Monday, February 26, 2007
Posted by Master4Caster at 4:49 PM
Sunday, February 25, 2007
I am fond of saying "football is life" because the game provides numerous allegories on life's larger principals. Sometimes, life intrudes on football in tragic ways.
The Denver Broncos suffered another loss when back-up running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after appearing at a charity event he organized in St. Louis. No reports on cause of death yet, but this appears to be of natural causes. Only two months ago, Bronco defensive back Darrent Williams was a victim of a drive-by shooting.
Tragic. My sincere condolences to Mr. Nash's family and to the Denver Broncos organization.
The Associated Press quotes LaDanien Tomlinson as being "devastated" by the death of his father." The senior Tomlinson was a passenger in a truck that flipped over in a one vehicle accident.
"My father and I had a great relationship, and I am devastated by his passing," the NFL MVP said in a short statement issued Saturday afternoon. "I will miss him."
I can relate. When my father died, it felt like the whole universe was out of balance.
Sincerest sympathies to Mr. Tomlinson and his family.
Former Steeler OC Ken Whisenhunt says that Ben Rothlisberger's near fatal motorbike accident last summer affected his play in '06. "Whisenhunt admitted that looking back to the start of the season, Roethlisberger should have sat at least one more game before coming back."
I thought as much.
All this just goes to show that you only think you run your life.
May God have mercy.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Now that's what I've been talking about! Clark Judge at CBS SportsLine warns about free agents.
"Just because a veteran was productive with one team doesn't necessarily guarantee he will be productive with another."
Players need to fit the scheme they are playing. Jeff Garcia, one of the examples cited in the article, was successful because he fits Philadelphia's west coast scheme. His problems in Cleveland and Detroit were more due to terrible lines on poor teams, according to Judge. Age is another "gotcha" factor with free agents. Garcia is 37. He could have a rich payday with another team, but Philadelphia is the place for him.
Judge lists four other free agents in his article to make the point (Clements and Fletcher-Baker not among them). In this free agent market, it seems all the "keepers" have been kept by their teams via the franchise tag. The unrestricted free agents, a rather ordinary lot in my opinion, head into an enriched market. Smart fans, and smarter player personnel guys, should "ask what's wrong with these guys" before signing them. Better questions: what holes are we filling? What are the skill attributes needed to fill the need? Who has those skills?
The best fit isn't necessarily the biggest name. Caveat emptor!
Buyer beware: Think twice on these free agents
Photo: Adam Archuleta and Joe Gibbs in happier days. www.redskins.com. Archuleta is a good player poorly used in Washington's defensive scheme. The Redskins need a good free safety with strong coverage skills, not a strong safety clone of Sean Taylor.
Posted by Master4Caster at 2:26 AM
Friday, February 23, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Jason LaCanfora, Redskins beat writer for the Washington Post speculates on the free agent and draft moves our favorite team will make. It's best to follow the link to read the whole article, but here are a few bullet points:
- Hall, Patten, Vincent, Fauria will be released; Holdman will not be re-signed
- 50-50 odds that Derrick Dockery will be be back
- Speculates that Shawn Springs will play on another team next season
- MLB London Fletcher is the #1 free agent target
- Freddy "the love boat captain" Smoot could be in Burgundy & Gold again
Photo: Core Redskin Fred Smoot could rejoin the team, but he 'll have to beat up Sean Taylor to get his number back. Getty Images, nfl.com
Posted by Master4Caster at 10:56 AM
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
The Washington Post's/DC Sportsblog Dan Steinberg posted a story today that Comcast SportsNet and The Post will collaborate on a new, DC area daily sports talk show beginning March 19. The show will air live Monday through Friday, 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM and will be simulcast on Comcast and www.washingtonpost.com.
The show will feature The Posts' stable of sportswriters, naturally, and Steinberg will appear three or four times a week initially, he thinks about two weeks.
Then, Steinberg drops this little bomblet: ". . . there is a very strong chance that Jamie Mottram (aka Mister Irrelevant) and I will collaborate on a regular feature to spotlight local sports bloggers. . . .
"And all you local sports bloggers, plan on hearing from me very soon."
Mr. Irrelevent's take found here.
Photo: "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeVille." Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Posted by Master4Caster at 2:23 PM
Monday, February 19, 2007
Well, not this town.
The San Diego Chargers announced that they have hired ex-Redskins coach Norv Turner as their head coach replacing Marty Schottenheimer, who replaced Turner as head coach of the Washington Redskins in 2001.
One of Turner's first tasks will be to fill the defensive coordinator vacancy created when Wade Phillips got the Dallas head coaching job that Turner didn't get. See how all that works? On job interviews, be nice to everybody, because you just never know.
As coach and OC, Turner has a history of developing power runners. Emmitt Smith, Stephen Davis, Ricky Williams and Frank Gore thrived under Turner. In LaDainian "The Omen" Tomlinson, Turner will work with the best back he's coached since, well, LaDainian Tomlinson, who entered the league while Turner was OC in San Diego.
Turner is one of the genuinely good guys. Master4caster wishes him well in his new role.
Norv Turner photo credit: Bob Carr, raiderfans.net
Posted by Master4Caster at 3:39 PM
ESPN's John Clayton is writing that Daniel Snyder will take a different approach going into the combine this year. His prediction: fewer free agent moves. Clayton also says the Skins will shop their first round draft pick in an effort to move down and get more picks.
You can see Clayton's story on early free agent trends here.
NFL.com's Gil Brandt explains the scouting combine. The combine starts this week in Indianapolis. It's the NFL's second look at potential new "employees." The Senior Bowl was the first. To get the story on the combine, look here.
For news starved football fans - and bloggers - the combine is big stuff. You can watch it on the NFL Network. Although it's less exciting than watching paint dry, bloggers will watch. Why? Because it's four and a-half months until training camp.
Posted by Master4Caster at 1:53 PM
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Frank Broyles resigned as athletic director at the University of Arkansas. The 82 year old Broyles has been affiliated with the school for half a century. Joe Gibbs and Jimmie Johnson were Razorback assist coaches under Broyles. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones played for the coach.
In his book Racing To Win, Gibbs spoke of the role that Broyles played in his coaching development. Broyles was a master at selling his program to players, a lesson Gibbs would put to good use in his career.
For more on Gibbs coaching bio, look here.
Photo: Frank Broyles, wikipedia.com
Posted by Master4Caster at 11:37 AM
NFL Fanhouse at AOL Sports reports that ESPN has parted ways with commentator Michael Irvin. The story points out that Irvin hadn't committed any infractions but alludes to the possibility that Bill Parcells could fill the void.
The playmaker was controversial as a football commentator. A high, or low, point occured in the 2005 season when Irvin baited Terrell Owens into a(nother) statement disparaging his QB, Donovan McNabb. In response to an Irvin question, Owens agreed that the Eagles would be better off with Brett Favre, who was having a terrible year, than with McNabb, who was injured. Redskins fans, of course, dislike Irvin both for his role with the Cowboys of the early 'Nineties, and because he stole 2007 Hall of Fame votes from Art Monk.
See the Fanhouse story here.
Photo: Michael Irvin, www.thescoopydoop.com
Posted by Master4Caster at 10:01 AM
Saturday, February 17, 2007
The San Francisco 49ers are highlighting (ex-Redskins) cornerback Walt Harris on the front page of their web site. The link takes you to a highlight of his 2006 accomplishments.
It makes me sick to read it!
One: We could have used his talent here in 2006.
Two: The way they describe it, his 2005 performance wasn't all that bad.
Tell me again why we let him go? Oh yeah, we thought Carlos Rogers would play big in his second year. Here's how the Redskins described Harris at the start of the '05 season.
Photo: Walt Harris, redskins.com
Posted by Master4Caster at 8:04 PM
Friday, February 16, 2007
Philadelphia free agents Donte Stallworth and Jeff Garcia were guests on the NFL Network last night and were asked about their future plans. Both said they would like to stay with the Eagles, but they intended to explore the market. When queried about interest in the San Francisco 49ers, Stallworth piped up that he could be interested only if Norv Turner remained the offensive coordinator.
Turner is in the San Diego Chargers head coach derby. There are reports that he did not get the Cowboys slot because he demanded to control his own staff. That's ironic. Marty Schottenheimer was fired for making the same demand.
Turner's reputation is being rehabilitated, like Richard Nixon's. He's in play for head coach slots.
Has anyone else noticed that Russ Grimm isn't mentioned for the Chargers? Nor was he a factor for the Cowboys. He was the leading candidate to replace Bill Cower with the Steelers, yet gets no play now. League rules require teams to make coordinators available to interview for head coach slots. Grimm is the O-line coach at Arizona. Surely coaching buddy Ken Whisenhutt wouldn't stand in his way.
Norv Turner photo credit: Bob Carr, raiderfans.net
Posted by Master4Caster at 10:39 AM
Thursday, February 15, 2007
It's getting harder and harder to create insightful Redskins analysis with all the competing blogs around here. Skin Patrol at Hog Haven put up a gem of a story on Mark Brunell's discussions with the Skins to restructure his contract. This post has it all. SP states the issues; goes into the cap impact; describes how guaranteed money affects the future and concludes "cut him immediately."
Go over and take a look (but, be sure to come back).
Mark this date: March 2, the start of free agent negotiations and trades. Last year, the Redskins off-season was more entertaining than the regular season -- unfortunately. We wait with baited breath for what those madcap fellows in Ashburn will come up with next. If only the Redskins could buy talent like the New York Yankees. If cash were the only obstacle, there would be no stopping Mr. Snyder. But, it's not.
The salary cap levels the playing field. It requires teams to get the most talent on a balanced roster while keeping to a spending limit. You have to be smart about the roster. The Redskins are smart about the cap. Thus, every year, they restructure contracts of players whose cost exceed their value, all to make cap room for more free agent signings. Injured Brunell, for example, will miss the entire off-season program and will go into training camp as the number three quarterback.
It's short-sighted. The owner thinks he's doing what the people want, trying to get a championship. He's operating with blinders. True, we want another Lombardi Trophy. We want a perennial contender more. The team that consistently wins eleven or twelve games in a season is consistently positioned to take a title and a lot more fun to watch. They get higher playoff seeding and home field advantage. That makes their title chances better. By taking shortcuts, the Redskins are falling short.
Consistency and managing the cap are why New England and Philadelphia contend every year with few big name stars. Consistency is the set-up for players to coalesce into teams. Players just entertain. Teams win championships.
This year, the Redskins might not have enough margin to compete. Twenty teams have cap room of $20 million or more. The Skins have about $2.5 million cap room before restructuring salaries. Good thing the coach-in-chief is emphasizing stability and continuity. Will that emphasis extend to Derrick Dockery as he tests free agency in an enriched market? Or, will the Redskins figure another guard can be had for less while they pay outsized bonuses to somebody else's star?
We'll know in about two weeks.
Photo credit: www.people.cornell.edu
Posted by Master4Caster at 7:18 PM
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
When your NFL team finds success, other teams raid your coaching staff. The 14-2 San Diego Chargers were highly successful and Dallas and Miami lured the Chargers' coordinators away with head coaching positions. It cost Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer his job. Team president Dean Spanos cited the loss of Marty's coaching staff and the dysfunctional relationship between Schottenheimer and general manager A.J. Smith as reasons for firing the coach. Schottenheimer and Smith engaged in escalating disputes over personnel, including the decision on whether to keep or release QB Drew Brees. Smith won and Brees was gone. Now Marty is gone. In January, Spanos said that Schottenheimer would return for the last year of his contract.
Faced with the same choice in 1999, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder kept the coach and fired the general manager. He would later say that he fired the wrong man. Stay tuned to see how the San Diego drama works out.
Schottenheimer has another issue. His regular season won-loss record is 200-126-1, and he has had an enormous influence on NFL coaching staffs. He has not won, or appeared in, a Super Bowl. Under the emerging Monk Rule, whereby stats are meaningless and career achievement have no value, Schottenheimer will not be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ever.
Unless he returns to the media.
Reid on leave
Eagles coach Andy Reid is top drawer, but his sons are knuckleheads. So the coach is taking a one month leave of absence from the team to deal with some tough family business. Reid has been master of the East with six playoff appearances in eight years guiding the Eagles. He is taking time to master his house. Best wishes on that one.
Arrington takes one giant step -- out
Maybe now the LaVar Arrington - Dale Lindsey feud can end. The New York Giants released Arrington today, along with LB Carlos Emmons and T Luke Petitgout. The Redskins released Lindsey, Arrington's coaching nemesis, in January. LaVar suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the Dallas game October 23.
It didn't take long for new GM Jerry Reece to make bold moves. Arrington's release is big news in Washington, but cutting Petitgout must be bigger news in New York. It's the equivilent of the Redskins releasing Jon Jansen.
Photo: Marty Schottenheimer (top), The Washington Post
Photo: LaVar Arrington and Marty Schottenheimer (right), The Washington Post
Posted by Master4Caster at 12:15 AM
Thursday, February 08, 2007
The Cowboys selected Wade Phillips as the new head coach, replacing Bill Parcells. Phillips was the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. He is the son of former Houston Oilers head coach Bum Phillips. He served as head coach of the Denver Broncos (1993-94), the Buffalo Bills (1998-2000) and was interim head coach for the Saints and the Falcons. His head coach record is 48-39-0.
Norv Turner was a leading candidate for the position, but Phillips name cropped up quickly after the Super Bowl. Neither Phillips nor Turner were considered premier candidates, leading to much speculation on Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' motive for the hire. Profootballtalk.com is an avowed rumor monger. This evening they reported anonymous reaction to the hire from around the league. They write ". . . many people in the league (who) can't stop laughing." According to one source "Dallas has relegated itself to the bottom of the NFC East for years to come, . . . ."
You can see the full post here. Scroll down to POSTED 7:47 p.m. EST, February 8, 2007.
Like Turner, Phillips is considered one of the better coordinators in the league. He replaced the legendary Marv Levy as coach of the Bills and went 21-11 in his first two seasons there. He has a nucleus of talent to work with in Dallas. One favorable point is Phillips penchant to coach the 3-4 defense. He is expected to continue Parcells' work perfecting that defensive scheme.
Funny JJ pix at The Redskin Report. Say, is he dancing in front of a Six Flags poster?
Master4caster is on bye this weekend. No new posts until Monday. Behave yourselves!
Posted by Master4Caster at 8:07 PM
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Redskin safety Sean Taylor has been named to the active Pro-Bowl roster. Taylor was announced as an alternate selection last December. He is filling in for Brian Dawkins who is sitting out because of back and hip injuries.
The Redskins have extended tackle Jon Jansen's contract through 2011. The move means that Jansen could potentially play his entire career with the team. Renegotiating veteran contracts is a technique the Skins use to manage the salary cap. The Redskins would like to keep the offensive line in tact. That means re-signing free agent Derrick Dockery to a new contract. This move helps. Jansen was one of several players mentioned in a Washington Post article who would be asked to restructure their contracts. Mark Brunell and Renaldo Wynn are two others. James Thrash has already agreed to a restructure.
All teams must be in compliance with the salary cap by March 2.
Running Redskins points out that managing the cap is different than managing the roster. Sooner or later, the Redskins will pay a price for over-reliance on trades and free-agents as the fastpath to championships. Some would say we paid the first installment in 2006.
Jamie "Mr. Irrelevant" Mottram at Sports Blog Nation scored an interview with Clinton Portis who was participating in Madden Bowl XIII. There is no new Redskins news, but those with a man crush for #26 might appreciate hearing a replay. Check it out here.
Portis was interviewed just before the Super Bowl. He expected fellow "U" alumni Devin Hester and Reggie Wayne to do well. He mentioned that he never plays as The Washington Redskins on Madden, but appreciates when an opponent, playing as the Skins, shows skills with the virtual Portis.
Blogging used to be a hobby for individuals to rant about their favorite topic. It's evolved to something more. There are plenty of ranters and ravers still, but the best web-loggers rival media journalists. Scan the bloggosphere on a particular sport or topic and you get group intelligence on that topic. It's serious stuff when a blogger who goes by "mr. irrelevant" covers the Super Bowl with interviews of football's top stars. "55 million blogs . . . some of them have to be good." -- Matt on technorati.com
Barry Svluga's article at The Washington Post detailed the phenomena of baseball blogging. He points out that Washington Nationals team president Stan Kasten follows the growing number of blogs covering the team. uh-oh! That's a revelation; players and team officials read posts about themselves. I'm taking this opportunity to say how much I respect and admire Daniel Snyder, no matter what I said in the past, or might say in the future.
"The Dan Snyder You Don't Know" is a lengthy, revealing profile of the man, found on washingtonian.com
Photo credit: Flag, littlerottenrobin, flickr.com
Posted by Master4Caster at 10:08 AM
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Today is the day, America's unofficial national holiday. Football's biggest bash is our last reminder that the Redskins ain't where we thought they would be. That leaves most of us feeling as naked as the picture on the left.
The entertainment will be as much of a draw as the game. Prince is the star of halftime. As an entertainer and a person, he's at the edge. I trust His Purpleness won't have a "wardrobe malfunction" (and if he does, eeewyuuu!)
Photo: Prince, Lovesexy album cover, wikipedia.com
The commercials are entertaining in themselves. For previews, click below.
Enjoy the game.
Posted by Master4Caster at 9:13 AM
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Standout Redskins wide receiver Art Monk was not selected for induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Guard Russ Grimm, also a finalist, likewise did not make the final cut.
For the story, go to Hog Heaven.
The Redskins put together powerhouse teams in the 1980s, making four Super Bowl appearances between 1983 and 1992 and taking home the Lombardi Trophy three times. Monk and Grimm were key contributors to those teams. The only individuals of that group to make the Hall are Joe Gibbs and John Riggins.
Hall of Fame
Posted by Master4Caster at 6:47 PM