Today is John Keim’s first day at The Post. For the past two decades, he’s carved out a niche covering the Redskins for other Washington-area newspapers, and we’re thrilled to have him on board. We asked John to write a few words about what he’s thinking as he gets underway, and what we hope to accomplish together with him in an analysis-focused role. Here’s his first entry for The Insider:
When the Washington Examiner announced in March it was killing local coverage, I spent a few misty-eyed seconds wondering about my future. With my oldest son entering college, this was an unwanted development.
But I soon shifted gears, focusing on turning a negative into a positive. Doors close; others open. Toss out a cliché for dealing with change and I used it. The fact that I’m writing in this space suggests one thing: Mission accomplished. Talk about a great landing spot.
For those who had not heard, The Post hired me to help supplement their Redskins coverage, starting today. I’ll partner with Mike Jones and Mark Maske — respected competitors in the past and now teammates. My presence will help Mike and Mark focus on their areas of strength while I handle the analysis, something I’ve enjoyed doing for many years at other stops.
And for those who don’t know me (and even for some who do), here’s a brief intro: I started writing about the Redskins in 1994 (and have written, or co-written, three different Redskins books and served as the correspondent for Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly, among others). I figured I’d cover a Super Bowl run, or two, and then get out.
So here I still am.
During my tenure I’ve covered more starts by John Beck (three) than playoff wins (two). Let that sink in for a second. I’ve seen a quarterback (Gus Frerotte) head-butt a wall, a defensive tackle lost for the season because he, uh, tripped on the stairs (Dana Stubblefield) and another who couldn’t pass a conditioning test (Albert Haynesworth). I’ve seen the start of one Hall of Fame career (Champ Bailey), the possible derailing of another (Donovan McNabb), and the end of another (Darrell Green). Maybe we’re witnessing the start of another with Robert Griffin III? Regardless, I have a front-row seat to watch a player who has energized a fan base as much as any I’ve ever seen. I’ve also witnessed the Deion Sanders show (entertaining) and several coaching eras that will never be applauded but also never forgotten (Steve Spurrier, Jim Zorn).
In short, I’ve seen a lot. But mostly my time covering the Redskins enabled me to learn even more about football than ever, from talking to coaches during the season and in the offseason; from talking to executives, both current and former; from talking to players and from reading multiple books. Their knowledge helped me to learn better what to look for in a play or player, information I’ll always try to impart to the reader. I’m most interested in the word ‘why.’ As in, why a player is good (or struggling); why a play failed (or worked). You already know what happened; my goal is to tell you more.
My desire to learn more about the sport hasn’t waned, but rather increased (just ask my wife). And, hopefully, you, the readers, like what I share. The reason I’m so excited for this position – and couldn’t sleep for much of a month once talks started and then after the deal was struck – is because I’ll be able to do what I’ve always done in a better way, getting more time to focus on analysis and for one of the most storied outlets in the country. Some of my staples will continue: Ten Observations after games, film reviews two days later. The Friday newsletter will come over as well, possibly beginning in August. The talent at The Post will enhance my work, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than others helping me look smarter. I’m glad I get to continue my relationship with readers from the past and look forward to adding more.
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.
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