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…

We liked that…but TALENT matters

kirk-cousins-thumbs-up

 

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….

 

What today means

It was all possible because of them…..

Ive been through it all during my 34 years of fandom.  From the highest of highs as a youth during the 1st Joe Gibbs era to the lowest of lows as an adult.  And there have been PLENTY of lows….

Hiring a Cowboy to be the last coach in RFK Stadium (Norv Turner), the purchases of the new Over-The-Hill Gang (Henry Ellard, Mark Carrier, Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Andre Reed etc), The Stadium that was supposed to be at Potomac Yards, Pepper Rodgers, Gus Ferrotte and the headbutt, Steve Spurrier, Al Saunders and the 700 page playbook, Jimmy Raye, Marvcus Patton cursing out Gus Ferrotte on the 1st game of the season vs the Giants, then watching Trent Green have a great season then leave via Free Agency, Jeff George and NUMEROUS Free Agent Busts (Albert Haynesworth, Brandon Lloyd, Adam Archeleta, Jeremiah Trotter), Dumb trades (TJ Duckett, Donovan McNabb), unfufilled potential in Lavar Arrington and the ultimate low, the death of our last truly stud athlete in Sean Taylor.

 

Having said that, today marks a new beginning. A beginning that has can only occur this way for two reasons.

1) Hitting rock bottom….fans don’t want to admit it, but this team after the Jim Zorn era and the beginning of the Mike Shanahan regime, this team, franchise were a laughing stock.  It sucks being a fan of a laughing stock but we Skins fans, if we aren’t anything, we are loyal to a fault.

2) The drafting of a transcendent athlete.  Yes, Robert Griffin III is indeed a great young QB, but more than anything, as Stephen A. Smith has stated before “The Kid is BOX OFFICE!” and that matters in a city that gravitates towards positions of power.  All eyes have been on this kid since the day we traded 2 extra 1st rd picks just to have the opportunity to draft him.  After one full season, I doubt if anyone even cares that we “gave up so much” for one guy.  When you have a QB such as this, you have the opportunity to win EVERY game, when was the last time you could say that about a Redskins team? 1992 maybe?

 

The Bruce Allen/Mike Shanahan dynamic has been criticized by plenty of people for not bringing immediate results but the BEST thing they have brought to this franchise, the ending of the Face of Loserdom, Vinny Cerrato as a member of this franchise.  During his regime, Vinny basically ignored the proper protocol on how to build a team and totally disregarded how valuable a competent scouting department is to a teams future.  Mike Shanahan was interviewed recently and said that the team has cut almost 150 players in 3 years, and only ONE player is a starter on another team currently (Carlos Rogers….also Laron Landry is a starter on the Jets but whatever LOL).  That goes to show you that the General Manager before was basically worthless.  Right now there are 40 players on the roster that have 4 years or less NFL experience.  When players go down such as Brian Orakpo, when you can get contributions from a Rob Jackson, game changing plays from a Richard Crawford, solid play from a Logan Paulsen….and lastly, finding a stud RB in the 6th rd in Alfred Morris, this has become a well scouted, well coached ensemble that only had room to grow….together.

 

I cant say for sure what the future holds for the team, or if we are even the better team today vs Seattle.  I do know one thing, this is the 1st time in my adult life I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is Ultimate Respectability for this franchise and a consistent winner where JUST winning a division title isnt the sole reason for celebration.  We should be striving to be consistent like the Patriots or Ravens where the playoffs are an afterthought to the ultimate prize and goal, the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

 

 

HAIL!

2012 Year In Review

2012 aka The Greatest Year in My Adult Sporting Fandom! LOL (I know, I know I’m a couple of days late….sue me! LOL)

With Robert Griffin III and The Redskins making the playoffs this season, people have easily forgotten how great of a season its been for ALL DC Sports fans.  Two Divisional Titles with epic performances from the young, old and obscure made this a classic year.

 

Bryce Harper

The Nationals were the best team in baseball virtually the whole 2nd half of the season (Record-wise).  The early call-up of rookie phenom (and eventual Rookie of the Year) Bryce Harper energized a fan base who early on wondered would the early success last especially with the lack of offense, injuries to Ryan Zimmerman, “Beast Mode” Michael Morse, Jesus Flores, Drew Storen and Jayson Werth (and eventually Breakout Star Ian Desmond would be lost for a month later in the season).  Davey Johnson and staff did a helluva job with the pitching staff, who was outstanding throughout the long campaign.  Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzales both made the All Star team as did the aforementioned Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper.  Ryan Zimmerman took “The Corizone Shot from God” and came back with numbers that would have made him an MVP candidate.  Our REAL MVP candidate was Adam LaRoche, who after an injury filled 2011, came back with a vengeance.  He displayed Gold Glove winning defense and Silver Slugger winning power.  He stabilized what became the biggest improvement of the team during the resurgence to respectability, the team overall defense.   The 2nd half of the season was just a joy to watch for all Nats fans and the day we clinched the Division crown was an absolute joy, one of the greatest sporting moments of my life (NEVER deleting that from the DVR!).  We didn’t go into the playoffs with our best squad with the shutdown of Strasburg and losing a couple of series going into postseason, but for me, just getting there THIS year was more than enough for me….just dont get swept LOL.  We all know what eventually happened, after Jayson Werth provided us with a DC Sports moment of the ages with the walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th in Game 4, we eventually lost Game 5 in the bottom of the 9th off our young closer Drew Storen.  Honestly, the Cardinals played better than us throughout the series, and we walked waaaaaaaaay too many batters throughout the series that it would eventually bite us in the ass, and it did.  Regardless, The Nationals are now a major threat to win the whole thing next year (especially if we can resign LaRoche) and for years to come.  Denard Span will now man CF so Bryce Harper can become settled in at a corner outfield position along with Werth at the other.  Also coming to the team this off-season is veteran Dan Haren to become the 5th starter. If he can show us anything from his earlier years, this will be the best rotation in the league as if it wasn’t already.  Ill take Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detweiler (who was the best pitcher in the postseason) against any rotation in the majors today. Natitude is alive and well!

Joel Ward and teammates celebrate!

Our Capitals didnt dominate the Regular Season like we normally do, and maybe that was a good thing going into the Stanley Cup playoffs this year, finishing 7th overall in the Eastern Conference matching up with the defending Cup Champs, the Boston Bruins.  Rookie Goalie Brandon Holtby was just outstanding and Joel Ward scored a series clinching overtime goal in the 7th and deciding game.  After winning a game like that, us Caps fans thought that quite possibly the demons of Postseason’s Past could finally be exercised.  Alas they werent as we were defeated by the hated New York Rangers again in 7 games.  Coach Dale Hunter who took over in midseason after the firing of fan favorite Bruce Boudreau, declined to return for the next season and we hired (another) former Caps great in recent Hall of Famer Adam Oates to take over the reigns.  Hopefully there will be a damn season to start soon enough! LETS GET IT TOGETHER OWNERS!!!!

Not much to say about the Wizards sadly smh.  We are the worst franchise in the sport as our only two players worth a damn (John Wall and Nene) both started the season injured.  Fun Times on Fun Street!  Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton haven’t developed much at all and we have the worst record in the sport with no light at the end of the tunnel.  Thanks Ernie Grundfeld for ALL of this!

 

The Rooks!

Lastly, Our Washington Redskins.  I’m not going to write much because that’s going to go into another posting. I do want to acknowledge the fact that this team, region, fan base is re-energized.  Even if we didn’t make the playoffs this season, you could finally see that the fruits of the labor of Bruce Allen, Coach Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan and most importantly, the scouting department is finally coming to fruition.   Long gone are the days where just making the playoffs was the ultimate ceiling for the team, we can now build a true contender which one day could make “just” winning divisional titles commonplace.  HAIL!

Oh, I know this posting is about DC Sports, but I’m a HUGE Kentucky Wildcats fan….and we won that chip last year….don’t get mad at Calipari, DEAL WITH IT…”Coach YOUR team!” GO BIG BLUE!

2011 NFL Season Preview

Seems like this has been the longest off season correct? It hasn’t….we didn’t miss a thing besides The Hall Of Fame game but you wouldn’t think so considering all the anticipation coming into this season.  That’s a great thing right? LOL

Will this scene be repeated in Indy in February?

Anyhoo, I actually picked the correct Superbowl Champion for the 1st time in recent memory in the Green Bay Packers, and honestly, I see them being better than last year, which I will get into later.  You have new names in new places and high profile rookies taking over franchises so Week 1 is virtually must see TV.  Also there is a stat that is so amazing, that people overlook, it needs mentioning here….

Each year, for the past 13 seasons, five teams that missed the playoffs the year before made them the following year. So, which five teams will be making a postseason trip that did not last season, and maybe even more importantly, which five teams that made the playoffs last year will be home the second week in January this year?

THIS stat alone may be the single biggest reason the NFL and its fans are so passionate about the sport and the particular team it follows.  There is ALWAYS a chance you can get in “The Tournament” and as The 06 Steelers, 07 Giants and 10 Packers have shown, you can be the LAST team (6th seed) in your conference and take home The Vince Lombardi Trophy in Early February.  So lets break down this stat shall we?  Here are the playoff teams of last season:

Green Bay, Chicago, Philly, Atlanta, New Orleans and Seatlle in the NFC

and

Pittsburgh, NY Jets, New England, Indy, Kansas City and Baltimore in the AFC

…now, which of these 5 teams would most people think wouldn’t make the 2011 Playoffs? Obviously Seattle, Kansas City and recently Indianapolis are the obvious choices to be home with me in January, but who else? Chicago? Baltimore? Pittsburgh? REALLY? only time will tell…and THATS the fun part of it all!

As the whole world knows, The Philadelphia Eagles basically won the Preseason Super Bowl, a title I know alot about being a Redskins fan.  The difference being that atleast Philly was already a potent team and they just added to it.  Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ronnie Brown and Vince Young are among the new players that are currently adapting to “The Eagle Way”.  Sometimes stars have a hard time realizing they wont be the focal point of their particular team, just a cog to a potential title.  To me, thats the main hang-up for Philly’s eventual run toward their 1st Super Bowl Title. They are the cream of the crop in the NFC East.  Injuries should be the only reason they dont win the division.  The Giants have gone through a LOT of injuries on the defensive side of the ball during the preseason but they have plenty of time to still put together a season.  Long as they have that pass rush and Eli cuts down on the INTS, they should still be a solid team albeit not a playoff team.  The Dallas Cowboys have long been disappointments which crested last season’s “Super Bowl at Home” talk into a fired coach by week 7 and a new Defensive Coordinator in Rob Ryan.  They are stacked with star players as always but they can tell you more than I can, star players dont win ballgames, teams do, SO until i see something worthwhile from that defense (especially their back 7 besides DeMarcus Ware) I dont expect much from them either.  Lastly, my Washington Redskins.  at this time last year, the Redskins were an old, slow, plodding mess of an organization. Today, there are only 16 players on the team that were on that roster. Gone are malcontents like Albert Haynesworth…gone are old bums that just didnt make plays…that is a GREAT thing.  7 rookies from the 2011 draft made the final 53 roster, UNHEARD OF in Redskin Nation.  Shrewd trades that produced Tim Hightower and Jabar Gaffney has bolstered the skill positions but alas, Rex Grossman is the QB of this team, and he is what he is….average.  I expect this TEAM to play much better all around…every level of the team has been improved with quality depth and with Brandon Banks you have someone who can score on Special Teams any time he touches the ball, saying all of this, I believe this team can FINALLY compete but just don’t have enough to make a real playoff run this year, but the future is getting better in Washington because the team is being built correctly, FINALLY.

He's coming....

The NFC North will probably be the most competitive division in football, if not the most physical.  The Packers, in my eyes, have the most complete team in the game and the most solid from top to bottom defending champ since the Patriots in their heyday.  They have it all…stud QB…solid run game with Ryan Grant’s return and James Shields, a great receiving corps along with the return of JerMichael Finley, both lines, solid (although they will miss Cullen Jenkins), great linebackers including one of my favorite players in Clay Matthews Jr Jr, and a top notch secondary.  What more can you ask for? I seriously think they can go 15-1 this year, wouldn’t surprise me one bit.  They ARE that…damn…good!  Chicago again rests its season on an aging defense and Jay Cutler….they had GREAT luck last season, this year that luck runs out.  Minnesota should be improved just because Donovan McNabb HAS to be better than what they had at QB last season (although I liked Joe Webb….I wanted him to get a shot as a starter, but they still have a team that was just 1 season removed from the NFC title game so their time is now).  The Team of The Moment that people are expecting to make the leap to contention is the Detroit Lions, they have plenty of reasons to think just that.  If former #1 Draft Pick Matt Stafford can stay healthy, he has a plethora of options to toss the ball to like Calvin Johnson and young stud TE Brandon Pettegrew but the sole reason for all the optimism is that defensive line, especially Man-Child Ndomakong Suh.  Suh may already be the most physically dominate defensive lineman in the game today and his old-school physicality translates through the whole team.  GM and former Redskin Martin Mayhew has done a hell of a job building the team starting with that line. Kyle Vandenbosch and 1st rd pick Nick Fairley will make the average linebackers much better than they really are. I expect a playoff run this year but if they just miss out, it wouldn’t be a surprise, you gotta crawl before you walk.

Atlanta and New Orleans should be the cream of the crop in the NFC South but it was also the division where the Tampa Bay Bucs came from nowhere to win 10 games and barely miss the playoffs.  People have forgotten Atlanta WAS the #1 seed in the NFC last year but were absolutely crushed by Green Bay because of a faulty defense, so what did Atlanta do, go all in on OFFENSE in trading up for Julio Jones from Alabama to play beside Roddy White. I don’t know how much that’s gonna help that defense.  New Orleans has similar defensive issues but they are only 1 season removed from a title, they’ve been there, done that so to speak. I expect New Orleans to win the division and former Heisman Trophy Winning RB Mark Ingram will bolster their running game that lost multipurpose Reggie Bush in a trade with Miami.  Tampa Bay was the sleeper team last year and they have built the team the correct way, with youth.  Josh Freeman is developing into a stud QB and they lucked up and stole (pun on words ON PURPOSE LOL) LaGarrette Blount from the scrap heap and now he’s the bulldozing #1 back on a team on the rise.  A tougher schedule for a team that played alot of close games last season should be difficult but not something this team cannot overcome.  The Panthers are starting Cam Newton and are rebuilding….good luck to all parties involved.

Seattle “won” the NFC West last season and to me, they have regressed large in part of letting go Matt Hasselbeck and signing Tavaris Jackson.  Jackson is one of the worst starting QBs Ive ever seen, maybe Im alone in that thought, but I see nothing that makes me think that he’s gonna amount to anything as a starter in the league for ANYBODY.  The Niners are starting Alex Smith, again….Arizona went all in with Kevin Kolb, which IS better than Derek Anderson.  The team to beat in the division is the St Louis Rams.  Sam Bradford didn’t disappoint at all as the #1 overall pick with less-than-average receivers, adding Mike Sims-Walker from Jacksonville should help a bunch, and if their defense continues to improve and Chris Long takes the next step as an elite pass-rusher, they will be the divisional champs.

Playoff Teams

1. Packers

2. Eagles

3. New Orleans

4. St Louis

5. Detroit

6. Tampa Bay

In the AFC East, The Patriots had a great regular season, better than most expected but ran into the team that is built to beat them when it matters, the Jets, who did exactly that in the Playoffs.  The Pats have Tom Brady back, so that alone will make them formidable contenders and adding Chad Ochocinco will help, BUT, the reason they lost to the Jets last season were as followed:

1. No run game to speak of

2. Pressure on the online

3. Those receivers weren’t TALENTED enough to get away and open QUICKLY vs that pass defense of the Jets

..having said that, the regular season really doesn’t mean that much to me, what matters to me is if the Pats have made the necessary adjustments to beat the Jets and I’m still not 100% on that.  Coach Belichek is the best coach in football for a reason but he was out-coached by Rex Ryan in that playoff game, I’m sure he knows this and will do his damn-est not to have that happen again.  I trust in Belichek so I pick them to win the division by 1 game over the Jets.  A sleeper team is brewing in Miami, I love Cameron Wake and their defense is improving every game.  If Chad Henne can cut down the INTs and just don’t lose games, they can surprise this season.  Buffalo? Good luck….

Pittsburgh? Baltimore? Who’s division is this…right now, its Pittsburgh’s and it will continue to stay that way unless Joe Flacco and that offense can finally deliver in a meaningful moment vs Pitt when Pitt isnt depleted by injury, its simple as that.  I dont think Pittsburgh really improved much but they dont really have to with that defense whereas I think Baltimore might have taken a slight step back for the greater gain in the future.  Gone are long time offensive stallworths Todd Heap and Derrick Mason and in their places are younger players which should take a little longer to develop the chemistry with Flacco those two guys had for years.  The defense of Baltimore is still solid but it does have its problems, mainly the pass rush, it must improve.  I expect the Cleveland Browns to play much better than people think. Colt McCoy could make a Josh Freeman-esque jump in year 2, a 2-headed RB tandem in Peyton Hillis and Monterio Hardesty who’s coming back from injury and a solid young defense has all the makings in being better than people realize, I like the direction this team is going.  The Bengals? ehhh not so much….I feel sorry for Andy Dalton.

The AFC South was thrown into a tizzy with Peyton Manning going down possibly for the season, now is the time Gary Kubiak and Houston Texans have waited for, its THEIR time to shine finally, now all the pressure is on them.  Arian Foster comes into the season not 100% which isnt a good omen.  Matt Schaub/Andre Johnson/Owen Daniels will keep any offense in ballgames and will continue to do just that.  Their front office decided to try to help that deplorable pass defense in spending for former Bengal Johnathan Joseph so that should help big time. Each other team in the division is basically rebuilding now.  The Colts could win 9 games because Kerry Collins is a pro QB, but I’d be lying if I thought that would happen.  Tennessee is Chris Johnson or bust although Matt Hassellbeck was a better pick up than people want to acknowledge.  I wonder why Jack Del Rio still has a job in Jacksonville and with the release of David Garrard, rebuilding starts now.  Blaine Gabbart, get ready to suit up!

Lastly, the AFC West.  San Diego somehow had the #1 ranked offense and defense last season…but missed the playoffs. That wont happen this season.  Phillip Rivers had one of the best passing seasons in history with a lack of talent in the receiving corps, im wondering how well that offense can run with a full season of Vincent Jackson and a healthy Antonio Gates.  The Kansas City Chiefs won 10 games last season but this year they will come back down to reality a tad.  Matt Cassell comes into the season with a broken rib, not good.  I expect a .500 season from them.  Oakland will go as far as Jason Campbell takes them…again .500. Lastly the Denver Broncos have a new coach in former Panthers coach John Fox but have so many questions everywhere on the roster but I do know one thing, people sleep on Kyle Orton. Orton made people forget how awful Brandon Lloyd has been for 4 different franchises and I absolutely LOVE Von Miller playing on the opposite side of Elvis Dumerville. Watch out for them next season.

 

Playoff Teams

 

1. San Diego

2. Pittsburgh

3. New England

4. Houston

5. New York Jets

6. Baltimore

 

Super Bowl prediction – Green Bay Packers vs San Diego

Super Bowl Winner – Green Bay Packers

 

NFL MVP – Aaron Rodgers

Offensive POY – Phillip Rivers

Defensive POY – Ndomakong Suh

Coach of the Year – Jim Schwartz

Offensive ROY – Andy Dalton

Defensive ROY – Ryan Kerrigan

 

The Redskins and the “Mean Ol’ Parent”

Honestly, as a Skins fan thats a realist more than anything, having 5 wins with this inept roster, I would have been happy with “progress” in “changing the culture” (Key word…..remember them).  BUT after this Donovan McNabb debacle (and thats exactly what is is as of Friday December 17th, 2010), this season has been a failure at epic levels because of one major thing, the lack of genuine respect given, not to just McNabb, but because of the constant flakiness towards a bevy of situations.  People may not agree with me here but Mike Shanahan has treated this team and its fan base on a smaller scale, like a mean parent.  The type of parent that says “Its my way or the highway” with no room for flexibility.  Maybe in the grander scheme that its a good thing, and we will eventually find out but for TODAY, its become a sad, sad commentary of 2 decades of foolery us fans have had to endure and maybe thats what he doesnt realize.

As a parent of a 2 1/2 year old female bundle of joy, I have had my missteps. Ive had to apologize to her for  admonishing her without hearing the whole story. That happens…..which goes back to why I think this is such a debacle, there is nothing WRONG with admitting fault Mr Shanahan!  If you messed up and gave up a 2nd round pick for a Qb that doesnt work for you, FINE….just admit it.  Just admit YOU’VE been apart of the problem because if we eventually turn this mess around, your damn sure going to take praise for being apart of the solution.

Any normal person with a brain realizes McNabb hasnt been great this season, hell this has been his worst season in his career.  But the open disrespect shown to him by the staff could have been handled so much better PUBLICLY.  If you wanted to bench him, just do it, say it and move on.  Shanahan has done a poor job dealing with this team in all fronts.  The Devin Thomas debacle (even though he sucks, just cut the man instead of going through the unnecessary crap), the implementation of this 3-4 defense with NO flexibility to TRY to get something out of your best talent (Albert Haynesworth), and lastly, the Albert Haynesworth saga.  I was one of the people to not totally bash Albert for this and I’m sure because of whats transpired these last couple of days have people looking back on the Haynesworth Saga a tad bit differently.  Again, the Mean Ol Parent comes to the light “You cross me, you’ll never win my love back, EVER!!”

Out of the 13 games played, the RB position started a player who wasn’t even ON an NFL roster last season 8 times, the starting WR on the opposite side of Santana Moss had a combined 7 catches last season (Joey Galloway with a whopping 7, Anthony Armstrong with 0).  How in the HELL do you expect supreme greatness with such a whopping lack of talent?!?! They say there is now “accountability” in Ashburn for these players on this roster and some of these moves have shown that to be the case, but where is the accountability of these coaches?  The 1st step in recovery is admitting a problem….. Shana-rat!

Redskins lose to Rams…and all hell breaks loose LOL

Well, If you follow me on Twitter or even know me personally, I stated this game as the game to give you a true litmus test of if the “culture” has indeed changed at Redskins Park.  See, for some reason Redskin Fans don’t want to believe that their franchise are indeed one of the worst franchises in football (I mean, its a reason we had to pay Mike Shanahan all that money to OVERHAUL the team and its apathetic  nature from the front office to the field) so I really REALLY hate when I hear quotes like “We are the better team, we should have won!’, “How could we lose to them?!?!”….uhh hello? we arent any better than them….why do u think these team KEEP beating us? Why do you think #1 Draft Pick rookies like Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford last season, look like just that vs us?  When you have an answer, please tell the other fans…because I know.

But its not time to overreact, I mean only people that are overreacting are people who actually thought that this team which is bringing in ANOTHER offensive system AND a brand new scheme on defense which we don’t have nearly the type of players to run that system effectively. This team is gonna do what those type of teams normally do, play well in spurts and not so much in others.  When you continue to beat yourself with stupid penalties, poor tackling and various little things…you will lose games plain and simple.

Now having Donovan McNabb will keep us in games and help us beat the curve a little, but one man just doesn’t win football games.  Anytime Stephon Heyer has to see playing time, your at an automatic disadvantage…..likewise when you have to play Andre Carter at LB. He is playing his last season in Washington and if you have watched the 1st 3 games, you can see why.  How many plays has Mr Carter made this season? Exactly.  Phillip Daniels made more plays in one drive vs the Rams than he has the whole season and Phillip isnt known for being the type of player that makes impact plays.

The Pass Defense is basically playing with 3 players since Laron Landry is a glorified LB so that means that the opponents are picking them apart. D’Angelo Hall….take a cue from The Rock and “Know Your Role…..”  Again, I’m typing this no more than an hour after the game so Im typing from the emotional state of another dagger loss, but I also know that this is a MARATHON not a SPRINT.  You would think this team was a Super Bowl Contender from Day 1 the way some people are speaking, simmer down, take the loss, regroup and GET FUCKIN FOCUSED!