D.C. Sports Bog Live: Redskins rebound, Caps, Wiz, Nats and more

 Dan Steinberg
Dan Steinberg (The Washington Post)

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Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, November 17, 2009; 11:30 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinbergwas online Tues., Nov. 17 to break down all your questions about the Redskins' surprising rebound victory against the Broncos, the Caps, the Wizards, the Nats 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.

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Dan Steinberg: Hey everyone. Feel free to ask me whatever questions you'd like so I can make up ridiculous answers if I don't know, or feel free to offer your opinion on whether the Revolution was overhyped or is now dead or what. The Browns walk-out kind of fizzled last night, and lord knows, Browns fans have every bit as many reasons to be miserable as Skins fans. Probably more. So maybe sports are just supposed to be about fun and hope, and not singing songs and carrying signs.

People sure seemed happy on Sunday, though.

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Arlington, Va.: Everyone is complaining about how you could have gotten two or three players for Haynesworth. Well, didn't they basically get that? Andre Carter and Orakpo look like premier pass rushers, and isn't the team already close to their season high sacks from last year? That's 20 more sacks caused by one player. The negativity toward him, is just blind "piling on" in my opinion.

Dan Steinberg: You probably can't give Haynesworth sole credit for Orakpo's improvement over last year, since Orakpo wasn't technically on the Redskins last year. Carter sure seems a lot more effective, but it's impossible to know how Orakpo would have performed without Haynesworth (or, for that matter, how Carter would have performed with Orakpo and no Haynesworth).

But your point is well taken, Haynesworth has been a monster.

I think the complainers are more saying you could have gotten two or three offensive linemen for one Haynesworth, since that seemed a more obvious need than defensive line at the time. But really, fans were clamoring for help on both lines, and the defensive one seems pretty fine right about now.

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Former Fansville, Va.: The NFL fined the Titans owner for a visual signal he made to the fans. Shouldn't the NFL also fine Dan Snyder for his poor treatment of the Washington Fans?

Dan Steinberg: Only if the revised sign policy said something like "Signs that are not profane or offensive will now be allowed into FedEx Field, you [bleeping bleeps]."

I think the Bud Adams thing was ridiculous in every way. His demonstration, the amount of the fine, the ESPN headlines, the whole bit. He was just some crazy old dude on 95 flipping the bird to the people trying to switch lanes in front of him. A quarter of a million bucks for that? Remarkable.

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Clifton, Va.: Can I go into FedEx with a sign saying "This used to be dangerous"?

Dan Steinberg: Yes.

Or with a sign that says "Watch your eyes."

Or "Please wear goggles."

Or "Caution: Sign in use."

They're all allowed. But they're also a lot less funny now that they're allowed, I guess.

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Germantown, Md.: Question.

Okay, there's a black widow at the door, a rattlesnake in the window, and a scorpion on the phone. Do you: (A) None of the below, (B) --.................

Dan Steinberg: If you walk to the store to seek out enlightenment and cheese, you should always stop by the mailbox to eat drink your ginger ale.

Sorry Germantown, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about.

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Arlington, Va.: I saw a couple of posts from discussions in the past two days speculating what would happen if the Redskins ran the table for the rest of the season. One week, they're ready to boycott the team, and the next week they're making reservations for the Super Bowl? Are these people sane?

Dan Steinberg: Hey, read Mike Wise's column on Monday. Listen to Doc Walker's postgame exultation on Sunday. It's weird indeed. People are much more positive at 3-6 than they were at 2-2, which I don't totally understand. The 27 points, I guess? The sense that the offensive line isn't about to implode? The weariness after weeks of pessimism and desire to go in a different direction? The sense that the "front office in disarray!" talk after Sherm Week may have been overblown?

I don't know. I will say that the Redskins got more bad publicity over the Sherm promotion than virtually anything else that's happened this year, and at worst, the results seem to be a wash. That, though, is what the national analysts really slayed them for.

I would agree the current optimism is overdone, and they ARE 12 point underdogs, but I also think this team isn't going to finish as one of the five biggest embarrassments in the NFL. I don't think they'll get blown out the way some of the dregs have gotten blown out, and I think if you can finish mediocre instead of embarrassing, you've at least done something.

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Edgewater, Md: The Redskins fans here are basically thinking playoffs since their team with that replusive name has actually won a game. They've got to be kidding. Anyway I just had to say that. My real question is, I read Feinstein's article on the state of college football and it makes me wonder why doesn't the Post cover the winningest Div 1 College Football team in the area - NAVY.

The front page is always Maryland, Virginia, Va Tech. I'll bet if you check, Navy's record is better than any of these teams the last six years. This year they beat Wake, Notre Dame (Sweet!!!), Air Force and nearly upset Ohio State and played Pitt tough. Yet the Network broadcasters and this paper treat them like a High School team. What's up with that Dan? (Father of a USNA 2009 Grad)

Dan Steinberg: I don't think they get treated as a high school team. I think they get treated as a team that has a smaller local following than Maryland or Tech. I think that's got to be true. No slight to Navy here, but do you sense a real local buzz about the team?

Annapolis is tricky to begin with for the D.C. types; is it D.C. or Baltimore or something else?

And yes, this will lead to a flood of questions about why we cover Va. Tech, and why don't we cover West Virginia and Temple and Penn State, since they're all closer to D.C. than Blacksburg.

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Van Neezy, Washington, D.C.: I just got back from just over two weeks in Morocco. Did I miss anything?

Dan Steinberg: The Wizards have a worse record than the Redskins. Find me the expert who would have predicted that three weeks ago.

And the Caps are really good.

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Arlington, Va.: Steinberg: LaNova, Duffs or Anchor Bar?

Dan Steinberg: I grew up in Fredonia. Our choices were Heenan's, The Caboose, Old Main Inn, Coughlan's, etc.

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Mt. Lebanon, Penn.: The Redskins lost on the same day that the Steelers and Pats blew games at home.

IS THIS THE COMING OF THE APOCALYPSE?

Should we run around like scared rabbits or just put our heads between our knees and ...?

We'll know for sure next September: if the Nationals and the Pirates play each other for the NL pennant.

Thanks much.

Dan Steinberg: Well, the Pats weren't at home. And I'm not sure how much the Steelers blew that one; the Bengals seem legit.

If you want to be calm and rational about all this, you could say that the Redskins were 3.5-point Vegas underdogs. At halftime, they were trailing by 3, which would have been pretty much in line with objective expectations. They just about matched their first-half point total after the break, but the Broncos--using a quarterback unfamiliar with the sport of professional football--completely imploded. Vegas remains unconvinced, as evidenced by the fact that the Skins remain 12-point dogs at Dallas.

On the other hand, I'd love to see you run around like a scared rabbit, so I say go for it.

I also think it's probably better than 50-50 that the Nats don't face the Pirates for the NL pennant in the 21st century. Not to say it's impossible, but you'd definitely take "No" if you had to bet on it.

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Oaktown, Va. again: Since I had no plans on Sunday to tool around in the city I decided it was time to watch the Redskins again. I even wore my Portis jersey. Holy cow they won! I'm not fooled. I'm still not getting emotionally involved this season, but for one warm Sunday afternoon everything was right with the world.

Bruce goes for 100 tonight.

Go Caps!

Dan Steinberg: I just blogged about this, but I listened to the entire 27 minute Bruce interview on Hockey Night in Canada Radio last night, and man he's good on radio. Talk about someone who should have his own weekly show. Especially when you consider some of the people who DO have shows in this town.

And man, what a beautiful fall day for football last Sunday was.

As for not getting emotionally involved, I don't believe you. I believe if they beat the Cowboys this week, you'll be sucked right back in. Note: I'm not saying I think they'll win, just that if they do, your emotions will drag your brain back into the vortex

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Fairfax, Va.: Please inform our local broadcasters (cough106.7thefancough) that repeatedly saying we shouldn't talk about playoffs for the Redskins, that by doing so they are in fact talking about the playoffs.

Thank you.

Dan Steinberg: Is this, in fact, true? If I say "I don't want to write about the Wizards in this space," would I really be writing about the Wizards? Or put another way, if Caps fans email me to request that I write more about the Caps, and I write that Caps fans are emailing me to request that I write more about the Caps, am I thereby satisfying their demand that I write more about the Caps?

I'd argue no.

I think you know what they mean by saying it's too early to talk playoffs.

As for anyone who actually IS talking playoffs. Stop.

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Bethesda, Md.: Speaking of Big Al and Orakpo, Haynesworth seemed to suggest what many fans also have suggested--that Orakpo should be a full-time DE. Any evidence that that sentiment is growing at Redskins Park, either in the locker room or on the coaching staff?

Dan Steinberg: I can only speak to the coaching staff and its public declarations, and the answer there is no. There is no evidence that I've seen/heard. Zorn has said consistently that Orakpo is too light to be a full time DE on running downs.

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Baltimore: Am I alone in really buying into this "Marathon of Basketball" on ESPN today? Saint Peter's-Monmouth at 6 a.m. beats the usual morning news shows, especially since today they were probably dominated by talk of "Going Rogue."

Dan Steinberg: There are a few games with local ties, too, or at least local in the DC/MD/VA Atlantic 11 sense.

That said, nah, I'm not buying it. Sure, I know that big-time sports is essentially television content more than anything else, but I hate to be reminded of it so forcefully.

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Anchorage Ak. = Alaska: Do you think it really matters (results not discussion) who is hired or traded or benched?

Isn't a professional sports organization much more complex and developed than a who does what kind of shallow affair?

Call it human to simplify things but do fans and sports writers get lost in the weeds worrying about the tiny little minutiae of who should we keep, who should we fire, and who's being snippy?

Aren't there any big picture folks out here in these web chats?

Thanks.

Dan Steinberg: Hmmm. If who is fired, traded and benched doesn't matter, then what exactly matters? Sure, these are easy discussions and probably oversimplifications at times, but I'm not sure there are bigger picture things than who is fired or who is traded.

Unless you're talking about viewing each season within the larger perspective of the history of the universe, in which case I guess who is traded doesn't matter too much. Even by those standards, though, the firing of Jim Zorn will resonate right up there with the dawn of The Mesozoic Era.

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Arlington, Va.: How is/was one supposed to celebrate Sunday's victory? Rejoice that the Redskins finally won? Worry about the future? Praise Dan/Vinny? Silence in victory? I'm confused ...

Dan Steinberg: Enthused standing cheers with repeated high fives, combined with a sober knowledge that this season will almost certainly end below .500. Silence and praise of the decision makers are both unnecessary. If you're a Redskins fan, though, it's hard to argue you should be anything but happy over an enjoyable Redskins win.

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Austin, Texas: Who will have the most titles over the next decade - Nats, Redskins or Wizards? Or will it be a three-way tie?

Dan Steinberg: Do division titles count? The Redskins have less competition, so I'd choose them.

If we're just talking about regular old title titles, I'd still take the Redskins. Honestly, as much as people say current leadership makes that impossible, the Redskins have come closer under current leadership than the other choices here. And the whole NFL parity thing really does mean something.

The Nats are currently among the two or three worst teams in baseball; the Redskins aren't that bad, in my opinion, and it's easier to improve rapidly in football. And NBA teams seem not to win titles without transcendent stars. Do the Wizards have one of them?

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Columbia, Md.: The reason for Redskins fans optimism is the Ewing Theory. With Portis out, anything is possible.

Dan Steinberg: Look at the Skins' record when Ladell Betts was starting in 2006. It wasn't that great.

Mike Wise on 106.7 The Fan currently responding to Tony Kornheiser.

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Oaktown, Va. yet again: You are right. If they beat the Cowboy's it's back on. But I'm not going to let it ruin my week if they do lose. Or at least try not to let it ruin my week.

Go Caps!

Dan Steinberg: I said two weeks ago, when things were really bad, that I thought the Redskins would finish 2-4 in the NFC East. I'm not sure I'd change that now. If they're going to win two in the NFCE, one of them will be against Dallas.

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What Austin Didn't Ask: Maybe a better question than Austin's "who will have the most titles" is, who do you think will win a championship first -- Nats, Skins or Wiz? (The Caps are a given as runaway favorite for this question so they're not in the equation.)

Dan Steinberg: Still Redskins, for all the same reasons.

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washingtonpost.com: Dan on the Redskins Insider Podcast

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McLean, Va.: Dan,

When (if?) the Wizards start winning, are you going to get back into the locker room there? They still have some characters and it looks like Gilbert's losing his "angry at the world" persona because it's not working. Mike Miller seems like a cool cat too.

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, sure. I'll even still go over there if they keep losing, because I'm still interested. I don't see how this season could possibly be depressing like last year, where you just wanted to avert your eyes.

It was great to see some normal Gilbert again.

Wise just challenged Kornheiser to call into his show before 1, and hinted that otherwise, he will reveal the true Tony Kornheiser in the 1 o'clock hour.

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Fairfax, Va.: Gilbert is leaving and Agent Zero is returning. This has to be good for the bog - right? Throw in the Ovie and Jamison both returning to action and things are looking up for D.C. sports ...

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, I'll agree. But as nasty as the Redskins' next three games are, so too are the Wizards'. Sure, anything can happen, but 2-10 wouldn't be a huge shock at this point. And Zero has already returned, theoretically, before that last game against Detroit, which the Wiz should not have lost.

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Arlington, Va.: The "scorpion on the phone" line is from a Simpsons episode where Homer becomes addicted to magazine quizzes, thinks he's going to die, and takes the family to spring break in Florida to learn to live again.

It's kind of depressing that I knew that instantly.

Dan Steinberg: I figured it was something I didn't understand. I'm so uncultured. So what was the connection to D.C. sports?

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Los Angeles: Be honest now: does Jason Campbell overthrow Big Mike on that fake punt? I think he does.

Dan Steinberg: Serious question: should Hunter Smith be the third quarterback instead of Antwaan Randle El? I think maybe. Teammates said Hunter Smith can throw much better than he showed on that play.

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Savor the moment: Ain't football great? I loathe the fact that the regular season ends in six weeks.

Dan Steinberg: Yes. Yes yes yes. But that's part of what makes it so great; it only graces us for five months of the year.

The once-a-week soap opera thing also makes it great. There's just nothing else that can touch it.

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Virginia Beach, Va.: Dan, is there any realistic chance that the Danny will have an epiphany, fire Vinny, get a real GM (I agree with Mike W., Polian would be great), and become a hands-off owner? I think that is a fantasy, but I wanted your honest opinion. Thanks.

Dan Steinberg: I'd say there's a 12 percent chance all of these things would happen in this offseason, and a 49 percent chance it'll happen in our lifetimes. I don't think it's a fantasy.

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How to be a Redskins Fan: I think this approach might bring peace of mind: treat the Redskins like your alma mater, if you went to Oklahoma State or Purdue or Mississippi State -- you're in the big time, but you aren't going to be playing for the big trophy, and if things go really well you may get a little trophy every few years.

Dan Steinberg: What if you went to Delaware? Then you're not really in the big time.

I think the Redskins have a far better chance of winning a Super Bowl next year than Ok State, Purdue or Mississippi State do of winning a BCS championship.

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Washington, D.C.: 1) That Germantown thing was from the Simpsons

2) Beating the Cowboys would be nice. But what ESPN and those types don't want people to remember is this ... Dallas hasn't won a playoff game since Clinton's first term as President. They aren't elite. They haven't been since the Jimmy glow wore off.

And Jerry Jones is who Dan Snyder tries to be like? Shambles.

Dan Steinberg: It still matters to people here to beat the Cowboys. Sure, you'd rather your team make the playoffs, but if they're not going to, the next best thing is a win over the Cowboys. Even if they're 0-9. And they're not.

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The Fax: Rank the biggest Diva's A-11 style, with pith.

Tony K

Mike Wise

Clinton Portis

Mariah Carey

Whitney Houston

Chad Ochocinco.

Dan Steinberg: I don't follow music, so I'll eliminate those two.

And wow, some of these are really really tough to judge.

Clinton Portis

Tony K

Wise

OchoCinco

OchoCinco "wins" by having the greatest self awareness.

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Arlington, Va.: Look, statistically Belichick made the right decision strictly in terms of winning the game itself. The issue is whether the players bought into it, as that's what will affect how they respond in the coming weeks.

Dan Steinberg: I agree with you on this. You can't judge it entirely by statistics, because each individual case in football has at least some emotional element that's harder to measure in the aggregate. But I think BB gets the benefit of the doubt from players because he's got the rings.

I also think the call was right in the terms that it worked. Faulk had the ball in his hands and a first down in his grasp. Absent the bobble, the game was won.

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Takoma Park, Md.: Hey Dan-

How much of Washington's success last Sunday can be attributed to a not-as-good-as-their-record Denver team? I know Orton going down was big, but did Washington's offense play well or did Denver's defense play poorly? And don't just say a little of both ...

Dan Steinberg: Well, look, in the NFL bad teams sometimes beat better teams, and bad teams sometimes improve and good teams sometimes get worse, and teams lose games on the road they wouldn't lose at home, and so on. So how much of it was because of Denver not being that great? I don't know, 52 percent?

I mean, last year the Redskins lost to the Bengals late in the season. The Bengals were happy. Were they asking "how much of this is due to a not-as-good-as-their-record Washington team?" Maybe, but they still won.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: What is the Beef with Tony and Wise?

Dan Steinberg: Tony has given Wise a hard time since he arrived in town, got a column, tried to do shtick, got a radio show, etc. Wise isn't necessarily the best person in the world at letting things roll off his shoulders.

I want a good beef. Problem is I like pretty much everyone, and the people I don't like I'm too chicken to challenge. Larry Michael is pretty much my only option.

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THAT call by Belichick: Dan,

Seems to me that the statheads love it and the old-time football guys hate it. That suggests that the old-time football guys are weighing some non-statistical factor more heavily. Perhaps the morale of the New England defense? Any insight about how the call could affect morale?

Dan Steinberg: That's the only thing, the morale thing. But it's hard for me to imagine that the dudes who play for that team would allow themselves to play poorer because they feel disrespected and trampled down by the decision of their coach.

I mean, morale for the Redskins was supposed to be crushed after Gibbs ruined the Bills game in 07, and then they won out.

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Washington, D.C.: I was surprised to learn that Portis normally doesn't practice during the week. Is this typically for a starter around the league?

If Clinton Portis does not normally practice during the week, then what does he do when the rest of the team is praticing? Watch film? Work out? Snooze? And, because Zorn said he won't play if he doesn't practice this week, does that mean that Portis will be expected to practice once he's back from the concussion?

Dan Steinberg: No. Jim Zorn just talked about it on his radio show. CP has always argued his body takes too much pounding during the season, and that he knows his assignments without practicing. He stands there and watches on the sidelines.

I think Zorn would prefer that Portis practice, and now that he'll have missed at least one game, he wont' have the banged up body excuse going, so yeah, he will practice before he plays again, I'm almost positive.

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Still unhappy in Washington, D.C.: I'm sorry, we're supposed to be happy about Sunday? I get no joy from one decent game after repeated pathetic efforts against the NFL's very worst teams. But now we'll have a few wins against good teams that will reassure Danny that he actually assembled all the ingredients for a winning team. It was just the poor execution by the players and coaches that we had the bad start. So no major changes for next year, or the next, or the next.

If you're happy with Sunday, get used to seasons like this for a long time to come.

At least in Cleveland, they know they need help.

Dan Steinberg: I think people go both ways on this one.

For sure, I got many many fewer emails yesterday than I have after previous losses.

Even if you think major structural changes are needed, can't you try to get some satisfaction out of games in the interim? Because otherwise, you actually have to root against your team, which is awkward.

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"It still matters to people here to beat the Cowboys." : See, this is what I'm saying...even if you went to Delaware, the most important game of the year is the Battle for the Old Crab Pot against Salisbury State, or whatever.

Embrace 8-8, be glad you have a tailgate or reason to sit around with your friends and drink beer every weekend.

Dan Steinberg: Jim Zorn also just said he knew how important the Cowboys rivalry was from the moment he was hired. I'm not convinced that's true, but it's nice to hear.

And, Salisbury State? Really? Cmon.

This doesn't mean you have to embrace 8-8, though.

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Larusso, Md.: Has anyone ever told you that you look like Montgomery Burns?

Dan Steinberg: Actually no. I get Moby a lot. I get Mike Wise a lot. I get Don Steinberg a lot (he's a sportswriter who looks sort of like me).

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Washington, D.C.: I think all the Redskins' fans haters need to calm down. The vast majority of us are very excited to have a good win and are enjoying a successful win and are dreaming of the chance that they may get a few more wins this season than originally thought. (Almost) no one truly thinks that they can go on a run. We have sarcastic optimism. As big as the Redskins are here, there are a large number of carpetbaggers in town that looove to bash the Redskins and their fans over anything, simply to act smug.

We know things are not that much better now, but whatever, it was a fun Sunday for a change. I am sure there are busses to the 'burgh if anyone finds Redskins fans "insufferable."

Dan Steinberg: The vast majority are very excited? I'm not sure I would go there. Maybe the vast silent majority, but of the vocal people, I think it's pretty close to split between those who are very excited and those who veer closer to the rest of this, about being sarcastically optimistic.

I like your last two sentences though. And I'd still rather be in Week 11 than Week 17. Better to have played and lost than never to have played at all.

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Columbus, Ohio: Why don't the Wizards sign Allen Iverson? Lord knows they need some offense and a spark. They sign all these nothing guys who don't even make a contribution.

Dan Steinberg: Great great idea for blog traffic. Not the greatest idea for wins, in my opinion.

Though imagine a backcourt of Gilbert and Iverson. The ball would be shot.

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Washington, D.C.: While I'm certainly glad the Redskins won on Sunday, no way am I planning my Super Bowl trip. I think the fact that the diehard fans decided this season to start taking a negative stand towards the owner and his sidekick because we're sick of getting our hopes up only to be let down year after year is working.

This is the first time we've done this and Dan Snyder is finding out that fans do make a difference. How many people want to spend all that money year in and year out only to lose? If they continue to win, we will be happy but they are beginning to make some significant changes as a result of the fans displeasure in their performance. We're not going away either.

Dan Steinberg: I'm not sure if significant changes are or aren't being made, but I know that fans didn't like the sign policy, and they let their feelings be known, and it changed. Whatever time it was, and whatever explanation was given, the fans spoke out and sort of won that battle. I think that's a good thing. The right result was reached.

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Bruce Boudreau On The Air: Steinz: "I listened to the entire 27 minute Bruce interview on Hockey Night in Canada Radio last night, and man he's good on radio."

Have you seen Boudreau's performance in the Jerry Maguire-parody TV ad for an Arlington car dealership? Gabby's very funny as he delivers the famous Renee Zellweger line.

Dan Steinberg: He's very funny. He would be a tremendous, tremendous color commentator.

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Sacramento, Calif.: Unfortunately, it is no longer Salisbury State University, but simply Salisbury University.

They apparently got tired of sounding like not so delicious ground meat.

Dan Steinberg: I love that we need someone from Sacramento to tell us this.

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Dan Steinberg: Sorry, I've done a horrendous job today. Trying to listen to Wise and Zorn and colleagues ranting about Wise and Kornheiser while also chatting just didn't work.

Well, in the next week, look forward to LeBron coming to DC, SKins going to Dallas, and the debut of the Atlantic 11.

And seriously, how about the dilemma of my traffic dropping on the Monday after a Skins win and going up on the Monday after a Skins loss. That doesn't have me feeling very good at all. I promise you that this won't lead me to root for the wrong results.

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