Raheem Morris: ‘Stats are always for losers’

Some members of the Redskins’ fan base have been squabbling for weeks over how best to assess the 2013 Redskins defense. Were some of the ugly numbers attached to that unit indicative of its performance? Or do the numbers give a misleading story?

Secondary coach Raheem Morris recently weighed in, via an interview with Larry Michael on the team’s house program, “Redskins Nation.”

It started when Michael asked Morris what went wrong with the defense in 2013.

“You know, what really went wrong for the defense last year was the first two games,” Morris said, describing how badly things went against the Eagles and Packers. “We kind of started there at the bottom, and then from that point in it became a steady transition to getting better and better throughout the season, where we ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack and had the ability to bounce back and really play well in a couple of those games and give ourselves a chance to win. Unfortunately we didn’t have the ability to do those things.”

Michael picked up on Morris’s theme and ran with it.

“We did the math, we threw out the first three games, and your defense rated ninth in the National Football League,” Michael said, asking Morris if that’s why he and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett were retained.

“You know, my thing is, I’m never gonna look at stats,” Morris said. “Stats are always for losers. You’ve got to win each game however you need to win that game. And that’s what makes Bill Belichick such a great coach. He may go out one week and they may just get killed on defense, but they have the ability to keep people out of the end zone and get the ball back to Tom Brady with turnovers. So I’m never gonna look at stats and make that an indicator on why you’re back. We’re back because of our knowledge of the game, our ability to control it, also our relationship with Coach Gruden. He knows who we are as coaches, he knows what we can do, and now we’ve got to go out there and prove to ourselves and our team again that we can go out there and win a championship.”

I briefly considered running down some prominent sporting teams that have used stats to become the opposite of losers in recent years, but that’s probably a waste of time. Obviously I think the sentiment is absurd, and most of you likely do as well, except for those of you who don’t, and you won’t be changing your minds regardless. Arguing is always for losers.

FATHERS IN LOCKER ROOMS

If you haven’t read Barry Svrluga’s story on the Caps and their fathers, please do. It’s great. But here’s one fun part:

When the final horn blew, and the home crowd booed the Canadiens, the Capitals strode into their own locker room and were greeted by their own fathers.

“We did it!” defenseman John Carlson yelled, sarcastically and truthfully. Each player bumped fists with a mish-mash of fathers and brothers. Brooks Laich turned up the stereo, then posed for a photo with his father, Harold, and the Ovechkins, Alex and Mikhail, a smiling, sweaty mess. Lars Johansson coached the dads up, and got them all to shout, “Hip! Hip! Hip! Caps!” before he danced an awkward, hilarious jig in the middle of the room.

And here’s one fun comment left by a reader:

One thing I learned…during the maroon and yellow’s season of horrors: that fathers in locker rooms are a complete abomination and should result in arrests and lawsuits involving the offending parties.

Obviously the circumstances were different. But that’s funny.

MIKE SHANAHAN IN BALLSTON

This photo from Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Ballston was posted last week. A manager at the store confirmed that Shanahan was actually in Ballston last week. That’s odd.

AMERICAN GETS A VOTE

For the second time this year, a local college basketball program has put out a press release based at least in part on receiving a 25th-place vote from John Feinstein in the AP top 25 poll. From American:

The American University men’s basketball is rolling as of late and thanks to wins over Boston University and at Army, the Eagles are earning attention and accolades. Sophomore guard Jesse Reed, who scored 20 points in both victories, earned Patriot League Player of the Week honors, while American received a vote in the latest Associated Press (AP) Top 25 poll.

BRYCE HARPER IN TIMES SQUARE


ALL THE BOBBLEHEADS

Via the caption: “My recently completed collection of all stadium giveaway bobble heads of Nationals players since the team moved to DC. All 18!”

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

The Caps are in Buffalo at 7:30 on NBC Sports Network. The Wizards are at Golden State at 10:30 on Comcast SportsNet. Good bye, precious sleep. All radio and TV listings are here.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · January 28

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