Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sights and Sounds: Skins vs Niners

When I booked my flight to San Fran for the holidays two months ago, never in my wildest dreams did I think this game would end up being meaningless. So it goes and the Skins lost. However, as it is with any road game, I met some amazing people and uncovered some great stories. My sister and I arrived at Candlestick Park at 10:30AM. Scalping is always my preference for games, and I expected this game to be an absolute cake walk. I arrogantly took out only $140 from the ATM to get 2 lowers, expecting to pay approximately $40 per ticket. Turns our there were NO tickets anywhere. I ran into 1 scalper who had 2 50-yard lines for $130 per...and that was after I hammered him to death. There were signs EVERYWHERE people looking for tickets. "Oh shit."

We had friends meeting us at the tailgate and as I waited to waive them in I started chatting with some Skins fans. Turns out one of them, Tony, is Portis's best friend from Mississipi. He told me he had 2 extra tix at Will-call, which he was on route to pick up, and I could have them. Talk about a jack-pot! We walk to will-call, and they only had 2 tix for him, not 3. Damn. So he gave me the 1 extra, and I scalped a nose-bleed for my sis for $40. Walking back from will-call Tony got a call from CP's Mom, and after talking to her, he told me that he most likely wouldn't be using the seat next to mine. Jackpot. Two 40-yard line tix 10 rows up. We never had a problem the whole game. Candlestick was sold out and packed. Lots of Skins fans as well.

So that's how I got in. We all know Candlestick is old, but on a scale of 1-10 of being a dump, it's an 11. I have never seen a stadium before where when you walk in, you have to take an escalator UP to get to the LOWER level. Bizzare.

Sitting next to my friend and I was Manny (far left), Andre Carter's agent. I tried to get anything I could out of Vinny and Snyder's negotiating tactics, but it came out dry. In fact, Manny said he never even negotiated with Vinny, it was all done with his assistant, which I found very odd given the high amount of cash for this contract.

Post game I walked around my tailgate and found some great stories. The majority of the Skins fans I met were local Californians that became Skins fans basically because they liked the colors and logo, and now they are die-hard fans.

Roger has been a Skins fans since 1968 and has the Skins forearm tattoo to prove it. Roger and Esta have 6 kids and 19 grand kids ... yet somehow only 1 grandkid is a Skins fan. Roger told me he wasn't one to impose team loyalty as is seen with his wife, a die-hard Niners fan.

Ed (in poncho) and Chris (helmet) who hail from San Jose fell in love with the Skins from the play of Chris Hamburger, who they clearly remembered being a hard-working player and missing his front teeth. Oddly, Ed's father was a Steelers fan and as a kid, Ed saw the Skins colors and logo and said "I like this" and from that point forward has been a Skins fan. His Dad never blinked a second. When I asked what if his son wanted to be a Cowboys fan...Ed replied, "Hell no!!! Wont happen." Cheers to that. Amazing tacos at this tailgate.

The names past me, but he was originally a Fairfax native and moved to Cali 10 years ago. His girlfriend was never a football fan before, but here they are waiting for the players to exit post-game.

And lastly, my favorite story. Meet Mike and Mikey from Bakersfield, CA. Every year, every game they go to the same pizza place to watch the Skins each week. Mikey's birthday was December 21st, and as a present Mike gave him a box of pinto beans. When Mikey unwrapped his 14th birthday gift, he was confused. His dad told him to dig deeper, and buried below were 2 lower-level tickets for the Skins-Niners game on the 40-yard line. Mikey began crying as he now realized he would be going to see his first Skins game. With all the emotion his Dad began crying. They already have plans to travel down to the Skins/Chargers game next year.

Too bad the Skins Offense laid another egg....but as I told all the taunting Niners fans on the way out, 'It just means we have a better draft pick." And of course, "Congratulations on what, you're 3rd win of the year? Hopefully you can draft another Alex Smith."

All in all the Niners fans were awesome. I had at least 8 people come up to me and give "props" for my Sean Taylor jersey. It's amazing to see how much respect Sean continues to get, even from West Coast teams that never had to play against him often.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Suck it Philly!)

If last August, you told me that in the last few weeks of the season, the playoff hopes for the Redskins would essentially hinge on two attempts by Mike Sellers from about the 1 yd line, I would have probably cried out of pure joy. To think we would A) have a chance at the playoffs at all, and B) have a chance to put it on Big Mike's back...well, it would seem to be all you could ask for given the relative youth of our team/coach, as well as the toughness of our division.

Sure, losing to the Rams and the Bengals stings. A lot. Those were games we were capable of winning. Beating the Cowboys and Eagles on the road in back to back weeks earlier this season still feels good. Those were games we were more than capable of losing. Sweeping the dirty, no-good, low-down, scummy, grubby, feculent Eagles is even more satisfying than I dreamed it could be. Without the added intensity of a playoff chase, or the additional joy of already making the postseason, I am left with nothing to obscure the feeling of euphoria that I now know can only be the result of sticking it to Philly.

We know now that Zorn will be back, and we know that the front office intends to again try and grow our overall number of draft picks. It is conceivable that after next year's haul, as much as 40% of our roster will be comprised of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year players. All of this points to at least the illusion of purpose and strategy. Getting younger, growing with a coach, and developing players at the skill positions is what good teams do. We will know soon enough if we are allowed to consider our team in that category. I believe chief among the metrics we will use to evaluate our direction is if Cerrato wakes up and gets a couple linemen to help us on both sides of the ball. Preferrably in the draft, (I think I saw them loading a Fedex truck full of money to get a headstart on the Albert Haynesworth negotiations.)

It sure would be great to win in San Fran this week and get to 9 wins, even it moves our draft pick down a bit in that first round. Nothing is meaningless. Every snap JC is able to take in the regular season gets him one snap closer to figuring it out. And hopefully next year, with the help of a younger offensive line, perhaps he might even have enough time to consider the deeper routes that Devin Thomas and Santana Moss will be running. But we get ahead of ourselves. There is game yet to be played. Three hours of immortality in the San Francisco sun. The Ahern Inquirer will be there, and ebagg will give us a full account of the proceedings.

Merry Christmas to all the faithful Ahern readers:

To our Ravens fans, you got the best team in MD this year. Congrats, and hell of a job against the Cowgirls.

To our Redskins fans, enjoy the prospect of being on the ground floor of something that could be great.

To the New York, Dallas, and Philly folks who find their way here, you will Kneel Before Zorn. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but don't be throwing away those knee pads.

Urlacher Coin Toss

Did anyone catch the overtime coin toss of last night's MNF game? Let's just say the Packers should have called "heads". I really wish one of the Packers' players had done a George Costanza "That's interference!!! It can't hit the table!!"

Mike Gartner's Jersey Getting Retired

So as you can tell due to the holidays we're a little slow on the posting. We'll get to our review of the Skins later today, but we wanted to briefly mention Mike Gartner is getting his number retired in the rafters this Sunday (the 28th) in the game against the Leafs.

Trivia, can you name all 5 NHL teams that Gartner played for? I am guessing not! I was going to post the answers here but that's too can just google it your damn self. It's not Christmas yet.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Now Look Here...There's Only One Ball Coach

At Coach Zorn's press conference to explain why he called himself the "Worst Coach In America", shoes started flying. With Vinny on one side and Snyder on the other (you can't see him over the podium), the pool of reporters started stirring and out emerged the Ole' Ball Coach himself, Steve Spurrier.

As Spurrier hurled the first of two shoes at Zorn's head, he screamed, "If anyone's the worst coach in America, it's me! You wish you could have invented using the Fun N' Gun against the best defenses in the NFL! How dare you infringe on my territory of coaching crappiness!"

Zorn was able to avoid being hit by any of the shoes. Asked about the incident, Zorn said, "All I can say is that Steve's shoes are very, very, very small. We were able to trace them back to a local Stride Rite for Kids. He must have an incredibly tiny penis."

From his position alongside Zorn, Vinny Cerrato was able to provide this insight, "From where I stood it looked like what Spurrier was trying to do was to try and, you know, project...kind of toss, if you will, the shoes in Jim's direction. In that situation what you want to do is try and move your body...try and you know, kind of twist yourelf in such a way as the shoe kind of, you know, kind of fails to make contact with the body."

Snyder, as always, had no comment.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Scouting Punters for the 2009 Draft

Now that the Redskins are looking forward to the 2009 draft, Ahern thought it would be beneficial to help out Vinny in scouting this year's punters. Since punters qualify for 6th round picks, it only makes sense we do our homework. Here is this year's top class ranked in order:

#1: T.J. Conley - Senior (Idaho Vandals):
2008 ALL-WAC FIRST TEAM. Excellent distance and hang-time.

#2: Ross Thevenot - Junior (Tulane)
Thevenot, a Punter/Kicker from Lake Charles, in one game, averaged 56 yards per punt on three attempts for 168 yards, placing one inside the 20. He also connected on field goals of 32 and 43 yards while converting all four PATs. His 43-yard field goal with 4:01 to play was a season-long and his 71-yard punt was the longest by a Green Wave player since 2003.

#3: Justin Brantly - Senior (Texas A&M)

Learning from the Past (in all seriousness):
There is an amazing truth I discovered about last year's draft, which is rather sickening and I feel Vinny needs to explain. Like the Redskins, the Broncos had their eye pre-draft on landing a solid Punter.

There were 4 punters that finished with a higher average than Durant Brooks (45.06 avg on 65 punts) last year...the winner being Kevin Huber of CIN (46.88 on 57). The #2 overall punter of the NCAA last year was Brett Kern of Toledo. One of the reasons the Broncos liked Brett Kern was that he kicked in the MAC, your basic cold-weather conference. He thrived under those circumstances, leading the nation at one-point in average yardage as a senior. Playing patient, the Broncos got their guy. Guess what round the Broncos drafted him? FREE AGENT. They never had to use a pick. He is now ranked #6 this year overall in NFL punting with ZERO blocks or touchbacks. To me, that is as embarrassing as it gets.

Kern's stats for DENVER this year:

Note: Plackemeier is ranked #31 with a 41.5 average, an abysmal 7 touchbacks, and only 9 punts inside the 20. I find this an embarrassingly low number since Plackeybomber is forced to punt 9 times a game it seems.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We Are Who We Thought We Were

Not gonna make the playoffs...which sucks. Gonna have to swallow the Rams loss, and the Bungles loss...which sucks. And let's not forget that the other team in MD also has a first-year coach, with a rookie QB, and they are still in the thick of the playoff hunt...which sucks, though the Ravens' defense is good enough to carry a team into the postseason. I got carried away with our great start. I allowed my hopes to skyrocket. But...

Since when was this our year to win it all? Starting 6-2 makes missing the playoffs a hell of a kick to the groin, but let's face it--the only difference between the first half of the season and the second half was turnovers, for the most part. I mean, we got worse at run blocking by the minute. But for some miraclulous reason, we didn't turn the ball over during that opening stretch and it was the difference between winning and losing. Did anyone think we would not turn it over all year? Our offense was never explosive, and we never dominated anyone on the scoreboard.

The perfect analogy for our season might very well be any one of a handful of the balls that fell through our defense's hands at various points of the season. From the opener against the G-men, to yesterday's miserable loss, we have had our chances to take control of games with key INT's. I am not blaming the defense for our record--not only have they been a strength for our team, the kinds of misses they had happens to all defenses (except the Ravens, Steelers, etc.) At 6-2, we had a shot. It was in our hands. And we dropped it.

It really bothers me to hear people calling for Zorn's job or to cut ties with JC, or Portis, or all of the above. I just don't get it. Aren't we in Year 1 of the process of putting something together that won't be fleeting? From Steve Young, to Mike Holmgren, to Matt Hasselbeck, to Steve Mariucci, etc, etc...everyone has been saying since we hired Zorn that it would take more than one year to install the new offensive philosophy. Sure we all thought we were coming of age this year. But the reality is we weren't. We have a lot of young players who are in the process of figuring things out. We have holes on the offensive and defensive lines. We have players learning a new offensive philosophy.

Oh, and for anyone out there who thinks Zorn "lost the locker room", I think that is a ridiculous, even asinine notion. Part of becoming a good franchise means that inmates don't run the asylum. Portis, like many elite players is afforded a longer leash than most other players (for better or worse...probably worse.) What I saw yesterday was players get beat by other players. That happens every week. Our veterans need to stand up and recognize they got beat. Our coaches did not block poorly, or drop INT's, or fumble on the goal line. Zorn could give in a little too and be a little more Belichick-esque, but he is doing nothing wrong if he doesn't coddle divas. If we weed out a few malcontents during this rough patch, that goes a long way towards teaching our young players what is and what isn't acceptable.

Given our history of dysfuntion under Snyder, it is easy to see how fans in this town have been conditioned to react harshly and somewhat absurdly to adversity. This organization needs to prove through example that it is ready to show its fans a new way of doing business. That includes sticking to Zorn, Campbell, and unfortunately Cerrato for at least the next season if not two more seasons. The next draft will be a key moment for Cerrato to prove that he is not blind to our woes along the lines of scrimmage (so far, not so good in this department.)


I don't even know where to begin with that debacle. I turned on the game at 1pm, and went back to bed at 2pm. There were so many fundamental mistakes it became almost comical.

- Punts. Why do the Skins continually down the ball on punts when it is still rolling? Tryon was the culprit this week and it cost a few yards.

- Defense. Offsides on the defense on a 3rd and 1 hard-count!! How can you not see that count coming? First down Cincinatti.

- Play calling. JC handed the ball off to Portis on 1st down EVERY drive of the 1st 6 drives. I went back to bed after that so not sure how many more continued. The Bungles' game plan was to obviously stop Clinton, so why not make an adjustment? I felt like I was watching high school kids coach this team. As for the 2 hand-offs to Sellers on the goal-line, I don't mind the call so much, but what is Sellers doing extending the ball like that? Fundamentals! Only stretch the ball out when it's 4th and goal or if your last name is Tomlinson.

- Offense. Terrible run blocking. Surprisingly, Jason got great pass protection. Again, he could not find open guys and he continually got chased down by 300 lb lineman when he scrambled. If we can't even put up 200 yards passing on the worst defense in the league, I'm sorry, but Jason is to blame. My friends also pointed out that Jason NEVER works the line. Look at how Favre, Romo, and Brady conduct the team, read the D, and make audibles. Everytime JC approaches the line, he simply snaps it. He never looks left and right, never stands up and points out blitzers. I am now on the team saying he's a BUST. We all want to root for this kid, but it's simply not working.

Coaching. The defense is the only part of our team that can make successful adjustments. Why is this? It's tough to be patient when a team starts 6-2, but we need to be. I'm not ready to pull the plug on Zorn yet, it simply would not be fair since he inherited a team that does not fit his system.

After yesterday it is clear we need to move forward and take an accurate inventory of our roster. Does this means starting Colt Brennan the last 2 games? perhaps. He was a 6th round pick, which is rather high when a team has 2 solid Qbs in place.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Bungles

Chris Henry Rap Sheet: If you have a few minutes, reading Chris Henry's rap sheet is quite comical. How this guy is still in the league baffles me.

December 15, 2005: Henry was pulled over in Northern Kentucky for speeding. During a search, marijuana was found in his shoes. He was also driving without a valid driver's license or valid insurance.

January 30, 2006: Henry was arrested in Orlando, Florida for multiple gun charges including concealment and aggravated assault with a firearm.[15] He was reported to have been wearing his #15 Bengals jersey at the time of his arrest. Henry pleaded guilty and avoided jail time in both cases.

May 4, 2006: Cincinnati media reported that Henry was being investigated by Covington, Kentucky police in connection with a sex crime which allegedly occurred in a Covington hotel room in the early morning of April 30, 2006. No charges have yet been filed, and on May 24, 2006, Covington police reported that there is no proof anything happened and that the alleged victim might have concocted the story and may face charges for filing a false police report.

June 3, 2006: Chris Henry was pulled over outside on Interstate 275 at 1:18 a.m by Ohio Highway Patrol trooper Michael Shimko. At 2:06 a.m. Henry voluntarily submitted to a breathalyzer test at Milford Police Department and registered a .092 blood-alcohol level, .012 above the level permitted in the state of Ohio.[16]

September 25, 2006: Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman was pulled over for driving under the influence. The truck Thurman was driving belonged to rookie quarterback/receiver Reggie McNeal. Neither McNeal nor Henry, who were passengers, were charged with any wrongdoing by authorities. However, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis suspended Henry for the Bengals game against the New England Patriots.

October 6, 2006: Henry was suspended by the NFL for two games for violating the league's personal conduct and substance abuse policies. NFL policies forbid Henry from taking part in practices, however, he was allowed to attend any team meetings. Henry missed the Bengals' October 15, 2006 game at Tampa Bay and their October 22, 2006 home game versus Carolina.[17]

January 25, 2007: Henry plead guilty to charges of providing alcohol to minors, an incident that occurred at a hotel in the spring in 2006. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with all but two of those days being suspended.[18]

April 10, 2007: Henry was suspended for the first eight games of the 2007 NFL season for violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy.[10] His suspension comes with a stern warning that future misconduct may result in the end of his career with the NFL. Henry was given permission by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to begin practicing fully.[19] His suspension was lifted and he played in the November 11, 2007 game versus the Baltimore Ravens, amassing 4 catches for 99 yards.

May 18, 2007: It was reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer that Henry allegedly failed a court-mandated drug test. The report showed that he had taken an opiate, but the result was later proven to be false. The failed drug test would have been the third violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. A third violation, per league rules, results in a one-year suspension. In addition to having his suspension increased to 24 games, he would have had to serve an 88 day jail sentence.[20] As of May 23, 2007, the State of Kentucky has reported that Henry in fact did NOT fail a drug test, and that earlier reports to the contrary are erroneous.

June 12, 2007: Henry allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old boy with teammate Reggie McNeal. The claims were later reported to be unfounded[21] and Henry and McNeal have been exonerated.

November 6, 2007: Henry allegedly assaulted a valet attendant at Newport on the Levee.[22]

December 3, 2007: Henry arrested for the second time in Orlando, Florida for violating his probation he was on from a January 30, 2006 arrest. On February 21, 2008 he was found not guilty. On February 26, 2008, a motion to terminate probation in Orange County, Florida was denied.

March 31, 2008: Henry was alleged to have punched a man named Gregory Meyer, 18, and thrown a beer bottle through the window of his car. Henry claimed it was a case of mistaken identity and also that he thought it was somebody else that owed him money.[23] Henry was waived by the Bengals a day after this arrest and was then forced to serve a house arrest sentence.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Media Day: Zorn Addresses Portis' Comments

Washington Redskins, Coach, Jim Zorn addressed the media on Wednesday in a rebuttal against Clinton Portis' belittling comments. Zorn appeared in a pink, "Princess in Training" fairy hat, pink wand, and a heart-shaped sunglasses. He introduced himself:

(in girly voice) - "Hi. My name is 'Practicing Princess'. And I go to practice everyday to be the best Princess EVER! I never miss a day of my practice and because of that, I am going to be the best and brightest princess in the land."

Dan Steinberg: "Coach..."
Practicing Princess: "It's 'Practicing Princess'!!!"
Dan Steinberg: " What happens when you have an injury where you are unable to participate in practice?"
Practicing Princess: "NEVER!!! I always practice because that is what good princesses do!!!"


Jason La Canfora: "What if the Head Prince tells you that are you are not good enough because you’re practicing is not adequate?"
Practicing Princess: "Than I must listen! The Prince knows everything and I am just a servant who practices his will, and if anything goes wrong, then I know it's my fault and never the Prince's!"


When we touched base with Portis about Zorn mocking his costumes and practice habits, CP replied "Tell Coach I'll be practicing with 6 ladies tonight."

Jim Zorn's Media day hat

Press Release: Redskins Hold Open Tryouts for O-Line

Redskins Hold Open Tryouts for Offensive Line Positions
12/10/2008 9:24 AM: Press Release - Redskins Park

The Washington Redskins announced this morning that they have opened Redskins Park to anyone who would like to try out for the open Left Tackle and Right Guard positions. We feel we truly have the best fan-base in the NFL and that our loyal fans can step up and help fill these holes. We also believe finding open talent will free up having to waste our 2009 draft picks on such boring and mundane positions, and instead draft the exciting players that help sell jerseys and keep fans distracted from the inner-office problems.

Coach Zorn and staff scouted some local schools yesterday and expect 30-40 local players for tryouts. Included in the tryouts, are:

"The Hoggies" - This Loudoun County grade school offensive line juggernaut has not allowed a sack all year and the team is averaging 17 yards per run (not including the one where the RB ran the wrong direction resulting in a safety).

Tina "Meatloaf" McArbystein - Attracted scouts eyes when she posted a 3.8 on her 40 this month (although that's 3 minutes, 8 seconds). Fred Smoot spoke highly of her skills in Minnesota, though he had no further comments on details of that.

Earth, Wind & Fire - This 3-headed monster broke the Montgomery County record for most yards in a season. Although the Redskins have no need for running backs, they are being allowed to try out since their parents signed a 15-year contract for a club-level suite at Fedex.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spoiler Alert: Redskins Make the Playoffs

Sugar: The reality of it is that only one spot is left up for grabs in the NFC. I just don't see either Carolina or Tampa Bay crumbling down the stretch.

We sit 4th in line for the last open playoff spot, behind

1) Dallas 8-5
2) Atlanta 8-5
3) Philly 7-5-1 (thanks Giants)
4) Skins 7-6

Here is the scenario that puts us in:

1) Dallas loses two of their last 3. Opponents are Giants, Baltimore and Philly (Giants this week, thankfully, since they need the win to get home-field). We need the G-men to beat them down and the Ravens to finish the job.
2) Atlanta loses two of their last 3. Opponents are Tampa Bay this week (come on Bucs), Minnesota (in Minnesota) who is fighting for their division, and then the Rams…ouch.
3) Washington wins their last 3 (including Philly which would move us over them).

Let's take it one week at a time. We are not in control of our own destiny, but if we beat Cincy this week, and if the Giants and Tampa take care of their business, we get a huge game against the Eagles in two weeks.


ebag: OK Sugar, I don't know what makes you think we are going to win the next 3 games. Cincy took both PHI and the NYG to overtime. They have to have extra motivation seeing how much our team is in disarray. They are the 2nd worst team in the league with sacks (13 total), so that should help tip the scales back in our favor a little figuring Chris Samuels and Jon "Mr. Invisible" Jansen are out.

As for the Eagles, this game is as good as a loss. We're too over-matched on the front lines, and for some reason we cannot win big games at home. Westbrook might break the total yards in a game record.

The 49ers game I expect to be like the DET Lions game, a should-have-been blowout that is instead a Skins squeaker (assuming Frank Gore doesn't put up a career day).

Vinny Hiding?

"Keep quiet and people will think you're a philosopher." - Latin Proverb

The folks over at the City Paper noticed an obvious absentee from Vinny Cerrato's bi-weekly show on WTEM...yea, Vinny Cerrato. He got absolutely crushed by fans last week after the Giants game, so I can't really blame him for hiding from this one. WTEM claims it was a scheduled absence, but if the Skins pull out that win, I'm sure his schedule would have magically been cleared. Just as Bush inexplicably refuses to address the United States during all these economic times, Vinny seems to be following the leader. Anything he publicy says will most certainly get used against him in the blogosphere.

Monday, December 8, 2008

M&T Stadium. Sights and Sounds

Yet again our lines failed us. The Skins are not an easy team to root for these days, but it was pretty great seeing all the burgundy and gold in Baltimore last night. I'd say the Skins took over 1/10th of the stadium. It wasn't a Pittsburgh showing, but decent none the less. I expected to get heckled a ton, but it was actually the exact opposite. Ravens fans helping me pick up cash that I dropped, telling me to lower my flask when drinking because security is strict. The one tailgate we passed had a nitrous tank. I of course reciprocated by asking my stocked question: "How many miles per gallon does your house get?" Either are some pics from the night:

We all have our opinions on Dan Snyder but to go as far as having a jersey made says quite a lot.

Lamest intros I've ever seen. No Ray-Ray grand entrance this night...instead, a lack-luster Flacco jog.

Again, I've never understood the face-painting unless you're 6 years old and at your own birthday party. Even then actually I'll still make fun of you.

Father son. I asked him how you let your own son be a fan of the opposing team. He told me he doesn't know why but his son just loves the Redskins. All I know is if my son somehow starts liking the Ravens, a.) he's grounded forever, and b.) I certainly will not be financing to dress him up in Ravens clothes.

Worst sign of the night I saw: "Wacco for Flacco"

Friday, December 5, 2008

WRs Develop Slowly?

Load of Shit (ebag):
Skins nation has been growing quite impatient with the development of Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas. Obviously they both look to have AMAZING potential, but showing up to camp completely out of shape tells me everything I need to know. Hard work to get paid, then whatever. A lot of the patient people (the other Ahern Kool-aid writer) agrees with this sentiment:

As Ryan O'Halloran recently noted in the Washington Times, wide receivers develop notoriously slowly in the NFL, and it's hard to argue. Slowly though it may be, Devin Thomas is definitely improving. I asked him after today's practice why that was. "I'm just trying to fly around and do everything fast. I've been reading my books so I know what I'm doing out there, and Jason knows I'll be there when he looks my way. He's starting to see me working and going harder out there, and he's starting to trust that I'm going to be there."

Oh really? Lets take a look at the class of 2008 we COULD have drafted. We selected Devin Thomas BEFORE Eddie Royal...who last I checked is having a GREAT year (5 TD 757 yards). Also available was DeShaun Jackson now blowing it up for the Eagles (775 2 TD). And what about Marques Colston's break out year in 2007? WRs develop slowly is a cop-out. Self-motivated, hard-working atheletes that want to play and learn the NFL speed are the ones that thrive. Their God-given talent was enough to destroy the competition on the college level, but this is the NFL. It's not going to be an easy transition, and I truly feel these kids think because they got drafted this high, they won't have a difficult time adjusting. Based on Devin and Malcolm's training camp, it was clear our scouting once again failed us. We are now left with the hope we can parent them into staying focused and working hard. Awesome! Blatche. Kwame Brown. Ringing bells? That is an exaggeration, but I certainly won't be shocked if a DUI or some bone-headed move gets these guys a run-in with the law.

Voice of Reason (Sugar):
Great, you named two receivers this year out of the many drafted who are having decent years. Awesome. Here are a few guys who are third year guys this year that are having pretty decent seasons: Greg Jennings, Brandon Marshall, Santonio Holmes....Lance Moore. Sure Jennings and Marshall were good before this year, but neither became the MAN until this year. And here is a list of guys who "broke out" in their 3rd year, giving the theory a little credence. Steve Smith, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison, Lee Evans, Roy Williams, Anquan Boldin, Javon Walker. Fitzgerald and Harrison were injured in their 3rd year, making them the only ones to post statistical drops in catches and yards from season 2 to season 3 (when healthy, both were on pace for improvements). Evans, Williams, Boldin, and Walker all nearly doubled their receptions and yards from season 2 to season 3. Hey, anyone can cherry-pick stats, but these are some heavy-hitters.

I believe it to be true that wide receivers take 2-3 seasons to develop in the pros. Not only does it take time to get in a rhythm with the QB, but they need to learn the nuances of both their offense as well as those of the various defenses they will face and the corresponding moves they employ to answer. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly can not be judged this year. True, if they were ready to contribute, we would be better. But they're not. However, based on people who know more than us (the players and coaches), these two show they have the ability to make the kinds of contributions that will solidify our wide receiving corps down the road. This was a position that has needed attention in the draft by us for some time. And going into next season they give us the luxury of focusing on the next place where we need to spend as many high round picks as we can gather--offensive and defensive line.

And who is growing impatient with these two guys? The people who were ready to canonize Zorn that only a month later were ready to lynch him? The people who were ready to send Campbell to Canton and are now ready to cut him? Fickle fans aren't true fans. If this team is going make the transition from the short-sightedness that has crippled our player base and mortgaged our future to one that takes the longview on player development and builds through the draft, we all have to be willing to play a little more wait-and-see on our young nucleus.

Suck it Ebag.

Sunday Is JC's Day, Hun

December 7, 2008...a date which will live in the hearts and minds of all Ravens fans that is. Redskins fans are descending upon M&T on Sunday night in what will hopefully be our answer to what happened in FedEx against the Steelers. Let's not spend too much time there, since we are forced to admit that Steelers fans seem to be more plentiful on this planet than water and air, more omnipresent than even that awful "Saved By Zero" commercial for Toyota. Seriously, in this economy, with the current crisis in the automaking industry, and Toyota has the money to play that commercial every 5 minutes?

When the NFL steps up to a longer regular season schedule (and shorter preseason), they simply must allow teams like the Ravens and Redskins to play each other every year. It is unacceptable that we play each other once every four years. Even so, the seeds of a rivalry have been sown. We have heard it is a bit manufactured, but I just don't think it is so. Baltimore fans have a real hatred for Redskins fans. It seems to stem from when they lost their team in 1984. Apparently there was a big push to make Baltimore a Redskins town, and Colts' fans were having NONE of it. It backfired so bad that a resentment was born that has gotten more and more intense as the years have gone by. Having gone to college in Baltimore during the Grey Cup champion Stallions' days, it was crazy that I would regularly have to hear bashing when I sported my Skins jersey on Sundays. I never understood that. And it never left me. I will be at M&T on Sunday. I will be wearing my Skins jersy in Baltimore again, and I expect to hear plenty of bashing.

I hope the rivalry is and will always be cordial, affable, even amiable. No sense being hateful about a football game (don't read last post). But both towns love their teams. Both towns identify with their teams. And let's not gloss over the slightly more blue-collar nature of our kid sister to the north. It will be, and should be, a tough place to walk in as an opposing fan. I expect there to be a lot of tailgates with both teams represented. I expect there to be enough Skins fans to make it loud when the Ravens offense faces 3rd downs. And I expect our offense to come out of their funk against one of the stingiest defenses in the the the snow.

How We Will Win

The Baltimore offensive line is not much better than ours, if they even are. They have rushed about 100 more times this year than we have, most likely to help their rookie QB stay alive and upright, and are averaging a full yard less per attempt than the Skins. The Redskins give up 90 yds per game on the ground--the Ravens average 145 yds per game on the ground. We hold our side of 100, we win.

The Ravens have FIVE defensive touchdowns this season. Can't allow any of those this week.

The Ravens defense dominates us in turnovers and sacks--shocker. Going into a game like this, you want to say that you don't want ANY turnovers from your offense. But let's face it...the Ravens just seem to get them. Keeping them from being costly and untimely has to be the goal. How about we don't turn it over in the red zone? And we don't fumble while getting sacked? Achievable goals.

Suisham...this game comes down to your foot. If you can make a 46 yarder, ballgame.

Redskins 20
Ravens 18

Ratio of Redskins fans to Ravens fans: 30/70

We're Betting the Lakers Tonight

So Ahern's undefeated streak of bets (+$500) will be on the line tonight. The Wizards/Lakers line opened -11.5 and already moved to -12. If the line was -10 I would bet the whole kitty, but we're betting $200 tonight. LOCK IT UP. The Wizards against all-star players have never come close to covering (MIA, ORL, HOU). When the Lakers do win tonight, it's not going to be a squeaker. Up 15 seems very logical, especially since the Lakers won in Philly (a much better team) by 12 points...though Elton Brand did get hurt. If I had to pick the final spread, Lakers by 22.

When you look at the Lakers lineup, Kobe, Gasol, Bynum, Odom, Walton...I can't see even a SINGLE matchup the Wiz win. I'd imagine 85% of the Lakers points will be in the paint tonight. Actually, I'm now considering letting it all ride...thoughts? This way I won't have to load up on the Ravens Sunday night. Anyone want to comment HOW the Wiz can possibly cover? Their shooting % in NJ the other night was very impressive, but again, they can't run with the big boys, which means a lot of fouls (Blatche). A recent Lakers loss to Indiana means they are not due for a let-down loss.

Either way, you can party with Kobe and Odom at the after-party at Park tonight.

Update: Ahern has decided to bet the entire house on the Lakers tonight. It's house $ and I plan to cash out and cover all my Xmas gifts with this. In another side note, the Wiz are wearing the Chicago Zephyrs uniforms from 1962/1963 (45th anniversary for the Wiz).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ravens Fans Suck...Prepare for the Worst

So Ahern will be headed to M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday for what is sure to be a shit show. We plan on tailgating an estimated 8 and 1/2 hours for this one so surely we will see and hear everything imagineable. I've been to a Ravens game before, and though websites have ranked their fans #1, I can easily agree if you mean #1 Most Pathetic. I plan on capturing as much as I can with my camera, but here is a tidbit of the camo-wearing douches we plan to encounter...and how we plan to heckle back.

Why don't you not buy face paint for a season and fix your damn teeth!!

What's gay about a bunch of grown men dressed in matching purple and makeup?

Seriously, how many times have you met Chris Hansen from Dateline?

You're f'n grown men! Why are you wearing face paint? Is it because you're so ashamed of your team and the fact you live in Dundalk, MD?

It's OK least you have your nice, warm trailer to go back to and a loving husband that beats you.

I don't even need to say anything for this. Disturbing.

How many miles per gallon does your house get?

Nice form jackass. Best. Draft pick. Ever.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

6 Ways the Redskins are like an Alcoholic Stepfather

The Jim Zorn-led Redskins these days remind me of an alcoholic stepfather. He always says he is sorry and things will get better. You even start to believe it. But just when things are going great; he shows up to your birthday party drunk and tries to hump the cake (or a 1st cousin as pictured here).

1. The Honeymoon Period
Just married your mom. Everything is great. You play catch in the yard each night. He helps you with your homework. There is even talk that he might adopt you. You are extremely excited even though you hardly know him.

This is the Skins 4-1 start. Zorn was new and no one had any idea what to expect...

2. Presents
He throws around expensive presents to make you happy and you feel all tingly inside. Paradise!

Sign Jason Taylor to a 2-year deal and we laugh at our only problem being 2 punters vying for the coveted spot.

3. First sign of trouble
He misses picking you up after basketball practice and the coach has to drive you home. Later that night, you hear him stumble, curse at your mother, and pass out on the couch. When you wake up, he's snoring peacefully sprawled on the floor with one hand still wrapped around his Bud Ice and his foot in a bowl of Ramen noodles.

Loss to Rams. Followed by eke it out win over the lowly Browns, which really felt like a loss. The offense sputtered, but the Skins were still 6-2. Why worry?

4. Apologies
He makes up for it by taking you and your mom out for dinner and then buying you ice cream afterward. Things are good again. See, your mom, tells you, he really does care.

Santana Moss on a punt return delivers the Skins from possible trivia question hell and is the gloss on an otherwise extremely unimpressive performance against one of the worst professional football teams ever assembled...

5. Repeated bad behavior
Family hits some rough times and he hits the bottle like it's a month-long Mardi Gras.

Steelers, Cowboys, Seahawks, Giants. Now the team is 7-5 and staring down the barrel of a vicious Ravens D on a Sunday night national TV game. Why were we excited again?

6. Taking full responsbility
"I'm sorry...I didn't mean to. I promise I'll never hit your Mom again. I love you!" - Stepfather

Post-Giants game quotes
"It's unfortunate that it happens so quickly. You've got to show some patience. It's not just one person's fault." - Shawn Springs

"And then that kind of set me off and I just started whining about everything. Believe me. I was on everybody. I was even on myself. We didn’t start out well." - Jim Zorn

"You know what, honestly, I believe each of us has to look ourselves in the mirror and see what’s there. It’s about accountability. We’ve just got to do a better job. Each one of us has to do a better job, plain and simple." - Anthony Montgomery

Who needs Portis?

Zorn!!! My son says your company stinks!!!

Based on the way our offense has performed this year, it would seem you don't watch much film. So as a loyal Skins fan, let me help educate you.

This was footage from a CFL game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders on October 12, 2002. All these runs by Sellers are consecutive on the same drive. Make sure you catch his last reminds me of when I play tackle football with my nephews who just learned to walk. Mike Sellers as a tailback could be quite exciting and give Washington that Brandon Jacobs style of running we need. God bless everything Portis has done this year, but his banged up body needs a break, and the Ravens game is the perfect game for this, otherwise he'll end up in the Hopkins ICU. Enjoy the footage.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Don't Text Message the Big Screen

If you have never received a text message from "718-55" then you're a lucky bastard. Busy as all hell at work, my phone has been buzzing all over the place the last thirty minutes. I've received the same text message 3 times asking to buy Wizards tickets for $11 at Quickly jumping on the Wiz website I see the big media blitz for these ticket prices.

So that leads to my question. How did they get my number and why am I getting the same message 3 times? I replied "stop" as the text message instructed and before I could close my phone, I received a reply that I've been removed. Great, right? Nay-nay. As I was deleting that message I received the same original message AGAIN for the $11 tickets. WTF.

So how did they get my #? I have never bought ANY Wiz tickets via the website. I scalp 100% of the time. My friend asked if I had ever replied to the jumbotron quiz. AHH. Yes, I did once last year. Ugh. Point of the story: never SMS ANYTHING at any sporting events. Dan Snyder will definitely sell your number to anyone and everyone, Abe Pollin will text you to death to help cover Gil's contract, and the Lerners, well, they do it to raise cash for the stadium's electric bill they never plan on paying.

"It Wasn't My Gun"

The latest development in the Plaxico Burress shooting (of Plaxico Burress) has the legal world reeling.

Talking to reporters for the first time on the subject, a weary Burress stated, "On the night before Thanksgiving, I loaned my pants to my cousin, Dewey. When he gave them back to me, he must have left his gun there. I would not even have thought to look in that pocket as I hardly ever use that pocket."

Dewey Burress could not be reached for comment, but the Burress family did release the following statement, "After Thanksgiving dinner, Dewey borrowed a pair of Plaxico's pants. He then went down the street to play a little basketball, where the pants were left unattended on a bench for a few hours. It was during this period of time when the gun was most likely placed in the pocket of Plaxico's pants. When Dewey put the pants back on, he did not check it for a gun because why would he?"

Undated picture of Dewey Burress in a Manhattan club.

Skins Predictably Lose

(Pictured above: Redskins line versus Giants line)

So our D and O lines failed us again. The Skins have become very predicatable, as I not so quietly loaded up on the Giants to cover. The spread is not out yet for the Ravens game, but I suspect it will not be good. The Ravens D is going to have a field day on Jason Campbell and Clinton Portis...neither of which I predict will make it through the whole game. If Terrell Suggs gets a clean shot on either one of these guys, he's toast. My friend amusingly, yet correctly compared Jon Jansen to a matador. Why not just sit Jansen and put Sellers in his spot? This current equation is not working.

Predicted spread: Ravens -4 ... over/under 34. (realistically it should be -6.5 with the o/u at 26).