Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Cooler heads are prevailing in the Lance Briggs trade story, or hype. Today's Post quotes Joe Gibbs calling the news "Just a bunch of rumors." Vinnie Cerrato, Daniel Snyder's mini-me, is quoted "we don't comment on rumors." Everybody take a chill pill and calm down.

Hogs Haven goes in depth on how the story came about, citing several sources, the most intriguing of which is Tandler's Redskins Blog. Rich Tandler is the dean of Redskins bloggers. He writes infrequently, but incisively, on his blog. He repeated Jay Glazer's tale of how Daniel Snyder and Briggs and his agent Drew Rosenhaus got to talking in a Phoenix bar about Briggs. That seems to have triggered Snyder's acquisitive instincts. Somewhere in the conversation, Snyder threw up, figuratively, the "proposal" of trading the Skins #1 pick for Briggs and Chicago's #1 pick to Rosenhaus who called the Bears and the "confirmed story" was off and running. Confused? go to Hogs Haven (several stories) or Tandler's for the full account.

Rosenhaus is said to be one of Snyder's favorite agents. I don't see how that serves the Redskins. The team, Snyder in particular, get mentioned in every story about every disgruntled player. I suspect agents, especially Rosenhaus, of surfacing those rumors to bid up offers for their clients.

The Lance Briggs case is instructive on several levels. Briggs is operating on his rookie contract. He was (under)paid the league minimum $750,000 in each of his past two Pro-Bowl seasons. In his place I would not only want to be paid top dollar, but would want to recover the income my past performance warranted. What's more, he wants to participate in this year's super heated free agent market.

Enter super agent Drew "the Shark" Rosenhaus with combative tactics to force new terms: the claim of unfairness; the threat to hold out; the stated refusal to play for the team; participating at the bare minimum to meet contract requirements. We've seen these tactics before. Turn on your wayback machine to Terrell Owens and his gay adventures in Philadelphia in 2005. (I haven't had so much fun blogging since.) T.O. is repped by Rosenhaus.

The Bears have a legit general manager in Jerry Angelo who can play brinkmanship as well as the next guy. He won't be bullied by the tactics, or panicked into a trade. I think he will call Briggs' and Rosenhaus' bluff to sit out ten games. Maybe $7.2 Million isn't the most Briggs could get, but it's still ten times more than he made last season. The Bears may be pushed to move if and after Briggs no-shows. Until then, I'm not so sure. No one on the Redskins plays that role, except Joe Gibbs. He's suspect, but may have done good service slowing up a Briggs trade.

The Redskins should pay close attention to the Lance Briggs case. It may fore tell their future. Chris Cooley is a premier, pass catching tight end playing on his 2004 rookie contract. He is scheduled to make $850,000 this year and will be a free agent in 2008. Alge Crumpler signed a six year, $14.325 Million contract in 2004. Jeremy Shockey is working under a contract that will pay him $850,000 this season, $2.2 Million in '08, and $3.0 Million in '09.

Cooley is performing better than his pay. Fans would like the Skins front office to find more like him: competent role players who can grow with the team and signed to affordable contracts that parallel their playing life. Briggs would like the freedom to negotiate a deal in this unusually rich free agent market. If Rosenhaus were Cooley's agent, Chris might want the same. If Rosenhaus is Cooley's agent next season, he might use the same tactics, if the Redskins name him a franchise player. Hmmm.

If that happens, at least Resenhaus won't drop Snyder's name as a potential suitor.

Trivia: Drew Rosenhaus represents: London Fletcher-Baker, Santana Moss, Clinton Portis and Sean Taylor.

Photo: Drew Rosenhaus and Terrell Owens, from here.

Redskin blogger rookies

I love it and hate it when a new blog featuring competent writing shows up. I welcome the addition to the ethereal conversation that is the blogosphere. And I hate the competition, too. It's not as if there is a dearth of outstanding Redskins writers around here (see the blogroll to the right).

I've come across two new blogs that cause me to nod my head in approval. Winning the Turnover Battle is brand new. Hank posted a reaction to the rumored Lance Briggs trade that's as good as anything I've read on Hogs Haven or The Curly R. I wished I wrote some of those things. I'm going to shamelessly borrow his logic. As Steve Jobs once said, "Good artists create. Great artists steal."

First there was DC Sports Blog. Then, DC Sports Chick. Get ready for DC Sports Kid, created by an 11 year old prodigy who follows DC area sports teams (not just the Redskins), and he does it quite well. All bloggers go on hiatus when real life intrudes. I've never read a better excuse than at DC Sports Kid, "There haven't been any new posts for a while because I was punished." Don't worry about it kid. It happens to us all, sooner or later. And then it happens again.

Budding sports writer, that kid.

As your bonus, Ted Leonsis has a blog, cleverly named Ted's Take. He received a mass mailer offering premium seats to Redskins games and wonders why, if the Redskins are sold out, are they doing mass mailings? For anyone else, that would be idle curiosity. I'm sure Ted's taking notes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lance Briggs ???

Ten questions about a Lance Briggs trade:

1. Didn't we just dump a player who was a poor fit in Gregg Williams defense? Lance Briggs played in Chicago's Tampa-2 defense with a 3-4 alignment. Would he be the second coming of Adam in Washington?

2. Sure he can tackle. Can he stop the run?

3. Lance Briggs and how many draft choices? Initial reports said Chicago will send Briggs and its first round selection (31st overall). That's it?

4. Briggs is young, at least. His productivity might be concurrent with his contract, unlike the thirty-somethings the Redskins often bring in whose serviceability is less than the term of their deal. How will the men of Ashburn structure Briggs' contract so that they can get out if he turns out to be the second coming of Adam? How will that money affect the Skins ability to restock the team later this decade? Do fans want Briggs if he costs us Sean Taylor at the end of his contract?

5. If Briggs is unhappy with franchise player money ($7.4 Million in 2007), how much will it take to make him happy? How will he feel when asked to restructure his contract next season? The Redskins are thought to be over the 2008 salary cap already. They need team guys willing to be flexible on their contracts for the inevitable restructure.

6. Do the men of Ashburn expect the fans to be excited by this move? Initial comments on The Warpath and ExtremeSkins message boards are highly skeptical (I'm being polite.)

7. Is Marcus Washington recovering on schedule? My negative attitude will change completely if Washington will miss significant time this season.

8. Have the coaches given up on Rocky McIntosh, because that's what this move is saying? For that matter, are the Redskins, with the league's oldest staff, any good at assessing and coaching young talent? 8a: Have the coaches given up on Lemar Marshall, too?

9. Is linebacker the area of greatest need on the defense? Wouldn't it be better (smarter) to trade our number one pick for a lineman who can bring pass rushing pressure? Then, we could apply the lower pick on an offensive guard or cornerback.

10. Whatever happened to that Dre' Bly trade idea? That made much more sense. Is it off the table? With Briggs, we seem to be solving a problem we do not have.

BONUS Question, held in reserve until a Briggs deal comes to pass: Can we fire the owner?

I have to say it (close your eye kiddies). If this deal goes through, Lance Briggs and Drew Rosenhaus are tools, and Snyder is their bitch.

Santana rolls in style

Batman has the Batmobile, Santana Moss has "Moss Orange," his customized 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8, a beast of a wagon with the 6.1-liter, 425 HP HEMI engine.

Santana has other Mossmobiles as flashy as his playing style. They include a 2006 Dodge Viper SRT10, a 2004 H2 Hummer, and his newest, a 2007 BMW 750Li.

Even with these mechanical beauties, Moss professes himself to be your average, ordinary Mercedes guy at heart. Says Moss, “I stay with the Benz. Whenever the model changes, I trade mine in and get the new one because I love ’em. They are sporty and luxurious, all at once. You don’t have to choose one or the other,” he says. The one thing he doesn’t want to do in his 2006 Mercedes S550? Be dirty. Moss explains, “I can go work out and then jump in my Hummer, but [in] the Benz, I take off my shirt to protect the seat with it if I don’t feel clean… Even my friends know this is the car you don’t mess with.”

(I'm glad to know he's working out.)

You can mess with Santana's cars in the April 2007 issue of duPont REGISTRY Celebrity car magazine, on news stands now.

All photos courtesy of duPont REGISTRY Celebrity car magazine.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Son of Hoya Paranoia

Now, I'm interested in March Madness again. (My alma mater went down in the second game.) The Georgetown Hoyas basketball team, made up of sons of famous fathers, upset the UNC Tarheels 96-84. The Hoyas are a capable team, so you would call this a mild upset. I am amazed that North Carolina's game went away from them so completely in the end. Not only did they allow Georgetown to tie the game in the last seconds, but UNC failed to score a point in overtime until 7 seconds left.

How 'bout them Hoyas. Wow!
Image found on

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Be like Mike

Why all this fuss about Michael Vick? I think he's a clever fella. Hide your valuable stash of jewelry, watches and earrings in plain sight. And what's clearer and plainer than a water bottle jewelry box? Where can I get one of these neat devices? On eBay, of course.

Seriously, even if you are big and strong and rich, you can get tongue-tied when the authorities question you. I'll give Vick that much as I try to understand his silence, even though his story doesn't hold - - - water.

Speaking of Atlanta quarterbacks, ex-Falcon Matt Schaub is traded to Houston and the Texans immediately do to David Carr what Jacksonville would have done to Mark Brunell, release him.

I was impressed with Carr's performance when the Skins played Houston last season. His issues have more to do with his team than his talent, I suspect. He will land on his feet somewhere and be better for it, unless he lands in Detroit, Arizona or Oakland.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kwame Morgan commits to Hampton

Kwame Morgan (right), Largo High School. Photo:

I know this is a Redskins site, but this is a matter of blood. To be exact, a cousin, Kwame Morgan, commits to playing basketball for Hampton University, Hampton, VA, next season.

Kwame finished the season as the highest scoring high school baller in PG County, averaging 27.5 ppg for Largo High where he was a forward. Largo went 20-0 in the regular season playing Maryland 3A & 4A teams, but came to grief in the State 3A semi-finals against Bethesda-Chevy Chase.

Any day now, The Post will name him to the All-Met team, with the only question being whether its the first or second team -- but that's cousin talk.

Congratulations, Kwame, and all the best for your future.

Hampton was "a family decision," said Morgan.

Hey, it's my party. I can write what I want to.

Arch speaks

. . . and he's saying plenty.

“I learned a lot about myself,” he said. “There are a lot of life lessons that I learned about last year and I think that I’m a better person and better as a football player because of it. My time there [Washington]was a negative, but as I look back I think it was a positive thing for me.”

“I definitely have a lot to prove to everybody, but one thing that I have always done is that I’m going to bet on me. I know that none of the outside stuff really matters. I know what I can do and I have a pretty good feeling what I’m going to accomplish.”

David Elfin at The Washington Times quotes Archuleta:

"I could air a whole bunch of different laundry. There's a lot more going on [at Redskin Park] than people understand."
We haven't heard the end of this saga.

More at the Bears web site.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Good Luck, Michae'

Redskins cheerleader Michae' Holloman's big moment is happening as I write this. Michae' was named Miss Maryland USA 2007 last fall and is now competing in the Miss USA Pageant 2007 in Los Angeles. The pageant will be broadcast live on NBC at 9:00 PM ET tomorrow (Friday) night. Ms. Holloman is Master4caster's personal favorite, so I'm emanating all sorts of Karma and good vibes for her success.

I haven't been this excited about a chocolate ingenue since Dominique Dawes. I'm crying fowl and switching channels if Michae' isn't a finalist.

Skin Patrol says Michae' is "JC's" girl friend. Ya, right. How does he know?

It will never last.

Update: Skin posted clarification on his site that "JC" refers to John Coopersmith, a purely fictitious person, and not to any NFL player who might coincidentally have the same initials. So, there; I knew it wouldn't last.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Archuleta is a Bear

Archuleta is a Bear.
Archuleta isn't here.
Archuleta's a happy fella,
laughing in his Chicago beer.

Archuleta came for money,
which I think is mighty funny,
given that he couldn't cover
any better than his mother.

Take the money, or follow your heart?
Choosing is the hardest part.
Chicago was where he wanted to be,
but he picked the cash and old DC.

In Washington, his bubble burst.
Chi-town's what he wanted first.
Life turns out to be so funny.
Now, he's there with Snyder's money.

There's a moral to this little rhyme,
'though it doesn't happen every time.
The lesson learned is not so hollow.
Choose your heart, the money will follow.

See the story on Hog Heaven.

Photo: Michael Connor,

The latest from Warpath

Two items of interest from The Warpath fan forum:

Check out the In The Money cartoon at Clever. Funny.

The Warpath pointed to Jason LaCanfora's Redskins Insider blog entry Front Office Rumblings hinting at a shake-up of the Skins personnel management structure. LaCanfora couldn't confirm the rumors but sensed that something might (emphasis might) be up. In any event, the scouts are worried that The Turk could visit them after the draft. Writes LaCanfora:

"In an organization as top-heavy as this, where glitz and splash have overwhelmed sound thought for so long, could you really blame the scouts of all people? But they are also the first guys to end up taking a bullet when times are tough, hence the worries".

Jason LaCanfora is the Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post.

NFL Network: Hail '82 Redskins

The NFL Network will repeat the story of the 1982 Washington Redskins Super Bowl season at 8:00 PM EDT, Thursday, March 22. The NFL Network is only available on cable.

The '82 Redskins won Washington's first division title in ten years, then went on the win Super Bowl Ex-Vee-Eye-Eye after crushing the hated Cowboys to win the conference championship. It was the first of four Super Bowl appearances by the Redskins in the Joe Gibbs I era. Joe Theismann, Russ Grimm (one of the great football names ever) and Rick "Doc" Walker are interviewed in the broadcast.

The show is part of the NFL series America's Game, that tells the story of each Super Bowl winner and the events that led to the championship game. Viewers voted the '82 Redskins the 37th favorite Super Bowl team.

Oh yeah, Washington 27 - Miami 17. This game avenged the Redskins' loss to the undefeated Dolphins ten years earlier in Super Bowl VII.

Photo: John Riggins' fourth quarter TD run, Super Bowl XVII, Ronald C. Modra,

Monday, March 19, 2007

Redskins over a Barrow about Pierce

The Derrick Dockery case is a reminder of the loss of another high potential free agent, Antonio Pierce. Free agent decisions are not made in isolation. Dockery's situation couldn't be more different than Pierce's. A quick history lesson is in order.

The Redskins held Antonio Pierce in low regard throughout his tenure here. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in the dawn of the Spurrier era (2001) and worked in anonymity during that tumultuous time. In April, 2004, new head coach and president Joe Gibbs signed former NY Giants middle linebacker Mike Barrow to a multi-year contract. The signing was significant. Twelve year veteran Barrow was to lead the defense as Mark Brunell was to lead the offense.

Barrow, 34 when he signed with the team, was a cap casualty with the Giants. He was released in spite of a career year in 2003 when he made 177 tackles (122 solo). He was the league leading tackler that season and tallied 1219 tackles in his career. The gaudy numbers over-shadowed two issues: the big step up in his numbers in his "contract year" (73 solo tackles in '02; 122 solo tackles in '03); his age. The years had take its toll. The Giants liked him, but couldn't justify his cost.

Barrow joined the Redskins with an undisclosed knee tendinitis problem that would prevent him from playing in a burgundy uniform -- ever. He was placed on injured reserve and the Skins eventually tapped Pierce to fill in at middle linebacker after considering Lemar Marshall and Derrick Holdman for the role.

With the passage of time, Pierce is remembered as having an outstanding performance in 2004. It wasn't, but it was more than respectable with 112 tackles (85 solo), 1 sack, 2 INTs and 1 TD. A pleasantly surprised Gregg Williams said of Pierce "I think it speaks volumes for Antonio's versatility that he can fit in all of the linebacker positions. Linebackers need to be the heart and soul of your special teams and your defense anyway. He's the ideal guy because he can run and hit and play all three."

The Skins were comfortable enough with Pierce to make him the defensive signal caller. The Redskins defense ranked third in the league in yards allowed per game. But, they never gave up hope in Barrow's return. Pierce's contract expired after the 2004 season. He was vocal in his desire to stay with the team. The Skins, at that time were still playing fantasy football, still going for name value, and Barrow had the bigger name. Pierce was viewed as a valuable contributor, but no more than Barrow's back-up.

To be fair, Coach Gibbs was preoccupied with issues at quarterback and receiver. Mark Brunell wasn't working out and Gibbs was forced to go with Patrick Ramsey. It was Ramsey's play under Spurrier that drove Gibbs to sign Brunell. In addition, receivers Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner were dissatisfied with their role in Gibbs' offense and wanted out. The Redskins lost Pierce to free agency, due in part to inattention, for which both Gibbs and VP of player personnel Vinnie Cerrato acknowledged fault.

Barrow never recovered. He was eventually released. (He's on the Cowboys' practice squad.) Outside linebacker Lemar Marshall filled the breach and did okay in 2005 (98 tackles, 2 sacks). He had better stats (104 tackles, 1.5 sacks) in a disastrous 2006 defensive campaign. Pierce blossomed at the playoff bound Giants. He made the Pro Bowl. The Giants describe him as the leader of their defense. He is an authentic NFL star.

Pierce is exhibit "A" for critics of the Redskins personnel management philosophy. The indictment is Snyder's/Cerrato's/Gibbs' tendency to sign outside "names" to rich contracts in preference to home grown talent, often to disappointing results. And worse, the coaching staff -- oldest in the NFL -- don't seem to develop, or even appreciate, their young talent.

Derrick Dockery does not fit that category. By all outward appearances, the Redskins made a determined effort to sign him before the free agency period. In contrast to Pierce, Doc never publicly said that he wanted to stay. Indeed, OT Chris Samuels was more vocal, offering to restructure his contract in order to re-sign Dockery. It was evident by mid-February that Dockery would test the free agent market and eventually be lost to it.

In London Fletcher-Baker, the Redskins might have replaced Mike Barrow, but not Pierce, whose best years are still ahead of him. Fletcher-Baker is a natural middle linebacker. Like Barrow, he is a "name" player with the Buffalo connection important to Gregg Williams. Both weigh in at about 245 lbs, but Fletcher-Baker is 5'10" while Barrow is 6'2". Fletcher-Baker makes up in consistency what he lacks in stature. He joins the Redskins at age 31. Barrow was 34. If age hasn't taken a toll, Fletcher-Baker might have two good years left in his tank.

And, he wants to be here.

Photo: Mike Barrow,
Photo: Antonio Pierce,

Friday, March 16, 2007

Redskins' signings strategic and wise

Columnist Grant Paulson coined a new term to describe the Redskins 2006 defense in his story Redskins' signings strategic and wise.

efense, because the "d" was missing

Loved it. Wished I thought of it first.

I want to give Mr. Paulson all due credit and respect here and now, because I'm sure to borrow the term again and I'll forget how I got it.

Paulson compliments the Skins' front office for their first few signings and for the general absence of excess. You can read the rest of his article here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I'm not Lion to you

Rip Van Master4caster has awakened from what feels like a twenty year slumber. With bleary eyes, I get caught up on Redskins happenings.

Photo: Rip Van Winkle,

The most recent small news, not counting all the Dre' Bly stuff, widely reported elsewhere, involve the Detroit Lions. Former MSU Spartan, former Atlanta Falcon, momentary Redskin T.J. Duckett had a homecoming, of sort, by signing a one-year deal with the Lions. Duckett is a Michigander (well that's what they call themselves) who enjoyed his greatest football success at Michigan State. His pro career has been disappointing and he now finds himself at one of the worse run franchises in the league. Heck, Cincinnati turned itself around. Someday, perhaps Detroit will, too. This old Spartan wishes Duckett well. He deserves it.

The Lions also signed Rams free agent cornerback Travis Fisher to a one year, $2.25 million deal. Len Pasquarelli describes Fisher as a "top second-tier player." The men of Ashburn invited Fisher to Redskins Park where he was penciled in as depth at DB. Then the team signed Fred Smoot. Perhaps a top second tier player dropped to secondary importance to the . . . , oh never mind.

Was it as recent as last year that the Men of Ashburn would not be out bid for talent? What a difference cap restrictions and an eleven-loss season can make. Whatever the team did last off-season, they are trying the opposite this year. Where there was excess, now there is restraint.

The team was one good wide receiver away last year. They went out and signed two average ones. Joe Gibbs' old school offense needed a tweak of an update. They hired the ultra-guru of modern-day firepower. Screwed the whole thing up. They needed Plan B players to hedge the potential loss of Sean Taylor and Clinton Portis. Money and draft picks were no obstacles for signing Adam Archuleta and the aforementioned T.J. Duckett.

Today, veterans can condition on their own rather than follow the teams regimented program at Redskin Park. Training camp will open sooner and will involve more hitting; you know, football. Preseason games may be taken more seriously to work out kinks in the offensive and defensive schemes. They pass on bidding wars for average talent. And our number one draft pick quarterback of the future will be genuinely coached to win. Good things can emerge from adversity.

Spending like drunken sailors did nothing but get the team lost last season. Rational navigation is the better route to go.

With the opening of free agency and the Combine, I followed Porcine Paradise and the stellar bloggers to the right for updates. One emerged from the pack. Skin Patrol established himself as the hardest working Redskinologist in blogdom. Among what must be 50 stories a week were a few gems:

  • Mar 02, 2007, The Redskins understood the market. The rest of you didn't; "2007 changes the paradigm. No longer should we suffer the endless Redskins bashing; while we made decisions that didn't pan out, our contracts seem a whole lot less crazy given what's happening right now in this seller's market. The Redskins entered 2006 knowing full well that they had 17M more dollars to spend than they had the previous year; no one else got the memo. Now that other teams are apparently on board, I think it's about time we challenged the conventional wisdom that the Redskins and spending were in a league of their own."

  • Mar 02, 2007, Free Agency Open Thread; "Everyone knows January is the most important month of Football."

  • Mar 09, 2007, Adam Archuleta and how the Highest Safety Contract might've been a steal; I pride myself on focusing on the business of football. With this piece, Skin raised that area to a new level. He also shows the advantage of affiliations. Hogs Haven is part of SportsBlog Nation and Skin Patrol isn't shy about mining the knowledge of his compatriots. I suspect the future of blogging is in alliances and partnerships. It will become harder for standalone sites (like this one)to offer compelling & competing value over time. I've got to get busy.

We all went into a stupor as the Redskins tanked last year, Skinsaphrenia a bit longer than most. David Gaines has reanimated the site, so I'm adding it to the blogroll.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Rumor: Skins to release personnel guys

Rumor-monger posted a story 'SKINS TO CLEAN HOUSE AFTER THE DRAFT?. You can see the story by following the link to and scrolling down to "POSTED 7:37 p.m. EST; UPDATED 7:55 p.m. EST, February 28, 2007."

Thanks to The Warpath fan forum for pointing to this story.

This story ranks with other fan fantasies like "happily ever after," "million dollar jackpot" and "new Redskins GM." If the team reached this conclusion, why wait until after the draft? It would have made more sense to do it right after the season to have the time to put new personnel guys in place in time to affect the next draft.

Profootballtalk never claimed more than to report rumors. Something may be up, but a Saturday night massacre? I'll wait and see on that one.
Photo: Vinnie Cerrato and Daniel Snyder,