Friday, December 29, 2006

The world upside down

Going into the season, I projected the NFC East ranking to be:

  1. Washington
  2. New York
  3. Dallas
  4. Philadelphia

Reality is the reverse of expectations. Who knew?

At the end of this most forgettable year, The Redskins and Giants inhabit the bottom of the division. The Redskins were never a factor in the playoff race. The Giants have dropped six of their last seven and look to a tumultuous offseason. They can make the playoff whether or not they beat the Skins Saturday, but won't get far the way they are playing. has a video preview of the game. It may be found on the home page titled "Ready for better days" with Plaxico Burress pictured. (You may have to use the "next cover story" hot key to advance to the "better days" story.) Look for the NYG-WAS Preview link among the story offerings.

Redskin alumnus Fred Smoot suffered a broken jaw in five places as a result of a one car accident during the Christmas break. Smoot was a passenger in the car and the only one with a serious injury.

Fred has not done well since leaving the Redskins after 2004. He lost the starting position for the Vikings and the love boat incident damaged his reputation. What a lousy way to end the year.

Not to make light of it, but I like the way the blogger at The Sports Dirt put it: Broken jaw which the universe probably meant for Terrell Owens sidelines Fred Smoot.

Arch Speaks
An interview of Adam Archuleta, whom the Redskins made the wealthiest safety in the league, then buried deep in the roster, is shown on He was subdued and did not speculate on what may happen in the offseason. posted a link to an ESPN article that quoted Archuleta stating the Skins have not been upfront with him in reference to his benching. "I don't like getting lied to," he says. This can only end badly.

So was Archuleta wrong for taking a potload of Mr. Snyder's money, or was it Gre-double G for bringing him on board? What's certain is that circumstances forced the team to use Archuleta differently than intended.

When signed, the Skins cited Archuleta's run stopping ability. He was to be a linebacker lite and bring pressure in the pass rush. Rocky McIntosh was drafted as an every down backer who could cover. With Archuleta threatening to blitz and McIntosh fading to coverage where Arch was, momentary confusion by the offense would allow just enough of a slip to let Arch or another defender blow up a play. Classic Gregg Williams! Clever, if it worked.

That scheme was shelved when Shawn Springs and Pierson Prioleau went down. Mcintosh was slow to catch on. Suddenly, the Redskins needed safeties who could cover deep. Archuleta and Sean Taylor are big hitters. Their role is to intimidate, not smother, receivers. The shock and awe secondary delivered aw shit performance.

The coaching staff's treatment of Archuleta has a whiff of LaVar Arrington. Better people skills may have redeemed the Arrington situation and for a contract similar to LaVar's New York deal. The Redskins miss his playmaking ability. Better people skills may have preserved a positive relationship with Archuleta. He too has valuable skills and his career is not done. It's just done here.

"We have wide receivers that have not been given the opportunity to be as productive as we know that they can be." ~~ Al Saunders from Coaches Corner, December 28, 2006.

Fred Smoot photo from The Minnesota Vikings. Archuleta-Gibbs photo from The Washington Redskins.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A safe and non-controversial Christmas, er, Holiday Greeting

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice an organized religion at all; and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great, without regard to the race, creed, color, or religious or sexual preferences of the wishers or wishees.


  • This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal.
  • It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for themselves or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring.
  • No warranties express or implied.
  • Void where prohibited by law.

Please recycle. No animals were harmed in the drafting of this notice. Only recycled bits, bytes, and electrons were used.

I wish I were clever enough to have created this, but it came to me in a email. I am Christian and this is Christmas, so I wish all of you the joy and happiness of the season in the spirit it was intended. Where ever you go and what ever you do, may God bless!


Friday, December 15, 2006

Hopes that were high

And hopes that were high in the heat of September,
Wilt and die in the chill of November.
November can be cold.
November can be surly;
With bitter rain upon the world
And winter coming early.
~~ NFL Films

Second-guessing is all that’s left of this Deadskin season, with fingers pointed at the coach-in-chief. To his credit, Joe Gibbs has always said “it all starts with me.” AP reporter Joseph White penned a story about Gibbs’ assessment of the year, broadly laying out his approach to the off-season. The biggest story is Gibbs’ intent to return in 2007, along with the deputy coaches. That’s a good thing. Frequent change hurts the Redskins. Stability helps the team (meaning Jason Campbell) be more effective next year. In this case, familiarity breeds rewards. What’s worrisome is the coach’s contention that their process of assessing talent won’t change. Humph!

On Thanksgiving Friday, Hog Heaven published It All Starts With Joe Gibbs looking at the breakdown in achievement of two of the coach’s main goals: build a winning organization and update the offense. The story contends that Gibbs made too many changes at once. In any other circumstance, we would have recognized all those moves as rebuilding steps. Instead we all (players, coaches, fans) worked ourselves to a such frenzy over the ’05 finish, that we saw all those changes as additive. Now, 2006 and 2007 are rebuilding years. Hog Heaven concludes that, while Gibbs’ choices were the issues, Gibbs is the answer.

Two of our team’s remaining opponents are playing for their playoff life, giving them the motivational advantage.

Bad as the season is, the record is liberating. The players can play for fun as well as to save their career butts. As long as they are not so loose that they make stupid mistakes, the games should be more enjoyable for them and for us.

The coaches can take risks that otherwise wouldn’t be prudent. Next time the Skins are in the Red Zone five yard line on fourth and short, don’t take the field goal. GO FOR IT!

And, lets not do it with Randle El gadget plays.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Redskins were doomed by overconfidence

At least according to Redskins DE Phillip Daniels, overconfidence from last season's success contributed to the team's downfall this season.

Read AP reporter Joseph White's story here.

Phillip Daniels photo from


Monday, December 11, 2006

GO for it!

At points in the season, Running Redskins engaged in a low level, friendly debate with The Curly R on whether to take the points or go for it on fourth and short situations. Master4caster usually holds that you are better off taking the easy field goal rather than risk coming away pointless. The Redskins Sunday were in two situations when they should have taken their chances and gone for it.

When you have something to lose, you limit risks and play the percentages. The Redskins have nothing more to lose. There isn't much difference between a 7-9 and a 5-11 record, so they are free to take calculated risks.

In the third quarter on third and twelve, Jason Campbell scrambled for ten yards to the Eagles two. The way Ladell Betts was running, and no assurance the team would make it back to the Red Zone, a fourth down running play for a touchdown was the smart play; "smarter" meaning a better chance to win. The successful field goal still left the Skins down by two scores. A touchdown would have had them down by one score, 21-13. Assuming all subsequent scoring, the Skins would have won the game 23-21. If they missed, with all subsequent scoring, the team would have lost 21-16; no worse off than the actual outcome.

In the fourth quarter, with 5:37 to go, the Redskins held possession on the Eagles three yard line. A stupid illegal substitution penalty moved the ball back to third and eight on the Philly 8 (I believe this was too many men in the huddle. Someone got their packages mix-up) Now, I'm not as smart as million dollar coaches, but I know that's not the situation to run another Randle El gadget play. The Eagles gave up yards in chunks to Ladell Betts all day. It's the three yard line. It's four down territory. A touchdown puts you ahead. There's no assurance The Skins get that close again. You go for it! That was the smart play. The smart call was Betts.

Instead, the Skins called another trick play and 'Twaan Randle El was sacked for a nine yard loss to bring up fourth and 17 at the Philly 17. That presented more of a challenge. Situation analysis says field goal, but the team's situation still allowed them to go for broke. The Eagles' control of the last five minutes made the Skins' successful field goal irrelevant.

In fact, the coaches took the wrong risk at the wrong time. Few Randle El trick plays worked this season - that 40 yard pass to Brandon Lloyd earlier in the quarter was a beautiful thing! The high probability play on third and eight deep in the Red Zone was Betts. It was four down territory. If Betts gained six, or even four yards, it would have set up a manageable fourth and short with options involving Betts, Cooley or Sellers. Randle El trick plays are risky - more so than fourth and goal plays.

The season is gone. The playoffs are gone. Losing another game makes no difference. This year, the offense has to help the defense. On third/fourth and short, inside five yard line, go for it!

Twice inside the five yard line and no touchdowns!

Any more Randle El trick plays and I'm going to call him Randle El Gadget!

The way Betts is playing, TJ Duckett may never touch the ball again as a Redskin!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Flipping the bird

My apologies to readers for not posting for awhile. The cares and pressures of life and livelihood intruded in an ugly way to divert me from the truly important work of blogging the Redskins. My priorities are straight. This won't happen again; or, at least not too soon. To get caught up, this article is being cross-posted to RUNNING REDSKINS and to HOG HEAVEN. Now, on to team news!

We knew the defense didn't build on the 2005 season, but couldn't they have built on the previous week (Panthers)?

The McNabbless Iggles visit FedEx today. Amazingly, Philadelphia, at 6-6, is still in the playoff hunt. That alone tweaks Redskin pride. Stupid losses to the Buccaneers and to the Titans, teams the Redskins should have beaten, deny the Skins their shot. Playoff teams beat teams they should beat and they win at home. The Skins didn't do that, so . . . .

Washington's season is reduced to entertainment value. The Iggles are playing for postseason life. That gives them a motivational edge. Even the guys on George Michael's Redskins Report (WRC TV) cast doubt on Washington's ability to prevail, although officially, homers George and Sonny picked the Redskins.

The poor season season means lots of fans will go Christmas shopping today and their tickets will fall in the hands of those boorish people in green shirts. It's the last home game before Christmas. I think Santa will deliver a three point present to Redskins fans.

The Redskins lost the season before it began with Clinton Portis injured and the defense nowhere near what it was. Portis' shoulder issues were freakish and could have happened anytime. Pay no attention to talk that he shouldn't have been in the game (preseason game one). Of course he should have been in. All of the veterans should have been in and for longer to fine tune their play.

As for the defense, injuries and far too many roster changes caught up to them. Sure, losing Shawn Springs and Pierson Prioleau hurt big, but over time, we also said good-bye to Champ Bailey, Fred Smoot, Antonio Pierce, Ryan Clark and Walt Harris, the NFC's defensive player of the month. The last straw was LaVar Arrington. This team plays differently without Arrington prowling the field or the sideline. Injured or not, the man could hit. The squad seemed to pick up when he was on the field. Much like Ryan Clark, LaVar's influence went beyond his play and extended into the locker room. You get the sense the coaches didn't know that. Or care. If you are like me (and I know I am), you are thinking the team should have kept LaVar and dumped Dale Lindsey.

Clark and Harris were one year players for the Skins. They were allowed to leave and did well for their next teams. Think about that as the Redskins decide if Kenny Wright and Mike Rumph stay or go. I'm thinking Washington shouldn't be so quick to release them. After a year in this system, they will make a bigger contribution to the team in 2007, as Clark and Harris might have this year, than anyone Washington imports.

With TJ Duckett and Ladell Betts on the roster, the Redskins had a choice in running backs. The Skins' preference for Betts was confirmed last week when they extended his contract. Betts deserved it. He paid his dues. He is running well. He fits Al Saunders offense better than Duckett. But, as a fellow Michigan State alum, the Redskins treatment of Duckett frosts me. For all the use they made of Duckett, the Redskins could have pulled Nemo Broughton off the practice squad and wasted that third round draft choice in some other useless way.

Too bad Rod Gardner isn't available. He could help this offense. Stop laughing. In his last year here (2004), Gardner caught 51 passes for 650 yards and 5 touchdowns. This season to date, Brandon Lloyd and Twaan Randle El combined for 42 passes for 494 yards and 2 touchdowns.

A season like this should forever bury that canard "the last time Joe Gibbs went 0-4 in preseason, the Redskins went to the Super Bowl."

The Redskins deny that Fed-Ex Field is named for Kevin Federline.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Two good ones

Although I've never seen the campus, I've always had a soft spot for West Virginia football. The connection is Sam Huff who played for the Mountaineers.

Today, West Virginia entertains Rutgers, the former favorite homecoming opponent. Rutgers nearly confounded the Bowl Championship Series with their sudden and unexpected winning season. The BCS is a hoax. The marketing line is that the BCS determines the college football national champion. In fact, the system is rigged. It's supposedly objective computer algorythm is weighted in favor of the major conferences, including my favorite, Big Ten. The BCS also protects the revenue from the major Bowl Games from Cinderella teams, like Rutgers and Louisville, who have the audacity to crash the party.

The BCS is not run by the NCAA, actually. If the major conferences really wanted to determine a legitimate Division I football champion, it would mimic the NCAA Division 1-AA playoff series. But, that's for another post.

The Big East produced three national powers this season, West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers; four if you count Connecticut. Like Phoenix rising from the fire, the conference survived abandonment by Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech, to produce good football. (Shades of George Mason.) Rutgers @ West Virginia brings the season to a dramatic conclusion. While I'll root for the Mountaineers, it won't bother me a bit if Rutgers pulls off a win. 7:45 PM EST. Check local listings.

Navy plays Army in its long and ancient rivalry. I try to make a Navy game each season, if only for the pagentry and to see F/A-18 fly-by before the home games. As with Sam Huff and West Virginia, Roger Staubach is the reason I've long rooted for Navy. The Midshipmen have been a regional power since Paul Johnson was named head coach. This season, I went to the Navy-Rutgers game expecting a cakewalk -- for Navy. The Midshipmen shook off the spanking by Rutgers to go on to a fine season. 2:30 PM EST. Check local listings.


Off Topic: Why do men . . . ?

Question: Why do men fall asleep after sex? That's the question posed in the recent issue of Bottom Line Personal (Vol. 27 No. 24, December 15, 2006, Pg. 1). The question was one of several posed in the column "Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Whiskey Sour."

Answer: "Endorphins, gama-aminobutric acid and the hormones oxytocin and prolactin are released into a man's body after he has an orgasm. All of these hormones and chemicals have been found to contribute to sleepiness. Interestingly, these same chemicals are also released into women's bodies after orgasm. The difference might be that women are less likely to have orgasms when they have sex."

That puts me in mind of the question"Why does it take longer for a woman to reach orgasm?

Answer: Who cares!

Only a man would say that !!!