D.C. Sports Bog Live: Redskins' Loss to Lions, Caps, Nats, NFL and College Football

 Dan Steinberg
Dan Steinberg (The Washington Post)
Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, September 29, 2009; 11:30 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tues., Sep. 29, at 11: 30 a.m. ET to break down all your questions about the Redskins' loss to the Lions, the Nats, D.C. United, 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: Hey all. Sorry for being late. That's just who I am. Also, I finished taping the awesome awesome awesome Redskins Insider podcast and then sprinted to the Verizon Center for the Caps media luncheon. Not literally. I took my car. It was a car sprint. Also known as speeding. Don't give me a ticket D.C. cops.

Anyhow, ask me questions about missing Wiz media day, DeShawn's awesome new tats, the Caps media luncheon, the emails Nats season ticket holders got last week. Or, you know, any other local sports thing.


Washington, D.C.: Has anyone in the Redskins front office managed to answer for the team's performance this season. Does Cerrato still have that radio show? Or are they in full-blown bunker mode?

Dan Steinberg: Yes, Cerrato has that radio show, but it's now only on Friday mornings, I believe. I heard part of it last week. He and Mel Kiper were talking about how Ole Miss's QB needs to spend another year in school, and how there aren't any legit Best Teams In The Country just yet, but how you never know how teams might develop as the year goes on.

Daniel Snyder recently talked to the NYT, but it was about his wife's cancer and her new role with the NFL's campaign against said disease. He also gave an interview to the AP before the preseason started. Jim Zorn is always front and center and accountable, to the extent that saying "We're getting better" is being accountable.


4-12ville: A little freaked out by the "Lavar Manifesto" but the overall point is correct. It's a pervasive culture of losing...players, coaches, and management types have come and gone, and nothing changes. It starts at the very top...the Owner/CEO.

However, he's not going anywhere. What he needs to do is look in the mirror, realize he doesn't know -stuff] about building a successful football team, and hire a real GM (like Jack Kent Cooke did with Bobby Beathard). Then let the GM be the GM, and just sign the stinking checks (like Jack Kent Cooke did).

Oops, there's no question in there.

Dan Steinberg: I think you remove the Joe Gibbs years, and look at what you've got, and it's not pretty. But "culture of losing" things can end by, you know, winning. Look at the Rays, for just one example. If ever there was a culture of losing, that was one, and it ended, at least for one season.

But I understand why you, and a million of your chatting brethren and sistern, are frustrated.


Bethesda, Md.: Why not have Jason Campbell call the plays in the red zone? He can't do much worse!

Dan Steinberg: Why not have Screech or Slapshot or G Wiz call plays in the red zone.

Honestly, if players say that the play calling doesn't matter and only the execution matters, then it shouldn't matter if mascots or Campbell or Czaban or I call the plays. If the players execute, it'll work. IF they don't, it won't. Right now, they're not executing. Two of the three best drives of the season have come with Campbell leading the two minute offense, and whether or not that's because the defense was playing prevent is sort of immaterial at this point.


Sec 114, Row E: To all the Redskin fans who were laughing at the Nats back in May and June...

How's it feel now?

Dan Steinberg: I'd be with you if the Skins were 0-3. But I don't think Nats fans are in this position quite net.


Fairfax, Va.: Please tell me that its possible for the Redskins to list Albert Hayneworth on their injury report as "Questionable - Strained Butt."

Dan Steinberg: What did Bowden once say about Colome, "We pray for his family and his buttocks," right? Something like that, anyhow.

If this thing completely craters--and I think it's a possibility--No. 92 will be near the epicenter. Though I guess that's a mixed metaphor of massive proportions. Speaking of craters and whatever, did anyone see Virginia Tech guard Malcolm Delaney's tweet this morning where he asked how a geology test was going to help him in the real world, or something like that?


Falls Church, Va.: Re: Rays and losing culture... you forget that to change that culture, the first Rays owners sold the team.... HINT HINT

Dan Steinberg: Also, the reason I got a perverse joy in choosing that example: the team dropped the first syllable from their multisyllabic nickname.

So the Washington Skins maybe could get out of the morass.


Arlington, Va.: Thanks for predicting the Redskins to win at Detroit. You seemed so confident in your picks and I seemed confident in your confidence in the pick and the supporting evidence that I was convinced the Redskins would win. Even after the awful first half, even after falling behind 13 points in the second half, even right before the failed hook and ladder (or whatever). Thanks Steinz, really ... thanks.

Dan Steinberg: Hey, I was too. I'm in a strictly-for-entertainment weekly pool in which we pick college and pro games, and the Skins were my lock of the week. I massively embarrassed myself in public, and I'll try my best to make no more Redskins-related predictions for the rest of the season. Though I'm sure I've already failed on that regard.

Look, I thought the signs were there....angry with the media, underperforming team that has become a chic upset pick....that sounded like a Skins rout to me. I know "If...." claims are horribly unsatisfying the week after, but I think if the Skins punch it in on that first drive, the rout very well could have been on. I actually liked going for that 4th down play at the time, but in retrospect, maybe the only way you save the Lions is by providing them with the opportunity for a massive jolt of momentum very early on in the game. Kedric Golston didn't help, either.


Anonymous: I am a little behind, sorry, why bog and not blog?

Dan Steinberg: My favorite weekly question!

When I left the Maryland football beat in the summer of 06, Ralph Friedgen told me that he didn't even know what a Bog was. So I thought it was funny. Little did I know that I was entering a soggy morass of local sports pseudo-tragedy, in which just about every local team of note (save one) would do nothing but break hearts for three years in a row.


Washington, D.C.: Any insight on how the Caps as an organization may try to take advantage of the Redskins "losing" their fan base? More appearances (other than Ovie), cross promo with Nyjer once healthy, creating Bog worthy chatter, etc. I hope that Teddy Leonsis and team pounce on the chance to capture the Redskins fans that are sports fans in general and just want to invest themselves in a successful local team.

Dan Steinberg: Well, all the games are sold out for STH, though limited individual game tickets remain. I think getting on board with bars for some sort of watch party type events wouldn't hurt, turning games into more of an event, though it's hard on Tuesday nights. That's the biggest thing the NFL has going for it, here and elsewhere: the sense that every game matters acutely, and is therefore a civic event that even non or casual fans need to care about. In an 82 game season that hardly decides anything, that's tough to replicate in a region where hockey playing still isn't huge.

But they win, and people know that they win. That's what matters most. People watching on Comcast SportsNet and driving up ratings will help convince other media outlets to raise the stakes.


RE: Nats v Redskins: Right now, I think the Nats could take the Redskins by 3+

Dan Steinberg: maybe if tony plush were healthy. Not with this lineup. This lineup would struggle with the 08 Wizards.


Washington, D.C.: Mr. Steinberg:

I am a long time Redskin fan. I remember seeing Otto Graham play. I bleed Redskin.

However, I am now supporting the Ravens - not the Redskins.

Thanks to Danny Snyder, who has done just about everything wrong (hiring other coaches before the head coach, cutting back on tailgaters, suing people in court, etc.), I will switch my love for the game of football to the Baltimore Ravens, who in contrast, have a model of a football organization that the Redskins, under Snyder, has lacked.

Having someone who people in the NFL consider not an expert in football player's evualtion (Vinny Cerrato) - in fact, he is not highly regarded in the NFL - as the one who is calling the shots, is added insults to us long suffering fans.

Contrast Vinny vs. Ozzie ... Ozzie wins hands down.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Dan Steinberg: First of all, let me say that I have way, way, way more questions than I could possibly deal with. If I could only somehow tap all of this fan discontent into extra Web hits.....

Anyhow, as to your question, this is one response I really don't exactly understand. To each his/her own, but with the longtime rivalry between these two cities in all things, including football, I struggle to imagine myself switching over. I could sooner see rooting for, say, the Seahawks. But you bleed Redskin, and I don't, so if this works for you, cheer away.

(Please don't buy purple camo, though. It's awful in every way.)


Dan Steinberg: Speaking of purple, is there a good reason the Verizon Center seats are purple? I'm just entering the arena now, and typing while walking.

People already here: Tim Brandt, Scott Linn, Lindsay Czarniak, Brett Haber, Dave Feldman, Ted Leonsis. Nothing brings out the media stars like free lunch. Some of these TV folks haven't been around much this month. Good on the Caps for scheduling this on the Skins' off day.


Washington, D.C., Eye Street: Dark, dark is the mood in the City That Never Laughs. The Redskins, that barometer of the city's emotional health, are losing, and losing hopelessly. Washingtonians battle despair by proclaiming that one good offensive lineman, one shut-down corner, one new coach, one new, gutsy quarterback will return the franchise and the city to their Glory Days. Alas, this is utter fantasy. Our long, regional nightmare is just beginning.

But there has to be hope, or life is just too hard. So how about this: 3 and 13 should bring a high draft pick and a one-way ticket out of town for Coach Jim Zorn, quarterback Jason Campbell and -- let's hope really hard -- Vinny C.

Dan Steinberg: It's amazing how few of these questions contain question marks.

It's really funny how different the opinions are on Jason Campbell. The haters are so convinced he's one of the major problems, while the defenders insist this is lunacy. To me, I look at his total record for a starter, and I start to wonder whether a great NFL quarterback would show such consistently mild results over the course of so many seasons. But I guess you can't just separate one guy out.


Harrisonburg, Va.: Looks like Portis has really lost a step or two. I know this has been beaten to death, but why not let Sellers run the ball a bit (and not just in short yardage). Wear the defense down a bit. And play the Mitchell kid (Marko)!!! Do these things seem absurd?

Dan Steinberg: I don't know about the Sellers thing. He hasn't proven to be a great short yardage back in the past, and he went to the Pro Bowl as a blocker, not a runner, so if you give him the ball you're talking his blocking out of the equation. The thing that was stranger to me was bringing in Alridge as a change of back guy, activating him in his very first week, and then not using him while using Rock Cartwright. That just seemed bizarre.

While Marko's highlights came against scrubs, he made the roster, and teammates absolutely raved about him. He could hardly be less productive than his competition, you'd think.


Alexandria, Va.: No question, just wanted to throw out that "Fail to the Redskins" is one of the funniest headlines I read all year. Give that headline writer a raise!

Dan Steinberg: The bailing out one was also solid, though it was flying about Twitter all afternoon, during the loss.


Disheartened and Disgusted: Steins,

After the week 1 loss to the Giants, there was general consternation among fans about how Haynesworth, Hall, Campbell, and the offense in general performed. From what I remember (and it's been a couple of weeks, so I'm a little hazy), everyone in the media was saying that fans should remain calm, things will work themselves out, and everything will be better. However, in this very paper, Sally Jenkins wrote an article after week 1 about how Haynesworth had not performed well because there are such high expectations for him and how he might not be worth his contract.

Doesn't that go against what people in the media had been saying about not panicking after 1 or 2 games? And if the Redskins lose this week, isn't it pretty much time to panic? Last week was an embarrassment of epic proportions, but I could almost feel it coming and was not surprised in the least. What else would I expect after 18 some years of futility?

Dan Steinberg: We panic because it's fun, and it draws in readers, and the opportunity for a genuinely epic disaster of a season at least exists. We say not to panic because logically, rationally, going 1-2 isn't necessarily the end of the world as we know it.

If you say anything definitive in an NFL season, you'll almost certainly look like a blind preschool kitten at some point. Last year, after Week 1, many of us at The Post raised the white flag of disaster, including the brilliant Sally. Then the Skins fired up the 6-2 Hip Hip Hoorayride, and we were all on board, big-time. Then they cratered. So were we right to panic after week 1 or not?


New Orleans: How do you not understand the last guy's comment? This seems to be the overwhelming sentiment amongst "Redksin bleeding" fans. Ultimately, people have lost a sense of hope and the pure enjoyment to root for this team. I think everyone is starting to realize that nothing will change until a new owner comes in - and that will take decades.

Dan Steinberg: I understand the angst, I just don't understand how you can start rooting for another team with a historically antagonistic fan base. If that's the question you're referring to. I'd rather channel my rooting power into a college team, or a hockey team, or my fantasy team, than a rival football team.

My fantasy teams are both really easy to root for, by the way. And they never claim to be getting better, against all evidence.


Takoma Park, Washington, D.C.: I see no reason why Jason Campbell could not be as good as a Kerry Collins. But he need a coach to work with him. I personally just don't think he and Zorn are a good fit.

The team has no ability to develop players. It is the same problem that is killing the Raiders. Who cares if you get a high draft pick if you cannot manage them properly?

Dan Steinberg: This Raiders thing is what I come back to whenever people say the Redskins are the NFL's worst franchise, biggest embarrassment, etc. Whatever they've done in these three weeks, they just haven't come close to the Raiders in my book. Or, hell, the Lions either. I mean, that team lost every single game it played last year, part of a decades-long history of ineptitude. The Redskins are horrifically mediocre, but if that's your worst sin, you're still doing ok, relatively.


Washington, D.C.: Your opinion on the Junkies' bag over head theory for Sunday's game?

Perhaps in an upcoming post you could post the history and effectiveness of the bag- over-head look. I know the Lions used it for a while with Millen running the show.

I, by the way, am a strong proponent of it for this weekend.

Dan Steinberg: It's great for photos, and great for misery, and really really really great for blogging. But to me, off the top of my head, it's not nearly as good as the ultimate weapon of not showing up and not paying for anything. I mean, if you want things to change. If you want to make a great photo op, by all means, show up with the bags.


Purple Camo and fairweather fans: Totally agree and I'm a born and raised Baltimore Colts fan. I root for the Ravens since I've stopped holding my breath that the NFL will do the decent thing and return the Colts to Baltimore. Seriously at least with the Browns, they left the name and colors. If your forced to steal another city's team because Jack Kent Cooke and the NFL keep football out of your city for 13 years, at least you can leave the colors and team name...Any way. NO matter how much I love the Ravens, I won't be wearing purple camo.

Dan Steinberg: My dad was raised in Baltimore as a Colts fan, and even though moved away more than a decade before they left, he still feels something when he sees the Colts uniforms. If the Ravens were in those duds, he would undoubtedly root for them. But he doesn't feel the need to root for the purple.


Washington, D.C.: I'd - love - to see the Caps start some sort of "Better Red" campaign. Point out that the Caps are a more exciting, hard- hitting, high-scoring team than the Redskins are, that tickets are cheaper, that they have a coach who knows what he's doing, etc. Be blatant about the goal: 'converting' Redskins fans to Capitals fans ... heck, offer a merchandise trade-in, where people can turn in Redskins jerseys, caps, etc. for Caps rock-the-red t-shirts. What do you think, am I a marketing genius or what?

Dan Steinberg: There's a real spirit of cooperation among a lot of local PR people....off the top of my head, I'm almost positive that reps for the Caps, United, Nats and Wizards all converse over Twitter, offering each other good luck for upcoming campaigns and events. I really like to see it; adds to that feeling of D.C. sports being one whole instead of five separate realms.

That's why I don't think what you propose is exactly practical; I'm not sure that any one team wants to head off on its own by antagonizing another, especially not the most powerful.

That said, it's a genius idea.


London, UK: What are the chances that Obama ordered the Redskins to lose this game to take the heat off of his party's inability to pass health care legislation?

Dan Steinberg: I assume Obama's a Bears fan. He's certainly not a Skins fan. And the real hardcore Skins fans are the people who live here, and there are a lot of us. It's not the people who come and go.

A Ryan O'Halloran sighting here at the Caps event. Nice to see another scribe taking a break from the Skins.


Baltimore: Do you realize that the Redskins might start their season playing six straight winless teams? N.Y., St. Louis, Detroit, Tampa Bay, and Carolina are definites, and Kansas City might still be winless by Week 6. And despite that, the Redskins might still be 1-5 at the end of that stretch.

Dan Steinberg: It's possible, you're right. It strikes me as fairly implausible. Like, just about impossible. I mean the 1-5 part. Though that will change significantly if the Skins lose this week.

To lose in consecutive weeks as a 6.5 point favorite and a 7.5 point favorite would mean the wheels aren't just off, they're rolling through the gray lot and getting stuck in horrific mud.


Natstown: Dear Dan,

Why no reporting on the Nats season ticket renewal fail?

Dan Steinberg: Later.

I've been wrestling over whether to dub this a Nats fail or not. On the one hand, it wasn't their fault. On the other hand, it's bloody hysterical.


Washington, D.C.: What would suprise you more? You wake up with a full head of luxurious hair or Dan Snyder grants an interview with the press where he lets the fans know that he, too, is disappointed with the season so far and that everyone in the organization will be held accountable.

I'd say go buy a comb.

Dan Steinberg: I think he will do something like this if things continue to go poorly, but it will somehow be on friendly ground, whether with George Michael or Larry Weisman or Larry Michael. I have no real grounds for saying this, though. Just a guess.

As for the "everyone held accountable" speeech, that's what Jim Zorn should have said. "We're playing badly, it's not acceptable, and everyone in this building will be held accountable for the results, myself included." Period. Next question. Not "we're getting better."


Bolting For Baltimore: Steinz,

I'm with you on the "Becoming a Ravens Fan" thing. My theory is that these people are likely Maryland residents who have been looking for a reason to bolt to the Ravens ever since they came to town, but haven't because they had too much time/effort/money invested into their Redskins fandom. This situation has presented them with the opportunity they have been waiting for to jump ship.

Dan Steinberg: Possible. There is some overlap, obviously, in the metro areas. So fine, people in Howard, Frederick and Anne Arundel Counties get a pass. Montgomery and P.G., no way.


Syllables: I believe "Devil" was two syllables in front of "Rays"

Dan Steinberg: Damnit. You're correct. Well, two words, anyhow.


"Better Red Than Dead(skins)": I dunno, I love it...

I've got a No. 47 jersey that I'd glady trade in for a No. 28 at this point.

Dan Steinberg: It would be a fascinating event to cover, a swapmeet where people could trade old Skins stuff for new Caps stuff. I mean, blogger's delight, for sure. Maybe some rogue equipment store could do the promotion on their own. It would get enough publicity to pay for the merchandise.

Actually, no, it probably wouldn't, but it'd be a damn great blog item.


No Ravens For Me: Here's a suggestion for all those "bleeding" fans that ought to keep you happy, Steinz: Become an un-Redskins fan.

I can't root for the Ravens (it actually infuriates me that Channel 9 thinks we need to see all their games). So I'll watch every Redskins game as I always have, but I'll root for the other team.

It worked great on Sunday. I cheered when Portis got shut down on the goal line. I rooted for the nice, polite young rookie quarterback, and marveled at his 99-yard drive. I was the most fun I've had watching football in years.

Dan Steinberg: That's fine, too. Or you could go enjoy a beautiful fall Sunday with your family, friends and loved-ones.


Seriously, just root for your fantasy team.


New York, N.Y.: Isn't it more fun to root for a team like the Redskins, when every game is going to be close. When your like a Pats fan or Indy fan and you know your gonna win 95 percent of the time?

It takes five years off my life every year, but I don't know if I would be as excited for every week if it wasn't this way, or would I?

Dan Steinberg: My heart was legitimately pounding during that last drive. And I was writing my "Worst D.C. Sports Moments of 2009" list during the drive, so I was only watching with one eye. If I had both eyes on it, my blood would have started spurting out of my fingertips. For about 10 seconds in there, I actually thought, "dang, they're gonna pull this thing off."


Arlington, Va.: The Ravens are an AFC team and the Redskins are an NFC team, so it's not that big of a rivalry. It's not much different than getting disgusted with the Pirates and their inept ownership after 17 losing seasons and rooting for the Red Sox in the American League. There's no rivalry there, and I can switch back to my own league if they ever get the franchise back on it's feet with little guilt.

Dan Steinberg: Ok, you go.


Clarendon, Arlington, Va.: As a Redskins Hater (my perfect year would be Red Sox. Patriots, and Celtics Championships while the Redskins go 0-16 and Dallas 2-14 -- Their only two wins against the Redskins), I do find it amusing that all these so-called "die-hard, lifelong" Redskins fans now switching to become Ravens fans. What a bunch of sellouts.

Try going 86 years without a championship (losing tragically a few times to boot). I can't wait to see the collective mood of Redskins fans after their next loss this weekend.

Dan Steinberg: People who live here and love sports and hate the Redskins might never be happier than they are this week. Enjoy it, sports.


NW, Washington, D.C.: You left the Redskins off the list of chummy PR folks - was that unintentional, or do the Redskins act as if they are superior to the other local teams, despite the on-field results? Hey, that would make them exactly like the players!

Dan Steinberg: I don't know what they feel or how they act in private, but I've never seen this congratulatory well-wishing banter between them and the others on Twitter, anyhow. So yeah, that was intentional. I think all the others share the feeling of knowing that whatever they do, they have to pray that big Skins news doesn't break. But I'm sort of putting words in their mouths I guess.


Burgundy revolution???: Until I see something like what the Lions fans did last year i.e. Protests at the stadium before the game, chanting "Fire Snyder" or "Fire Cerrato" during the game and/or walking out during the game, then it's nothing but talk. And while all those things are good, a half-empty stadium might be the only way to get the message across to the Napoleon of the Potomac!

Dan Steinberg: It's a funny term, though. And something feels different this time. To give just one example, in the past, in moments like this, when The Post has been hammering the team (with the tickets stories and the loss stories), a large segment of the fanbase would rally around the team and against the media. That just hasn't happened this time, at all. The Royalists are running for the hills, and the Rebels are streaming out of their house and raising their arms up to the sun. It's Raljon Spring, baby, and life is grand.


Novi, Mich.: Longtime Redskin fan living in Michigan. Went to the game this weekend - what an embarrassment! I have to live up here around this fiasco. You don't know how many fans said "thank you" as I left Ford Field. Humbling.

Anyway, I think let Zorn sink or swim this year, and I think he'll sink. Seems like he's not in touch with reality, kinda' like Sprurrier.

My question is, who would come in to coach this mess next year with Cerrato still in charge? I think Cowher, Shanahan, Gruden, Dungy, and Billick all say no. Your thoughts? And do you think Dan would fire Vinny to get any of those guys? I don't.

Things will never change until Vinny or Snyder are out of here - and Snyder's not going anywhere.

Dan Steinberg: It's easy to say "these guys are above working here, they see the mess, they'd never say yes," etc. I seem to recall a certain hardcore coaching legend who ridiculed Snyder and his organization on TV, right before he realized that the checks cash.

I don't rule out any of these guys. Not one. As you might have heard, the Redskins talked to me about working for their Web site, and I listened, because ultimately...you know how it works.


Washington, D.C.: Do you think Dan Snyder is the one bidding for that guy's NFL Fandom on Ebay? He does like to buy stupid stuff...

washingtonpost.com: The current high bid is $10,100, up from the starting bid of $100.

Dan Steinberg: I think I sure wish that gimmick was original here, because that would be an easy item for tomorrow's paper. As a copied stunt, it's not quite as good.

Btw, I should leave soon to go talk to some Caps players in suits. Any questions for them?


Washington, D.C.: Mr. Steinburg:

I am the one who sent you the switching from Redskins to Raven fan line before. (check my IP adress)

Just to clarify- I am not looking for an excuse to switch.

I am very tired of seeing my beloved Redsins team going down the tube.

I have lived in DC for over 50 years. Danny Synder is an idiot-mistreating us fans was the final staw.

I am not looking for an excuse. Really.

Dan Steinberg: Ok.


Fairfax, Va.: The opening of the new Dan Brown book has a security guard listening to a Redskins' playoff game on the radio ... that's how I knew this offering from Brown really was fiction...

Outside of a total restructuring of this team from top to bottom, do you see any way the Redskins make it to the playoffs before Brown's new book is on the $5 table at Borders in a few years?

Dan Steinberg: I don't rule it out. I don't rule anything out. But if this year doesn't work out, I see the Redskins as the carcass of a shell of a shadow of a wrecked piece of bloody roadkill. The oldest roster in the NFL, with the young guys mostly not contributing in meaningful ways, a coach on the hottest seat possible, a fan base in full revolt....time to start over if this year fails.

That said, look at all the NFL teams that have started over and had massive success very quickly. So who knows.

As for Brown, BLAAAAAAH that I didn't buy that book when I saw it at Borders so I could have blogged the Redskins thing. Brilliant. I'll go buy it today. Maybe.


Getting Snyder's Attention:: If we don't buy the tickets and the stadium is not sold out, no broadcast. Less advertising revenue for Sir Dan.

Hit the pocketbook. Wear the bag? Only for show. Don't buy tickets? Winner!

Dan Steinberg: Yes. And I never thought it would come close to happening, but this year is the chance. If you care about sending a message, don't go.


New York, N.Y.: Happy New Year Dan,

I'm curious, what sports teams did you grow up rooting for in Western New York?

Having transplanted yourself here to D.C. area, you seem to have embraced (become a fan?) of most D.C. sports teams. Do you still root for childhood teams as well? Bills? Sabers?

Dan Steinberg: I grew up a Bills fan, and, to a much lesser extent, a Sabres fan. For baseball, we had Yankees games on PIX, but my dad hated the Yanks, so I did too. He grew up in Baltimore, so I rooted for the Orioles. Didn't have an NBA team. Sort of liked Syracuse for college hoops, and UNC, because I was that guy.

After being gone for about 15 years, I don't really root for any of the WNY teams. And I don't really root for the D.C. teams, either; it's against the job description. However, I do sort of root for D.C. fans, if that makes sense; I try to like the things they like, and I kind of want them to be engaged and excited about D.C. sports. In a roundabout way, that means I kinda sorta root for D.C. teams. Plus, most sports writers will admit you start to root for the guys you like, even if it's in a mild, out of the corner of your eye sort of way.


Herndon, Va.: So why does it seem that Vinny Cerrato is escaping the blame for this fiasco? Through all the coaches, players, schemes, excuses and ultimate failures: he and Snyder are the constant...

Dan Steinberg: Ultimately, much of the Cerrato Experiment will be judged by the results of the 08 and, to a lesser degree, the 08 drafts. The jury is still out on them, but as people like Kevin Sheehan have noted, this roster is more and more homegrown. If the results continue to slide, having a (bad) homegrown roster will be a bigger indictment than those free agent Frankenstein teams ever had.

But it's still too early. Really, it is.


Don't Boo on Sunday: Yes, the Redskins have been utterly frustrating since their last Super Bowl victory. However, with the exception of the Spurrier years, they have been just mediocre! They have not sucked! Just been "blah"!

Everyone needs to nicely take their underwear out of a bunch and see if Jim Zorn can turn this car around - it's only been a season and 1/4 people.

Paper bags and boycotts, geez, go check out the Lions record over the last decade. We're no where near there.

Dan Steinberg: It's true. That's why I, and a lot of people, are saying there's something else at play here. Why, after years of mediocrity, is the appearance of mediocrity setting people off to such a degree. It's some compilation of a lot of other factors, that was delayed and put into hibernation by the Gibbs years, and that is only now blossoming into Raljon Spring. Though that's really a terrible name, since most of the dissatisfaction isn't coming from Raljon, and it's not Spring.


3 miles west of RFK: You think losing an away game to the Lions is bad? Try losing to San Jose at home in the middle of the playoff hunt. And to an expansion team. At home. Twice. Losing a title along the way.

Sorry Redskins fans, but you have nothing on DC United in terms of embarrassment this season.

Comments, Dan?

Dan Steinberg: That was indeed wretched. And I probably should have added it to my list.

The problem with United is that, as they tumble in the standings, people stop caring. Not you, of course, and not all the United diehards, but the casual D.C. sports fan absolutely does. Look at attendance this year. With the Redskins, the apathy hasn't set in. Trust me, I've seen the web numbers. As for now, people are angry, not disinterested.

I know that you, in particular, are probably angry about DCU.


Washington, D.C.: How far away are we from a pitchfork and torch bearing mob storming Redskins Park?

Dan Steinberg: Really really far.

Paper bags, maybe. That would be a pretty decent sized step toward the mob. But let's leave the pitchforks on the pumpkin patches for now.

Ok, I actually have more questions now than when I started, which is remarkable, but it's fairly stupid for me to sit in the corner at this Caps event and talk to all of you about the Redskins. So I'm going to go talk about the Caps for a bit. As always, steinbergd at washpost dot com if you have more venting, or you could you read the bog and leave some comments. Thanks for all the questions, and please let me know if you have any something special planned to show your frustration.


Washington, D.C.: "Not going" is a really lousy idea, especially given that the tickets are already paid for. $200 + parking pass + tax for lower bowl seats... as bad as the Redskins are, and as much as I want to send a message, I'm going to the damn game, to try to get -some- benefit out of that money.

Paper bags for me. (I won't buy soda or beer or merch, either.)

Dan Steinberg: ok


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