Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jason Campbell is Country

OK, a bunch of Redskins bloggers got a chain letter with a link to a BogTV video on YouTube showing Jason, Santana and 'Twaan messing around before filming a car commercial.

It's a slow news day, so this is my cheap excuse for a daily post, and thank you "littlekeep."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No conversation with coach Chin

The Washington Redskins were lightning quick to deny any conversation with Bill Cowher about a coaching position should/when Joe Gibbs step down as coach and team president. carried a story on Monday saying that Cowher was putting out feelers about a return to coaching and the the Redskins were one of three teams he talked to.

I don't think the Redskins were too worried about a post on PFT. However, tampering is different. Cowher is still under contract to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Conversations now, without clearance from the Steelers, is technically tampering.

John Thompson did a call-in on his WTEM radio show about Cowher and the Redskins. In the ten minutes I listened, fans were unanimous that it would be a tremendously good move. It figures that Gibbs-haters would rush the phones to push that thought. It was amazing.

I suspect that either of these two developments drove the Redskins to kill the idea quick.

While contingency planning is good, even prudent, bringing in Cowher would be a disruptive repudiation of what Joe Gibbs is trying to accomplish. It could be a good move long run, but short term will cost the Redskins wins as the franchise adjusts to Cowher players and schemes.

I hope Daniel Snyder has learned by now that building a winning organization is more than bringing the latest "big name" to fix everything. If he is thinking organizationally, the next team president should already be on board, much as Roger Goodell was ready to step in when commissioner Paul Tagliabue retired. Snyder's most important move after team president is to select a general manager with the right background. That person also should already be on board, or already known to Snyder. Only then, and in consultation with the president and GM, after deciding what schemes he wants the Redskins to play, will Snyder be ready to name someone to coach to the scheme.

Know what? The best coaching move is more likely to be a talented coordinator ready to move up than a recycled "big name." Evidence? Ol' Jack Kent Cooke made a brilliant move when he tapped the talented offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers in 1981 to coach the Redskins**. Who ever heard of Joe Gibbs before that? Daniel Snyder would not have had the moxie to make that move. He works from the bottom up -- players, coaches, front office -- rather than the top down, as he should. The Redskins will be upside-down until he figures that out.

** Ol' Jack tried to duplicate the magic a decade later by tapping the talended OC of the Dallas Cowboys to coach the Redskins, and gave us Norv Turner. Nothing works every time time!

Photo: Dave Bergman/SI

Pacman Jones and the Catholic thought

OK, Pacman is again on the periphery of an incident that draws the attention of the authorities. I won't go into details. You can read the latest here.

That he's in another of of these scrapes calls into question his sincerity to reform, or his judgement, or both.

“Last week, I asked for an opportunity to meet privately with commissioner Goodell. I met with him earlier today to tell him about the steps I have taken to change my life since being suspended by the NFL. I accept the discipline that’s been imposed on me and I am withdrawing my appeal.” ~ Adam "Pacman" Jones (emphasis mine)

Has no one told him about the occasions of sin? As a youngster, the good Sisters of Notre Dame drilled lessons about sin, and how to avoid them, into my intimidated classmates and me. One of the Catholic concepts was "the occasion of sin." I vaguely recall that as people, places or things that might tempt us to do bad stuff. An entrapment, in other words. Mankind (it's always men, isn't it), by our human nature and free will, are predisposed to indulge ourselves, and we are more likely to indulge ourselves wrongly while in the occasions of sin. As an adult, I learned to simplify "occasion" to the "wrong places, the wrong people and the wrong things" - like the Internet on occasion.

Pacman hasn't learned to avoid the occasions of sin. For him, occasions seem to be strip clubs, and the crew he runs with. It's possible he's addicted to strip clubs (I'm only saying it's possible). If that's the case, breaking the habit entails more than best intent. Addictions are a beast.

Jones has a decision to make: his boys, the clubs, and the occasions of sin, or his million dollar football career. He can't have both at once.

He should have gone to Catholic schools.


Monday, June 18, 2007

LaVar seriously hurt in accident

Giants 101 on the MVN Network reports that former Washington Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington has been injured in a motorcycle accident. He has been taken to Prince Georges Hospital Center in "serious condition."

See the story at Giants 101.

Photo: Getty Images

Sunday, June 17, 2007

More on the shot to LaGroin

OK, this story just keeps getting funnier and funnier, although it might not seem so to Redskins #1 draft pick LaRon Landry.

Landry suffered a groin injury to a "sensitive area" during a team-building (?) exercise after the last OTA. The Redskins were tight-lipped about the story, leaving us to get more details from PFT by way of ExtremeSkins.

A rumored version of the story is up on PFT. You have to scroll to UNCONFIRMED REPORT OF LANDRY'S PAINTBALL-TO-THE-BALLSACK INCIDENT posted at 10:14 a.m. on June 17, 2007. PFT doesn't provide permalinks to individual stories, so here's the fair use summary of the post:

"A guy who knows the person who owns the paintball park at which Redskins safety LaRon Landry got hit in LaDong with a tiny ball of paint says Landry had 'shot' one of his Redskins teammates, knocking him out of the game. Then, Landry walked up to the player, who was on the ground at the time, and proclaimed that he was going to finish him off, execution style.

"The teammate then raised his paintball gun and shot Landry point-blank in the crotch."

An earlier version of this story implied that Landry was an innocent bystander in the event. Guess not.

So, what was the dialog like between football players in a paint ball contest?
LANDRY: Oh, you mine, dawg. I'm gonna finish you execution style.

SHOOTER: You ain't my teammate yet, punk. Deal with THIS.


SHOOTER: Oh, you LaDonna now, bitch.
This story is destined to live forever in Redskin lore. Like the shooting mystery of an earlier day, I'm trying to figure out who shot LR? Shawn Springs? Not his style. Carlos Rogers? Lacks the killer instinct. Fred Smoot? Knows a thing or two about groins, but Fred is more into laughs. David Macklin? Jerametrius Butler? Don't know much about them. Hard to say. However, there is one d-back I would not want to diss under any circumstances. I don't want to call his name (same name as Puffy), or number (21), because I don't know that it was him. And, I wouldn't want this particular player (initials "ST") to hunt me down and give me a shot in the balls. And neither do you, brother. Because, you know, that stuff hurts.

Now, the questions are:

  • Did the activity bring the secondary together?
  • Does a simulated combat experience toughen a defense sorely lacking toughness?

  • Do LaRon's contract demands go up?

  • Does this count as rookie hazing?

  • Do we equate paint ball to dog fighting?

I looked for something on this story on Covering the Redskins. Covering doesn't post very often, so I've not added the site to my blogroll. I do check the site from time-to-time. He keeps his identity hidden, but writes with an insider's knowledge. Covering the Redskins was the first to put me on to Clinton Portis' comments about Michael Vick. A little research revealed the the site belongs to Bram Weinstein, who actually does cover the Redskins for the Snyder-owned 94.3/92.7/730 AM Radio. Covering is silent on this issue. If he comes up with anything, I'll link to it.

Photo: Donna Summer, found here.

On guard

Today's Post carries the story that OG Will Whitticker is making an impression during mini-camp. He's been filling in for Randy Thomas at right guard while Thomas recuperates from knee surgery. Whitticker doesn't figure to displace Thomas as starter on the right side, but over on the left . . . .

Todd Wade impressed at tackle last season as back-up to Jon Jansen. Coach Gibbs re-signed him, figuring he would replace departed left guard Derrick Dockery. Wade, at 6-8, is out-sized for guard and the transition from tackle to guard is not trivial. I've been thinking that OG Mike Pucillo has an even shot at the position. Last year, Pucillo often entered games as a "tackle eligible" for extra blocking on six-man fronts. Now, Whitticker, a natural guard with veteran experience, is raising eyebrows during mini-camp.

I expect the best man to win the slot, but I hope Whitticker -- who played for my alma mater -- makes the team. You can't have too many good linemen. Fifty-one percent of the success or failure of an offensive play is on the line.

The Redskins released a state of condolence to the family of former player Justin Skaggs, who passed away last Friday as a result of a brain tumor.


What's with all these babies?

Shawn Springs is a new daddy. (his son is being treated for jaundice. Hoping for the best on that one.)
Rocky McIntosh is a new daddy (last Friday).
Up in Philadelphia, Brian Dawkins is a new daddy of twins, born prematurely.
Gilbert Arenas is a new daddy
LeBron James is a new daddy

Happy Fathers Day to all of them, and all you other fathers out there.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Not your father's defense for Redskins

One of the hallmarks of Gregg Williams' defense was the supremacy of the scheme over players. "Everyone's a starter," Williams said. Players were interchangeable. There were no stars -- but the coaches.

The philosophy worked in the first two years of the Gibbs II era. The Redskins defense ranked in the NFL's top 10 in '04 and '05, and was noted for its ferocity and pressure. It also meant that talent like LaVar Arrington was stifled. Arrington had his best years when he was healthy and encouraged to roam under the previous coaching regime. Gibbs' coaching staff saw Arrington as a wild card, interchangeable with Warrick Holdman who could be relied upon to be in the spot the coaches wanted him. Arrington, however, would make plays even from the wrong position. The defense fed off his fury. In the notorious conflict with linebacker coach Dale Lindsey, the coaching staff backed Lindsey rather than Arrington, who left the team in 2006 still nursing a mysterious knee injury.

The cosmos extracted payment for the Redskins' mistreatment of Arrington. Shawn Springs was never in good health. Pierson Prioleau, who won the starting safety role from Adam Archuleta, was struck down in a freak injury on the opening kick-off of the opening game and lost for the season. The Redskins rushed to bring in cornerbacks Mike Rumph and Kenny Wright. Neither would have made the team under normal circumstances. Lindsey, who mocked Arrington's mastery of the playbook even after he left the team, could not get rookie Rocky McIntosh up to snuff. Williams was forced to run schemes that compensated for weaknesses rather than pressure quarterbacks.

The theme in Jason LaCanfora's Washington Post story For the Redskins, It's Simple is Gregg Williams' new approach to defense that simplifies schemes and exploit athleticism this year.

"Williams, who declined to comment for this story, told players this offseason that he plans to get his best players to the point of attack as much as possible and give them more freedom, they said."

The Redskins intend to use more nickel and dime formations -- that's five and six cornerback sets for you uninitiated. The team expects to start Rocky McIntosh at linebacker, who has had a "superior offseason." (I have to wonder, again, at the owner's intrigue at trading for linebacker Lance Briggs if this was the plan. More nickel and dime formations usually means less weakside linebacker, thus less Lance Briggs or Rocky McIntosh.)

Williams will call for more cover-1 formations, with Sean Taylor at free safety to hunt for the ball, while strong safety LaRon Landry will "play close to the line of scrimmage to rush quarterbacks and help on run defense." Excuse me? Wouldn't the much maligned Adam Archuleta worked in that scheme? Instead, the Redskins used him in deep coverage, as they would have used Prioleau, and as they eventually used Troy Vincent and Vernon Fox. In fairness, changing coverage sets after the season starts is hard to do. It usually doesn't work. But the results couldn't have been any worse if they tried it. At least, they would have made better use of Archuleta, who was one of the top three tacklers when he was benched.

I'll be watching Archuleta's play with the Bears this season. Success in Chicago's cover-1, will be evidence that his failure here was on the Redskins for misuse of him. The Archuleta-Arrington experience may be the reason for Gregg Williams' openess to athleticism over scheme.

Photo: John McDonnell, The Washington Post

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Brian Mitchell to HOF

Brian Mitchell has been inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in honor of his exploits as quarterback of the University of Southwestern Louisiana [now Louisiana-Lafayette] Ragin' Cajuns from 1986-89.

B-Mitch went on to have a NFL Hall of Fame-qualifying [23,316 all-purpose yards] career as a special teamer with the Washington Redskins. He ended his pro-football career with the New York Giants. He is now a sports commentator on WTEM Radio in the Washington, DC, broadcast area.

See the story at


Monday, June 11, 2007

LaDainian Tomlinson on dog fighting

The San Diego Chargers LaDainian Tomlinson was asked about dog fighting. Here's his response as reported by the Union-Tribune's Tim Sullivan on

“So the initial deal is like, 'Oh, my God, look at that!' because it's an incredible thing to look at. Then something goes wrong or one of the dogs dies and your heart goes out to them – just like it was a natural fight. It's a tough thing to look at.

“I understand what it's about, but I would never do it. I couldn't see my dog fighting to death, and that's what happens most of the time. When those dogs lock on, it's to death. I could never see myself fighting my dog to death.”

Tomlinson, from rural Texas says that dog fights were common his neighborhood. Clinton Portis, from rural Mississippi, made the same point. From there, their views diverged. The difference may be that LT2 has a pet dog -- a pit bull -- and empathized with his dog on dog fighting. Portis, who doesn't own a warm-blooded pet, could not relate. Without the first-hand experience of caring for a pet, Clinton was blind to the issue.

See the full story on Tomlinson here.

Photo: Jamie Squire, Getty Images, The Washington Post

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Redskins: News bits for the weekend

Rick Snider at the Washington Examiner says Shawn Springs was smart to wait until after the June 1 salary cap deadline to report for the Washington Redskins OTAs. That was assurance that the Skins weren't going to cut him.

"Shawn Springs is not the bad guy. Don’t let the backroom whispers, sports talk hacks and second-guessing bloggers fool you. The Washington Redskins cornerback knows after a decade in the NFL that it’s a business and wasn’t letting the team mislead him like they have so many others over the years."

Snider calls it an astute veteran move for dealing with the business side of the game.

Robert Dinsmore of Harrisonburg, PA, wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily News Record where he described himself as a lifelong Redskins fan would no longer watch the team "until management has imposed significant punishment on Portis and Samuels." Outrage at Clinton Portis statement is understandable. Refusing to watch the team because some of their employees expressed their personal opinion -- which both Samuels and Portis have since disavowed -- is too much.

This is America. You get to express your opinion. It's certainly Mr. Dinsmore's prerogative to withhold his support, but I call him out as a "lifelong Redskin fan." True lifelong fans would not go that far. If they do, then good riddance.

My deepest sympathies to the family of nutritionist Ann Litt and and to the Washington Redskins organization on her passing. May God bless.

Photo: Jonathan Newton, Washington Post

It's not Michael Vick's fault . . .

"It's mine," says Vick's cousin Davon Boddie, whose arrest for marijuana led to the search of Vick's property that uncovered evidence of a dog fighting operation. Boddie denies any dog fighting. He also feel victimized by a conspiracy.

The Atlanta Falcons sent a letter to fans asking for patience as the investigation unfolds. Meanwhile, Michael Vick has cancelled his summer youth football camp.

Quarterback drama is the biggest news this offseason: Tom Brady's love life; Trent Green left twisting in a difficult trade; Daunte Culpepper is barred from practice, and the Vick melodrama. I'm thankful that all the quarterback news out of Redskin Park is good.

It's a lazy summer Saturday and I'm outta here. Get your Vick fix from, the web site of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and follow the links.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Musing about Jerametrius Butler

The Redskins signed CB Jerametrius Butler yesterday.

Joe Gibbs tried to sign Butler in 2004. That was the first year of his return to Washington, when the Skins traded Champ Bailey to Denver for Clinton Portis. Bailey made clear that he wanted out, and the Skins brought in Shawn Springs as the shutdown corner.

Why bring in Butler when Fred Smoot was still on the roster? Was Butler seen as a potential replacement of Smoot? Smootie, as coach Joe calls him, was the core Redskin allowed to leave when his contract expired at the end of 2004. The Skins drafted Carlos Rogers in 2005. Now Rogers, Smoot and Butler are on the same team.

The Redskins front office played this smart by waiting for Butler's release by the Rams, rather than trying to work a trade. Maybe they (D. Snyder) learned a thing or two since the Mark Brunell trade and the excesses of 2006. Take note that nothing ever came of those rumors that the Redskins would nuke the front office. Perhaps instead they just dumped the foolish aggression in roster building that characterized the Snyder era. Hey, a man can change. And another man can hope.

Reasonable free-agent signings, hopefully smart draft picks and rational salary cap management are sound front office practices I hope continues. Skill at managing the cap should be secondary to skill at building a roster.

Photo: found on

Why Michael Vick is worried

A few days ago, I posted a piece implying that Michael Vick had more financial resources than the Surry County, VA, authorities investigating the dog fighting allegations against him. Thus, he had little to worry about the outcome of a case brought by backwater authorities.

He can start worrying now. The federal government is on the case. The feds, acting on a sealed warrant, searched Vick's Surry County property according to an AP story published today. The search warrant was filed without the knowledge of Commonwealth Attorney Gerald Poindexter, who was described as floored by the development.

"What is foreign to me is the federal government getting into a dogfighting case. I know it's been done, but what's driving this? Is it this boy's celebrity? Would they have done this if it wasn't Michael Vick?" ~ Gerald Poindexter

Good question. It might also have been a sense of foot-dragging by the County.

According to the story, Virginia State Police participated in the federal raid. The federal team consisted of investigators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Attorney's office. None of them would comment for the story. The USDA and State Police were members of the Surry County investigation team.

I've suspect that the authorities in Richmond (VA) were frustrated by the pace of Surry County's investigation. Poindexter moved with deliberation, as you might when the potential witnesses against Vick are sending you letters from their jail cell. Talk about credibility of the witness!

But, what are the feds after? Surely more than an animal case. The federal law prohibiting interstate transport of dogs for fighting didn't go into effect until May 3, 2007. The allegations against Vick, or his family members, occurred before that law went into effect.

No, the feds are sniffing for something more serious. Adding to Vick's problems are accounts that he gambled large sums of money at these dog fights. Large-scale gambling by football players draws interest from three-lettered organizations: N.F.L., and I.R.S.

Stay tuned to this one, folks.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

2001, a very good year!

Lets take a walk down memory lane. Hop over to the Washington Post's 2001 High School Football All Metropolitan Players. The group photo is not available. However, check out some of the names.

  • Marcus Mason, RB, Georgetown Prep, now trying out for the Redskins

  • Terry Caulley, RB, Patuxent, invited to Redskins OTAs, recently released

  • Ahmad Brooks, LB, Hylton. The son of former Redskin DL Perry Brooks is now trying out for the Cincinnati Bengals

  • Mike Imoh, RB, Robinson, tried out for the Redskins in 2006

  • Billy Gaines, WR, Urbana, attended University of Pittsburgh, died as a result of a tragic accident. Based on timing, he should have been a team-mate of H.B. Blades at Pitt.

  • Vernon Davis, TE, Dunbar (DC), finding success with the San Francisco 49ers

  • Shawne Merriman, LB, Douglass, the most prominent of this group is finding success with the San Diego Chargers

  • Conrad Bolston, DL, St. John's, now trying out for the Minnesota Vikings

  • Marcus Hamilton, DB, Centreville, now trying out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Nine of the 44 first and second team All Met schoolboys of 2001 are good enough to try out for an NFL club. That strikes me as a high percentage, although I've made no comparisons to other class years, or to metro areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Texas, cradles of football. This suggests that the Washington DC metro area is a ripe recruiting area for football as well as basketball.

Shawne Merriman and Vernon Davis have established themselves, but most of the All-Met Nine are late round draft picks or free agents. Marcus Mason will have a tough time cracking the Redskins line-up. He will have to beat out Derrick Blaylock for a spot at running back, or Rock Cartwright as a special teamer. Terry Caulley was the 2001 All-Met offensive player of the year. He set the rushing record at UCONN; however, he is considered undersized for the NFL. He could catch on as a special teamer elsewhere. Ahmad Brooks, the 2001 defensive player of the year, has good genes going for him.

Best wishes to all these guys.

The Google curse: To get hooked looking stuff up when you should be in bed.

Photo: Shawne Merriman, from

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Portis: I didn't know . . . .

ExtremeSkins points to a blog entry by LaCanfora at RedskinsInsider Clinton Speaks (And Does Not Insert Foot In Mouth).

CP says he's been reading the letters and pamphlets that came his way after his notorious comments about Michael Vick and dog fighting. That's when he began to understand the issue and why so many people were offended by his comments.

"When I made those comments I didn't understand the seriousness behind it."

JLC says more is coming on this and I hope so. The snippet in the Insider piece doesn't make clear whether CP reached a new understanding on the harm of dog fighting, or a new appreciation of that there are animal lovers who would be offended. Response from the ExtremeSkins readership is mixed, with a sizable group suspecting he's sorry that people were offended, and an equal-sized group wishing he just kept his mouth shut so the issue would go away.

Know what? The best way for our boy to "get it" is for someone to give him a puppy to care for.

GOOD to have LaCanfora back and writing football. In his other post, Marcus Washington went in full practice, and team nutritionist Ann Litt passed away unexpectedly.

My compliments to Skin Patrol at Hogs Haven for for his thoughtful examination of player sanctions comparing Chicago's Tank Johnson, suspended eight games for gun convictions, to Pacman Jones, suspended for the season with no convictions. Twice I caught myself saying "wished I wrote that."


Antonio Pierce on dog fighting

"Anyone who fights pit bulls is a punk."

(It still p****** me off that Pierce is playing in a Giants uniform.)


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Why Michael Vick isn't worried

PFT pointed me to this Virginia Pilot story about Gerald Poindexter, the Surry County (VA) Commonwealth Attorney who may prosecute charges from the dog fighting scandal that might involve Michael Vick.

Some interesting factoids:

  • The entire population of Surry County is around 7,000.
  • Poindexter is the County's only prosecutor -- and he's part-time.
  • There are only two lawyers in Surry County.
  • The Circuit Court only convenes one or two times a month.
  • A previous dog fighting case brought by Poindexter several years ago was dismissed by a judge who ruled that the search warrant was improper. Poindexter felt that he moved too fast in that case and does not want to repeat the error.

So, one of the NFL's wealthiest players might go up against the part-time prosecutor of a thinly populated, resource-poor county. The county is so small that the only tourism message on the Tourism page of Surry County's web site is "Any time of year, Surry is a great place to visit!"

Advantage, Vick.

UPDATE: Poindexter Speaks

World of dogfighting seems to be growing despite awareness of its cruel side

Early fantasy look at the NFC East

Skin Patrol over at Hogs Haven lamented that he was reduced to looking at silly 2008 NFL Mock Drafts. We've both commiserated that we've not had much to footblog about. Luckily for us, it's not too early to look at fantasy football.

Michael Fabiano at posted an early look at the fantasy value of NFC East players. That's early, too, but at least is more grounded in reality than a 2008 mock draft. I saw no surprises in Fabiano's comments. However, he had this to say about Clinton Portis.

"Portis should now be seen as more of a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy runner rather than the elite featured back he has been throughout his career."

The number of carries Portis has had, and the emergence of Ladell Betts leads to that assessment of Portis as a fantasy player.

Fabiano sees the Redskin offense schedule as the 5th easiest for passing and 4th hardest for rushing. The article didn't say how he arrived at that conclusion.

That mock draft thing? Not only do we not know 2007 NFL game results, thus the 2008 draft order, we don't know how the school boys will rank. They, too, have to play to hold or lose their draft rank. Somebody is going to get injured and lose their ranking. Some junior is going to come out early and insert themselves in the ranking. Silly.