Showing posts with label Washington Redskins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Washington Redskins. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Albert Haynesworth Needs to Sit Down With His Banker

Former Coach Jim Zorn and Albert Haynesworth

These are not good times for poor Albert Haynesworth:

Disgruntled Washington Redskins star Albert Haynesworth is potentially facing financial trouble off the field, according to a report.
Clayton Bank and Trust in Tennessee is suing the defensive tackle for almost $2.4 million, according to USA Today's website. The report said the bank is suing because Haynesworth hasn't been making payments on a loan received last June. The suit was filed last week.
The Redskins are going to see if they can recoup all or part of a $21 million bonus from the two-time All Pro defensive tackle. The team decided to take the action after Haynesworth, who signed a $100 million contract before last season, failed to report for a mandatory two-day minicamp earlier this month. He is unhappy because the Redskins are switch to a 3-4 defense where he has to play nose tackle.

What with his inability to understand that, if you refuse to show up for work, your team can take away your bonus and his inability to understand that, by signing with one of the most unstable franchises in all of professional sports that he would not get to have any say in how the Washington Redskins organize their defense, it's hard to say what will happen to Haynesworth.

Can you see him whining about having to play nose tackle? Listen, if the Redskins actually go more than one season with the same coaches in place, it's a miracle. Who's to say that Haynesworth wouldn't play nose tackle for a few games and then end up returning punts by Thanksgiving?

Yes. Oakland. That's where they'll dump him. Oakland or Cincinnati. And they'll probably take a huge slice of his money away from him, too.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Albert Haynesworth Wants to Sit Around And Watch His Stories

More dysfunction for the Washington Redskins:

Washington Redskins players are calling Albert Haynesworth selfish for skipping the team's mandatory minicamp and demanding a trade.
Haynesworth wasn't present Wednesday morning when the team took the field for practice. The two-time All-Pro defensive tackle is staying away because he doesn't want to play in the Redskins' new defensive scheme.
Players responded with some of the harshest comments that can be directed at a teammate.

I think I speak for every guy on this team: We all feel like he turned his back on us.

-- Phillip Daniels
"Albert made a very selfish decision," veteran linebacker London Fletcher said. "When you decide to play a team sport, you have to look at it and think about everybody involved in the situation. This is not golf, tennis, things like that, where it's an all-about-you sport. What he's decided to do is make a decision based on all-about-him.
"It's no different than his attitude and approach to last year's defense, about wanting everything to revolve around him and him making plays. And if it didn't benefit him, he wasn't really willing to do it."
Coach Mike Shanahan revealed that the Redskins told Haynesworth in February that they would agree to release him and let him go to another team -- in exchange for not paying him a $21 million bonus due April 1.
Ought to be a great season. Maybe they'll go 6 and 10 with limited distractions.
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh, Yeah. That'll Work

If things get any nuttier in Washington, the Redskins will have to consider hiring people to deal with season ticket cancellations on a full time basis.
Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb has encouraged the team's coaching staff to consider signing free-agent wide receiver Terrell Owens, despite the acrimony that marked their time as Philadelphia Eagles teammates, according to multiple sources.

Coach Mike Shanahan said the Redskins are not actively pursuing Owens. A team source said the Redskins have made upgrading their wide receiver position a high priority, but prefer to avoid bringing Owens into their locker room if another solution can be found.

A source close to McNabb said the quarterback and Owens recently talked about the possibility of reuniting while shooting an episode for the television show "Pros vs. Joes" in Los Angeles. The episode, schedule to air in July, features McNabb and Owens playing on the same basketball team.

That's exactly what will help you win--shoot TV episodes with a bunch of jackballs. That's a great way to focus on the things that are happening right now. Never mind that McNabb has to adapt to a head coach who has been out of football for a little while, an entirely new offense starved of decent weapons, and learn a playbook for a franchise that has had little or no offense in years.

What do I know? I've never driven an NFL franchise into the ground. Has Dan Snyder picked up the option to bring back Deion Sanders and Vinny Testaverde yet? The Redskins need to sling a little more money around because it's a "why the hell not?" situation when you can't draft, can't go one year to the next without firing everyone and can't win.
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Monday, January 4, 2010

So Long, Jim Zorn

It was inevitable, so let's get this out of the way:

Jim Zorn was fired by the Washington Redskins early Monday, the first step in yet another team overhaul under owner Dan Snyder.

Zorn was informed of his dismissal shortly after the team returned to Redskins Park following Sunday’s season-ending 23-20 loss at San Diego.

Zorn went 12-20 over two seasons, but he lost 18 of his last 24 games after a 6-2 start in 2008. The Redskins struggled early despite a weak schedule this season and finished 4-12, their worst record since 1994.

Zorn is merely the latest firing in a long list of firings (or haughty resignations) that will allow him to go on to bigger and better things. He can point to the fact that the Redskins were a dysfunctional, bloated, badly-organized organization on the day he arrived and no one will hold it against them. In fact, Zorn went out with class and dignity, allowing himself the opportunity to return to coaching at some level (probably an offensive coordinator somewhere that needs one, like St. Louis, Chicago, or even Seattle again).

Class and dignity are not words you would use for the Redskins franchise, but they are words that you would use for Jim Zorn. And if Norv Turner is any indication of what's ahead for Zorn, everything will be fine.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In Defense of the Swinging Gate That Wasn't

It's not the worst play call ever, but it should have been attempted with someone who could throw. You have to run this play with a quarterback who can scramble. If he can buy himself three seconds, and put the ball in the end zone, you have a chance at scoring a touchdown.

It's more of a variation on the hail mary pass with shorter yardage, and if it is run correctly, you can bulldoze your way through their secondary from the shifted line of scrimmage. Say you run this, and a receiver can slip through and get down field without being touched at the line of scrimmage, then angle to the right. By getting free from the pack, you have to have a guy with speed who get open, and get open in those three seconds that the quarterback has before they can run him down if he rolls right. By shifting everyone left, you open the field for the receiver to run a pattern to the right so that the quarterback can roll right with him. Instead, Washington went deep. I would have designed this so that the slant pattern sends the receiver to the right. Make them cover in the open field.

But, no, I wouldn't have run this. I would have taken three points. Never walk away from points on the board. And, no, Zorn doesn't call the plays anymore. Desperation leads to amateurism. But there is a valid football theory that can justify something like this. Let's not forget that Gruden is a failure as a coach (leaving Tampa Bay with about a .500 record) and Jaworski is a bit enamored of his own supposed glories.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Damn You, Kicking Game

Being an old defense player, I can say, without hesitation, no, the kicker should not be as important as he is in the NFL:
The Dallas Cowboys cut place-kicker Nick Folk on Monday and replaced him with Shaun Suisham, a former Cowboy.

Suisham previously kicked for Dallas in 2005 and 2006. He was released by Washington on Dec. 8 after missing a key kick -- the same problem that cost Folk his job Monday.

Folk clanged the right upright on an easy 24-yarder that would have put away Saturday night's 24-17 victory against the unbeaten Saints. Instead, the Dallas defense had to make one more stand against one of the league's best offenses.

Folk leads the NFL with 10 misses, going 18-of-28 and missing seven of his past 11.

Suisham was released by the Redskins in great part after he missed a short field goal against New Orleans, which rallied to win in overtime.

Suisham was one of five kickers the Cowboys brought to their facility for a workout Monday. The others were Shane Andrus, Parker Douglass, Steven Hauschka and Connor Hughes. Folk did not participate in the workout.

For his career, Suisham is 85-of-107 (79.4 percent). He originally signed with Pittsburgh out of Bowling Green in 2005, went to the Cowboys' practice squad and was signed to the active roster on Oct. 24. Suisham played in three games and was 3-of-4 on field goals before being released.

These teams are having a hellish season already, and now they have the kicking game to thank for it. I think this is classic scapegoat-ism. It's easy to blame the kicker, but if you refuse to put your football team in a position to lose thanks to something the kicker can or can't do, then you probably deserve to lose. Having a good kicking game is supposed to put easy points on the board for you, but if you can't score, you shouldn't expect a guy to kick nine or ten times in a game and save your team from itself.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

None of the Redskin's Problems Have Been Solved by Getting Rid of Vinnie Cerrato

I would be surprised if coach Jon Gruden went to the Redskins--it is a sick franchise in a tough division. Losing there for a few years could end a career, rather than enhance it:
Just hours after the Washington Redskins announced the resignation of Vinny Cerrato, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that the team had already hired Bruce Allen to be the Redskins' executive vice president and general manager.

And that means speculation about Jon Gruden to the Redskins is inevitable.

Yes, I know, Gruden and ESPN both insist that Gruden will be back in the Monday Night Football booth next year. But lots of coaches have said one thing and then done another when a new job opened up. And Gruden's history of working with Allen in Tampa Bay makes the two of them a natural fit.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is widely believed to want a head coach who is a proven winner -- a coach who already has a Super Bowl ring. Gruden qualifies. And Gruden (unlike Bill Cowher and Mike Shanahan, a couple of other available coaches with Super Bowl rings) would likely be willing to work for a team that didn't give him final say over personnel.

It's more than this coveted "final say" that gets bantered around. It's more to do with "what do I have to work with and how long do I have to turn it around?"

In Daniel Snyder's world--you have until yesterday to turn things around.

This is an owner who gets rid of people so that they can go on and do better things elsewhere (Marty Schottenheimer, Norv Turner, Gregg Williams) and this is an owner who has absolutely no prestige in the league right now. In fact, you can't help but laugh hysterically at the fortunes of the Redskins, and their decision not to make Gregg Williams the head coach absolutely encapsulates what is so wrong with the Redskins. That's not to say that Williams, who has turned into a genius hiring move with the New Orleans Saints, could have done any better than Zorn, but I doubt if he could have done worse.

Naturally, the guy to go get is a man who gives crusty old Redskins fans a tenuous link to by-gone days and a man who last helped take two franchises, Oakland and Tampa Bay, to two different Super Bowls, with mixed results.

Raider Nation had held out hope that Gruden and Allen might have been brought back into the Al Davis fold. Alas, it was not to be.

Monday, November 16, 2009

They Weren't Going to Win Anyway

As much as I believe the case had merit, and it certainly did, there was no way the United States Supreme Court was going to take this case:
A group of native Americans have lost their bid to force the Washington Redskins pro football team to change its name because they consider it to be a racial slur.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court, in a one-line ruling, refused to take up the case. The action lets stand a decision by a federal appeals court in Washington that the native Americans had waited too long to bring their challenge to the Redskins trademark, and thus forfeited any right to sue.

Some analysts view the case as political correctness run amok. But for nearly 40 years, native American organizations have been working to end the use of Indian names and symbols as sports mascots in the US – at high schools, colleges, and among professional teams.

They have had significant success at the college and high school levels, persuading officials that Indian names and mascots for sports teams are derogatory and demeaning to native Americans. For example, between 1991 and 2008, 11 high schools and two colleges discontinued the use of "Redskins" as their team name. They include Miami University in Ohio and Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma.

Similar efforts at persuasion have been aimed at the Washington Redskins football team, dating from 1972. But the team insists that its trademark team name does not disparage native Americans. The team has invested millions of dollars to enhance and promote the trademark name on telecasts, in advertising, and on merchandise.

The Redskins name originated in Boston in 1933. The football team was called the Boston Braves, but the owner decided to rename the team the Boston Redskins in honor of the team's head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, who was a native American, writes lawyer Robert Raskopf in a brief filed on behalf of the team.

The name became the registered trademark of the team in 1967. The seven native Americans didn't file their lawsuit until 1992 – 25 years later.

You've heard of companies that are now too big to fail? The Washington Redskins are a marketing franchise too big to challenge. I don't buy the idea that it was a bunch of fans on the Supreme Court that slapped this down. I think the considered legal opinion of the court was, take this case, and that's going to open up a floodgate.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If You Want to Get Paid, Go to Washington

I wouldn't panic about whether or not Washington decides to bring another head case and a team cancer to play with the Redskins:
Redskins coach Jim Zorn did not rule out the possibility of the Redskins pursuing Larry Johnson. He said the team has had internal discussions this morning and will continue to talk about the troubled running back. Zorn said the team will likely sign a running back if Clinton Portis can't play -- he specifically mention Quinton Ganther, whom the team released last Friday. As for Johnson, "I don't know," Zorn said. "I need to have a longer conversation than I've had to make a decision," Zorn said.

Sure, it might work. How bad can it get? What harm would it do?

And isn't it a little odd that Zorn is being asked about personnel? Does anyone really think he's pulling the trigger on a trade or a player signing?

Want to get paid and not have to perform? Go to the Washington Redskins, sir.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's a Little Smack Talk Between Fans and a Recalcitrant Owner?

[image from Mr. Irrelevant's wonderful site]

Do you know what might have turned things around for the Washington Redskins and their intolerably incompetent owner Daniel Snyder? If they would embrace the suck and try to make this season about trying to win one for the fans, as opposed to making themselves look good for that next contract.
If Snyder had half of the marketing savvy he allegedly possesses, he would be selling the paper bags and the "snyder sux" shirts himself. If he had instructed security at Fed-Ex field to be tolerant of irate fans last night, he might be reaping a little positive press for giving them an outlet and a release valve for their justifiable frustrations.
Granted, you can't let people run wild (although, let's be fair--there are numerous complaints of drunken, rowdy behavior and this is driving fans away faster than the poor play of the team), but you could show some humility and let the fans vent:
Last night I was at my first Skins Monday Night game. I went with a couple friends, but knew I needed to take an Anti-Snyder banner with me. Problem was I couldn’t come up with anything clever until just before I left for the game. My brother texted me the perfect idea for a sign to play off on the whole Sherman Lewis bingo thing. I whipped up a quick “Snyder…B-I-N-GO F Yourself” sign on a bed sheet so everybody could see it. I knew it would get me in trouble but didn’t expect to get thrown out of the stadium by a couple security guys.

In the third quarter, one of my friends and I took out the banner and were holding it up. Next thing I know, four security guys are coming up both sets of stairs and headed right for us. They take my banner and tell us we have to leave the stadium. On the way out a bunch of people in the section are taking pictures and chanting “Free Speech!”

Once we got to the concourse area they asked for my ID, which I quickly tried to pass off to a friend. One of the security guys snatched my wallet and wrote down my drivers license info in his little black book. I guess that means means I’m banned from the stadium or something. They then escorted my three friends and I all the way from the 400 level out to the front gate. I tried to talk to them about the whole situation but they weren’t having it — too busy being serious security guys, I guess.

So, long story short, I got my point across, they took my banner, I probably got banned for life and I got to leave the game early. Good thing too, it was an awful game.

It was an unwatchable game, and seeing the hangdog look on Jason Campbell's face every time he had his helmet off was too much. I clicked over to watch the Wild at the Blackhawks, and I noticed that Minnesota has trouble handling the puck and scoring on the power play. That's when I realized I didn't care what happened between the Eagles and Redskins and went to bed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

John Kent Cooke Unloads

The son of Jack Kent Cooke, one John Kent Cooke, unloads on the team that his family used to own:
Native Washingtonian...: ...whose blood runs burgundy (well, it used to...).

There's no other way to put it: the story about you broke my heart. The way Mr. Snyder has run this team is the polar opposite of everything you and your father did. You built something. He's trying to buy something. I have been a Redskins fan since the day I was born, but am finding myself sorely tested these days...

I did think the quote from Sonny at the end of the piece -- that had your father thought you could run the team, he would have left it to you, was out of line. (After all, he's well known to be in the pro-Snyder camp.)

While I don't think you would share exactly what you really think of Sonny and his comment, I am curious at your thoughts on it in general.

John Kent Cooke: Sonny was mistaken. My father could not leave the Redskins to me and the family for two reasons: he wanted the foundation to be significant and the size of his estate at that time was not as large as it was previously, and subject to estate taxes. When my father realized this he changed his will that had previously allowed him to pass the Redskins to my family and Elmendorf Racing Stables to my brother's family.

Arlington, Va.: First of all, Daniel Snyder is the worst thing that could have ever happened to the Redskins. Despite the way he is running the Redskins organization, I think the biggest travesty is the fact that he sold the naming rights to the stadium in Landover. This stadium was Mr. Cooke's legacy, built with his own money, and its name should have remained Jack Kent Cooke Stadium to memorialize his life and death. It was he who brought the team to glory, and Danny boy who is bringing it down. How do feel about this?

John Kent Cooke: AMEN!

Bethesda, Md.: Comment/ The story was great, I have been saying all along that it was the fact the team was allowed to even be taken out of the Cooke Family, although I respect John's admiration of his dad, senior Cooke did the long supporting fans no favor, but wish somehow someone would get Snyder to talk to fans, apologize and offer a plan for a REAL GM with a chance of 5 years. Snyder got 10. Thanks

Mike Wise: Thanks for the comment. If Jack Kent Cooke knew the franchise would be where it is today, I gotta think he would have found a way to give it to his son. That's just me. What say you, Mr. Cooke?

John Kent Cooke: Mike, there was a way as I described to you in our interview. The League changed the rules to allow a majority partner to have 20% of a club instead of 50% as previously. My father and I were discussing this and unfortunately he died before we could implement it. This is how Dan Rooney was able to purchase the Steelers.

Rarely do you see this kind of candor from someone about a major sports franchise. The anti-Dan Snyder sentiments expressed all throughout the region are reaching a fever pitch, worse than anything I have ever seen.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Worst Team in Football

No, it's not the Tennessee Titans because they have, at least, Jeff Fisher, and Jeff Fisher is an excellent coach. It would be a shame if he lost his job, but he wouldn't be out of work for very long.

The Washington Redskins can't even hire an out of work coach who got fired because he couldn't get his team deep into the playoffs. I mean, really--how pathetic is your organization when you go after a guy who won one playoff game in ten years. Ten years!
Sources have confirmed that the Washington Redskins recently tried to hire Mike Shanahan to replace Jim Zorn and Shanahan declined. The sources would not rule out the possibility that Shanahan would reconsider in the offseason.

"Shanahan told the franchise there was little he could do in the middle of the season for them and that changing coaches during the season in the NFL rarely works,'' a Redskins management source told FanHouse. "Several people that Dan Snyder trusts have suggested, if he makes a move, he should turn it over to secondary coach Jerry Gray. That could still happen.

"We are trying to give Jim every chance to turn it around. The move to [bring in offensive consultant Sherm] Lewis is to take more off Jim's plate, especially the play-calling, because it is not working, and that is where Jim is spending much of his time. Now he can coach the entire team. Let's see where that gets us.''

Where that gets you is impending disaster. On Monday, October 26, the Philadelphia Eagles come to Washington to play the Redskins at Fed-Ex field. If I was a betting man, I would bet you anything that there will be:

1. A lot of Eagles fans there (thanks, StubHub--you're giving Redskins fans a way to cut their losses and you're allowing Eagles fans to see the game).

2. A nearly unwatchable football game.

3. An Eagle victory agains a listless opponent.

How low can you go?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wilbon Gets It

Good sports writing reads like this:
The Washington Redskins, according to Forbes magazine's tracking of the value of NFL franchises, is the second-richest club among the 32 in the league. The Redskins were first last year, and if it wasn't for the Cowboys moving into that brand new stadium, the Redskins would be first again. You know which team leads the league in operating income by an impossibly wide margin? The Washington Redskins. That, boys and girls, starts with ownership, with Daniel Snyder specifically. Snyder, when it comes to generating income, is the best in the game.

Snyder, when it comes to getting his team to win football games, is closer to the bottom of the league. That, too, starts with ownership.

Just in case you didn't get to hear Jimmy Johnson on the Fox pregame show Sunday, I come armed with a transcript. The bet here is Johnson has had this exact conversation with Snyder.

"Realize that a great 53-man roster is what wins championships, not five or six high-priced stars. Dan Snyder builds his team like its fantasy football and that's a big negative. The Redskins need a GM who can prevent Snyder from making decisions while letting Snyder think he's involved. Who can work that magic? I don't know."

Game over! That's it. That's the only analysis you need to consume about what's wrong with the Redskins over most of the past 10 years and why it starts with Snyder.

It is about dysfunctional ownership, and it has created a situation where the Washington Redskins have become the team to go play for when you need a paycheck and a career extension. Rarely does anyone write for the professional media about how bad ownership truly is in the NFL, or in sports in general. Michael Wilbon is part of a vanishing breed of sportswriter--competent, connected, capable and correct.

Monday, October 12, 2009

That Which He Dare Not Utter

Someone has finally decided to snap:
For much of the decade during which Daniel Snyder has owned the Redskins, many fans and members of the media have blamed Snyder for the team's struggles.

Rarely, if ever, do any of the employees of the organization point a finger at Snyder.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers has done it.

His broader point? Everyone is to blame. The message? The first one to blame is the guy who has the keys.

"It not only starts with the players, coaches," Rogers said, per the Associated Press. "It starts with the ownership."

Rogers is right, and it is time someone said it out loud. There appears to be no one, save perhaps Joe Gibbs, who can sit down with Snyder and explain to him that a professional football team needs to have an empowered general manager and a certain hands-off structure in order to operate. That Gibbs has failed to get that across to Snyder by now indicates that it would take a real come-to-Jesus meeting between the two, one where Gibbs would be willing to sever ties to the organization out of embarrassment for what it has become.

Snyder should sit down with the ownership teams in Pittsburgh or New England in order to better understand the role that a general manager should play under the supervision of an owner. At some point, you have to stop pretending you know how to judge talent when most of the talent you've gone out and signed has failed to mesh with the system you keeping having to change because you can't find a stable situation at the coaching position. When Snyder went out and got Jim Zorn, you knew that Zorn was going to be thrown under a bus.

The question is--who has the courage to say that Rogers is right?

[Image - Carlos Rogers...]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

If This is True, the Washington Redskins Are the Worst Organization in Football

It's probably no secret--Jim Zorn's days as the coach of the Washington Redskins are numbered. He may not last the entire season, given what's happening behind the scenes:
[there has been a] report from John Czarnecki of FOX that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder already has approached Mike Shanahan twice regarding the possibility of taking over the head-coaching job in D.C.

Per Czarnecki, the first run was made at Shanahan came in the offseason. The more recent attempt came during the 2009 season.

A team source strongly denied the report in a Sunday morning communication to PFT.

But we're not sure anyone is going to believe it.

Rumors were rampant in the offseason that Snyder had been talking to Shanahan behind the scenes. The fact that the Redskins pursued quarterback Jay Cutler (whom Shanahan drafted) and reportedly were interested in rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez (in whom the same Denver front office that worked with Shanahan in Denver was interested) served only to legitimize the notion that Shanahan would be the next coach of the Redskins.

Indeed, Jay Glazer of FOX reports that it's universally believed in league circles that Shanahan will be the next head coach of the Redskins, and that many believe it could happen during the season.

Glazer also explains that Shanahan could be hired on an interim basis only. We've been told by the league office, however, that Shanahan could get the full-time job during the season if the Redskins conduct a search process that complies with the Rooney Rule.

Take it with a grain of salt I guess, but people usually don't get these stories wrong. The Redskins have already foisted the retired Sherm Lewis on Zorn, and that was the leading indicator of imminent change.

You couldn't script a franchise meltdown better than this. Washington is a failed, disintegrating organization, run by the worst owner in professional sports.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A New Low For the Washington Redskins

Does this team even stand a chance of finishing above .500 this season?
After a promising 6-2 start to his rookie season in Washington last year, Zorn is 3-8 and his Redskins (1-2) look like the clear-cut last place team in the hyper-competitive NFC East for the second year in a row. Losing to Detroit just gives Redskins owner Daniel Snyder all the motivation he needs to be the first one to pick up the phone to try to get a Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher or a Jon Gruden to sign on the dotted line. This much we know: Zorn's players certainly didn't look like they were playing to save their coach's job Sunday at Ford Field.

We're not predicting that Snyder would entice anyone with a Super Bowl ring on their finger to town to take over his team in an interim situation, but you can't like Zorn's chances to last much longer after a game in which his Redskins were at one point getting dominated by the NFL's lovable losers. The Lions led 13-0 at the half, and held advantages of 274-94 in total yards and 16-6 in first downs. Washington played better in the second half, but not well enough to pin a 20th consecutive loss on Detroit.

When you throw in Tony Dungy, Mike Holmgren and Brian Billick, that's an available coaching talent pool that represents seven of the most recent 13 Super Bowl winners, and four of this decade's nine Super Bowl champs thus far. It's going to undoubtedly tempt some owners to act, rather than take the risk of not getting their first choices when it comes to picking through that elite litter.

The Rams and Raiders both canned their head coaches after four games last season, with St. Louis at 0-4 under Scott Linehan and Oakland 1-3 under Lane Kiffin. San Francisco waited until seven games were in the books to dismiss Mike Nolan last year, but the 2-5 49ers at least responded to interim coach Mike Singletary, going 5-4 in the season's final nine games. Oakland's Tom Cable also bucked the usual fate of the interim coach, earning the opportunity to lead the Raiders into the 2009 season by going 4-8 in his 12-game run.

Will those results perhaps encourage other teams to go the early dismissal route this year in an effort to salvage their seasons? Maybe, maybe not. But Zorn certainly moved to the front of the firing line with Sunday's result. Despite offense being his specialty, Zorn hasn't fixed the Redskins lack of production, or come anywhere near developing Jason Campbell into the franchise quarterback he was drafted to be.

Sins of that nature usually end up costing head coaches their jobs. Zorn, who Snyder hired last year despite him not even having experience as an NFL coordinator, looks like he's in position to be the first one to go this season. Whether it happens this week, next week or sometime after that, the outcome no longer appears in doubt in Washington.

The reason why Zorn could hold on to his job is chemistry--he likely has better chemistry with the ownership team than someone like Steve Spurrier did. The team chemistry doesn't matter--that's overrated anyway. This is not a team that can come up with points and win.

In fairness, some NFL team was going to lose to Detroit this season. Detroit is no where near as awful as it was last year. But what defines your season is being the team to finally give up a game to the Lions, and no one wanted to have that distinction. This season, the Redskins are just awful enough to have earned that distinction, and I don't know that it is all on the coach.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Benchwarming Scrub Says Something Stupid on Twitter? What a Shock

Robert Henson is the genius on the left...

Media professionals and public relations workers all throughout the NFL--and the other sports as well--need to solve their Twitter problem, ASAP:
On Sunday afternoon, Robert Henson was a mostly unknown reserve linebacker for the Washington Redskins, a first-year player who had never played in an NFL game and was best known for being the son-in-law of television pastor T.D. Jakes.

By Sunday evening, a few hours after Washington's unsightly 9-7 win against the St. Louis Rams, Henson had taken up an online battle against a segment of disgruntled Redskins fans, calling them disloyal "dim-wits" who "work 9 to 5 at McDonalds."

Almost immediately, Henson became one of the anti-heroes of a game he had watched from the sideline, doused with criticism and insults on sports-talk radio shows and Internet message boards. And by Monday afternoon, Henson sheepishly exited the team's Ashburn training facility, accompanied by several team spokesmen, to apologize for a Twitter-enabled diatribe against fans that provided him his first moment of NFL fame.

"This is exciting," one television reporter joked.

"No it's not," Henson said. "It's the negative kind of media you don't want."

It was also a particularly 2009-vintage media storm, fueled by the pent-up frustrations of Redskins fans and the temptations of Twitter. The Redskins haven't hosted a playoff game in this decade, and have yet to score 30 points in 18 games under Coach Jim Zorn. Hosts on the radio station owned by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder openly speculated about Zorn's successor on Monday, and one of the team's official radio analysts, legendary quarterback Sonny Jurgensen, told Zorn during a postgame interview that he would have disobeyed one of his play calls. The team was booed throughout Sunday's win, including during the game's final moments, a time when victorious home fans are more frequently whooping than whistling.

Anything that gets your name in the papers is a good thing, right?

Well, maybe not. Invoking the paternalistic outrage of a dying, irrelevant cadre of sports writers comes at a time when we just haven't quite kicked them to the curb. Ever been to Washington D.C.? Well, the most ignorant thing about Henson's diatribe is this--no one who works at McDonald's could ever afford the pricey tickets, jerseys, and costs of actually sitting in the stands at Fed-Ex field for more than one or two games a season, so they're really not the ones booing. The Washington Redskins require one thing--money--and the fans MUST supply that money, and they must do so without ever having the benefit of seeing their team succeed. Don't get me wrong--the entire NFL is a license to print money. The difference is, the New York Giants fans actually get to see success. The Redskins fans don't.

Never mind that Henson was right--the Redskins fans deserve what they get, which is abuse and the back of the hand from an organization that prints money and gives them a substandard product. However, in defense of the Redskins--they're 1-1 and it's not even week three yet--what are you complaining about? Sure, they have idiot players who do things like throw the American flag on the ground--so what? It's not like the fans are going to stop buying home and away and vintage jerseys, right?

Wise up, Redskins fans, and start putting paper bags over your head, or, better yet, quit spending so damned much money to reward failure. Perhaps the Redskins really should play a home game in front of thirty or forty thousand Steeler or Eagle fans--what would be the harm in sending that message to the organization?

Your chances of having a viable team to root for diminish every day that Daniel Snyder is allowed to escape financial accountability for the terrible way he has run the team. The only way to change that is to stop handing him wads of bills every week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What's the difference between the Redskins and the Lions?

After Week 1, the answer is not much. Both teams are off to an 0-1 start.
The New York Giants opened defense of their NFC East title the same way they started last season, with a win over the Washington Redskins .

Eli Manning threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham , and defensive end Osi Umenyiora ran back a fumble 37 yards in his return from a knee injury, leading the Giants to a 23-17 win over the Redskins on Sunday.

Lawrence Tynes added three field goals, including a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter set up by an offside penalty by Redskins $100 million defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth , who had an average game in his Washington debut.

Washington, which trailed all game, drew within 23-17 with 1:30 to play on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jason Campbell to Chris Cooley . Steve Smith recovered the onside kick and New York ran out the clock.

Washington also got an 8-yard touchdown run from punter Hunter Smith on a fake field goal late in the first half and a 27-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham in the third quarter.

The Giants came into the game wondering whether they could replace Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer at receiver and whether the defense could dominate under new coordinator Bill Sheridan, who took over when Steve Spagnuolo became the Rams head coach.

There are still questions to be answered with the receivers, especially with top draft pick Hakeem Nicks spraining his left foot in the second half. However, Manning (20 of 29 for 256) spread the ball around, connecting with Smith six times for 80 yards.

The defense was outstanding, limiting Washington to 272 yards, forcing two turnovers and getting three sacks. Washington's two touchdowns were on the gadget play and one late one after Tynes kicked his third field goal for a 23-10 lead in the closing minutes.

The Giants dominated the Redskins in their two meetings last season, and nothing was different this time around, particularly in the first half after Clinton Portis burned them for a 34-yard run on Washington's first play.

The Redskins tried to go out and get a quarterback, and they failed. Now they have to ride Jason Campbell to the end of this season. Will they win half of their games? Who knows. They're off to an inauspicious start.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Washington Redskins Sure Hate Their Own Fans, Don't They

What a disgrace:
One night last fall, thousands of fans walked into FedEx Field carrying gold towels. From the opening kickoff, it was clear that they were not part of the Washington Redskins burgundy-and-gold. The towel-waving throng cheered for the Pittsburgh Steelers, so loudly that on some downs the Redskins couldn't hear quarterback Jason Campbell call the signals.

Redskins players and many others were puzzled that Steelers fans were able to get their hands on so many coveted tickets. For more than 70 years, the Washington Redskins have boasted that they have sold out every game. Seats are so scarce, the team says, that the waiting list for general admission season tickets has 160,000 names on it.

But the reality is that those who want tickets can often find them online through ticket resellers such as StubHub. And in recent years, the Redskins ticket office itself has sold tickets into this secondary market, making it easier for fans of opposing teams to invade FedEx.

Thousands of general admission tickets were sold to brokers, who resold them on the secondary market, often at higher-than-retail prices, according to interviews and internal Redskin documents. These were often tickets to the very seats that Redskins fans have waited years to get.

The Redskins acknowledged that the sales were made but said they were against team policy.

Redskins General Counsel David Donovan said the prohibited sales were discovered in the spring during an internal audit of last season's ticket contracts and involved about 15 ticket brokering companies. He said the ticket sales employees involved were disciplined. He declined to name the employees or specify the discipline because it was a personnel matter.

"Somebody in the ticket office was doing something they shouldn't have been doing, and when it was discovered, it was all dealt with," Redskins Senior Vice President Karl Swanson said. "If the story is, this is a scandal, uncovered by Redskins, verified by The Post, or whatever, yeah, we're telling you: People got tickets who shouldn't have gotten tickets, and they were dealt with."

Washington is a money-grubbing, stab-you-in-the-back, I-gotta-get-mine kind of a town, and that's just when Congress is in session. Apparently, you can extend that to the jackasses running the ticket enterprise for the Washington Redskins. No amount of money is ever enough, and the shocking greed of such people renders them incapable of understanding the importance of being a fan.

Now, here's where the insidiousness of this is even more evident. Sports Talk 980 (WTEM, AM-980) is, essentially, the only listenable sports talk radio station in the Washington D.C. area. It regularly runs ads by StubHub, the reseller which undercuts the fans by using this broker method, as outlined above. WTEM-AM is, in fact, owned by Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins. Now, explain to me how this process of allowing the company that resells the tickets to advertise on the radio station you use to connect with the fans of your sports team does not tell them to go take a hike when it comes to their own efforts to come by a couple of decent seats to a Washington Redskins football game. It's an incestuous, money-making proposition, and any fan that falls for it deserves to have every dollar in their pocket sucked into Daniel Snyder's teenaged-boy sized pants.

That's right. That guy? Shopping next to Mike Lupica in the boy's department? That's Danny Boy himself, trying to save a few bucks on something off the rack in a 32 Small.

When is it ever going to be enough? When does an organization finally say, okay, we're milking our fans enough, let's stop the gravy train? The NFL doesn't care--the Redskins did nothing illegal. That's all well and good. From a public relations standpoint, doing something perfectly legal still screws the fanbase. There is a finite number of people with the resources to pay these prices and there is a finite number of people who will accept being screwed. The Washington Redskins are betting that the Washington D.C. area, which has a high turnover rate of people moving in and out of the region and which has a relatively high employment rate will continue to see those finite numbers shift just enough to catch the suckers who haven't figured this out yet.

It's never enough. Spare me the phony outrage--whoever was working in that ticket office wasn't putting the money into their own pants. They were sticking that money back into the organization. With a wink and a nod, of course.
The Washington Post basically destroys the credibility of Dan Snyder's money-printing operation and exposes it as a charade and a fan-hating machine that prints money by allowing real Redskins fans to suck wind trying to get tickets that are then sold to the fans of other teams, or are not even sold at all.

Here's how a broker works the Redskins system:
The story of one ticket broker shows how employees of the Redskins ticket office bundled club seats with general admission to make sales.

ASC owner Jeff Greenberg said a Redskins official first reached out to him in 2007 because sales agents were having trouble selling premium-priced club seats, with many fans declining to renew 10-year contracts signed when the stadium opened in 1997.

Greenberg, 42, who has been a ticket broker for 17 years, works out of a storefront in a building he owns in Gaithersburg. The company, which occupies two floors and has 12 employees, sells tickets to concerts, shows and sports events in almost every major venue in the United States.

Constantly switching between his cellphone and land lines, he sits before three computer screens, listing every ticket he buys or sells.

The 2007 arrangement that Greenberg had with the Redskins covered 1,360 individual tickets that he bought for about $60,000, team records show. Most of them were general admission tickets -- 710 in the upper deck and 366 in the lower bowl.

In 2008, ASC bought 217 season tickets (for 10 games) and 2,000 seats to individual games during the season. About half of those seats were in the lower bowl, with most in sections 101 to 142. About 40 percent of the seats were premium, and the rest were in the upper deck.

Greenberg said the contracts required him to buy the premium seats for two years in exchange for being allowed to buy the 169 lower bowl season tickets "in perpetuity."

Remember that the next time someone suggests that professional sports is on the up and up and that the Redskins are a great organization. They're not even bothering to spend an extra nickel and use lube when they give their fans the shaft.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Redskins Player Throws the American Flag to the Ground

Someone needs to help the young man understand proper respect:
Redskins fullback Mike Sellers has apologized for throwing the American flag to the ground during the pregame lineup introductions before Washington's preseason game against the New England Patriots.

Sellers says he meant no disrespect to the flag on Friday night and that he did it in the "heat of the moment." Sellers says he's aware of the proper conduct when it comes to the flag and should have known better, having grown up in an Army family.

The Redskins last year began a routine in which the last person introduced before the game runs out of the tunnel hoisting the American flag. Sellers carried the flag to midfield, then flung it down near the 50-yard line before joining his teammates in a midfield huddle.

This was a pretty big screwup, and the cuteness of pre-game introductions is no excuse. You should have the basic common sense to realize that you cannot just throw the American flag to the ground, whether you're a football player or not.