Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thank You CP

(Clinton Portis is ready to move on. Photo: FedExAl)
At times you learn some interesting things at The Combine that has nothing to do with draft prospects in shorts running the 40 yard dash. That happened recently as Mike Shanahan confirmed what many Redskin fans have suspected. Clinton Portis will be released from the Washington Redskins.

CP knows the deal. He's reaching 30; usually signaling the beginning of the end for an NFL running back. He's been injury prone the last few seasons (only playing in 13 games in the past two seasons). He's also due about $8 million in 2011. It's a business and paying an older RB that much money doesn't work in an age of the salary cap.
(CP during his early days with the Skins*)
Clinton Portis has been one of the more polarizing players on the Redskins over the years. Some fans can't stand him others love him. While I don't agree with every comment CP has made over the years, I would consider myself a big fan. CP was nice enough to answer a question of mine during a a chat on ExtremeSkins years ago and when I left a comment on his website, he (or somebody representing him) sent me an email back. I also remember from training camp (2004) and during a Ravens/Redskins scrimmage (2006) CP spent a great deal of time signing autographs for the fans. That's stuff that a big named star didn't have to do but did it because he wanted to do it.

There will always be a debate on Portis and whether the Redskins made the right move to trade Champ Bailey and a 2nd round pick for him, but the trade was made and here's what CP did for the Skins (from 2004-2010).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011 NFLPA All Star Game (aka: Texas vs. Nation): Highlights

(I watched this game to look at DT/NT Kenrick Ellis, he did not disappoint)
 There are actually three college All-Star games that are played before The NFL Scouting Combine. The most well know is The Senior Bowl. Obviously, this game highlights many potential 1st round seniors entering the draft. There is usually a mix of other valued players as well, but this game is most known for the amount of blue chip players entering the NFL. Then there's the East/West Shrine Game, which has more day 2 and day 3 prospects. Still, there is a third game that is less talked about because it features more small school prospects and has mostly late day two and mostly day 3 prospects; yet, there have been a few big NFL players that have played in this game. That game is the Texas vs. The Nation (now officially known as the NFLPA All Star Game, because it's sponsored by the NFLPA).

Here's some interesting things about the Texas vs. The Nation game (according to the CBS announcers):
- 95% of participants have been invited to NFL camps.
- There were 220 scouts from various teams (I'm thinking other football leagues as well) in attendance.
-31 players from the 2010 teams were drafted.
- Notable players throughout it's inception (2007): Pierre Garcon, Sam Shields, Johnny Knox, Lardarius Webb, Kareem Moore, Erik Cook.

I primarily wanted to watch this game to scout/watch two players. One was Kenrick Ellis, a NT from Hampton. The other was NT, Jerrell Powe from Ole Miss. The Redskins have a need at NT and both have the prototypical size and weight to be 3-4 NTs at the NFL level. Luckily, I have some weird sports package that allows me to get the CBS University/College channel and was able to view the game (Note: the other college all star games are currently aired on NFL Network). Overall, there's not that much to report. The game had its moments, but mostly it was a quiet 13-7 game (won by the Texas team) that seemed like it lasted longer than it should have. Also worth noting was that Jerry Glanville was coaching The Nation team. Sadly, he wasn't dressed in all black and waring a big belt buckle like he did when he coached the Falcons in the early 90's.

Here's some brief highlights:
- Very nice TD pass by Texas Tech QB, Taylor Potts to WR Denarius Moore of Tenn.
- Big 72 yard run by Miami (The U) RB, Damien Berry for The Nation's lone score.
- Ladi Ajiboye (DT, SC) with a sack. Looked bigger than 6'2" 290lbs. to me.
- WR/KR Jock Sanders reminds me a bit of Brandon Banks
- NC QB, TJ Yates looked ok at times and threw an INT, however what made him stand out was causing the Texas defense to jump offsides four times in the game with his hard counts.
-Both corners Josh Gatlin and Anthony Gaitor had good games.
- Willie Smith, OL from East Carolina had a good game. In particular it seemed like he dominated DT/NT Jerrell Powe.


As for Powe, he looks like a NT but generated little penetration and at times was handled in one on one situations with linemen. Right now, I see him as a mid day three talent.

Kenrick Ellis looks like he has some serious potential. Seemed to only be stopped with double teams, could penetrate the pocket and generate pressure (and get a sack). Has some decent lateral movement. Has improved his draft stock with this performance.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Ex-Redskin Wins Super Bowl (can you guess who?)

Watch this You Tube clip and see if you can see who it is? He plays a major role on this play.


Did you see him?
Just in case you didn't here he is in a Redskins jersey at training camp.

Yep, that's Howard Green. #95 in the You Tube clip. #72 here at training camp (later cut at the end of preseason).
He 's the one who was beating a double team and getting to Rothlisberger causing him to not step up and make a good pass (eventually picked off by Nick Collins and returned for a TD).

Outside of congratulations to Mr. Green, I'm not sure that there's a deep point to this. Green didn't look that great with the Skins and I believe he was later signed and released by the Jets. Maybe the point is that NTs can be found in the league and maybe it's not a crisis if we can't snag Phil Taylor at #41.

That and this is a rare time I took a picture that I can use on IIWII.......

O.J. Atogwe to Visit Skins Today

(He's been a major problem for the Skins over the last few years, could Atogwe be the solution at FS in 2011?)
 Another visit for another cut player as the Redskins will meet with former Rams FS Oshimogho Atogwe today according to ESPN's Howard Balzer. It's not a bad move if the Skins sign him. He's 29, is a solid tackler and has good hands for interceptions. I know in the last three season when the Skins have faced the Rams, he's been a major thorn in the Skins' side. He also has worked with Jim Haslett, so at least Haslett would know if/where Atogwe could fit in the Skins scheme (thus we wouldn't have the round peg in the square hole situations that the Skins currently have with a few players on the D).

Of course, it again comes down to money. To leave St. Louis, the Skins would probably have to pony up something close to the $8 million bonus that he was due with the Rams (not counting a base salary as well). Also, Atogwe has mentioned that he would like to return to the Rams and two other teams may be interested in his services (Bills, Vikings). What the Redskins don't need to do is to get into a bidding war with this being a pretty decent free agency class and with the Skins having much bigger needs at other positions.

I will remind the Skins fan base and opposing fans again that the Skins have changed their ways in how they sign players. If a player comes in for a visit, it doesn't mean that he'll be in Burgundy and Gold by the end of the day. It doesn't even mean that he'll be with the Skins. I like it. It's called due diligence. It gives the team an opportunity to look at a player that they might think will fit with their plans. Plus, it gives the team an opportunity to gauge the market for other players. Otogwe isn't the only free agent FS out there (or will be out there once a new CBA is in place). So, expect to hear the same old spending money jokes and that the Redskins are a place where players get paid and their careers go to die, but know that Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan play the game much differently than their predecessor Vinny Cerrato (at least so far during their tenures here).

Speaking of Bruce Allen, I finally got around to watching the Inside the Redskins show that aired on WRC 4 a few weeks ago. There was a good interview with Allen and Larry Michael. While I already knew much of the information that was discussed in the interview, there was a good tidbit about the Skins having in depth scouting reports on every NFL player that I wasn't aware. Makes sense I suppose since you could see any NFL player play against your team at any time (thanks to free agency and trades) and there may be a player you want to go after in  free agency or through a trade. You can watch Inside the Redskins online over at The Official Blog of the Washington Redskins (aka Redskins Blog by Matt Terl).

Links to more on Otogwe's visit:
Washington Post (Mike Jones, Redskins Insider)
Pro Football Talk
Otogwe's stats (via NFL.com)

Friday, February 18, 2011

FNV: Enjoying the Silence, Venture Bros. and Weep

It's Friday!!!!!
Finally a break from the tedium of the real job. I haven't done a FNV in awhile b/c I couldn't find any topic worth dedicating an entire post.

Tonight's video features a song that's been playing in my head all week. Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode. My job drives me crazy sometimes. Actually, it drives me crazy most of the time. Non-stop ringing of the phones. Noise from people talking. Tons of background noise. Add to that, that I'm trying to do 4-5 things at once and it makes it hard to keep focus and makes you want to scream at times. All of this while performing a function that could hurt someone if not done correctly. I crave silence usually (the irony of course is that I love the crowd noise at FedEx and try to make it loud as possible there) because of what I have to deal with 45-50 hours a week.


Yep, I can see myself walking the countryside folding chair in hand, Burger King crown on my head stopping and enjoying the beauty of nature and the quiet. Sounds nice.

Of course when I think of Depeche Mode, I can't but help thinking of this scene from my favorite episode of The Venture Bros.- Tag Sale, You're It!


And while I'm writing a Friday Night Videos post featuring The Venture Bros. what type of fan would I be to not mention Doc Hammer's band Weep and post one of their songs (When I'm Wrong) here.

See, I had a theme going. Not just some mindless rambling. By the way, I don't think I ever posted some of the cool swag I had Jackson Publik and Doc Hammer sign for me at NYCC 2010. They are some of the coolest people on the planet.
Here's some:
(My rare Brock Samson shirt from the Venture Bros. T-shirt club. God, I'm a nerd.)

(2010 NYCC program. Note the inside joke for fans of the show.)
Thanks guys can't wait for season 5.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Redskins News and Notes: 2/14/11

Happy Valentine's day. The season may be over and there isn't that much going on, but there's always news on the Redskins. Here's a few recent topics (that you may or may not have already read).

First, I wanted to welcome The Post's new beat writer Mike Jones (since many of the next few links will be from him). He is replacing Jason Reid, who will become a regular columnist for the sports section of The Post (in a sense Reid is replacing Michael Wilbon). I will miss Jason Reid, seemed like a nice guy (appeared totally stunned that somebody recognized him at training camp. Yep, that was me who said "I like your work" or something like that) and I enjoyed his work on Redskins Insider. Jones should be a good replacement. He's written some great articles over at TBD.com and always seemed to get some good inside tidbits. I figured I would mention the change over there since The Post officially changed the Redskins Insider header today (now featuring Jones' picture).

- Shaun Rogers Watch. Rogers visited with the Redskins Friday as I earlier reported. However, it is unlikely that the Skins will sign him. Kelli Johnson reports that its unlikely that Rogers will be a Skin for multiple reasons. That's fine. It was worth bringing him in for a visit if only to see what the early prices are being thrown out on the NT market.

- Santana Moss' contract is void. As of Friday, Santana Moss' contract became void based on the stipulations of the contract. Unlike Shaun Rogers, Moss isn't a free agent until the new NFL year begins. That is scheduled for March 4th. Of course that may change if a new CBA is not finalized and a lockout happens. The big question is whether the Skins will re-sign Moss and will it happen before he hits the market as a free agent. I don't think he will be re-signed before a new CBA is in place. I do think the Skins will have interest in re-signing him. Moss set a career high in catches with 93 as the Shanahans used him more as a slot receiver. Moss is 32 and I think he has lost a step when it comes to his vertical game. That said, he is still a total mismatch with safeties, nickel corners and linebackers in the slot. In this scheme, I think Moss still has a few years left and could tutor fellow speedsters Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin and Brandon Banks.

- Haynesworth in trouble with the law again and again. Less than two weeks ago Haynesworth had an incident with another driver that led to him being charged with simple assault. Now today, there is a accusation of sexual abuse with a waitress that occurred this past Sunday. The Skins may not have time to wait for a new CBA with hopes of trading the disgruntled walking soap opera. Yes, Haynesworth is innocent until proven guilty and he may be found completely innocent of the charges in both incidents. That said, in NFL circles a player's trade value isn't based on convictions but on perception. The Redskins will be lucky to get anything for Haynesworth at this point. Either way, I'll be glad to see him gone as a fan. I'm tired of the drama and so is the organization and his teammates.

- More reason a new CBA needs to get done. Free agency and lockouts/strikes aside, the Redskins are a team that really need to see a new CBA finalized sooner than later (ie. before the draft). If the Skins are to trade Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb, a new CBA has to be in place. Look, the Skins need as many picks as possible in the draft and if they don't plan on keeping McNabb or Haynesworth, then I would rather see them traded for picks now than 2012 picks.

- Teams that may want to trade for McNabb. Rich Tandler at CSN Washington writes an interesting article on possible destinations for Donovan McNabb if the Skins decide to trade him. Of the four, Miami or Minnesota makes the most sense to me. Of course, the Skins said that they are not sure if McNabb will be back or not.

- Cam Newton workout. Some people have the Skins taking Auburn QB Cam Newton at #10. Recently he worked out for the media. Want to watch some of the workout? Click on the link here to watch (note: the actual workout starts around the 7:30 mark, prior to that it's Newton interviewing with the press). ESPN's Trent Dilfer was slobbering over Newton's performance. Mel Kiper and ESPN also were praising the workout with Kiper mentioning that Newton's stock is on the rise. Other drafniks like NFL Network's Mike Mayock are more skeptical. I'm with Mayock. Newton has talent for sure, but I'm really worried about what he can do on a pro level and the off-field issues are a major red flag to me.

- Brandon Banks stabbed, is OK. Brandon Banks was injured while attempting to break up a fight between his friend and the man who eventually stabbed Banks (superficial wound that required stitches). A good account of the incident can be read here. IIWII wants to wish Mr. Banks and his friend a speedy recovery and hope they are doing well. Banks had an amazing 2010 as a rookie that was somewhat hindered by a knee injury. He should be 100% for the 2011 season.

- The Dan Snyder lawsuit. I honestly don't give a ****.

- Skins may move Training Camp and leave Ashburn. The Redskins are looking to move training camp and it may be at George Mason per various reports. The Skins are also looking into new facilities for a new Redskins park. Currently, the Skins don't have either a heated field or a indoor facility to hold practice if there is incliment weather.

- Free Agency list. Want to look at who's available in upcoming free agency? Plus, updates on who's been either franchised or re-signed. A very nice compilation over at Walter Football.

- 1st and 2nd round targets.
I'm going to throw a few names to keep an eye on as we get closer to the draft.
1st round prospects: Cameron Jordan, Julio Jones, Von Miller, JJ Watt, Aldon Smith, Tyron Smith.
2nd round prospects: Phil Taylor*, Leonard Hankerson, Rodney Hudson, Stefan Wisniewski.
* I had a good debate with Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) on whether Taylor will even be there at #41. Grant doesn't think he will. He's probably right.
At this point, I really hope the Skins can find a way to trade back

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Redskins and I Think Alike Sometimes....(Shaun Rogers to Visit Skins)

Just last night I wrote the post below discussing Shaun Rogers as a possible option to fill the need at nose tackle for the 3-4 scheme. And look what happened today according to DC Pro Sports Report via ESPN 980's Chris Russell:
"NT - Shaun Rogers trip to Washington to visit the is CONFIRMED, scheduled for tomorrow, per a source.

 Now before you freak about the Skins signing every free agent available for a 5 year, 20 million guaranteed contract, remember the Skins brought in a few free agents last year to check out and didn't sign them (see: Joey Porter). Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan are playing a much different game in DC than their predecessors (at least so far they have), so Rogers coming for a visit doesn't mean too much.

The Skins should check him out. He is a possible option and has proven himself at the NFL level. That said, I still think the Skins really need to do their homework on Phil Taylor, Kenrick Ellis, and a few other possible nose tackle prospects and see if we can go with some young talent.

Either way I think this is a good move to at least bring him in. It means to me that the Skins are serious about addressing the line issues on the defensive side of the ball.....something much needed for the Skins to have any success in 2011 and beyond.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Another Option at Nose Tackle? Shaun Rogers Cut by Browns.

(Could Rogers serve as an elite NT in a 3-4? Picture via)
Both Pro Football Talk and Fox Sports are reporting that the Cleveland Browns have released six players including massive defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. At 350 lbs., Rogers would fit the prototypical size of a space eating nose tackle. While the Redskins saw some production towards the end of the year with Anthony Bryant, the Skins may not have the ideal player to play nose tackle in their 3-4 scheme. Nose tackle is a critical position in the 3-4 scheme as that player is responsible to take on double teams to allow linebackers to make tackles and not get blocked. The nose also helps collapse the pocket preventing the quarterback from stepping up and making his pass. This allows outside linebackers to get sacks on the edge because the QB has nowhere to go but outside the pocket.

Currently only Bryant looks like he'll be a solid option for the Skins with Maake Kemoeatu struggling at the position and Albert Haynesworth refusing to be a NT in this scheme (he wants to penetrate and make plays, something many NTs don't really do). Rogers could be a possible option. His bulk combined with some athleticism forces teams to constantly put double teams on him. He has been unstoppable at times when motivated and his price tag (was set to get $5.5 million in 2011 with a $500,000 signing bonus) while not cheap, is reasonable by Redskins standards (compared to Haynesworth).

(Not just a run stuffer. Imagine this guy flying at you for a sack.)
There are problems however in this scenario. First, Rogers is coming off of injuries that has limited his playing time. He has only started in 12 games in the past two years. Second, Rogers will be 32 when (if?) the 2011 season starts. For a team that is trying to get younger, Rogers is a step backward. It also goes in line with the classic Snyder-era mistake of bringing in a big name player that may be starting to get past his prime and paying too much for little production. Third and most importantly comes the motivation factor. Rogers can be unstoppable when motivated......where have we heard that line before? The Skins already have a player that is like that in Albert Haynesworth. A player like this will have difficulty playing for a coach like Mike Shanahan who expects 100% both in practice and in games.

I still would like the Skins to look for a nose tackle in the draft. I am high on Baylor's Phil Taylor as a early to mid second round pick who may be available when the Skins choose at #41. I also like Hampton's Kenrick Ellis as a late day two or day three option. Both have questions about off field issues that will need to be researched, but based on what I've seen of them on the field, both have a great deal of potential to be solid NFL starters.

I'll have more on Taylor and Ellis when I file my reports on the Senior Bowl and the Texas vs. The Nation game. Either way, a good 3-4 NT is hard to find and it's nice to know that the Skins have another option to look at if they are unable to find their guy in the draft.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl: Thoughts

First, congratulations to the Green Bay Packers and their fans for the victory. I've got to say that I (along with many others) saw it coming months ago. It was nice to see Aaron Rogers dominate and I for one hope that this will be the end of the Brett Favre saga once and for all. Favre can now go and sit on his tractor in his Wrangler jeans and figure out if he'll cut grass today or not (Another tough Favre decision!!!! Quick, call Peter King!). Hopefully, the comparisons between the two will finally end with this win and Favre's (third and final?) retirement.

I didn't get into the hype of this game. Frankly, these two teams are similar in many aspects and nobody on either team is a major trash talker. It would have been more interesting to see Rex Ryan and the Jets at the Superbowl just to hear the many crazy things coming out of their mouths. Some people really hate Rex Ryan, I find him entertaining. He's a funnier version of his dad Buddy, who I watched coach two NFCE teams over the years (Eagles and Cardinals). Don't get me wrong, I have a great deal of respect for the Steelers and the Packers and their fan bases (well sort of....). I hope the the Skins 3-4 will eventually rival these teams. But in great controversy...they don't have much. Well, except for Rothlisberger and while I enjoy trash talk, there's some lines even I have to draw.

If anything, these teams are pretty similar and that may be why this just wasn't as exciting. No clash of scheme or styles. No brash guarantees. The Mikes (coaches McCarthy and Tomlin) are liked or respected in many league and fan circles. If anything this was a classic matchup of two old school franchises. This was a game that most NFL fans should be excited to see and yet didn't. The simple reason could be because they lacked the glamor that is expected when you think of a Super Bowl. There was no team to love really. Oh sure, there were many who like guys like Clay Matthews or Aaron Rogers but there was no emotional story like Jerome Bettis playing in his hometown for one final game. There was no emotion for a team like there was for the Saints. It was just tow good teams playing.

Most importantly, this game lacked somebody to hate. Yep, hatred is a powerful emotion and in football if your team isn't winning then many enjoy watching a rival fail. Why do you think many would have enjoyed the Bears or Jets in the Super Bowl? A lot of people can't stand Jay Cutler or Rex Ryan.  Again, there's the Rothlisberger element but his story has changed over the past months from villain and defamer of the NFL shield to reformed player deserving of a 2nd chance. So with nobody to really root for and nobody to really cheer for, you pretty much get this type of game. It was actually a good game with Pittsburgh looking like the better team until they made a turnover. The Packers generated three turnovers and each resulting drive led to a touchdown. Hard to overcome that even if Pittsburgh played at their best.....and they didn't.

Yet, the Steelers almost stole this one away from the Packers. Doing the same thing they've done to the Cardinals in their last Super Bowl appearance and to the Ravens twice this year. It made the final drives meaningful because you knew the Steelers were going to make a comeback and that the Packers had to try and stay a TD ahead of them. That was this game's saving grace. Not the best Super Bowl I've seen by any stretch but not the worst either I suppose.

Since the Super Bowl isn't really about football but media hype, commercials and half time shows; let's get to what everybody else was talking about: the commercials, the anthem and the halftime show.

The Anthem
(Having a better performance here than at the Super Bowl)
The sad thing of all of this is that Christina Aguilera still has one of the better voices going in the music industry and possibly all time. I was saying to the Mrs. prior to the anthem that I wondered if she would challenge the performance by Whitney Houston in the 1991 Super Bowl. Not even close. Funny thing was I didn't even catch the flub until later when I saw it mentioned on Deadspin. I blame it primarily on that I was tired of pre-game stuff and wanted to see some actual football. Anyway, here's one of the better versions of the anthem in my opinion.


The Halftime Show
Well, what did you expect? To quote a football line from the great Denny Green "They are who we thought they were.". If you like autotune and pop lyrics with a catchy beat.....then you kind of have the Black Eyed Peas. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. I have to admit I like a few of their songs. I usually hear them during the Skins games and their fine for a few clips here or there. Live performance to me wasn't that great though. I've never been a huge fan of Usher and his dancing like he's doing The Robot or miming something but hey, that's me. Why did we have to see a Slash cameo with a clip of the classic Guns N' Roses Sweet Child O' Mine?
(Fergie or Axl today? You decide. Photo Boris Menkevich via)
Many people have said that the performance reminds them of Tron. Well, to me it reminded me of the composers of Tron Legacy, Daft Punk. For some reason looking at the dancers reminded me of an early Daft Punk video more than Tron itself.


I still don't get why we haven't seen bands like Metallica, AC/DC or even Ozzy Osbourne perform at a Super Bowl. Maybe they've been asked and said no for all I know but I think that would be fun to watch. Plus, all three kick ass live either from personal experience or by watching live concerts on TV. Metallica had their music played during the game. For Whom the Bell Tolls and Enter Sandman played during the game.

Commercials
Meh. Two that I can think of were good. One was the Eminem commercial about Detroit. Excellent in making Detroit look good though embattled. I still won't buy another Chrysler again however. I owned a Pacifica a few years back and it broke down all the time and was a lousy vehicle. I also liked the Ozzy and Justin Bieber commercial. I can't stand his music but I give props to Bieber for making fun of himself. Ozzy has been making fun of himself for years now as a burned out senile old guy. It works for him.

- I didn't understand the Darth Vader kid commercial. Growing up in the 80's kids would always dress up as Vader or Yoda or Boba Fett for Halloween. We grew up with Star Wars with the original trilogy and the very cool Kenner toys. I could see this in 1985. It just didn't make much sense in 2011 to me.

And that ladies and gents. was the 2010 season......onto the draft!!!!