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Jim Harbaugh, We’ve Found a Donor for Your Spinal Transplant Surgery

     I have this image of the lockers of both Brandon Weeden and Alex Smith, being these high school like shrines from their coaches and management. You know, with little construction paper hearts taped to them, a dyed carnation, and maybe a photo of Jim Harbaugh smiling coyly. In case you haven’t been paying attention, over the last week, both the Browns and the ’49ers have tried to make nice with their projected starting quarterbacks.

First Jim Harbaugh went out of his way to tell a reporter that they were never “flirting” with Peyton Manning. Really?! He went on further to say that he played catch with Manning to evaluate him, with the idea of both Manning and Smith being on the team. Again. Really?! Perhaps you were interested in a $20 million dollar per year, 36-year-old backup. I don’t feel it necessary to shoot his assertion full of holes, as I’m convinced that nobody believes this. Including Alex Smith.

The more interesting thing to me about this is it’s just weak. Jim Harbaugh spent all of last season trying to convince everyone how tough he was. I mean he shoved Jim Schwartz. He drove a railroad spike through his penis. He even completely blew off Super Bowl winning coach, Sean Payton, when he wanted to discuss an upcoming pre-season game. Maybe I’m confused on one or two of those charges. I watch a lot of Jackass.

I was annoyed by him, but convinced that he was a badass. Now this. He should have been a man and just told the truth. As in:” Alex Smith is mediocre, but a good guy who played hard for us. We wanted to upgrade”. Stop with the nonsense.

Then Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, reported this week that the Browns were not really interested in Robert Griffin.(I’m boycotting the III. It’s getting annoying). They thought he was too small and too eager to run. Really?! After GM Mike Holmgren’s public whining about how they had submitted an offer comparable to that of the Redskins. Weak. Just weak I tell you. That is like the guy who musters his courage to talk to a girl in a club, and after being shot down tells his buddies she was a dyke.

Are the egos so fragile with players today, that they require this insincere codling? Brandon Weeden is a rookie for Christ’s sake. He hasn’t done anything to warrant any codling. Mark Sanchez took the Jets to AFC title games in his first two seasons. He’s not getting coddled. He’s getting Teboned. These are grown ass men. They should all  grow up.

 

The Starting QB for the Redskins in 2012 Should Be…

Sure he's got a lot of miles, but I've got all the maintenence records.

I’m all in on _______ as the new quarterback for the Redskins in 2012. Vague? Maybe. But focus not on the blank, but on the word “new”. New as in not Rex Grossan or John Beck. This year more than any I can remember, the  QB options abound for teams picking near the top of the draft. All of which seem to be better than what they have had since Jason Campbell left town.

Some likely options:

Peyton Manning- The 800 lbs gorilla in the room is; will he get the strength back and be able to make all of the throws he could in the past? Let’s assume that he can. Save for the neck stuff, he has been an iron man. He’s otherwise healthy, takes care of himself and should be able to play for four or five more years. Mike Shanahan will trust him enough to hand over the control that Manning will need to be effective. With QB of his caliber at the helm, just sit back and watch how much better everyone else gets. The O line suddenly gets better because of quicker decision making and a faster release. The receivers somehow manage to get open more often and now get more yards after the catch. Accuracy makes a mediocre receiver look good. Witness the wideouts who looked good in New England , and could not produce anywhere else. With fewer men in the box, instantly your running backs seem to be more explosive and have better vision. When you play with a lead, watch how many sacks Kerrakpo can post. Manning’s health is a big IF, but even under a best case scenario, they must draft his replacement this year or next. The draft is deep with QB’s this year, so now is probably the time.

Matt Flynn- I know, I know three games is not a big enough sample to judge a quarterback. Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassel, and Scott Mitchell show that it is a big risk to take Matt Flynn. And if I had a dime for every back-up QB who threw 6 TD’s against a play-off team, I’d have….oh yeah. A dime. The big indicator will be if Dolphin’s new head coach, Joe Philbin goes after him hard in free agency. Philbin was Flynn’s offensive coordinator last year, and if the Dolphins are not interested, then nobody should be. I just know that in one game he threw three times as many TD passes as John Beck did in three. Maybe 20 years of mediocrity or worse has made me willing to accept anything new, with the promise of being better than the last. He likely won’t cost any draft picks, and his salary number is reported to be in the 3-4 million dollar range(I suspect it will go much higher). So in that regard the risk is fairly low.

Robert Griffin III- This guy just makes me salivate. I mean he could be the next Heath Shuler. Wait, wait. That’s not what I meant. He could be the highest pick the Redskins have ever used for a QB. Assuming they trade up to the second position to get him. He has everything that you would want. Big arm, fast, smart, accurate, and fast. Did I say fast? The great thing about him is, that despite blazing speed, he always looks to pass first. He moves in the pocket, shifts to avoid pressure, and keeps his eyes downfield the whole time. But when everything breaks down, he’ll bolt from the pocket and make defenders look silly trying to catch him. That is a skill that he’ll need on a team like the Redskins. The downside is it will cost a ton in draft picks to get him. Obviously they’ll swap the #6 pick with (the Rams?) plus next year’s first rounder and another pick. Possibly another first rounder. That’s a lot, BUT… Look at the last 6 or 7 Super Bowls. The odds of winning one without at top shelf QB are slim. So roll the dice. You can build a team safely and get to 9-7. Where’s the fun in that?

Kyle Orton and Ryan Tannehill/Brock Osweiler/Kirk Cousins/Brandon Weeden/etc- Kyle Orton looks like an NFL QB. I liked him at Purdue. He just looked like a pro. But results at the pro level tell a different story. He lost his job in Denver to Tim Tebow, who completes about 45% of his passes. He does not suck. He could improve the Redskins to 10-6, but that is not the goal. He would however serve as a bridge to the new guy. The same role that Grossman was supposed to play, except better. What evidence do I have? None. But could it be worse?

Life under the Snyder regime has lead many fans to a point at which we will take anything over the suckitude that we currently endure. But this year feels different. The landscape is lush with choices. More than half of which should be successful. I’ve been told that Shanahan is a great judge of QB talent. If so, he’ll make the right choice. If not, a fourth whiff in three years will earn him his walking papers. A new QB will buy him at least two more years, but make no mistake, this next choice of QB is his Rubicon. Get it right, and it’s wine and rose. Get it wrong, and it’s… Well we know what it is. We’ve seen it for 20 years.

NFL: Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated.

Recently Grantland.com ran a piece by economists Tyler Cowen an Kevin Grier, who postulated that American football could soon cease to exist. The premise is that injuries and subsequent litigation would eventually lead to so much fear that the monied class would end their support and it would all come crashing down.

It is quite likely that litigation will soon overrun football, as it has nearly every facet of our lives. But litigation never puts an end to things that people love. It can and will likely make it more expensive in the coming years, and we will pay for it in any number of ways. This could be through increased cable rates, more or better commercials, and possibly pay per view.

But they are overlooking a couple of important things. First is informed consent. As we learn more about the risk, future generations will go in with eyes wide open thus reducing exposure to purveyors of the sport. One example of this is, rather than banning the silica  packets that come packed in all our electronics, I’ve now been admonished to refrain from eating them. Like mowing in the rain with bare feet, I no longer do it. Thanks lawyers, I really dodged a bullet.

Another thing that they get wrong is when they cite examples of other things that have gone by the wayside. For example 40% of companies on the 1983 Fortune 500, no longer exist. A quick look will show that list contains companies like Eastman Kodak and Polaroid. Another example they cite is Napster. These companies are gone because somebody came up with a better way. Not because nobody wants pictures or music anymore.  They also put forth as evidence of invetible change, the collapse of the USSR. So because Polaroid and Communism failed, football will as well?

It makes people look really smart to make bold predictions like this. In 15 years if football is gone, they look omniscient. In the more likely scenario, in which the NFL claims MLB and the NBA as its bitches, we have all forgotten their quaint little premise.

I hate to get all “Oliver Stone” here, but I feel like ESPN (Grantland’s benefactor) has been trying to ram soccer up my descending colon for the last couple of years. With their radio guys telling me how much they now love soccer, despite years of mockery and disdain. They see the writing on the wall. Simple math dictates that those who make more babies will eventually take over.

They are just greasing us up for the inevitable. Football will not end because of injuries in 15-20 years.  It will eventually be subjugated by other more Euro sports in maybe 50 or 60 years. By then I should be several years in the ground. But for you whippersnappers  out there: Are you ready for some futball?! Look on the bright side you be able to get fresh produce on the freeway off-ramp.

Rebuilding the Redskins

Whew! Smells like 4-12.

As the Washington Redskins again cruise through December on the way to yet another disappointing season, we as fans are faced with the question: Are things getting better or worse? As of late, there has been a groundswell of public opinion to fire the Shanahans and start over again. One of the smartest things I’ve heard on the topic was from ESPN 980 DC’s Steve Czaban in an interview with Kevin Sheehan , on his pre-game shows a couple of weeks ago. I paraphrase here: Shanahan may not be the answer,  changing coaches after two years again is definitely not the answer. He has since changed his mind on this, and is now screaming for his head on a pike.

Most people seem to be of the mindset to judge this team on it’s record. Which admittedly has been bad. Shanahan has up to this point a worse record than his predecessor, Jim “Maroon and Black” Zorn. However, what has changed, is the philosophy. For years the idea was that the Redskins were just a couple of pieces away from being a good team again. This was held from ownership, to the GM, to the coaches, on down to the fans. But adding pieces in that manner has lead to a team that consistently clung to the lower end of mediocrity.

Now to the analogy portion of our lesson. Mike Shanahn has chosen to remove all of the rot from the structure and replace it with new fresh lumber. The Redskins are continuing to get younger at nearly every position, and those young guys will need some time to learn and grow in the system. Witness the offensive line, which has continued to improve despite being down to third string at some positions.

Judging a rebuilding team on its’s record can be mis-leading. We may have fewer wins, but I think we have bigger upside in the future. I’m tired of people citing the “one year turn-arounds” in the league every year. These are a myth. Take Detroit. This did not happen overnight. Stafford-3rd season, Pettigrew 3rd season, Kyle Vandenbosch 2nd season, Calvin Johnson 5th season. They have been putting pieces in place for a while. But it seems like it happened all at once, because they won only 8 games combined in the previous two years.

As fans we have been living in a lean-to for the last 20 years. It kept the rain off of us, but offered little else in terms of security. Shanahan has offered to build us a three bedroom house. The foundation is done, the walls are going up, but the roof is not on.  We as fans are now crying because it doesn’t keep the rain out yet.  Patience people, patience.

Penn State: On a Serious Note

I’ve gotten a little grief for my Conversations with Joe Pa series, and I want to clarify my position on the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the university. Let me first start with the obligatory, not everyone at PSU is a card carrying member of NAMBLA, or even supports Joe Paterno. And further, I suspect that almost none of them support Jerry Sandusky. The point of the series is not to damn an entire university, or to make light of the abuse that these children allegedly suffered. I am of the school of thought that an effective way to keep the powerful, and the powerful and evil in check, is through mockery and ridicule. Not that I include view my self on their plane, but think Jon Stewart or South Park.

What I’ve been trying to convey is that the support of Joe Paterno is misplaced. There are two main defense arguments for Paterno that go something like this.

  1. Paterno didn’t understand the seriousness of the allegations.
  2. Paterno did his part by telling his Athletic Director. Really?

Argument One- For years we have been told that Paterno should keep his job a PSU regardless of his age. “He’s vibrant” we’re told. “He’s still very much involved” in running a 100 plus person, $72 million organization we’re told. But we are led to to believe that this vibrant, intelligent, engaged CEO did not bother to ask enough follow up questions of Grad Assistant Mike McQueary, to understand what “horsing around” meant. By Paterno’s own Grand Jury testimony, he knew enough to ask more questions.

And we are to believe that prior to McQueary’s allegations in 2002, he knew nothing of the 1998 investigation into similar acts, that must have at least touched the PSU admistration at some point. If he and Athletic Director Tim Curley thought Jerry was just “popping towels” with these kids, why was he banned form bringing them on campus in 2002?

Argument Two- Paterno went to Curley to report suspicion of what was, in light of the 1998 allegations, a serial child rapist. Change the word rapist to murderer, and say it out loud. Who would report a serial killer to their boss, unless you work for the FBI? But I guess rapist was ok with Joe PA. And while murder, many may argue, is far worse than child molestation. In some repects I would disagree. Murder is horrible and final. Molestation is horrible and lasts a lifetime. Victims suffer with this their entire lives, and are lucky if they don’t grow up with the same prediliction toward sex with children. From a societal standpoint it is worse than murder, because molesters create more molesters. Murderers only create dead people.

So I just don’t buy the idea that Paterno is a victim in this. He acted in the interest of Penn State Football, and in the interest of Joe Paterno. The second part of the last sentence is even more obvious now that we have learned of his financial interest in Second Mile. So Good Ol’ Joe was looking out for Joe. Who was looking out for the children? It was supposed to be Jerry Sandusky.

Maryland- Football and Crabcakes: One for two Ain’t Bad

You! Bring me a Big Gulp full of gravy!

What is it with the University of Maryland fans? They talk as if UM football was some shining star that has started to tarnish a bit. I think they view their program similarly to that of Notre Dame. They believe that Randy Edsall has ruined the program. An apt analogy would be putting a dent in your 1996 Civic. It’s not a good thing, but it’s hardly any reason to get your knickers in a twist. News Flash: UM football is, and never really was anything special. Let’s Examine.

  • They have not finished in the AP top 10 since 1976.
  • They haven’t won the ACC since 2001.
  • They have never even been in the ACC Championship Game, much less won it.
  • Since 2004 they are 44-42
  • Their “awesome” 2010 9-4 team? The only BCS conference teams they beat had a combined record of 22-27.

Oh, and the beloved Ralph Friedgen. He put together this storied history of mediocrity with more NFL players than any other team in the ACC, save for Miami and Florida State.

  • More than BC. (2 ACC Championship Games)
  • More than Georgia Tech (2 ACC Championship Games)
  • More than Va Tech (4 ACC Championship Games)

I guess he has a great personality because the sports radio pundits in the DC area, go crazy about the firing and any criticism. It’s like he’s a fat sweaty Faberge Egg that they carry around in bubble wrap lest his feelings be hurt. Burning his diploma. Grow up.

Randy Edsall may turn out to be the worst football coach ever, but that remains to be seen. But their rabid fans (who couldn’t be bothered to attend games after a rough patch) want him fired now. I fear they have been influenced by the pro team that plays in Landover. Keeping Edsall may not work. Getting in the habit of firing coaches when things get bad, definitely won’t work.    So Edsall is a dick. Everyone is sooo sensitive now. Since when do we fire coaches for being dicks? Get over it. They lie, obfuscate, stonewall, blah, blah, blah. Cities love their dick coaches when they win. Give him a chance to win. So your ’96 Civic has a dent. BFD.