigan be the Defensive Rookie of the Year? If he keeps playing at this level, I have to say yes. So far he has 17 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 FFs, 1 INT and a TD. Incredibly impressive.

- Sav Rocca has been a godsend for the Redskins. Not only does the Eagles lose a good punter, but the Skins get a punter that really helps change field position. 12 punts inside the 20 with no touchbacks is very impressive.

-Playcalling has been a bit of an issue both on the O and D sides of the ball. The Redskins have shown that they are willing to be aggressive with the blitz and the pass. Coming from Joe Gibbs' conservative approach, sometimes it's hard to swallow especially with the offense. Most especially when the 'Skins make mistakes or lose. Yes, this is monday morning quarterbacking at it's finest but it's still a nagging point for me.

- The Sporting News and some other outlets are already eating crow as they had the Skins at 2-14. Many draftniks have also been re-arranging their mock drafts as it looks like the 'Skins won't be participating in the "Suck for Luck" sweepstakes. Recent mocks have had the 'Skins targeting either a DE or ILB. I'm still convinced they're targeting a just won't be Luck (barring a Ricky Williams caliber trade).

- I'm still standing pat on my 8-8 record. The Skins have played well and I'm pretty happy by the performance, but I know the way this franchise has played in previous years and until they can beat teams that they should and continue to prove that they can win at home, I'm sticking to 8-8. I'll re-visit this is week 9.

Redskins/Eagles Tickets Still Available!!!

When I get these e-mails from the Skins, I tend to share this with my readers. The Redskins still have tickets available from Eagle player and sponsor returns. I figured that if you are a Redskins fan and would like to still get is the time. We want FedEx as loud as possible on Sunday.

Here is the email I received from the Skins:

And here is the link to the tickemaster site. Yeah, I know. I hate the fees that they charge as well. But, I figured face value tickets are worth checking out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Back From Ohio and the HOF

(DeAngelo Hall's jersey from his 4 INT game in 2010- a HOF exhibit)
If you follow IIWII on twitter (@IIWIISkinsBlog) then you probably know about my trip. If you don't, then here's the story. I decided to take a break from the blog during the Redskins bye week and take a family trip to Canton, OH. Canton is the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Let's just say that it was an awesome trip and I highly recommend any football fan to check it out. I learned a lot while I was there about the origins of the NFL, the HOF and the uniforms. The kicker is that I didn't get to see everything. We had a 3 hour window to play with and after three hours I could have stayed for probably another three. Also the HOF is currently under construction and that did hinder the trip slightly but not much.  I did take over 300 photos while I was there. So, I'm hoping that you'll get a nice look at the HOF. I'll try to break it up into a couple of parts so I can publish as many pictures as possible. I also hope to post most of them on the IIWII Flickr feed at some point.

During the trip the family decided to make a few stops at some antique stores and I found some Redskins history while I was at one of the stores in Ohio.

Thought it was kind of cool to see some NFCC pennants in Ohio of all places.

Anyway, back to writing about the current team starting today.

Ed. Note- there is one photo that was taken that you will never see (hopefully) on the internet. Me at the HOF wearing my Sean Taylor jersey in a Cowboy's helmet. Yes, a Cowboys helmet! I was dared by my father in law to try it on during a panel on the "Evolution of the NFL helmet" and I'm not afraid of the silver and blue, so I did it. The gentlemen at the HOF was surprised I didn't get a rash/skin burn from touching the helmet like a vampire getting exposed to holy water.

What can I say......I'm a trooper.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week 5 Picks

Real quick picks here:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

FNV: Cowboy Fans May Hate Tony Romo More Than Redskins Fans

I'm sure when Dallas comes to FedEx there will be a litany of tailgates that will be burning Cowboy jerseys for fun. But if you don't have $50-$80 to spend on a Tony Romo jersey, this father and son have saved you the trouble. The kicker? They're Cowboy fans. That's right the Cowboy fans are getting sick of Tony Romo and his "gutsy" performances. What the sports media heads aren't telling you is that this has been common knowledge since the season began and Romo cost the Cowboys a win against the Jets. I can't tell you how many tweets I read from Cowboy fans glad that Romo was knocked out of 49ers game before the "gutsy" comeback and the "gutsy" play against the 'Skins (which was pretty lousy). Two more non-football related videos after the jump.

 (hat tip to Deadspin and Black Sports Online)

Updates, Hiatus, On Tap and other What Nots

It's 6 Am Saturday morning when I type this. It's still pretty dark outside as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. Hard to believe that we're already in Week 5 of the NFL season. I don't think I'm still over the lockout and although I've been to three home games (counting the pre-season), it just hasn't felt like a regular season of football to me. I haven't felt that "OOMPH" of anticipation that I usually get every year. I didn't even get heartbroken (as I do every season) when the Skins lose their first game. It's shown on the blog in the amount (or lack thereof) of posts on the site in the past few months.
Sorry about that. I have plenty of excuses to explain it but I won't go into them right now that have kept my mind on other tasks other than my passion for football and the Burgundy and Gold.

So, I would like to say that with the 'Skins on a bye week, I'm taking another break from the blog. Well sort of. In the next couple of hours I'm going to do a few posts and publish them later tonight and tomorrow. Tonight will have a belated FNV that is football related. If you haven't seen this video yet (you may have if you follow a few sites that I do) you'll get a kick out of it as a Redskins fan.

Sunday morning will bring back my picks for the week. I'm 44-20 on the year and if it weren't for that stupid call by the refs in the Giants/Cardinals game, there's a good chance I'd be in 10th place in the BGO pick'em league (currently 19th).

Tuesday or Wednesday I'll have a breakdown of the 1st quarter of the 2011season, which hopefully will make up for the lack of game recaps for the past two weeks.

Hopefully, I'll be back to writing regularly by Thursday of next week.

Thanks for reading IIWII.