D.C. Sports Bog Live: Redskins, Twitter, Nats, Caps and More
Tuesday, September 22, 2009; 11:30 AM
D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, Sep. 22 to discuss the Redskins, Nats, the Capitals and the latest sports news and your questions and comments about his latest bog posts.
A transcript follows.
Read Dan's daily smorgasborg of the bizarre side of D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
Dan Steinberg: Sorry to be late, we were recording the completely awesome episode 2 of the Redskins Insider Redskins Cupcake Podcast. Everyone who has ever told me my voice makes you want to puncture your ear drums with halfback option passes, thisone was for you.
Ok, question away.
Los Angeles: Are the Redskins psyching themselves out with all this "We can't score in the red zone" talk? Interviews in the Post make them sound like they need a team sports psychologist ASAP. Maybe they should start "envisioning success" or something before they really give themselves a mental block.
Dan Steinberg: The only concern I have with your theory is that the answers/quotes from players are in response to questions from reporters. It's not like Redskins are randomly wandering around Ashburn giving soundbites about the red zone. We're asking, and they're answering.
And it goes without saying, dropped touchdowns in the end zone don't require sports psychology. Or maybe they do, but not for the entire team.
The only other thing I'll say is this: the Redskins have never scored 30 points under Jim Zorn. They were still giving a massive nine point five points to the Rams, a team that had beat them on this field a year ago. That was easy.
Mechanicsburg, Penn.: Perhaps one of the problems surrounding the Redskins red zone lack of offensive efficiency is the media? This might sound ridiculous, but hear me out:
Perhaps a portion of their problems have become mental ... almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts? Like a golfer with a bad case of the yips. I truly believe that the public scrutiny has played a big role in player performance (especially at the QB position over the years) and play calling from the coaching perspective, even though they would never admit to being influenced by outside opinions.
I'm not sure there is a solution to this problem, but I just wanted to toss it out there and see what you thought? I know that this "media drama" plays out in other cities around the league, but there are a few cities which take it to the next level (i.e. Washington, New York ...)
The only way to turn it around is to begin winning. That is the only thing that will turn the tide, so let's take the win over St. Louis as a positive and build on it. Perhaps the next 3-4 weeks are what the Redskins need to get out of this viscous cycle? This team has the players in place to be really good, and I believe that they are not too far away. Keep the faith! Hail to the Redskins!
Dan Steinberg: I don't think this is ridiculous. Or at least, it's not the most ridiculous thing I've heard this week.
(Speaking of ridiculous: this chat keeps kicking me out. Sorry I'll try to go faster now that I'm back on.)
I think the same thing is true with coaches on the "hot seat." Once the "hot seat" thing becomes common refrain, then the seat almost by definition becomes hot, just because everyone's talking about it. But was the seat ever hot in the first place, or is it just hot because the media keep asking players and coaches job security questions. I don't know, but dang if it doesn't make the NFL an entertaining diversion.
McLean, Va.: Has anyone asked Billy Kilmer what he thinks of Zorn benching Jurgy?
Dan Steinberg: Has everyone watched and/or listened to that exchange? Were they joking? A little bit? I've listened once and watched twice and I still am not totally sure. It felt like a sort of uncomfortable, not well received bit of joking to me, but you never know. Still, this is two weeks in a row of awkward post game interviews between Sonny and Jim. I think awkward is an acceptable description.
Sacramento, Calif.: Hi,
I'm about to take a math prelim exam for the third and final time (having obviously failed the two previous times). I was wondering which sports related analogy works better for my circumstances:
a) It's like baseball. I have two strikes on me, but I still get to see one more pitch. I could homer or I could strike out. I could get a single, or I could walk. I could get hit by a pitch or I could ground into a double play. Or
b) It's like the NFL's Punt, Pass, and Kick competition. I could see the exam, realize that it's hopeless and punt. I could pass the thing. Or I could realize that the whole experience has been a swift kick in the groin.
Dan Steinberg: Well, I'm worried about the foul ball possibility in your first analogy. I guess that would be "the building burns down and the test is postponed indefinitely," but that doesn't quite work either.
As for the second, while I like the thought, no one really gets kicked in the groin in punt pass and kicking competitions.
Maybe we can say you're a pitcher charged with a suicide squeeze and it's 3 and 2. I don't know. My mind actually just got blown by the news that Clinton Portis is on Twitter, so I'm not much help right now.
J Riggleman, Washington, D.C.: Hey Dan -- If Campbell to Moss doesn't work out, at least it looks like we'll have Strasburg to Harper as a throwing and receiving combo, right? Thank goodness for losing 100+ games 2 years in a row.
Dan Steinberg: Let me repeat: clinton Portis is on Twitter. Wow. Just wow.
Here's some trivia: what were the last two teams to lose at least 100 games at least three seasons in a row.
Van Neezy, Washington, D.C.: Steinz - are you protesting the new FedEx Field tailgating regulations by not venturing into the parking lot to chronicle the antics of the DTC and other fans?
Dan Steinberg: Last week I was protesting the new regulations by going to Rosh Hashanah services with my daughter and arriving to the game exceedingly late. So no.
But my concern with the "photos of fans dressed in funny costumes and/or behaving badly in the parking lot" blogs is that they all sort of feel the same over time. Kind of like Redskins games. Maybe that means I need a new job. Or maybe that means it's Caps season!
Oh come on: Is someone really trying to tack blame for the Redskins red zone troubles on the media? Was that Vinny or Danny writing in? That's beyond absurd.
If the Redskins want positive media coverage, it would be simple, really. Win games. Make smart personnel decisions. Build through the draft. Stop fleecing the fans. Stop suing the fans. Do something about the traffic to and from the stadium.
Dan Steinberg: I don't know, but I feel pretty certain that Vinny and/or Dan have hacked into the Post's network, causing this chat to operate at the speed of Stephon Heyer in a mud bog, causing me to momentarily throw my laptop into the elevator shaft and call it a day, which would erase all my notes on the deep dark plot to sue the Redskins Marching Band or something.
But yeah. Teams that win do tend to get nice media coverage. Teams that lose tend to be made fun of. And teams that are medium...well, they get made fun of too.
Pentagon City, Washington, D.C.: I can tell hockey season has started. I passed a bunch of Caps fans going to the game last evening. I did see a Sabres jersey too.
Dan Steinberg: Oh yeah, well I'll one up. I saw Horn Guy in a 7-11, after the game, with his horn. I was at the 7-11 to buy The Washington Post, so I could go home and read the Redskins coverage. These are all true things.
I've been (unhappily) surprised at the media buzz around the Caps thus far. I thought it would pick up right where it left off in April. It hasn't.
Natstown: I'm going to the Nats game on Sunday, who do I talk to about getting the Redskins game put up on the jumbotron? I mean, now that we even have the Bryce Harper sweepstakes pretty much locked up, is it too much to ask for them to start serving free beer and letting me take batting practice with them just for showing up?
Dan Steinberg: Go to the Red Porch.
I'll tell you this, you'll have an easier time getting the Skins game on a screen at Nats Park than you will getting the Nats game on a screen at FedEx. A man could be landing on Mars, and the screen at FedEx would show 1980s-vintage messages to the fans to "Make Some Noise!" interspersed with 57 commercials and one out-of-town NFL update.
62-100: Devil Rays and Royals?
Dan Steinberg: Unless my math is bad, the answer is Kansas City Royals from 04-06, and Toronto Blue Jays from 77-79. It doesn't seem to happen that frequently. So the Nats might be in a bad way if it happens again next year.
In other news, there's now a 78 percent chance I smash this computer with a sledgehammer before the chat is over. If that happens, feel free to turn to the person at the next cubicle over and ask them some questions about football and/or cheese.
Columbia, Md.: Is it just me or does Alex Ovechkin seem completely bored of all the media attention now?
Dan Steinberg: Agreed. Unless and until the media attention is provided by attractive blond television reporters. Then he seems ok with it.
Although he has said that Tarik El Bashir is his favorite reporter, and that if he weren't a hockey player, he would want to be a hockey writer like Tarik. Also, Tarik's ever-growing fro is a sight to behold.
But no, I don't really think Ovechkin ever loved the media stuff. He has a reputation for being a media darling of some sorts, but I can't remember many times when he's really loved being in the media spotlight. Now Jeff Schultz, on the other hand....
Ballston, Va.: When do we start throwing games in order to get Tebow?
Dan Steinberg: Colt, baby, Colt. Two Colts, one Lombardi Trophy. Or Jahvid Best. Then Kevin Barnes could lay into him in practice every day, and we could write about what color the vomit was.
Los Angeles: When is someone at the Post going to point out that no matter the scheme or the coach, the Redskins have always struggled to create big plays and score in the red zone with Campbell at helm?
First, Gibbs was too conservative. Then Saunders. Now it's Zorn who needs to "unleash" him Wise writes.
Look at the stats. Campbell has beat one team not named Detroit by more than one score in his entire career. By comparison, journeyman-at-best Todd Collins did it four times in five games here.
Here's another depressing stat: Campbell has only completed 10 passes over 40 yards in his entire career. Donovan McNabb completed 11 last year alone in the West Coast Offense and with receivers no better than the Redskins'.
I like JC and clearly the media does too. And I've seen some things this year I really like from him and don't think he should be benched. But it is so painfully obvious he is afraid to throw to a receiver unless he's very open -- something that almost never happens in the tight confines of the red zone.
I can't be the only one thinking this, right? How is no one at the Post pointing out that every year the team struggles to finish drives for a good chunk of the season and the common denominator is Big Smooth Jason Campbell?
Dan Steinberg: Does it count if The Post publishes your question?
How bout this one: this week, 9 of the NFL's 32 teams reached 30 points. In the 18 games of Zorn/Campbell, they've never reached that total. Whoever's fault it is, that ain't good.
The FAX, Va.: Wouldn't it have been cool if we had cut Robert Henson and kept Jeremy Bridges?
Seriously, I hate Mike and Mike, but I hear Greenie went nuts on Henson this morning. Can we get a transcript of that today?
washingtonpost.com: Mike Greenberg on Robert Henson: "Just Shut Up" (ESPN Radio, Sep. 22)
Dan Steinberg: It's on my list of things to do. Sadly, my list of things to do has about 40 things.
Look, my name is under an A1 story on Robert Henson today, so I'm a chief publicizer of his comments, but but I really didn't think this was the worst thing in the world. Clearly he shouldn't have said a few of those things, but
1) I'd rather players interact with the fans than ignore them, and
2) I agree with him that booing a victory at home is just weird.
I hate if the takeaway from all this is, "never say anything interesting."
Also, I hate my computer with the force of a thousand Albert Haynesworth body slams.
Florida: Seriously: are the Redskins actively trying to keep people at home? It sounds from here as though they're trying to burn through that legendary waiting list.
Dan Steinberg: I got a sign-up sheet for the waitlist last week, but then I accidentally left it at the stadium.
This isn't news to anyone, but there's 90,000 people at that stadium, or whatever, and you're handing out a sloppily xeroxed piece of paper that offers you a chance to win free tickets if you sign up for the waiting list. So it's not really too hard to get to 160,000, under those guidelines.
All that being said....the Redskins draw tens and tens and tens of thousands of fans on a weekly basis. If a few thousand aren't going, there are still way more going than ever went to RFK. Or than go to any other stadium, just about. If it's not what it was 10 years ago, it's still a massive amount of humanity. That's why getting there is so miserable.
Cap less: I have to share your sentiments about the total lack of coverage for the Capitals so far this preseason. With the Redskins looking more like the Deadskins, I was hoping some more attention would get paid to the successful Caps organization and their influx of new players. I know its only preseason, but not even playing the Western conference Blackhawks at home tomorrow night (a rarity to say the least) hasn't seemed to garner any attention at all.
It looks like Caps fans are going to continue to see tge very successful Caps organization (both business and performance) get passed over for a team that has almost lost 100 games two seasons in a row and an organization that sues 80-year-old women.
Dan Steinberg: She wasn't 80.
And it's not just the media. Did you see the crowd at last night's preseason game? Maybe the preseason just doesn't excite people when they're gearing up for an 82-game season.
Plus, I think I have 42 consecutive Skins items on my blog, so I can't talk.
I'm hopeful that the coverage this January exceeds the coverage last January (of the Caps, I mean). That's a better test.
Washington, D.C.: Want to know how bad the Nats are? I have a ticket that I am offering up to my co-workers for tomorrow's game, great seat and I am offering it for free. No takers.
Dan Steinberg: It's a tough time of the year to try to get people to go watch a 100-loss team. School is back on. College football is popping. The new season of Project Runway and the Office. Um, apple picking might have started.
I have taken more than my share of shots at the Nats, but I don't think there are many cities where a late September ticket to see a team lose its 200th game would be particularly prized.
Still, if you're telling the truth, I'd be interested how much you'd have to pay someone to sit in your seat. Would your office mates do it for $10? $20? I have to figure at $30, you could get someone to do it pretty easily.
Booing: I used to get excited by the Redskins season - after 10 years of Snyderville I am just done with them. The team is a mediocre .500 team in the 10 years he has owned the them and you can't see any hope for success going forward.
Couple that with the surge of the Capitals - a team with a fan friendly owner who has rebuilt the team into a great product. Let's Go Caps!
Dan Steinberg: I see an exclamation mark, but no question.
Where are all my Wizards fans at? And is it feasible to imagine zero of the four local news networks not sending cameras to Wiz media day, despite certain indications (attendance, TV ratings, clothing around town) that the Caps have passed them by?
Reston, Va.: It may have been a victory at home, but it felt like a loss.
This team is so mediocre. Let's get a little of that Danny Smith fire inside everyone!
Dan Steinberg: Never has a win felt so much like a loss. At least in the internet world.
In the world of the NFL standings, it felt an awful lot like a win. And as every member of the 53-man roster, plus several of the ballboys, pointed out on Sunday, wins are hard to come by in this league.
Also, Danny Smith hasn't always been the most popular man in these parts. Interesting to see his positive press this week.
Washington, D.C.: Booing a team after a win may be weird, but don't you agree with the general consensus that it was about a lot more than the Redskins/Rams game? It's not like fans ever get to interact with Dan Snyder, so they have to make their feelings known somehow.
Dan Steinberg: There is a better way to make your feelings known to ownership: stop going. If you believe that ownership only cares about making money, and you show up and boo your lungs out, the players will get bitter, and ownership will still cash the checks.
I'm not saying I feel that way, but if you do, a boycott has to be a much better means of communication than some catcalls.
Montgomery Village, Md.: Dan
Forget about the Redskins giving the Rams 9.5 points. That was a betting line, driven by oddsmakers having as close to equal money as possible on both sides of the bet. It is a reflection of betting by the public, not a teams ability.
Dan Steinberg: Fair enough. And I'm wrong more often than I'm right. I just felt like that one was easy pickings last week, and it turned out I was right.
The Redskins almost caused a whole lot of survivor pool players a whole lot of grief last week. You want to hear booing, crash out in Week 2 when you're the biggest favorite of the week.
Anonymous: Certainly one of the more amusing stories of the week has been a Redskins player complaining about fans booing the Redskins when the team underperforms. When people make millions of dollars playing a ball game, and make snide comments about fans who might work at McDonald's (assuming someone making minimum wage could afford Redskins tickets), it shows a tenuous grip on reality.
The players should be thankful they make so much money doing what they do (even if they don't do it well).
Dan Steinberg: I think many of them are thankful. I think Robert Henson is thankful; he's said so many times. He's also said he used to work at McDonald's. And for as rich as these guys are getting, they're also mutilating their bodies for our benefit.
Now, should they insult their paying customers? Clearly not. The lesson here is more than everyone in the world sometimes writes things they regret on the Internet than that players have a tenuous grip on reality. If you've never sent an email, text message, or Internet comment that you didn't regret, you're living in a different world than I am.
worst. draft. class. ever.: Has to be the Redskins' 2008 haul, right?
Three second round picks - none who have had any semblance of an impact, and even though there were more pressing needs - drafting two wide receivers isn't nearly as big a crime as drafting a tight end when Cooley had just been extended.
Third round guard is inactive (and initial reaction from scouts was that this was a reach pick).
Fourth round pick on a defensive back who has been roasted in consecutive preseasons.
Was the punter picked in the fifth? Before the backup QB in the sixth?
And the seventh, the only one who can be considered a success was a tip from a former Redskins coach.
Worst class ever (especially considering the OL and LB needs) - confirm or deny.
Dan Steinberg: I'm not well enough versed on the history of large draft classes to say, but it hasn't been a rousing success. Fred Davis has proven especially baffling; after all the noise about the devastating options when he and Cooley share the field, he's been even less of a presence than Devin Thomas thus far.
I also don't know whether other markets speculate as much on whether draft picks make the roster to help justify the fact that they were picked. Frost openly suggested that was why Brooks made last year's roster, and similar questions have been raised with other players. I guess you end up judging this five years from now, and Horton will make up for more than one mistake, but the second rounders simply have to do more to redeem this class.
Re: Henson: Normally I agree with you, but on this I totally disagree with you.
Redskins fans are the Redskins customers, yes? No? I can't imagine you'd call Post Readers, or customers, dim wits, or chastize readers for their place of work, or challenge how much more money you make than your readers.
I know I can't say negative things to my customers without backlash - even if my customers have an issue with me, right or wrong.
Although I do agree that it's not a big deal. The guy is only on the team because they used a draft pick on him - he'll be gone within three years.
Dan Steinberg: See? Guy only on the team because they drafted him. That's what I'm talking about.
And I've tried my hardest to avoid this, but me, and plenty and plenty and plenty of my current and ex-co workers, have occasionally gotten into it with readers who are critical of our work. I don't think that's terribly different, except Henson did this on a public forum. Rookie mistake.
Washington, D.C.: Has the NFL instituted a "No Twitter For An Hour After The Game" rule yet? It's easy to say that the Henson incident is just a freak occurance, but how long until another player, not just a back-up, gets annoyed at fans and starts tweeting recklessly?
Dan Steinberg: Yeah, there's a rule. I think it's a 90 minute cooling off period. I'm not sure how long Henson waited.
I'm also not sure it's necessary. If players can control themselves from sounding off to the media, they should be able to control themselves from publishing invective online.
Burke, Va.: Are Redskin players on the bench 'twittering' during the game? If so, shouldn't that be banned by management? Shouldn't they be keeping their heads 'in the game' and not fat fingering a small keyboard?
Dan Steinberg: No one has yet done this. It's against the rules, and would result in a hefty fine.
No Preseason Excitement: Preseason hockey is not a big draw since most of the players wearing Caps' sweaters on the ice last night will be in Hershey's minor league camp next week. I share season tickets five rows from the ice with three other people and not only did none of us want to go to the preseason games but we literally couldn't give those kind of sweet tickets away. When the season starts Oct. 3, however, big difference.
Dan Steinberg: That's my sense. I have to say, I've never even wondered before this fall, which at least shows that some progress is being made.
Also, preseason NFL football matters because of fantasy drafts, and while I know fantasy hockey is very very big among hockey fans, I don't think it has the mass appeal of fantasy football. I care about the Ravens preseason games because I'm curious if Ray Rice is worth a mid-round pick, but I'm sorry, the Blackhawks just don't interest me terribly much in the preseason unless they're playing the Caps.
I think that's the next big challenge for the Caps: turning a town full of new Caps fans into a town full of new NHL fans. That's a much, much, much steeper hill to climb.
Silver Spring, Md.: So we flew down the beltway last Sunday - got to FedEx around 11- with a little finagling we were able to tailgate in our usual spot - none of the kids got obnoxiously drunk - and the Redskins got a W - I don't understand all the drama?!?
Dan Steinberg: I love to complain. I think the redskins in-game presentation is beyond atrocious. But I don't understand the wailing about traffic. I mean, when you ship 90,000 people to the middle of P.G. County, there will be traffic. It sucks, but you can listen to Kevin and Sonny and Sam and Vinny on 980, or you can listen to the unauthorized show on The Fan, or you can listen to the Wiggles. You can drink some coffee in the car and relax while listening to NPR. You can go early and hang out with friends.
Would it be better if it was right by a metro? Hell and yes. Is that the fault of the current people running D.C. or the Redskins? Not really. Is traffic elsewhere infinitely better? I don't know, but the worst NFL traffic I've ever seen was going to the Patriots game two years ago, and New England fans seem ok with life.
Again, I'm not trying to be an apologist, and sure, more lines for the green and orange lots and more functioning parking attendants would be grand, but I left my house in Silver Spring at 11:15 last week and was lodged in a space by 12:25 or so. Considering how many other people were trying to do the same thing at the same time, I think that's ok.
Hoboken, N.J.: I find it interesting that local D.C. press consider the Redskins' next few opponents "inferior." I'm a Redskins fan, but after the display against Rams, I figure that Lions, Bucs and Chiefs fans/press are looking at the Redskins as a great opportunity for a win, themselves. Your thoughts?
Dan Steinberg: I agree with you. But I still think the Lions, Bucs and Chiefs are inferior to the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys, and probably to the Redskins. Maybe not vastly inferior, but Vegas has the Lions 6.5 points inferior at home.
They can look at the Redskins however they want, but the fact remains, none of those teams have a win yet, and the Redskins do.
"And for as rich as these guys are getting, they're also mutilating their bodies for our benefit.": Please. there are plenty of jobs where people put their lives on the line and make nowhere near as much as a football player.
Oh poor me, I have to get treatments every day for my bum knee while collecting millions of dollars.
It was their choice to become a professional athlete. those are the risks...but at least they earn a salary that allows them to live comfortably.
Dan Steinberg: Ok, whatever. I'm not saying they deserve pity; I'm saying they're appropriately paid for what they're doing. And honestly, without hyperbole, I'm saying that if someone offered me the chance right now to switch places with, say, Robert Henson, to collect his paychecks but have to put my body through what he's putting his through, I'd say no in a second. Maybe you'd disagree. Thousands of other people would as well. You want to talk about cushy, though: I get to spend my life watching sports, taking pictures of my TV screen, and making a fine enough living.
Even cushier: fourth-string announcers on Fox.
Longtime Redskins fan here. I just tried to register on their website and I was denied because I did not sign up for their seating waitlist. What a horribly run franchise. I miss the Squire.
Dan Steinberg: The Web site is an abomination. We can all agree on that. someone count how many corporate sponsors clog up the content. Has to be double digits.
(Note: I realize there are advertisements on the web site you're currently looking at. I realize they pay my mortgage. Or at least, they used to, back when we made money.)
SE, Washington, D.C.: I went to FedEx for the first time on Sunday. My friends and I decided to wait out the crowd after the game by staying in my seat and watching the other games on TV. At 3:59 stadium security came and told us to get out.
10 minutes after the game is done, and it's "Get the hell out." Seriously, you get better treatment at a Waffle House. I'm done with these clowns. The Redskins organization can go to hell.
I'll be back when Dan Snyder is dead or bankrupt.
Dan Steinberg: Ok, this is clearly not the best day for calm, considered defenses of the FedEx Field experience.
Plus, the Redskins don't offer you your choice of chunked or smothered taters.
The food choices are also execrable. I'm with everyone on that one.
JLC: Dan, is Jason La Canfora still around with the WaPo or did he take a dream job covering the English Premier League?
Dan Steinberg: He works with the NFL Network.
Re: my previous remarks about the hot seat becoming a self fulfilling prophecy, 980 just asked Jim Zorn if Sunday's game could affect his job security. He said something like "I won't even answer that question." Well done. You can't feed that fire.
Washington, D.C.: Actually, it would be pretty cool if FedEx were packed and everyone booed from the kickoff to the final gun, no matter what the result.
Dan Steinberg: You want to see everyone booing no matter the result? Check out Ford Field this Sunday.
I'd Buy D.C.'s Nats Ticket: I wouldn't pay more than face value because there should be some good seats available at the ticket window but I'm still paying to see the Nationals play. It's going to be a long winter -- it always is when you consider there are only half as many hockey games in a season as baseball games and when you're someone who finds football boring. (Did you ever see the study done by former football coach George Allen? He determined that in the average three hour NFL game there's only 12 to 14 minutes of actual action. And they say baseball is slow???)
Of course, I'm spending a November week in Phoenix primarily to watch Arizona Fall League games (and hopefully Strasburg!) and I flew to Miami earlier this month to see the Nationals play the Marlins twice. Sat through two-hour-plus rain delays in each game and hung in until the final out both times. So I guess I'd qualify as an avid seamhead.
Dan Steinberg: George Will? You read my chats? Awesome, thanks.
Springfield, Va.: I asked the guy at the cube next to me if he could recommend a hard, salty cheese.
He responded by saying, "My name is Will, whats yours?"
Dan Steinberg: You should try some of that Yak cheese I got during the Olympics. I've never eaten such a salty food product in my life.
Richmond, Va.: How you doing Steinberg? I am a diehard Redskins fan, but I don't support a lot of their red zone decision making. Do you know if the Redskins are doing anything to improve it? And if they are, what are they doing to improve it? And who exactly makes the red zone calls? Zorn or the offensive coordinator?
Dan Steinberg: Well, Zorn is the offensive coordinator, so I'm happy to answer the last part for you: Zorn makes the calls.
My biggest issue with Jim Zorn and the red zone is the seeming reluctance to ever second guess himself. Almost by definition, if you call a third and five halfback option, and it fails, it was a poor call. Could it have been executed better? I have no doubt, but you're coaching the guys who are executing it, and you know what they're capable of. It's your job to call a play that they will execute into a touchdown.
So I don't want to offer red zone instructions, but I'd like to see Zorn admit that a failed call was a bad call.
As for what they're doing to improve, you'll hear things like concentration and more JUGS work from guys like Mike Sellers, and you'll hear better execution from the O line, and I can almost guarantee you'[ll see a fade route this weekend.
Baltimore: Why don't NFL owners just put a blanket ban on players using social media such as Twitter? It would keep loudmouths like Henson from embarrassing their teams.
Dan Steinberg: I don't know what the ramifications of that would be, but I think it'd be a horrible, horrible mistake. Interacting with fans and media is a huge way to grow the game, or maintain the game where it is. And you can't treat these guys like machines. Well, I guess you could, but I think it'd be a wrongheaded approach that would lower the entertainment value and cause massive worker-ownership resentment. I think the recent NFL Twitter explosion has made the sport much more fun to follow.
I know we don't agree on this.
Herndon, Va.: Anyone know if Vinny or Danny read their own bad press, i.e. this chat? How can they not know how much they are loathed?
Dan Steinberg: I think we can all assume that they do indeed read their bad press. Going out on a limb, I'll also say they both assume that if they start winning games, the loathing will diminish.
Clueless in Capon Bridge, W. Va.: How stupid was Zorn's comment to Jurgensen? Those of us who listened to the game on the radio heard Sonny speak before the play even came about what would work with what the Rams showed and what would not. Sonny's call was for Campbell to audible to a fake to Portis and bootleg left straight into the end zone.
Zorn's lack of knowledge of Redskins history is astounding. Sonny was the last of the offensive improvisors - a great one at that - and the Redskins colors are burgundy and gold, not red and black. Zorn is starting to think his way out of a job.
Dan Steinberg: Again, I'm not sure how much of it was joking, but if it was at all serious I'm with you. It's just bad PR, if nothing else. Sonny has earned the right to ask completely rude postgame questions, but Zorn has an obvious temper, so they're not easy questions to duck away from.
What should he have said when Sonny said he'd have audibled out of the halfback option pass? It's hard to think of a great response.
"Well, you would have been right that time," or something along those lines would have been the safest response.
Zebra, Serengeti: Steinz;
How plausible is this: The Redskins lose their naming rights in court. Snyder is forced to eat all of the merchandise with the name.
It forces him to sell the team, and we get a competent owner?
Would the value of the franchise at that point mean we would get a Mike Brown type, or someone who thinks they can do what Snyder did with the Washington Powhatans?
Dan Steinberg: Any scenario that ends with "it forces him to sell the team" strikes me as non-plausible.
Or did you mean literally eat, with a fork and knife. If he had to literally consume all remaining Redskins-branded merchandise, I think we can assume that he would not long be the owner of this team. Imagine what those hog snouts would feel like going down.
Fusheezi, Md.: Please tell me you are going to be on Jon Forsythe's Redskins Insider Podcast this week ... and if so, can I pick the other guest you'll be bantering with? I'm thinking Feinstein, only because Wilbon would be too intimidated in your presence.
Dan Steinberg: This week's podcast includes appearances by Jon Forsythe, Tracee Hamilton, Rick Maese and Dan Steinberg. It promises to be riveting listening. Take it to the gym with you. We'll make your half-hour jog feel like a 20-second sprint to WaWa!
Blatant Lie, Any State: One time I went to FedEx Field and I was threatened with death by Jugs Machine Pelting if I didn't sprint to my car the second the game was over.
Dan Steinberg: You think that's bad? Daniel Snyder lit my car on fire using my life savings as kindling, and then twitpic'd the photos.
Houston: Amen on the traffic at the Patriots stadium. Have friends who took three hours to get out of the parking lot there after the U2 concert on Sunday night. Had a bad, but not that bad, experience there after a Dave Matthews concert in the old stadium too. People here just like to complain.
Dan Steinberg: Attention: someone has agreed with me. I repeat, someone has agreed with me.
I know that people have things they'd like to do on Sundays. I get that. In an ideal world, magic tubes (or private copters) would transport all of us home. That said, you can walk to Metro in about 20 minutes, or you can, say, bring a book and sit there and read.
Seriously, I feel like I"m working for the Redskins today.
Vinny!!!!1!!1! Why'd you draft a punter!!!1!1!?
Palisades, Washington, D.C.: Maybe if Danny stops suing grandmothers on the verge of bankruptcy they won't be as loathed either. Any thoughts?
Dan Steinberg: Maybe grandmothers on the verge of bankruptcy shouldn't be giving away all their money to veterans when they've signed contracts to pay high-dollar sums for premium seats. Any thoughts?
(My soul is turning black today.)
Reading Their Bad Press: If Danny and Vinny are reading this, a lifelong Redskins fan who detests them is inviting them to eat the corn from his you know what.
I hope those choke on their profits for ruining a D.C. institution.
Dan Steinberg: Cornbread? That's the saying, right, eat the corn from my cornbread? Or gumbo? There's corn in gumbo, isn't there? I've never actually had gumbo. I think there's okra in gumbo. I actually love okra, and have never understood the complaints about it being slimy. So, what, is pudding slimy, too? Do you hate pudding? People love pudding. Donuts with pudding in them? Even better.
Rockville, Md.: What are your thoughts on the roughing the passer call that erased the fumble recovery? Do the refs hate the Redskins (or Danny)? Looked to me like a pretty good acting job in which Bulger threw himself to the ground after being brushed by the arm of a Redskin player.
Dan Steinberg: Certainly not egregious, but like Greg Blache said, Orakpo put himself in a situation where the ref had an option to throw a flag. The hit itself was fairly gentle, but definitely late. I'd rule it 60 percent bogus, 40 percent legit, but definitely not bad enough for conspiracy theories.
Washington, D.C.: Steinz, long time reader, first time typer. Could you rank where fans' frustration at the Redskins is aimed at? I'll give you a couple to start.
Players, Coach Zorn, Snyder and Cerrato, FedEx Field. Any others I'm missing?
Dan Steinberg: I will try to rank them based on my sense of how fans would answer, not necessarily reality.
2. Zorn's play calling
3. The past decade of mediocrity
4. The FedEx experience
5. Cerrato (Unbelievable he dropped this low)
6. Jason Campbell
Alexandria, Va.: "I've been (unhappily) surprised at the media buzz around the Caps thus far. I thought it would pick up right where it left off in April. It hasn't."
Why? It's not like it's the Redskins and it's important if the first team offense or the second team defense won a pre-preseason partial contact scrimmage.
Dan Steinberg: I just meant usually the buzz starts before a season starts. Spring Training has buzz, right?
Bowie, Md.: So that timeout breakdown with all the pictures from your TV screen? That, Mr. Bog, is your masterpiece. You will never be able to top that, it's all downhill from here. You'd be wise to hang it up while you're on top.
Nice work, sir.
washingtonpost.com: D.C. Sports Bog: Breaking Down Jim Zorn's Failed Timeout (Washington Post, Sep. 22)
Dan Steinberg: Wow, thanks.
Here's a serious question. Whenever I take pictures of my TV screen, people tell me to get HD, or to get a flat screen, or to get a new TV. But I have a new TV, with HD, and a flat screen. Why are my TV photos so bad?
Washington, D.C.: This is late, but we'll see if I get it in.
The Supreme Court is not going to rule that the Redskins have to change their name. They are only deciding whether or not the plaintiffs who want them to lose their trademark rights waited too long to file suit. If the Supremes say, no, you can bring it, then it goes back down to litigate - on the trademark rights, federal trademark rights, meaning that Danny cannot control who makes it, etc., but he still has state rights and if he choses, can keep the name.
Sorry, that made me feel better, even if you get it late!
Dan Steinberg: Thanks.
In addition to all that, there didn't seem to be a whole bunch of news in this latest news. I mean, the plaintiffs have appealed every step of the way, right? It's not terribly surprising that they would appeal to the Supremes. And yet for a while that was the most read story on our site.
The thing that's interesting about this case is whether or not the nickname does violate the statute the plaintiffs claim it violates, not this stupid statute stuff. It's so boring. To me, anyhow. Let's get to the actual heart of the matter, somehow, in some court, and see what happens.
Where the Corn Comes From : It's a four letter word that your paper won't publish and aptly describes the matter between $nyder's ears.
Dan Steinberg: H@!r?
Palisades, Washington, D.C.: actually, I'm really just hoping the Supreme Court takes up the trademark case against the Redskins. I like imagining the cottage industry of knock-off Redskins gear that would pop up instantly and there not being anything Danny could do about it.
Dan Steinberg: Warriors. All about the Warriors.
Here's something I've discovered: "chatting" is considered billable hours, and yet instead of trying to think of something to write about, I can just select your questions and put five fairly boring words after them. And it's like I'm working! I mean, why do I ever end these chats? I'm gonna ask to do a 37.5-hour chat one week, and then call it a week. I'll start at 8 a.m. on a Redskins Sunday, go through 10 or so on the next Monday (which is the ripest time of the week for me anyhow), and then take the next five days off. That way, when my daughter spends 10 minutes explaining to me why she needs to wear her new "sheeps pajamas" to preschool instead of actual clothes, I can engage her in substantive discussion instead of turning on the television and ripping off the sheeps.
By the way, thanks mom and dad for the pajamas. Ida loves them.
Downtown, Washington, D.C.: While on Lindsay Czarniak's Wikipedia page (don't judge), I learned that she was in a 2000 film entitled "Aquarius," playing a character named Mist.
The world demands photos/video of this performance.
washingtonpost.com: Aquarius (2000) (IMDB.com)
Dan Steinberg: This is not something that I previously knew. I'm glad that I now know this, however.
Arlington, Va.: Like the other 99 percent of D.C. residents, I am not a huge fan of what Synder has done with the team. Would losing to the Lions next week finally be rock bottom for Danny? If the season ticket scandal wasn't enough of a wake up call that fans are getting really annoyed, or getting booed when you win, maybe this would finally make him stop being a young Al Davis?
I just feel emotionally unattached to this team, because of the owner. I wonder how many others feel this way ...
Dan Steinberg: Obviously a great many people feel the same way you do.
I just wonder how much the Ws and Ls factor into this. I'm not from here, so I'm actually wondering, not trying to be obnoxious. How does a team get to be a civic institution? By existing? By treating fans well? By winning? Would the Skins have become a civic institution minus the Super Bowls? Would they have ceased to be a civic institution had Jack Kent Cooke done some of the things Snyder has done?
This is the crux of my question: If Snyder turns into a winner, do the Skins return to their status as civic institution? And I know many would argue he could not possibly win like the Squire, but this is a what-if.
To me, the idea of the Redskins remains an institution. Maybe not one that causes great joy lately, but it's an institution, because it's something a lot of us care about together. The institution right now is a bit annoying and creaky, but it's still an institution.
Apathy--which you're hinting at--is what would kill that status. And I'm not apathetic. The questions here would suggest that many others aren't, either. I think these are the greatest four months of the year for a lot of reasons: Halloween, Thanksgiving, apple picking, apple cider, pumpkin ale, frequent opportunities to take vacation time, mild weather, the intersection of the NBA/MLB/NHL/NFL/college football/college basketball seasons. But the Redskins remain another of those reasons.
Capsville, Va.: No real question, just want to say keep up the good work. I can count on both hands the number of chuckles I get from the Bog on a daily basis. Okay if I'm being honest, some days it only takes one hand to count them. But still, the Bog helps keep me sane.
Bring on hockey season! Go Caps!
Dan Steinberg: As long as you're using that one hand to write down the number "1,349,450," I'm ok with that.
Fairfax, Va.: Is there any chance that Dan Snyder would ever sell the Redskins? I mean he has to be the most despised figure in all of D.C., most likely could never appear in public? Do you see any scenario where he might cut his losses(profits) and sell the team and move to greener pastures?
Dan Steinberg: No
College Park, Md.: How can one of the most expensive state universities in the country justify spending so much on a football program at College Park that's a national embarrassment, while cutting back on tenured professors and raising tuition, especially when the money that the football program generates largely goes back into the football program?
Dan Steinberg: Yes! Finally a question about angst with some other football team!
My gut feeling toward college football is much, much, much more negative than my feelings toward even the most craven NFL team. I'm sure there are millions of strong arguments about how college teams help school pride, increase admissions, give kids something better to do than light furniture on fire, etc. But to me, there's something fundamentally corrupt about stealing the kids' labor to make money, and to do so at educational institutions that can't always afford the things you're talking about. I'd feel this way even if you told me that football was paying for the entire biology department. It's just a weird dynamic that makes me uncomfortable.
Yes, being the son and nephew and brother of college professors probably has something to do with this, and yes, being raised in one of biggest college football wastelands in the country probably does, too.
But the thing is, you can't then yell about Maryland football being a national embarrassment. The argument holds whether the teams win or lose. If you want to complain about the winning and losing part, I think you continue to wonder about Ralph's recruiting. It's a question that has never been satisfactorily answered.
Florida: For those too young to remember, the Redskins were horrible for decades before Vince Lombardi arrived. The modern era of good Redskins football lasted about 20 years until the early 90's. Snyder hasn't ruined the Redskins. He's merely taken them back to where they belong ...
Dan Steinberg: But were they a horrible civic institution, or did nobody care? That's what I'd like to know.
Arlington, Va.: I appreciated your dissection of Coach Zorn's claim that he was calling timeout in the 4th quarter despite the fact that there was still plenty of time on the playclock because he couldn't see the clock.
But even if Zorn's excuse is accurate, it still excuses nothing. Why does Zorn think "You know what, I messed up, I wasn't even thinking about running down the clock" is a worse answer than "well people were standing in front of me, so how could I possibly consider attempting to discern how much time was left, I had no choice but to call timeout regardless."
Zorn's mistake wasn't that he was unable to see the clock, it's that he clearly wasn't thinking about the implications of calling for timeout.
washingtonpost.com: D.C. Sports Bog: Breaking Down Jim Zorn's Failed Timeout (Washington Post, Sep. 22)
Dan Steinberg: I agree. It's something many many writers and fans have pointed out for years, but playing video games or watching dozens of games from home in some ways gets you better ready to handle the fast action of late-game time management questions than being immersed in the game. The Joe Gibbs timeout against the Bills in '07? Same thing.
I know nothing about drawing up an NFL play. Literally, nothing. But I know when to call a timeout late in the game, when the running back has to fall down even if it means he loses yards rather than run out of bounds to stop the clock, etc. We all make mistakes, but that late game timeout was a mistake by Zorn, and it wasn't the first he's made in such situations.
I think as fans, because that's the part of the game that we do understand, these gaffes are particularly galling.
Washington, D.C.: Ok, ok. Maybe Zorn is over his head, and maybe Campbell isn't a great quarterback. But let's take a look back:
2000: Turner is no good, and Johnson is not a championship quarterback (oops)
2001: Schottenheimer is too old school for the new NFL, and Banks is not a championship QB
2003: Spurrier is over his head, and Ramsey is not a championship QB
2006: The modern game has passed Gibbs by, and Brunell is no longer a championship QB
2007: Saunders didn't help, and Campbell is not a championship QB
Ignoring the fact that Brad Johnson went on the win a Super Bowl and (hard as it is to believe) that Turner is still the most successful Redskins coach in the post-Gibbs I era, the last 10 years have all been pretty much the same: Pretty good defense, lousy offense, and the grass looks greener over there.
Again, maybe Zorn and Campbell are no good. But at this point isn't it kind of ridiculous to think that changing them will improve matters? Snyder's Redskins will always stink.
Dan Steinberg: And on this cheerful note, I'm going to go do some other sort of work.
I still think the Redskins will wind up around 7-9 this season, like I said before the year, but this week was indeed damaging to certain things I had thought about certain people inside the Redskins. Let's hope for something better next week. As always, nothing I wrote here can be held against me or used to fuel an A1 story.
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