Friday, November 6, 2009

Week 9 Picks: The Arranged Marriage From Hell

Sweet relaxation right? Nothing like a week of avoiding that weekly (or daily) pain of the Redskins. Until Dan Snyder's dumb 'apology', then Riggins, then Greg Blatche.....I don't think the Skins understand, this is a relationship where I am in the for the long haul, but I just want a little bit of space right now, kind of like a relationship where you want to have a Vegas weekend with the guys. The only problem is that this is an arranged marriage! I was born and raised in DC, and will always support the Skins. I don't care who runs the team, if Bin Laden was GM I'd probably be singing the praises of his stealth tactics and the fresh perspective he brings.

Which brings me to my next point. I didn't have a big problem with Snyder's comments, but have been going nuts over Greg Blache's Snyder defense, specifically this tidbit, "He will spend his money, he will spend his time, he wants to win, he is here for the people, for the fans, for the Washington Redskins." Obviously Snyder wants to win, but he is here for the people of DC and the fans?!? Let's see, this douchebag was the first owner in the league to charge fans to attend practice, practice?!? Ticket prices are absurdly high, he sued a broke season ticket holder, and allows ticket scalping to fly under the radar so he can smudge ticket sales more easily, all the while pushing all blame for team performance onto everyone but him and his personal fluffer, Vinny Cerrato. Snyder is here for winning, money, and celebrity, but not for the fans and everyone knows this. When Zorn goes down, Blache has a shot at the job, and this idiotic statement only furthers my point from a couple weeks ago that he is not at all qualified to be our head coach.

On to the picks, FO's 'locks of the week' are now 2-3 with only 1 'lock' this week, their 'reasonable' picks are 13-17, and their 'stay away' picks are 40-40. You should also note that FO has started including the % chance of a team winning straight-up, which I have included throughout this article.

The standings (with pushes excluded):
Sports Guy: 4-9 last week, 68-47 overall (59.1%)
DCLS: 5-8 last week, 58-57 overall (50.4%)
Random monkey throwing shit at a dartboard: 57.5-57.5 overall (50.0%)
Football Outsiders: 7-6 last week, 55-60 overall (47.8%)

As usual, the FO picks are listed in order of confidence, and I have bolded a team wherever I differ (home teams in CAPS).

1) Green Bay -10 over TAMPA BAY - No way the Pack loses here, and FO has this as their only 'lock' of the week. I also think this is the best pick of the week.

2) NEW ENGLAND -10.5 over Miami - FO's #1 team is the Pats, which is only a minor surprise given their recent play. So despite the Wildcat giving the Pats fits, I can give up the 10 points....I mean, Vontae Davis is going to be covering Randy Moss?

3) DENVER +3 over Pittsburgh - I think Denver is the better team, at home, with points, and Big Ben has a fat face that makes him look unathletic.

4) SEATTLE -10 over Detroit - I have said it before, but the Lions have quietly(?) become the worst team in the league again. Not a fan of giving 10 with the Seahawks, but I can't pick the Lions against anyone right now.

5) Houston +9 over INDIANAPOLIS - Colts are 'only' listed with a 73% chance of winning, and this line is a bit of an over-correction, but I'll roll with the hot hand.

6) Arizona +3 over CHICAGO - FO has Arizona with a 65% chance straight-up, and I agree that they are the better team. Only thing that could concern me here is the weather and Jay Cutler being the anti-christ to Kurt Warner's jesus love.

7) Kansas City +7 over JACKSONVILLE - The Jags are FO's #6 overall pick straight-up, but this line is very high for a team that is not very good. The Jags have burned me like a Vegas hooker, but I'll stick with FO here in what will be this week's toilet bowl.

8) Tennessee +4 over SAN FRANCISCO - No faith in VY here. SF has an 82% chance of winning by FO's numbers, and VY would 100% have committed suicide if badass Mike Singletary was his coach.

9) NEW ORLEANS -13 over Carolina - No need to watch the game, I've got the recap here, Saints score early and often, forcing Jake Delhomme to throw early and often, leading to numerous sacks and interceptions. On the bright side, it is pretty exciting every time Delhomme drops back, and you can't say that about too many people right?

10) PHILADELPHIA -3 over Dallas - Iggles are legit, and still not sold on the Cowgirls. Does Dallas' inconsistency mean the Skins might have a chance against them? I think I just got a semi...

11) San Diego +4.5 over NEW YORK GIANTS - In NY, and the Giants need this game badly. They are only the #11 straight-up pick though, so FO is not seeing a big difference between these two teams. How awesome would it be if Phil Rivers picked a fight with Eli Manning? Would Eli just puke out of fear?

12) Baltimore -3 over CINCINNATI - FO still thinks the Bungles are overachieving, and I honestly have no idea what to make of them. Meanwhile, the Ravens are their #5 overall team, so I'll give the 3, but expect a close game.

13) Washington +10 over ATLANTA - So did anyone else catch Atlanta on Monday night? Yeah, they're a real football team, and unless we've adopted this play, we are in deep doo-doo. FO gives us a 7% chance of winning this game.........

After a week of being all over the news and ruining my Redskin vacation, maybe being back to indifference is better for Skins fans. Either way, we have little hope this Sunday, but apparently are a decent bet by FO's metrics. So put your money on the Skins, because betting on burgundy is about the only way to get excited about us these days.

(Image courtesy of

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Armchair Playcalling: Hey Sherm, Try This One!

Sometimes, a football organization needs eyes. Sometimes, a football organization needs an extra set of eyes. And sometimes, those extra set of eyes need an extra set of eyes to scour the YouTubes for ideas. I am that extra extra set of eyes. I. For I have found a play that will surely make the Falcons say "Aye Caramba!" as Campbell takes it to the house for six:

That right there is genius. PURE GENIUS. "Fake non-hikes" is the next "Wildcat." I'm telling you.

Oleksiy Pecherov Kicks DC Fans in the Balls

The guy we drafted 18th overall in 2006, 3 spots ahead of Rajon Rondo, finally did something good. The only problem is that he had the best game of his career 5 games after we traded him, almost helping the T-Wolves to an upset of the Celtics.

On a night when the Wiz choked down the stretch, and the Ovie-less Caps era began with a whisper, and the Redskins continue to be a laughinstock, Pecherov just had to kick us in the balls. I was already not a fan of the trade that sent him to Minnesota, but if Pecherov turns-out to be a decent player, I'd consider cutting off my testicles to reduce the pain of having them repeatedly kicked by DC teams.

(Image courtesy of

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Snyder Speaks

For the first time in what has seemed like an eternity, Skins owner Dan Synder spoke to the media yesterday about the unfortunate state of the Redskins. Which, any idiot can tell you, he is responsible for. Oh, sweet irony?

Here's the video, via Redskins Insider:

View more news videos at:

He does seem genuine, but so did Ted Bundy.

Here's the money quote if you didn't feel like sifting through the above clip:

"It really hurts," Snyder said. "We are really trying very, very hard, everyone at Redskins Park, the coaches, the players. The organization is really, quite frankly held up well, and I think we've got an opportunity the rest of the season to hopefully get it going. But to date we've let everyone down, including ourselves, and we know that and we're just apologetic. We've blown some games that obviously we think we should have won."
The organization is really, quite frankly held up well?


1. Vinny Cerrato, Redskins VP of Football Operations, admitted the Redskins needed to address the offensive line in the offseason. Yet, take a look at the Skins draft picks this decade under his "guidance".

2. The team has been known to sue fans who fail to fulfill their season ticket contracts, regardless of life-long loyalty or how dire their financial situation appears.

3. Six head coaches in ten years. Six. In ten years.

4. Miserable stadium atmosphere. But hey, what's $20 for a hot dog and a beer between friends?

5. Signs have been banned from Fedex Field, prompting fans to try this. Also, signs have been banned. From a sporting event. Is there even a precedent for this?!

6. A former assistant coach, out of football for five years, was hired midseason as an offensive consultant. He was calling a bingo game when Snyder drunk texted called him.

7. Playcalling duties were stripped from the head coach and given to said offensive consultant, who had never before had success calling plays at the NFL level.

8. The locker room environment is more uncomfortable than the Obama/Gates/Crowley beer summit.

9. With Chris Cooley out, Fred Davis is now the starting tight end. Yet, oops! Just like the offensive line, he can't block. Tight Ends coach Scott Wachenheim: "We just went through the fundamentals. From stance, steps, hand placement, eye placement -- things you would teach a Pop Warner football player. Just started back at square one and just started building on that." Awesome. Our million dollar second round investment, who never really had a shot at success catching passes anyway, is getting the Pop Warner crash course one week before doubling John Abraham, with Levi Jones or Stephon Heyer no less. Great drafting, guys.

10. A revolution against the front office is in the works.
    So, held together well?

    I'm not quite sure I'd call it that. Trainwrecks are more held together than this crap.

    Could Adversity Be What the Capitals Need Most?

    One week ago, we re-examined our Caps Burning Questions through the regular season's first 11 games. Right there in black-and-white at No. 4: "If Alex Ovechkin gets hurt and misses time...what then?"

    "What then?" has become "what now?" Ovechkin is officially "week-to-week" with an upper-body injury, apparently suffered during Sunday's loss to Columbus, forcing fans and coaches alike to confront life without No. 8 for at least a few games, perhaps longer. As Puck Daddy noted: "Week-to-week is a very strange term. Is that a gentleman's way of saying "month"?

    What the Capitals have right here is some genuine adversity, and believe it or not, that's excellent news. Since Bruce Boudreau stepped behind the bench in 2007, the Capitals have almost certainly played their best stretches of hockey when things seemed most dire.

    Rallying back to respectability from the depths of a 6-14-1 record in 2007-08. Winning 11 of 12 games down the stretch to sneak into the 2008 playoffs, then rallying from a 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7 against Philadelphia. Playing some of their best hockey in 2008-09 with a lineup held together by Sean Collins, Bryan Helmer and duct tape for much of November and December. Winning their first-round series with the New York Rangers after falling behind 3-1 in the series. Forcing a Game 7 against eventual-champion Pittsburgh after dropping three-straight games in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semis.

    What we have learned about the Washington Capitals under Boudreau is that, despite pockets of elite talent, they aren't particularly good at being front-runners, whether it's a 2-0 series lead against the Penguins or a 3-0 third period lead against the Atlanta Thrashers.

    Ovechkin will be back, but until then, the Capitals must find a way to persevere in his absence. (Just ask the Pens, who were without Sidney Crosby for 30 games in 2007-08, how it's done)

    With a Hart Trophy-sized hole in the lineup, will the Capitals remember what it feels like to play the underdog? History says yes, but we won't begin to find out until tonight in Brick City.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    Exclusive Nick Young Interview: On His Role Before Being Benched

    Before writing my Wizards preview, I spoke with DCLS favorite Nick "Young Sushi" Young, 48 hours before the opening tipoff, about several topics, including the upcoming season, his entourage, DC late night food, and rookie hazing. I will post the interview in segments, mostly because I am taking my sweet-ass time transcribing the conversation, but wanted to get this portion online, which covers Nick's prediction for the team, and what he thought his role on the team would be.

    As Wizard fans know, Young Sushi was a surprise exclusion from the rotation, being benched in the season opener, and receiving limited minutes in the past 2 games. This interview was conducted 48 hours before the opening tipoff, and 24 hours before Nick was told by Flip Saunders that he would not feature in the rotation. I have not spoken to Nick since the season opener, and he has managed to avoid 'normal' media interviews about the subject of his playing time.

    DCLS: So what do you know about your role in the team now that the season is about to start? It looks like Mike Miller will be the starter at shooting guard, but any idea where you fit in the rotation, starting, 6th man…?
    Nick Young: Yeah something like that. Mike Miller is a great player, I didn’t know he was that good until playing with him, like everything he can do here............You know, it’s up and down (where I fit in the rotation). I gotta bring a little consistency and be a spark, that energy, that young guy that they need. It’s time to get buckets son, time to get buckets.

    DCLS: Oh, don’t say that, you know Ricky Davis's motto is “Get Buckets” and you don't want to be anything like him.
    NY: For real? Aw, now I can’t say that, I didn’t know that.

    DCLS: It sounds like Deshawn and Foye are gonna play in the rotation, but don’t get jealous when I say that.
    NY: Aw, naw, naw, we should be good though. Gilbert is playing great.

    DCLS: Is Mike Miller going to change his shoes?
    NY: Naw, I think they're too comfortable. He's heard it all so far, so I don't think he's gonna change it.

    DCLS: How are you feeling going into the first game?
    NY: Excited, you know it’s a new system, new everything. I think we go a chance of doing good this year. We can be that spark DC needs. DC needs somebody now, it was hard for us last year, and it’s hard for the Redskins this year, so you need something. The Caps are pretty good.

    DCLS: How do you feel about Antawn’s injury? 10 games is not a short amount of time and he's not exactly a young guy.
    NY: Oh, he’s out for 10 games, I thought it was sooner than that, but he’s been looking good. But he’s still Antawn, you know he’s Cyber-Tawn, so he can get it done. He’s vintage, Cyber-Tawn and Vintage-Tawn (are nicknames for him). Yeah, he’s an old man, you know.

    DCLS: Most predictions have you as the 5th or 6th seed in the East and 1st or 2nd round of the playoffs.
    NY: I can see that, but I think we can do better, we can do better. It depends how we’re playing, but I think we can do better. Definitely not the 1st round, we’re going past the 1st round.


    Young Sushi's comments about his playing time indicate he was a bit concerned about his spot in the rotation before learning his fate, but I can assure you that he had no idea he was about to be benched.

    Another part that concerns me is Nick still seems to think 'getting buckets' is his key to success in the NBA. He notes consistency as an issue, which is true, but Nick's problem is that he is just a scorer, and not a great rebounder, defender, or passer. He even likes being called "Young Sushi" because he is raw, which is exactly his problem; 3 years into his career, raw talent is not enough, he needs to become a complete player. Even if Flip Saunders' message has been heeded, Nick's limited playing time means that he will have limited opportunities to improve his game and is fighting an uphill battle.

    That said, we at the DCLS are ecstatic that Nick will be back with the Wiz next season. He is a great guy with personality, and despite his tough situation and early struggles, we have faith that he will come through and be the spark the Wiz may need.

    (Image courtesy of

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Raiders Leap-Frog Redskins in Worst Franchise Race

    GOOD NEWS ALERT!! The Redskins achieved victory this weekend by not playing, and through the release of some damning news about their main rival. If you think I'm referring to the Cowboys here, you must have just awoken from a 20 year coma. In which case welcome to the Internet! Also, Buffalo wings are now a national thing, China is our main international rival, Taco Bell makes a black-shelled taco, and you can say "shit" on national TV. There, now you're caught up.

    Except with respect to the Redskins, whose most glorious battle these days is being fought in the public eye instead of on the gridiron, against the Raiders instead of the Cowboys, and for the title of "most embarrassing professional sports organization" instead of the Super Bowl. Well this weekend, (un?)fortunately, the Raiders managed to leap-frog the Burgundy and Gold with release of the news that their head coach, Tom Cable, is a wife-beater. This on the heels of reports that Cable broke an assistant coach's jaw this summer. Rad!

    Now let's be clear: Cable can't be the first head coach to have problems with the ol' ultraviolence at home. And players are not immune to this either (see Marshall, Brandon). But Tom Cable's spousal abuse has been documented FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS. How lazy, dumb, and/or willfully blind do you have to be to hire a scumbag like this? You think you're gonna change the culture of losing by having impressionable young football players follow Ike Turner's example?

    The most telling part of the Raiders' incompetence in this oversight is that Cable physically abused a woman as recently as THE MONTH HE WAS HIRED: January 2009. I mean, it's one thing to excuse events long past. It's quite another to fail in basic due diligence, you know, maybe asking a recent girlfriend "hey, so what's Tommy Boy like after he's quaffed a few?" Call me crazy, but if you're going to put your $100 million+ on-the-field investment in the hands of a guy, you'd hope those hands would be good for character molding and not punching women in the face. The alternative explanation, that the Raiders knew all along and simply didn't care, is far more damning.

    The Redskins might operate like the Third Reich with their dissent-banning and pathological denials; their marketing department may have received degrees from the Somalian School of Piracy; their owner may derive sustenance from baby seal blood and be as ruinously meddlesome as Mr. Nosferatu Al Davis; but at least they don't hire wife beaters. So, good job Redskins. That's one humongous comparative NOT FAIL we can now stack against the thousands of other FAILS in this race towards epic humiliation. You were in the lead for a while there.

    Your move, Snyder.

    Excerpts From the Book the NBA Doesn't Want You to Read

    This is pretty sobering.

    When the Tim Donaghy drama unfolded over two years ago, basketball fans around the globe were in shock. What a scumbag, we all thought.

    Well, according to his book, Blowing the Whistle, which apparently is no longer being published, suspect officiating goes a lot deeper than one degenerate gambler. Perhaps not so surprisingly, the league sends subtle messages to their refs, and the zebras call the games accordingly.

    A little more eye-opening, though, is the fun these refs have on their own volition.

    Here is one of the many golden excerpts, via Deadspin:

    We had another variation of this gag simply referred to as the "first foul of the game" bet. While still in the locker room before tip-off, we would make a wager on which of us would call the game's first foul. That referee would either have to pay the ball boy or pick up the dinner tab for the other two referees. Sometimes, the ante would be $50 a guy. Like the technical foul bet, it was hilarious — only this time we were testing each other's nerves to see who had the guts to hold out the longest before calling a personal foul. There were occasions when we would hold back for two or three minutes — an eternity in an NBA game — before blowing the whistle. It didn't matter if bodies were flying all over the place; no fouls were called because no one wanted to lose the bet.

    Often times we forget that referees are human, just like us. Prone to mistakes. Victims of temptation. Awestruck by susperstars.

    I strongly suggest you read some of the excerpts from the article above. Where else can you find detailed insight on the abomination of an official named Dick Bavetta, or the personal beef Steve Javie had against Allen Iverson? Wait, scratch that - those are both pretty blatant.

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    An Open Letter to the Washington Capitals

    Dear Washington Capitals,

    I'm frustrated with you. Don't get me wrong -- I think you're an extremely talented squad, led by a core of electrifying young talent that will only improve in the coming years. In short, I think you're great most of the time, and I think your future is bright.

    But we need to talk.

    Look, I realize it's only the first day of November and that championships are won in April, May and June, but here's the thing: when I look at you today, Washington Capitals, I don't see a team that's prepared to win a championship. You have the talent, sure, but there are a few things missing. Big things. And unless you find them within yourselves, we're going to be having more conversations like this.

    First, Washington Capitals, you seem to lack the desire necessary to compete for a full 60 minutes. You're like the husband who makes dinner every night, brings home flowers on Fridays and then forgets the anniversary. When you have a lead in the third period, one that you earned through honest effort, it's simply not good enough to allow Raffi Torres stand on your doorstep unmolested for a game-tying tap-in. Yes, I'm talking to you, Tom Poti.

    (And while I'm on the subject, Tom Poti, it's also getting mighty tiresome watching you feebly attempt to clear bodies away from the front of the goal, horrendously screening your goaltender in the process. R.J. Umberger owned you last night, Tom Poti, and that desperation slide thing you tried to pull off looked like something I'd try at the end of a long shift in my beer league.)

    This ennui happens a lot, Washington Capitals, particularly when you're defending a third-period lead, which you haven't been very good at of late. You know, you don't have to win every game by one goal, right? You can actually win by as many as you want? Okay, glad we sorted that out.

    Secondly, Washington Capitals, you lack backbone. Jason Chimera stirred your shit up last night; you didn't like it one bit, and neither did I. Sure, it was nice to see everyone play grab-ass after he stirred things up with your best, most indispensable player, but face-washes aren't good enough. Not at that moment. Someone needs to make him accountable -- whether at that moment or on the next shift -- for taking your best player with him to the penalty box, and possibly contributing to what sent him to the locker room for the rest of the game (and hopefully not longer). That's when you take an instigator penalty if need be, Washington Capitals, to let him and his cronies know that behavior of that sort shall not stand. Heck, even something like this would do.

    [Update: Boudreau indicated Monday that several Capitals, including Matt Bradley, challenged Chimera to a fight, but the Columbus winger declined.]

    Didn't you guys talk about the need for team toughness after Mike Green nearly got the Joe Theismann treatment on Long Island last month? You had to, right? You said all off-season you would punish teams for the rough stuff by scoring power-play goals; how's that working out so far?

    Thirdly, Washington Capitals, you seem to be hilariously unaware of one of the most basic tenets of ice hockey: you don't get points for making pretty passes. This applies to both even-strength and power-play situations, whether the opponent is the New York Islanders of Columbus Blue Jackets. Goals are only awarded when the puck crosses the goal line; this is most frequently accomplished by directing shots in the general direction of the goal, which is a 6-by-four rectangle guarded by a goal-tender. I cannot stress this point enough, Alexander Semin.

    I realize it might seem like we're nitpicking, Washington Capitals. After all, you just recorded the best October in team history, and your 20 standings points have you near the top of the Eastern Conference. But you cannot be satisfied with the way you've played, and I just wanted you to know that I'm not either. Not by a very wide margin. And I think it's better you hear it from me now while there's still time to fix things.

    It's early, Washington Capitals, but not that early.


    A Concerned Fan