Monday, January 28, 2008

Drink Up!

Wow...a lot to digest from the recent events of the Redskins' coaching search. If the public outcry in recent days after various moves is any indication of the level to which we are all following this saga, it is safe to assume we need no recap of what has transpired. So let's get right into it.

I am not broken up about losing Saunders OR Williams. Nobody could have thought Saunders' job was safe. He has had a tenuous hold on his job since the day he arrived. Williams, on the other hand, was a surprising loss. Who among us could honestly say we didn't think he would be the next head coach (after Bill Cowher said he was not coming)? And yet, here we are and he is not even coming back as the D-coordinator. Yikes. Would I have been happy about him getting the job, of course. But making him our next head coach would have guaranteed us nothing more than a warm and fuzzy feeling. Do I think he could be successful as a head coach? Sure. But we are all still riding the emotional tails of this past season. There have been times in Williams' tenure here where we would not have been this upset to see him leave. I think what is absolutely pissing everyone off is the nature of this process. So let's talk about that.

Vinny's promotion
Does anyone truly believe that Cerrato has any more or less power today than he ever had? This dude would be right there with cockroaches after a global nuclear war as the only survivors. I'm not even mad--it's really rather impressive. The "promotion" really means nothing to us--this was about Danny's profession of undying love to Vinny. Nauseating? Yes. Those two are the Ross and Rachel of the NFL. If they weren't together you would just be wondering when and how they would get back together. Nothing new there.

If I Can Call You Betty, You Can Call Me Al Davis
Who else hires every subordinate first with such utter disregard for what ANYONE else thinks besides Al Davis in this league? Now this is an area of concern...especially if there is no man (future mystery head coach) behind the curtains secretly signing off on all of these hirings. Far be it for me to say that just because a certain way of doing things has been adhered to for years it should continue to be adhered to...after all, innovation must occur. The real dilemma is that none of us thinks Dan Snyder is so well-versed in the ways of the NFL that he can be a true innovator of anything except where it pertains to raising parking and beer prices.
To be fair, I DO believe Dan Snyder is taking advantage of this process to engage in the age-old art of "exchanging ideas" and educating himself while meeting with what can be rightly called a smart group of coaches. Lombardi, Walsh, and Shula they are not, but Mora, Fassel, Meeks, Williams, Schwartz...these guys are not morons. I am sure when asked, "What would you do with our current group of coaches and players?", each of these men has offered a well-thought out response. Each has offered ideas specific to players, specific to strengths and weaknesses of the offensive and defensive staffs, and specific to the competition (6 games inside the best division in the NFL). The problem is whether we believe Dan Snyder is capable of learning from these guys. Is he just full of himself to think he can take these meetings, absorb all these ideas and philosophies and all of a sudden be the next Plato? Odds are against that.
But at least there is the appearance of a process. Right? I mean, how many times has he left a vacancy open for this long? Five years ago, Snyder's "Coaching Search" would have consisted of Fedex backing up one truck full of money after the next until Bill Cowher said yes. Now we have what at least appears to be *gasp* a strategy, point, or purpose to this whole process. Could it be 1000% wrong? Ummmm, yes. But it is 1000% refreshing, like the first time you undid a bra without looking like a d-bag. I can't be the only person thinking this.

Were we really that in love with Williams? Or were we simply willing to settle for whatever Williams gave us because we were certain it would be better than whatever Danny could give us? And don't get me wrong, that is fair. But at some point the little guy has to take the training wheels off. And so far, the moves with which we can judge his learning curve on are good ones. Jim Zorn is a good coach. Greg Blache is a good coach. Both have spent time learning under Mike Holmgren, and both are reportedly highly thought of by....

The next head coach of the Redskins:
Steve Mariucci. I like it, I really do. Is it possible he has rubber-stamped the Zorn and Blache hirings? You bet it is. Is it possible that Snyder is waiting until after the Super Bowl so Mariucci can ride out the NFL Network's coverage of the Big Game? Yup. Cerrato of course has the San Francisco connection, which neatly and nicely ties up the loose ends of how Snyder would have put this one together. Don't want to give Vinny and Danny the benefit of the doubt on this one? Fine. But suppose for a moment they are trying to get this done. Do we step backwards on defense? Nope, Blache has been at or near the head of as many great units as Sharon Stone, Paris Hilton, and Kate Hudson combined. On offense, there is not much backward area to go. The key is QB development, and in Mariucci and Zorn, we would have guys who have worked with Brett Favre, Steve Young, and Matt Hasselbeck.
You are worried we are losing ground in the off-season activities department because our head coach seat is vacant? I wonder where a guy could stay abreast of everything one would need to know about the NFL, the draft, rumors, passed along information, scouting, etc. Hmmmmmmm...maybe the NFL Network headquarters? Hell, if Mariucci is the guy, we should wait a month to hire him. He'll be privy to every single facet of every single team he wants over there. He's got Pat Kirwan's Big Board for the draft, Adam Shefter's inside information, and feedback on any issue under the sun from nothing less than experts on every single issue. Good lord, I just messed myself. This could be GENIUS! And if Mariucci is the guy, well that would satisfy all you folks who think the head coach should have say over his coaches, since it is clear Mariucci would have had serious input (don't believe me? maybe you'll listen to JLC) in the process. can cry about it all you want, and I am not trying to serve up the Kool-aid (well, I kind of am), but I like Zorn and I like Blache. I like our staff staying mostly intact. The promotion of Cerrato is dubious, but I don't believe for a second he is any more or less powerful in Danny's world than he ever was. I am sure there are those of you who are certain you think they are "doing it the wrong way". But unless they hire a college coach, I will be more than ready to give this method a chance. Whomever they hire as head coach will be coming in with their eyes wide open--whether this person is secretly in the background signing off on all of this or not. They will be coming on board to manage what we have, not coming in to change it all up. That was the promise we were made, and to date, it is a promise that has been largely kept.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"My team is on the floor."

Despite what I think can be called nothing less than a success so far this season, the jury always seems to be out when the question is asked, "Are the Wizards a good team?" I don't understand the hesitation--our team defense is top 10, our forwards are playing at the highest level offensively in the league, our guards are not turning the ball over, and our coach has found a rhythm with the rotation. The Wizards aren't great, but the Celtics are a great team. The Wizards aren't great, but the Mavericks are a great team...all with regard to this season of course. We just beat the Celtics back-to-back, and we just swept the season series against Dallas. Shouldn't all of these things be enough to wonder right now if the team we put on the floor every night could get deep into the Eastern Conference playoffs? Except the team we put on the floor every night is still, after all of these things, noted more for what it is missing than what it is not. So instead of saying that the Wiz are a good team right now, you hear people saying that how good they are depends on how good Gil is when he comes back.

"I would hope you support who we are, not who we are not."
Admit it...if you watch the Wizards right now, you see how studly Caron is, you see how good Twan STILL is, you see how hard Brenda is working. But don't you still find yourself thinking, "If we had Gil..."
How unfair is that? The truth is we were pretty much exactly this good record-wise last year with Gil. But the thought then was that even though we could outscore almost anyone, we would get killed in a playoff series because we didn't play any real team defense to speak of and we relied too much on jump shots. Now our defense is what makes us a threat. Our defense is quickly becoming our identity. Caron and Antawn are absolute beasts both around the basket and shooting from the floor. If they don't make the All-Star roster, it will be an absolute crime. Shouldn't the question be, "Where would Gil even fit in?" Hasn't the knock on Arenas been his reluctance to exert himself defensively? How badly would that ruin what we have going right now? Is he capable of giving the extra effort defensively and settling for 12-15 shots per game (at most)? My opinion is that of course he is very capable. Gilbert has demonstrated the rare quality that separates the elite players in this league from the good, even great players--the overwhelming desire to be great, translated into hours and hours of work and practice and a dedication to his abilities on the court. How often are those kinds of talents wasted on today's prima donna atheletes? Gilbert deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one folks. He is no dummy. He loves to win. He strives to be the best. No matter how great we are at either end of the floor, if it comes down to a last-second shot, he is still the best player on our team--and one of the top 5 in the league--to take it.

Of course we are better with Agent Zero
To anyone who thinks for a second Gil would not fit in on this team, you are crazy. He has already suggested that he come back as a 6th man. That is as astute an observation by him of his potential role when he starts getting healthy as any, and way more important coming from him as opposed to a sportswriter. Let him start by coming off the bench, hoisting some shots, and getting the season-hardened players in there to kill themselves defensively for the lion's share of the game. If he comes back in time to get conditioned for the playoffs, we will need him in the starting lineup. It is easy to point to last season to see how we did without him in the playoffs. Of course, we had no chance to figure out what our team was without him before being fed to the Cavaliers. We have the luxury now of knowing how to win without him--more importantly, that we CAN win without him. But to suggest we are better without him is ludicrous. There just aren't that many players of his caliber out there. If you have one, you figure out how to use him and rely on his strengths.

"I'm sure going to the..finals is beyond your wildest dreams, so let's just keep it right there."
It is not even the All-Star break. A lot of basketball still to play. A lot of healing for Captain Quirk to get through (as well as Etan). Now is not the time to forecast how the team, with a healthy cast of Wizards, would do in the playoffs. Now is the time to appreciate the team we are putting on the floor. It is a fun time to be a Wizards fan. We have every reason to believe we can win any game, any night, and we have every reason to hope that this team will only get better as the season draws toward its meaningful, post-All-Star festivites phase.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

NBA Dancer Rankings

So after ranking the NFL Cheerleaders, it is finally time to rank the NBA women. A lot of surprises here. The Lakers girls are terrible (except for the 1) and Indiana and San Antonio did not qualify because there was not a single cute girl amongst them. I even called into their office to see if any of them had a good personality...anything to get them on the board, but No. So sorry SA and IND, you did not even qualify. Overall, these girls are not as hot as the NFL cheerleaders, but oh my God the top 10 are amazing. For this reason I started from top to bottom to build some suspense. At the very bottom I have the side awards which I HIGHLY recommend, especially best team photo. Oh my God...the NJ Nets wind by a landslide. You are VERY welcome for me taking 8 hours of my life to prepare this for you. Cheers! What's ironic is the very first picture I saw on the first team photo (alphabetic ATL, girl "Briana") is the winner and I knew it right away. No one would come close to beating her. Enjoy.

29). Amy - NY Knicks (Disappointing team pic for NY - all average)

28.) Heidi - UTA Jazz
It is almost the all-star break and the Jazz still don't have their shit together. Heidi would probably be in the top 10 if the Jazz didn't use a disposable camera for their dancer's website shots.

27). Nicole - DEN Nuggets

26). Julia - MEM Grizzlies

25). Ashley S. - MIL Bucks

24). Sheena - SEA Supersonics

23). Melissa - LA Clippers

22). Megan - DET Pistons
Welcome to the 60's. All the team girls have this haircut. Swing and a miss.

21). Jeannie - SAC Kings

20). Kristin - POR Trailblazers

19.) Unknown - TOR Raptors
Terrible website. There are no names associated with the girls at all. In fact, there is no link to them either from the main raptors website. I had to Google. Crap.

18.) Krista - NO Hornets

17). Eileen - MIN T'wolves
I don't know why but this girl is mesmorizing.

I couldn't pick a tie.

16). Alexis = GS Warriors

16). Thara - Golden State Warriors

15.) Julie - HOU Rockets

14.) Jenny - MIA Heat

13.) Dawn - CHA Bobcats

13.) Jennifer - CHA Bobcats

12.) Whitney - LA Lakers

11.) Michelle - BOS Celtics

10). Brandi - PHO Suns

9). Erica - PHI 76'ers

8.) Megan - WAS Wizards

7). Lacey - ORL Magic

6). Christina - NJ Nets

5.) Jessica - DAL Mavericks
Trust me. Click this picture to get the full view.

4.) Shannon - CHI Bulls

3). Grace - UTA Jazz
If you like Grace, then check out her gallery of pics.

2.) Kelly - CLE Cavaliers

1.) Briana - ATL Hawks

Best team photo. NETS. Holy shit, brace yourself for this link. It is amazing.

Worst Haircut. What was she thinking?

Worst Team Photo. Seriously, who took this and said "Yes, this looks good!". The 'girl' in the back middle looks like a dude.

Most Disappointing Team Photo - Lakers. It looks like the team had too many group outings to Chipotle:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

DeShawn Stevenson's Girlfriend

So Ahern sources have found some dirt on DeShawn. I guess his original baby mamma is preggers again, but here is his current club-hopping ho, "Draya," who has been linked to Kenyon Martin, Fabulous, and myself back in '96 (it was during the And-1 tour in Compton...we were drunk).
Anyway, if this picture isn't doing it for ya, here's her myspace page which is borderline nsfw...although you can't see anything in her bubble bath pics. She is clearly a club rat that goes for high profile playaz and neither her nor the playaz seem to care. So many of our parents met the same way I'm sure.
*** So it's obviously a slow day today besides Marbury being out for the year. It's a contract year next year for him and he's due to make $21 mil. Heal up and make a run. Incredible right? Any chance he gets over $8 mil after next year?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

And the new head coach for the Skins is .... Dan Snyder!

So really, does it matter who the Skins hire as their new coach? Dan Snyder basically has the headset on in the owners box. Bringing Gibbs back gave us all a big sigh of relief that Snyder finally handed the reins over and ended his Jerry Jones/Mark Cuban style of running a franchise. Now that Gibbs is gone, Snyder can probably say I would have done this and that differently and achieved better results. We all know that he will NEVER hire a coach that has full control over draft picks and personnel. Snyder is certainly back in control now, and it is scary.

As for next season, we have the #21 draft pick (yes, 21 is going to haunt us forever) and we have 16 free agents to consider. Of the most notable, (ie - the ones I've heard of - and I know the roster well):

Rock Cartwright - It's pretty clear we need to resign Rock. He is the golden boy on special teams, I like him as a 3rd stringer RB, and well, his mohawk.

Derrick Frost - Ranked 21st in punting. He has a hot wife, but I don't care. She's going to dump him when we cut him. Seriously, we cannot get any worse, and he cannot stick ANYTHING inside the 10. He'd make Gregg Williams job so much easier if he was decent. Seriously, anyone disagree that a punter is not worth re-signing unless he's in the top ten? Bring Reggie Roby back.

Shaun Suisham - Tough one. He cost us that game in Seattle and from what we know now, we would have had a decent chance in Dallas. Even if we had got blown out in Green Bay, it would have been a spectacular year. Thanks for nothing Suisham. Having said that, he's young, he's decent. I'm not ready to make another David Akers mistake and cut him just yet. Sign him for a modest amount if we can.

Mark Brunell - Now, he's thinking about retirement but he's huge cap hit either way. I have no problems with him holding a clip board and mentoring, we're already paying for it. I think Snyder built a handicapped bathroom for him at Redskins Park, so we might as well keep him around.

Todd Collins - Tough call. He obviously has the smell for being a starter and now that his menstrual clock is ticking at 36 years old, I doubt he wants to play backup. It all depends what happens to Al Saunders. I think if he stays, so does Todd Collins. A lot of Skins fans want Al gone, but that will only mean our whole team has to learn another new playback from scratch. Keep Al, keep TC, next.

Pierson Prioleau - Of course we all want him to stay. Solid special teamer and backup safety. Not sure what his salary would fetch but I can't imagine many people out of the NFC East have even heard his name. Sign him quick.

Jason Fabini (OL) - He was huge for us went R. Thomas and Jansen went down, and the way the last 2 years have been, we need to assume it will happen again. Good players that know our system are huge. We built some solid comradry this season and we need to keep it together.

Non-notables - Reche Caldwell and Keenan McKardell. Cut 'em, they'll still be available week 9 when we need them. We can sign them then.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Super Bowls Defined Gibbs

So Gibbs didn't get to the Super Bowl in the last four years. He did, however, coach in the game four times. The three trophies won during those trips stand as a testament to his ability as a professional head coach.
When he came back, he inherited a team that wasn't in a place that deserved to be judging itself on championships. The Washington franchise was a joke. The "program" was a joke. Spurrier walked out on the job and this team, and he was the guy we turned down Marty to get! Champ Bailey was fed up with all of it and had to leave for his own sanity. Remember those days? Makes you want to punch yourself in the balls doesn't it? Up is down, down is up, Bruce Smith is still good, Jeff George is the answer, Wuerffel can play at this level, why not hire an ex-Cowboys coach, Deion gets paid in cash...up front...for one good punt return.
Holy Crap.
Now the Redskins are a team that has made the playoffs 2 of the last 3 years. Up-and-coming. Young QB. Running back in his prime. Young defense playing with a ton of heart. It is hard not to credit Gibbs with just about most of all of that.
Yet the biggest games he coached in were of course the Super Bowls. His average for making it to the Super Bowl was one in every three years--his recent, championshipless return dropped his average visit to the Super Bowl to once every four years. Not too shabby.
His teams won games in those Super Bowls in ways that remind us of how his team looked this year. Against the Dolphins, they made a big play late in the game that decided it when Riggins took it to the house on 4th down. Against the Bills, they managed the clock and took shots with Rypien to come out on top of a game the Bills almost climbed back into. Against the Broncos, they had the shakiest start in Super Bowl History, going down 10 points in the 1st quarter--a 10-0 score that to that point no Super Bowl team had ever overcome. Against the Raiders, they looked like they did this year when we played the Patriots--overmatched in most aspects of the game. And his ability to win big games against good teams with different quarterbacks has been uncanny.
Even given all the drama that surrounded this season, looking back, I still think it has to be the rings that define this coach. There is another coach still out there who knows a little something about rings. But Belichick is no Joe Gibbs. I happen to believe that the Jacksonville Jaguars have what it takes to knock the Patriots off of their pedestal this week. It will be a win they ride all the way to the Super Bowl this year (courtesy of our friends at Ticket of America), only to lose to the Green Bay Packers.
To repeat an earlier sentiment of The Inquirer, we are better off now than we were four years earlier. Despite not making it back to the Super Bowl during this last run, our team is closer to compiling a contender now than it was when Gibbs came back here in 2003.
We have the luxury of raising our expectations for this team above "laughing stock of the league", and thanks a to man who knows exactly what it takes to win championships, we stand infinitely closer to playing in a Super Bowl today than prior to his return.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Why This Redskins Fan is So Pivotal to the Off-Season Plans

There seems to be a consensus out there that the 1st round draft pick should be spent on an offensive lineman. I understand our need to get younger and stronger on the O-line, but I think we should take a starting caliber cornerback and defensive end in the 1st and 2nd rounds. If Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas come back healthy next year, we have a good starting line. Carlos Rogers will not be starting the season next year, and I'm not sure if you guys noticed, but Springs got worked a little against Seattle. Springs and Smoot are a serviceable duo, but even if Springs comes back next year, he won't be a top cover corner much longer, and we need a franchise corner. There really is no substitute for 1st rounder athleticism on your defensive line or in your defensive backfield. If you are looking for the next player from The U, Calais Campbell, the 6'8" defensive end may be available. You can find a starting offensive lineman in the 3rd round. If we do our homework, we can get a real long-timer at this spot. The next pick is a reach pick for what I think is our need to get more physical on offense and start grooming the next generation of Mike Sellers. Kellen Davis, the TE out of Michigan State is projected as a 5th rounder. He is 6'6", 250+ (Sellers is 6'3", 280) and is built like a tank. We should make him an H-back/fullback. He will kill people.
The rest of the draft should be spent on depth on the offensive and defensive lines. Maybe you find someone who can actually make the team.

Free agency
Bryant Johnson: 6'3" wideout who has languished underneath Boldin and Fitzgerald out in Arizona. Would be a nice complement to ARE and Moss. If we go after Bernard Berrian instead as is being speculated, our receivers will be insanely fast--Campbell would be heaving the downfield a lot.
If we go the free agency route to beef up the O-line, I like Max Starks from the Steelers but he might be too expensive. A cheaper route may be to raid the Ravens again and take Brian Rimpf, a guy who can play guard and tackle.

Sounds like we are gearing up to overpay Lance Briggs, but wouldn't a better idea be to make the same kind of run at Terrell Suggs? He would be great rushing the passer for us.

And now the answer to the title question. The pictured fan is none other than the punter's wife, who joined us in our section last season for a game. We simply can't afford to rid ourselves of fans like these, therefore re-signing Derrick Frost is a top priority.

Salary Cap Hell?
We don't go to Salary Cap Hell, Salary Cap Jail, the Salary Cap Principal's office...nothing. They just always kind of maneuver around. Contracts will be re-negotiated, re-structured, and cooked up to fit nicely under the cap.

Portis Is Not Going Anywhere
I just don't get the folks who would suggest getting rid of him. First of all, I am pretty sure his departure, whether by trade or release, would result in a catastrophic salary cap hit. We are already facing that possibility with B-Lloyd, so it is beyond impossible that we would get rid of CP. Secondly, he just may be Hall of Fame bound. Look at his numbers. He is 26 years old with 7700 yards and 67 touchdowns (63 rushing). John Riggins, 14th all-time, finished with 11,300 yds. That is only 3 average to below average years for Portis. He can make a run for the top 10 all-time if he stays healthy enough. Riggins, 6th all-time in career rushing touchdowns, finished with 104. Riggins of course made the Hall of Fame, as did every retired player ahead of him (assuming Marshall Faulk, Jerome Bettis, and Curtis Martin are assured of getting in). Now is not when we should be thinking of Portis' value to our roster as trade bait or as a salary cap burden. Now is when we should be recognizing that we have an elite back who is capable of dominating a game, on the cusp of potential greatness.

Sunday is JC's Day
Jason Campbell is our franchise quarterback. There is no competition next season. Todd Collins did not play his way into an opportunity to start next year--he played his way into an opportunity to continue being a professional backup. He should stay here for the money we will give him, and continue to help JC put it together (he will be a very well-paid clipboard holder.)

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
The only thing keeping the team from coming out more publicly on the issue is the fact that they have to be able to interview candidates--including a minority one--in good faith. It will be hard finding a minority coaching candidate to allow himself to be paraded through town without any real chance for the job. Williams is our next coach period. Let's not go down the "if not..." road right now.
I have heard people say that Williams blew it his first go-around. Seems to me another coach blew his first shot, spent time learning under a great coach as the defensive coordinator, and went on to be the only coach to go 16-0.

There you have it...a work in progress of course. Have at it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Todd Collins Campaign Run is Over

Inside sources to the Inquirer revealed that Todd Collins planned to use his current string of victories with the Redskins (and planned Super Bowl victory) to announce his run for the U.S. presidency in 2008. He had tentatively scheduled a live on-air appearance with Sally Jesse Raphael with the Lombardi trophy to announce his run.

While riding the pine all these years, he has been taking bar exams and studying foreign policy. He figured by winning every heart in DC with a Super Bowl, he would certainly gain a massive number of votes. This all fell to shit with his abysmal performance in Seattle, spending more time on his back than Paris Hilton and throwing lob balls out to centerfield, that even Splenda could laugh at. And we've all seen Ken throw a deep ball--if he can laugh at those throws, then they were truly bad.

Todd has taken a tumble in polls since the weekend, and he was reportedly linked to "Ray Finkle" graffiti vandalism in Suisham's hotel room. After getting to sit at the big boy table for a month, I'm not sure he's going to be happy riding the pine again, but it would seem he is not destined to enter training camp as our starter next year. Thoughts? Is this the last we have seen of TC?

Side note: If you have not read Gilbert's latest blog on New Years resolutions, you really do need to read it. It's actually pretty deep, although Rick Cannon would tear his grammar to pieces.