Archive for October, 2009

Russ Grimm should be the new Redskins Coach

October 29, 2009

Future Hall of Famer Russ Grimm should be the new coach of the Redskins. Bring back the glory days.  The Arizona Cardinals Offensive Line Coach played in four Super Bowls for the Skins, winning three, and coached in two, winning with Pittsburgh in ‘05 and losing with Arizona in ‘08. The Skins’ biggest deficiency is the offensive line.

Bring back former Skins Assistant Dan Henning of Miami to be Offensive Coordinator.  Keep Greg Blache as Defensive Coordinator or bring in former Skin Greg Manusky, the Defensive Coordinator of the 49ers, who played linebacker (mostly special teams) for the Skins from ’88-’91 and won a Super Bowl with the Skins in ’91.  Most head coaches nowadays just oversee everything.

Former Guard Grimm has been an assistant coach for 18 years, ever since 1992, believe it or not.  See his Wikipedia entry to see that he almost got the Bears job in ’04 and the Steelers job in ’05.  In fact, there was a report, believed to be accurate at the time, that Grimm was named the Steelers coach just before Mike Tomlin actually got the job.

Unfortunately, it’ll never happen, though.  It’ll be Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren, or Jon Gruden.  Most likely Gruden.  Jeff Fisher of Tennessee would be a good choice if he’s available after the season, but he’s not a big enough of a name for Snyder.  Any of them would be solid but I still think they should hire Grimm.  What an insult it was to hire Jim Zorn over Grimm two years ago. Snyder considers himself a true Skins fan, so I think he should go back to the Skins’ roots.

They could also hire Gary Clark to work with the receivers, Earnest Byner to work with the running backs, Joe Theismann to work with the QBs, and Don Warren to work with the tight ends.  Jeff Bostic could work with the offensive line, Neal Olkewicz could work with the linebackers, Darrell Green could coach the secondary, and Charles Mann could coach the defensive line.  Ok, maybe I’m getting a little carried away about the others but Grimm has 18 years of experience as an assistant coach, he’s well-respected, and should be the Redskins new head coach.

It’s sad that the media in this town is no different than the media anywhere in the country.  They don’t investigate and don’t find any news — all they do is repeat the same names over and over instead of finding things out for themselves.  Of course, Mike Wise and Tracee Hamilton weren’t here during the Redskins’ glory days, and Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon don’t really report on the news anymore, they just comment on it.  Somebody like Tom Boswell or one of the writers for the Washington Times needs to bring this up.

Advertisements

Message to Redskins Fans and Media

October 20, 2009

This is a message to all the media and fans about the Redskins situation.  This includes those on TV and radio, newspaper writers, bloggers, and just regular fans.

We know that the Redskins haven’t been very good under Dan Snyder.  We know that he has gone through a lot of coaches.  We know that the personnel decisions made by Snyder and Vinny Cerrato haven’t been very good overall and that it would be great to get a good General Manager.  We know that it is a dysfunctional organization.  We know the team didn’t address the offensive line problems in the offseason, and we know that Jason Campbell hasn’t become a great quarterback, though I think he’s getting too much criticism.  We know that Jim Zorn is not a great coach and that it was odd the way the Skins hired him two years ago as an offensive coordinator and then promoted him to head coach.  We know that it is bizarre to have hired Sherman Lewis out of a bingo parlor to call the plays starting this Monday night.

Can we come up with something else, though?  I’ve been a little bit guilty of it myself.  But when you’re a sportsradio station and you have a lot of time to fill, you really should go more into details and specifics.  Come on, people.  Let’s come up with some better stuff.  Break some stories – don’t just repeat what everybody else says.  Analyze the players, the games and the plays.  Come up with some solutions.  If my full-time or even part-time job was to do this I’d come up with more stuff.  Don’t keep saying the same stuff over and over.

Comparison: Carson Palmer vs. Jason Campbell

October 20, 2009

Completion %

Yards

TD passing

INTs

Rating

Carson Palmer 59.1% 1375 8 7 78.3
Jason Campbell 65.6% 1197 6 6 84.3

You can see that stats-wise, Jason Campbell is doing just about as well as Carson Palmer.  The fact is, though, that Palmer has had some incredible game-winning drives, and his is better than Campbell and has played better.

But Palmer also has a much better offense at every position except tight end.

The point is that while  Campbell hasn’t played great this year, he hasn’t been any worse than he was last year, and he’s getting too much blame.

Starting him against the Eagles is the right decision, and after the year, he’ll go somewhere else and have a chance to start.

I just wish the Skins hadn’t put Colt Brennan on injured reserve.  It’d be nice to see what he can do.

Sign Jeff Garcia

October 19, 2009

The Redskins should absolutely sign quarterback Jeff Garcia.  He could step in and after less than two weeks, be better than any of the Redskins’ quarterbacks.  Garcia is a winner and would provide a spark to the offense, and he’s good at avoiding the rush, which would be important with the offensive line the way it is right now.  Critics will say he’s 39 so he’s obviously not the future, but Jason Campbell most likely won’t be here after next season.

Assuming the Redskins draft a quarterback in the first round such as Colt McCoy or Sam Bradford, he probably won’t be able to start right away despite the success of players like Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco.  So Garcia could start next year, at least the first part of the season. There have been a lot of great quarterbacks who have struggled in their first seasons — Peyton Manning, John Elway, Troy Aikman, etc., and others whose time on the bench early on — Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, and Steve McNair — benefitted them. Garcia knows the west coast offense and he used to play for Jon Gruden.  Mike Shanahan and Mike Holmgren each run the west coast offense.

You need to try to win as may games as possible.  You never know what might happen.  What if the Skins ride their defense to a 9-7 record and make the playoffs?  When you try to be bad on purpose to get high draft picks or to play too many young players, you create a losing atmosphere.  Like a couple of years ago when the Miami Heat tried to get a high draft pick.  Where did it get them? They finished a little bit over .500, just like the Wizards will this year after going in the tank last year.  You can’t turn it on and off like that.  The Skins need to go all out now and play every play like it is their last.  When your boss doesn’t support you and doesn’t want you to succeed, it can get ugly as it has with Daniel Snyder and Jim Zorn.  Taking away Zorn’s play-calling duties — that’s just insulting.

So the Skins should sign Garcia.  It also is too bad they put Colt Brennan on injured reserve.  If I were Colt I’d want to go to another team next year that would give me a fair chance to compete for the job.  But the season can still be salvaged and even if it isn’t, I’d rather be 8-8 than 4-12.

Redskins, Zorn, and Trying Hard

October 19, 2009

So obviously the Skins are going to fire Jim Zorn.  If they can bring in next year’s coach now that would be a good thing because they could get a head start on things.  Even if Zorn was going to be a good coach he doesn’t have the support of Dan Snyder and then you have no chance.  It’s looking a little like Jon Gruden is the likely choice, however, and it’s doubtful he’d leave Monday Night Football in the middle of the season, so it looks like the Skins may have an interim head coach – Defensive Coordinator Greg Blache?

I just hope the organization and team tries their hardest to win during the rest of the year because I hate the philosophy of doing badly on purpose to get a high draft pick for the next season.  The Washington Wizards did it last year and I think they’re going to pay for it this year even though they’re talking big, because you can’t build a winning philosophy by turning if on and off like that.  The word is that Mike Shanahan and Mike Holmgren would want total authority, which they wouldn’t get.  Bill Cowher would probably want more authority too and he’ll probably go to Carolina.

I’d love to see Russ Grimm as the head coach but Snyder wouldn’t do that.  He wants a big name.  Gruden would inject some enthusiasm and he is a very good offensive coach.  The defense is actually very solid and has some good young players.

The Redskins have gone through a lot of coaches but only two in the past six seasons – Joe Gibbs and Jim Zorn.  It doesn’t make sense the way the media and fans always count interim head coaches like Terry Robiskie who coached three games as one of the many coaches the Skins have had.  The Redskins’ moves haven’t been all bad lately too.

Chris Cooley was a great draft pick.  Getting Santana Moss in exchange for Laverneous Coles was a steal.  Carlos Rogers and Laron Landry are good starters in the secondary.  London Fletcher was a great free agent pickup.  Orakpo was a good draft pick.

Obviously they’ve made some bad moves too – WRs Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas have been busts, while TE Fred Davis is very slowly coming on.  You look at some of the later round picks of the team the last 5 years and many of them didn’t make the team.  They overpaid for DeAngelo Hall.  And the failure to upgrade the depth of the offensive line and running back positions have proven to be costly.

If everyone gets on the same page and works hard, the Skins can still finish at a semi-respectable 7-9 or so.  Not great but I believe in trying your best and not throwing in the towel.  They should play Jason Campbell, though, because he’s better than Todd Collins, period.

Redskins: Checking Pre-Season Predictions

October 19, 2009

Ok, now it’s time to see how my pre-season predictions have come out so far now that the season is more than a third over.

What I said

What has happened

DT Albert Haynesworth will help the Skins a lot, but the move was a little risky to put so much money in one position when he has a history of missing a few games each year due to injury. He has helped but he has been nicked up a bit.  Tennessee is 0-6 after being 13-3 a year ago so you can see he is valuable – some of that can be attributed to Haynesworth being gone.  He hasn’t justified the money, though.
The addition of first round DE/LB Brian Orakpo helps the Skins at a position where they haven’t had a Pro Bowler since Charles Mann in 1991. Orakpo has helped but struggled when not rushing the passer.  He was a good draft pick.
So the Redskins improved their defensive line a lot but it makes you wonder if they could have spent money on several good players to provide depth at other positions such as the offensive line and running back instead of getting Haynesworth. True.  The OL has been a disaster because of lack of depth, and Portis looks old and we need a better backup than Betts.
It’s not as if Randle El had a terrible year last season.  He had 53 receptions and 4 TDs, so we’ll see if Kelly’s production is any better. Kelly has been a bust and Randle El is producing more.  Randle El has 18 catches for 209 yards.  Kelly has 7 catches for 73 yards.  Neither has a TD.
What is striking is that Randle El only had one carry last year.  For a fast WR, he should be running a lot more reverses.  Randle El has 436 career rushing yards for 5.6 yards a carry, yet only had one attempt last year?  In fact, Jim Zorn didn’t do a good job last year of using either Santana Moss or Randle El running reverses, and he also missed the boat in not using Randle El as a wildcat QB.  The former college QB has thrown 25 passes in the NFL, completing 20, for 281 yards and 4 TDs.   They need to use Randle El in the Wildcat. Randle El hasn’t had a carry yet.  Neither has Moss.  Zorn hasn’t used the wildcat though Randle El would be perfect for it.
Clinton Portis is ok but he’s getting older and losing speed, and has never been a very good receiver out of the backfield.  We (yes, I will sometimes say “we” don’t have much depth at RB. TE Chris Cooley is a bright spot. Safeties and LBs look solid. True
Back to money, I think the Skins may have overpaid for CB DeAngelo Hall, who hasn’t lived up to his draft status as a high first round pick, so again, the Skins could have gotten some lesser known players who didn’t have the big names. True
Our kicker and punter are again average.  Our kickoff and punt return teams and coverage has been below average for the last 15 years.  When was the last time the Skins blocked a punt? True
The offensive line has gotten a lot of criticism, but this unit has actually been together for several years, so they should do ok, although they sometimes lose ground to bigger lines.  The big problem is the lack of depth, unless there are some diamonds in the rough that we don’t know about. Yes and no.  The line’s lack of depth proved to be a big problem, but the line didn’t do that well in the first place even when healthy.
As for QB, Jason Campbell should have a decent year.  He needs to improve his accuracy on the deep pass. Campbell hasn’t played that well but he’s getting too much criticism.  He doesn’t have a lot of talent to work with.  He’s completing 65% of his passes (a career high), has 6 TDs and 6 INTs – not enough TDs, and a QB rating of 84.3, tied for a career high.
I have a problem with the Skins putting Colt Brennan on IR for the whole season when it appears that his injuries weren’t that severe. True.  It’d be nice to see what he can do now instead of Collins.  It’s a wasted season for him.
The Skins should pick up Jeff Garcia. True.  They’d do much better with him, though it wouldn’t be building for the future.
I also told someone that in a weird way, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dan Snyder almost wants the Skins to have a mediocre season…Why?  So that he can hire Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, Tony Dungy, Mike Holmgren, or John Gruden next year.  Of course, he’d love a Super Bowl win, but since it probably won’t happen, look for Snyder to hire one of those guys, most likely Cowher, Shanahan, or Gruden. True.
What the Skins should really do, though, is hire an experienced NFL GM. True.
Back to the Skins:  my prediction is that they will finish 9-7, which usually results in about a 50% chance of making the playoffs. This was obviously wrong – it looks like the Skins will go 5-11 or so.  But Snyder has completely undermined Zorn’s authority and if he hadn’t done that, the Skins might be 4-2 instead of 2-4.  In fact, yesterday’s 8-point loss to the Chiefs was the largest margin of defeat all year.  It sounds unbelievable, but with a few plays here and there, the Skins could be 5-1.  But they have played the easy stretch on the schedule so my prediction of 9-7 was definitely off.

Trade for Joshua Cribbs

October 11, 2009

Ok, today’s loss to a winless team wasn’t good, but it wasn’t as bad as it seems.  It was on the road and last year the Panthers were 12-4 and 8-0 at home.  The Skins are what we thought they were, a mediocre team.  The defense was pretty good today, but Clinton Portis is getting up there in age, the offensive line was average to begin with without much depth, and we need another good receiver. Santana Moss is a good number one, Antwaan Randle El is a good third receiver, but Malcolm Kelly hasn’t done much and neither has Devin Thomas, and the Skins need a tall target.

In fact, Kelly and Thomas are typical Skins — underachievers. So I think the Skins should trade a draft pick for Cleveland Browns wide receiver Joshua Cribbs.  Cribbs is an amazing kick returner, and with his size and speed he should be a good receiver. He asked to be traded a while ago.  Our return game has been below average ever since Gibbs left the first time.  One of the things the old Redskins were great at was special teams.  Mark Moseley, Mike Nelms, Pete Cronan, Greg Williams, Greg Manusky…

Cribbs is only in his fifth year and he already has 7 returns for TDs, tying Eric Metcalf’s Browns record.  Cribbs, a former college quarterback, is the only player in NCAA history to lead his team in both rushing and passing in four different seasons.  I saw him play a game in college for Kent State against Ohio State, and he kept Kent State close for a half.  I thought he’d be a good pro QB then and might have been had he been given a chance.  He’s not getting a lot of playing time at WR for the Browns, plus they are awful — starting QB Derek Anderson completed two passes today.

Anyway, I think the Skins should trade for Cribbs.  Maybe give up Kelly or Thomas plus tight end Fred Davis and a draft pick. Cribbs could also be the emergency QB.  Cribbs is also local — he played high school football for Dunbar in DC.  I also didn’t know he was the nephew of former Bills 1,000-yard rusher Joe Cribbs.  Pretty cool.

As for the Skins, at this point, they can probably just hope to finish .500.  I don’t think much will save Jim Zorn’s job.  I hope the Skins get Mike Shanahan, or if not, maybe Bill Cowher or Mike Holmgren.  I think Jon Gruden is too arrogant.  I think Russ Grimm would make a great head coach and bring back some of the old Skins pride, but that would make too much sense.  Snyder will want a big name.  Tony Dungy would be great but I couldn’t see him coaching here because I don’t think he’d put up with Snyder.

By the way, in my last post, I defended Snyder somewhat by saying the Skins have been better under him than they were from 1993 to 1998, which is true.  But overall, there hasn’t been enough of a cogent plan.  The Skins draft picks underperform, and they tend to get big name free agents instead of unsung heroes like they used to have.

Make no mistake, the old Skins had tons of talent — Hall of Famers Art Monk, Darrell Green, and John Riggins, plus others who should be in like Gary Clark, Russ Grimm, and Joe Jacoby, not to mention great players like Charles Mann, Dave Butz, Dexter Manley, Joe Theismann, Wilber Marshall, and we could go on.  There were a lot of skill position guys who were there for a few years like Joe Washington, Charlie Brown, Kelvin Bryant, George Rogers, Gerald Riggs, and Earnest Byner.  But there were a lot of players who were free agents or late round picks who went on to be great, whereas now we have name players like Portis and DeAngelo Hall who are just average, and our high draft picks (Kelly, Thomas, and Davis) underperform.

Dan Snyder’s Redskins: better than they were in the mid-90s

October 5, 2009

It’s fashionable to bash Daniel Snyder and say that the Redskins have been a bad team since he became owner in 1999, but the team has most often been mediocre rather than bad.  The Skins’ record under Snyder is 78-86, with a winning percentage of .476.  During the six seasons before Snyder arrived, the Skins were 36-59, with a winning percentage of .379.

So while I think Snyder and his personnel man Vinny Cerrato have done a below average job, the Redskins have improved a lot under Snyder from what they were from 1993 to 1998 when they never made the playoffs.  At least the Skins have made the playoffs three times in 10 years under Snyder – not great but better than 0 for 6.

Obviously in the early to mid 70s, and again from the early 80s to the early 90s the Skins were great, going to five Super Bowls and winning three.

But the Redskins are considerably better under Snyder than they were during the previous six seasons.