Friday, January 16, 2009

Sore Loser

Rogers or Not

One thing this off season that has me boiling about the Redskins' front office is the uncertainty about keeping Carlos Rogers. The one unit on the Redskins' roster that over achieved and performed the best was the secondary. The CB and Safeties match up, in my opinion, with any other in the NFL. Even with letting Springs go the combination of Rogers, Hall, Smoot and Tryon at CB and Landry, Horton, Green, Moore, and Doughty at Safety should be a productive unit capable of covering event the most dangerous passing teams.

It seems that signing Hall will be a fait accompli, and to my mind, a good thing. Rich Tandler is of the same opinion:
The first piece of the puzzle is cornerback DeAngelo Hall. After being picked up in midseason following an unceremonious dumping by the Raiders, Hall worked his way into the starting lineup and played well. There are signs that he may be growing up and that his "MeAngelo" days are behind him. He is an unrestricted free agent and if the Redskins can get it for something like the numbers being floated around—about $12 million guaranteed and $45 million over six years—it's a no-brainer to bring him back.
Tandler writes of the Rogers issue:
What I don't understand is why Hall and Carlos Rogers are being presented as an either-or proposition. Rogers was playing at a Pro Bowl level for the first half of the season and he wasn't awful when he was demoted to nickel back when Hall moved in to the starting position. He has a year left on his contract. If there is no collective bargaining agreement by next year Rogers will be a restricted free agent, meaning that the Redskins can make him a qualifying offer and get a first-round pick if he signs elsewhere. In any case, there is a good chance that the Redskins will control his rights for the next two seasons.
Tandler cites Springs cap hit ($8 mill) as a reason to let him go, and I agree. As savings of $6mill would allow, as Tandler states, the Skins to re-sign both Rogers and Hall.

PFW had an almost identical evaluation of Rogers' play over the first half of the season:
Through the first part of the season, Rogers was playing at a Pro Bowl level, but he fell off and eventually was demoted to playing nine defensive snaps in the loss to the Bengals. The club would like to work out a long-term deal with free-agent-to-be DeAngelo Hall, and not Rogers - whose deal has one year remaining - and could use him as trade bait. One estimated guess at Rogers' value: a second-round pick, which would offset the draft-pick shortage somewhat.
TOBOTWR, citing PFW, thinks that Rogers was playing even better than PFW and Tandler give him credit, and echos thoughts I share:
I have mixed feelings on this one. I think Rogers had a terrific season, even after he supposedly "fell off". He may not be the best at, you know, catching the ball, but that's why he's not a wideout. His cover skills remained strong, and you can never have too many good cover guys. At the same time, if you can get great value for him, I can see the sense in doing it.
But I keep coming back to the same thought: If you have a great performing unit, why muck with it? Why not concentrate on building the units that need drastic improvement which include just about every other area of the team? I understand if they want to let Springs go. He played half a year in 2008. Looking back on a long record of Springs in the NFL one can't realistically count on more than that from a player making $8mill a year -- He should go.

However, Rogers has shown that he is a consistently competent cover corner -- one of the best in the NFL at that skill, and with prototypical size and speed. So he can't catch the ball... That isn't his job description, which is keeping the OTHER guy from catching the ball. He is a good citizen and wants to play for the Redskins and won't break the bank to do so. What the hell more do the Skins' FO want?

This is the exact type of blunder that has lead to the linebacking unit's year by year degradation of talent. Will this be another Arrington for Holdman scenario? In that case a rogue LB coach, a nincompoop agent, and overdeveloped egos on the part pf the player and the owner conspired for a perfect storm in removing an all-pro calibre linebacker from the team. He has yet to be replaced, apologies to Rocky McIntosh. In this case the player likes the team, is a good citizen, and is willing to sign a reasonable contract... And he's trade bait?

What the hell is Vinny doing?

"Hi, my name is Steve and I'm a fan of the Redskins..."

"Hi, Steve..."

Well, that's the first step.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

La Canfora on the QBs

Jason La Canfora finished his review of the state of the Redskins' roster with the QBs last in a series of posts over the last couple of weeks. Although I disagree with his wanting to keep Collins around as the backup, JLC wrote something that should resonate with every Redskin fan about QBs, especially after watching the last couple of weeks of the regular season and the first two rounds of this years playoffs:
But just look at the QBs in the playoffs. Every week - and twice on many Sundays - passers are derailing entire seasons with four-to-six turnovers, poor decisions, imprudent gambles with the football. Campbell never did that. He didn't win enough games for his team, but he certainly wasn't losing them. Even at his worst, he kept his team in games. For all the instability at this position with this franchise for what, nearly 20 years, this kid should remain a big part of the future.
That's the rub. In his first complete year in Zorn's version of the West Coast offense, Campbell did as well as can be expected of any QB operating behind the Redskins' old, slow, and decrepit offensive line. Those upset with the level of QB play need to push for the line to be fixed, at the very least, before blaming Campbell. Also, it is common thinking that a QB needs at least two years in the system before being able to operate freely in it. As JLC notes, Campbell has all the tangibles that are wanted in a QB; size, talent, and smarts. Why quit on him now just when starting him the last two years is about to pay off?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sammy Baugh -- March 17, 1914 – December 17, 2008

Slingin' Sammy Baugh passed away yesterday at the age of 94. Born Samuel Adrian Baugh in Temple, Texas, Baugh was the greatest single football player to have graced the gridiron.

HTTR, Sammy!

Quite a few bloggers memorialized #33 yesterday. Here are a few...

Rich Tandler
The Curly R
TOBOTWR here and here
Redskin Insider
Redskins Gab and here

The Other McCain, that Tide heretic, also noted Baugh's passing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Year Later: Sean Taylor - April 1, 1983 to November 27, 2007

The tribute the Redskins gave to their departed team mate last year by winning their last four games over four tough teams, including the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants, spoke to the respect and love they held for Taylor. We fans became attached to Sean in a manner reserved for only the best of players, those who display greatness on the field and off. Sean over came many obstacles in attaining this position of respect -- many obstacles of his own making. Yet, his perseverance and his joy while playing the game won out hearts as Redskin fans as he had captured the hearts of Miami Hurricane fans before.

Sean's talent had him destined to be a great safety, perhaps the best of all time. He flew around the field with a reckless abandon that only manifests in those who truly love the game. His leadership was just emerging but held great promise. His personal life had become one to be admired after a time of trial. The best gauge of a person is the respect afforded by peers, and he had that without reservation.

As for us fans, we still miss you, Sean. The Taylor family is still in our prayers and thoughts.

A year ago I wrote:

We'll never know the heights that you could have reached as a young man, a father, a husband, or as a Redskin. The promise you displayed in all these areas pointed to so much more than what we had yet seen. We watched you grow as a Redskin and begin to assume a mantle of leadership after a period of youthful indiscretions. We rejoiced in the way your young daughter changed the direction of your life. We will miss you. Rest in peace, Sean.

It has been a year and the place he left remains unfilled in our hearts.

The Official Sean Taylor Tribute page is here (or click on the graphic).

In the Skins Blogosphere:
Matt Terl and Here
Hogs Haven
Cindy Boren and Here
Eric Espada Photo Montage
Curly R

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Problem at the Half Way Point

I know, it's been nine games -- one more than half way -- but this is the bye week for our beloved Maroon and Black Burgundy and Gold and a more natural point to look at where this team is. And, instead of a unit by unit examination of the team's learning curve, which I'll leave to others more capable and inclined, I think I'll point out thing that really bothers me about this team.

For Bye Week appraisals of the Skins, I suggest:

On to the problem I see...

With the bye week comes word that the Skins have signed the just released DeAngelo Hall and released our own Leigh Torrence. For more on the questions about Torrence being waived to make room for Hall I'll point readers to Rich Tandler:
This move is somewhat surprising. One would think that if a cornerback was going to get cut it would the rookie Justin Tryon. The fourth-round selection has played sparingly while Torrence has served ably as a nickel back while Shawn Springs has been hobbled by various injuries this year and after Carlos Rogers suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2007.

The fact that Tryon made the 53-man roster in September raised some eyebrows and the fact that he was kept over a fairly well-established nickel back will raise some more. Apparently the thinking was that Tryon had more upside potential than did Torrence and that justified keeping him as the fifth CB.
I have a problem with the Hall signing that is not related to Hall or the CB he replaced and was released, or indeed the fact we signed him.

My problem is that the Front Office has been seemingly oblivious to the one problem that will keep the Skins from being a Super Bowl contender...

The Tackle spots on offense.

Watching the Skins progress during the season has seen this position as one that has deteriorated instead of improving. All other units have worked out the kinks and are progressing: Pass protection for Campbell has dropped dramatically and was exposed for the liability it is against the Steelers. Put simply, there is no excuse for this display of non-competitiveness.

Heyer, who coming into the season was seen as a successor to one of the OTs -- and initially took the RT gig away from Jansen -- has been merely adequate in pass protection at RT and far below average in run blocking. In his one game subbing for Samuels at LT in a return to action after his own injury Heyer stunk. Jansen has cemented his reacquisition of the RT spot with his old steller run blocking, but he is still lacking when it comes to protecting Campbell. Samuels has had his moments when healthy, but was completely exposed last week in his return from injury. An injured Samuels is light years better than a healthy Heyer.

If the FO can find the Jameses, Taylors, and Halls from the reject pile, they could find a tackle or two that would at least be competent enough to keep Campbell off the IR. If the level of play we have seen continues, that is where he is headed, and the Skins won't even compete for a playoff berth.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Skins Escape Brownout, win 14-11

Portis ran over, around, and through the Browns' defense and the Redskins' defense frustrated Derek Anderson and the Browns to take another "closer than it shoulda been" win on Sunday. Clinton made one mistake, a fumble after a 24 yard run away from the Redskins goal line... And that one mistake almost cost the game. Portis' 175 yards rushing exceeded the passing game production of 164 yards and was the reason the Redskins put up 14 points on the board.

The defense was smothering. The Browns could get nothing going until the fourth quarter and then failed to convert a first and goal from the one on one drive, and on the next drive took all four downs from the one to get their only TD.

As it has been for the Skins for the past five or so years, the defense is carrying the team along with Portis' ground game. Zorn has in this and last week's loss to the Rams lost his aggressiveness in play calling that defeated the Cowboys and Eagles.

This team has got to get the offense figured out if it plans to get to the playoffs, much less do anything if they get there.