Saturday, December 19, 2009

Malcolm Gladwell on Jason Campbell

Nope, that is not a misprint. In an exchange with Bill Simmons on this past week, the best-selling author of The Tipping Point, Outliers, and Blink actually brought JC into the conversation.

"What we're talking about is what are called capitalization rates, which refers to how efficiently any group makes use of its talent. So, for example, sub-Saharan Africa is radically undercapitalized when it comes to, say, physics: There are a large number of people who live there who have the ability to be physicists but never get the chance to develop that talent. Canada, by contrast, is highly capitalized when it comes to hockey players: If you can play hockey in Canada, trust me, we will find you.......Case in point: Everyone always says what an incredible advantage it has been for Peyton Manning to have had the same offensive coordinator and the same offensive system his entire career. Football offenses are so complex now that they take years to master properly, and having one system in place from the beginning has allowed Manning to capitalize on every inch of his talent. On the other hand, someone like Jason Campbell has had a different offensive coordinator in virtually every season of his pro and college career (and I'm guessing he'll get another this offseason). I'm not convinced that it's possible to say, with certainty, that Campbell has less ability than Manning. I'm only sure we can say that Campbell has not been in a situation that has allowed him to exploit his talent the way Manning has. We just don't know how good he is capable of being -- and we may never know."

With all the good vibes going around DC this week, one cannot forget that we are in for yet another complete overhaul and a lot more uncertainty. We all should know by now to never drink any of the Kool Aid that Snyder is serving.

(Images courtesy of and

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Week 15 Picks: All The Pain Just Melts Away

With the Snyderrato axis of evil broken and defeated by common sense, I can't even describe all the feelings I'm having. Is that what being pregnant is like? Bruce Allen is providing a light amidst darkness in my life, so for this edition of the picks, I will mention the past Redskin pain I feel melting away with the new era beginning. As I go through this, maybe you can understand why I am a constantly disgruntled football fan and human being. Everything I see just reminds me of how frustrating the Skins are. And now? Hope.....

On to the picks..........FO's 'locks of the week' are now 7-10 with 1 'lock' this week, their 'reasonable' picks are 27-32, and their 'stay away' picks are 68-61. Please note that differences in total games picked is a result of us using slightly different spreads.

The standings (with pushes excluded):
Sports Guy: 7-8 last week 108-96 overall (52.9%)
FO: 9-7 last week, 102-103 overall (49.8%)
DCLS: 9-7 last week, 99-106 overall (48.3%)

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. Cincinnati +7 over SAN DIEGO - I know 7 points is a lot, but not sure how you pick against the Bolts right now. Norv Turner having success is hard to stomach, let alone understand, but it is not hard to seem him screwing this up somehow, although maybe some Redskin karma is in play.
  2. KANSAS CITY -2 over Cleveland - KC is FO's #4 straight-up pick, which is baffling for the Browns when you consider that the Chiefs are a pathetic 3-10 and FO's #28 ranked team. The Browns are 2-11 and the #27, so either way, I'd rather drink pure gasoline than watch this game. KC bothers me because Scott Pioli, aka GMing Jesus, was available and Snyder didn't pull out all the stops for him. As much as Bruce Allen has a solid track record and I see no definitively better candidates, Pioli is the one guy who looks like a sure thing great hire. Snyder always gets his man, so why wasn't Pioli his guy?
  3. BUFFALO +7 over New England - Get this, FO has Buffalo as their pick, and the system doesn't take into account locker room problems. 7 points is a lot, but I like the Pats to bounce back. I also envy the Pats because they are the model any NFL team needs to follow. They are consistently competitive, and unlike the Colts, built to withstand the loss of any 1 player.
  4. Dallas +7 over NEW ORLEANS - Demarcus Ware being out is enough to tip me towards the seemingly 'touchable' Saints. But this game is about the arch-enemy against man-boobs. I hate them both, and hate seeing both have success. Once again, one has to wonder what happens if man-boobs took the reins instead of Zorn, maybe the continuity is enough to keep this team from imploding.
  5. SEATTLE -7 over Tampa Bay - The Bucs are in a tight race with the Lions for the first pick. The sad thing is I'm not sure anyone wants that pick anymore. The relation to the Skins here is the past team of Bruce Allen and likely next head coach, John Gruden. The problem with that link is that they left an absolute wreck after they were fired, which is a major cause for concern. Such is my anxiety but I am trying to push this aside....
  6. San Francisco +8.5 over PHILADELPHIA - And here is the game with Coaching Jesus, the man who the Skins should have hired. Other than 1 early season slipup, the 49ers have played everyone close, so I like the points and can only wonder what would have happened with Singletary as our coach....maybe the mis-hire was for the best, as we get Cerrato out....
  7. Minnesota -9 over CAROLINA - It's a lot of points, and likely too much for a team with Laron Landry's double-move kryptonite likely to yield at least 2 touchdowns. Oh wait, we drafted him instead of Adrian Peterson, and the Vikings now have an excellent defense anchored by good drafting, free-agent signings, and a trade in addition to an absurd running back.
  8. DENVER -14 over Oakland - Call me crazy, but I like this matchup a little bit for the Raiders. The first reason is Asomugha covering Marshall. I realize Asomugha's questionable, but he should play and take away the biggest part of the offense. The 2nd reason is that this team isn't a complete embarrassment with Gradkowski running the offense. Denver always pisses me off because Josh McDaniels instantly turned them around, and partly with the help of former Skin Champ Bailey. If they can turn it around, how come the Skins haven't been able to do that for about 10 years?!? On the bright side, Oakland's steaming pile of shit always reminds me that things could be worse.
  9. Green Bay +1 over PITTSBURGH - I can't understand how this isn't a homerun pick and much higher on FO's list. The Steelers are not good right now, and unless last week lights a fire under their collective ass, I like the Packers and their now #2 ranked defense. I hate the Steelers as much as I respect them because they are the type of organization the Skins should be, always competitive with amazing fans. On that note, Bill Cowher is my first choice for Skins head coach; maybe I should be happy with what we've got at this point.
  10. NEW YORK JETS -5 over ATLANTA - The team with the #1 D and a potential disaster at QB should probably not be favored if Matt Ryan plays, but he is 50/50 at best. All I can think of here is the Sanchize, and how the Skins almost had him 'leading' the offense. He is a reminder of how stupid this regime has been and the type of thinking that has plagued this franchise.
  11. WASHINGTON +3 over New York Giants - Hell yes, we are back in business and may even have a little jump in our step. The Giants are FO's straight-up pick, but their 2nd worst one......time to play spoiler! I also can't help but mention how awkward it will be for Gruden to call this game. The G-girls are bad enough being from NY, but their fresh approach and sudden rise to success gives me endless anger, let alone the historic win over the Pats - why can't we just have a little bit of that?
  12. Chicago +11 over BALTIMORE - That is a lot of points, but the douchebag needs more than that. The Ravens suck because they showed up just up I-95 a few years ago, with an awful team, and have since been turned around by Ozzie Newsome to the point that they are another consistently competitive team. Just another example of a team passing us by. Da Bears remind me of Cutler, who we almost moronically traded for and gave a huge contract, just a reminder of how idiotic this regime has been.
  13. DETROIT +12 over Arizona - The Lions get routinely smashed by 10+ points, and the Cards just had an unlucky week with 7 turnovers. The Lions are still the worst team in the league by the metrics. The obvious Skins pain is Russ Grimm being part of a staff that quickly turned around a terrible franchise. I doubt it, but Maybe Russ has a role in team Gruden?
  14. Miami +3 over TENNESSEE - The Dolphins play a lot of close games, so the points are tempting, but I still like the Titans here. Random crazy QB fact of the week, VY is the #7 QB on a per-play basis by FO's metrics. The Dolphins piss me off because their coaching staff and FO has managed to maximize their talent by employing this crazy offense that keeps them more competitive than they should be. For all the plaudits of the Skins current staff, they have never seemed to do anything particularly inspirational to win games since Gibbs was here. Why can't we out-coach anyone?!? I'm looking at you Greg Blatche....
  15. ST. LOUIS +10 over Houston - The Texans have been hot, and the Rams have just been the same joke. The pain here is Charley Casserly's work with the Texans, which is depressing because he did a mediocore job with the Skins, but seems to have put the Texans on the cusp of being pretty good for awhile (and yes, I know he isn't there anymore).
  16. Indianapolis -3 over JACKSONVILLE - 1-0 for FO, Sports Guy and me with this pick. It was a close game, but fortunately Peyton and co. played the entire game. Indy represents the type of team we want to build, with a self-sustaining system of bringing coaches and players from within. This is entirely frustrating to watch when the Skins constantly change direction and generally stink. I do question whether the entire system crumbles without Peyton, but the basic formula they have is right.
The shards of pain are everywhere you look, but I finally feel like a regular team with some hope. Not the misguided blatant homerism hope, but legitimate hope that this team will be able to really build something with a decent GM, deep-pocketed owner, and die-hard fans. It is funny that this is the first game in a while this year where the Skins have a some confidence going into a game against a decent team. Because this is the one week where I should finally care again, but instead, all I can think about is the glorious future.

(Image courtesy of

Dreams Really Do Come True!

Breaking news just came from ESPN 980 that Vinny Cerrato has resigned! This has not been confirmed (UPDATE: it has), but as of this AM, the Skins may finally be free of the man who is the main cause of a run of mediocrity. Skins fans will remember where they were at this moment for the rest of their lives.

There had been rumor of Vinny being fired at the end of this season, but our recent trend of decent play dampened our hopes. I wonder, why now? Did Snyder and Vinny have some kind of fight? Considering the sole reason Vinny has been able to keep his job this long is that Snyder is having some kind of love affair with him, one has to think they had some kind of juicy girl fight last night.

What does this mean for Zorn? I have no idea. Vinny staying probably would have meant Zorn stayed, and a new GM is usually bad for the current coach, but I really don't know if the Zornstar has any less job security today than he did yesterday.

There is a lot more to come on this, as I can't even list all the awful things Vinny did to the Skins and their fans, but the bottom line is that he is finally out of our lives. Given that he was so entrenched, wouldn't you trade going through this 1 terrible season for him to be gone? Snyder may do something stupid/crazy and hire Vinny 2.0 as our GM, but right now, I couldn't be happier and more excited.

(Image courtesy of the DC Sports Bog)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thursday Pick: The Long Wait to Monday Night Begins

I hate the commercials trying to convince me that I can't wait until Monday night for 'the big game'. Well the big game is now played on Sunday nights, and after an exhausting experience trying to whither the steaming pile of turds the Skins dump on me, I am usually a little footballed-out by the time Monday night rolls around.

This time though, the Skins battle the Giants in what could (should?) be a close game, and I can't wait. Maybe those ads are just geared to people whose teams don't suck.

Sports Guy: 7-8 last week 108-96 overall (52.9%)
FO: 9-7 last week, 102-103 overall (49.8%)
DCLS: 9-7 last week, 99-106 overall (48.3%)

Indianapolis -3 over JACKSONVILLE - I have to agree here. This is FO's least certain pick of the week though, and did not have a spread until recently because the Colts may just rest everybody and treat this like a preseason game while Jacksonville is still battling to make the playoffs.

(Image courtesy of

Orakpo Snubbed by Peter King

Found this on page five of Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback and couldn't resist:

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews makes two significant plays a game.
Speaking of first-round rookies, there's a heck of a race for defensive rookie of the year. Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd leads the league with nine interceptions, and Houston LB Brian Cushing had another monster game: 10 tackles, a sack, two other tackles for loss, three QB pressures. Matthews. James Laurinaitis of the Rams. Pretty tough call.
Not even a mention of Orakpo - who received his Defensive Player of the Week award, by the way:

Who'd have thought Orakpo would have rushed the pass more productively in the first 13 games of his rookie year than Demarcus Ware, Julius Peppers and LaMarr Woodley?
The DCLS and everyone's mother did.

Granted, it's one man's opinion, and to be honest, trying to decipher this particular man's rationale has been a fool's errand on a number of occasions throughout the years.

But that doesn't make his embarrassing oversight any less infuriating.

[H/t to DCLS correspondent and former Jay Gibbons enthusiast, Plotty]

Monday, December 14, 2009


6-0 against a bunch of all-girls schools was expected, even after last year's disaster. But as anyone paying any attention to college basketball this past week would know, the Hoyas just beat 2 of the top 20 or so teams in the country, and are a perfect 8-0 and now ranked #11. Greg Monroe was on the front page of after dropping 24 and 15 on Butler, and is again on the front page of of the college basketball section of for being Andy Katz's player of the week.

The only supposed blemish on the resume thus far is a close win over Temple at home, but the Owls are 8-2, with losses against St. Johns and us, and a win over Nova yesterday. To me, that just looks like a quality win, giving us 3 for the year already.

The next couple games are against ODU and Harvard, so 10-0 is almost certain entering conference play. That said, I still have my concerns. We are only playing 6 guys, and although we are ranked as the 11th best team in the country, we are only the #4 ranked team in our conference!

I said in the preseason that Monroe would need to take a huge leap forward for this team to do anything, and right now he might be taking that leap. Too bad this will be the last year we get to watch him.

(Image courtesy of

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week 14: Skins 34, Raiders 13 - Knee Jerk Reactions


After 3 games of taking a lead into the 4th quarter (and losing), we deserved this. Call me crazy, but after a few weeks of decent football, I kind of expected a win. I was relatively relaxed for the rest of the game after we took the lead early in the 1st quarter; I even snuck a peak at Tony Romo looking like a kid being forced to eat his broccoli.

Did everyone else also feel extremely relaxed when Jamarcus Russell entered the game? Those 6 sacks in his first 16 dropbacks merely prevented him from overthrowing his receivers by mind boggling distances. The game ended when Jamarcus entered at QB.

Maybe tomorrow I won't be able to take my eyes away from that 4-9 record (the same as these Raiders), and maybe remember that 7 points separate us from being 7-6 and a playoff team. But right now, I'm just glad that the worst is over, and maybe, just maybe, this team isn't far away from competing next year....

Other thoughts:
-The Raiders with Jamarcus are incredibly bad, how can we have the same record as them, ahhh!

-Tim Tebow wears Brian Orakpo pajamas.

-Rak locked up the defensive ROY today. 11+ sacks is going to be too much to overlook.

-Santana Moss lives!

-Sure, Laron Landry had a pick and a couple nice plays on the line, but he couldn't cover McFadden. The 48 yard pass was all on him and cost us 3 points.

-Graham Gano > Shawn Suisham.

-We had our first play action spotting in a long long time.

-ARE still returning punts......really??

-Andre Carter, you fall on the ball, don't pick it up and run you greedy bastard.

-Quinton Ganther was okay, showing some flashes, but that is the best we have right now. Marcus Mason didn't show much. This team needs to get a starting RB this offseason.

-I can't remember seeing the Skins stack the box like we did in the 1st quarter. I know it's supposedly a big deal that Landry and Doughty switched safety spots, but Doughty was playing at the line most of the game anyway. Monday night against the Giants will be a better example of how this switch can work. I also will note that we have a high draft pick coming, and need a FS, and Eric Berry from Tennessee is going to be tempting.

-Fred Davis 15 yards for his endzone celebration. A) that dance was pretty mild. B) He definitely didn't get his money's worth - at least do something sweet if you're gonna get a 15 yarder.

-Our 2 TE set next year is going to be a nightmare for opposing teams.

-Dick Stockton - it's OraKPO, not OraPKO!! You said this incorrectly for almost the entire game!!!! That is beyond stupid; it's not like his name isn't pronounced phonetically. Rak is probably going to be the defensive rookie of the year so you would think he'd be someone the announcers would prepare to discuss during the game!?! Then, no one else caught this and could tell Stockton that he was screwing up the name he said repeatedly until late in the 4th quarter!?!

-Dick Stockton - just because Quinton Ganther and Kirk Morrison played in the same conference in college, does not mean they are good friends.

-JC had another good game, and still didn't have consistent protection. Just imagine what he could do with this protection every game.

-I am actually excited for next week!

(Image courtesy of