As Sam Huff, arbiter of all things rotten in the NFL, said to me before the exhibition season concluded, “This is the dumbest thing [NFL Commissioner Roger] Goodell ever did. The [rent-a-refs] don’t have the control these other officials have.
“When I played, we had relationships with the officials. A guy would come over and tell me, ‘Sam, you can’t body-slam running backs like that,’ and I’d stop doing it. Or I’d tell him to move when I was about to make a tackle and knock a guy out.’ These guys, I don’t even know who they are.”
The Post Sports Live crew discusses the surprise moves that the Redskins made in cutting Graham Gano to bring in veteran kicker Billy Cundiff, and trading Kevin Barnes out of an already weak secondary.
Insight on the Redskins and all the latest news from Post reporters Mike Jones and Mark Maske.
In keeping with tradition, backup parking-lot attendants, seat ushers, anthem singers and caterers also suited up against Tampa Bay. Most will be lucky to be brought back for the regular season.
In the post-Cooley era, this was also an important game for Niles Paul, Shanahan’s new laboratory experiment in converting a wide receiver to a tight end. How Cooley really knew his goose was cooked: When Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe came to town last spring, his former coach in Denver brought along a couple of dining companions for dinner – Griffin and Niles Paul. Not Fred Davis or Cooley, who has more receptions than any tight end in Redskins history and might have had a story or two to share.
But at least Cooley knows where he officially stands now. And if I’m Davis, I need to have a monster year, keep my lungs clean and hope Paul doesn’t morph into Sharpe next week. Even then, I’m still playing for a contract and looking at the future creeping up behind me.
Oh, the bubble – the proverbial last five in, first four out. Yes, of course.
Shanahan keeps: Anthony Armstrong, Chris Wilson, Jordan Black, Roy Helu and Brandon Banks. He discards: Terrence Austin, David Jones, Reed Doughty and Markus White. If this isn’t exactly right, blame The Post’s Mike Jones; he was also sentenced to cover the last exhibition game and had no idea I was looking at his notes while he was writing.
What? Don’t give me grief. Rex knows. In these depressing days of August, before the games matter, you do what you have to in order to make the team.
For previous columns by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.