Friday, November 27, 2009


Two years ago today, Redskins Nation lost one of its most beloved sons. Big ups to Sean Taylor, who is probably wreaking havoc on opposing wide receivers up in heaven as we speak. RIP brotha.

Obviously The DCLS is Right

In their weekend game preview on, FO reveals that,"Washington's Adjusted Sack Rate on defense is average on first and second down, but a league-high 12 percent on third down." You want to know why? Because our 3rd down pass rush includes this guy:

O-Sak-Po! We've been saying it since he got drafted and can't say it enough! Let him play DE full-time! How different would our D be if he got a chance to rush the QB on 1st and 2nd down too?

(Image courtesy of the The Redskins Blog)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Week 12 Picks: Kicked in the Spleen While We're Down

Those were dark days when I was picking against the Skins, and may have just inspired us to our 2 best performances of the season, but I'm still not buying-into this team. While the performances improved, our roster got mighty thin. The Skins have to be the most banged-up team in the league. Our starting LT and RG are out, our backup RG is also done for the year, our top-2 RBs are out, our starting QB is banged-up, our starting TE and overall best offensive player is out, and our best player and starting DT is likely out on Sunday. (Editor's note, D****** Hall was just ruled out for Sunday's game as well, giving Double-Move another shot). Not just quantity of injuries, but all of our best guys; the Chad Rinehardt injury was not a big deal, because he is very replaceable (or at least should be). When it rains it pours.......

But haven't we been just fine without those guys and maybe team chemistry has improved without the big names? So we only lost to the Iggles by 10 last time and are kind of playing better right? The Iggles have been slumping the last 3 games, with 2 losses and an unimpressive win over da Bears, so are ripe for the picking, just like the Broncos right? Color me pessimistic after the 1-2 punch of a surprise win and almost win left me with crushed hopes again. Just when I thought I was at peace with this season, the Skins basically picked me up off the canvas and then kicked me in the spleen.......thanks, but no thanks. I'll keep the bandwagon parked until next season. On the bright side, 2 weeks until we are favored against the Raiders!

On to the picks..........FO's 'locks of the week' are now 6-8 with 2 'locks' this week, their 'reasonable' picks are 17-25, and their 'stay away' picks are 55-47. The top 3 picks this week are all considered locks. After, posting an apology for their awful picks thusfar, FO rebounded with a strong week. Please note that differences in total games picked is a result of us using slightly different spreads.

The standings (with pushes excluded):
Sports Guy: 6-9 last week, 90-67 overall (57.3%)
Monkey throwing shit at a dartboard: 79-79 overall (50.0%)
DCLS: 8-7 last week, 78-80 overall (49.4%)
Football Outsiders: 9-6 last week, 78-80 overall (49.4%)

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. Kansas City +14 over SAN DIEGO - The Bolts are only FO's #9 straight-up pick, so they must really like the 14 points here. KC is their #27 ranked team, and the Bolts #13, which would be enough to pick SD, but I think KC's recent improvement is the big reason. Interestingly, the only game thusfar in which the Chiefs have lost by over 14 points was to the Chargers, at home, 4 weeks ago. FO's certainty is swaying me here.
  2. Indianapolis -3.5 over HOUSTON - There is something very wrong with this line. Maybe the insanely long injury report is pushing this line down, but I am ready to make this my lock of the week. FO has Indy as their #2 straight-up pick. Fun fact of the week, Matt Schaubb is FO's #3 ranked QB, behind only Brady and Manning.
  3. DALLAS -14 over Oakland - There should not have been much reason for concern because their offense struggled against the league's #1 defense and #11 defense in back-to-back weeks. Nothing like a little Raider-tonic to cure everything.
  4. CINCINNATI -14 over Cleveland - So the Bungles lost to the Raiders and are still giving 14? Looking a little closer, the Bengals outplayed the Raiders and were just a bit unlucky, whereas the Browns were badly outplayed by the Lions (outgained by over 100 yards) and were lucky to only lose by 1 point thanks to a trick play and a 2-0 advantage in turnovers. Cincy is FO's #1 straight-up pick this week.
  5. BUFFALO +3.5 over Miami - I am not sure what FO is seeing in the Bills here, they couldn't even beat the Jags last week, whereas Ricky Williams and co. showed me that they may be just fine without Ronnie Brown. If Williams can continue to perform as he did last week, it will put quite a damper on how good a player Ronnie Brown is perceived to be.
  6. DENVER +7 over New York Giants - Wha, wha, hap, happe...? The Giants embarassed themselves and I am finally convinced that they may not be a good team. FO had them as their #11 team, just ahead of Miami, going into this week, with the #14 offense and #13 defense; sounds perfectly mediocore to me. Not sure what to make of the Broncos after this.
  7. Pittsburgh +3 over BALTIMORE - Interesting that FO has their #10 team over their #6 team, on the road. The Steelers are also 2-3 on the road this year, with those 2 wins over the Lions and slumping Broncos (same ones the Skins beat), and their starting QB is hurt and Dennis Dixon may play, yikes. Sounds like an obvious fools-pick right? Well the the Ravens are 5-5, with those wins over Cleveland (x2), KC (home), slumping Denver (home), and at San Diego. All of their losses have been close to good teams, so this sounds like a close Steelers win, either way I'll take the points in what should be a low-scoring game. If Dennis Dixon does play, I'll probably have the same face Chris Simms did before attempting a winning final drive against the Skins.
  8. New England +3 over NEW ORLEANS - Make no mistake, the Pats are the best team in the league right now. The home-field is a big deal here, but I will still take the points.
  9. Carolina +3 over NEW YORK JETS - Never a good sign when you install a new system to help your QB and explain, "Basically it's helping him manage when he gets out on the field to understand maybe the parameters, maybe the game situations and all that kind of stuff."
  10. DETROIT +11 over Green Bay - Not sure why Sports Guy and FO liked the Lionesses here. Although the game wasn't a total blowout, Detroit was never closer than 2 scores after halftime, so this game lived down to expectations.
  11. Arizona -3 over TENNESSEE - Very interesting in what will be the first test for the VY-led Titans. Their wins under VY have not been against anybody as good as the Cards, so I'll take the favorite here.
  12. SAN FRANCISCO -3.5 over Jacksonville - I am sticking with Coaching Jesus, but did you know the Jags are in the playoffs if the season ended today?
  13. Tampa Bay +12 over ATLANTA - FO already flipped on this pick and I am having trouble with this as well. My general rule is to go with the team I think will win, so I'll take the Falcons to bounce back from 2 losses. I also just noticed that Atlanta is in 2nd place in their division and still 5 games behind the Saints.
  14. Chicago +11 over MINNESOTA - The nation will delight in Cutler learning about the subtle tasting notes of turf.
  15. Seattle -3 over ST. LOUIS - Honestly, who cares?
  16. Washington +9.5 over PHILADELPHIA - So much for picking against the Skins. Not only did we lose the game last week, but I also missed the pick. FO has Philly as their #6 straight-up pick, and as a 'lock' to win.
I was going through some dark times picking against the Skins the past couple weeks, and am back to taking the good guys. Meanwhile, FO may have revamped their picking system and be back to giving reliable advice. And just like with the Skins, I will follow, but try not to get close enough to get kicked in the spleen.
(Image courtesy of

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is Ted Leonsis The Wizards' Savior?

With Abe Pollin's passing comes a new era in DC basketball, but I'm not so sure the new era will be much different from the past.

Pollin owned both the Wiz/Bullets and Capitals for almost 40 years each, before selling the controlling interest in the Caps and a significant stake in the Wiz/Bullets to Ted Leonsis in 1999. The idea was that Leonsis would run the Caps, and eventually take over the Wiz, which is proven by him having a first option to buy the team after Pollin's tenure. After Pollin's death, Leonsis said,"That agreement established an orderly process for conducting that transaction and it is our intention to follow that process..."

So it is pretty safe to say that Uncle Ted is about to take over the Wiz, but what does this mean for the team? Most people I have spoken with think that because the Caps have become a model franchise under Ted's guidance, that the Wizards are bound for better days. The logical leap seems easy, but I don't think that all the Caps' success can be credited to Ted.

(Oops, that's the Dakota Wizards)

As I've written before, Uncle Ted is beloved mostly because the Caps are winning and partly because he connects with 'the people' through his blog. If the Caps were a middling team, would we still love Ted? I say no, but the important question here is whether Ted has an ability to build a winner in any sport, not just hockey.

My first question is how good would the Caps be without Ovie? If the draft lottery had not gone our way, and we ended up with Cam Barker or Andrew Ladd instead of Ovie, then where would the Caps be? This team is very good without Ovie, but not a title contender. One could make the case that the extra money and higher draft picks could/would be used to partly replace Ovie's production, but there is no way around the fact that Ted partly lucked into the best hockey player in the world.

Even if you look beyond Ovie, it is hard to say that Ted has single-handedly made the Caps so great. Sure he made the great hire of George McPhee, but it is McPhee and not Leonsis running the player personnel, and maybe Ted just got a little lucky with that hire. Ted has also been reasonable with contracts, but that is easy to do when you have a successful team anchored by the best player in the world.

The one characteristic of Ted that should translate to the NBA is that he was/is willing to lose money and go through bad times (rebuild) to build a winner. There are surprisingly few owners willing to take this risk despite their wealth, and this strategy is always the way to go when a team needs an overhaul; the Caps are a great example in the NHL, and the Tampa Bay Rays are the best example in baseball. The NBA, however, is different. Basketball teams and games can be dominated by 1 player, and the dominant teams always include one of the top-5 players in the league. The recent exceptions have been the Pistons and Celtics, but look at the Jordan-Bulls, D-Wade-Heat, Kobe-Lakers, Duncan-Spurs, and you get the idea. In the NFL, NHL, and MLB, the best teams have talent in depth, but in the NBA, it is less about depth and more about your top player (this is also why I thought Brandon Jennings was a great pick, thank you very much). Imagine how different the NBA landscape would be if the Wizards hadn't had the 1st pick in Kwame Brown's year, and instead had Duncan, Shaq, or Lebron? What I am trying to say is that Ted's patience may not be enough in the NBA if the lottery doesn't go our way. Patience and rebuilding is good, but you need more luck in the NBA than in other leagues. Even if Uncle Ted has a great ability to select the best GMs, he is still playing shorthanded without a dominant superstar, which the Wiz currently lack.

Given the Wiz recent struggles (season outlook post coming soon, I swear), and likely disappointing season, this seems another great opportunity for Ted to rebuild. Thanks to the contract of Agent-0, the Wiz are in a situation where a full rebuild can't commence for at least 1 more season, so Ted's magic may have to wait. Interestingly, the Wizards currently employ a GM who has been averse to rebuilding during his career, so the one thing that I am sure about at this point is that Ernie Grunfeld should be very concerned about his job.

As much as I love Uncle Ted, I am not ready to call him the savior of DC basketball. He certainly has the traits of a great owner, but he will need even more luck than he had with the Caps to bring an NBA championship to DC.

(Images courtesy of and

Thursday NFL Picks

I will make these quick, as I don't care much about the games and am more focused on eating a full slice of each of the 8 different pies I will see tomorrow evening. Not only should I not care, but no one should, even if you don't have 8 different pies to sample. The Cowboys and Packers are FO's #3 and #4 straight-up picks, so should dominate their games, and the night game features 2 slumping teams, yippee. Here are the picks by FO's ranking of certainty amongst this week's entire slate of games:

3) DETROIT +11 over Green Bay - I'll take the dominant defense over the completely inept team. Who says Detroit scores more than 14 here? Why can't the NFL just make it so the Lions don't play on Thanksgiving anymore?

6) DALLAS -14 over Oakland - The Cowgirl offense will need to get rolling to score more than 14 points here, but hard to take the Raiders, even without Jamarcus.

10) DENVER +7 over New York Giants - I still think Denver is overrated and the Giants are starting to bounce-back into form.

(Image courtesy of

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Abe Pollin Won at Life

I was all set to write about what was wrong with the Wizards until the unfortunate passing of one of the most important figures in DC sports history, Abe Pollin. Yeah, Pollin piloted the Wizards through a period when we were a laughinstock, and the Caps have never won a title, but DC residents, and not just DC sports fans, should consider ourselves fortunate for the work of this man.

Pollin put many more important factors ahead of winning. Most notably, he is well known to have rejected bad-character players and be fiercely loyal to those with strong character, maybe even to a fault (I'm looking at you Wes Unseld). Despite this strategy, he still managed to bring an NBA championship to DC in 1978.

He was also a strong philanthropist, but his greatest contribution to DC is the Verizon Center. Pollin took a huge risk and sacrificed a lot of his wealth to build that arena. The result? 'That arena' has completely revitalized (vitalized?) a downtown area to the benefit of all DC residents and become a model for any team looking to build a new stadium in terms of geographic location. It is not a coincidence that Pollin amassed his fortune in housing development. The arena has also had the effect of taking teams in peripheral sports (not football), and putting them right in the heart of DC, literally and figuratively.

A lot of people are excited that Ted Leonsis has stewarded the Caps well and will now likely take over the Wiz, but in an age of owners using their teams to make money (see Snyder, Dan), or being completely inept (see Dolan, James), it is hard to have anything but respect and admiration for Abe Pollin.

Antawn Jamison said it well, "Guys done so much, not only for this city but making this world a better place. It's tough. Sometimes you take things for granted, but it helps you put things in perspective and lets you know that this is only a game. It's a game he loved so much. He's truly going to be missed. But you know, every game we play from now on, he's going to be watching."

For all you have done Mr. Pollin, thanks, and rest in peace.

P.S. I have read through a bunch of the Pollin pieces and I like the recap on and the piece from Dan Steinberg with takes from members of the Wizards.
(Image courtesy of

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Week 11: Cowboys 7, Redskins 6 - Knee Jerk Reactions

Duped! Ha!

What were you getting your hopes up for? Yea you, guy on couch with personal 12-pack, initially expecting to drown your sorrows by the middle of the first quarter?

Did you really believe that lining up for a 50-yard field goal with a 6-0 lead in the middle of the fourth quarter was some sort of harbinger for success?

What say you?! "Yes," you say?

Fine. I'll admit it, too. I genuinely thought the Redskins were going to beat the Cowboys today after London Fletcher's pick early in the fourth quarter. We were the better team at that point. Those hopes immediately washed away when I heard the ill-fated words, "Illegal Wedge", and knew it wasn't our day. All I could do at that point was laugh. Illegal Wedge? Classic.

A victory over Dallas today would've provided tremendous satisfaction for Redskins Nation. But let's not fool ourselves and pretend that at 4-6 we would have been back in the playoff picture. Because to fool ourselves in such a way would be downright foolish. And fools we are not.

I'll be frank, though - seriously denting Dallas' playoff hopes would have been a nice kicker in a disastrous season. And that's what really grinds my gears about losing today.

Some additional thoughts on the game:

  • Shaun Suisham has been hitting meaningless field goals all year long - 12 for 12, in fact, before today. Which begs the all-important question: what the hell, dude?
  • Let's look back on his two misses, though. The six minute delay at the end of the first half is exactly how to ice your kicker. Bravo, zebras. And the 3rd down run in the middle of the fourth quarter was predictably stuffed for a loss. Can anyone explain the aversion to sneaking our quarterback? Considering Suisham's secondt miss was off by only a few yards, this is a question I want answered.
  • Love the all burgundy uniforms.
  • I'm not sure how Tony Romo "injured" himself while tripping tackling Deangelo Hall, but he sure did prevent the Redskins' first defensive touchdown of the year.
  • Both Rocky McIntosh (#52) and London Fletcher (#59) missed easy picks in the first quarter, and neither of them are named Carlos Rogers (#22)! But this is kind of creepy: 59-52=7, and 7x3=21, and 21+1=22. I swear to God, you can't make this stuff up.
  • Jason Campbell was awesome today, any way you look at it. I have the funny feeling we're not gonna truly understand just how good Campbell is until next season, when he's killing it for another squad and our QB is turning the ball over like they're pancakes.
  • Rock Cartwright, I <3 you.
  • Laron Landry had his only good best game of the season.
  • Fantastic job by Andre Carter to wrap up Marion Barber behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd and short early in the 4th quarter.  This was followed by an Orakpo pressure on 4th down, forcing a Romo interception. Gotta love what those two bring to the table.
  • Speaking of Romo, he was bad today. Very bad. It's hard to fathom that team is in first place in the NFC East, but what can you do? Some things just make no sense.

    And with this loss, let's agree to end all talk of winning out and possibly sneaking into the Wild Card. Because with the Eagles and Saints on the horizon, it doesn't get any easier.

    Skins @ Cowgirls, 1 ET

    Dallas Week.

    Nothing more needs to be said, so in lieu of pregame predictions I'll leave you with a few awesome videos to get appropriately jacked up. First:

    And now the greatest Chris Paul remix ever created, featured on our sidebar:

    Finally, this is always appropriate before any big game, or life experience for that matter. RIP 21: