Thursday, May 31, 2007

Michael Vick twists in the wind

On the Michael Vick front, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that investigators are collecting enough evidence to recommend an indictment to a grand jury in July. Other newspapers are reading that to mean "charges likely." The story did not say of whom or for what.

This story will hang around all season. A few days ago, John Riggins on his radio show suggested that Vick come forward, if he's guilty of something ("Vick knows what he's done" was the way Riggo put it), and get past this thing now to avoid the corrosive effect of the scandal. If he's innocent, there isn't much he can do but wait it out.

If I were innocent, I would be in every venue that would have me to say so, regardless of the advice of legal council, who undoubtedly advised Vick to keep quiet.

Alexander Freund posted "Dog fighting aside..." on Bleacher Report, a thoughtful assessment of Michael Vick as a quarterback. Yes, he finds him lacking, but points fingers at the Atlanta Falcons for trying to make Vick into something that he is not. Freund implies that Atlanta might have been better off by implementing an option offense to exploit Vick's extraordinary talent. Jim Mora, Jr. ran the west coast offense. Vick, the NFL's highest paid player, has yet to equal Montana or McNabb in that system.

Interesting thought. Perhaps Atlanta should have hired coach Paul Johnson, who's been quite successful running the triple-option offense at Navy. The Midshipmen usually rank near the top of the charts for running offense. The pros are too swift and strong to be beat by the option. But, they haven't faced the option with Vick who could be a mega threat in that scheme.

The Falcons may have had that in mind when they replaced Mora with college coach Bobby Petrino who distinguished himself with his Louisville offense. Petrino had a hand in Mark Brunell's success at Jacksonville. Brunell in the '90s was a force of nature. On the small world front, Petrino was one of the annual offensive coordinators who cycled through Jason Campbell's career at Auburn University.

Yeah, Vick has yet to live up to the hype, but this is still painful to me.
Over at Hog Heaven, the comments about Clinton Portis have taken an ugly turn. Enough to require moderation by the site. This is another indication that CP is in for it this season. His rep has taken a hit. He will not live down his comments anytime soon.

I'd like to think that Clinton is just young; that he hasn't seen enough to understand the nexus between mistreatment of animals and the potential mistreatment of people. Animal abusers don't always know the distinction. That's why it is a big deal. I think CP will get it by the time he's 40. For now, he's perplexed at the reaction to his comments. Human nature is such that Portis will see the problem as "them" and not in his dismissive attitude to cruelty.
Speaking of human nature, I do feel some sympathy for Vick. I've often wondered if I could stand up to great wealth. If I hit one of those mega-million dollar lotto's, I would take care of family and contribute to good causes. Then, I would become a recluse -- it's my personality -- plus all those annoying salesmen, financial advisers, process servers, distant relatives I never met, people I haven't seen since second grade, guys from college with pictures and sleazy people showing interest in my children. However, I would also have to guard against indulging my weaknesses. It would take a strenuous effort. Repercussions from crossing society's line helps keep most people in line. We don't want to get caught and we don't want to lose our stuff. When you are so wealthy that you can flout convention without penalty, you become Michael Jackson. And maybe, you become Michael Vick.

I'm not sure I would be equal to the challenge (I'd welcome the chance to try). If Vick is not, it's as much because he's human as for any character flaws.

Makes great soap opera, though.
Meanwhile, the silver lining in this sad episode is the new attention focuses on dog fighting. See After Dogs Death, A Warning.

Why the Redskins are like soap opera

You can skip a week and come back to find the same dialog as the last time.

I'm coming up for air after taking a week off and find the Washington Redskin conversation is pretty much the same as when I left. CP is laying low, thanks to knee tendinitis and foot-in-mouth. Michael Vick is still in deep doo-doo with allegations of dog fighting. Things are so slow in the Redskins doldrums that even Curly Ben is reduced to posting a Vick story or two.

Thankfully, the Redskins full team mini-camp begins in two weeks. That's a ripe opportunity to magnify the trivial to sharpen those writing skills for the season. Here's what you can expect: unknown rookie hopeful signed to a contract; another unknown rookie hopeful cut. Signing and cutting unknown rookie hopefuls signifies nothing since the Skins are auditioning as many of these guys as possible. Some may make it on the practice squad; one might make the team.

Covering The Redskins points out that coaches are concerned about injuries to unknown rookie hopefuls who won't make the team. Aside from the expense, coaches have gone through the drill. More than a few of them lost their own playing dreams to injury. I think they are sympathetic to the hopeful unknowns, even as they are about to cut their butts.

And the hopefuls? If they don't make it with Washington, they can try out for another team. Being cut early is no tragedy. Time is still on your side for this season. Being the last is the unkindest cut of all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Off Topic: Welcome to the World of Warcraft

OK, people, I'm outta here for the weekend. Get your Michael Vick fix elsewhere. For Redskins updates, see the In The News box to your right, or the Redskins Blogroll to the lower right. Hogs Haven is usually up on the latest.

Feel free to waste your time with this short version of The World of Warcraft.

A Macromedia Flash based Warcraft TD game inspired by Element TD for WarcraftIII. (NOTE: To resize this game, please keep the same proportions or it will not appear correctly)

The aim of the game is to kill the creeps before they reach the end of the maze, do this by building attacking towers on the grass around the… (more) maze. To build click on the one you want to build on the right, then click on the map where you want it to be built. Once built you can click on them to upgrade or sell. To get a high score keep as much of your gold in the bank as possible, at the end of each round you earn interest on the gold in the bank. Special levels are where the creeps are none-normal, they include FAST [6, 13, 19, 26, 32] AIR [8, 17, 27] IMMUNE [10, 21, 32] BOSS [11, 22, 33] You get wood every 7 levels use wood to research upgrades.

Visit for more information.

Deal with that, Daniel Snyder

Two things I think I know about Daniel Snyder:

  1. He's unpopular among NFL owners

  2. He want to host a Super Bowl (in addition to winning one)

So it must gall our man Dan that the NFL will host the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas, in Jerry Jones new Cowboys [insert corporate name here] stadium; a new 100,000 seat stadium. The new cowboys stadium is under construction and will be complete for the 2009 season. It will supplant FedEx Field as the NFL's largest venue.

Now I get it. Now I understand the underground discussions with District officials to build a super large [I've heard capacity of up to 125,000] stadium. Owner egos such as they are, that's just something Dan the Man won't sit still for. Won't stand for it either.

There are still huge political and financial hurdles to overcome. One of which is that Mayor Adrian Fenty and most members of the DC Council opposed the baseball deal. Another is that Snyder might not get the NFL owner votes. Jerry Jones is no favorite among owners, either. He got the vote. Business and marketing is the thing that Mr. Snyder is good at. He could get this done, if he puts his mind to it.

[We won't go into what he's bad at, like getting the team in the Super Bowl. Oops, I mentioned it. My bad.]

The irony is that one obstacle to Washington hosting a Super Bowl is that the team owns FedEx Field. I suspect a future Super Bowl is one of those things the NFL dangles in front of governments to extract public funding for stadiums. The NFL is really good at extracting money and the Super Bowl is a unique property. In baseball and basketball, championship games are home & home series between the contending teams. There is only one Super Bowl. In sports, there's nothing like it except the Olympics.

For an online tour of every NFL stadium, including those under construction, see Stadiums of the NFL.


Redskins begin poopie pick-up

There you go. Try and get away for a few days rest, and players go and stick their paws in their mouths.

The Washington Redskins started their campaign to clean up the dog mess created by Clinton Portis at the Redskins Beach Blitz last weekend in Virginia Beach. The team issued a terse press release disavowing any support of dog fighting and apologized to anyone offended by Clinton Portis' statements. That followed an even more terse statement released by Portis on Monday that he did not condone dog fighting.

A very serious looking Portis was interviewed on the NFL Network to clarify his statement. I don't think he was successful. He did not back off his opinion that dog fighting is a less serious crime than the penalties call for. He seemed to mix two themes in his interview, the first being that dog fighting should not be a felony; and second, nothing has been proved against Vick, thus, the negative attention is unwarranted. His mixed message is going to confuse as much as explain, I'm afraid.

Asked about the felony status of dog fighting, Portis pointed out that hunters and fishermen kill animals. He is against killing animals. That will please PETA. It will surely offend hunters and fishermen. I don't think a lot of PETAphiles are football fans. I'm very sure a lot of hunters are. In defending himself, Portis will not satisfy dog lovers, but will bring down the wrath of hunters. He did not distinguish that hunting is legal, while dog fighting is not. While that's his point, it's also the point he seems to miss about dog fighting.

Asked about his guarantee that the Redskins would go to the NFC championship game, Portis said this year, with the talent on the roster, was the best opportunity for the Redskins to make it. After this year, he expected the team to be broken up in some way, especially if they do not win. He did not say who he thought could be released. For Washington Redskins fans, this was the big news; that year four of the second Gibbs era was make or brake. If the team does not make it past the conference championship, “I think we are going to see a lot of things unfolding and a lot of people go.”

I'm very worried for our boy Clinton. His defense of Vick has been clumsy to the extreme -- in a post-teen-ager kinda way. Portis' comments will haunt him all season. I believe most true Redskin fans will support him -- eventually -- because he is our own. Everywhere else, Portis is in for the T.O treatment, which will come as a great relief to Terrell Owens. In the future, Clinton should leave these interviews to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

Next question.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Clinton Portis can run

We know CP can run his mouth. Usually we find it refreshingly entertaining. His off-the-cuff comments about Michael Vick's situation was ill-considered, not just for the stupidity of his logic, but because his defense did not allow Vick the presumption of innocence. Consider that the only two things the county prosecutor has said about Vick is that he was considered merely the property owner in this case, and that he (the prosecutor) would not be pressured into filing charges against Vick. Portis contended that Vick was going to jail over a trivial matter of felonious dog fighting.

Clinton's comments are all over talk radio today. While I helped fan the flames, I think CP can use some love, so lets focus on the running skills we pay to see. This is a Madden 2007 Clinton Portis tribute (and, just ignore that #8 QB thing)

Brandon Lloyd to Help Physically Challenged Teens Learn to Dive

OK, I'm skeptical about Brandon Lloyd as the Washington Redskins #2 receiver. Like the man who feels he paid too much for what he got, I've questioned the deal that brought him here. It's all from the guilt of gushing over his signing last season when I called him "gifted."

[Don't gloat. If I search your blog, I'd find the same. In fact, the overall "gushiness" in my posts about the '06 off-season led to a skepticism this year. I hope that's skepticism without over-reaction.]

Brandon is about to do something good, so I want to balance things out by pointing fingers at what he's doing to help teen-agers.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Portis on Vick: mind your own business

Covering The Redskins is covering the Redskins at the Beach Blitz in Norfolk this weekend. He watched Clinton Portis on an interview by WAVY TV. When asked about Michael Vick, Portis supposedly called him a good role model, adding that folks should mind their own business when it comes to Vick going to the dogs. ". . . those are Vick's dogs and he can do what he wants with them."

Uh, Clinton, dog fighting is illegal in Virginia. The irony is that dog fighting is perfectly legal in Georgia, according to an article in the Atlanta Constitution (previously posted). You are still pretty crude if you enjoy that sort of thing.

An animal humane group charged that there is an undercurrent of the animal fighting culture in the NFL. Tell me CP isn't in it. Tell me he doesn't have a dog in this fight.

So, how is dog fighting like prostitution?

  1. They are both against the law.
  2. They are not victimless crimes.
  3. A celebrity cannot defend them without a hit to his reputation.

But, that's just a nappy-headed metapho'.

I'd like to tell CP, doggonnit, this whole topic is really hairy. You should paws before defending anyone who treats an animal like a dog. Flea when reporters approach you about this bitchin subject because it will just bite you in the ass! Puppy lovers react rabidly to dog fighting. If they lung at you, it won't be to throw you a bone. It's a time bomb going tick, tick, tick. If there's no good dog at the end of this story, just play dead. What if you made a living by physical combat where you could be maimed for life? Oh, wait.

Three Mississippi Brothers Jailed for Dog Fighting, Drugs
Charges Filed in Harrison County (MS) Dog Fighting Case
Humane Society Dogfighting Fact Sheet

Photo: found of here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Does anyone believe in the Redskins front office?


In two years of blogging, reading a lot of football analysts and reporters, and scanning the views of a many, MANY excellent blogging Redskinologists, I have yet to see anyone knowledgeable, anywhere who endorsed the Redskins' "win now" approach to team development. Cindy Boren's guest blog on today's Redskins Insiders is only the latest salvo. Ben Folson's three part blast on The Curly R is another. Here at Running Redskins, six posts in April alone attacked various aspects of the Redskins' philosophy.

Ms. Boren fills in for Jason LaCanfora who is on vacation. Her story, titled The Danger of Kool-Aid.....without a GM, takes diehard fans to task. She starts with "I have seen a lot of people who seem to be blogging under the influence and I want to bring us all back to reality a little bit."

She goes on

only 6 of our 22 starters are above-average players. I'm a realist, I understand it's simply not possible to have the best players at every position. However, our biggest deficits are at the most important positions.

And more
"Our best young lineman left via FA and I understand he would have cost a mint this year, but how often do you see teams like the Patriots, Eagles, and Ravens let good young talent ever reach unrestricted free agency? [Emphasis mine] Any good GM would have seen that Dockery had started for us from day 1 of his career and that agile, young, durable, 335- pound linemen don't grow on trees and would have re-signed him before last season to a good extension for a reasonable figure. And let's not forget the utter lack of depth behind our starters for the last 3 years and the still lack of good young lineman being groomed to start one day."

Boren could have added that even if Dockery can be replaced by the likes of Todd Wade, we are(I am) invested in Dockery. He grew up on the team. We saw him grow. Doc's our guard. He belongs here. Why couldn't some of Brandon Lloyd's money have been thrown his way two years ago?

Boren concludes with

I cannot say it any simpler, we are a below average team and it is time we set our expectations accordingly. I am hoping for an 8-8 or 9-7 season.

Blah, blah, blah and yada yada yada. Excellent points, if a tad pessimistic, made many times before and falling on deaf ears where it counts.

The fan base hoped that Joe Gibbs would turn that wrong-headed approach around. He brought in some stalwarts in 2004 via the draft (Sean Taylor), free agents (Marcus Washington) and trade (Clinton Portis). In 2005, he traded for Santana Moss - a big hit that was - and drafted Jason Campbell and Carlos Rogers. But, 2006 brought excesses too painful to recall; evidence that Gibbs bit the fruit of the poisoned tree.

This year, in explaining why the Redskins did not draft a defensive lineman, the presidential coach said something about how better coverage would improve the pass rush by forcing the quarterback to hold the ball longer. That shows how much I know. I thought the idea was to pressure the QB to throw the ball sooner, before he was ready, to force mistakes. Give a QB more time, and they will make a big play. With today's timed offenses, maybe holding the ball longer is what you want. We'll see.

I'll tell you this. Gibb's "hold the ball longer" statement is Nixonian and Clintonesque in its breadth. You know the drill, "I am not a crook" and "I did not sleep with that woman." If Landry and Smoot and Fletcher-Baker don't lead to an improved pass rush this season, Gibbs could be another president hounded from office by a phrase.

Gibbs stands in good with The Lord. God, I hope that doesn't happen to him.

Photo: The Washington Post

M4C to skip voluntary blogging OTAs next week

It's the slow season of blogging the Washington Redskins when writers like me do our best to make something of nothing. I personally am blogging the latest on Sanjaya and puppy killers (for that's what Michael Vick will be tagged if there really is video tape of him attending dog fights.)

The Redskins are reporting that Marcus Washington has resumed practice (relief), but that Clinton Portis has developed tendinitis (uh-oh). This could be big news or non-news. We don't and won't know until the Redskins start playing some games.

With the Redskins' suck-your-money-fest coming up in Virginia Beach this weekend, and Ben at The Curly R back online, this is a good time for Master4caster to take a break. So I'm going to skip next week's OTAs in the run-up to Memorial Day. Heck, it's all voluntary anyway and I want a new contract from the Redskins to continue to perform at this level.

While I look for Drew Rosenhaus' phone number, you guys check the Redskins news scroll and excellent blogrollers to your right.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Even more on Vick

In my last Michael Vick post, I pointed out that two of Vick's "friends" outed him as being involved in dog fighting. The story was posted in a story about Vick that says "MV7" is the victim of his own bad judgement.

"In recent days, talked to multiple sources who have known Vick well for years, and they say his troubling pattern of recent behavior reflects a penchant for questionable judgment, an unwillingness to distance himself from the wrong crowd, and a long-standing belief that the rules don't apply to him."

Read Don Banks Inside the NFL column here.

(High school nerd comment: since when did the rules ever apply to star quarterbacks?)

In the urban sub-culture, words take the opposite meaning of their conventional use. "Bad" is really something good. A "dawg" is not a put down. It's really yo' boy. Banks' column suggests Vicks problems are encouraged because he can't ditch his dawgs, who are his accountabilabuddies. Don Pierson's story on Vick can escape doghouse by working harder manages four "dog" references in the first three paragraphs: doggie "doo," short leash, Vick in the doghouse, Vick is . . . the dog.

Tortured cliches aside, Pierson reminds us how the dog stories pushed the "coach killer" label to the background.

At AOL Sports, Michael David Smith writes that the Virginia prosecutor won't be pushed into a decision by Vick haters or puppy lovers.
"I'm not going to be a party to a witch hunt," Poindexter said. "This [process] will not be driven by people who hate Michael Vick, love Michael Vick or people who love animals."

Poindexter does not want to try the case in the media. He paid attention to the Michael Nifong debacle. Good. We don't need the authorities to make examples of celebrities. Over-charging based on name recognition is an injustice, whether it's Michael Vick, Winona Ryder, elitist lacrosse players or (ugh) Michael Jackson. Prosecuting based on where the fact lead is the just thing to do.

Sheriff Harold Brown will meet with Poindexter Monday to review the evidence. It is the first time the prosecutor will see the evidence in the case. The police raided Vick's property on April 25 on suspicion of drug dealing. While on site, they observed evidence of dog fighting. A Surry County (VA) grand jury will convene Tuesday. Vick has not commented on the evidence on the advice of his attorney. He has blamed relatives living on the property for the mischief. He recently sold the property at distressed prices.

It's been a rough year for Vick. The Atlanta Falcons' disappointing 7-9 record led to the dismissal of head coach Jim Mora, Jr. reinforcing the label of "coach killer" to Vick. The phrase was coined by Jim Mora, Sr. in answer to a question on the NFL Network a few months before the end of the season. Vick's capability as a quarterback is widely questioned, with many believing he is better at running back than passing. After a loss, Vick laid an egg by flipping the bird to disgruntled Falcon fans. The NFL cooked his goose with a $20,000 fine. He was sued by a woman who claims to have contracted Herpes from Vick, who was secretly treated for the disease under the assumed name "Ron Mexico." Vick was stopped at the Miami airport, but later cleared, for having a secret compartment water bottle that smelled of pot. Then the stories of illegal drugs and dog fighting burst on the scene.
"After what happened Friday, and then what happened on Monday, I just wanted to crawl in a hole. I can't take it no more. I walk around with a smile on my face and act like I'm happy, but on the inside it's hurting. And it's killing me. I ain't got no more energy left for it. The more I continue to do things and my name is in the media, I'm not going to get anywhere. . . . I'm taking it upon myself and giving everybody my word that things are going to get changed around. Things are going to get turned around. I have a game plan for it. . . . The company I keep, a lot of things gotta change, and I mean that from the heart." ~~ Michael Vick after meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I told him 'you represent us as a franchise, you represent yourself as a person and you represent the NFL. It's not one single thing, it's a series of things,' " ~~ Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank speaking of his meeting with Michael Vick.

"We had a great conversation. He told me some things and he was pretty bold and said exactly what he needed to say. I heard him out clearly and I know he means business, and I have to respect that. I respect Arthur Blank and his feelings and what he expects out of me." ~~ Michael Vick speaking of his meeting with Arthur Blank.

"When all is said and done, more is said than done" ~~ ESPN analyst Ron Jawarski using this Lou Holtz quote to describe Michael Vick.

"Did the Falcons trade the wrong quarterback?" ~~ Master4caster speaking of the Falcons' trade of Matt Schaub to Houston.

In the end, this is likely to morph into a morality tale of people from distressed circumstances, given special treatment for their special abilities, who are never held -- thus never learn to be --accountable for their actions, or those of their hangers-on, when they suddenly come into great wealth that they were never taught to handle because no one around them knew how. It's not just the pursuit of great wealth that is the root of evil. So is the spending of it.
"Athletic proficiency is a mighty good servant, and like so many other good servants, a mighty bad master." ~~ Theodore Roosevelt in letters to his children

Atlanta Constitution Q&A on the controversy around Vick


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

He said Dr. Z was clueless

Don't know much about this blog, but the latest post at Turn Off ESPN is a winner. Gtripp lambastes Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman for deciding now that Randy Moss will never get his vote for the NFL Hall of Fame. Although Moss is at mid-career with a potential resurgence in New England, Z feels that Moss has character issues and doesn't deserve the honor. That didn't stop Z-man for voting Michael Irvin in the Hall. Character doesn't encourage Z to vote for Art Monk.

Gtripp closes with the priceless lines

"And that, in a nutshell, is why they play the games. So dudes like Dr. Z come out looking completely and utterly clueless time and time again."

Like I said. Priceless.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images/Brian Bahr found here.

Mercedes throws Chrysler for a loss. Moss heartbroken?

If Santana Moss weren't so busy with the Washington Redskins OTAs, he might give a thought to the mess at Mercedes. Moss, a "Mercedes man," owns an assortment of high-end vehicles, including a 2006 Mercedes S550 and a "Moss orange" 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8.

Mercedes bought struggling Chrysler Corporation for $36 Billion in 1998, with grandiose platitudes of "merger of equals" and "corporate synergy" and "global automotive behemoth." Global automotive hogwash!

When I heard about the merger, I envisioned an infusion of Mercedes quality control and engineering in the struggling Chrysler. The company needed it. "Struggling" and "Chrysler" was used together so frequently that they could have fused the term into the brand -- Chrysler Straggler 300, Dodge Troubled Ram 1500. Chrysler never quite sank to Ford's notorious quality problems (FORD - Found On Road Dead), but the American brand was considered inferior to similarly priced products from Japan.

When Ford introduced the successful Taurus model in the 'eighties, they went to Yamaha to fine tune their base 3.0L V6 engine. The result was the hot Super High Output (SHO) engine that gave the Taurus the heart of a lion. With the Japanese refinement, Fords equipped with the SHO engine acquired the street name Shogun. The example was ignored in Stuttgart.

According to Detroit Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan, Mercedes never tried to establish a synergy with Chrysler. Too bad. When Mercedes and Chrysler put their heads together on product development, the result was the impressive Chrysler 300C and Santana Moss' aforementioned Dodge Magnum.

We see this in team sports all the time; when highly touted free agents join a team and never live up to the hype. (Token Redskin reference.)

The failure to truly merge shows the insincerity of the original claims. That's a sure sign that the merger was crafted by Yale MBA-type investment bankers who only see brands, plants, people, institutional learning as ciphers on a balance sheet, rather like football front office types who see players as ciphers on a salary cap sheet. (Another token football reference.) Inflated claims and hyperbole are just tools to these MBA types to accomplish a goal.

Now the next group of MBAs get to play the numbers game on Chrysler's balance sheet. This can only end badly for the people and brand at Chrysler. (Full disclosure: I am a MBA, so I get to call out my brother MBAers.)

The tragedy? Chrysler once rivaled Cadillac, Lincoln and Mercedes as one of the world's finest vehicles. My first car was a 1965 Dodge Dart. I've had a soft spot for Chrysler since. I'm sure Santana is heartbroken, too.

Me? I drive Japanese now. My '87 Ford Taurus drove me to it.

Oh yeah; the Skins added some rookies and cut some players today.

Photo: Santana Moss with Dodge Magnum, duPont REGISTRY Celebrity car magazine, April 2007 issue
Photo: Santana Moss' 2006 Mercedes S550, duPont REGISTRY Celebrity car magazine, April 2007 issue
Photo: 1948 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible,
Photo: 1966 Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant 2-Door Hardtop,

Monday, May 14, 2007

Redskin Bollywood

Hop over to Hogs Haven and take a peek at the Redskins Bollywood music video. Hilarious.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Chris Samuels is in the house

Lets turn aside from Pacman and Vick stories to pay some props to one of the good guys doing a good thing.

Washington Redskins offensive lineman Chris Samuels gave away a house in his native Alabama yesterday. Samuels, working through his foundation, donated the home by way of a drawing to the winner, Brenda Smith.

Samuels is developing a parcel of land in a real estate venture to include 70 homes and a community center. He decided to give away one of the completed homes to someone who was unable to buy it, but had the means to keep it.

"The good Lord blessed me to make it into the NFL and to play there and I've wanted to do something for Alabama," said Samuels, Mobile, AL native. "This is truly a blessing for me."

And it's a blessing for me to tell this story on Mother's Day.

Photo: from here

Friday, May 11, 2007

Off Topic: More on Michael Vick

Truth is, I don't care much of either of the Vick brothers. There was an undercurrent of stories about both of them from their Virginia Tech days. The tales hinted that they might not grow, on a personal basis, beyond their origins. Make that, not grow so fast beyond their origins. We're all human. We all grow, learn, adapt. We "get it" usually by age 40.

From a distance, these guys seem slow to get it. I could believe that they do dog fights, cock fights, fist fights, thumby wars, bull baiting, gladiatorial combat, Christian persecution and any other crass behavior now considered uncivilized.

Michael Vick might be getting an education now. He pledged to make changes in his life. Well, he sold the infamous house of [alleged] canine torture according to a report by the Daily Press of Newport News [VA]. Vick reportedly asked $350,000 for the property that was appraised at $747,000. That house will be flipped by this time next week. I wished he called me. I would have given him $375,000 for it.

This story breaks on the same day that News Service published a story that two of Vick's "friends" are convinced that he had an "affinity" for the dog fighting culture and was aware of the [alleged] dog fighting activity at the house. Friends?

A "friend" wouldn't rat out a friend and remain nameless. A friend wouldn't throw a friend under a bus so publicly. Those two guys are just "acquaintances."

This is Washington, DC. We know a thing or two about anonymous sources. At the White House, the "unnamed source" often turns out to be the vice president, who is saying something secretly that he won't say publicly. [That logic only makes sense in politics.] When the "unnamed source" speaks, Washingtonians know there is a hidden agenda.

So, what's the agenda of Vicks "friends?" I don't know, so I don't know how to evaluate their claim. Thus, I'm taking this story with a shaker of salt, while acknowledging that Ron Mexico could well be involved in a dog fight ring.

Live so that your friends can defend you but never have to. ~Arnold H. Glasow, Forbes magazine

When people speak ill of you, live so none will believe it. ~ Abigail Van Buren or Ann Landers, I forget which.


About Jason Campbell

"Jason looks phenomenal." ~~ Mike Sellers

"You can tell the growth and maturity he's had." ~~ Clinton Portis

Both were speaking of the off-season development of Jason Campbell during an interview shown this morning on Comcast Sportsnet.

Joe Gibbs commented about Campbell in today's story at

"He's worked extremely hard, and I think it's made a difference. The players noticed it, and all of the coaches noticed it. Generally you don't do real hard things unless you've had great preparation. Based on the first three days [of OTAs], I'd say it [Campbell's level of preparation] shows."

Gibbs said he was "disappointed" that Shawn Springs and Sean Taylor are "no shows" at the Organized Team Activities. Veterans are not required to attend. "My focus is on the guys who are here," added Gibbs.

The OTAs run weekly Tuesday through Thursday in a run up the the full team mini-camp starting June 15. Several players are attending, but sat out the activities.

Defensive end Phillip Daniels had surgery on his wrist and ankle, linebacker Marcus Washington had hip surgery and quarterback Mark Brunell and running back Clinton Portis both had shoulder surgery.

Santana Moss sustained a strained groin injury during practice on Wednesday, so he was held out of Thursday's practice.

Fullback Nehemiah Broughton suffered a knee ligament injury during an OTA practice this week and could be placed on the injured reserve list.

Photo: Jonathan Newton, The Washington Post

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The hand of WHO?

The rivalry with the hated Cowboys has risen to Heavenly heights according to the authoritative Wikipedia no less. The November 2006 miracle come-from-behind win by the Redskins over the Cowboys is now referred to as the "Hand Of God" game in the Wikipedia article Significant rivalries in the NFL.

"The 'Hand of God' game occurred on November 5, 2006 at FedEx Field when the Redskins won through a most unusual series of events. With the game tied 19-19, Redskins kicker Nick Novak missed a 49 yard field goal attempt, turning the ball back to Dallas on downs. The ensuing plays, in turn, set up for Dallas' Mike Vanderjagt, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, to try for a 35-yard field goal with 6 seconds remaining. The kick was blocked by Redskins’ safety Troy Vincent and picked up by the Redskins' Sean Taylor. Taylor returned the kick to the Cowboys' 44-yard line with no time left on the clock. However, the Cowboys' Kyle Kosier committed a 15-yard facemask penalty on Taylor during the return, which caused the game to be extended by one untimed down. From 47 yards out, Nick Novak made the game winning field goal to send the Cowboys back to Dallas with an unexpected loss."

By Divine intervention, the Redskins were saved from a 4-12 season, but lost out on the fifth pick of the draft.

The "Hand Of God" reference is also in an eZine article Cowboys vs. Redskins - A Rivalry 47 Years Strong And Counting.

For Running Redskins' history of the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry, see -

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Redskins to rookies: come with experience

So far, the thing in common about the first three Washington Redskins signings after the rookie mini-camp is that hey have an NFL track record.

Derrick Blaylock

Zach Hilton

Adrian Madise

So, why did they call it "rookie camp?" Rooks may be signed, or may be on the radar screen for a future call. The Redskins are notorious for their preference for veterans, so these signings aren't a surprise, really.

Blaylock might make the team as the number three back. His task is to show that he's overcome whatever issue kept him out of the NFL in recent years.

The Post says the Redskins are thin at tight end. News to me. Hilton will compete for a blocking tight end role. Are the Redskins looking for an upgrade from a young, healthy TE? Will we see more two-wide, two tight-end, single back formations this season? Or, does Al Saunders have a man-crush on tight ends? (Oooh, that's bad. I did NOT mean that the way it came out.)

Almost anyone can challenge for Brandon Lloyd's slot at #2 wide receiver, but raise your hand if you think it's Madise. Does he return punts?

Sanjaya's hair stylist tells all: he's a good kid with nice hair

Or, was it a nice kid with good hair?

Jill Ochsner, who twice styled Sanjaya Malakar's hair for his American Idol experience, dished the dirt about the former Idol in a newspaper interview with Joy Henley. "He has fabulous, super thick hair. He doesn't have a perm, it's a natural wave." She added, "He is super sweet and soft spoken. He bubbles with personality. He is a sweetheart."

Ochsner, who styles in Burien, WA, believes Sanjaya's support on American Idol came from "many groups -- teens, the Indian culture, even professionals at Microsoft," the Seattle based software giant.

"Nice kids" may not sell. Kids of color who want to build a music career often affect a gangsta' thug persona to build "street cred." (Personally, I believe a lot of these artists have MFA degrees. That would kill their career if it got out.) Sanjaya doesn't have the basis to pull that off like Vanilla Ice. He would come out Michael Jackson BAD. However, he must overcome the Omarosa effect, the overnight TV fame typecasting that brings great exposure -- and great limitations.

Photo: Sanjaya at the White House Correspondence Dinner, GETTY Images/Nancy Ostertag
Photo: Michael Jackson,
Photo: Oarosa Manigault-Stallworth,

Monday, May 07, 2007

Back soon

I'm pushed for time at the moment, so here's the link to Hogs Haven for today's Redskins updates. Haven is managed by Skin Patrol, the foremost Redskinologist around. Also check out the news scroll and blogroll to your right.

The Redskins invited 88 prospects to the rookie camp. Some weren't rookies. That's a big number. I suspect it's a larger group than for most other teams. I'm going to research that and write it up, even though is probably of interest only to me.

Chris Henry (no, not that Chris Henry), the rookie drafted by the Tennessee Titans, is posting on his NFL experience at He writes pretty well. Assuming his stuff isn't ghost-written for him, I think he has a future as a blogger.

One suggestion for him is change his name to distinguish himself from his notorious namesake. Christopher Henry, or Kit Henry, might do. His nickname is C-Hen, but that could still be confused for that other guy. Henry has the same problem as Anthony Gonzalez, who I already think of as Gonzo2.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Redskins respond to the blogosphere

The Washington Redskins, specifically Mark Steven, a guest blogger at, official fan board of the Washington Redskins, responded to rants and opinions of mock draftkateers and football bloggers leading up to the 2007 Draft.

You can read the article at

So there.


Off Topics for today: Michael, Elizabeth

This is just another water bottle incident blown all out of proportion.
Why all this breathless concern about a dog fighting ring found on property owned by Michael Vick? The man said it was his cousin's fault. The man said his cousin let him down. This is just like the water bottle incident where the police mistakenly detected the scent of pot in a secret compartment. We know from that incident how tongue-tied Michael gets. Is it his fault that his jewelry smells like pot? He was silent until after the police said there was no there there.

Now this dog thing, you should just take Mike's word that he knew nothing about any Pit Bulls found on the property, or the injured Beagles allegedly used as sparring partners for said Pits, in spite of what we learned about today about his sideline business, Vicks K9 Kennels, with the web site Don't bother to go there. It's not available, no doubt due to the massive hits it's taking today. Or, maybe they are shutting the site down. I know I would if I were Mike. If Mike says he has nothing to do with the dogs on the property, who are you going to believe, Mike, or some web site owned by a company called MV7?

He said he was going to amend his life, make changes, you know, reform. We should just take his word for it.

I wonder if Atlanta traded the wrong quarterback.

"After what happened Friday, and then what happened on Monday, I just wanted to crawl in a hole. I can't take it no more. I walk around with a smile on my face and act like I'm happy, but on the inside it's hurting. And it's killing me. I ain't got no more energy left for it. The more I continue to do things and my name is in the media, I'm not going to get anywhere. . . . I'm taking it upon myself and giving everybody my word that things are going to get changed around. Things are going to get turned around. I have a game plan for it. . . . The company I keep, a lot of things gotta change, and I mean that from the heart." ~~ Michael Vick

Meanwhile, The Humane Society says there is an undercurrent of dog fighting among NFL players. They want Commissioner Roger Goodell to do something about it. Animal fighting is against federal law as of May 3, 2007.

Fair And Balanced Reporting: Vick donates money to Va. Tech victims
UPDATE: Michael Vick Selling Property Linked to Dog Fighting

Screed Alert: Protocol for the Queen?

Elizabeth II is visiting Virginia to honor the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown colony (and to pay her respects to the victims of Virginia Tech). There have been several newspaper stories and a CNN blurb this morning on the proper "protocol" while in the presence of Her Majesty. That always frosts me.

The President of the United States is called "Mr. President" for a reason, that reason being to repudiate royalty and elevate citizens. Most Americans know how they treat the president while in his presence. It offends me that some Americans feel the need to do more for the Queen. So what if she is the head of sixteen or seventeen countries **, we have fifty States and a District. I'll match the GDP of California against any of them.

If you met the president at a state affair, you should stand, be generally respectful, address him as "Mr. President" or Sir, and do no more than shake his hand. (Since we're talking Bush, I would allow him to shake my hand.) No head of state deserves more from an American. Bowing and scraping are out of place. In fairness to the queen, Britain no longer requires that. There are plenty of American Anglophiles around here who fawn over British royalty. Americans who do need to be reminded of why there is an America. The reminder is this: Elizabeth of Windsor seems a nice lady. She has my permission to shake my hand.

She may be Queen of England, but I am King of Me.

** Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen of the The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, and is the Paramount Chief of Fiji.


Portrait: Queen Elizabeth II,

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


What's wrong with you people? Keyshawn Johnson was cut a day ago and there is not one good story or rumor that the Washington Redskins are going to sign him. Don't we have a reputation to live up to? Must I start all these rumors? carries stories that the Giants and Eagles are interested in Johnson. We have to keep up. Get on the stick people.

Even Johnson's agent, Jerome Stanley, failed to name drop "Daniel Snyder" to goose contract talks, although he did issue a statement that "several teams have expressed interest in Johnson and that he does have offers." He's blowing it for his client.

Personally, I hope 35 year old Johnson retires. His numbers are getting too close to Art Monk's career record. I would quit blogging if Me-Shawn gets voted into the Hall Of Fame as the epitome possession receiver before Art.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Warpath's Salary Cap Spreadsheet

Those clever folks at The Warpath fan board published a spreadsheet of the Washington Redskins salary cap. Among other interesting nuggets is the fact that the Redskins are carrying $8.2 Million in dead cap money, and that they are committed to $124.5 Million in player salaries for 2008. I'm not sure what the 2008 salary cap ceiling is, but I'll bet a quarter the Skins are over it.

I'm publishing the link here and adding it to the blogroll for future reference.