Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Redskins at Bunker Hill

Once again, the Patriots showed what they do to interlopers in red clothes who attack them at home.

52-7 is a stunning loss and it took awhile for the fan in me to recover.

Cleverest headline from the game: 'Skinned alive at thesunchronical.com.

The my meek mild-mannered alter ego wrote Speechless at Hog Heaven on Monday. It was some of his best stuff, but no one saw it because Greg Trippiedi posted an even better piece about an hour later. See Did Pats run up the score?

Joseph White is often overlooked by bloggers as a Redskins writer because he is not part of the Post, Times or Examiner stable. But, as the Associated Press beat reporter, it's his recaps that shows up on nfl.com, espn and outside newspapers like USA TODAY.

White did a "morning after" story for Monday's USA TODAY that asks Following 52-7 blowout loss to Patriots, Redskins wondering how it happened.

So are we.

White wrote this post mortem on the Skins:

"New England showed the rest of the league how to attack Washington's deep zone: Run the ball and dump short passes to the running backs in the flat and the slot receiver over the middle. The Patriots' 486 yards sent the Redskins plummeting from No. 1 to No. 6 in the NFC in yards allowed, and cornerback Carlos Rogers was lost for the season with a knee injury.

"That's nothing compared to the offensive problems. The Redskins are now the only team in the NFL without a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. Clinton Portis is averaging 2.7 yards per carry in his last three games. Moss has 49 yards receiving in his last three games."

I don't agree with White's assessment on attacking the defense. What the Patriots showed was how they could attack the Redskins defense. The Jets, the Eagles, the Bears, most of the teams on the schedule do not have the wide receivers who can lure Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry out of the way by running deep patterns. Some that do, like the Cowboys maybe, don't have the talent to exploit it the way the Pats did. Marvelous team.

Busted Illusions

New England showed how far the Redskins have to go to be a Super Bowl competitive team. Our biggest loss was the loss of illusion, and that's not all bad.

The Redskins are a pretty good team, even very good when everyone is healthy. They are sitting pretty for a 9-7 or 10-6 record. They might even make the playoffs. They are unlikely to win a playoff game unless a lot of things improve.

This is football. Teams are never healthy. The teams who make the playoffs and thrive are the ones who manage for that with roster resiliency through depth, the ones who survive attrition. The Redskins don't have that. With the way they assess and source their talent, it's unlikely they will get it.

Carlos Rogers strained the tendons in his knee and he is out for the season. Now the team is thin at that position again. They will have to go out and get someone. That's how we got Mike Rumph.

You can't take shortcuts to building a championship, not and compete with the likes of the Patriots and the Colts who have championship front offices that build winning teams for the long haul. Like the Redskins used to do.

Everybody knows your name

That line comes from the CHEERS theme song. Right now Boston is on everybody's lips. The Sox won the Series. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl. Boston College is No. 2 in the BCS poll. The Celtics, with Kevin Garnett, are looking up. It's great to be a Boston sports fan.

As a Democrat, I shudder at what that could say about Mitt Romney.

Mitt is the son of George Romney who was Governor of Michigan when I was a college student at Michigan State. I admired George Romney. He was one of the few Republicans I considered voting for. The elder Romney was moderately conservative. That's not red enough for today's Republicans.

As Secretary of HUD, Romney enticed Richard Nixon to visit a Washington, DC housing project to give the president a feel for the struggles of living in a slum and what Romney, as HUD Secretary hoped to do about it.

Even in the news reel, you could see that Nixon was about as comfortable in that environment as "W" was in New Orleans. But, I digress.

In sports, it's a good time to be from Boston.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A different Brandon Lloyd

Brandon Lloyd did an eight minute interview with WRC-TV. It's a different view of Lloyd. He comes off as candid and personable. Go take a look here.

I never let myself forget that I can't do what the athlete I'm criticizing can do. [say that three times fast.] So, interviews like this one present a different facet of Lloyd. You want to see him do well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Your defense homework

OK, fellow bloggers and readers, your next reading assignment is John Keim's article in The Washington Examiner No blitz, no problem (hat tip to ExtremeSkins.com).

Read it as the companion piece to Matt Bowen's article Skins at home in Tampa Two, also from the Examiner.

Those two stories explain how the Redskin defense fixed its problems to become so effective. It sure looks like Gregg Williams ideas are better conceived than the offense. I think the Skins are going to beat New England 3-0! Maybe that third "g" really does stand for "genius."

Former Redskin safety Bowen has put out nice pieces for the Examiner. Go back and read is piece following the Eagles game Defense not afraid to win the game, offense should take similar approach.

Good stuff

Monday, October 22, 2007

Max McGee

I'm fortunate enough to have seen every Super Bowl. That's more championship games than I can count in Roman Numerals. That means that I saw the first NFL-AFL World Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs while sitting in my college dorm's TV room with a bunch of mostly other guys. [We thought ourselves fortunate that Michigan State provided us with a big 25" color TV.]

Green Bay trounced the Chiefs 35-10 and the onslaught was led by reserve wide receiver Max McGee who scored the first Super Bowl touchdown on a pass from Bart Starr.

McGee died Saturday after a fall from the roof of his house. Sad.

Max McGee had a life after football as a restaurateur. Think of him the next time you are in a Chi-Chis or Original Pancake House.

Photo: i.a.cnn.net

Cardinal rule: win ugly if you have to

This time, the Washington Redskins held on for the win after a letting a big lead evaporate. Twice before this season, the Redskins let the other guys pull away from them.

They got the win, so the glass must be half full. The score and the wins are the only stats that count.

Clever headlines about yesterday's 21-19 win over the Arizona Cardinals:

The cause of everything

I am of the opinion that the line causes 51 percent of everything that happens on offense. This is from anecdotal evidence after long observation of football. It's not scientific like the stuff you find on Football Outsiders, but I believe it to be true. The recent struggles of the Redskins offence is more evidence of that.

Joe Jacobi commented on the SportsTalk 980 Radio after the game that a team could cope with replacing one player on the offensive line, but replacing two would be very difficult. Replacing three would present near insurmountable problems. The Redskins have replaced four if you count right guard Pete Kendall who arrived in late training camp via trade.

Good trades and bad

Kendall is an example of a good use of the trade to bring in a key role player to fill a specific need. Kendall performs with no let down of talent of the man he replaced. That's unlike so many other Redskin trades that are not additive: lose a top cornerback and a draft choice for a top running back; swap a receiver [Lav Cole] for another receiver [Santana Moss]; drop an unproductive receiver [Rod Gardner] and trade for a less productive receiver [Brandon Lloyd].

The Redskins may never overcome the tendency. Consider how close the owner came to the Lance Brigg trade. If that were executed, the Chicago Bears would have our No. 1 draft pick and Rocky McIntosh, but hey, we would have Briggs. Few fans in Washington favored the deal. How does a like-for-like swap build on what you have. If a deal were to be done, we wanted a D-lineman.

Only the owner was enticed by the offer. Joe Gibbs did his best service for the Redskins by killing it, help along by Bears GM Jerry Angelo's demand for McIntosh to sweeten the deal.

But I digress.

Unnatural acts

Offensive linemen are anonymous because they must play as a unit. Everyone else is a skilled player. It seems to take two or three seasons of playing together for linemen to jell as a cohesive unit. Going into the season, we saw the O-line as a strength because of how well they played as a unit over the years.

Injuries have blown that up. Joe Bugel is resorting to unnatural acts to cope. Mike Pucillo is doing OK as a center, but is lost to the team in the flexible extra blocker role he plays in the jumbo package. TE Todd Yoder is a better blocker that Chris Cooley, so do you keep Cooley out so Yoder can block, or do you play Cooley to block so that he can at least pretend to be a receiving threat? Can you have Scarface Alexander play on both the offensive and defensive line? Do you really want Rich DeMulling to start?

Injuries are part of football. Watching how teams cope is part of the drama of the game, part of the test of a champion. Fixing the issues on the O-line will fix 51 percent of what ails the offense.

Monday, October 15, 2007

How many ways can the Redskins drop the ball?

There are fifty ways to leave your lover and just as many ways to drop the football, apparently.

As I sit here, forehead collapsed in the palms of my hands, contemplating yesterday's Green Bay game, I come to one inescapable conclusion. Our stars dropped the ball. They let us down, man.

I could see in their faces how badly they felt. I know that Clinton Portis and Santana Moss will win us more games than they lose, but yesterday they blew it. My meek, mild-mannered alter ego will write about that on Hog Heaven later today.

Oh-for four against Brett Favre. It's the moral equivalent of the Lions' 0 for 21 against the Redskins in Washington.

In truth, it was a game I always figured the Redskins to lose on the way to a 9-7 record. So, I don't see the loss as losing ground, but when your stars drop the ball . . . .

The loss hurts because it puts the Skins at a tie-breaker disadvantage to the Packers for a wild-card.

There's another, more important, streak the Redskins have to be concerned about. They haven't won at the Meadowlands since the '90s [have to verify that, but think it's true]. They visit the Jets and the Giants this season. They have to beat the Giants at the Meadowlands, thanks to blowing it at home in week three. Beating the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets would make up for lost ground.

Tough assignment, but they can do it; as long as our stars hold on to the ball.

Oh yeah, remember how Mark Brunell played so poorly in '04 and it turned out he was injured? Same thing for Santana Moss. He's just not the same player. I'm convinced that his groin injuries have a role in that. Twaan Randle El will be our leading receiver this year. I hope he's durable enough.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Redskins Big Spending

If you do nothing else today, spend the time to read Redskins' big-spending philosophy contrasts with Packers posted at PackersNews.com. It's lengthy, but a good summation of the pros and cons of free agency for building a pro football roster.

The Washington Redskins franchise is the poster child for free agency in contrast to the frugal Packers.

After last season's free agency orgy, the Redskins went all republican this year. Limited draft choices and salary cap does that to you. But, the story hints that maybe, just maybe, the Skins are altering their approach to roster building. The future of the team rests with its draft choices: Sean Taylor, Jason Campbell, LaRon Landry, Fred Smoot, Chris Cooley, Chris Samuels, Rocky McIntosh.

We may look back and see that 2007 was the year the Redskins recognized that. A good GM would have helped them see it sooner.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Michael Vick Talking?

Heard on the street, or rather, on the parking lot at FedEx, Michael Vick is talking his head off.

To have some impact on his November sentencing, Michael Vick is spilling what he knows about dog fighting, including potentially damaging information about past and present NFL players.

Information heard in parking lots from people you are barely on a first name basis is far from confirmed sources. So, you have to take this as potentially alleged rumor.

It reminded me that there is more to come from this story, probably around the time of Vick's sentencing in late November.


Oh no. Not here. Not today.

That's what the Redskins were really saying to the Detroit Lions and their highly vaunted offensive.

34-3! What a display of dominance. One thing that 34 point, fourth quarter comeback last week against the Bears did was to alert the Washington Redskins to the Lions threat, which removed any risk of a trap game.

I can't find any better description of the magnitude of today's accomplishment than the Detroit News, ROADSKINNED: Lions outplayed in D.C. rout. Go take a look. [Note: may require registration.]

Friday, October 05, 2007

Join the Redskins team

Director of Consumer Marketing - Washington Redskins (Washington, DC)

The Washington Redskins is seeking a seasoned strategic thinker to join our team as the Director of Consumer Marketing. The selected candidate will report directly to our Chief Operating Officer and will be responsible for product development, market segmentation, database development, and direct marketing as well as identifying and defining other consumer marketing support elements.

Qualifications & Responsibilities:

  • A minimum of 7 years of progressive career experience within marketing, with emphasis in consumer marketing experience.
  • Experience conducting extensive consumer, industry, market, geographic, product, and segment trend analysis to maximize marketing effectiveness and identify expansion opportunities.
  • Implement, monitor and evaluate all aspects of direct marketing in order to maximize “response.”
  • Database development experience, preferable with a marketing schema.
  • Excellent strategy development, marketing, financial, analytical, critical-thinking, and interpersonal skills; attention to detail and ability to think both strategically and tactically.
  • Experience presenting programs, ideas, results, and promotional information.
  • Capable of analyzing and creating reports to ascertain behaviors and key findings from consumers.
  • Strong time management skill is required to consistently meet deadlines and ensure implementation of initiatives.
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities and ability to lead and influence diverse and cross functional groups toward meaningful results.

The Washington Redskins offer a competitive salary and an excellent benefits package.

Note: When you apply for this job online, you will be required to answer the following questions:

  1. Yes/No: I have at least 7 years of consumer marketing experience.
  2. Yes/No: I have previous marketing experience with a sports team.

Apply for this position.

Click here to see all current NFL career opportunities.

Note: According to the Washington Business Journal, Terry Bateman is the COO of the Washington Redskins.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Okoye named Rookie of the Month

Not that I'm complaining about LaRon Landry, but Amobi Okoye has been named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for September 2007.

I was pulling for the Washington Redskins to select Okoye with their first round draft pick to add some pass rushing to the defensive line. The Skins selected safety LaRon Landry and Okoye was later picked up by the Houston Texans.

Anthony Montgomery is doing fairly well on the Redskins D-line, but Okoye has 10 tackles and 4 sacks, so far. Montgomery has 4 tackles, but no sacks.

With injuries and other problems we see on the Redskins, the team should use the first three picks in the 2008 Draft on a wide receiver, an O-lineman and a D-lineman. It's too soon to say in what order.