Posted on: December 31, 2009 10:27 pm

May as well interview Portis

I like the fact that more great black coaches are getting legitimate chances at top coaching positions in the NFL.  Certainly the Rooney Rule has helped increase awareness of worthy black coaches.

But any rule that forces people to follow strict guidelines will lead to pointless exercises from time to time.

This is one of those times.

Dan Snyder wants Mike Shanahan as his next coach.  Shanahan is very interested.  But due to the Rooney rule Dan Snyder is forced to waste his time and Jerry Grey's time in order to follow league protocall.

I'm not a black man, so maybe I am not aware of the subtleties of seeking a job as a black man.  But to me it would seem that going through an interview process for no other reason than to fill a quota is just as insulting as being passed over because of your ethnicity.

Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe Grey is being strongly considered for this position.  However, judging by the process involving the search for a new general manager in Washington I would have to say that this interview had more to do with avoiding legal headaches than seeking out the most qualified candidate.

I am somewhat naive when it comes to race relations because if I owned the Redskins I would interview every good coach that I could, regardless of race.  And I would chose the best candidate regardless of race.  But I do know that not everyone thinks the same way as I do.

Maybe the Rooney Rule helps a worthy coaching candidate get his foot in the door.  That can only be a good thing.

But in this particular instance Jerry Grey's interview looks more like a dog and pony show than a worthy candidate up for equal consideration to be the next head coach of the Washington Redskins.
Category: NFL
Posted on: December 22, 2009 1:45 pm

Admitting that I spoke too soon

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One thing that I have come to dislike about sportswriters is their tendency to remind the reader of predictions they made that came true while never acknowledging past articles that made them look very stupid.


In my writing I have tried not to repeat these tendencies.  If I am wrong I will own up to it.


Watching the Giants/Redskins game last night reminded me of a recent article that I wrote that, in light of recent events, makes me look like a complete idiot.  Rather than ignore this I have decided to point out exactly how wrong I was.


Following the win against the Broncos I felt that it was necessary to acknowledge special teams coach Danny Smith for the quality product that he has put on the field.


I have learned over the course of the Dan Snyder era to be very careful when complementing the Skins.  But after the amazing gadget touchdown on a fake field goal against Denver I decided to throw caution to the wind.


I noted the gutsy decision to bring kicker Shawn Suisham back this year after a horrible performance last season.  I wrote that Suisham has proven that Smith made a good choice by making every field goal attempt up to that point in the season.


The very next week the Redskins played Dallas.  The Redskins dominated 58 minutes of the game, but lost 7-6 with a lot of help from two missed field goals, one of which occurred late in the fourth quarter and would have sealed a victory.


Two weeks later history repeated itself.  This time it was a 23 yard miss.  Suisham was fired shortly after the game.


I also praised the return teams.  I acknowledged that Antwaan Randle El is a horrible punt returner, but I praised the kickoff returns and noted that at least the Redskins didn’t muff many punts.


In the last few games Randle El has muffed two punts, bringing his total to three on the year.  This eliminated the last positive aspect of him as a punt returner.  Recently Santana Moss has been fielding more and more punts.


But my main point to this article was to give Smith credit for his innovative plays that have utilized punter Hunter Smith’s skills to their utmost potential.


Then I watched the last play of the first half last night against the Giants.


After that play I knew that I had to call the redskins out and myself along with them.


This play consisted of a unique blend of two grade school games.

The first part, where every blocker went out left into formation, leaving a punter alone to be rushed by four Giant linemen, resembled a popular kids game known in my neighborhood as “Smear the Qu33r”  (don’t get offended by the gay reference in the title.  I didn’t make it up.  It’s a game that every kid knows, like freeze tag). 


This is a game where a ball is snapped, thrown, or kicked to one kid while every other kid runs after him to tackle him.  It's like running a kickoff back with no other players on your team to block for you.

The second part is a game called 500.  This involves one quarterback who throws a “Hail Mary” pass up for grabs to 3-10 other kids.  The thrower yells a number in the air and the first person to catch it wins that point total.  The first player to 500 wins and gets to become quarterback.


This play leads me to believe that Danny Smith developed this play by watching grade schoolers playing in the park.

The point of my article was that Smith was a good coach who deserves a shot to stay on next year despite the coaching turnover that will occur.


I still think he is a good coach.  I know he isn’t out on the field executing the plays he calls and isn’t responsible for all of the special teams mistakes that have occurred in the last five weeks.


I just wanted to point out MY mistakes, and let other writers know that it is OK to sometimes admit that you don’t always know what you are talking about.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 3, 2009 7:39 pm

AFC vs. NFC 2009

In recent years the AFC has been noticeably superior to its NFC counterparts.


While the American Football Conference hasn’t come close to achieving the level of dominance that the NFC enjoyed throughout the eighties and better part of the nineties (15 out of 16 titles), they have certainly put together their own impressive streak that started with the John Elway led Broncos in the late nineties (AFC teams are 9-3 during that span).


Has this recent trend of AFC superiority carried over to this season?


So far this season the NFC has held it’s own.  And for the first time in several years the NFC has several teams that could be considered favorites if they make it to the big game.


Before I studied the numbers I was of the opinion that the NFC might actually be superior this season.  While the numbers don’t support this theory, they do show that the NFC has pulled even with its rival conference.


At roughly the midway point of the season the AFC and NFC have played themselves to a 16-16 tie.


The NFC holds nine teams with winning records while the AFC has eight.


The big difference between this year and recent years is that the AFC’s best teams don’t appear to be decidedly better than the leading NFC teams.


The AFC still has the traditional powers in Indy, Pittsburg, and New England.  But of the three only the Colts have looked great at 7-0.  The Steelers and Patriots still look very good, but at 5-2 both clubs have shown signs of vulnerability.


Denver may be the surprise team of the conference at 6-1.  But I don’t know many people who would view them as dominant.


In the NFC, New Orleans and Minnesota have been very impressive.  The two are a combined 14-1 and both have the swagger of a legitimate title contender.


The NFC East also has three very good teams in New York, Dallas, and Philadelphia.  These three all have their faults, but easily fall into the same category as Pittsburg and New England.


If you break down the records of winning teams in inter-conference play the AFC has a slight advantage.  Among winning teams the AFC is 12-3 against the NFC, while the NFC is 15-7. 


The NFL season has a long way to go, and the AFC could still regain their recent dominance over the NFC.


But if this season continues the way it has gone so far this could be one of the most evenly matched Super Bowls in a while.


Heck, the NFC might even be favored this year.

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 30, 2009 9:37 pm

Are words stronger than actions? NFL thinks so

Professional sports organizations are without a doubt the most blatantly homophobic organizations (with the exception of the Republican Party).

Yet after repeatedly abusing women and publicly humiliating his coach it is Johnson's homophobic remarks that have caused him to be suspended by the NFL and publicly villified.

Don't get me wrong.  Johnson is a punk.  But if I were to make a list of his public screw ups starting with the most serious and detrimental to the football community, assaulting a woman comes first, followed by publicly insulting your coach.  Gay slurs would rank a distant third.

Homophobic remarks are not right, but I am looking at this situation from a pro football perspective.  As far as I can tell, the NFL is not high on GLAAD's list of empathetic organizations.  Let's not forget that no pro football player has ever played as an open homosexual.  Players are scared enough to wait until after retirement to come out of the closet.

Maybe this was just the straw that broke the camel's back.  Johnson certainly has run out of chances.  But if three seperate arrests for assaulting women didn't get him banned I didn't think that spouting a gay slur on a twitter account would be the NFL's breaking point.
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 20, 2009 12:43 am

Prisco should give 0's in his weekly grades

When I was in school I didn't like to do homework.  I always scored A's on in class tests and assignments, but those zero's for not doing homework really wrecked my GPA.

In most schools you can do your work in Clingon dialect or make patterns with your scantron sheets and end up with an F that at least will give you a 50%.

If you don't even attempt to do the work you get a zero, which can turn an A average into a C- very quickly.

If Prisco is going to grade these games according to true academic standards he should award zeros.  Certainly Washington and Tennessee deserved zeros this week.  Giving these teams an F curves the grading scale and really isn't fair to teams like the Eagles, who tried hard but failed miserably.
Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or