They ain't playin' and I ain't lion.
The Washington Redskins next opponent were down 7-3 at half time to the Bears, then put up 34 points in the second half to beat Chicago.
The Redskins couldn't put up seven points in the second half of the Giants game.
There's no reason to panic, but the team formerly known as patsies cannot be dismissed. When Gregg Williams looks at game film, he should pull out tapes of that Mike Martz St. Louis Rams offense since that's what the defense will face. The 3-1 Lions are less talented than the Greatest Show on Turf, but they will challenge our cornerbacks. Those guys better be healthy and ready.
Adding to the intrigue is the Arizona Cardinals who held off the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers 21-14 today. That's a small measure of vindication for Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt, both passed over for the Steeler head coaching job.
Detroit and Arizona were the comfortable home games on the Redskins' October calendar. Away games in Green Bay and New England are sandwiched between them. Suddenly, that cushy early schedule doesn't look so soft.
Good thing the Skins got their break now.
LaVar Arrington had some interesting things to say about the Redskins in a New York Daily News interview last week. He is still bitter at his treatment by the Redskins during the Gibbs II era. Those big contracts you hear about are a mirage, because they are back-end loaded. The Redskins will get rid (his words) of Clinton Portis and Chris Samuels before the Skins pay them the big bucks. That, or the players will agree to restructure their deals.
Most of what Arrington learned about business, he learned at the feet of former friend Daniel Snyder, he says, as he works on the December opening of Sidelines, his restaurant and sports bar at the Boulevard at Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland.
Yeah, I'm going when it opens. I still like LaVar.
That meek, mild-mannered guy who lives here has the story over at Hog Heaven.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder ranks as the 40th most powerful person in American sports, according to a panel assembled by BusinessWeek. Joe Gibbs, Redskins president and coach-in-chief, and owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, is ranked No. 93.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Tiger Wood and NBA Commissioner David Stern are ranked No. 1, 2 and 3 on the list.
Master4caster, Skin Patrol, Ben Folsom and Lee Gibbons are not on the list, so how credible is this information? I mean really?
Wide receiver Keenan McCardell will be in Redskin Park Monday and, assuming he passes a physical and workout, will sign a contract to join the team.
Pay attention to what the Redskins say, or don't say, about the signing and who gets released to make room. The very fact that the Skins continue to look at wide receivers this late says something. The fact that they are looking at experienced receivers [Corey Bradford, Todd Pinkston] says something, more, although it's pure guesswork what it all means.
People will jump to the obvious conclusion that Brandon Lloyd isn't working out. Or, the real fear that Santana Moss is more hurt than they are letting on. It may be more than that.
Without checking the facts, it seems to me that the Skins are playing a lot more from the shotgun spread formation with three and four wide outs. That's the Al Saunders influence. Assuming that one of those wide outs will be TE Chris Cooley, the other three have to be wide receivers.
I think the coaches don't think they have three reliable wide receivers to run Saunders' passing game, especially in the middle distances [10 to 20 yards].
While we are focused on the return to hardnosed Gibbs ball, I think we will look back and see that Al Saunders was more influential in the passing game than now obvious.
"Buckle your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." ~~ Bette Davis in ALL ABOUT EVE.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
They ain't playin' and I ain't lion.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
I just can't wait to read my favorite Redskins blogs over the next two weeks. After blowing the Giants game and opportunity, the comments will be ripe and richly deserved. And the best part is that we have two weeks for it all to sink in.
Not to worry, Redskins fans. The team is favored to beat the bye by four points; same as they were favored to beat the Giants.
Among the anguished newspaper columns about the game was Mike Wise's No Offense Taken. Wise reflects what surely is felt in Redskinnation today, but he makes some statements that I take exception to. So, I'm going to stand in defense of the Redskins against Wise's charges.
CHARGE: ". . . it's hard to fathom why throwing the ball to Mike Sellers in the flat from the one yard line makes any sense with a shot at overtime on the line . . . ."
DEFENSE: NOT GUILTY -- In 2005, Sellers scored seven touchdowns, all of them through the pass. One of the criticisms of Al Saunders last season was his poor use of Sellers, especially in the red zone. Sellers, along with Chris Cooley is exactly who the Skins should look for when close to the goal line.
Execution of the play is fair game, but the play call was a good one.
CHARGE: "It's harder to understand the reasoning behind not having Clinton Portis on the field for the final three plays on offense."
DEFENSE: NO CONTEST -- Apparently, the TV commentators suggested that Portis was benched because of a fumble earlier in the game. I didn't hear the comment, but if anything, he might have been benched for throwing the ball after a play. That drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Joe Gibbs demoted Brandon Lloyd for tossing his helmet late last season. Derek Frost got a stern talking-to after similar conduct. Both of those incidents resulted in penalties. Coach don't play that.
Wise does make the point that Portis should have been in the backfield for at least one of those plays. Coach can say that both Portis and Ladell Betts are equivilent, but they are not. Betts is a bruiser, and a fast one. Portis is a scorer. He is the Mr. Touchdown of the team. Send a play through the middle of the line? OK, use Betts. Running to the perimeter? Absolutely use CP.
CHARGE: "The Redskins were out of timeouts, but Campbell inexplicably spiked the ball with 1 minute 15 seconds left -- plenty of time to get to the line of scrimmage and not waste a down."
DEFENSE: NOT GUILTY -- This is not inexplicable at all. The coaches called for the spike. First down was as good a time to do it as any.
When you are a running team with no timeouts [as Wise said] and with intent to run the ball from the one, you are going to spike the ball sometime in the series. Gibbs wanted the jumbo package in the line-up. And the offense needed to get itself together and set for the play. That's a lot going on with the clock ticking. Bearing in mind the confusion and penalties at the end of the half in the Eagles game, stopping the clock to take a deep breadth on first down was a good call.
Wise might have questioned why the Redskins used all three timeouts before the two minute warning. Or, why a running team can't run a bleeping yard with the game on the line. Those are less defensible [and I hope someone asks the question]. That wasn't his charge, so I'm not answering it here.
CHARGE: "They [the Redskins] had every opportunity to put a woozy team away with a roundhouse right. The main reason they could not is because the offense failed to bring the hammer down and finish the job the defense started."
DEFENSE: uh, Guilty, your Honor.
Philadelphia's surprisingly easy win over Detroit comes as no surprise to me. Detroit took one look at the Eagles throwback uniforms and died of laughter.
I had a fleeting feeling before the game that it would be a rough day for the Skins. For one thing, they were the unanimous favorites to win. I just don't think the team can take that kind of press[ure].
And why the 1970-71 throwbacks? They are knock-offs of Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers uniforms. You don't see the Packers, who won yesterday, wearing imitation Redskins uniforms.
The Skins went 15-12-1 in that get-up, including George Allen's first year record of 9-4-1. When Allen's 11-3 team went to the Super Bowl the next season, they were in an early version of the current uni's.
Make those fake Paker uniforms go away.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Even when things didn't work right, they worked for the Washington Redskins. Consider this series at the end of the second quarter of the Redskins game against the Philadelphia Eagles:
1st & Goal, PHI 1 (:14) - QB Jason Campbell spikes the ball to stop the clock.
2nd & Goal, PHI 1 (:14) - PENALTY, delay of game, -5 yards
2nd & 6, PHI 4 (:14) - PENALTY, false start on Jason Fabini (WAS), -5 yards
2nd & 11, PHI 11, (:14) - Redskins set up for field goal, Philadelphia calls time out. The Skins then set up for an offensive play.
2nd & 11, PHI 11 (:14) - PENALTY, false start on Jason Fabini (WAS), -5 yards
2nd & 16, PHI 16 (:14) - Jason Campbell pass to Chris Cooley, TOUCHDOWN!
With that improbable series of plays, the Redskins retook the lead at the half and never relinquished it. With most pundits expecting the Redskins to pound the ball, it was quarterback Jason Campbell who turned up the heat, completing 16 of 29 for 207 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.
Campbell showed a nice touch with the deep ball, completing a 48 yarder to Santana Moss in the first quarter, that the Skins converted to a field goal four plays later.
Earlier, Campbell tossed a deep pass to TE Chris Cooley, who dropped the catch.
In the third quarter, Campbell found Ladell Betts for a screen pass that Betts converted to a 28 yard gain to the Eagles 35. Later in the drive that carried into the fourth quarter, Campbell found TE Todd Yoder for an 18 yard gain. Yoder was hit by Eagles DB Brian Dawkins, who was injured during the play. He left the game.
Clinton Portis slammed the ball into the Eagles endzone with his six yard coffin closing TD run.
The game was a characteristic NFC East defensive struggle. The defense denied the Eagles an offensive touchdown. They pressured gimpy Donovan McNabb, who never-the-less completed 28 of 46 passes for 240 yards. DC native Brian Westbrook managed 162 yards of total offense. The Eagles could only manage field goals when they needed touchdowns.
The Redskins are 2-0, tied for division first place with the Dallas Cowboys.
Chris Cooley is worth every dime of his new contract.
NFL game recap. Washington 20, Philadelphia 12
Monday, September 17, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Skin Patrol at Hogs Haven points to a story posted at footballguys.com that ranks NFL teams in real money. As the story puts it:
Washington absolutely demolishes the rest of the league in total revenues ($312mm) and has a fantastic 21% operating margin. In other words, for all that money Daniel Snyder wastes, er, I mean spends on big ticket free agents, he’s got more profits to spare than anyone else in the league.
Daniel Snyder is a prideful guy. I don't think he will sit still at being No. 2 to the Cowboys. If a new stadium is all it takes to make the Cowboys the most valuable team, then Danny will want a newer, bigger one. FedEx Field is still a teenager, but it's doomed. Or, domed, whichever comes first.
"Back-to-back summer-weather nationally televised games hosted by Washington and Dallas confirmed beyond doubt what NFL observers have been thinking for several years -- the Redskins cheerleaders are now the league's hottest dance team, leaving the Cowboys cheerleaders in their aesthetic dust. Twenty years ago, the Cowboys' pep squad may have been the best-looking and best-dancing in the NFL. Now, it's not even close -- the Redskins cheerleaders are No. 1 in looks and in choreography. Here they are, and here's their warm-to-the-touch swimsuit calendar. At this point, the Broncos cheerleaders tie the Redskins cheerleaders in beauty and the Eagles cheerleaders tie them in choreography, but Washington finishes first overall, including for game-day professionalism."
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Marcus Mason was a story you like to write about. He was living every boy's dream of growing up and playing for the home team.
Alas, Jon Jansen's injury triggered a series of moves that ended in Mason's release -- for now -- from the team.
The Return of a King is Aaron Stern's story in The Connection Newspapers about Mason, growing up in Potomac, Maryland, his college experience and triumph in making the Washington Redskins roster.
Stern lightly touches the issues of Mason's college transfer from Illinois to Youngstown State and covers that tense afternoon on cut down day, September 1, as Mason waited for the call that never came, the call informing him "thank you, but . . . ."
"No call is a good call," Rock Cartwright informed the rookie. The realization that Mason made the team set off a joyous family celebration. Mason's Mom is a former Cowboys fan, recently converted to Burgundy & Gold.
I think and hope that we see Mason on the field at FedEx again. Omar Stoutmier was called back. Mason is too good not to be.
Return of a King is a good read, so go read it.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Elfin at The Times reports that the Washington Redskins cut Marcus Mason, their sensational rookie UDFA running back.
The move makes room on the active roster. The Skins expect Mason to clear waivers and will add him to the practice squad.
Elfin also says Redskins signed WR Reche Caldwell to the roster, perhaps explaining the Mason move.
Like Elfin, I say if you are signing borderline talent like Caldwell, you must be really unhappy with the receiving corps, or with someone on it.
Monday, September 10, 2007
. . . is 39 yards and a touchdown. In the off-season, it was fashionable in some circles to doubt the value of Clinton Portis. Some comments on fan forums proposed trading Portis for draft choices, now that Ladell Betts emerged as a NFL starter caliber running back.
Fickle fans prove that Daniel Snyder isn't the only one capable of making dumb personnel moves [I can honestly say that none of the bloggers I follow ever suggested any such thing. If they did, I wouldn't take them seriously as the authoritative Redskinologists they are.]
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Today's story in The Washington Examiner reports that the doubters and haters served to incite Portis to prove them wrong. He made a good start Sunday in the Dolphins game. Portis and Betts both carried the ball 17 times. Betts ran for 59 yards. Portis for 98 and a score. As Rick Snider said in the Examiner story
"Betts is a playmaker that every team loves to have, but Portis is a game-breaker."
Losing CP last year cost the Redskins eight touchdowns, I figure, and at least two games. You can blame the defense for the rest of the '06 disaster.
Portis is reading the devaluation stories as disrespect and he is out to prove the haters wrong. But, in that way that athletes use to motivate themselves, he's seeing everybody as haters, so he's out to prove the world wrong. Great. That can only help the Redskins.
Watch the game in the stadium and you get a different impression than watching on TV with the announcers giving background details. From the stands, it seemed that Betts gained much more than 59 yards and 3.4 yards per carry. Live and in person, he looked better than that.
Nothing about the Portis comments above is meant as a put down of Betts. He's a nice change of pace back who may well extend Portis' career. We are lucky to have him.
One of the conflicts between the Old Ball Coach and the owner was the choice of keeping young running back Kenny Watson or Betts. The OBC wanted Watson [with the Bengals last I heard]. The owner opted for Betts. [I remember reading that account, but won't trouble to look it up.]
I have little respect for the owner's ability to build a winning organization and often point out the error of his ways. Fairness compels me to give him his props when he makes a right call. Betts was a right one.
Also from the stadium, it seemed that Trent Green was completing deeper passes that his stats showed. Cam Cameron made good use of him in the game. Green showed that 35+ year olds can be sharp.
One game does not make a season. I thought the same of Brad Johnson last year after the Vikings game. Johnson looked good on his way to horrible season. But Green causes us to wonder what might have been if the Redskins managed to keep him.
Green was a cap casualty in 1998, with ownership inattention as a contributing factor. The Redskins were in the process of being sold. John Kent Cooke, son of old Jack, but not his heir
for the team, was fighting off the bid by Daniel Snyder's consortium. Team roster was not at top of mind. Cooke lost. Snyder won. Green was lost [signed with St. Louis].
Snyder looked to make a big splash with high profile signings. If Green were here at the time, it would have been him, instead of Brad Johnson, who would have been left unsigned at the end of his contract because the owner preferred the big gun of Jeff George. Everybody in football, save Snyder, knew better than to take George.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
This is a scratch pad of my thinking of how the season will go for the Redskins. The write-up will be on Hog Heaven [more about that below].
Dolphins: The Dolphins have the same profile as the Vikings last year - new coach, aging QB, respectable defense. I picked the Redskins to win that game and got fooled. I'm picking them again because this year, the Skins are a better team. Win, 1-0
@ Eagles: I don't know how the Eagles do it. I mean Hank Basket? C'mon. Whether Hank Basket or Easter Basket, Skins won't win here. Loss, 1-1
Giants: I have respected the Giants, but their fans are beginning to annoy me. Not like those Iggles fans, but annoying. I figure the Skins to split. They won't beat the Giants in the Meadowlands; so, it has to be here. Win, 2-1
BYE Week: Too early in the season.
Lions: Kitna says the Lions will win 10 games this year. I believe him. I'd be worried if they were playing in Michigan. Speaking of Michigan . . . . Win, 3-1
@ Packers: There is no reason to believe that the Skins will lose this game, except for Farve and the Tundra. I'm calling it a loss, but the Skins could steal this one. That will go a long way towards the playoffs. Loss, 3-2
Cardinals: Jason Campbell and Matt Leinart on the same field. Oh, the hype! The Cardinals have a legit #2 wide receiver. When can we get one of those? Russ Grimm returns to Old DC with the Cards. Pay attention, he could be the next head coach. Naw, the owner will go for a bigger "name." Dammit. Win, 4-2
@ Patriots: Will the improved secondary cause the quarterback to hold the ball too long? Fuhgetaboudit. Or, do they only say that in New York? Loss, 4-3
@ Jets: The Skins are jinxed at the Meadowlands. Loss, 4-4
Eagles: Stupid Iggles fans. I hate them all. At 4-4 (or better), there shouldn't be too many extra tickets floating around for Iggles people to buy. Good. At FedEx they are all illegal immigrants, anyway. Stop them at the border. Unfortunately, they will admit Donovan McNabb if he's healthy. Loss, 4-5
@ Cowboys: Purely a homer pick. Win, 5-5
@ Buccaneers: Forget that pseudo Ravens "rivalry." The Buccaneers are where it's at. If they realign the NFC East, I'm voting these guys in. The Skins - Buc's series always has controversy, and the games always mean something. Gruden is fighting for his job. I'm expecting war. The loser will have a tough time the rest of the season. Win -- a close one. 6-5
Bills: If the Skins lose to these guys, they should just bolt the door on the way home. Win, 7-5
Bears: The revenge of Adam Archuleta. Lovie Smith will use Arch the way he is supposed to be used and Arch will have a good year. Redskins fans will hate him for that, too, because, as you know, the entire defensive collapse was solely his fault. Loss, 7-6
@ Giants: The Meadowlands will still be jinxed. Loss, 7-7
@ Vikings: The Vikes have a very respectable defense. That's what you worry about. They have no one to catch the ball and I never heard of the one throwing the ball. Adrian Peterson can't help you when you are playing from behind. Win, 8-7
Cowboys: Post season may be on the line for both teams, so this game will be a dandy. This game is always a dandy. Win, 9-7
The Redskins will contend for a wild card.
Some of you may know that Master4caster is the alter ego of meek, mild-mannered blogger Anthony Brown, the principle writer for Hog Heaven on mvn.com [not to be confused with Hogs Haven on SBN. Hog Heaven and Hogs Haven enjoy a productive and friendly relationship in Redskinology, but MVN and SBN are competing blog networks.].
Last year, Master4caster reserved the insightful, the profane and the off-color for Running Redskins, and the newsy stories for Hog Heaven. This year, I'm making a strategic change of direction.
Blogs are here to stay. The next evolutionary development of the medium is blogs networks. In two or three years, I think blog enterprises like MVN and SBN will give ESPN a run for the money and stand-alone blogs like Running Redskins will remain niched.
This prediction may be no better than my football forecasts, but I'm placing my bets on networks, so will post more insight more often on Hog Heaven, saving the profane humor and background thinking [and off topics like Ookie Vick] to Running Redskins. Bram Weinstein's Covering the Redskins [which I will add to the blogroll soon, I promise] is my model for this.
I expect to post here about twice a week during the season. I have many blogging friends -- I think of you as friends -- who stop by, and didn't want anyone to think I abandoned you, or this blog.
If you want the newest stuff from the thinking machine that is me, see the meek, mild mannered guy at Hog Heaven. If you want rants, stick around.
Posted by Master4Caster at 9:39 PM
Saturday, September 01, 2007
I have to admit, it's not a strong one. In his last two games with the Falcons, Bramlet completed 5 of 9 passes for 80 yards; no TDs, no interceptions.
Bramlet played in the second half of Atlanta's game against the Ravens last night. While his numbers weren't bad, I thought he was slow of foot for an NFL player. On one occasion, it looked like he held the ball too long when he was sacked.
Sometimes that's exactly the right thing to do. You have to be a coach who knows the play and can see where the scheme broke down to assess responsibility.
This discussion take on an air of urgency after watching Jordan Palmer's play in the second half of the Redskins game against the Jaguars. Palmer looked like what he was: a small school rookie who had no reps in practice playing with a bunch of guys. He went 2 of 10 for 12 yards for a QB rating of 0.0. Bramlet looks good in comparison. So, why did the Redskins cut him?
I'm guessing the Redskins knew more about Bramlet from the '06 training camp and the NFLe film and this season's training camp. I'm guessing further that the team believes that Casey is already the best he will ever be.
Palmer is unknown. He reportedly has a bigger arm than Bramlet and maybe a bigger upside. It was hard to see that in Thursday's game. In any event, the Skins needed more tape on Palmer. So he stayed and he played. You would expect Bramlet to be more polished, but Palmer is very raw. He is nowhere near the talent of his big brother Carson.
For a team that makes every other personnel decision based on who can help now, you would think Bramlet would be the choice.
Jamaal Anderson was a fan favorite as the top draft pick for the Redskins. The Skins took LaRon Landry and Anderson was drafted by the Falcons. So, as long as I am stoking those woulda-shoulda fires, I'll point out that in preseason game three, Anderson was Atlanta's leading tackler with five tackles and two sacks. I'm not sure the Redskins made two sacks all preseason.
I'm not knocking the Landry selection. He fits Gre-double G's defensive schemes better. Williams and the Skins are putting great faith in the youth movement on the D-line. Time will tell if that was a good move.
Posted by Master4Caster at 11:27 AM