Robert Griffin, we hardly knew ye.

March 20, 2012
The Washington Redskins complete a trade with the St Louis Rams to aquire the 2nd overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. With that selection, the Skins are pegged to select Robert Griffin III, current Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor University. In exchange for the pick, St. Louis received the No. 6 and No. 39 picks in 2012 and first-round picks in 2013 and 2014.

Look here…

I, Diego Johnson, am an unabashed Redskins fan. I had been hoping the team made a deal to move up to draft Griffin (knowing that the Colts were not gonna let Andrew Luck go at any cost). He was the most electric college QB I had seen in quite a while. I figure with a couple years of seasoning, this guy could become the blueprint of what we’ve always wanted from a duel-threat QB.

Selfishly, as a DC resident, I see beyond football. I see a guy who could galvanize a city, especially the young, black males. I see someone who is a charming, media darling. Somewhat of a bamma so you didnt have to worry about him being engulfed in the city nightlife as many a young athlete has in DC. I envision this kid as our starting QB long enough that my daughter will be in high school when his career comes to a close. As of today she is 3 years old. As a fan of a QB starved franchise, it sucks not having a leader. It just does. Teams just don’t win without leaders. I am confident the nasty Redskins stench will not permeate through this guy. He will make a way.

We hope…

April 26, 2012: The Redskins draft Griffin with the No. 2 overall selection. “We want to develop him to be the face of the organization,” coach Mike Shanahan says. Exactly 100 picks later, Washington drafts Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins

YES!!!!!

Finally!!!!

Kinda weird to draft another QB that could eventually play in this league with the 4th rder but whatever, we got the kid! I, along with other Skins fans are estatic. I am more excited for the process. Griffin along with the Shanahan’s (Coach Mike and young offensive coordinator Kyle), we can watch this offense grow.

We hope…

Sept. 9, 2012: Griffin completes 73.1 percent of his passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns and runs nine times for 42 yards in a season-opening, 40-32 victory at New Orleans. He records a 139.9 passer rating, and his celebration after throwing what ends up being an 88-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Pierre Garçon — sitting on the turf, his arms and index fingers extended skyward — becomes an Internet fad known as “Griffining.”

Griffining

Man, NOBODY would have expected that!! THE READ OPTION?!?!! Without seeing it at all in preseason?!?!?! WOW!!!! Sky’s the limit for this kid!

We hope…

Oct. 7, 2012: A concussion knocks Griffin out of a game against Atlanta in the third quarter, marking the first time in his professional career he’ll leave with an injury.
Oct. 14, 2012: The signature play of Griffin’s career unfolds in the fourth quarter of a game against Minnesota when the quarterback, on a designed run, takes off down the left sideline and runs 76 yards for a touchdown. “Still on his feet, RGIII is going to out-race everybody!” Fox commentator Dick Stockton yells.

I have NEVER seen FedEx Field so electric!!! Maybe the Cowboy game in 2005 for the Divisional title but nothing like this! He’s even better than we thought. Exceeding all expectations. This may be the start of a Hall of Fame type career.

We hope…

Dec. 9, 2012: Griffin sprains the LCL in his right knee in the fourth quarter of a game against Baltimore when he tries to gain additional yards on a scramble and is hit by nose tackle Haloti Ngata. Cousins enters in relief to help the Redskins to a 31-28 overtime victory and makes his first start a week later at Cleveland, throwing for 329 yards in a 38-21 victory.

Wow, that hit looks really bad. One of many he’s taken so far in this rookie season. He looks done for the year. Kirk looks solid in relief so atleast we have a young, capable backup in case of injury. But this is Robert’s team….

We hope…

Jan. 6, 2013: With the Redskins in the playoffs for the first time in four seasons, qualifying after a seven-game winning streak helped them claim the NFC East title, Griffin re-injures his right knee and plays hurt for much of the game. Seattle recovers from a 14-0 third-quarter deficit, and midway through the fourth quarter, Griffin’s right cleat gets caught in the grass, leaving him crumpled on the ground.

Great run to make the playoffs, which concluded the most exhilarating, exciting regular season of my adult life! Watching that playoff game though, I figure that your done, atleast through 2013 and I’m fine with that. Remember, he’s going to be our QB when my daughter reaches high school. She’s 4 now by the way.  You don’t think Mike Shanahan used Griffin up like a rental car because he knew the jig was up and he would be exposed as a fraud later in the year?

We hope…

Jan. 9, 2013: James Andrews operates on Griffin’s right knee, repairing the LCL and reconstructing the ACL. He is expected to miss six to nine months.

NO FUCKING WAY HE RETUNS IN SIX TO NINE MONTHS!!!

Feb. 2, 2013: Griffin wins the Offensive Rookie of the Year award from The Associated Press after a season in which he set multiple team and league records. He finished the year having completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 3,200 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions while running for 815 yards and seven touchdowns.

Well deserved…

Feb. 19, 2013: Adidas, with whom Griffin has an endorsement contract, begins a marketing campaign around the quarterback, extending its “All In…” tagline with “…For Week 1.” After a furor erupts over the apparel company’s apparent disregard for Griffin’s long-term health, Griffin posts on Twitter, “Although my goal is to start Week 1, that doesn’t mean I will compromise my career to do so.”

April 15, 2013: The Redskins begin their offseason workout program, with on-field practices set to begin a month later. Griffin sits out the entire period, rehabilitating by himself on a side field with other injured players.

July 25, 2013: Griffin takes part in individual drills as training camp opens in Richmond. He gradually progresses to 7-on-7 and then 11-on-11, but is held out of playing in any of the Redskins’ four preseason games by Shanahan.

Aug. 29, 2013: Even though he said Andrews had cleared Griffin to play following an examination prior to the final preseason game at Tampa Bay, Shanahan said “there’s a couple concerns” and that a decision on Griffin’s availability for the season opener would be made the following Monday. Shanahan then relents, naming Griffin the starter for the game against Philadelphia.

Well this doesn’t sound good. I don’t care how good you are, you need reps. Not having any reps in preseason alarms me but I’m happy he’s “healthy” and ready to play. I’m sure they wouldn’t put their franchise QB out there if he wasn’t 100% ready physically or mentally right?

We hope…

Sept. 9, 2013: Eight months after undergoing surgery on his right knee,Griffin starts a nationally televised “Monday Night Football” game against Philadelphia. He does not appear to be the same player before the injury and is visibly lacking speed and confidence in his first live action since the playoff game against Seattle.

Well that’s ok right? He’s coming back from a major injury. He can play back into game shape. We aren’t worried right?

We hope…

Dec. 11, 2013: With the Redskins on a five-game losing streak, Shanahan announces Griffin will be benched for the final three games in an attempt to keep him healthy for the offseason program. Cousins starts all three games, which the Redskins lose, as Griffin is inactive.

WTF man….smh! Thats ok, man. Just get healthy for the next season. It is too much bullshit going on in the media between Griff and Shanahan, it is fucking unhealthy. Shanahan knows he’s getting canned so he is showing his natural ass and there is nothing no one can do about it.

Dec. 30, 2013: Shanahan, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur and several other assistant coaches are fired, one day after the Redskins conclude the season with their eighth consecutive loss, a 20-6 road defeat at the hands of the New York Giants.
Jan. 9, 2014: A year to the day after Griffin’s surgery, Jay Gruden is hired as the team’s next coach. A former quarterback, Gruden fawns overGriffin’s potential. “I’m excited to coach him, and hopefully, he’s excited to play here,” Gruden says during his introductory press conference.

Eh…whatever. Not my first choice, I wanted Mike Zimmer but this guy is supposedly a Quarterback Guru so hey, have at it champ!

We hope…

July 24, 2014: The Redskins open training camp in Richmond. Griffin, as opposed to the previous year, is fully healthy.

Sept. 14, 2014: Griffin dislocates his left ankle in the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars, sidelining him for six weeks.

C’mon man….FUCK!!! He was looking solid too in the 1st quarter. If Pierre Garcon catches a 60 yard pass his stats look pretty different but whatever. Looks like he’s done, again. For the season. Maybe its a clean dislocation.

We hope…

Nov. 2, 2014: Amidst a report that he has “alienated” himself in the locker room, Griffin returns to the field against the Minnesota Vikings, throwing a fourth-quarter interception in a 29-26 loss.

Nov. 17, 2014: Asked about Griffin’s performance in a 27-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gruden offers a sharp public criticism of both his quarterback’s postgame comments and in-game mechanics. “It was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position,” Gruden says.

Nov. 26, 2014: Two days after watching Griffin throw for only 106 yards against the San Francisco 49ers, Gruden announces the quarterback will be benched Sunday, leaving Colt McCoy to start against the Indianapolis Colts.

Its not looking good for Griff here. Obviously when your head coach totally trashes you in the media as he just did, you know things aren’t going well. That Redskins Stench is permeating and I do not like it!

Dec. 7, 2014: Griffin ends up sitting just one game, replacing McCoy after he’s injured late in a 24-0 loss to the Rams. He does the same the following week in a game against the New York Giants and finishes the Redskins’ season as the starter, beating the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16 but losing to the Dallas Cowboys in the finale.

Solid finish to another awful season I think. Maybe another full offseason of work with the Quarterback Guru, we will see the glimer of hope we witnessed just 2 years prior…

We hope…

April 27, 2015: Scot McCloughan, hired in January as the Redskins’ general manager, announces that the team will pick up Griffin’s contract option for 2016. That option, for $16.2 million, is guaranteed to Griffinonly if he cannot pass a physical once the 2015 season ends.

This makes ZERO sense….I dont get it at all but again, whatever.

Feb. 18, 2015: Gruden anoints Griffin as the Redskins’ starting quarterback during a press conference at the NFL combine — a decision he later said was made because he didn’t want questions about the quarterback competition to arise throughout the offseason.

Oh….

Aug. 20, 2015: Griffin sustains a concussion in the second quarter of a preseason loss to the Detroit Lions. At the time of the injury, he had completed just two of five passes for eight yards.

Aug. 27, 2015: Cousins is named the Redskins’ starting quarterback by Gruden — not just for the next preseason game, but for the season. “It’sKirk’s team,” Gruden famously declares.

Griff my boy, you never had a chance. Not saying you weren’t culpable for a lot of the crap that went on, but honestly, you never had the chance….

….and what I mean by chance is to be a young NFL quarterback. To learn how to play the position, to lose early, to suffer failure before success, to have a coach pick you up when you were down and coach you up so you could succeed, never having to look over your shoulder.

I now know that your time here is over. You wont even dress for 15 of the 16 games as the team miraculously wins the NFC East under the direction of Cousins. The media loves Kirk, most fans do too because they had gotten tired of everything going on around Griff. He needs a fresh start and I wish they cut him in preseason because its got to suck to watch the guy drafted with you, take your gig. I am now rooting for Griffin to play for Kansas City in 2016.

March 7, 2016: Griffin is released by the Redskins, ending his tenure with the team and freeing it of the $16.2 million payment the quarterback was due with the league year set to begin on March 9.

We hardly knew ye……Just dont go to Dallas.

We hope…

The legacy of Peyton Manning

 

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I know, I know…

People that know me are probably thinking “No this dude isn’t going to sass (shout out to Perry LOL) Peyton Manning right now!”

I wont.

I will give credit for one of the greatest careers we have ever seen.

Some people were saying before Super Bowl 50 that Peyton’s legacy was already intact, win or lose.  That’s false because we keep score…of everything.  American sports fans are enamored by numbers more than we care to realize.  And two Super Bowl wins looks much better than a 1-3 mark in the big game, no matter how you slice it.

Do I think Peyton Manning is the greatest QB ever? No…but that’s not a bad thing.  Its kind of hard to designate THE GOAT in a position where there are so many other-worldly talents that have played the game at its highest level.  Unless its a clear cut decision ala Michael Jordan in basketball, there is really no such thing as THE GOAT in any particular sport.  What I will say, is Peyton is indeed in the top tier of QB’s that ever played the game.

The Joe Montana/Johnny Unitas/Dan Marino/Tom Brady class….he is there and that is something to cherish and praise.

I have been following Manning since a little ESPN show called Scholastic Sports America in the early 90s.  He was the top ranked player in the nation going into college, then at Tennessee he was the best QB in the land, but couldn’t get over the hump and defeat the rival Florida Gators.  It seemed as if his career would have the same sort of feeling of emptiness until his Colts finally defeated the Patriots in the 06 title game.  Every player has a proverbial monkey on his back, The Patriots and Tom Brady was that monkey.  Winning the Super Bowl that season was the icing of the cake.  A career that was predicted to win multiple Super Bowls had finally won his first.  Last night fulfilled that ultimate goal.  Its not unlike other superstars who won their last game as a Super Bowl Champion.

John Elway and Jerome Bettis didn’t have to play lights out to win their last games, nor should they have had to…just like Peyton.  I believe this was his last game, and if it was, no one will remember how he played during the season/playoffs, they will remember the ring and that’s a really cool thing.

Chocolate Covered Ants review

 

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I’ve lived in DC all my life, and I’m still in awe of many unearthed jewels this city has buried within the city limits.  One such place is the Anacostia Playhouse, which I had never heard of until I was recommended to see a play there called Chocolate Covered Ants. To say it was a pleasure and privilege to attend the show is an understatement.

The play was presented by Restoration Stage http://www.restorationstage.biz/ and is currently the only all black theater group in the DMV area.

The play itself is a real deep, heavy look at the plight of the African American male through the research of a professor at a woman’s college who is actually researching the plight of the black woman and the last leg of her research is black men, to see if their actions have any deep effects on our women.

The intimacy of the Anacostia Playhouse added to the aura of the play itself and at times became so heavy that I, myself looked at myself in the proverbial mirror and even opened up previous wounds in my life I didn’t know I even had.

I truly recommend anyone in the next week or so to check this play out as it ends its run on Sunday, February 7th.  It was great. Thank you for the recommendation :)

To get your tickets, please visit Restoration Stage’s website by clicking here. Or call Restoration Stage at
(202) 714-0646 to order your tickets.

 

 

 

 

Wizards at midseason? Still a question mark

 

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Coming into this huge season for the Washington Wizards, two underlying issues were on the agenda.  One, would they overplay their hand on the pursuit of Kevin Durant and will this team full of square pegs for round holes keep itself competitive in an improving Eastern Conference.

Lets answer the first question, the overplay.  Yes, the Wizards have stacked up all their chips in a grand attempt to woo DC native Kevin Durant to sign as a free agent this summer.  Do I believe it was the wrong strategy? I honestly don’t think so.  Currently as roster is constructed, there is the need for one more superstar to take the team to the next level, why not put everything on the table for this special talent, even if its a pipedream.  As we have seen for decades in the NBA, superstars win titles.  Thats just a fact.  The more talent you have on the roster, the better chance you truly have for winning major  hardware in June.  Now, I don’t believe that we will sign him because I think he will resign in Oklahoma City but its better to try (or atleast be in contention to try) than to not have a shot at all.

Secondly, for all of the funky positions that players on the roster have had to play this season either because of the injury factor (most missed games by injury in the league) or by roster construction, the new “Pace and Space” offensive system hasn’t worked the way we all envisioned it to.  Not having a true stretch big really hurts what the offense is supposed to accomplish.  Jared Dudley has done a yeoman’s job trying to be that guy, but at this point of his career, he shouldn’t be the main guy opposing defenses have to acknowledge on that end of the floor.  Guys like Otto Porter and Kris Humphries have tried to stretch the floor but as of today are not able to do that on a consistent basis.

 

As I stated earlier, the injury bug ravaged this team in the first half.  Brad Beal started off the season on fire averaging over 20 points per game and becoming that guy we all wanted him to be, but again a stress fracture in his leg caused him to miss 20 games and is now on a minutes restrictions.  If that wasn’t enough, Nene missed 19 games himself.  Add off season pickup Alan Anderson to the injury heap as he has not seen the floor this season.  Multiple games missed by Drew Gooden, Humphries, Porter, and Gary Neal has given coach Randy Wittman very little to work with at any given moment.

 

It has taken a yeoman’s effort from our resident All-Star John Wall for this team to hover around the .500 mark at this point in the season.  During the first month of the season, Wall was, for lack of a better term, lackluster.  After some self reflecting, he came out in December and played the best basketball of his life and earned December Player of the Month in the Eastern Conference, the first for the Wizards franchise since 2006.  Wall also won Player of the Week for the week of January 17th as well.  Without his stellar play, this team would be competing wit the likes of the Lakers and Sixers for the #1 overall selection in the next draft.

 

All in all, this team, when healthy, can make a run for the playoffs.  Four games out of the divisional lead isn’t an insurmountable lead but something needs to change.  Whether its using one of the pieces on the roster for an upgrade or what.  The inconsistency is killing the fan base.  There is starting to be an apathetic feel for the team and that shouldn’t be the case because the team is still growing.  But lethargic losses to the likes of the Lakers, Blazers etc are causing this team to become an afterthought in its own city.

 

 

We liked that…but TALENT matters

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Good season fellas.

I am proud of what the team accomplished this season.

But at the end of the day, talent matters.

Today in the NFC Wild Card matchup between my Skins and the Green Bay Packers, I watched a top tier QB do what top tier QB’s are PAID to do, beat an inferior product and make winning plays when it mattered.

Was that a product of a defense that didn’t bring their best effort today? Sure…but in the playoffs, even the BEST QBs are humbled by the bright lights and better teams.  Hall of Famers such as Peyton Manning have a losing playoff record.

The reason I bring this up, is the inevitable new contract that the Redskins now have to pay Kirk Cousins to remain our starter.  Don’t get ANY of what I’m about to say twisted, because HE earned the job, HE earned the new deal he’s about to receive, just look at it from the larger point of view and not as a Skins fan for a moment.

Kirk’s new deal will pay him probably around the 16-17 million dollar area.  I call that area the 2nd Tier QB Area…the Carson Palmers/ Matt Staffords/Tony Romos/Jay Cutlers of the world.  A couple of those guys that fit in that criteria have singlehandedly had to win ballgames for their teams, have had to use their singular talent to force results whether good/bad or indifferent, that is what’s expected once you reach that level on the pay scale.

With Kirk, as GREAT as he was the last 8 games of the season (and he was just that again, don’t get it twisted), he will never have a extended run of great quarterbacking as he had in these last 8 games.  Why? Because he just isn’t talented enough.  And that’s not a knock for him, 99% of the QBs that have ever played the game have had a run like that.  He will probably regress to the mean of the other Tier-type QBs because that’s what he is.  He CAN improve alot of things in his game, and he probably will, but honestly, he needs upper echelon talent around him (Jordan Reed, Desean Jackson etc) for his maximum effectiveness.

Just look at the QB’s that he will be grouped with once he signs his new deal:

Matt Ryan

Joe Flacco

Ryan Tannehill

Jay Cutler

Tony Romo

Matt Stafford

Alex Smith

Carson Plamer

Andy Dalton

Sam Bradford

 

A funky mix huh?

Going into next season, is Kirk as talented as these guys? Some yes, some no…

To me, this was one of the basis of the whole Robert Griffin issue.  In the new NFL, you need a Top Tier QB to win meaningful ballgames.  Top Tier guys are the most talented.  Talent sometimes wins games that you just aren’t supposed to win.  Talent makes plays most players just cant make.

 

All season, I’ve compared this season Kirk has had to the season Ryan Fitzpatrick had in Buffalo which was so great that they thought it was time to sign him to a massive extension WHILE that said season was still in session.  We all know how that turned out because he is now a NY Jet.

 

Fitzpatrick is a starting NFL QB…but when it was time to boogie in Week 16 vs Buffalo to make the playoffs, he threw 3 INTs in the 4th quarter when it mattered.  A more talented guy maybe doesn’t do that,  hell I dunno.  But in those pressure packed moments, its usually par for the course for the least talented QB to make crucial errors.

Obviously we need help and continuity in all phases, Kirk DEFINITELY needs a run game and I think with our new front office hierarchy, it looks like we have the start of putting the correct pieces in place for Kirk to grow and develop, I just hope Skins fans aren’t expecting him to produce top tier fireworks when he may just be the box of sprinklers you give your kids on the 4th of July.

Hail….

 

With best start in team history, Capitals are flying high

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With apologies to the the other team juggernauts in the NHL currently, right now, the Washington Capitals are the best team in the sport.  After Saturday’s 3-1 win vs their closest adversary in the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadians, the Caps now have an unfathomable 54 points in only 34 games played for a record of 26-6-2.  The 54 points are the best ever at this point in team history and give them a 10 point lead in the Atlantic Division (over the New York Rangers) and simultaneously the Eastern Conference.

 

One thing is for certain with this team, they are lead by perennial MVP candidate Alexander Ovechkin and his longtime linemate Nicklas Backstrom but whenever  a team seems to overachieve as the Caps are right now, the influx of new blood and the best goaltender in the league are the main catalysts.   Second year stud center Evgeny Kuznetsov has taken a leap to another level, tied with Backstrom with a team leading 30 points, newcomers Justin Williams and TJ Oshie have contributed 10 and 13 goals apiece as the Caps are the only team in the NHL to have six players with 10 or more goals this season.

 

One of the troubling patterns during the original “Rock the Red” era Capitals was the fact that the team either didn’t stick with a goalie or chose not to develop one of the young goalies in the farm system.  Under Coach Barry Trotz, 5th year goalie Braden Holtby has rewarded the patience of his coach and organization by becoming the best goalie in the league with a league leading 22 wins in just 28 starts.  His 1.92 Goals Against Average (GAA) is again the best in the NHL.  Do you sense a pattern here?

 

Coach Trotz has pushed all the right buttons since his arrival last season. He finally has a team that is a two-way juggernaut that can beat you in multiple ways even if Ovechkin isn’t the  main guy scoring all the goals.  With the All Star break approaching, its going to be nice watching a team with legitimate championship goals try to deliver on such a lofty goal each and every evening.