Monday, April 30, 2007

Redskins draft party is a "must do"

I've got to hand it to Daniel Snyder. He knows how to throw a party.

I went to Saturday's Redskins Draft Party thinking only two types of people go to the stadium to watch the draft process: diehards, and bloggers snooping for an angle. I qualify on both counts. Although admission was free, this was a Daniel Snyder event. I just knew it was going to cost me.

Surprise number one, there were a lot of cars in the FedEx parking lot. While not at game day volume, there were traffic monitors to manage the flow. The only admittance was through Gate A. It plainly said that on my invitation, but I overlooked it. My car is used to going to my favorite game day parking spot near gate D, so that's where it led me. Rather than walk, I drove to the lots near Gate A. That's when I saw it. A tailgate party tent.

Why didn't I think of tailgating for this thing? It's Spring in Washington. It was a perfect day to arrive at 9:00 am and bar-b-que until noon. Note to me. Next year, if the Skins make the playoffs and draft late, organize a party and tailgate this succa.

Gate A wasn't open. The 17,000 partiers were directed throught the Redskins Hall Of Fame Store (clever move Mr. Snyder) for admittance to the stadium. We could linger past the clearance tables for the best deals you are going to see on Redskins-logoed merchandise. "2005 Redskins Playoff Bound" tee shirts for $5.00. What a bargain.

You had two choices for your in-stadium destination: admittance to THE FIELD, or escalator up to the privileged Club Level. Most people with kids, and anyone who wanted player autographs, headed down to the field where the team organized sports games for the kiddies. There was a line of people that extended about 100 yards to enter a field level tunnel that, I presume, led to the players. The Lombardi Trophies were on display in the Club Level, so I headed up there after being handed a ticket for the door prizes. Oh yes, the team gave away a couple of game worn paraphernalia.

The Club Level is one of those money-makers that boost the value of FedEx Field to the Redskins. The team charges an ungodly amount of money just to "license" the right to buy game tickets on that level. That is, you buy the multi-year license and then you buy the tickets. But, the level is plush by stadium standards with wood decor and comfortable lounge chairs and sofas. The sight line from that level is outstanding from any seat. I checked out several. It's not as intimately close to the field as were my family's upper deck seats at RFK, but it did remind me of the view.

The Lombardi Trophies were in the open but secured by very large men. There was a snake line to channel fans to the trophies. The line took you past the Redskins 1937 Championship Trophy, and champion team portraits. The NFC Championship Halas Trophies were also on display.

The line moved fairly quickly to bring you to the Lombardies. Here, let me give you some advice. If you are going to a big event where you want to capture treasured photos, make sure the batteries in your camera work, or carry spares. I didn't, so several deleted expletives later, I resorted to my cell phone to get the money shot of me with the trophies.

You weren't allowed within two feet of the trophies, much less to touch them, but an attendant would gladly take a photo of you and the Lombardies with your camera, or cell phone. Violation of the security zone around the trophies would invite violation by the giant standing nearby, or by the three very muscular PG County police who stood nearby. I almost told them I was a blogger doing a story, then thought better of it. I didn't think they would see the humor of it.

In need of sustenance to feed my disappointment, I visited the concessions to get my next shock. HALF-PRICE ON FOOD AND BEER! Thank you again, Mr. Snyder. I never had a $2.00 hot dog at FedEx. I was so excited that I double downed on the buy.

Replenished, I toured the table offering Redskins framed, autographed player pictures, and assorted other trinkets. The most impressive item on the table was an authentic, but unautographed, Marcus Washington game-worn helmet that could have been mine for just under $300. Big men wear big helmets.

The Redskins were on the clock and the crowd gathered around around the indoor monitors, or went outside to watch the pick on the Jumbotron. It was Landry. The crowd was festive. No anguish at the pick, just cheers and the eternal optimism that has characterized Redskins fans since the 1990s.

At 2:45 PM THE COACH and his two deputies choppered in to greet the fans. Even with all the skepticism, criticism and disappointment of a losing season, an appearance by THE COACH melts a Washington crowd. That would include me. Gibbs opened with a few words about how they made the pick. His comments sounded to me as an attempt to deflect criticism from Daniel Snyder. Then he took questions from the crowd and signed autographs. A transcript of Gibbs Q&A is up at Hog Heaven.

I left at around 3:30 pm, but the party was running through 5:00 pm and was still going strong when I left. I'm going to do this again, with fresh batteries next time.

For another viewpoint, see Man Of Faith at washingtoncitypaper. Not sure what draft party they attended, but I didn't see what they described. They described an apathetic crowd. I saw a festive one (why would apathetic fans show up at a draft party anyway?). The photo accompanying the article showed empty seats below coach Joe's image below the big screen, meant to imply fan disinterest. Only, that portion of the stadium was closed off. Fans couldn't get there if they wanted, as you can see in the photo below.

Photo: Master4Caster with the Lombardi Trophies, by Anthony Brown
Photo: Joe Gibbs at Redskins Draft Party, Don Wright Photo,

Sanjaya missing

I'm sure he knows where he is, but no one else does. Sanjaya Malakar seems to have dropped out of sight after a round of TV appearances last week.

Federal Way, Washington, his home town, is considering whether to honor him, but can't locate his peeps to make arrangements.

Bet he's already moved to LA.

Vote for Sanjaya on Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the Year.

For an expose' on how American Idol really works, visit Vote For The Worst.

Sanjaya denies that he's gay in a People Magazine interview. He just understands women, and real men don't understand that. That's a relief to Tim Hardaway.

Meanwhile, a post on claims the vote that eliminated Sanjaya from American Idol was rigged. They say that AI itself is rigged for entertainment value, and not for finding the best singer.

Finally, and sadly, Britney Spears hopes to restart her career with an act featuring a duet with Sanjaya. When is she out of rehab?

UPDATE: The Commons shopping mall in Federal Way says it will welcome hometown "Idol" Sanjaya Malakar at a public event Wednesday, May 10. Details are still under negotiation, but the event is scheduled for 4:00 PM PT at Macy's courtyard.

Meanwhile, Reality TV Magazine reports that TIME Magazine has removed Sanjaya's name from the list of candidates for the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Sanjaya climbed as high as third place in voting by the public. Just another rigged vote for the kid.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Should Landry or Dallas be here?

Did I get this right? The Washington Redskins drafted a guy named Landry, then some other guy named Dallas. How can that turn out well?

It seems you can't get a job as a pro-football player unless you have relatives in the game. The Redskins drafted two guys with brothers who are already NFL players, one guy who is the son of a NFL All-Pro, and another guy who is the son of a college All-American. Is that connections, nepotism, or genetics?

Manning, Hasselbeck, Winslow, Simms, Greise, Springs, Jones, now Landry, Carson and Blades. What chance does a guy like me have?

You're right; I'm dreaming!

Just for the record, I posted this idea before a similar lead appeared at The Times. So, there.

Photo: Found at

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The drum roll, please.

It's NFL draft day. This has been the most thoroughly analyzed draft in league history. Not all that long ago, newspapers told you who was drafted for your team. Details about players were skimpy unless there was local interest about the player. There was very little about other team's draft picks.

Now, NFL Network makes an event of the scouting combine - live, no less. And people watch! A dozen web sites post the combine stats as part of scouting details that used to occupy, er, scouts. Hundreds of football sites run mock drafts. Taken together, you get a group consensus on how college players rank. Maybe group consensus equals group intelligence. Time will tell on that one. Then, there's the blogging phenomena where thousands of posts weigh in on team moves, past draft hits and misses, and team needs versus best available debates.

I think fan knowledge going into this draft is unparalleled. Three years ago, Joe Fan pretty much accepted their team's spin on a draftee. Today, teams may spend as much time defending the move they didn't make as much as the one they did. It's not like it used to be. Heck, it's not like last year.

The Redskin Report points to today's Washington Post report that the Redskins will hold on to their first round draft pick and select LaRon Landry. That is, hold on to it unless there is a last minute trade. (wha?) The Redskin Report also posts a stat analysis of mock drafts showing the frequency of where the first round players, along with the range. The mock draftkateers suggest that Amobi Okoye won't last past the ninth pick. If the mock drafts mimic what will really happen, then the Washington Redskins would be advised to trade down no lower than Miami's ninth pick if they have interest in Okoye.

It's a cool take on the mock drafts -- consensus views are the only way to look at mock drafts. However, if college statistics made your head hurt, TRR's table might not be for you.

Jim Ducibella at The Virginia Pilot published a thorough report on the year long process the Redskins follow to scout players for the draft. Interesting in its own right, it also explains why the Redskins won't make the rumored front office changes until after the draft. A new player personnel director needs to start at the beginning of the process, not the beginning of the draft.

I'm headed off to the Redskins Draft Party at FedEx today, more to snap a few pictures for later use, than to watch the draft on the big screen. So, no Running Redskins draft reaction until tomorrow. The folks at The Warpath and ExtremeSkins message boards, and MVN Draft University plan live blogs of the draft. Get your fix there. Tonight and tomorrow, run through the blogroll to your right for fan reaction and analysis of the Redskins draft moves.

"With the sixth pick of the draft, the Washington Redskins select . . . ."

Photo: 2006 NFL Draft, The Orlando Sentinal

Friday, April 27, 2007

Redskins to nuke front office after the draft?

My blogging colleague at Hogs Haven has picked up rumblings that the Washington Redskins will bust a personnel move after the draft. He even names names: Bears assistant GM Bobby DePaul, and Bills assistant GM Tom Modrak. That's good sleuthing. Combined with an earlier rumor, reported here, that the Redskins are going to nuke the scouting department after the draft, I'm going to officially declare this as smoke. Where there's smoke, there's a flicker, maybe. "The game's afoot, Watson." Something's up.

How to reconcile all this with Boss Hog's firm statement that the Redskins never considered naming a GM after last season's fiasco? You can't name a GM right after the owner said "we did not consider a GM." No one who works for a living would be that dumb. Simple solution, you call him something else. Vice president of player personnel is available. Vinnie Cerrato is vp of football operations. Or, take a tip from the White House and call him an Implementation Czar.

Whatever the title, it's the background and role that's important. If - that's IF - this happens, I would hope the Redskins select someone who developed as a talent evaluator; that means hands on scout and player personnel experience. The man (it's always a man) should be connected in the NCAA world, for that whisper network that turns up undrafted prospects who can play. I hope he's been affiliated with at least two teams to bring best practices and another point of view. It would be ideal if his experience is with AFC and NFC clubs. They play different styles of football, and the AFC is the superior conference at the moment. I also hope that this background equips the guy to evaluate current NFL players and their contracts as thoroughly as are college players. (Why doesn't Mel Kiper evaluate NFL players as well as college draftees? The only organization I know of who independently ranks NFL players is EA Sports.)

It's the role that will make or break the move. Whatever you call him, if the personnel guy is unwanted by team president Joe Gibbs, he will fail. If the reporting structure isn't changed to give the personnel guy a real voice - real clout, then this will fail. We don't need another Vinnie. We need someone who can translate team needs into three alternative players, not just the best known star, and land him on a affordable contract. We need someone Gibbs respects and will listen to.

I can't see anyone coming who isn't fully supported by both Snyder and Gibbs. I can't see a top notch candidate accepting the position without some firm commitments about his role and understanding about his influence. An upgrade to front office personnel would be smart on Snyder's and Gibbs' part, on a par with the upgrade to the coaching staff with Al Saunders. Yes, I know Saunders and Gregg Williams didn't show well last season, but they remain the best minds in pro football. That's who you need to turn things around You need someone like that in the front office. You need a GM who gets talent and negotiates, really negotiates, the tough deals. (The Redskins negotiate by throwing draft picks into a deal until the other side surrenders.) You need a guy who can eventually step up to team president. More than players or coaches, a GM is the most important decision and owner makes. It should be the first decision an owner makes.

A GM by any other name would be a good start.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Asante Samuel - the other side of the trade debate

The Washington Redskins explored a trade for New England Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel. That's not news. The Redskins would trade a sixth round pick for a top ten water boy. Take a look at New England fan reaction to a potential Samuel trade for the other side of the debate.

Hog Heaven posted a story comparing Samuel with Champ Bailey, the gold standard of cornerbacks in an article Does Samuel Pass the Bailey Test? The story was picked up by Patriots Planet, a fan message board similar to The Warpath and ExtremeSkins. Patriots' fan reaction is very revealing. Undertaker #59 wrote " I just hope they DO trade Samuel come Saturday. Champ Bailey he is not." For more, go to the Patriots Planet thread here.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Daniel Snyder: GM is not the solution for the Washington Redskins

At the end of the fiasco that was the 2006 season, Joe Gibbs said the Washington Redskins would look at everything in an effort to turn things around. Owner Daniel Snyder was quick to say at yesterday's press conference that a general manager was not part of "everything." He felt badly for the fans following the team's 5-11 season, but did not see team structure as the cause for the on-field results.

Both Snyder and Gibbs recounted that aggressive player acquisition has been a Redskins trademark since the 1980s. They might have pointed out that Bobby Beathard and Charlie Casserly, GMs both, were orchestrating those moves.

Beathard spent 15 years as a scout and player personnel guy before being named Redskins GM in 1978. His teams went to three Super Bowls before he joined the Redskins. Snyder, in fact, almost lured Beathard out of retirement in 2002, until talks mysteriously broke down.

Casserly is remembered for starting his sports management career as an unpaid intern with the Redskins in 1977. He worked his way up as scout and assistant general manager until replacing Bobby Beathard as GM in 1989. That's a career span from the Over The Hill Gang through the Beathard-Gibbs I era. Snyder fired Casserly, only to admit later that "he fired the wrong guy."

Washington Post columnist Len Shapiro pointed out in a 2006 story that Gibbs was lured out of retirement with the promise of total control of the team. That's the same promise Snyder made to Marty Schottenheimer. It's a promise he'll keep to football icon Gibbs.

So the decision to bring in a GM really rests with Gibbs. I'm torn by that. I hold Gibbs in high regard. If mistakes are made, I want Gibbs, not Snyder, to make them. Let me make this point. A coaching career track doesn't prepare one to be a GM any better than a GM career track perpares one to be head coach. So, why the resistence to a GM?

Because, it just won't work.

Photo: Bobby Beathard, GM,

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Redskins pre-draft press conference recaps

Washington Redskins pre-draft media briefing today

The Redskins will host their pre-draft media briefing TODAY (Tuesday, April 24) at 4 p.m. ET--and it will be broadcast LIVE on Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, head coach Joe Gibbs and vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato are expected to discuss the team's approach to the draft.

(promised . . . no . . . snyder . . . bashing, . . . must . . . resist, . . . must . . . resist)

Photo: The Washington Post

Monday, April 23, 2007

Donovan McNabb can't win the Super Bowl

I'll never understand Eagles fans. Here's a link to a post written by an Eagles' fan who's debating his father about Donovan McNabb. It seems Dad thinks NcNabb can't win the Super Bowl. You have to read the post to believe I'm not making this up. It's hilarious in its absurdity.

Go look and laugh.

Why does McNabb get bashed so much? In Philadelphia, yet? There are 32 teams in the NFL. At least 29 of them would give up body parts to have Donovan at QB. Poetic justice would be if McNabb were driven out of town and immediatly led his new team to the Super Bowl. Irony would be if his new team was the AFL champion and the team they beat was the Iggles.

Philly fans!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Money is NFL's true priority

Kudos to Michael Wilbon who beefed on the NFL for fining Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher $100,000 for wearing a hat. Wilbon, appearing on George Michael's Full Court Press on WRC-TV Friday, properly noted that commissioner Roger Goodell moved more swiftly in cracking down on Urlacher than on player's repeated criminal misbehavior.

Urlacher briefly, and I think absent-mindedly, wore a Vitaminwater-logoed ball cap at an interview leading up to the Super Bowl. Gaterade is the official drink of the NFL. Players are prohibited from endorsing other drinks at league events. Urlacher's offending hat is for sale on ebay.

Wilbon is Washington's most prominent sports columnist. DC locals know that the Chicago native is really a homer for the Bears, Cubs and Northwestern Wildcats, Wilbon's alma mater.

During a game at FedEx Field, I overheard a comment that "the NFL forgives quick" for personal misconduct of players. That doesn't apply when players violate the league's money deals, apparently.

In fairness to the league, endorsements involve large sums of money. You can imagine the blistering phone calls from PepsiCo, who owns Gaterade, to NFL-HQ. If I were in Pepsi's shoes, I would demand some give-backs. There's been no word of what Urlacher's mistake cost the NFL.

The league's response to violations of endorsement deals goes back ten years, I read. The precedent for response to violations is in place. The frequency and nature of recent player personal irresponsibility is a new phenomenon as is the NFL's response. Five or six years ago, an incident was a singular event for the player. Pacman Jones and Chris Henry lowered the bar on impulse control. I think it's a generational thing. Make no mistake, while persistent stories of player boo-boos offend fans, they also affect the NFL's ability to do endorsement deals.

Jones took out a full page ad in the Nashville Tennessean apologizing for his escapades, promising local fans "I will do everything in my power to regain your trust and respect.'' Here's a start. Drop the "Pacman" persona. It's a baby name that just might encourage juvenile conduct. I expect more of Mr. Adam Jones than of Pacman. So might Pacman.

1 Corinthians 13:11

Photo: The Washington Post
Photo: from here.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Yet another annoying change the name letter

Tomorrow's (Sunday, April 22, 2007) Washington Post will carry yet another of those "Redskins name must go" opinion pieces. I noticed this earlier today (Saturday) and think I might have been the first to comment on in on the Post's site, under another id.

Here's the link to the story, and here's my response:

If the dictionary gives that definition [Redskin, n, Offensive, American Indian], then it is out of date. It should have noted that redskins, small cap, by the way, is an archaic term hardly used anymore even the the U.S. west, where the term (may have) originated. Redskins, capital R, specifically Washington Redskins, has an entirely different connotation that applies to the NFL team and its fans. When I say Redskins, I mean me, and not as a slur. All, well, most, of my heroes have been Redskins. I am not referring to Geronimo and Red Cloud. I mean Jurgensen, Mitchell, Riggins, Brown, Arrington and Portis. Say Redskins to me, and that's what the thought conjures up. I cant speak for those people in Dallas.

I should have added that I wish the Washington Redskins could emulate Red Cloud's won-loss record.

Photo: Makhpiya-Luta (Red Cloud) from here. For more on the life of Red Cloud, go to

Grading Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder

A few days ago, I said I would not bash Daniel Snyder for awhile. I lied. Someone started a poll over at The Warpath Fan Forum asking readers to grade Daniel Snyder as owner of the Washington Redskins. Here's my response, grammatically improved:

D, maybe D+ for effort. Last year, when I thought he was mostly hands off and deferring to Gibbs, I would have given Snyder a gentlemen's C.

  • Wealthy, and not afraid to use it to stock the team

  • DC-based; Snyder is unlikely to ever move the team to LA

  • Put in elevators to the upper deck of FedEx - consumer focused

  • Put in Easy Pass system to speed up concession lines - consumer focused

  • Lured Joe Gibbs out of retirement - however it turns out, this is a home run (pardon the metaphor)

Needs Improvement:

  • Not football smart. His flawed concept for building a team only disrupts progress. Taking "win now" short cuts yields an unbalanced roster, overdrawn salary caps leading to unnatural acts to skirt the issue. As a result, the Redskins are better at manipulating contracts for a few stars than building a resilient team with a flow of young talent under development.
  • Not an organizational leader. NFL teams are akin to corporations like General Electric. Snyder runs the Redskins like a 1990s dot com. Dot coms got their value from creative software engineers working in a free wheeling way to create a niche product. A few very good people with bright ideas developed innovative products. One or two stars could make you a winner. The problem was they were one hit wonders. They grew fast, and tanked faster.

    For GE to be successful, they think and act organizationally -- operate for efficiency and effectiveness at every level, and across-the-board. It's not enough to have the best visible products -- light bulbs, jet engines, generators, appliances. They want the internals to be as good, the accounting department to be as efficient as manufacturing. Acting organizationally, they have sustained success. They are not a one hit wonder.

    Jack Welch, GE's legendary chairman & CEO strove for -- demanded -- that his executives achieve organizational excellence, achieve and maintain top three market share, and break bureaucratic boundaries to work together efficiently. That's quite a challenge for a massive corporation like GE. They didn't always succeed, but they always had a reservoir of highly regarded management talent in demand by GE and by a host of other companies eager to emulate them.

    By outward appearance, Snyder seems to focus on the fun part of the business -- assessing talent (which he is not best qualified to do), hanging out with players, and negotiating contracts. He gets props for business marketing, but the Redskins' front office is not highly regarded. They seem geared to accommodating Snyder's rule than to best practices (I don't blame the personnel; they gotta eat.) In so doing, they aren't getting results on the field or in serving their customers. Jack Welch would have thrown the bunch, including Snyder, out. Developing a true top tier front office is not as glamorous as picking talent, but it's a lot more important than Snyder treats it. Until this is fixed, the Redskins will be at a competitive disadvantage.
  • Snyder, alone, proposes a trade for Lance Briggs and then he tells Joe Gibbs! Did Snyder talk to Gregg Williams before hand to understanding how Williams might use Briggs in his defense? Did he take advantage of the brainpower on his staff to assess the trade offs of a Briggs move? I doubt it. If I'm wrong, I apologize. Somehow, I sense that an apology will not necessary. That's the kind of move Snyder was making in 2001. It's what he said he would stop doing when he made Gibbs team president. (F- on that one)
  • Flawed vision. Snyder wants to win now. Laudable, but misguided; it might lead to a single Super Bowl one day, and will be followed a break-up of the team. Instead he should target consistent playoff appearances and build the best front office/scouting team in the NFL. Then he might have a resilient team that overcomes injury by reloading from the bench with a sound salary structure. Instead, the Redskins rebuild with another team's unwanted stars. A better vision is to build a perennial playoff contender with our stars, capable of winning 10 or 11 games a season. Consistent playoff appearances boost the odds of getting to a Super Bowl.

    The difference is subtle. I know the Skins won't win the Super Bowl every year. I can live with that. A perennial contender is much more fun to watch. I would much prefer the frustrations of Philly or Denver fans than what Snyder has given us.

Now, I swear, I promise this is my last Snyder rant, until the next time.

Photo: Daniel Snyder,
Photo: Jack Welch, former chairman & CEO, General Electric,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

So long, Sanjaya

They are going to miss him. Sanjaya Malakar attracted whole new audiences to America Idol, Most of them will go away now that the controversial teen-ager is gone. Sanjaya was voted off the island last night. Oops, wrong metaphor; wrong season.

I get bored with American Idol / Dancing With The Stars shows after the first season. The guttural noises about Sanjaya's singing ability would make you think that he was cruel to cats, or rather, sounded like one. When I checked out the show, I saw a budding showman with a weak voice. Like that first hit of maryjane, one hit and you're hooked (I have no first hand experience with that). One view of Sanjaya, and you had to come back to see what would come next. And we were enchanted by him.

Sanjaya's carriage and mannerisms are inviting targets for witty barbs. Why, for example, would a man want to hula? And tell people about it? I had my darts aimed at his skinny butt, until I learned that he is just a teen-ager, age 17. Away went the barbs. They can come another day. Like when he's legal.

So, now I get it. Sanjaya is cute; supermarket teeny-bopper magazine cover cute; bright eyed Gameboy gamer next door cute. Why can't cute can be a talent? I comment on the talented First Ladies of Football (gratuitous Redskins reference to justify this post). They're cute. It's just part of the package. And Idol knows it, else why would they let the kid get this far? His only crime? He sings like the teen-age boy next door. But, he has a hot sister. That so bad?

"I don't know what 'it' is, but whatever it is, I've got it." ~Katherine Hepburn

So, good-bye, Sanjaya. Maybe you can't sing, but you got that "it" thing going for you. They are going to miss you. Only, lay off that hula dancing, OK? Men don't do that.

Next mindless rip off of TV shows with minimal football tie-in -- is the Washington Redskins draft strategy smarter than a fifth grader? I'll let you know April 30.
Sanjaya was a guest on last Thursday's (April 19) Jay Leno Show. Fellow Guests Donny Osmond and Jack Black were said to be impressed with the man.
Sanjaya will be a guest on the EllenDeGeneres Show, Monday, April 23rd. Check local listings. posts a film clip of 9 year old Sanjaya in a 1999 Hawaiian Children's Theater performance of Bugsy Malone.
Sanjaya was the guest at the People's Magazine table at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday, April 21.
Sanjaya will appear on the David Letterman Show, Monday, April 23, and will present the "Top Ten Little-Known Facts About American Idol's Sanjaya."


More Washington Redskins draft moves

With teams hiding their intent in the run-up to the draft, there's little for bloggers to do, but write about what others are writing. In the blogosphere, that's called "conversation."

Don Pierson wrote a story for MSNBC Trading down in NFL draft not so easy. He makes the case that it's generally tough to trade down because the other team must swallow a huge a contract for an unproven rookie. It's a risk not many general managers are willing to take. As an example, Pierson quotes Bears GM Jerry Angelo on the Redskins trade offer for Lance Briggs.

"We have to digest what it is from a cap standpoint," general manager Jerry Angelo said. "The sixth pick is an inordinate amount of money and there are cap issues in terms of our plan."

Pierson points out that the difference between last year's sixth and 31st draft pick was about $15 Million in total contract, of which $10 Million was guaranteed.

That's one reason the Oakland Raiders at No. 1 and the Detroit Lions at No. 2 in this year's draft aren't overwhelmed by offers from teams willing to risk big bucks on prospects who find it difficult to live up to the increasing hype and pressure.

Pierson doesn't come out and say it, but a team would be well advised to put some of that first round contract money on an upgraded scouting department and make better picks in the middle round of the draft. (Hint, hint)

Tom Kowalski's story at says that a deal for the Detroit Lions' number two pick hinges on who the Oakland Raiders take with their number one pick. The consensus is that the Raiders will select JaMarcus Russell. That could prompt up to four teams, including Washington, to offer the Lions trade up deals for a shot at Calvin Johnson. However, Kowalski points out

The Redskins are going to have trouble making a deal for the same reason they couldn't work out a trade with the Lions for cornerback Dre Bly (now with Denver): they don't have enough ammunition. The Redskins don't have a second-round pick because they dealt it away -- and that's going to cripple their chances of competing with other teams.

Oakland will blow up this scenario if they take Johnson instead of Russell.

Skin Patrol at Hogs Haven touched on this in his story Redskins want the Lions pick. He closes the story by cataloging how the Skins frittered away their middle round picks in the Snyder/Gibbs era.

In another sign of football news drought, Patrol beat me to Kowolski's story by an hour or so. Usually there are so many team stories published, and rumors whispered, that everyone can take a different facet of the news and create unique content around it. For the next ten days, bloggers will pounce on every news snippet to be first to comment. If you are third or fourth with a post, you start asking "is there anything I can add to this story, or will this just be another me-too entry?"

There's always the option of a hiatus. The Redskins Report was on one. They are waking up in time for the draft. (TRR was my muse and inspiration when I started this blog.) The Curly R is focusing more on W, its baseball site. Skinsaphrenia was traumatized by last season. They went into hibernation in December, only recently awakening. War Cry is still active. The Warpath and ExtremeSkins message boards are still engaged, but most posts are the hypothetical "should we take . . . " variety. Hogs Haven, if you didn't know, is one of the top five blogs listed on Fair Catch. Check out my other friends in the blogroll to your right.

Running Redskins is hanging in for the run up the draft and a few weeks thereafter, then will wind down until training camp. Summer is coming. The Bay is near, and the boat needs attention.
Michael Vick is donating $10,000 through the United Way to help the families of the Virginia Tech victims. Mike gets bashed a lot, including by me. He deserves props for this, so I want to acknowledge his concern and generosity.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Washington Redskins Cheerleaders announced

The Washington Redskins announced the members of the 2007-08 First Ladies of Football yesterday. You can see the roster at here.

The new squad consists of 23 veterans and 17 rookies, according to the web site.

One of the rookies, Omayra, hails from Thailand. She is a personal trainer. She would have to be in good shape to make the squad at age 34 -- about the time most are retiring. Rookie Klohver is a 22 year old attorney.

Twelve year veteran Courtney is the longest serving First Lady, but Miss Maryland USA, Michae' Holloman (my personal favorite) has moved on to better things. Thus, this post is the last instance where I gratuitously show her bikini pix.

Next, the new team is off to some exotic Caribbean location for the swimsuit calendar shoot. Participation is mandatory. Bummer.

Photo: Michae',

Virginia Tech Tragedy Touches Redskin

Washington Redskins defensive back Pierson Prioleau is a graduate of Virginia Tech University. He describes Monday's event on campus as a horrifying incident. "My heart goes out to all of the victims' families and friends, and to everybody affiliated with Virginia Tech."

Prioleau played for the Hokies from 1996 to 1999.

In one small note, described Prioleau as a safety, rather than the generic "defensive back." Before his injury, Prioleau was used as a nickel back and as a safety. Adam Archuleta supposedly lost the starting safety slot to Prioleau in the pre-season. Then, Prioleau was lost for the year in a freak accident in the first game. With Shawn Springs also out, secondary spiraled down from there.

Photo: Pierson Prioleau,

Washington Redskins draft options

Washington's major dailies are weighing in on the Redskins options in the run-up to the draft on April 28.

Ryan O'Halloran at the Times compiles the number of picks that potential trade-down partners have in the first three rounds of the draft. The Atlanta Falcons, a frequently mentioned trade partner, have three of the first 44 picks. They could be enticed to exchange their #8 and #39 picks in exchange for the Redskins #6. This scenario is plausible because the Washington Redskins have a need for defensive linemen and have been impressed by Louisville's Amobi Okoye, who coincidentally was coached by Atlanta's Bobby Petrino, Louisville's coach last season. The Falcons, supposedly would use the #6 pick on Okoye or safety LaRon Landry.

The money quote in O'Halloran's story:

This draft simply isn't full of top-end talents that have teams drooling and desperate to move into the top 10.

Could it be that everyone wants to trade down because the first rounders aren't worth the money they will demand?

The gee whiz factor in O'Halloran's story is that the San Francisco 49ers have eight of the first 135 picks. With picks galore, a willingness to acquire players, and a beast for a running back, it's just a matter of time before San Francisco returns to glory, and cap hell. Saints-49ers in the 2008 conference championship game? You heard it here first.

Of course, a willingness to acquire hasn't helped the Redskins. Three years from now, lets compare San Francisco's and Washington's won-loss record and draw yet another inference on building through the draft versus building through "proven commodities."

I once worked for the world's largest technology company. There's an old joke about sales reps from that company that goes

How can you tell when the [world's largest technology company] rep is lying?

His lips are moving.

(Just for the record, I never lied. But then, my lips are moving.)

Jason LaCanfora, just back from paternity leave (thank you Hogs Haven for pointing that out), penned The Lying Game on his Redskins Insider blog at the Post. LaCanfora points out the hazards of believing everything - or anything - you hear in the run-up to the draft. Teams are posturing to gain some advantage. Call it the kick-off to the game between the seasons.

Detroit "loves Gaines Adams," according to rumblings picked up by LaCanfora. That confounds mock drafkateers who penciled in JaMarcus Russell or Calvin Johnson, who ever of the two Oakland doesn't take, as the Lions first pick. If that happens, Russell or Johnson could be available by the sixth pick. If it's Russell, the Skins chances to trade down go way up. If it's Johnson, the Redskins should keep him and go to sleep until the second day of the draft. Yes, I recall that the Redskins selected Taylor Jacobs under similar circumstances. Johnson didn't go to Florida and Steve Spurrier didn't hang around. So, there.

This scenario only plays out if Detroit truly prefers Gaines Adams. But then, Detroit's lips are moving.

Photo: Coach Mike Nolan, Chronicle/Mike Maloney
Photo: LSU's Calvin Johnson,

Monday, April 16, 2007

My God! VTU

I am fond of saying "football is life." Then, real life intrudes to remind me that there are so many more important things.

I feel for the Virginia Tech community, and express my sincere condolences to the innocent victims of today's incident.

This is a time to reflect on how fragile is life and how quickly it can change.

Emotions motivate us to take action. I know nothing about the perpetrator of these ghastly acts, except that he was weak. The strong channel their emotion to initiate change. The weak are controlled by their emotion. Sometimes, other people suffer for it. Tragic.

NFL Hokies Weigh In On Tragedy

Matthew 25:13

Photo: Norris Hall on the campus of Virginia Tech University,

Saturday, April 14, 2007

So, what's your blog worth?

It's the slow period before the draft when teams go quiet to hide their intent. I don't expect to see big NFL news until draft day, or just before the draft. Time to muse.

For serious football bloggers, this is a difficult time. You work to build a following. You blog frequently because readers demand new content. My Running Redskins readers spend two minutes or less per visit. Story frequency keeps them coming back. So it hurts when teams aren't generating news for bloggers to over-analyze. Curse you, off-season.

So, what's the value of a blog anyway, especially when it's non-commercial? It turns out that people who think about those things value web logs on the basis of links. The more others link to you, the more valuable your blog. Technorati calls it "authority," and they use it to rank search results. Call it the "50 million monkeys can't be wrong" theory. If a lot of people link to a post, then that post must be relevant to the topic. Relevance gets you promoted to the top of the search list.

Other thinkers put a theoretical value on a blog based on the number and value of incoming links, whose value is similarly assigned by the value their incoming links. That adds a financial element to the evaluation. Your blog is more valuable when high value blogs link to you. (That's a lot of computing power by somebody to track all that.)

There are a couple of sites that figure this out for you. At Dane Carlson's Business Opportunities Weblog, you put in the URL for a blog and it will calculate its theoretical worth based on the link-to-value ratio underlying the 2005 AOL-WeblogsInc deal. According to them, Running Redskins is worth $7339.02. I think of myself as small, but influential.

The more engaging way is to go to Blogshares and search your blog. Better yet, join the Blogshares marketplace and play the game. With a little time and practice, you can become a high stakes market manipulator of the blogosphere.

Blogshares is a hypothetical stock market that treats blogs as businesses, post as products, and use incoming and outgoing links to calculate intrinsic value. But, in the game, you (anyone) buy and sell shares in the blogs. The frequency of buy-sell activity affect market price, and your portfolio value. The supply-demand feature is where the fun happens. On Blogshares, Running Redskins is valued at $4462.78, with a share price of $122.15. (Blogshares says I'm over valued. Hurmph!). Blogshares always under counts the number of links on Running Redskins. I suppose that affects value.

Fortunately, I get to buy and sell other blogs and invest in commodities. My Blogshares net worth is B$60,683,388.65. That's all funny money, I hasten to add. Serious players get into tools that allow market manipulation and hostile takeovers. I'm not a serious player, but have been hostilely bought out of blogs at outrageous profit. That's all funny money, too.

Fellow bloggers should know this is all a game. Nothing about Blogshares affects real ownership of blogs. Owners can claim their blog in Blogshares by registering and placing some HTML code on their site. That adds the Blogshares badge to their site so Blogshares' spider will recognize the claim.

No more time for this. I'm going over to Blogshares and buy controlling interests in Hogs Haven and DC Sports Kid, while waiting for football news.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Asante Samuel wants this much

Redskins fans have a more than passing interest in Asante Samuel's negotiations with the Patriots. Yahoo Sports snipped a story from The Boston Globe providing the numbers, and how far apart the two sides are.

"Samuel's representatives were seeking a contract that included about $30 million to be paid out in the first three years of the deal.

"The Patriots were offering a package that averaged around $6 million per season, and although it is not known how much money would be paid out in the first three years, one thing is clear: It wasn't close to the $30 million Samuel was seeking . . . ."

It seems Mr. Samuel is angling for a deal akin to Nate Clements' contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Can't blame the man for trying. The Patriots' offer looks about the same as Denver's deal with Dre' Bly. Can't blame them for trying, either.

Clements signed an eight year $80 Million deal with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. $22 Million was guaranteed. Bly agreed to a five year $33 Million contract extension with the Denver Broncos.

The Redskins did not pursue Clements because of the price tag. In Samuel, they could face the same issue. If Asante wants to take a Dre' Bly-type deal, won't he be inclined to stay with New England? Stay tuned.

I hear every front office in the NFL put up a 49er poster to throw darts at.

Photo: Asante Samuel,

All the way, baby

David Covucci at writes that the Redskins are a sure bet to go 16-0, as they are every year. See his game-by-game analysis of the upcoming season here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Joe Gibbs to agitated fans: cool it!

The coach-in-chief sought to calm fans by assuring that the Redskins are just doing their homework by inviting top draft prospects to interviews at Redskin Park in Ashburn, VA. Visits by Calvin Johnson, JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn and other first day draft prospects led fans and bloggers to wonder what that could mean for players on the roster.

Gibbs called the activity "due diligence." "We have brought in every player that we felt like would be a first-round player," Gibbs said. "We brought in a top running back. Does anyone here think that we are going to entertain drafting a running back? I don't think so."

The Redskins have floated so may scenarios for the draft that no one outside of Redskins Park really knows what to expect. All the vibes suggest that the Skins would like to move their sixth pick of the first round in exchange for a player. Asante Samuel is a rumored target -- if the Redskins can sign him for a number closer to Dre' Bly's than Nate Clements'. Completing a trade with Chicago for Lance Briggs is not out of the question, although I hope that one fades away.

I bet "due diligence" calls are burning up phone lines between lots of teams. You shouldn't expect announcements of big deals until draft day (April 28) when we see how Messrs. Russell, Quinn, Johnson and Adams go in the first four picks.

Photo: from here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Skins regular season schedule announced

The NFL announced its regular season schedule today. You can view the Redskins regular season schedule here.

Photo: Redskins - Giants, littlerottenrobin,

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The draft is money

If George Preston Marshall kept the Boston Braves in Boston rather than moving them to Old D.C., perhaps Robert Kraft would own the Washington Patriots. I admire Kraft's approach to building a championship roster. It couldn't be more different than Daniel Snyder's. Where Snyder uses draft picks as currency to make trades happen, Kraft hoards them like gold. Snyder's cheap currency approach has never worked. It's the gold bug that's getting results.

There are rumors that Snyder is nosing around Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel to boost the Redskins' secondary. Thanks to promiscuously trading away draft picks, the Redskins are thin at currency to grease the deal. You might call them (wait for it . . . wait for it) thin Skinned.

It would make no any difference, anyway. The Patriots have a treasure chest of picks in their draft vault. One more pick, even the Skins high draft pick, isn't needed, not when you already have ten in the 2007 draft. To wit:

Round 1 24th pick (from Seattle)

Round 1 28th pick

Round 3 91st pick (Round 2 pick traded to Miami)

Round 4 127th pick

Round 5 171st compensatory pick (Round 5 165th pick traded to Oakland)

Round 6 180th pick (from Arizona)

Round 6 202nd pick

Round 6 208th compensatory pick

Round 6 209th compensatory pick

Round 7 247th compensatory pick (Round 7 238th pick traded to Miami)

Source: found here.

The Patriots are notorious for managing their salary structure. Are they really going to sign two first round draft choices? And the biggie, do they even want to grapple with the salary demands of a number six first rounder? The Patriots, with draft bullion galore, are far more interested in re-signing Mr. Samuel. Unless the Redskins throw in players of value and 2008 picks.

Be afraid, Redskins fans. Be very afraid.

Draft Trivia #1: If the Bears accepted the Redskins trade offer for Lance Briggs, they not only would have the Redskins' first round #6 pick, but would also have the Skins' second round 37th pick, acquired through the New York Jets. I think the Bears made a mistake (for themselves) by not taking Snyder's offer and running out the door. I'm grateful to them, though.

Draft Trivia #2: If the Redskins hadn't frivolously traded away their third round pick for TJ Duckett, they would be better positioned to counter Chicago's counter-offer for Lance Briggs. Not that I think it's a good idea, but trading a first and third round pick for a sure starter makes more sense than a third round pick for an "insurance policy."

Photo: Robert Kraft,

Fletchers Stairway to Success

The Washington Post tells London Fletcher-Baker's inspirational story in today's issue. If you haven't read it yet, follow the link and take a look (Registration required. It's free)

Fletcher's Stairway to Success.

This is a story I'm happy to point to, and better than the Don Imus story I just posted (I feel so dirty).

The NFL will announce the 2007 regular season schedule at 1:00 PM ET, Wednesday, April 10.

The NFL has suspended Titans defensive back Adam "Pacman" Jones for the 2007 season, and Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry for eight games. The full story is on NFL News.

I've been bashing the Redskins for their roster selections recently. Allow me to show them some love now. In the 2004 draft, the Redskins chose safety Sean Taylor instead of tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr. Taylor has been good-to-great and the Skins had excellent tight end production from Chris Cooley in 2004 & 05 when Winslow was out. Kellen Jr. did scarf 89 receptions in '06, more than any other tight end.

I wanted to write that the Skins were smart not to take Adam Jones in the 2005 Draft. It turns out that Pacman was selected by the Titans with the sixth pick. The Redskins, with the ninth pick, selected Carlos Rogers. I'm sure the Skins would have picked Rogers even if they had the sixth pick. Or, so I'd like to think.

Imu(s) Butthead

Guys like Don Imus probably don't have a high opinion of Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. So, the thought of a broadcaster having to do penance with those two should be enough to dissuade racially charged comments, on the air no less. It wasn't in Imus' case, so now Imus won't be in the morning for two weeks starting Monday.

With hair like Imus', you'd think he be careful about the term "nappy headed." I'm just saying . . . .

Mayby it's the circles I run in, but the Caucasians I know at least have a vague sense of the racial history of the U.S. and sense the very serious connotations of a white man calling a black woman a whore. Even if meant for humor, there's no redeeming explanation you can give for a statement that offends black and white listeners.

Just to be clear, no matter what you see on those cartoonish hip-hop videos, African-Americans do not like the language or name-calling or negative portrail shown!

There were so many ways Imus could have gone with the Rutgers story. The discipline, dedication and plain hard work it takes to reach a high level of sports achiement, for example. Or, the fact that Rutgers could be America's next college sports factory, given the success of Rutgers' football team. Imus' thoughtless comments must have incensed the entire Rutgers community just as they are basking in the greatest year in their sports history.

Should Imus be fired? Well, he didn't cost the Rutgers' women career opportunities. The memory of their achievement will forever be tainted, however.

Any day now, I expect to read that Imus is suffering addiction to prescription medication and that he's seeking help. Sort of like Rush Limbaugh.

The Rutgers women's basketball team, who Imus maligned with his comments, agreed to meet him to "express the great hurt that he has brought to us." That's why women are in men's lives, to moderate men's impulses. A mens team would have said sure, we agree to meet -- for ten minutes in a back alley.

There I go stereotyping again.


Monday, April 09, 2007


Stay with me on this story.

When I lived in the upper Midwest, I met an African college student at a professional association meeting. As I got to know him I asked about his experience in the United States and the conversation turned to his view of schooling here versus in his country. He felt that U.S. colleges were far superior to those in Africa, but that elementary and high schools in Africa were far better than here.

Sure, his school house was the equivilent of a picnic hut. His African teachers were more rigorous, as was the curriculum, he said. He felt the students were more disciplined, in more ways than one. It was unheard of for a pupil to cut class. There would be no one for them to play with. All their friends would be in school. Cable is not as widely available, you know.

Misbehavior was not tolerated. His school friends laughed at anyone who did drugs for doing such a dopey, foolish thing. Bad acts at school would earn whippings, to be followed by another at home for embarrassing the family. My father told me of stories this mentality in 1930s Washington. How times have changed.

My African acquaintance felt he was better prepared for University than were his American classmates.

I told that story to tell this one.

The Redskins are said to have their eye on rookie prospect Amobi Okoye, age nineteen. Despite his tender age, he played four years as a defensive lineman for the University of Louisville. How can that be at age nineteen? Okoye is native to Anambra, Nigeria. He immigrated here with his family as a schoolboy. At age twelve, he tested into the ninth grade and would graduate high school at age sixteen.

Okoye never heard of American football until his arrival here. Yet, at age thirteen, he was a DL starter at Robert E. Lee High (Robert E. Lee, how ironic). As a sixteen year old true freshman (no redshirt) at Louisville, he appeared in thirteen games playing on the defensive line. He earned a starting role during his sophomore year, and kept it until his senior year. Now he's done with college when most players his age are coming off their redshirt year, all because of how(ever) he was academically prepped by those schools in Africa.

Okoye may be an NFL starter before he's old enough to drink. Shades of Freddie Adu.


The new look Running Redskins, maybe

Running Redskins upgraded to Blogger 2.0 two weeks ago in Phase I of a technology upgrade. In Phase II, I'm experimenting with a new look using Blogger-provided layouts.

I notice that other blog sites are trending to the minimalist look, with lots of white space. They appear to be pleasing to the eye. My other site at Porcine Paradise went to that new look, but they have real technologists to create the layouts and backgrounds and link them together. I only write the Redskins articles there, I don't own the site.

Since I am HTML challenged, I'm not able to do the same here on my own. So, I'm experimenting with some of the Blogger layouts. You might say that I'm trying them on for size. Tomorrow night or Wednesday, I'll try another layout to see if they look better.

In the end, I'll probably go back to the original layout. I like the burgundy highlights of the old look. The lighter layout takes getting used to, sort of like white-on-white Redskins uniforms. Bear with me while I work through this.

Thank you for your support.

Washington Nationals

Somebody tell me again why Frank Robinson couldn't coach this team?

I'm just asking.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Eddie Robinson 1919 - 2007

Photo: Doug Williams and Eddie Robinson, found here.
The great football coach of Grambling State University passed this week. Eddie Robinson won 408 games as coach of the Grambling Tigers.

"People talk about the record I've compiled at Grambling, but the real record is the fact that for over 50 years, I've had one job and one wife," ~~ Eddie Robinson

I celebrate Robinson's off-field accomplishments as reported in today's Washington Post:

During Robinson's 57-year tenure, the football program helped elevate the school in northern Louisiana from obscurity to national prominence, and the man who regularly corrected his players' grammar on the practice field graduated 80 percent of his players and sent more than 200 to the National Football League. (emphasis mine)

Four Grambling players made their way to the Washington Redskins' roster:
  • Henry Dyer, RB, 1969-70
  • Clifton McNeil, WR, 1971-72
  • Roosevelt Taylor, DB, 1972
  • Doug Williams, QB, 1986-89


Easter and Passover is upon us. I'm looking for a quiet news on the Redskins front, unless the front office allows Drew Rosenhaus unsupervised access to the owner. The Skins signed depth cornerback David Macklin today. Anything else will be on that scale. So, I'm going to take the weekend for myself, and maybe try out Blogger's new layouts for a new look to Running Redskins.

Changing anything on a computer or web site could be risky. I once worked for the world's largest technology company and learned that I/T projects always took longer than you thought. So, I may not be back online until Monday evening.

Happy Easter. See ya.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Snyder's last bash

I promise, I SWEAR, that this is my last bash of Daniel Snyder, for awhile anyway. To do that, I turn to those crazy, politically insensitive kids at Kissing Suzy Kolber. Today's send-up is Giant Robot Spider Man Stays In The Picture. Go look and laugh.

Come back tomorrow.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bears lance the Briggs deal and are reporting that the Chicago Bears are rejecting the Redskins trade offer for LB Lance Briggs. The Redskins offered its first round draft pick for Briggs and Chicago's number one pick during the owner's meetings last week. Reportedly, Da Bears wanted the Skins to throw Rocky McIntosh into the offer for Briggs. The Redskins said earlier that they had already made their best and final offer and made it a "take it or leave it" proposition for Chicago.

If there are only two positive outcomes from this escapade, it would have to be these: the Redskins must see Rocky McIntosh in a new light; and, the Bears let the Redskins off the hook.

The Bears don't have a ready replacement for Briggs. That they see McIntosh in that role, adds lustre to a young player whose team often overlooks the gems on its roster. Talk of bringing Briggs here to displace McIntosh led to a lot of fan grumbling. A trade of Briggs for McIntosh would have led to revolt.

The two teams may still be maneuvering to save the deal, but it appears to be dying a merciful death.

The Redskins have re-signed punter Derrick Frost to a one year contract. Frost struggled with shanked and shallow punts early in his Redskin career. He turned it around by mid-season to be a consistent punter, blasting some of his boots fifty yards or more. He had a 42.9 yard average on the season.

Frost is the feel good story of the team. We watched him work through his struggles and grow into his role. Fans invest in role players like Frost and welcome his place on the roster - as long as he performs. It is not necessary to bring in big name talent to attract fan interest in the Redskins. I think that escapes the front office.

The Redskins will play the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens at home in August preseason games. The exact time and date is to be announced.

Photo: Rocky McIntosh,

Daniel Snyder, lose the "win now" attitude.

It's ruining the team. "Win now" didn’t work for the 2000 "$100 million team," and it isn’t working now. Instead, it encourages your management team to take short cuts at high cost. They buy other team’s stars, expecting instant results. Stars emerge from systems. If you aren't running the same system as that other team, the star you bring in may not be as effective for you. (See Archuleta, Adam) Even if that trade or free agent is successful, it's going to take a season for them to jell. The team will be more successful growing its own talent. Merge them with your scheme and keep them on your roster.

This comment arises from the stories of how the Lance Briggs trade offer came about. Briggs is a fine player. He can improve any defense. By himself, he cannot help the Skins D enough to fill all the holes. The suddeness of the offer, the investment of precious cap dollars to an area of strength, the left field nature of the whole thing are the earmarks of the worst characterist of the Redskins under your ownership -- ill-considered personnel moves that add players who don't really fit. Scouting by name recognition is what I do in fantasy football. It's not what you should do in reality football. Unless you grew up in a football family like someone named Halas, or Rooney, you will always be taken advantage of by a football professional when you drive the personnel moves.

Take a page from former General Electric chairman Jack Welch. Sure, he wanted to make the most profit in American business in every quarter. That was his result, but never his goal. He wanted results. Welch famously demanded that GE divisions hold a top three market share position, or he sold them off. Your equivilent is to demand the Redskins make the playoffs every year. That leads to a more patient approach, one that has longer lasting impact than the quick hits (and short duration) the Skins have become famous for in your tenure.

Coaches requisition needs. Scouts find talent. General managers have the vision and expertise to build a roster that can win within budget and over the long term. Mr. Snyder, you have the vision, but lack the expertise to pull this off. Your role is to hold your people accountable.

Demand to know why your homegrown talent is now the middle linebacker for the Giants. Demand to know why a cornerback on the 2005 roster is had a pro-bowl season — for San Francisco. Demand to know if the people, including you, who managed your roster last year should have as much influence this year.

These things are not as much fun as hobnobbing with famous players or closing big deals, but demanding accountability is the second most important thing good owners do. (The most important is to hire a competent general manager. That's more important than hiring a competent coach.) You are the only one who can hold people accountable. We need you to be good at it. Do that, and you are on the first step toward building a winning organization that can sustain success over the long term. If it's you that's overlooking homegrown, rising stars in favor of famous names from somewhere else, then you should take a look at your results and step aside for the professionals.

Put your team on a strict financial budget, and by budget, I mean both cash dollars and salary cap dollars. We fans admire your willingness to open the checkbook to bring in talent for unlimited dollars, but it’s a double-edged sword. When there are limits, you get a lot smarter spending your money. You learn that it’s OK if free agents walk away when they price themselves out of the market. You get smarter about the next player alternative. And you take a good look at talent already on your roster. You find people who can move up and you groom them to start. They stay longer at a reasonable cost.

It may surprise you to know that we fans invest in players who grow before our eyes. We love it when a LaVar and Champ and Fred and Jon mature with the team. Believe me, we are as invested in Chris Cooley as in Santana Moss. We have high hopes for Jason and Rocky and Carlos and Derrick and Kedric and Khari. Ladell is a success. We want to win with them. We'll miss them more than the stars you bring in to replace them.

You and your management are failing to spend your money wisely. Because you have so much to spend, you buy everyone at any price. That doesn't work. We are not building fantasy teams here. Not saying you should be cheap, but the sky is not the limit, either.

Here's what to do when you get excited by that trade prospect, take his 2006 stats and discount by a third. Cut every free agent’s prior performance by a third. Then, compare that to the performance of the players now on the roster. If the current player's performance is the same as that outsider's discounted stats, let the new guy walk, or, at least offer less to sign him. Save your cap dollars.

Free agents need time to fit in. For a single season, the guy already in your system will give you more than that free agent in his first season here. I assure you, Andre Carter will be better this year just because he's been in your system for a year. A lot of those decisions are left to the coaches and general managers (if you had one). Only you can impose financial discipline.

Restore the draft as a source of talent. The Redskins overvalue free agency as a source of talent. Think about this. Stalwarts Jon Jansen, Chris Samuels, Champ Bailey, Fred Smoot, LaVar Arrington, Sean Taylor and Jason Campbell (maybe) came to the Skins by the draft. In your ownership, Santana Moss is the only traded player better than the man he replaced. Shawn Springs is good, but he’s no Champ Bailey. Clinton Portis was traded for Bailey. He's one of the top five at his position, but Bailey is simply the best.

All of these issues come from your desire to win now. Change the goal to winning over the long term. The team that is built patiently, can contend for the playoff consistently. Consistent playoff contenders are much better postioned to go all the way and are a lot more fun to watch.

Don’t be so quick to give up those multiple draft choices for trades. Maybe when you see what Mike Shanahan, a consistent contender, does with that third round draft he got from you through Atlanta, you will start to get it.

Daniel Snyder Photo: William E. Amatucci Jr./WireImage from here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Foolish

I intended to debunk the April Fools stories, but find it's already done at Go there and scroll down to POSTED 3:24 p.m. EDT; UPDATED 5:03 p.m. EDT, April 1, 2007 and see the story OTHER RUMORS NOT TRUE.

I doubt that most fans fell for these gag stories. One story claimed that Daniel Snyder would sell his interest in the Washington Redskins if the team failed to make the playoffs this season. Essentially, Snyder would fire his meddlesome self for poor performance. No one who follows the Redskins would fall for that one! Besides, I don't want Snyder to sell the team. He is a DC native whose base of operations is in the area. He's committed here and committed to spending money to improve the team. He does everything but spend money intelligently.

Marty Schottenehimer had total control of the team under his contract. Snyder fired Marty when he refused to amend the agreement to give control back to the owner. Steve Spurrier quit after two seasons, concluding that college was the place for him after working two seasons with Snyder. Spurrier expected the owner to hire a real general manager, leaving the "ol' ball coach" free to "coach 'em up." Snyder didn't and Spurrier wasn't. I and Kenny Rogers credit Spurrier for knowing when to walk away.

The Lance Briggs deal has the earmarks of being drawn up on the back of a napkin over drinks in a bar at night. Snyder alone cooks up the deal with a sports agent; not his team president, not his coaches, but an agent with a knack for getting Danny's money. Suddenly, this deal supersedes what we thought we knew about team needs.

This is in stark contrast to Chicago. When the Bears got the trade offer, GM Jerry Angelo immediately took discussions to the down low. He consulted his player personnel guys and coaches to figure out how to make the most of the opportunity. Howard Bryant of The Washington Post says the Bears will counter-offer today. They want the Redskins to throw in a players or more picks for Briggs. Most Redskins fans want more picks from the Bears. Skin Patrol hopes Chicago saves us from our folly by rejecting the whole idea.

Chicago knows that the front office is for more than what they do. They are also for what they think and know. They know the front office is as important as players for making the team perennial winners. They consult the staff for solutions. The Redskins' front office thinks the owner knows. The front office staff are this owner's enablers; the yes men who only says "no" when the owner tells them to. The Redskins are not perennial winners.

Owning the franchise does not confer a right to mismanage the team. The team can be better if Snyder makes one simple change. Come back tomorrow to see what it is.

Photo: AP/Hillary Smith Garrison,