Posted on: August 22, 2009 11:12 pm

Fred Davis Is Out Of My Doghouse

Fred Davis made me angry last week.


Yes, I know, I had a lot of reasons to be angry at the Redskins last week.  They lost 23-0 and looked shell shocked in all phases of the game.


But the crucial point for me was Todd Collins’ impressive drive towards the end of the half with the Redskins down six nothing.


Davis fumbled, but was lucky enough to recover it.  But later in the series he fumbled again and was not so lucky.


The Ravens recovered and performed a stellar two minute drill.  What could have been a 7-6 Redskin lead turned into a 13-0 halftime hole.


I was angry at Davis.  I told everyone I knew that Davis would never see playing time if he kept fumbling in critical situations.


He was in my doghouse.  I’m sure he was in Zorn’s too!


Fast forward to tonight’s game against the Steelers.


Deep into the third quarter, with the Steelers leading 13-10, Washington was forced to punt.


Who should be hustling down the field to force a turnover on special teams, but Fred Davis.


As soon as the Redskins regained possession my killer instinct took over.  In my mind I thought that now would be the perfect time to take a shot at the end zone.


Jim Zorn must have read my mind.  Who should he chose to go to?  Fred Davis!  In the same manner in which he ruined the game for the Redskins last week he had just redeemed himself by saving them tonight.


I was really happy to see that Fred Davis made up for past sins, but my advice would be to not get complacent.  He did not secure a roster spot tonight.  He only cancelled out his past mistakes.


Fred Davis enters week three against the Patriots with a clean slate in my mind.  What he does from now on will help determine his role within the Redskin offense this year.


Not many players get a second chance in the preseason.


My advice would be to not waste it.



Category: NFL
Posted on: August 19, 2009 12:23 am

Thank God Brett Favre Is Back!

I just thanked the lord and did the happy dance when I found out today that Brett Favre is officially back in action.


I have since been overwhelmed by the public backlash that has stemmed from this latest chapter of “As the Brett Favre Turns”.


I even heard a caller to an NFL radio show state with absolute authority and certainty that This signing was a knife in the back of Ted Thompson and as a result Brett Favre will never be inducted into the Packer ring of honor or go into the hall of fame as a Green Bay Packer.


I had to laugh.


In response to that ludicrous statement let me state with utmost authority and certainty that five years after Mr. Favre retires (if that day ever comes) he will be a first ballot hall of famer and go in as a Green Bay Packer.


The NFL takes a much more pragmatic stance on these issues than the average obsessed fan does.


Also, even a die hard Packer fan has to admit, there will be much more interest and emotion surrounding the two Vikings/Packers games this year.  Isn’t that what an entertaining football game is all about?


And the sportswriters who are just incredulous that Old Man Favre toyed with their emotions again make me laugh.


Isn’t your job to write about football and present interesting stories involving the sport?  Doesn’t the return of Brett Favre make your job a hell of a lot easier?


Between Favre and Vick stories many football opinion writers have already met their quota of stories for the season.


Old schoolers may blab about the purity of the game, but at heart the modern NFL is about putting forth the most entertaining product possible.


The addition of the Brett Favre saga makes this season much more entertaining.  If he succeeds and leads the Vikes deep into the playoffs it will be a great story.  If he falls flat on his butt it will be a great story.


If he crushes the Packers it will be a great story.  If he gets humiliated at Lambeau it will be a great story.


It is certainly Must See TV!


Maybe I have this opinion because I don’t have an emotional tie to either team.  Maybe I have studied NFL history and know that in 99% of cases team ownership uses players to their own benefit.  Therefore I am not upset when a player finally gains the status where he is able to use team owners in the same way.


Whatever my reasons are for my opinions, there is one thing that I think is undeniable.  The return of Brett Favre is the biggest storyline in football today and increases public interest in football.


That can only benefit the NFL.  They should pray that he does the same thing next year.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 17, 2009 8:43 pm

The real lesson that Michael Vick has learned

As a person who grew up in the same city at the same time as Vick, let me shed some light on this issue.  Vick may or may not have learned the lessons that the public at large want him to have learned.  But he most assuredly learned the most important lesson of all.

That the "street” and the "friends" you keep on the street will turn on you as quick as fortune can turn in their favor.

The people that he stuck by for no other reason than he grew up with them and wanted to remain true to his roots sold him out quicker than you can say "immunity for court testimony".

People who claimed to be his friends and used his finances and property to carry out this operation were rewarded by the justice system for allowing the system to catch the bigger fish.  As a result, the people who were as guilty if not more guilty than Vick were allowed to exchange friendship for freedom.

I don't know if Vick is truly sorry for his actions, but I know he has learned a valuable lesson about putting street cred ahead of personal interests.

I don't know if Michael Vick spends one second thinking about the cruelty that was committed to those animals, but I guarantee that he spends every second of his life wondering how he had the stupidity to trust the people who were supposed to be his friends.

This incident has broken Vicks last ties to the people who he grew up with and tried to remain loyal to.  For that reason more than any fake apology I truly believe that Michael Vick, remorseful or not, will not let himself be caught up in a similar situation ever again.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 15, 2009 1:56 am

Vick's best case might be Eagles' worst case

Because Sportsline has a letter limit for titles let me state the full title of my article.

Vick's best case scenario might be the Eagles' worst case scenario.

Forget all the "should they or shouldn’t they" talk surrounding the Vick to the Eagles announcement.  Let us examine what this acquisition really means for the Eagles this year and in the years to come.


I was listening to Sirius Satellite Radio this morning when an analyst on the NFL channel (124) posed this question.  Wouldn’t the best case scenario for the success of Michael Vick be a worst case scenario for the Philadelphia Eagles?


The goal for Vick should be to get out on the field during games, make spectacular plays, and win fan and coach support for giving him a larger workload, and ultimately, a starting quarterback job.


For a team that has just given McNabb a two year extension, has a reliable backup in Feely, and has drafted high and spent big money on the future (Kolb), I don’t know where or even if Vick fits into the overall scheme.


If Vick can produce on the field, wouldn’t that be setting the Eagles up for a major quarterback controversy?


This situation has happened before in Philadelphia, albeit in very different circumstances.  But the end results may be the same.


My US History teacher always said that if we don’t learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it (I’m pretty sure he lifted that phrase from someone more profound, but I heard it from him first).


Therefore I submit to you, the reader, a trip down memory lane to remember the Eagles of the mid-eighties.


Ron Jaworski was a quarterback who had done more for the Eagles than any other player at the Eagles' QB position had done in twenty five years or more.


He was a proven veteran who had led the Eagles to the big game five years before.  He was the face of the franchise.


In 1985 Jaws was challenged by a young player named Randall Cunningham.  The coaches saw how explosive he could be and sought out ways to adapt him into the offense.


Cunningham was electrifying, but to the overall detriment of the team.  Jaws was 6-6 as a starter, while Cunningham was 1-3.  The Eagles finished fourth in the NFC East that year.


1986 saw an increased effort to make Cunningham a bigger part of the offense.  He regularly came in on third downs, and he performed well.


While this may have gotten the Eagles a few first downs, it created a rift among fans and players.  Ron Jaworski, who had been the unquestioned face of the franchise for many years, was getting booed every time he went out on the field.  Cunningham was cheered.


The 1986 Eagles finished fourth again, with their record dipping to an abysmal 5-10-1.


Jaws left after that year and Randall became the starter.  Although the Eagles finished 7-8 and missed the playoffs again Randall eventually became a very good QB.


The first "scramble first" QB led the Eagles to three consecutive playoff seasons, but never to the Superbowl.  The Eagles’ desire to showcase Cunningham led to two horrific seasons and the jettisoning of their most bankable player.


The comparisons are eerily similar.  McNabb is the face of the franchise.  He is five years removed from taking his team to the Promised Land.  His new team mate is a "scramble first" QB with great athleticism and instincts.


As I see it the Eagles' goal SHOULD be for a healthy McNabb to play every game and lead his team back to the Superbowl.


NFL players are big boys.  They are pros. 


Off field distractions don’t bother them that much.  However, a QB controversy could tear a team apart.


Therefore I caution Eagle fans, players, and coaches to be careful what you wish for.


Vick may be an exciting player, but does his upside come at the expense of the goals of the Eagles as a team?

Posted on: August 11, 2009 12:58 am

Antecdote Regarding Fans' Impatience

I go to at least one Redskin game a year.  It is one of my greatest pleasures in life.

For all of you "fans" who are calling for Campbell's head (despite playing in only one full season in his career), let me relay to you a true story from a Redskins game I witnessed.

The year 2004 was a year of change for the Redskins.  They had a new coach in Joe Gibbs and a new QB in Mark Brunell (although calling either of these men new is laughable).

The offense started out very cold.  Brunell was playing very safe, throwing every third pass into the stands.  The Skins didn't turn the ball over much, but they didn't make a play much either.

About halfway through the season the Redskins played the Bengals (I think) at home and I had tickets.

Brunell started out ice cold.  His first eight passes went incomplete, and evey miss was followed by louder and louder chance of "Ramsey, Ramsey, Ramsey". 

Finally Gibbs had seen enough.  He relented to the fans (probably against his better judgement) and trotted out Patrick Ramsey for the next series.

As Ramsey entered the field he recieved the longest, loudest standing ovation I have ever witnessed at Fed-Ex Field.  Redskin Nation had his back.

On his first play from scrimmage he badly overthrew Laverneus Coles and was intercepted.  Immediately a rousing chant of "Hasslebeck, Hasslebeck, Hasslebeck (third stringer Tim Hasslebeck)" could be heard reverberating throughout the stadium.

If this doesn't illustrate the attention span of the average NFL fan I don't know what does.

PS.  Mark Brunell came back the following year to lead the Redskins to a 10-6 record and it's first playoff win in six years.  Patrick Ramsey went on to be a backup for Denver and Tennessee.  Tim  Hasslebeck went on to impregnate Elizabeth Hasslebeck three times and live the good life of a wealthy stay at home dad.

The point of this story is to be patient and be carefull what you wish for.
Category: NFL
Tags: history, Redskins
Posted on: August 10, 2009 12:22 am

Titans Owe Me 50$, Internal Investigation

My bookie gave me the Titans giving 3 and 1/2.  I was sitting pretty.

The boys in powder blue were all over Buffalo, winning by a convincing 21-9 advantage in the fourth.

Then the Titans put in fourth stringer Mortensen.  This guy doesn't last two plays before he lobs up a lame duck to a wide open Bills cornerback, who procedes to strut his way to the house.

The very next series Ramsey is back in at QB.  Now this is the first preseason game.  This is the time to let young players work through mistakes.  Conventional wisdom says that they stick with Mortensen.  Yet out he comes.

I know why Fisher yanked him.  Old Jeff had more money riding on that game than I did and he wasn't gonna let some young punk (who may or may not have taken a payoff) ruin it for him.

But the Titans played stout defense and intercepted a pass to seal the deal.  Three plays later they were a punt away from paying for my gas this week.

I had my phone in hand ready to press speed dial to see when I could collect my payout.

Then the punter gets the bright idea to run out the clock instead of punting.  OK.  No big deal.  He will run around before kneeling at the five.  Game over.

But what does this prick do?  he runs to the back of the end zone and stands there.  As cameras pan to Jeff Fisher racing down the sideline with veins bulging from his neck mouthing "NO! NO!" out of his beat root red face he calmly steps on the back of the end zone.

Game over.  Bet over.

Now I'm not insinuating that the game was fixed, but I did see several Italian businessman in leisure suits congratulating the punter after the game.  Call me a cynic, but I don't think the were congratulating him for the trick play he pulled off in the first half.

You may say that I have a gambling problem for betting on meaningless pre season games, but I feel that I am shedding light on a growing problem in the NFL today.

If preseason games are being fixed then it creates doubt about the true motives surrounding the officiating of the Steelers/Seahawks Superbowl.  Or the "tuck rule" game.  Or the Eagles/Bengals game last year.  Yeah. Sure McNabb.  I really believe that you are dumb enough to not understand NFL overtime rules.

Please look into this matter.  The integrity of the game of football is at stake.

In addition to my 50 bucks.
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 9, 2009 12:15 am

Telling it like it is........or was

During sportsline's tribute to Bruce Smith upon his Hall of Fame induction there was one sentence that resonated with me.

"What's most impressive is that Smith registered many of his 171 sacks in Buffalo while playing in a 3-4 defense, which should have made it easier for opponents to stop him. It's a feat Smith is quick to point out."

For a fan who is knowledgeable about the game this is the stat that illustrates how truly dominant Smith was.

The D-lineman on a 3-4 are responsible for taking on multiple blockers and keep them occupied.  This lets the linebackers make the majority of big plays.  Bruce Smith wasn't supposed to be the sack king, but he was in spite of his team's defensive philosophy.

As a Redskins fan I think he played one year too many.  He was still a force for three years with the Skins, but by his last year you could see him overpower his man but just not have the speed to round the corner.  Bruce Smith probably had more QB hurries his last season than any other player.  It was like watching a slow motion replay.  He beats his man.  He is coming for the QB.  He is still coming.  He's getting close.  Then a second before impact the QB would unload the ball.  I could see that even though he didn't have it he still was trying his hardest.  And I know that it frustrated him more than any Skin's fan.

The Skins would have been better served to go with someone else that last year.  But in retrospect, I'm glad they didn't.  It was painfully obvious that he wanted that sack record, and the Redskins gave him the opportunity to get it.

The Skins have made many regrettable free agent acquisitions recently, but I don't fault them for getting Bruce Smith.

He should rightfully go into Canton with a Bills helmet.  But there should be a small Redskins sticker at the back of that helmet.  Many greats have played past their prime with other teams.  Bruce Smith can be proud to know that unlike many others, he made a positive contribution to those Redskin teams.

Posted on: July 28, 2009 9:46 pm

Refuting the Eagle Love Fest This Offseason

I don't think the media has an Eagle bias.  But Pete Prisco definitely does.  If you want reasons why the Eagles may be overrated I'll give you some.

Brian Westbrook had the worst rushing statistics in the NFC East of the four starting backs last year.  He is also by far the oldest starting RB in the NFC East and is just coming off surgery.  He also NEVER plays a full season.

When healthy McNabb is the best QB in the NFC East.  But with the exception of last year he also rarely plays a full season.  He is also the oldest starting QB in the NFC East.

The Eagles are relying on rookies to play significant roles this year.  Rookie recievers traditionally take longer than most players to get a feel for the pro game, yet two of their top four options are rookies (not to mention their number one target is in only his second season).

The Eagles have replaced two fifths of their offensive line this year (not to mention their tight end).  While on paper it could appear to be an upgrade there could be chemistry issues.  With an aging, injury prone quarterback there could be major consequences if this line takes a few weeks to gel.  By the time they get in stride McNabb and Westbrook could be watching from the sidelines.

The Eagles rely on great schemes and in game adjustments on defense.  Jim Johnson was a master at this.  Jim Johnson is gone this year.  While they will keep his philosophy in tact they could never replicate his feel for in game adjustments.  The Eagles had a great defense last year, but looking over the roster it is striking how ordinary their d-line and linebacking corps are (they do have a good secondary, even without the aging Dawkins). 

The question is can the new D-coordinator get these players to perform as seemlessly as Johnson did?  That is a big question that won't be answered until the season is played out.

The Eagles ARE talented.  But they are not far and away the most talented team in the NFC, or NFC East for that matter.  Their PR turnaround from the Bengals game last year to the preseason this year is the most miraculous thing I've seen since the Giants won the Superbowl in 2007.  The major difference is that the Eagles were 9-6-1 last year and did not win the Superbowl.
Category: NFL
Tags: eagles, opinion
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or