Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dare I drink the Redskins Kool-Aid?

Sneaking down to the basement to use my mother-in-law's computer to post a quick blog celebrating the HUGE win today for the Washington Redskins, who avenged the earlier season loss to their rival New York Giants.

Game balls go to Clinton Portis, Santana Moss (I admit - I was wrong about the Moss/Coles trade), the entire defense (who after early season takeaway issues now have the fourth-longest takeaway streak in the league) and the coaching staff. The key series was the interception return for a TD by the Giants. Previously, the Skins might not have gotten off the ropes. But this time, they came back with that huge strike to Moss. And when Brunell went out with the injury, and Ramsey came in, and had to call timeout on his second play because someone wasn't lined up correctly, you could feel the old Skins creeping in. But once again, they regrouped, and it was another big TD strike to Moss. What a difference maker that guy is.

On the other side of the pendulum, what about Giants o-lineman
Chris Snee? He's the son-in-law of Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, and a lot of people think that's the only reason he has this job. And today, his play reflected that, with a key holding penalty that called back a long TD, and generally poor play. That's what happens when a father hires his daughter's son, though. If the guy doesn't earn his keep and isn't truly qualified, everyone knows it and will secretly do everything they can to make the guy miserable. Whether it's the football field or the cracker factory, you gotta justify Daddy's nepotism. Otherwise, you're just a bum. And Chris Snee is one of those bums. And if Tom Coughlin really had any integrity, he'd release him tomorrow.

Anyway. HUGE win for the Skins. I know I predicted that they wouldn't make the playoffs, but I think I may now have to eat those words. But hey, I'm happy to do it. But we'll see for sure after next week against Philly. In the meantime, I'm starting to get a good feeling about this team. God help me. For now, back to Xmas eve. Good day to you.


ombudsman said...

Have you seen today's Times article on Lavar?
It's unfortunate, but he really comes off as a turd. I think he mentions every decent play he's made for the skins over his career but conveniently leaves out those times his freelancing has cost the team games. It reminds me of Freddy Adu's outburst on the eve of the playoffs, except that Adu is 16, and Lavar is 27. I am beginning to think that this team will be MUCH better off without him.

MSH said...

Thanks for sending, hadn't seen this. Yeah, I've got really mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, I really do love Lavar and thought he was generally good for the team both on and off the field. On the other hand, he is definitely overrated as a player and isn't a franchise-type guy. On another hand, thought, he has a point that management (ie, Cerrato/Snyder) is the one that messed up this relationship, not him, and he has a point that previous building-block, team-type guys like Stephen Davis and Champ Bailey (and Brad Johnson, and Antonio Pierce, and Fred Smoot, and Kenard Lang, and so on) were mistreated by the team (and if the Redskins are to build on this great late-season run, they MUST stop doing that and start taking care of their players - Snyder PLEASE hire a general manager). But on still another hand, at the end of the day and for whatever reasons, Arrington and the team can no longer co-exist, and he's got to go. Plus, the sooner this becomes Sean Taylor's defense, the better.

ombudsman said...

How has snyder messed up the relationship with Lavar? Lavar signed a contract, then months later decided that the contract that he and his agent SIGNED was not the contract that he had agreed to. I'm sorry, but that stinks of bullshit. Lavar then went on to whine about it publicly, openly question the team's commitment to him, etc., just after signing the biggest contract in redskins history, no less! I disagree that any of the players you mentioned were mistreated by the team (except for possibly steven davis, who even so was drafted here, given a chance here, and compensated well here). Pierce and smoot left because they were offered money the redskins could not afford to match. Unless you actually believe that one multi-million dollar offer is truly "insulting" compared to another, that line of athlete whining just doesn't hold water. "Champ" Bailey demanded a trade! I think what ownership has shown, especially since Gibbs got here, is a strong consistent message that will ultimately benefit the team: if you whine and complain, if you don't want to be here, then get the fuck out.

MSH said...

But they often ship out the player in a very acrimonious fashion. The Redskins like to play tough guy in the media and leak things about what a jerk this or that player is, and basically poison their own well. I would guarantee that if Snyder didn't write big checks, people wouldn't be too happy about the idea of playing here. Look at what happened with the Jets and then with Arrington. Other players demanded trades and left town because they felt they were getting lowballed by management. That phrase - "lowballed by management" - gets thrown around far more often during Skins offseasons than othres. Why do the Redskins keep getting dragged into arbitration? Why is it that some player or another is leaving acrimoniously EVERY SINGLE YEAR under nebulous circumstances? It's a systemic problem and it stinks.

What ownership has shown is that it is very quick to shoot its mouth off and dump players and be a tough guy even if it's not the best thing for the team (Sanders' and Coles' contracts, etc.), while at the same time they seem to always be trying to find salary cap and contract loopholes, even if it means treating their workforce, ie the players and even the coaches and other organization staff, without respect or dignity. They have no patience whatsoever, and if any player or agent has the nerve to question or stand up to them, they throw a tantrum. I'm not saying the players are absolved of blame here, but the fact is that the Redskins organization is not exactly the tightest and most professional ship in the NFL, and dicey things seem to happen more frequently in Washington. And just because they're now 9-6 and on the verge of the playoffs doesn't change that. If I could choose between the Skins making the playoffs this year and them missing but hiring a good legit GM, I'm taking the GM ten times out of ten. There are worse owners than Snyder, but they guy has to grow up and realize he has to treat people decently, or each year he'll have some huge player/contract disupte on his hands. Those kinds of chickens most definitely come home to roost, especially in salary cap world.

ombudsman said...

I'll concede that the skins don't run the tightest ship, but the phenomenon is not unique to them. The Eagles & Patriots, two organizations consistently portrayed as the most upstanding among the lot, have had their fair share of acrimonious partings and nebulous dealings the past few years. This is the way of free agency. Trying to find cap loopholes is smart and necessary, and players leaving acrimoniously is part of the process. I agree that a GM would help immensely, but Joe Gibbs and company have performed thus far in that role in a way that is hard to argue with. Sean Taylor, Chris Cooley, Marcus Washington, Casey Rabach, Sean Springs, Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, Mike Sellers & Ryan Clark have all worked out very well, and Carlos Rodgers has looked good in limited time. Antonio Pierce is the team's only significant loss. A rash management team would have traded Ramsey earlier in the season to the Jets, but they held on, and even that move has paid off. The skins may still lose this week, but my contention is that this is a significantly different and improved team than under Snyders past. The team has an identity, the players give a shit, and by all accounts they like each other. The culture is changing.

ombudsman said...

Oh, I failed to mention that your points about Snyder are entirely valid. The changes I see are as a result of Gibbs despite Snyder.