Washington Wizards Season Preview

As every season it seems as a Washington Wizards fan, we are all hoping for one thing…HEALTH. This season (and lots of jobs) are on the line because of health. Gilbert Arenas, for my eyes, looks completely healthy after 2 basically lost seasons due to 3 knee surgeries, will be the focus of the fanbase, media, the world actually. Will he/can he come back to the form of 2007 where he played himself into one of the TRUE superstars in the NBA? Only time will tell, but most importantly, lets not all get in a fuss if he isnt shooting daggers from all over the place. Lets let the man play a full season 1st and then judge from there. He is way too talented for his game not to be the determining factor for wins for this team whether if its scoring 35 points at will, or being a 15 pt/10 assist type point guard.

Going into the season unfortunately, injuries have hit the team from an unexpected source. Antwan Jamison is out for atleast a month with a dislocated shoulder which could quite possibly effect him throughout the season. With Jamison out, 2 of our young bigs MUST step up immediately. 5th Year Forward Andray Blatche and 2nd year prospect Javell McGee can use this time to develop into the players the Wizards need eventually to contend seriously with the Power Brokers in the East. Caron Butler and the undervalued return of C Brendand Haywood gives this team the nucleus to atleast get IN the playoffs.

The 2 players that I believe that can make this team a pretty dangerous team are Mike Miller and Randy Foye, who came to the team from Minnesota in a trade for the 5th Overall Pick, Etan Thomas, Darious Songaila and O. Pecherov. Both players can put the ball in the hoop and have a knack for scoring. Miller is the best pure 3pt shooter since the days of Tim Legler/Tracy Murray, and Randy Foye I could see invisioning as a deadly 6th man-esque player.

If everything works to our favor, this team will contend for the 4th spot in the playoffs, I have them @ #5 but I wouldnt be surprised if we get that #4 spot.

What’s next Redskins Nation?

 

 

    If you have watched the 1st 6 games of the season, you’ve basically have had the same gamut of emotions most fans normally feel…pain, anger, optimism, disbelieve, laughter in some respects, and lastly, exhausted. 

  Lets dwell on this last term more closely “exhausted” .  The literary definition of the term is as followed (shouts out to dictionary.com)

ex-haust –verb (used with object)

1.
to drain of strength or energy, wear out, or fatigue greatly, as a person: I have exhausted myself working.

2.
to use up or consume completely; expend the whole of: He exhausted a fortune in stock-market speculation.

3.
to draw out all that is essential in (a subject, topic, etc.); treat or study thoroughly.

  That, my friends, basically sums up the collective psyche of Redskins Nation right now.  If anyone looked into the stands and saw the empty seats of a “sold out” 90,000 seat stadium, the angst you hear from the fans on talk radio and the hosts as well (including surprisingly the hosts on ESPN 980 not named Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin).  We have become the laughingstock of pro sports and have officially sunken to rock bottom.  There was actually a paper bag sighting in Landover on Sunday LOL.

  Vinny and Danny have now eventually fired Jim Zorn without firing him by now taking away his playcalling duties and hiring a person who hasnt been a coach in the league since 2004 in Sherman Lewis (who may be a good guy) and was JUST hired 2 weeks ago.  Imagine if your an offensive player, how would you feel?  Its just beyond comical at this point.  The offensive line is a joke and the performance the last 2 weeks pretty much stamps this team as the WORST offensive team in my 31 years of existence.  Forget numbers and all that others stuff, this offensive line right now does not have a starter who would start on another team today, lets just face facts, its the worst in football and its not even close. The “benching” of Jason Campbell for Todd Collins to “shake things up” basically states that we will be searching for another starting QB at the end of the season.  I will not place total blame on Mr. Campbell, but there are certain things QBs must do to SURVIVE in this league and right now, he just cant get it done for this team.  I do believe he could very well get it done, but it will be somewhere else sad to say.    The receiving core is below average at best, and our best RB is starting to show some wear and tear on a body that has taken a lot of punishment in his 8 years in the NFL. 

  And with no true young talent worthwhile on the offensive side of the ball except for TE Chris Cooley, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I’m sorry. 

  There have been plenty of teams that have won with considerable less talent than the 2009 Redskins, but one thing that those other teams have that we haven’t showed, is heart.  Where is the fight?  Where is the “team spirit”?  I know that’s a term that isn’t used much in pro sports but usually players rally around themselves to turn things around.  It seems as if this team lost its emotional leader 2 seasons ago and never found it again.  And we all know what happened 2 years ago. 

  I have tried not to swell on that incident, but its hard not to look at the facts.  Sean Taylor was the heart and soul of the team, gave 100% at all times and demanded it from everyone else on his team, they all followed his lead.  Why do you think he was so universally loved by fans and even fans of other teams, because of that 100 % At All Times fearless, reckless abandon on that gridiron.  People can say “That may be true but we did win those last 4 games and make it to the Playoffs in 2007” and that is true.  But I want someone to name a player, at his physical peak, as the leader of his team, IN SEASON, that was lost forever by death?  There is none and that is a heavy cloud to pass.  I’m not stating that this is the reason for the apathy but I do believe this team is truly missing “its leader”. 

  Saying anything more about this sorry state of the Skins just pisses me off any more, I just wanted to get that off of my chest…..I’ve been feeling this way for a while….I don’t think I’m alone in this thinking….

Diego Snyder – Owner, Washington Redskins

 

 

  Sounds great right? Me, living the dream of millions of DC Area fans, and having the opportunity to own the franchise that we all grew up loving and bleeding Burgundy and Gold.  Obviously this isnt gonna happen in the near future BUT if it did, I would most certainly change a couple of things around Redskins Park…lets take a gander shall we.

   My first order of business as Owner would to unceremoniously dismiss  the current Executive Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato from his duties….arrivederci!!!  Now with that order of business out of the way, I must go and search for a solid GM/VP to run the franchise with NO imput from me as I am to STAY AWAY FROM ALL FOOTBALL RELATED issues in dealing with the active roster and contracts.  I would prefer for that man to have a little experience in that department but its not a deal killer, there are plenty of young executives in the league that are chomping at the bit to have an opportunity to build a team from the ground up. 

 

  Once that choice is made, I will now search for a head coach.  One thing as owner that I want to warn fans is that most likely this coach will NOT be a big name, and that a GOOD thing.  This city is always looking for the BIG SPLASH when that’s not the way a real team is built.  My number #1 choice for coach would be a major name for REAL Redskins fans but an afterthought to people who think with their hearts and not their brains.  That choice would be Arizona Assistant Head Coach and former charter member of the Hogs, Russ Grimm.  Being someone who has been a member of the winning years and a no nonsense guy, this man I believe can build a team in his likeness (tough, gritty, determined and focused) and the true hardcore fans of this team would LOVE to see this team play with the passion that would exude from his regime.

 

Now that we have our new GM and a new coach….its time for personnel changes.  One, we are going to have to eat a LOT of contracts, which means I am HOPING there is an uncapped 2010 because we could eat alot of the deals/restructure much more quickly than in a normal year just because of the lack of cap room for dead money.  Players such as Cornelius Griffin, Phillip Daniels, Fred Smoot, Randy Thomas, Antwann Randel El, Ladell Betts, and even Clinton Portis (only because the deal is too much for the team we want to build eventually) would be released March 1st.  Carlos Rogers will not resign with this team in the offseason anyway and I dont blame him. That eats up pretty much all of the money we would eventually spend in Free Agency but who cares about that, we are building a FRANCHISE, not a 1 year Team.

 

  Next in the draft, I use my 1st 2 picks for offensive linemen.  It looks apparent that Chris Samuels’ injury will linger possibly for his career and its time to find a new young anchor for this unit.  Every other position (including QB) would be filled by young cheap FA’s and shrewd drafting.  I will repeat this process for 2/3 years until

1. The Offensive Line is rebuilt and has quality depth

2. We luck up and find a 2nd/3rd rd QB worthwhile to build around

3. We find some late rd studs like a Jared Allen, Trent Cole, Jason Tuck etc that dont just become solid player, but Pro Bowl talents at WHATEVER position.

 

I will also as owner let the fans know that this is a going to be a painful process.  I know us as Skins Fans are so used to “talkin our shit” every season, thinking that we arent far off from the Super Bowl but I think we are finally realizing this season that we really are.  We need to copycat that team from up 95 North to see how to construct a team that competes year after year.  Look at the Steelers, Patriots etc and take their methods of building a core and adding pieces around the core, not adding highER priced Free Agents INTO the core which messes up team morale. 

 

I think with my method, this team could eventually compete in 2012….whats wrong with waiting a while to be a contender? They always say the best things come to those who wait…..

The Team of “Ahhhh” Our Washington Redskins

 

  With this latest loss to another previously winless franchise in the Carolina Panthers, the Washington Redskins have become more of a enigma than ever before.  But honestly, the team we are watching today has been a culmination of years and years of awful personnel management by GM Vinny Cerrato.  In 10 years of service (minus 1 season where he was fired by Marty Schottenheimer, then inexplicably REhired after that one season when Marty was let go for the immortal Steve Spurrier), Cerrato has given up numerous valuable draft picks for virtually trash and now, those lack of draft picks which most teams use to eventually build quality depth, this team has now FINALLY been truly exposed for being virtually 22 man roster.

 

  The reason we can say that, is this.  See, there is NOTHING wrong with spending money in Free Agency….nothing.  BUT when you have built your team from its core with players who have been “rewarded” for service for OTHER team, it builds a bad team dynamic and eventually the cracks will show. 

 

  In all walks of life, human nature dictates at times that when someone works extremely hard and becomes a success, when he/she is finally compensated for all of that hard work, they tend to exhale a bit, basically saying “I finally made it! AHHHHHH!” and because of that, they may not tend to work as hard just because they are finally exhaling.  Again, there is nothing wrong with that, its human nature.  Now most players work extremely hard, and they want to show that they are “worth” the money that they are being compensated for, there is no denying that, but there will ALWAYS be that “Ahhhh Factor” amongst the team, and because the team is filled with MOSTLY Well-Compensated Free Agents, you find a team who’s head isnt always in the game, that doesnt hustle at all times, take poor angles and wont put their bodies on the line, and most importantly do not play with any sense of urgency because they are going to be paid and since management has relinquished draft pick after draft pick for over a decade, there is nobody talented enough to take their place so they are going to play, whether its half assed or not….AHHHHH!

 

  Its pretty sad if you look at the roster, and you notice that basically, there is only ONE position of substance that has been EARNED by draft picks who pushed each other day by day, game by game and that has been the strong safety position which Reed Doughty and Chris Horton have fought tooth and nail for almost 2 seasons since the untimely passing of Sean Taylor, and if Taylor doesnt die, Reed doesnt even GET a shot….catch my drift?

 

   From the lack of playmaking from high draft pick Laron Landry (who is 12 games away from being a bust), to the total wackness of a job of the 2008 draft (not ONE player of substance RIGHT now), Vinny Cerrato and Daniel Snyder have been the architects of a uber-flawed, tense, undisciplined,  untalented roster of epic proportions.  Its gotten so bad at Redskins Park that even veteran Mike Sellars, after actually going to the MEDIA to start renegotiations for a new contract and actually GETTING the contract (picture another team where a FB calls out management in the media and gets a new deal because of it) has been absolutely horrible.  I believe he has fallen into the abyss of AHHHHH as well.

 

Redskins Fans, I know you dont want to admit it, but “It Is What It Is”…so just learn to love it I guess…..AHHHHHHH.

The Washington Nationals Season Review

  Most baseball observers would normally call a second consecutive 100 loss season a total loss, but if you really dissect what has transpired since March, this franchise finally has reason to “believe in miracles” so to speak.

After FINALLY getting rid of GM/Buffoon Jim Bowden, the Front Office decided to give the keys to Assistant GM/Interim GM Mike Rizzo in August after making a bevy of deals to improve this team for years to come.  The Starting Rotation started off the season with the likes of Daniel Cabrera, Garrett Mock and young guys like John Lanham and a “closer” in John Hanrahan. When the season wound down, the team used 6 rookies to start and Lanham showed that he could be an anchor of this staff for years to come. 

 

Rizzo packaged Opening Day CF Lastings Millidge and “closer” John Hanrahan to the Pirates for Njyer Morgan, who from Day 1 became the TRUE CF/Top of the Order player we’ve been looking for since the team moved here 5 years ago.  Credit Mike Rizzo also for settling the bullpen as it was probably the worst in MLB History the 1st half of the season.

 

The #1 reason Mike Rizzo earned his job is by inking #1 Overall Draft Pick Stephen Strasburg moments before the deadline to a deal that did not murder the system.  Strasburg will report to Spring Training ready to live up to some LOFTY expectations, I hope the fans are patient but this IS DC, where patience sometimes isn’t a virtue.   Since the team ended up with the worst record in baseball again, we are guaranteed to have the #1 overall selection again and most baseball experts seem to think they will select Bryce Harper who has been dubbed “The Baseball LeBron” by Sports Illustrated.  Again, only time will tell….

 

The most pleasant development of this season has been the creation of a true heart of the order.  The 3-4-5′ hitters in Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham gives the team one of the best cornerstones in baseball.  Zimmerman and Willingham had career seasons and Adam Dunn cut down on his strikeouts and hit for a career high percentage without losing any of his trademark power or On Base percentage.  An injury to C Jesus Flores was a dagger to the plans for the seasons but he should be ready by Spring Training.  He has the ability to become an All Star-type catcher.  Other players such as Elijiah Dukes, Ian Desmond and Justin Maxwell (the latter 2 late season call-ups from Syracuse) seem to be keepers.  Also the pleasant surprise of new closer Mike MacDougle gives the front office one less position to shore up this offseason.  Once he became closer, he ended up with the best Save Percentage in Baseball, but the team as a whole, ended up with the worst.  Shows you how bad we really were early on.

 

This team would be well served to go into free agency looking for atleast 1 veteran starter, possibly 2, an eventual replacement for Cristian Guzman @ SS (or move him to 2nd so Ian Desmond can take over @ SS) and shore up the bullpen/bench, this team is definitely headed in the right direction for 2010.