Posted on: November 3, 2009 2:45 am

Skins stay unbeaten during bye weeks

Despite going into the bye week with as much turmoil as any professional football franchise in the league this year, the Washington Redskins have managed to extend their unbeaten streak during bye weeks to twenty straight games.


The 20-0 record during bye weeks ties the Redskins for the best record during bye weeks in the NFL.


Controversy has surrounded the Redskins this year.  Going into the bye there were many experts who doubted whether the Redskins could stay unbeaten for the twentieth year in a row.


Despite Jim Zorn’s poor record during his tenure as a head coach, he extends his unbeaten streak to two games during the bye.  This is the first week that the Redskins have not lost since Sherm Lewis took over play calling duties from Zorn, so much of the credit should be given to his positive new influence.


Both coaches and players echoed Redskin management’s sentiments that the bye week was a week that the team could not afford to lose.  Despite a record low in team morale, the Redskins pulled together this week, the way true professionals should.


This week should undoubtedly bring the team momentum as it seeks to beat the Atlanta Falcons next weekend.


The Redskins are 11-8 following a bye week.  However their record against non division foes is much better. 


They are 7-3 against non division opponents, while only 4-5 in games against division foes.


Despite the Redskins’ consistency during the bye week, Jim Zorn has urged Redskin fans to not get too confident.  He warned reporters present at his weekly news conference on Monday that it is much harder to achieve positive results after a bye week than during it.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 29, 2009 8:06 pm

Banned in D.C.: No Signs Allowed!

Apparently sticks and stones do break bones but words will hurt Daniel Snyder and Vinny Cerrato just as badly.


Word came down from Redskin management yesterday that fans will no longer be allowed to bring signs or placards into Fed Ex Field.


The timing of this announcement sends a clear message to everyone that The Redskins owner is well aware of fan sentiment.  But instead of making positive changes to improve his team he has decided to subscribe to the philosophy that if you don’t see it and can’t read it then it doesn’t really exist.


This is an unprecedented move of cowardice from an owner who is making decisions with his heart in a league that has its success when emotions are left at the door.


Many teams have had poor management and poor performances in this league for a lot longer than the Redskins.


Detroit set the standard for mismanagement during the Matt Millen era.  But did Millen ever stoop to banning fan signs?  Of course not.  In many cases during his tenure an original sign was the only Detroit highlight that was played on Sportcenter.


What’s next?  Will fans be removed from the stadium for wearing bags on their heads with the eyes cut out?


Snyder and Cerrato must grow a thicker skin and realize the reality of the NFL’s appeal.  Fans attend games for entertainment.


If the team is not providing that entertainment the fans must find new reasons to attend games.  Whether a sign or a costume hurts a player or owner’s feelings or not it is fun for the fans.  It lets them vent their frustration in a non violent way and gives them a reason to go to a game that they know will likely end in an embarrassing Redskins loss.


This move may make Snyder feel better on game day, but it is only hurting his much maligned reputation.  No good will come of this!


Daniel Snyder needs to man up and solve this problem instead of pretending that it doesn’t exist.


Instead of coming down on the fans, Snyder needs to come to terms with why the fans are disgruntled and take measures to regain their enthusiasm.


I know that this will be hard to accomplish this season.  But until changes can effectively be made the ownership needs to accept fan reaction for what it is: a desperate attempt from a loyal fan base to display its displeasure.


I guarantee that if Snyder can build a team next year that plays hard, shows some skill, and wins at least 7 or 8 games the signs will disappear without having to ban them.

Posted on: October 27, 2009 3:15 am

Skins fan = battered wife

Whenever I used to see an episode of Oprah or Dr. Phil and they had on battered wives who would not leave their abusive husbands I felt little pity for them.


I used to think that they were partially responsible for staying in this abusive situation.  I vowed that I would never allow myself to stay in a relationship that caused me daily emotional pain.


Recently I have gradually woken up to the reality that I am just as guilty as these battered spouses by continuing my daily relationship with the Washington Redskins.


The parallels are eerily similar.


Both the abused spouse and the abused fan put up with the current situation by remembering the wonderful things that made us fall in love with them in the first place.


Doug Williams.  John Riggins.  Counter- trey.  The Posse.  Darryl Green.  Joe Gibbs.


These are wonderful memories.  But the reality has been terrible for the majority of my adult life.


Every off-season I wait in anticipation that this year it will be different.  Every week I am hurt by the disgraceful performance of my favorite team.  Yet it is my fault for putting myself through this abuse.


Many of us football fans have grown up loving one team.  We stick with them through many trials and tribulations.  We scoff at those people who can switch teams according to their level of success.  We even have a derisive name for these people.


Fair weather fans.


But maybe these people are the emotionally mature fans.  They stay in a relationship with a team when everything is good and get out of it when things go bad.  They seem to enjoy football, and I have never seen these fans scream at a TV or break something out of frustration.


I have never missed watching a Redskin game in my life.  Until today.


I had been invited to watch the game with several friends at a local bar.  I knew what would happen, but I made plans to go anyway.


Three hours before kickoff I came down with an upset stomach.  As I lay on the couch I started to think rationally.


If I go watch this game I will get upset.  I will keep my daughter up past her bedtime.  My stomach ache will get worse and I will regret watching the game.


I had finally had enough.  I didn’t go and watch the game.  And for the first time in ages I didn’t get nervous or angry over a Redskin game.  I felt good.


I did check on the game online a few times.  I thought (like a battered spouse) that the team might respond positively if I wasn’t there to support their pathetic behavior.


The score was 17-7.  I was impressed that the Skins actually scored a touchdown in the first half, so I followed a series online.


The Redskins stifled the Eagles and forced them into a three and out.  I started to get excited.  I thought that if they can put together a drive before half they will be in good shape.


The very next play Randle-El muffed the punt return and the Eagles recovered on the 23 yard line.  I went to a different website.


I returned late in the third quarter.  The Redskins were down 27-10, but they had just forced the Eagles to punt.  The punt was shanked and the Skins got the ball on the Eagles’ 32 yard line.


On the first play Portis ran four yards to the 28.  I thought that at the very least they could get three points.  On second down Campbell threw an incomplete pass.  On third down he was sacked for an 8 yard loss, putting them out of field goal range.


I felt like the wife who had given her husband one last chance.


Overall though, I felt much better than if I had actually watched the game.  My only sadness occurred when I read that Chris Cooley was hurt and would miss the rest of the season.


I would like to say that this experience has taught me a valuable lesson, and I won’t put myself back into a no win relationship.


But now that I understand how similar I am to a battered wife I know that despite my best intentions I may return to be abused by this team again.


I just wish that someone ran a battered fan shelter.  Then I could feel safe along with other fans who love the Browns, Bills, Bucs, Chiefs and Lions.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 19, 2009 10:57 pm

The captain goes down with the ship

In the nautical community the captain always goes down with the ship, even if the designers didn't build the ship correctly or the first mate is sleeping on duty as the ship careens into an iceburg.

Nfl teams are very similar in this regard.  No matter what the actual problem is the Coach and QB take all the blame.

Due to these tried and true customs Jim Zorn will now manfully remain on the ship while everyone else is scrambling for a lifeboat.

Zorn has made some puzzling coaching decisions.  But Zorn is a likeable and talented coach who may still have a bright future if he can wipe away the stink that the Redskins have smeared on him.

I truly believe that this is a talent issue much more than it is a coaching issue (although why a coach wouldn't attempt a 53 yard field goal on the last play of the first half is beyond me).  It has everything to do with this offensive line.

Last year with a healthy line the Redskins started 6-2, Portis was league MVP, Zorn was rookie coach of the year, and Jason Campbell had not thrown a pick.  Same coaching staff.

Then the best linemen got banged up.  All of a sudden Portis couldn't run, Campbell was hurried into mistakes, and the points dried up.

Washington went into the off season knowing that the line needed an overhaul.  They not only refused to draft anyone, but they refused to resign Pete Kendall, cut John Jansen, and let Jason Fabini go in free agency.

They let go of three very solid players and replaced them with no draft picks and a guy who was out of football for two years in Mike Williams who had to be put through the NFL's version of Biggest Loser just to get fit into an extra large lineman uniform.

Four games into the season guess what happens?  The two best linemen the Redskins had are lost (possibly forever) with injuries.  Now five out of Washington's best players on the line from last year are gone.  They are replaced by a second year former fourth round draft pick with no experience(Rhinehart), a Buffalo Bills castoff who the Redskins did not resign three years ago because he was the worst starting linemen they had(Dockery), a journeyman who has started four career games before this season (Montgomery), and a former first round pick who hasn't payed since 2005(Williams).

Only center Casey Rabach could start on any other NFC East team.  Only Buffalo has a line as bad as the Redskins' line this year.  They have a lot of talent at wideout and running back as well.  They are also 2-4.

Vince Lombardi could not win with this line.

But of course it's all Jim Zorn, Jason Campbell, and Clinton Portis' fault.

The only coaching change that could help Washington this year would be if the Redskins lured away the entire Minnesota Vikings starting line and made them Player/Coaches.

But that's OK.  Blame whomever you want to.  There is plenty to spread around.  JUst realize that any coaching change made this season is similar to putting a band-aide over a severed femoral artery (Sean Taylor RIP).
Category: NFL
Tags: Redskins, Zorn
Posted on: October 19, 2009 12:39 am


In case you missed the title of this article let me state it again: Pa-Thetic.


The Washington Redskins proved today beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have an offense that can not play on an NFL level by losing to the Kansas City Chiefs 14-6.


That’s the Chiefs that hadn’t won a game in nine previous attempts.


That’s the Chiefs that came into this game with the worst defensive unit in the entire NFL statistically.


That’s the Chiefs that lost AT HOME to JaMarcus Russell and the Oakland Raiders.


That’s the Chiefs that made Kevin Kolb look like Donovan McNabb.


That’s the Chiefs that made Miles Austin look like Jerry Rice.


That’s the Chiefs that were the last team to have the ineptitude to lose to the Detroit Lions (that is, until, you know, the Redskins lost to them this year).


That’s the Chiefs that……………well, you get the picture.


I am going through such pains to remind people who this team that the Redskins lost to actually is because their defense didn’t look like Kansas City today.  They looked like an all star team comprised of players from the ’85 Bears and the 2000 Ravens.


Please don’t be angry Chief fans.  I am just stating facts.  I will not write the pathetic line that I have heard over and over from the Redskin locker room that we lost to a team that we should have beaten.


That is a lie and a cop out.  The truth is that the Chiefs deserved to win that game and at this point are a better team.  The Chiefs dominated the Washington offense and deserved to win the game.


Read what I have written carefully.  It is the truth.  The Redskins’ current offensive lineup is not capable of exposing the worst defense in the league.


The sad thing is that a very good defense is going to waste in Washington.  I truly believe that the Washington defensive unit could take at least ten teams in this league to the Super Bowl.  Any team that could score 20 points on a regular basis would win 12-14 games with this defense.


Word came down after the game today that Jim Zorn has been relieved of his play calling duties.  While I am glad that some form of reprimand was carried out somewhere on this team I have little faith that it will make a difference.


At this point there are too many areas to point fingers at.  The Head Coach is probably the right place to start, but anyone who thinks that the problems end there is delusional.


I really considered going down the entire Redskins organization from the owner, personnel, coaching staff, roster to the practice squad and listing who I would get rid of and why.


I still may at some point this year, but for now let me state the obvious.


The season is over and the time to rebuild the offense is upon us.


Yes we are 2-4.  Yes we have a long season in front of us.  Yes miracles do happen every day on the lifetime network.


Get real people.  This offensive unit peaked in 2005, had a slight rebound in 2007, and had a total meltdown in 2008.  This unit is not one piece away.  Its best players are entering the twilight of their career.  Two of them may already never play again in Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas.


If this team wants to do anything productive to build towards future success it will go young and bench the veterans.  Who cares if it looks ugly?  How much worse could this offense do than six points against the Chiefs?


If Colt Brennan hadn’t been put on IR and Chase Daniels hadn’t left I would say go with one of them.  As it is we might as well play Campbell, because Todd Collins is not the future and proved today that he has lost so much mobility and arm strength that he can’t physically make 35% of the plays that most QB’s are required to make.


The O-line is already playing the young guys due to injury, so not much change will happen there.


Santana Moss is one of my favorite players.  But he is getting older and is not a part of a successful future for this team.  Bench him and Randle-El and play the young guys.  At least then they can be evaluated and we can see if they should be part of this rebuilding phase or not.


Chris Cooley is still young and can be a part of this team’s future.  Keep him in.  But also give Fred Davis a chance to show what he can do (besides fumble).


Clinton Portis has been the heart and soul of this team for six years.  This isn’t really his fault.  He is still the best option the Redskins have.  But he is getting older and will not be around long enough to endure a two-three year overhaul.


Therefore, he must sit down next to Ladell Betts and let Marcus Mason and Aldridge show if they should be considered as part of the future of this franchise. 


As far as Rock Cartwright is concerned, I would release him tomorrow.  He will never be a vital player and his on field strutting and off field comments are not needed in any way.  The Skins should cut him so that they don’t have to keep releasing Renaldo Wynn every week to make room for a substitute punter.


I know it hurts, but Redskin fans have to look at this situation objectively.


Will a coaching change during this season turn this team around?


Are Portis, Moss, Randle-El, Collins, Betts, Samuels, Thomas, and Cartwright players that are young enough to endure a rebuilding process or good enough to change the direction of this season.


The answer of course is no.


The season is lost.  It’s evaluation time.  Let’s find out who has a future and who doesn’t.


P.S.-If I were Dan Snyder and I really loved the Redskins I would sell the team immediately and try to buy a rival franchise.  With one move he could help the Redskins and destroy a rival team at the same time.  Jerry Jones seems to be doing that already in Dallas, so Snyder should focus on acquiring either the Giants or the Eagles.

Posted on: October 17, 2009 7:34 pm

Much needed advice for the Skins

Our favorite source of Sunday heartburn and indigestion returns to Fed-Ex field Sunday to play the lowly Kansas City Chiefs.  They will match up against their record setting sixth consecutive opponent without a win this year.


They have two choices.  They can rise to the occasion or set a new low in fan and player morale.


Since it seems that the Redskins need help from anyone who is willing to give it, I thought that I would give the coaching staff several strategies that could help them avoid another embarrassing loss to a winless team.


The first thing that I would do is leave seven players in pass protection at all times.   Todd Yoder would draw the start at tight end and play the majority of the game to help block.


Due to recent injuries to two of the Skin’s best linemen the Redskins are forced to start four players who did not see significant action last year, including two players who haven’t started a game in years.


If given time Jason Campbell has proven that he can make plays, but this lineup will not likely give him that time, despite facing the leagues worst defense.  We saw how this unit made a horrible Tampa Bay unit look like they were the championship unit of the Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks’s heyday.


The Redskins must protect this makeshift unit and give Campbell at least enough time to scan through his progressions.


Leaving Yoder in to block and using Clinton Portis in all passing situations will let the Skins benefit from having their best blocking tight end and running back on the field.  This will limit Campbell’s targets but give him enough time to have a chance of actually finding them.


Keeping Yoder in the game would in theory limit Chris Cooley’s playing time.  But if I were Zorn I would go with my three best receiving threats most of the game to maximize the effectiveness of the limited amount of receivers that will be sent out into formation.


In most scenarios I would use Moss, Cooley, and Randle-El as my three targets.  I would also look to line Cooley up out wide and keep Randle-El in the slot to maximize the huge advantage the Redskins have against the Chiefs’ nickel back.


The Chiefs have been horrible all year defending the slot receiver, including Miles Austin’s ten catches for 250 yards last week.  Randle-El may not be a great receiver, but he is at least as good as Austin.  The Redskins should seek to force the Chiefs into the same scenarios that they were beaten on last week and every week this year.


On goal line formations I would substitute Malcolm Kelly for Randle-El to give the Redskins the option of the lob.


The defensive unit has been pulling its weight for the most part.  But they have many injury concerns on the front line this week.


In order to increase the line’s effectiveness and give them another healthy body to help in the rotation I would play Brian Orakpo on the line the entire game.  The Redskins are deeper at linebacker this week than they are on the line and this move would help solidify their front while putting the best combination of talent on the field.


If Campbell is given the protection he needs to make decisions and the defensive line can play well despite its injuries the Redskins should win this game.


If they don’t make the correct adjustments to minimize the weaknesses within their lines this could turn into another very long afternoon for Redskins’ fans.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 4, 2009 5:27 pm

Shaun Suisham was the game's MVP

I don't trust they guy.  I never feel confident when he kicks.  I didn't even want him back this season.

But I must admit that Suisham saved the game today.

When punter Hunter Smith got hurt early in the game Suisham came in and delivered.  His first punt was a crucial fourty yarder out of his own end zone.  He also made a great angling punt at the end of the game to push the Bucs behind their twenty.

His punting average was under 40 yards and some might think that isn't good.  For an emergency punter that is excellent.  If anyone wants to see what could have happened go to youtube and search for a video entitled "bad day for Joe Theisman".  Theismann got forced into punting duties when his punter got hurt against the Bears in 1985 and his first punt went exactly four yards off of the side of his foot from the exact same part of the field that Suisham kicked from.

Suisham also kicked a 42 yard field goal amid swirling wind conditions that caused the Bucs to miss two forty yard kicks.  He also put a kickoff through the back of the end zone.  He is usually short on his kickoffs, but he was great today.

He did have a point after attempt blocked, but if you look at the play it is clearly the result of a lapse in blocking assignments.  The snap, hold, and kick were perfect.  Adam Viniateri coundn't have gotten that kick off.

Congratulations Shaun Suisham.  I hope this game helps to build up your confidence and you continue to perform in the clutch down the stretch.
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 29, 2009 9:58 pm

Greg Blache is the real reason for loss

Following one of the most embarrassing losses in recent franchise history Redskin nation will be looking many places to heap the blame.  Coach Jim Zorn and quarterback Jason Campbell will probably bear the majority of it.


While they certainly played their parts in Sunday’s debacle the person that deserves the most blame is defensive coordinator Gregg Blache.


For a person who has such a good coaching resume and led the defense to a very good showing last year he really showed an amazing lack of understanding of basic football concepts.


Gregg Blache gave rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford the time to gain confidence.  Every basic coaching course will teach that the best game plan to use against an inexperienced quarterback is to bring heavy blitzes and force him into making a mistake.


Gregg Blache must have skipped the introductory coaching classes.


Most coaches will study game film to determine what formations have been most effective against the Lions this year.  New Orleans and Minnesota certainly provided enough of a blueprint.  They pressured Stafford into five interceptions and allowed only one touchdown pass.


Gregg Blache must have skipped the film session.


Instead he decided that playing prevent defense the entire game would be more effective.  He was right.  His scheme certainly prevented a Redskin victory.


This may have been the worst defensive coaching job I have ever witnessed.  He rushed four people almost the entire game.  He had speed rusher Brian Orakpo playing coverage over 60% of the game, including the critical 24 yard pass play on the Lions’ last drive that helped them seal the victory.


He had the cornerbacks playing eight to ten yards off of the receivers on several third and two situations.  How does that make any sense to anyone?


The Lions were certainly grateful.  When Stafford saw the amount of space that the Redskins were giving on these plays he checked down to easy three yard button hook pitch and catches.


I have never witnessed a defense play as conservative against a rookie quarterback in my life.  The Redskins never came close to getting any pressure on Stafford with just four pass rushers.  As a result Stafford had time to find the seems in the secondary.


I don’t care if you drop back eleven players into coverage.  A professional wide receiver will eventually get open, and a professional quarterback will eventually find him.


Gregg Blache wasn’t the only person who was at fault yesterday.  He was just the most glaring reason for this loss.  Here is a list of (dis)honorable mentions.


Fred Smoot:


You should be ashamed of yourself.  You were scared to hit a rookie quarterback! 


On a third and thirteen on the Lions’ first scoring drive Smoot had a perfect shot to tackle Stafford short of the marker and force a field goal.  Instead he threw a timid alligator armed attempt at a tackle with his eyes closed that I had previously only seen performed by wide receivers who are scared to catch a pass over the middle.


The result was that Stafford flew by him and Detroit scored a touchdown later in the drive.


Smoot and fellow cornerback DeAngelo Hall bear a striking resemblance to Deion Sanders (minus the interception returns for touchdowns).  This leads to a question that is equally as confusing as the question of why a coach wouldn’t blitz a rookie quarterback.


Why do you play defense if you are scared to hit someone?


Clinton Portis:


Hey Clinton, the game was yesterday, in case you forgot.


I know that the offensive line isn’t opening up holes very well and that Portis isn’t being called on very much.  But when he did get carries he showed no burst or power.


The Clinton Portis that I am used to seeing is a player who excels at getting underneath tacklers and falling forward for four yards even when no hole is open.  That guy didn’t play yesterday.


From his body language to his facial expressions it was very evident that Portis is very angry with the coach, the scheme, and his reduced role in the offense.  It is clearly affecting the way he plays.


I’m not sure which reality is correct, but either choice is a bad one for the Redskins.  The choices are either that Portis is disgruntled and playing without heart, or that age and wear are finally catching up to him.


Either way I wouldn’t be surprised if the Redskins go in another direction at running back next year.  The 1400 rushing yards Portis needs to become the all time Redskins rushing leader are looking like a pipe dream.  That in itself is an amazing testament to how low this team’s expectations have become.


Jim Zorn:


Decisions, decisions.


It’s amazing how often early coaching mistakes come back to haunt a team later in a game.  If you take back Zorn’s decision to go for it on the first drive instead of kicking a field goal and his decision to accept a penalty instead of making Detroit attempt a fifty yard field goal the Redskins win the game.


Zorn’s two crucial errors cost the Redskins seven early points.  They lost by five.  You do the math.


Ladell Betts:


How does a player who gets paid millions of dollars to spend his life concentrating on being the best football player he can be not understand basic football concepts?


Like getting out of bounds to preserve time during end of game scenarios!


Betts did this not once, but twice.


The first time was during the Redskins’ final scoring drive.  Betts caught a pass near the sidelines, had the first down, but decided to turn up field to gain one extra yard instead of getting out of bounds.  As a result roughly 30 critical seconds were lost.


The second play occurred at the end of the game.  Betts caught a lateral, ran beyond the first down marker, and had time to step out of bounds with two seconds left.  Instead he ran right into the waiting arms of two Detroit defenders.


I know the second situation was a tough play to make, but good players make those smart decisions.  The ones who can’t usually end up as backups on a 1-2 team that looks to be one of the league’s worst.

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com