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.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Skins Trapped by Rams, Fall 16-17

The Rams were winless in four tries, had fired their coach, benched and then unbenched their starting QB, and had shown no defense at all to this point.


And the Skins fell right in. They lost three fumbles, their first turnovers of the year, including one for a TD off a Kendall reception of a tipped pass... Knock the ball DOWN next time, Pete.


Portis, who had two TDs for six on the season, stated that the Skins took the Rams lightly. "I think the headlines got good," Portis said. "Guys started high-fiving and yelling, 'We here!' "

Trap -- Sprung.

Learn the lesson, guys.

Cross Posted at Pax Parabellum.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Feel the Bolts Pain

The Turner effect is crashing upon the beaches of San Diego... And it's a story Redskin fans find far too familiar.

From SportingNews:

Within minutes of the latest loss, 17-10 to the Miami Dolphins and their college offense, the Internet and airwaves were as hot as a Santa Ana wind blowing out of the desert. Fans are venting on talk radio, in letters to newspapers and postings on the Web.

The favorite target is Norv Turner. He's the second-year coach who looked distraught after the Chargers were outplayed by a team that won only one game last year and uses an offensive scheme borrowed from college playbooks.

Redskin fans remember that look...

And now Charger fans can realize their own appreciation of it.

Oh, yeah... Been there, done that. Maybe AJ Smith can get some good tips from Daniel Snyder on Vanilla Ice Cream.

Fans are tossing around words such as "overrated" and "underachievers."

You have all that expensive talent and struggle to win games... And actually LOSE to last year's worst team. Oh, yeah... Been there, done that.

"You can't say anything. We had all those questions a year ago. We've got to do our job. As I said after the game Sunday, I said it again Monday: We've got to coach better and we've got to play better. We've got to go out and put a complete game together. We've played sections of games where we've played good on offense and struggled on defense or struggled on defense and struggled on offense."

Bolts fans, welcome to Norvisms. Enjoy the ride...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Redskins Pluck Eagles

Two road games against two division rivals...

Two wins.

Portis over powered what had been a top ten rushing defense for 145 yards and a TD to whollop the Eagles -- in their house -- 23-17. It was not that close...

Hail To The Redskins!

After the game Philly's QB Donovan McNabb was complaining that the "best" team didn't win.
I was embarrassed these last two weeks. I mean to two teams we shouldn't have lost to. When you make mistakes and you don't capitalize on opportunities things like this happen. There is no way that you can look at this game and say that, and not taking anything anyway from them, but there is no way that this team is better than us. The same went for last week and then you find yourself here wondering why.
You wonder why? You think you have the better team? The Skins beat Dallas in Dallas. You lost to Dallas in Dallas. The Skins just stomped you in YOUR house. The Skins have won four straight, You have lost two straight.

McNabb has a funny idea of what constitutes a better team...

Cross Posted at Pax Parabellum

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Joe Jackson Gibbs Retires Again

So much for plans. I had intended to kick this off with a run down of the roster and what needed to be done for the Skins to take the next step in 2008 toward the Lombardi Trophy. Then Head Coach and Team President Joe Gibbs states that he is done.

GibbsI can't blame him. Gibbs is 67 and coming off a nightmare of a season where his best player and team favorite was murdered, the right side of his offensive line sustained catastrophic injuries, his coming of age quarterback went down, the future at corner and linebacker both sustained season and career threatening knee injuries... In addition to his age, Gibbs has diabetes. His grandson is battling cancer.

Stepping down now looks like it was inevitable. Gibbs goes out with another miracle December and the franchise seemingly primed for much better things. We can forget about the first twelve games of this season. By leaving now, Gibbs goes out with that fantastic four game stretch and the way Gibbs and the staff recaptured past glory.

Against the Bears, Vikings, Giants, and Cowboys I saw a coach that I hadn't seen since 1992. Gibbs and his staff completely out-coached all four teams. Even against the Seahawks Gibbs had the Skins prepared and kept them in the game with a great chance to win until the Sellers/Collins meltdown and ensuing Suisham miss. That the Seahawks had better talent in the trenches was glaring. That the Redskins' offense was struggling with crowd noise obvious. Yet Gibbs and staff had the Skins up 14-13 and in place to add seven points in the fourth quarter.

That was masterful. They just didn't have enough players to pull off a fifth miracle.

The genius was back.

But, how much did it cost to the health of a 67 year old man? How much would it cost to duplicate the effort at age 68? If it cost one minute, one second, it is too much. This die hard Redskin fan wouldn't want that sacrifice from a man I have considered a hero for twenty five years.

Thank you, Coach Gibbs. You gave us much more than any fans deserve, and we adore you for it.