Sunday, January 29, 2012

Senior Bowl Thoughts Pt.2- Who Stood Out?

(Did Weeden move up draft boards after Saturday? Photo: Michael Johnson US Presswire)
Time to look at some players who stood out this week at the Senior Bowl. Obviously, my slant will be aimed at who looked like good prospects for the Redskins but I'll mention a few others who may have stood out as well.


Quarterbacks

- Brandon Weeden was the star QB this week in Mobile as he showed good accuracy, timing and understanding of the scheme. Weeden didn't seem to have any problems taking snaps under center and seemed generally comfortable in the pocket. He also has enough mobility to be able to run bootlegs and extend The game itself was a mixed bag (5/9 56yards, 2 INTs) but he had some good moments. The age issue is a big concern. Teams draft a QB high in the draft because they plan to make him the "face" of the franchise for the next 10 years or so. Weeden will be 29 before the 2012 season ends. That means you're likely to get 5 good years out of him. But when he reaches his second contract, do you spend big money to keep a player in his early/mid. 30's or start all over again?  Weeden also has a history with a shoulder injury and we won't know until the combine where he checks out medically. My guess is that Weeden will be a 2nd round pick despite the age and injury.

- Nick Foles and Ryan Lindley both showed flashes of ability, but I think will be long term projects. Foles' footwork is poor and it leads to inaccurate passes. He also has shown in live game with blitzing that he struggles under pressure. Lindley still shows that he lacks accuracy. The game itself didn't help. Lindley was again under 50% in. completions.

- Neither Kirk Cousins or Kellen Moore did much to change my opinion of them. Both probably will make it in the NFL as solid backups. Both remind me a bit of Todd Collins. Booksmart, quick releases and rely on timing to make good passes. Both lack elite arms and just don't feel like starters to me.

- Russell Wilson is an intriguing prospect. He's clearly a leader, has a good arm, is smart and has great mobility. It's that damn height issue. If Wilson was 2-3 inches taller, he'd be a 1st round pick. Instead, he looks like he'll be struggling a bit in the pocket when he takes snaps under center. He's the most comfortable when he's on the move. I'm thinking he's in a similar class as Pat White, but a better passer. Teams that like the wildcat and are willing to have packages for Wilson will love him.

Running Backs

- Not many players stood out this week. The two that did were Isaiah Pead (Senior Bowl MVP) and Doug Martin. Pead made a name for himself as a punt returner. Martin looks like an ideal fit for a ZBS scheme. He's a smaller back but looks like he he can power through some tackles. Might be worth a look in later rounds.

- Also worth noting is RB/WR/PR/KR Chris Rainey. He beat every single DB as a WR in practice with the deep routes and looks like he'll project as a WR at the NFL level. Reminds me of Percy Harvin who is a fellow Florida Gator.

Wide Receivers

- This was a weaker than expected group and I was hoping to see more out of Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller....but didn't. I also thought that Marvin McNutt had potential to shine in this game. He wasn't bad really, just didn't do too much. DeVier Posey also had some drops and gave up on a route that led to an INT.

- I did like Juron Criner, Gerell Robinson and Joe Adams. Adams in particular looks like he'll be a YAC playmaking WR.

Tight Ends

- The only player who really stood out was Alabama's Brad Smelley. He seemed the best overall TE who could both block and catch. Maybe not the next Vernon Davis, but a solid player who can find holes and catch the ball. There were some other guys worth keeping an eye on, but I'll need to look at some game tape and see how they look at The Combine before I say anything else.

O-line

-To be honest I want to look at the game again to make some final judgements. There was quite a few guys I was interested in watching before this week. It included Cordy Glenn, Zebrie Sanders, Ben Jones, Mike Adams and Kevin Zeitler.

- After this week, I think it's fair to say that Mike Adams will make some serious money. He played very well at LT shutting down the best DEs/OLBs at the game.

- Kevin Zeitler played well in the game from what I saw. Again, I'd like to watch the game again to see every play focusing on just him.

- Ben Jones and Zebrie Sanders didn't have good weeks. Both seemed to get manhandled at times.

- Still think Cordy Glenn could play either RT or either OG spots.

- Nobody else really stood out and I think most of the tackle prospects would be better suited as Guards.

D-line

- Really impressed with DT/NT Alameda Ta'amu. He was just unblockable all week either by his North teammates or the South in the game. Looks like he could be a real good NT in a 3-4 or a scary DT in a 4-3.

- Cortney Upshaw looks like he'll be the next highly talented DE/OLB coming out of Mobile. The key will be to determine if he's a 4-3 DE or a 3-4 OLB. I'm thinking OLB at this point.

- Quinton Coples was one of the most featured DEs in the game and was talked about the most during many of the practices. That said, he lacks an elite burst of the ball. He also was handled by Mike Adams.

LBers
- Incomplete. Got to do more homework, tape watching on these guys.

Secondary
Janoris Jenkins was the best of this year's group. But he was getting beat on double moves. He liked to sit on a route and various WRs from both teams would use their speed to beat him deep. It's fixable and he could be a very good CB if he can stay out of trouble.

- Really liked Dwight "Bill" Bentley. He looks like he'll be a playmaker at the next level,










Senior Bowl Thoughts Part 1: Slight Frustration and Rant

(Coach is not going to like what I say here)
Before I start let me just say how much I normally enjoy the Senior Bowl. Normally, I could care less about the final score. It's an evaluation of good players going against equally good players. I'm not rooting for a team; in this case I'm rooting for the players and how they'll look at the next level. This year was different because I had a team to root for.....the South. Obviously, I'm rooting for the Redskins to win here and to see how the college all-stars fit in the Mike Shanahan/Jim Haslett schemes that we watch every Sunday.

It lessened my enjoyment of the Senior Bowl.

I know that these players have only had a week together. I know that mistakes will be made. This is common in all-star games of this nature. Bad snaps, poor timing on routes, blowing coverage is all common because these players have limited time to gel as a team and won't be doing so ever again (barring multiple players getting drafted to the same team). So I can't blame either the coaches or the players for these expected errors.

That said, the Redskins led South team played pretty poorly tonight. Matter of fact, in certain aspects they looked a helluva lot like the 2010 and 2011 Redskins.

This scares me a great deal. I know this is just one game.....a meaningless all-star game where more is learned during the practice sessions than the actual game. If somebody ever left a comment on IIWII, I'm sure that's what I would get back on my concerns. That's true. But I saw many things that are making me question if the Redskins team is ever going to get any better even if the talent level gets better. I mean it's a fair statement to say that the Redskins had the better roster of talent. They had the better D line, better QB prospects and better corners. Most other positions were mostly pushes or slight edges to either side.

Here's just a few things that I noticed that makes me concerned:

1. Red Zone- The Redskins failed multiple times to score in the Red Zone. Players had minimal separation and it really didn't seem like the South team could do much of anything once they got there. Also, key mistakes (sack, penalty) seemed to happen at the worst moment once they got into the Red Zone. The result? Field Goals. Also, the run game sputtered as soon as they got to the 20.

2. Defense- It's hard to blame Haslett here because the D could only run a few packages/coverages and could not blitz. But I noticed a few times where the defense would give up a big play on 3rd downs which kept drives alive and led to scores.


3. Special Teams- Mike Shanahan said himself that they didn't do much with 'teams this week. I won't blame Danny Smith for the Isaiah Pead's returns. Normally, the Redskins coverage teams are some of the better units in the league. I will blame Smith for the pitiful performances by the return teams though. I'm watching Chris Rainey, the fastest player (probably) in the game run right into a pile of defenders for minimal gains. It reminds me of a similar player who's pretty darn fast that gets the same result for the Redskins and makes me wonder why we can't see an Isaiah Pead like performance? After the 2011 season the mere mention of Danny Smith raises my ire.....so this post is pretty tame.

There was some real sloppy play in this game by the South side. This was particularly surprising because the South had the best looking practices during the week. High energy, high tempo practices that impressed the announcers and the viewers at home who had a chance to catch these practices on NFL Network. It was alarming and frankly as a Redskins fan it pissed me off a little. For the last few decades years I have been convinced that the organization was in need of a serious overhaul at the top and through Shanahan this team was heading in the right direction. What they needed was a new infusion of talent and youth on the roster. That includes improved starters and depth. I was okay with the coaches with a few exceptions. Now I'm starting to wonder if this staff can get it done.

That's bad. I've been pretty high on Mike Shanahan since he became the HC of the Redskins (Ed. Note- to be honest when I thought it was coming down to Gruden or Shanahan, I wanted Gruden). So much so that I have threatened to give up my season tickets if owner Daniel Snyder got impatient and fired him. I'm still sticking with Shanahan and his staff but there is a slight bit of doubt starting to creep in and it's not going to go away until the Redskins start playing again.

Or at least until training camp starts..........

More Senior Bowl coverage and commentary coming soon.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Team The Redskins Swept This Year is Heading to the Super Bowl



Remember, the Redskins went 5-11 this year. 5-11. They beat a horrible Rams team, a mediocre Cardinals team and a better than expected Seahawks team.

.....and the Giants.       Twice.


And yet, here we are. Another Giants/Patriots Super Bowl is coming our way in two weeks. As much as the Patriots annoy the hell out of me, I will be rooting for the Pats. There are two simple reasons why:

1. The Giants are a NFCE rival, Enough said even though I dislike the Giants the least of the teams in our division.

2. This is the other reason.
(D'Oh!)
I respect the hell out of Peyton Manning and I think he is arguably the best QB to ever play the game. While Eli is no slouch in the QB department, it just feels wrong to see Eli get more Super Bowl rings than Peyton.

Crazy world we live in where the 'Skins sweep what could be the Super Bowl champs after they beat last year's Super Bowl champs. (Packers) in the 2010 regular season. I guess it pays off in the long run to lose to the Redskins.

NFL Picks Championship Week

Going to do this quick because I'm honestly not hyped up about either of these games. I really don't want to see a Ravens/49ers Super bowl. The hype for the next two weeks would be as annoying as hell. Possibly even more annoying than a Peyton vs. Eli Manning Superbowl matchup.


Ravens @ Patriots
Pick: Ravens

Something tells me that the Ravens D gives Tom Brady fits today. If that's the case expect Baltimore to head to their second Superbowl.

Giants @ 49ers
Pick: Giants
The Giants are as streaky as streaky teams get. Remember, the 5-11 Redskins beat them twice this year. That said, the Giants are hot now and when they are playing well they are hard to stop.


Yep, I picked the underdogs in both games. Go figure. I will say that I've been lousy in calling games for playoffs this post-season, so expect a Patriots/49ers Super Bowl.

Quick Thoughts on NFLPA Game; About to Watch East-West Shrine Game

(Can Tulsa's G.J. Kinnie be the next T.J. Yates?)
While many football fans will be watching Ravens at Patriots and Giants at 49ers, I will be focusing on the draft and (hopefully, if the real job quits calling me in) watching the East-West Shrine game. I did get a chance and watch most of the Astroturf NFLPA Collegiate Game yesterday and here are some quick thoughts:

- Keep an eye on Tulsa's G.J. Kinnie (QB). Has some good mobility, a strong arm and was hitting his targets with keen precision. He was the best looking QB on the field in my opinion and could be another late round steal for a team looking to develop a future player. I thought he played much better than T.J. Yates did in the 2011 version of this game.

- I think there were two good WR talents playing yesterday and could also be some mid to late round pick ups. Lavasier Tuinei (Oregon) and Keith Nichol (Michigan St.). Nichol in particular reminds me of the Patriots Aaron Hernandez with a good mix of size and speed.

- Jared Green (son of HOF Darrell Green) didn't have his best day in my opinion. Had trouble at times getting separation and getting in synch with his QBs. He also made a good special teams play by grabbing a punt before it went into the endzone, but was ruled a touchback because he made the catch on the goal line (this is a touchback in the NFL, not in college). He did have one really nice catch on a deep route which showed his speed. I still think the 'Skins might want to look at him as a possible late round/UDFA prospect.

I plan on watching this game again and I'll do a full re-cap sometime soon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Will be a Busy Day for College All-Star Games

(Gah! Almost forgot the NFLPA game is Saturday)
If you're missing football (college in particular), don't worry. There are two college all-star games taking place on Saturday.

The East-West Shrine game which I've already mentioned. Which will be on NFL Network with coverage starting around 3:30PM EST. On a draftable note, these are mid-round prospects with a few possibly going as high as the 2nd round.

Also the NFLPA will hold its Collegiate Bowl today. It starts at 6PM EST on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). The twist in this game will be that underclassmen are allowed to play. The problem with this is that pro scouts and teams are not allowed to be at the game or attend the practices (violation of NCAA rules). So, this will be interesting to watch to see if any of these senior prospects are hurt because the scouts couldn't see them up close in this game. Expect late round and free agent rookies to come out of this game.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA and PIPA Now!!!!

(using this image alone could end  IIWII if these acts are passed. Image via)
I don't wax politic on this site. EVER. That has been one of my few "unwritten rules" that I have for IIWII. So you will never read about who I like in the election, where I stand on taxes, social issues and political viewpoint. Frankly, politics are volatile and I don't want anger 50% of my readers when all I want to write about is football and the occasional pop culture thing.

That said, I'm making an exception today. Today multiple websites have "gone black" to send a message to you the internet reader about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). The concept of these bills are to protect copyrighted material from being pirated and counterfeited from various websites including those in foreign countries. The problem I have with these acts are that the wording and scope are incredibly vague and it can lead to an end of free speech in some areas of the web and complete removal of some sites and businesses that current exist on the internet.

Like You Tube? well, it probably won't exist the way you see it today if these acts become law. Reddit and blogs could be targets and casualties as well. Hell, even a company like ESPN that supports SOPA could fall by it's own measures based on a Deadspin article that suggests at least Bill Simmons has potentially violated SOPA. Think your message boards would be safe? Not so. The boards would have to monitor every link put on by a poster to make sure it doesn't infringe on copyrighted material.

Even IIWII (which has never made one cent of money) would be in jeopardy with these laws. I couldn't show You Tube highlights of draft prospects or various images even if I linked back to the original article (which I try to give full credit and link original sources when I can).

We live in an age where our freedoms are daily being threatened by people with power who can take them away from us. Luckily, in this country we the people (remember, the government is here to serve the people not the other way around) can let our representatives know that we don't like this and we don't want SOPA and PIPA to infringe on our rights to free expression.

Please click on the above links to learn more about SOPA and PIPA and I hope you join me and many others to oppose these acts.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's East-West Shrine Game Week


As a draftnik and a college All-Star game fan this is one of my favorite times of the year when looking at the upcoming draft. This Saturday starts the run of three good all-star games. First is the East/West Shrine game. Then comes the best of the All-Star games in the Senior Bowl and finally the NFLPA all star game. Anyway the East-West Shrine game is a game that usually doesn't have many 1st round caliber seniors playing (this is a senior only all-star game much like the Senior Bowl) but there is a wealth of NFL prospects that may come out of this game. For example, the Redskins drafted three players that played in the East-West game last year with one ending the 2011 season as a starter. Those players include: Evan Royster, Brandyn Thompson and Aldrick Robinson.

More or less, East-West has talent but just don't expect many of these players to be drafted during days 1 or 2 in the draft.

Here is a list of five players to keep an eye on at the East-West Shrine Game:

1. B.J. Coleman QB (Tennessee-Chatanooga)- a prospect that has a great deal of tangibles (height, arm) but played at a smaller school as a transfer after the whole Lane Kiffin leaving Tenessee for USC debacle. He apparently has talent but has a lot to work on. Pro Football Weekly has him 8th in their QB rankings. National Football Post has him ranked 7th. CBS Sports has him ranked 14th.

2. Chandler Harnish QB (Northern Illinois)- Another small school prospect that has been moving up some draft boards. I haven't had a chance to watch either Coleman or Harnish, so let's see if they can live up to the buzz about them.

3. Joe Long OT (Wayne St.)- I can't find a single ranking on him on NFP or CBS but I want to watch him on Saturday. He is the younger brother of Miami LT Jake Long. Doesn't mean that he'll be the next Eli Manning to brother Peyton (probably more like Jordan Palmer to his brother Carson), but I'm curious to see if he's worth using a late round pick.

4. Jerry Franklin ILB (Arkansas)- sixth in the SEC in tackles, leading the Razorbacks with tackles. Very durable and is 3rd in Arkansas history for tackles with 374, Might be worth looking at as depth and a future replacement for London Fletcher.

5. Robert Blanton CB (Notre Dame)- I like his size and ability to play man. Might be competition for Brandyn Thompson and Kevin Barnes.

Others: Jeff Adams (Columbia), Davin Meggett (Maryland)

The game starts Saturday the 21st on NFLN at 4PM EST.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Redskins Announce No Ticket Increase for 2012 Season

(This could be FedEx during a game if the 'Skins keep losing at home and raise ticket prices. Photo: FedEx Al)
























The Redskins announced yesterday that for the 7th straight season they are not raising ticket prices for home games (ie. season ticket holders and the occasional person who can get single game tickets from the team). The Redskins also noted that they've only raised ticket prices three times since Dan Snyder's tenure as the Redskins owner (Ed. Note- while the article doesn't explicitly state this, the article mentions through 1999 when Dan Snyder bought the team from the estate of Jack Kent Cooke). The article mentions hard economic times on fans as being a factor for the decision. As a fan, I am happy to see that my ticket invoice shouldn't be going up this year (although I haven't heard anything about parking or FedEx S&H charges yet) but in reality my wife sums up my overall thoughts on this.

Me: Hey, they just announced that the ticket prices won't be raised again this year.

The Mrs: You'd hope so. What the hell would they be thinking to raise prices after playing like this?

So it got me thinking: How good have been the Redskins been at FedEx since 1999? Home field advantage is critical in the NFL with fan noise and playing surface being a factor in the games. So I looked up the records of  the Redskins from 1999-2011* and here is what I found. Home record will be noted first with overall  regular season record in parentheses.

1999: 7-2** (10-6)
2000: 4-4 (8-8)
2001: 4-4 (8-8)
2002: 5-3 (7-9)
2003: 4-4 (5-11)
2004: 3-5 (6-10)
2005: 6-2 (10-6)
2006: 3-5 (5-11)
2007: 5-3 (9-7)
2008: 4-4 (8-8)
2009: 3-5 (4-12)
2010: 2-6 (6-10)
2011: 2-6 (5-11)

So, since 1999 the Redskins have gone 52-53** at FedEx. During that time, the Redskins have only had 4 winning home records (1999, 2002, 2005, 2007) which I guess is not too much of a surprise since the Redskins have only had 3 winning seasons during that span (1999, 2005, 2007). Sadly, Mike Shanahan has the worst home coaching record of the coaches from 2001*** and on.

Steve Spurrier: 9-7 (.563)
Joe Gibbs: 17-15 (.531)
Marty Schottenheimer: 4-4 (.500)
Jim Zorn: 7-9 (.438)
Mike Shanahan: 4-12 (.250)

I still believe that if you're a team that wants to go to the playoffs, you have to have at minimal a 5-3 record (although I personally believe it should be 6-2). It looks like the Redskins have a long way to go to get back to that level of winning at home. The Redskins have had a tradition since the 70's and 80's of having a significant home field advantage and the Redskins must bring that back to DC. Until then, they better not even start to think about raising ticket prices.

Another raise in food, beverage and alcohol prices at the stadium wouldn't surprise me in the least though and this is why I'll stick to tailgating in the parking lot as much as possible.

* Statistics and Records found at pro-football-reference.com
** Redskins are 1-0 at FedEx in home playoff games (vs. Lions 1999), overall regular season record at FedEx since 1999 is 51-53.
*** Did not include Turner or Robiskie in this since Turner was coaching the 'Skins since 1993 and Robiskie coached for less than a year.

NFL Divisonal Playoff Picks

(During the Green Bay games his face gets so red he looks like Darth Maul)
Saturday Games


Saints @ 49ers (+3.5) 4:30 PM EST, FOX
High powered offense vs. a high powered defense. This could be the game of the week even though it feels like it will be the least entertaining. I'm going with the Saints in this game because I just think that if the Saints can put some points on the board it will be hard for the 49ers to keep up.
Pick: Saints

Broncos @ Patriots (-13.5) 8:00 PM EST, CBS
They've already faced each other once this season and the Patriots destroyed Tebow and the Broncos. I think this game will be closer but the problem with the Broncos is the same problem that most teams have with the Patriots- you can't out score them. The key for the Broncos will be containing the Patriots TEs. Bailey and Goodman have done an excellent job in coverage. The key will be if Von Miller and company can stop Hernandez and Gronkowski. The problem is that nobody has done a good job of doing this at all this season. Denver's offense will have to play a perfect game and I can't see that happening. I'm on the Tebow bandwagon but I think the Patriots will win.
Pick: Patriots

Sunday Games


Texans @ Ravens (-7.5) 1:00 PM EST, CBS
The Texans succeed by running the ball. The Ravens D has always been known for stopping the run. This could be a very interesting game if not for the game itself but with what the Ravens can do in the post season. We already know that the Ravens have a good defense. I don't think it's as good a previous years though. What will be telling is what the Ravens can do on the offensive side of the ball. Can they move the ball? Can Joe Flacco light up the scoreboard against good defenses? The Ravens one fault has been some ineptitude on offense. If they can live up to the potential on paper, it's possible for the Ravens to keep up with the Patriots, Saints and Packers of the league. If that's the case, there is a good chance the Lombardi will be headed to Baltimore again (something that I'm not looking forward to seeing as a Redskins fan- dealing with some Raven fans is a royal pain in the ass on the Eastern Shore).
Pick: Ravens

Giants @ Packers (-8.0) 4:15 PM EST, FOX
It figures that the Giants have started to turn it on as they head toward the playoffs. Remember (I'll remind Giant fans as much as possible) this is the team that was swept by the Redskins this year. The Giants looked pretty pathetic in both games in 2011. Yet, here we are now. The Giants are the underdogs heading to Green Bay to face the champion Packers. Thing is the Giants have shown that they can hang with the Packers. This will be a game that will ask the question who is better the Giants front four or Aaron Rogers? I think it's still Rogers.
Pick: Packers

Last week a sad 2-2. Who knew that the Falcons would stink it up so bad? I seriously doubt that most fans thought the Broncos would beat the Steelers.







Thursday, January 12, 2012

Breaking: Redskins Hire One, Fire Two Coaches

(The Redskins new defensive backs coach......for now)
According to multiple media and league sources, the Redskins have hired former Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris to be the Redskins new secondary coach. Morris had met the Redskins for an interview last week and it had been suggested that the Redskins had offered him a position with the team. Morris has ties to the Redskins organization as he worked with Kyle Shanahan and Bruce Allen during their tenures in Tampa Bay.

My guess is that Morris has been brought in to improve upon the development of secondary most importantly the development of younger DBs like a Dejon Gomes, Brandyn Thompson and even LaRon Landry (should he return to the Redskins in 2012). Over the last few years, the Redskins have failed to develop their secondary youth with Chris Horton, Kareem Moore and Justin Tryon all being former draft picks who are no longer on the team.

2011 was a horrible year for the Redskins secondary. DeAngelo Hall was inconsistent and frequently beat for big plays during critical junctures of the game. Josh Wilson also had his struggles and injures but seemed to rebound and play closer to his 2010 form towards the end of the season. Kevin Barnes was non-existent and looks to be joining the group of drafted DBs who aren't going to pan out in Washington. Same can be said of the safeties. Oshiomogho Atogwe and LaRon Landry were non-factors because of injury. Reed Doughty tries to play free safety but is a better fit at the strong position and Dejon Gomes played like a rookie with some flashes of potential and some clear rookie mistakes.

There is a chance that Morris' stay with the Redskins won't last long. He also interviewed for the Vikings defensive coordinator position and according to 106.7 the fan (via John Keim in the above article), he could leave if he is offered the higher position. Right now, this seems to be a shrewd move by the Redskins as they try to make the team better for 2012.

Also, similar sources are reporting that the 'Skins are firing (or in the WP Jason Reid article, they are not getting contract extensions and won't be back next season- thus technically not being fired, just not coming back.) two coaches: safeties coach Steve Jackson and wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell. Jackson makes sense with the problems in the secondary and so does McCardell with limited production by the WR corp. Most importantly little development from the younger players like Anthony Armstrong and Terrence Austin.

No official comments have come from the Redskins at this point.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Redskins Coaches to Attend and Coach at Senior Bowl

(I watch the Senior Bowl every year, still this is big news)
Yesterday, the Senior Bowl announced it's coaching staffs for the game. Each year, two NFL coaching staffs come down to Mobile and and coach for the game. This year it will be the Minnesota Vikings coaching the North team and the Washington Redskins coaching the South team.

Did I already tell you this is BIG NEWS?

Let me say this again: THIS IS BIG, HUGE NEWS!!!!!!!

For those not familiar with the Senior Bowl, the  annual game is an invitation only All-Star game for college seniors. More or less you see some of the top prospects in football play in this game. There are a ton of current top tier NFL talent that has played in the Senior Bowl. Matter of fact the Redskins took 6 of their draft picks from players in the Senior Bowl last year including the first four picks: Ryan Kerrigan, Jarvis Jenkins, Leonard Hankerson and Roy Helu Jr.

 So it makes sense that this year the Redskins are likely to take more players from the Senior Bowl in this draft.

So why is this BIG NEWS? Well, scouting in particular. The Redskins coaches will have a chance to work with half of the participants. First, is that the 'Skins can evaluate these players running their drills and their scheme. It's good to know what a player can do up close, but even better when that player is running those drills in your scheme. Second the coaches will be able to look at the player's character and how they interact with the coaches and their teammates. More or less, you might get an idea whether or not certain players of interest can fit your team and fit the player type you want on the roster. Maybe not as important to some coaches but this seems to be a major mantra down at Redskins Park these days. Third, is that you'll be able to chart all of the players that you don't wind up drafting or signing as undrafted free agents. So if other teams draft these guys, they may have some scouting report info. on these rookies. Also (assuming the 'Skins coaching staff will still be in DC for a few more years), they can have reports on these players to determine if they are worth targeting when they become free agents.

Now to the big reason.......

We need a quarterback right? Well with exception to Andrew Luck and RGIII most of the top QB talent are seniors. There is a good chance that many of these senior QBs will be attending the Senior Bowl (Note: Only Boise State's Kellen Moore and Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill have accepted invitations). So, Mike Shanahan/Kyle Shanahan will get to see up close and (in most cases) work with many of the quarterbacks that they might be considering in this year's draft. I have a feeling that after the Senior Bowl they'll have a good idea whether to focus for a QB at their spot, trade back or go all in and trade up to try and get Luck or RGII.

The Senior Bowl will be played on January 28th at 4PM EST on NFL Network.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

NFL Wild Card Picks

(Can Tebow and the Broncos pull the miracle upset on Pittsburgh Sunday?)


Saturday Games
(Both games on NBC)

4:30 PM- Bengals @ Texans (-3.0)
In week 14 the Texans eeked out a victory over the Bengals in Cincinnati. This week the Bengals head down to Houston to face a still banged up but better Texans team. This is the first ever playoff game (and first ever home playoff game) for the Texans. I would expect it to be loud in Texas this week end.
Pick: Texans
  
8:00 PM- Lions @ Saints (-10.5)
Another rematch of a game played earlier this year. The Saints are almost invincible at home this year but their defense is still suspect. The Lions are an up and down team that makes key mistakes (usually some type of stupid penalty). I, like many pundits, think that this game will be closer than the point spread indicates. That said, I like the Saints to put up enough points that the Lions can't match.
Pick: Saints


Sunday Games
(AFC game on CBS, NFC game on FOX)

1:00PM- Falcons @ Giants (-3.0)
The Giants have to be the most inconsistent franchise in the NFL. Funny thing is that they have been this way since Jim Fassel was the head coach. They win games they should and lose games they should win. Perfect example with this season. They sweep the 2nd best team in the NFCE, split with the 3rd best team and get swept by lowly Redskins (who only won 3 other games in 2011). I don't have a clue which Giants team will show up this weekend but if the mediocre one shows, Atlanta is good enough to take advantage of the Giants poor play.
Pick: Falcons

4:30PM- Steelers @ Broncos (+8.0)
This will be a tough game for the Broncos. The Steelers may be the 6th seed, but in the past the Steelers have been able to win a Super Bowl being that low in the playoffs. There is a chance the Broncos can pull off the victory, but they will need some help.
Pick: Steelers

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Season Ends Today and the Redskins Will Draft at #6

Well, it's over except for a game between the Cowboys and Giants which I care very little about the outcome. So let's get to what most Redskin fans are most interested- where the Redskins will be drafting in 2012.

So here's the final top (bottom) 10 of the 2011 season and the draft order of the 2012 season:

1. Colts (2-12)
2. Rams (2-12)
3. Vikings (3-13)
4. Browns (4-12)
5. Buccaneers (4-12)
6. Redskins (5-11)
7. Jaguars (5-11)
8. Panthers (6-10)
9. Dolphins (6-10)
10. Bills (6-10)

This is based on estimated opposing team winning percentage with the lower % having the higher pick.

Draft Notes

- So the Colts win the "Suck for Luck" sweepstakes. So now comes the million dollar question: What do they do with it? The Colts could take Luck, that's easy enough but I wonder if they would rather try to make a run with Peyton Manning one more time. What would it cost a team like the Browns or Redskins to claim such a "top tier" prospect? There are also rumors that the Colts may be interested in Robert Griffin III. The analysts and ex-players sure are touting Griffin as the #1 player overall. I wonder if these are true opinions or if they are stirring up some controversy to have something to talk about until the draft gets here.

- Don't feel bad for the Rams for failing to win "Suck for Luck" at this point, they are in a good situation. They have the #2 pick overall and a few options. First we must note that it appears that Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo and GM Billy Devaney may both be fired so expect the Rams to possibly be bringing in a new GM and new head coach. What that means is change is coming. That may even include QB. The Rams have many options. They could stand pat at #2 and draft a player to help the current roster. My guess is that would either be a playmaking WR or possibly a CB. They could take Robert Griffin as their new franchise QB and then trade away Sam Bradford. What I see most likely is that the Rams will offer the second overall pick to the highest bidder. That team could snag Griffin at #2. Either way I expect the Rams getting something good for being number two (yes, pun intended).

- Cleveland is the Wild Card and will be likely the biggest thorn to the Redskins if they want to get Robert Griffin. The Browns pick fourth (two spots above the Redskins). They also have a late 1st round pick that will be determined throughout the playoffs (Atlanta's pick in the trade for Julio Jones). This gives the Browns a lot of leverage if they want to move up. Matter of fact, the Browns could use up the remaining picks given to them from the Falcons, their 1st round pick and possibly another pick and have enough ammo to move into the #1 overall spot if the Colts were interested in a trade for Luck. They seem pretty interested in Robert Griffin though. Coach Pat Shurmur has already stated that he's watched Griffin play and thinks he's really talented. He also said that he would be a fit in a West Coast system. Actually, while watching The Browns face the Steelers, I saw the success that Seneca Wallace was having success in this scheme. Griffin has similar mobility and better arm strength than Wallace so, yes it looks like Shurmur would be right.

NFL Week 17 Picks

With the regular season coming to an end, I only have a few games left to try and win my pick'em league with BGO. Doesn't look like that's happening this year. That said, in pick'em I've had a decent year. Through 16 weeks I've gone 156-84 (.650). Not too bad I suppose. Anyway enjoy the last week of 16 games......

This week the comments will talk about draft status (something 'Skins fans care about) more or less.

1PM Games
Redskins @ Eagles (-9.0)
Typically, I'd pick the Redskins here. The 'Skins play extremely well against the Eagles in Philadelphia. The Eagles are trying to get to .500 with a win. It seems that the Redskins are already starting to look at free agency and the draft, so I don't expect much in this game.
Pick: Eagles

Steelers @ Browns (-7.0)
The Steelers need this game to have a chance to catch Baltimore. The Browns lose and they keep their high draft pick. I don't expect an upset here.
Pick: Steelers

Ravens @ Bengals (+2.5)
This is a game that Marvin Lewis usually finds ways to win. The Ravens have also had problems locking up anything this entire year, especially against lesser opponents. I'm expecting the upset today.
Pick: Bengals

Jets @ Dolphins (-1.0)
The Jets are still alive but need a ton of help in order to make the playoffs. I bet Todd Bowles and the Dolphins would love to spoil that. A Dolphins loss could help their draft status, but I think it's a fair bet that most of the players and coaches (who probably won't be back next year) could care about draft status at this point.
Pick: Dolphins

Panthers @ Saints (-8.0)
I just don't see the Saints starting and playing all of their starters for a very long period of time. Expect the Panthers to pull an upset as the Saints head to the playoffs.
Pick: Panthers


Buccaneers @ Falcons (-14.0)
I would love to see the Bucs pull an upset and help the Redskins out with a win. Don't see it happening though. The Bucs have given up on the season weeks ago and Atlanta is trying to lock in the 5 seed.
Pick: Falcons

Lions @ Packers (+1.0)
The Packers aren't happy that the Lions are favored here, but who cares. The smart thing is to rest the starters after a quarter or half and try to beat Detroit with your back ups. Lions need the win here, Packers could care less.
Pick: Lions

49ers @ Rams (+11.0)
Another game where the Rams need a loss to help win "Suck for Luck" and the 49ers could use another win to solidify their standing.
Pick: 49ers

Colts @ Jaguars (-4.0)
This is probably the most imprtant game of the week because a win by either team has ramifications to the Redskins. So what do we want? A Colts win which opens up the #1 spot or a Jaguars win which could put the Redskins into the #6 spot? Tough call. I think the Jaguars win despite the Colts playing better over the past few weeks.
Pick: Jaguars

Bills @ Patriots (-12.0)
With a Patriots win and a Ravens loss, the Pats. get the #1 overall seed. The Bills are currently #11 in the draft order and a loss might help them slightly.
Pick: Patriots

Titans @ Texans (+3.0)
The Texans have nothing to play for as they are locked into the third seed. The Titans are clawing to make the playoffs. Have to think the Titans will pull of the victory today.
Pick: Titans

Bears @ Vikings (+1.0)
Don't like this game, going with Bears here.
Pick: Bears

4PM Games
Chiefs @ Broncos (-3.0)
Tebow time and a strong defense should be enough to send the Chiefs packing.
Pick: Broncos


Chargers @ Raiders (-3.0)
The end is nigh for Norv Turner and company. Expect them to do something stupid to cost them the game. Classic Norv.
Pick: Raiders


Seahawks @ Cardinals (-3.0)
At this point I just think the Seahawks are a better team.
Pick: Seahawks


SNF
Cowboys @ Giants (-3.0)
You never know what you're getting from these teams, so I'll just go with the home team.
Pick: Giants













Prediction: Robert Griffin III is Entering the Draft (Update: Per Mort he's declaring)

(Could we see him in Burgundy and Gold in a few months? Photo credit unknown, image via)
























I don't have an inside source on this. Nor do I know RG3, his family or close friends but I have a strong suspicion that Robert Griffin III will be entering the draft in a matter of a few days/week. Frankly, it only makes sense based on  his draft value right now. But there have been mixed rumors about his return to Baylor. Some rumors have him returning so he can attend law school and try to get Baylor a national championship. Other rumors have his family looking at potential agents as he prepares to enter the draft. What was most telling of Griffin's future was what was said about him by the announcers during the Alamo Bowl and Griffin's comments after the game.

Based on these comments it's fair to say that I like Griffin even more as he put his team ahead of himself; the true sign of a leader and I a player I would love to see leading the Redskins one day.

Griffin didn't make any announcements prior to the Alamo bowl because he didn't want to be a distraction to his teammates, his coaches and the Baylor fans. The announcers at the game mentioned that Griffin didn't want to take away from them because he already has had a lot of media attention based on the Heisman selection and the success from the regular season.

Just look at what he said in his post game comments:
"We went out in style! I want Baylor nation to enjoy this. It's not about me. I've got about two weeks. I'll enjoy this the next day, and then the next day, and then I'll make it."

Pretty much says it all.

Update: Per ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Robert Griffin will declare for the 2012 draft. Mort also goes on to say that the announcement will be made prior to the January 15th deadline. I would guess that it will be made either in the next couple of days or after the BCS Championship game (January 9th).


Announcement: No More Game Recaps for 2011 Season

(Instead of a Game Recap, here's a picture from the game at FedEx)
























Here's the deal: I haven't been able to re-watch many games for the last few weeks due toward time constraints. So, for the most part, there isn't much reason for doing the remaining game recaps on the Vikings or Eagles. Mostly, it's been the same story: Bad playcalling, mistakes or turnovers. So it's been hard to write about the same thing week after week. So instead of wasting time writing about two games that nobody will care about after tomorrow, I'm going to start working on the 2011 Redskin Player Awards.

Happy New Year- Looking Back at 2011 and Looking Forward to 2012


So, 2012 is here and it's time to look back a bit before we move forward. 2011 has been a bad year in my opinion for a few things: football, the Redskins and blogs. It was a bad year for many of us Redskin bloggers because of the lack of an off-season and difficulty getting back into the shortened season. A few friends of IIWII closed up shop and we were sad to see them go. Others took longer than expected hiatuses and it just cut back the opinions and views of knowledgeable fans. We also saw the demise (well, not fully but the site took a major paradigm shift) of TBD.com. TBD was an interesting idea that more or less made news through social media including blogs (like this one). After so departures and layoffs, the site still exists but isn't what it was. That is sad.

The Redskins also had another horrible season in 2011. After having a great draft and picking up young talent in free agency like Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen, the Redskins started the season 3-1. But injuries, poor playcalling and reality at the QB position set in. The Redskins are currently 5-10 with a game against the Eagles tomorrow. They are 2-6 for the second straight year at FedEx under Mike Shanahan. One only hopes that the 'Skins can have another good draft, find more young offensive talent in free agency and hopefully find the quarterback of the future and present. Despite the record, I actually think the Redskins as a roster have been/will be in the best shape since the 2007 season.....or better. Here's to better days days to come with the Redskins. Hail to the Redskins!

As for IIWII, I had an off year to say the least. With problems with the lockout and a few issues dealing with me outside of IIWII, it was just difficult to get as many articles up as I hoped. IIWII set an all time low in posts (161) when my goal  was to write about 200 at minimum. There were some good things that happened to the site though. First, the background and template was changed from the classic black to a more Redskin themed Burgundy and Gold. Second, was the addition of our Flickr feed which gives the readers the opportunity to see more of the photos taken for IIWII. I still have some more plans coming and I hope that the readers will like them. Some will include some more draft coverage and maybe some non-football related stuff as well.

2012 should have a lot of good things for us to look forward. For the Redskins, we have all-star bowl games to watch, the combine, free agency and the draft. During all of this we'll have visions of Robert Griffin and Andrew Luck in Burgundy and Gold. The Nationals may have one of the best bullpens in baseball and I can't wait to see what they have in store for this season. The Capitals look like they may still be a playoff contender despite a coaching change. And the Wizards, well they're wearing the Bullets colors.....so at least that's a step in the right direction.

It also should be a good year for movies and TV. The Walking Dead will be back in February. Dr. Who will start another season in late 2012. The Avengers and James Bond return to the big screen. Most importantly, Christopher Nolan will complete his Batman opus with The Dark Knight Rises.

As for IIWII, I'm hoping to bring a lot of reader favorites back like the annual Redskin player awards, Meaningless Mock Drafts and the IIWII Consensus Draft Pick. Hopefully, I'll get down to FedEx to cover this year's draft day party (if they have it) and possibly run down to Ashburn to cover at least a day of training camp (all of this depends mostly on work schedule). Thanks again for reading and keep reading. IIWII will continue to provide coverage and analysis of the Redskins, football, the draft and anything else I (or any contributors) feel like writing.

If you have any comments, questions, suggestions or are interested in guest blogging or contributing to the site feel free to contact IIWII via email at IIWIIARB@hotmail.com or through Twitter @IIWIISkinsBlog.