Saturday, August 15, 2009

Strasburg Offered Record Deal

The. Clock. Is. Ticking.

Very. Very. Fast.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Why Vick on the Eagles Worries Me...And Should Worry You Too

Out with one felon, in with another! That's how we roll in the NFC East, where football always comes first. Mike Vick joined the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday on a two year deal, and it ain't just for the good publicity. Their backup and theoretical QB of the future, Kevin Kolb, injured his knee so that Detmer guy they've had on and off for like 12 years Vick suddenly became a cheap and appealing contingency option for the Iggs.

This move makes me nervous. While they are busy grooming Kolb for the near future, what's the harm in bringing along someone else to push him, thinks they? A someone else who happens to have a cannon arm and can run a 4.2 40-yard dash?

And what better tutor for Vick to have than McNabb? He overcame his early-career reliance on scrambling, which is exactly what Vick must learn to do to evolve. McNabb (per Vick a "close friend") can also help him deal with the flak to come from PETA and Philadelphia's moronic fan base. Andy Reid, too, is experienced in handling troubled youths.

What's most worrisome perhaps is that Vick is in a no pressure situation. Any yard he gains from now on is a yard no one expected. If he actually learns his position (he already has a year in the WCO under his belt) and puts his athleticism to better use, he could be a dangerous QB; and that would be a nightmare worse than the recurring one I have where Vinny and Danny bump and grind to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."

I used to look forward to the day the Eagles dropped McNabb, but I don't anymore. It's a crying shame. Whatever, Orakpo will break them all.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fake Pillowfight of the Beltway

Are you ready for some football?!? Training camp and news coverage has been ongoing, but the excitement doesn't seem to get in full swing until the first preseason game (or when Hard Knocks premiers). You always hear how everyone is looking great until they actually are on display against (semi) real competition. This is depressing when you realize the o-line was actually getting negative press during preseason.

On to the game. What a suckfest, the Skins looked punchless on both sides of the ball while resting/missing a lot more key guys than the Ravens. The most notable point from tonight is that we struggled against the Ravens passing game. Yes, that's correct, the Ravens passing game gave us problems. Justin Tryon, in particular, was picked-on after getting a lot of hype about how well he has prepared for his sophomore season, and Kevin Barnes was also overmatched. Fred Davis tried to 'one-down' them by fumbling twice on the same drive. This team sorely needs depth to emerge from the ranks of the youth, but there were few bright spots tonight.

Chris Horton came from nowhere (I wasn't a geography major, but am pretty sure UCLA is in the middle of nowhere) and established himself as a playmaker in the preseason last year, and is now a solid starting safety. Tonight, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly looked comfortable, ran some nice routes, and Kelly showed-off his hands. Despite those guys being under the microscope and performing relatively well, the guy who stood out most to me was Orakpo. Rak was a high energy guy who looked consistently tough to block on the line, too bad he is now a linebacker. Other pluses are that the o-line held their line reasonably well, which is especially important given our injury rate in that unit, and Jeremy Jarmon performed up to the hype.

Maybe it doesn't matter, maybe it does. Either way this game was pretty damn boring to watch.

(Image courtesy of

Redskins Punt Returners Part II: Eloi, Hagans and Dorsey Get Their Shot

Like a lightning bolt from the sky, Jim Zorn's been zapped with the realization that Antwaan Randle El stinks. Only 6.8 yds/punt return in '08 (which ranked 20th 0f 26 regular punt returners) and 6.1 yds/return in '07 (23rd of 24) with nary a TD or gamebreaking play. Santana Moss is great as a punt returner, but counting on your only capable receiver and his wonky hamstring for return duties is what's known in the business as "poor planning."

It's time to dig into the free agent barrel and pull out a punt returner who won't bounce around like a Mexican jumping bean for 5 yard losses setting up critical posessions. The 'Skins will audition 3 free agents for the role tonight against the Ravens: Rookie WR Keith Eloi, WR Marques Hagans and rookie-via-CFL RB Dominque Dorsey. So grab your chin and look diagonally towards the sky and wonder with me: can any of these guys nab the full-time punt returning duties in '09?

WR Keith Eloi
Height: 5-10 Weight: 190 Age: 24
College: Nebraska-Omaha
40 time: 4.4 (as of 2006)

Punt Returning Experience
None. He was a kick returner at UNO, averaging 25.1 yards/return his senior season with a long of 43. Return highlights here, starting at the 5:20 mark.

What's good
Eloi has made a name for himself on these interwebz with his insane feats of verticality. While jumping out of a pool backwards and hopping into the bed of a Ford F150 from a standstill is impressive, just wait until he double backflips his way into the Ravens' endzone tonight.

What's not
There's only one receiver spot available and 4 dudes fighting for it. Only 50% of Moss, Randle El, D. Thomas, M. Kelly are serviceable NFL receivers, so the 'Skins badly need production from that 5th guy. Eloi could return three punts to the house tonight but it won't mean anything if he can't show Zorn Star something. If he gets cut, though, he can always cash in his millions of theoretical internet dollars for those jumping vids. So don't worry your pretty little faces folks, Keith Eloi will be just fine.

Odds: 2 out of 10.

WR Marques Hagans
Height: 5-10 Weight: 205 Age: 26
College: Virginia
40-time: 4.8 (2006 combine)

Punt Returning Experience
Muffed his only career punt return in 2007 with the Rams. He has averaged 18.8 yards in 7 kick returns over 6 games with the Rams and Chiefs.

What's good
Hagans earned a chance as an NFL punt returner before (Rams in '07), which is more than you can say for the rest of the contenders. And unlike Eloi, Hagans has NFL experience and proven receiver ability, in a way: 9 receptions for 108 yards over 6 career games is something at least. He signed onto the practice squad in December so he's also got a leg up on the playbook.

What's not
He likes to dip his hands in axle grease before games. 2 fumbles in 8 combined kick/punt returns sucks more than his sucky last name. And unless he's on 'roids now he's too damned slow for the gamebreaker role the 'Skins seek.

Odds: 3 out of 10.

RB Dominique Dorsey
Height: 5-7 Weight: 175 Age: 26
College: UNLV
40-time: 4.35 (as of '04)

Punt Return Experience
Dorsey has been an all-purpose type throughout his 4 year CFL career, busting out to lead the league with 2,892 all-purpose yards in 2008. He tied a record with a 129-yard (!) missed-FG return in '07 and has been a returning dynamo for the Toronto Argonauts the past CFL season and a half and earned the John Agro Special Teams award for his efforts.

What's good
129-yard plays and the world-renowned John Agro award - what's not to like? Seriously, this is your darkhorse candidate for the punt return and change-of-pace back the 'Skins are looking for. He has blazing speed and skills in the return game plus he averaged 6.4 yards/carry and caught 15 passes last season, at an impressive 19.1 yards/catch. He's one of the fringe guys I'm actually looking forward to watching.

What's not
The John Agro award for outstanding CFL special teamer isn't exactly an indicator of future success, though I've heard 1999 winner Jimmy Cunningham runs one hell of a tire shop in Saskatchewan. Starting tonight, Dorsey will have to really impress to justify keeping a 4th RB on the roster. Rock Cartwright is too invaluable to cut - then again don't put it past the 'Skins to drop a heart and soul guy like Rock. Dorsey's also got a mild case fumble-itis, and he's teeny.

Odds: 6 out of 10.


With injuries piling up on the offensive line, carrying an extra receiver or back is a luxury the 'Skins might not be able to afford. Dorsey likely has the best shot as a Sproles-type guy the Redskins can throw out on third downs; they all have lots to prove to unseat Randle El and his albatross contract. Here's hoping one of them can.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Sound of Nobody Cares


Did you hear that?

Or that?

That's the sound the Nats 8 game winning streak made in the world, the sound of silence. When the worst team in baseball wins a few games late in the season for an apathetic fan base, does anyone care?

Well, actually, Thomas Boswell does. The article's title indicates that Boswell has deluded himself into thinking the Nat's don't suck, and well, that is what he thinks......maybe he can drive that bandwagon. He is absolutely correct in pointing out that Nats have actually been unlucky this year, according to their run differential/pythagorean record. So instead of having 40 wins, we should have 47 or 48.

Wait one more time, he actually thinks its a good thing that we should actually have 47 to 48 wins and be only the 3rd worst team in baseball?!? Wow, amazing, how much are season tickets again? Hey Boswell, I have a turd sandwich I can sell you that should taste better than it does, but actually tastes like poop.

He then goes on to point-out that we have a solid core group of hitters. This is reasonably true, we have 5 hitters having good seasons, but are actually 18th in runs scored, have an absolute abortion of a pitching staff, Jordan Zimmermann on the brink of Tommy John surgery, and not much young talent in the pipeline. I know Drew Storen tore through single-A, but whoopdee-doo, he is no sure thing and there is no depth around him, except for that guy you may have heard about named Strasburg.

So go and have your Strasboner dreaming about a rotation of The Anchorman, Drew Storen, and a healthy Jordan Zimmermann aided by the current lineup that will be boosted by Bryce Harper, but then I have a turd sandwich I can sell you.

By the way, 5 days until the deadline to sign Strasburg..........

(Image courtesy of

Redskins Punt Returners Part I

Antwaan "I'm Antwaan Randel-El!" Randle-El should NEVER again return a punt in a Redskins uniform.

Part II to follow.

-My post for the week. Eff you, I'm on vacation.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Procrastinator's Guide to Redskins Training Camp

Uhhhhh...what day is it...October?

No, it's August, which means my schedule is full as I alternate between sitting at the beach, eating pizza, and watching made-for-TBS movies like "Loser", "Pollock", "Jumanji" and yes, even "What Happens in Vegas". Which was surprisingly funny, minus all the Cameron Diaz parts.

So you may have noticed the DCLS lagging, or not noticed, because it's August for you too. You're forgiven either way. But at this point, if you're not up to speed on your 'Skins training camp news you'll be the laughingstock of your office/frat/sorority/book club. I'm here to help, fellow procrastinator!

Basically, there are five main things you need to know in order to a.) not sound like an idiot when discussing the 'Skins, and b.) properly brace yourself for this season and the inevitable misery:

1. The offensive line is acting its age. Matlock re-runs, Depends, and falling down go boom. So far, every starter and key reserve except for C Casey Rabach and LG Derrick Dockery has been hurt:

RT Stephon Heyer: ankle sprain
RG Randy Thomas: bad knee
LT Chris Samuels: bad knee (has been drained)
OG/RT Jeremy Bridges: ankle sprain
RT Mike Williams: abdominal strain

There is a distinct possibility that by Week 3, Jason Campbell's O-line will look like this: Devin Clark, Derrick Dockery, Casey Rabach, Chad Rinehart, Your Mom. Which means by Week 4, Colt Brennan could be the starting QB and by Week 5, Todd Collins, with Chase Daniel rounding out the QB replacement parade. Gibran Hamdan better keep his cell phone on. Portis is the team's best pass-blocker at this point.

2. The defense is lookin' dead sexy and sacktastic. Which is definitely an upgrade over years past in which the defense has looked merely damned good and runstoppy. The reason, of course, is Big Al Haynesworth and studly rookie LB/DE Brian Orakpo, the latter lookin' good as a pass-rusher but still adjusting at LB. Which begs the question: why isn't he just playing DE? Hopefully he's as quick a study as advertised and can become the next Lawrence Taylor/Terrel Suggs/DeMarcus Ware. Which would be a first for a 4-3 linebacker. But if there's anyone who can pull it off, it's a guy with a voice deeper than the Grand Canyon who can bench press a Subaru Forrester.

3. This car exists.

4. Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly are trying hard but are made of glass.
By all accounts, Thomas made strides this offseason and during preseason in that he actually appears to be trying. Campbell, smartly, had him running routes and catching passes all summer and the kid seems to finally "get it." But his paper hamstring has sidelined him yet again. Sigh.

Kelly never had those character concerns, but his brittle knees and his February microfracture surgery have left him less than 100%. He has the talent but if he can't stay on the field it's meaningless. As Campbell noted, these two need to contribute if the offense wants to do what it wants to do. That second receiver spot is up for grabs and theirs to lose.

5. Jason Campbell is going to have to do it on his own. This is his make-or-break season fairly or unfairly - though in my humble opinion, very very unfairly. Heading into camp I had my fingers crossed that the O-line's offseason work in Arizona would pay off, and that Devin Thomas and/or Malcolm Kelly would emerge. But only a week in, neither has happened. Dan Snyder seems to believe a quarterback exists on an island, but there are few quarterbacks who can succeed with a broken O-line and poor pass catchers. I don't care if Peyton Manning is behind center; if the QB has no time to throw, and no one can get open, he will fail. Except for Jay Cutler of course. If we had him, I wouldn't worry at all. Would you? Didn't think so.

Crossing your fingers and hoping for the best just isn't enough, though that's basically the front office strategy with the offense heading into the season. We'll see.


It's not all doom and gloom here. On the whole, the Redskins have an above average team led by a championship caliber defense and excellent running game. They have the experience to win on the road, against rivals, and the character to battle adversity. It's the Gibbs legacy.

Based on training camp so far the forecast is looking like this: if they are going anywhere this year, it's going to be on the back of the defense and Portis. It's '00 Ravens style or bust.

[Image via Orlando Sentinel]