D.C. Sports Bog Live: Redskins vs. Raiders, Hoyas, Nats offseason, Atlantic 11 and more
Tuesday, December 15, 2009; 11:30 AM
D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was be online Tues., Dec. 15 to break down all your questions about the Redskins west coast face off with the Raiders, the surging Caps, the Nats' offseason moves, the Wizards, the latest Atlantic 11 and 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: Well, another Redskins Insider podcast in the books. I've now contradicted myself so many times from one week to the next it's a wonder my head hasn't spun off entirely and landed on host Jonathan Forsythe's lap. In this week's episode, I believe I argued that maybe Vinny Cerrato actually built a playoff-ready roster.
Ah well. At least we didn't discuss T!g@r W**ds at all. Give me credit for that one; three weeks and no T!g@r posts yet. Bring on your '80s hair band questions.
Upperville, Va.: Did you get the Hanukkah gifts we sent you. Enjoy the Def Shepherd albums
Dan Steinberg: Thanks Upperville!
No, I didn't, but I haven't been in the mail room for weeks. The last time I went down there, the Burgundy Revolution was still a going concern, and I wanted to see how many fans had mailed in their Fan Cards as a sign of protest. I believe the final number was somewhere between 10 and 20.
I'll be sure to go to the mailroom today. If there are relaly gifts, many thanks. If there are rotten eggs, well, thanks for that too.
Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Now that we have seen Tiger get caught with all these women, I think the only thing more shocking is if we saw Vinnie Cerrato get caught with a stable of mistresses. Somehow, I just dont see Mr. bugeye woo-ing any ladies.
Dan Steinberg: Cerrato is married. His wife is a medical professional in Baltimore, I believe.
Although, come to think of it, I guess T!g@r might be married too.
Of all the things that people justifiably criticize Vinny Cerrato for--and no. 1 on my list is being a bad radio host--his eyes should not be one of them. We all have our physical faults. I, for example, have the voice of a slightly nervous juvenile frog with the ague.
Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: That was one heck of a celebration by Mr. Gano after his first kick Sunday. Just curious, do you do the same thing whenever you get a good picture in email or see Dan Snyder passing out Turkeys.
Dan Steinberg: I haven't been to Redskins Park in probably a month. I'm thinking of making an exception tomorrow, merely so I can write 17 items about Graham Gano. The celebration would, definitely, be one of them.
Frederick, Md.: One lone victory over another under-performing football team and all the Burgundy and Gold revolutionaries lay down their arms and go home? You call that a revolution? What's next, King Danny waves to an adoring crowd from his luxury box? A month ago, they were ready to hang him from the nearest lamp post.
Can one win against the Oakland Raiders make that much difference?
Dan Steinberg: Yup. Sorry. That's the way it is.
People are still angry at Vinny Cerrato, just for existing, I believe. But I'm getting maybe 1/20th the number of "I'm ready to turn in my season tickets" emails that I was in October. Like I wrote online earlier today, fans were a lot angrier at 2-4 than they are at 4-9. So, so bizarre.
As for your last question, though, it wasn't just the Raiders win. They've covered the Vegas spread now five games in a row. They're clearly playing better. They had the undefeated Saints dead to rights, if that's the expression, until Suisham shanked. They're no longer an embarrassment on the field.
Zebra, Serengeti: Dan;
Love your chats and the bog...
Is there anyway you see Campbell coming back next year? Not only do we want him back, would he ever want to come back. We only have to match the highest offer yes?
Or can he balk and just sit out six games then get cut?
Dan Steinberg: Jason Reid and Rick Maese are way more in touch with Campbell's feelings, so I can't guess on that one. He certainly has reasons to want to get out of here, but he also has reasons to want to stay, in the right situation. He likes it here, for example. And he is (I think) still in a relationship with a woman here. And he's a real part of the B+-list celebrity life here. And he could make a lot of money here.
Either way, he's making a lot of money next year. But when Sonny J says he thinks Campbell's coming back next year, I listen.
Washington, D.C.: Dan, have you seen the new Mercedes commercial with Gabby? Might just be the funnest 30 seconds of tape I've ever seen. "You know, I'm a pretty big cheapskate..." And the copier commercial is just hilarious in it's own right, with Gabby pounding his index finger into the boy's chest as the leans away from Gabby's finger. "Now THAT's commitment."
If you can post those as YouTubes, that would be great. Gabby = my hero.
Dan Steinberg: Yeah, I posted the YouTubes for his three new Mercedes spots when they came out.
Here's the link
As for the copier one, that came out last Spring, and man, is it awful. There's a low-quality YouTube of that floating around, but low quality is probably better, because high quality would fry your eyeballs with its awfulness.
Anonymous: Maybe the world is too politically correct. In the past Zorn would have been fired for the dumb looks on his face after the missed field goals!
I think what the past four weeks proves is Redskins fans only want effort and a decent chance to win. What the four weeks also prove are that Jim Zorn is not a NFL caliber coach because if a dude calling bingo and not in the game for 2 or 3 years can come in and make your team finally look professional in such short order, ZORN was not capable. So why did Cerrato not see that 2 years ago when he was hired?
Too much of this team falls on Vinny's lap. Having Orakpo play linebacker vs. defensive end is an example of Vinny's shortcomings too. The kid is a beast at defensive end. Vinny cannot find a decent LB to play hat role?
Dan Steinberg: I agree the looks are pretty bad. A combination of befuddlement with 5th grade petulance. Or maybe toddler petulance. Mine gets petulant as heck sometimes. She even stamps her feet.
Anyhow, I'm not sure that's really politically correct, or even politically incorrect. I think it's just a bad look.
With Sherm Lewis, as Rick Maese would point out, remember that he's only calling at most 50 percent of the plays. The moment that I really go back to is halftime of the Falcons game. Remember, Sherm Lewis was in the box for the first half of that game, and the offense was horrific. Then Clinton Portis went down, and suddenly the offense changed. Hmmmm.
As for Orakpo, I don't know who's call it was to have him play so much LB. If Jim Zorn and Greg Blache really have nothing to do with that decision, Vinny might as well don the headset and take over the coaching. Zorn has consistently said Orakpo would wear down as a full-time DE and wouldn't be stout enough against the run.
Bend, Ore.: What was the deal with Fred Davis' dance penalty. I didn't see anything vulgar and the radio transcript on the Bog didn't really clear things up...
Dan Steinberg: I need to look into this one. That's another goal for Wednesday. Some reporter types said that Davis said the ref though he had flicked off the crowd. I haven't seen that in writing anywhere, but it would explain a lot, I think.
Reston, Va.: I take it Oakland only has two quarterbacks. If they have a third-stringer, it makes you wonder how bad he is if he can't beat JaMarcus Russell!
That game was my first exposure to JaMarcus. Wow. Has there been another starting quarterback who was so painfully inept?
Dan Steinberg: Charlie Frye. He's third. Oakland fans were supposedly chanting for him.
And really, I'm not sure he was worse than the Chris Simms we saw on Denver. I know Chris Simms used to be mildly competent, but he was horrific against the Redskins. At least JaMarcus completed a couple passes in between standing around with his mouth open and getting sacked by every water boy on the Skins sideline.
Woodley Park, Washington, D.C.: If the Redskins were an 80s hair band, who would they be? The easiest politically incorrect response is Def Leapard because of Reed Dougherty. But I am thinking Damn Yankees. With Ted Nugent we all expected great things, only they came out with a bunch of duds. And then, they resorted to a monster Ballad like High Enough (i.e. Oakland Raiders) to cater to the mass audiences.
Dan Steinberg: For reasons unclear, I spent most of the 80s listening to jazz and extremely profane hip-hop. So I punt on this one, though I trust loyal readers and/or Chris Cooley will write in with the correct answer.
Elkridge, Md.: Sup Dan,
I stayed up way after my bedtime to support my team and root on the Wizards. Of course I'm at work exhausted today and truly confused. I seriously at this point have no idea what the problem is with the Wiz. I mean it used to be easy to just say play the young guys more, or something, but I don't think that would fix our problems right now.
Last night going up against Camby and Kaman (two big long bodies) hurt, which was a mismatch for Jamison and tough enough for Haywood alone. Jamison gave us a major scoring punch, so I can't say we need to move him to the bench. I'm just out of suggestions, other than never let Deshawn Stevenson take another shot. That would probably help.
You have any suggestions for the Wiz?
Dan Steinberg: I, on the other hand, went to sleep after the first quarter. I had a bad feeling about that one.
I was reading over some of the old stories from the winter of 07 yesterday when I was trying to pin down the last moment the Wiz led the Eastern Conference. Man, they were so great for that short window. I mean, they were beating the very best teams in the NBA. They were nearly unstoppable at home. The stars were the same, and the role players (Jarvis Hayes) were arguably worse. What in the heck happened?
Four weeks ago the problem was injuries. Two weeks ago the problem was chemistry and Caron Butler. Now the problem is the bench. At some point, if this keeps up, the problem is going to be they're just not very good. And since this team was put together to win soon, if they're actually not good, you gotta deal. Not at that point yet, but sheesh, it's coming, isn't it?
Arlington, Va.: Is it possible with the oline fiasco putting guys in and learning on the fly, that the Redskins have generated some depth going into next year? If they sign/draft a starting tackle and guard and keep Jones, that puts Heyer, Williams, Batiste, and Reinhart on the bench again. They've proven they can be adequate for the last five weeks.
Dan Steinberg: Adequate is a huge step-up from where we were in week 5, so yeah, it certainly seems like that.
Which Williams is on the bench? Mike or Edwin? Or both?
Jason Campbell is still being hit very hard, but the Redskins' line unquestionably was better than the Raiders' line. I think there was a time when we'd argue the Skins had the worst line in the league, so that's at least something. But for real, if you can put up 30 points in back to back weeks, and all from the offense, you have to have at least something there.
Gainesville, Va.: I think Zorn is largely responsible for the changes in game plans that is much more important than the play-calling. It's the decision to dump the seven-step dropbacks and to throw quickly because of the offensive line weaknesses. Also Portis had been horrible this year. All those changes have made the Redskins respectable. Zorn's responsibility is not changing things earlier.
Dan Steinberg: I think that's a fair complaint.
Yahoo Sports's Chris Chase, a big time Redskins fan and the best D.C. sportswriter who isn't actually a sportswriter, has long argued that if the Redskins fired Jim Zorn after the loss to the Lions, they'd now be competing for a playoff spot.
And who knows who's responsible for the changes in the game plans. From Stump to Sherm to Sherm to Meidt to Zorn to Vinny to Dan to Dan's driver, there are plenty of candidates.
Washington, D.C. (as in United): Dan - will DC United get a new coach for Christmas? What should be at the top of our other pro teams' lists for Santa?
Dan Steinberg: The Akron thing makes me nervous. Akron = LeBron. That dude better not be a Cavs fans.
The Redskins = a general manager. The Caps = a trade for a big-time blue liner? Clean bill of health for Varly? Not sure on that one. The Wiz = defense. The Terps = a win over a real Division I team. The Nats = a legit starting pitcher. I guess.
Chantilly, Va.: Re: Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: That was one heck of a celebration by Mr. Gano after his first kick Sunday. Just curious, do you do the same thing whenever you get a good picture in email or see Dan Snyder passing out turkeys.
Not sure if you noticed, but Gano was celebrating like that after the extra point as well.
Dan Steinberg: I did not notice that. But I didn't think he did a similar celebration after his second field goal. I actually watched, too.
Van Ness, Washington, D.C.: Do you agree that the current Wizards lineup pretty much mirrors what the Caps were during the Jaromir Jagr experiment? Sure they might make the playoffs every now and then, but they don't have a chance to win it.
I wonder if Ted will have the stones to do what he did with the Caps and blow the team up and hope his GM knows what he is doing.
Dan Steinberg: Well, there are some real differences. For three years, we never knew what the Wizards could really do, because of major injuries to the franchise player and, at times, to his fellow stars. The major acquisitions heading into this season all flowed from that; they were so bad without Gilbert last year that they had a top-5 pick, which led to the win-now trade for Miller/Foye.
But I think Leonsis has made clear, in interview after interview and blog post after blog post, that he does not think muddling along in 7th or 8th place is a smart team-building strategy. And it's not like the crowds have been flocking to Verizon Center to see this outfit. So yeah, I have no doubt that if Ted thinks it's time to start over, he would do so.
Annandale, Va.: Hi Dan,
I just can't get over how bizarro the Redskins are as an organization. You have Vinny praising the second rounders, the patched-up offensive line, and Sherm Lewis. In other words, a big self-congratulatory pat on the back. He interviews Jimmy Clausen on his show, when he's never had his own quarterback on. You've got Jim Zorn praising the hard work and execution of his players, with no mention of Lewis' play-calling. Snyder appears to think only of himself. Have you ever seen an organization that so perfectly illustrates the idea of Me-first?
Dan Steinberg: It's very, very bizarre, for a lot of reasons, many of which you've listed.
But they're really not a bizarro as the Raiders. And they have legitimate fan support, which the Raiders--who appeared in a Super Bowl this decade--seem to have lost. Can you imagine the field day we'd have if FedEx Field ever looked like the Oakland Coliseum did on Sunday?
I think the thing I've criticized Vinny Cerrato for more than anything else is the radio show, and I think it's completely deserved. He isn't smooth, he isn't funny, he's interviewing media members while refusing all media requests himself, and he isn't putting forth any sort of strong message about the team's direction. I don't see how that show possibly helps the organization in any way. I think Jim Zorn is overexposed in the media as well. Access is great, but when you have Zorn do his Monday presser, his CSN appearance Monday night, his radio show on Tuesday, his pre-game and post-game interview with Larry Michael ... there are just too many chances to say the wrong thing.
22202, Wahsington, D.C.: With the year ending up, what are your top 5 experiences at The Post (and in general) this year? Where does the Redskins Podcast rank on that (donuts and all)?
Dan Steinberg: Krispy Kreme today. I really am not a huge fan. I only had one, even though there were a dozen in front of me.
Also, I'm up seven pounds since roughly Nov. 1, which I attribute to the podcast donuts.
I'm going to limit this to the top 5 D.C. sporting events, with extra credit for things I saw live.
1) Caps beat Rangers in Game 7, first round.
2) Caps beat Penguins in Game 6, second round.
3) Crab Dribble game. (Only made this year by a week.)
4) Terps late-season second-round NCAA run. (I saw none of it live.)
5) Orakpo's four sacks game.
6) Ovechkin's goal against Montreal.
Dunno, that was really quick, without much thought at all. I'm sure I'm missing some things.
The Redskins are GWAR: Sit too close to the stage and you get vomited on.
Dan Steinberg: Interesting.
Alexandria, Va.: Skid Row Rules!!!!
Dan Steinberg: Not as funny as vomit, but there are more punctuation marks than words, so I'll print this.
Reston, Va.: Dan - How about some love for the Hoyas? This team is looking a lot tougher than the one that was on the court last year and I think they might have a shot at three Big East regular season titles in past 4 years. When will you head to cover a game?
Dan Steinberg: I agree that they seem to have turned that corner. And the Big East sure means some good teams are coming to town this year. Here's the problem with me actually going to a game.
1) All I ever write about is drunk college kids wearing costumes, which gets more and more depressing as I age. Plus, the costumes don't change that much.
2) The access to players is virtually non-existent, and the players who do talk never say anything.
3) Most of the games are on TV, so I can just watch there, but we have a beat writer to do the basketball stuff.
So I'm not sure how to answer your question. After Skins games, the weekends open up a lot. If there was one game I actually would like to attend, it'd be the Old Dominion one, but I'm not sure I'm free.
SW, Washington, D.C.: A win over a real DI team? Hello, Indiana. No, they're not a particularly good team, but the Terps did beat them in their house, and they held real good game against the Wildcats. Not a win, sadly, but still a good game.
Dan Steinberg: Yeah. In D.C., and not a win. So that doesn't count.
And George Mason beat Indiana.
Baltimore: Maybe I'm being oversensitive, but this kind of bothers me. How come football commentators only describe white players as "blue collar"? Why can't black football players be "blue collar," also?
This is what I think: the commentator is subconsciously trying to say: "He might not be as athletic as all these black guys out here, but he works harder than them to make up the difference."
Am I paranoid? Probably. What do you think?
Dan Steinberg: I think this is a fairly well-established critique, in many sports besides football. See: David Eckstein. But whatever. It gives us all something to make fun of commentators for.
Something besides saying "Orapko," I should say.
Friendship Heights, Washington, D.C.: With the Burgondy Revolution slowing up up quite a bit and Bog viewership following the trend, do you find yourself feeling like Dirk Diggler trying desperately to get readers back to your pages? Are you sitting in a van showing someone sign protests looking for that same high you once had earlier?
Dan Steinberg: Eh, I wouldn't say that so much. I mean, my readership is down a bit since October, but it's still way way up over last year at this time. Yesterday I got the second-most clicks of any Post sports blog, just a tiny fraction below the Skins Insider and way above anything else.
(pats back ...)
More Radio Transcriptions Later Today?: According to your colleague Chico Harlan over on the Nationals Journal Blog...
Nationals President Stan Kasten, whose love-hate relationship with the media is famously lopsided toward the latter, will for four hours submerse himself in the world he loves to criticize. If you ask me, this sounds like awesome radio. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Kasten will guest host the Mike Wise Show on 106.7 FM. Jim Riggleman and Adam Dunn are lined up as guests.
... so does this mean we can look forward (?) to a synopsis of what the say behind the mics later today or tomorrow?
Dan Steinberg: I was hoping that Chico was going to handle that. I've transcribed Stan before, and he talks very, very quickly. And uses big words. Transcribing four hours of Stantalk would literally take me an entire work day. I think I'll just fast forward to the parts where he rips the media while serving as a media member and transcribe them.
Or maybe the Dunn interview. That could be good.
I'm interested to see whether he talks Skins at all. Please say yes.
Pentagon City, Va.: I've started following the English Premier League, with DC sports tanking (other than the Caps) and my aversion to the NBA. Do you have a team? I'm thinking of actually going to some United games this spring/summer too.
Dan Steinberg: I do not. I spent one winter in Italy, and was buying that pink sports newspaper and Italian soccer magazines and attempting to go full throttled into Euro soccer, but my mind just isn't large enough to add yet another sports league to follow. I would rather follow a losing NFL team than a winning EPL team. It also bothers me that half the league is never actually in the running for a championship. And the lack of playoffs is stupid. I'm sorry, I know that true football fans adore single-table standings and regular season championships and all that, but what happens when the Colts run away with the best record in the league? It's just dull. Playoffs are the best thing about sports.
But you should go watch DCU.
Bethesda, Md.: I am a fan of Boykins, but how is he your go to shot maker at the end of the game? I think that says everything you need to know about the Wizards supposed big three.
Dan Steinberg: Yup.
Remember, this guy wasn't on an NBA roster in August. And now he's the go-to guy? And Randy Foye is getting four minutes a game?
Skins=Hairmetal: Possibly Cinderalla, or Saxon. One of the totally ridiculous messes.
Dan Steinberg: Never heard of Saxon. Isn't that the name of that coffee shop at the corner of K and Vermont? They have the largest Apple Fritters you've ever seen. Those fritters could feed Albert Haynesworth for a week.
Charleston, W. Va.: Just what is Zorn's position now that he has a "consultant"?
Dan Steinberg: Game planning. Addressing the media. Addressing the team. Making funny faces. Arguing with the officials. Calling the two minute drives. Pumping his fist. Calling timeouts with 20 minutes left in the game. Etc.
Atlanta: Steinz, my brain hurts from drinking Jameson. Give me something good to look forward to for winter break sports in D.C.? Is the EagleBank Bowl worth attending?
Dan Steinberg: That's ok, my heart hurts from watching Jamison.
I had a great time at last year's EagleBank Bowl. Legitimately. Wake-Navy was probably a better atmosphere with a more spirited crowd than Temple-UCLA, but i would absolutely recommend it. Plus, you can take Metro. And, um, go to the official tailgate at the D.C. Armory.
Herndon, Va.: Mr. Bog: Your call on the odds, please, of the following being back with the Redskins: Zorn, Campbell, and Cerrato. And, will any "name" coach or (I pray) GM come to the Redskins if Cerrato (really Snyder) is calling shots on personnel?
Dan Steinberg: Zorn: 8-1
Cerrato in same role: 1-1
Cerrato in any role: 1-6
Any name coach if the money is right: 1-400
I mean, the money is right folks. If the money is right, the big name will come.
Season ticket holder: Now that Jason Campbell and the Redskins' offense are finally clicking despite all manner of injuries, will Daniel Snyder and Vinny Cerrato show how clueless they are by blowing it all up? Will they bring in a new head coach, a new system, and a draft a quarterback for the 2010 season?
Dan Steinberg: I don't know what they'll do, but I think it puts media critics in an awkward spot. Media critics love to point out that, after Marty righted the ship late in 2000, Snyder got rid of him anyhow. This, media critics say, was great folly. Why mess with what was working.
So then should media critics argue that Zorn, Campbell, Sherm, Sherm, Sherm, Sherm, Sherm, Stump, Vinny and Sherm should all be back in identical roles if, say, the team finishes with a 3-1 stretch?
Jewish Sports Legends: Can you do a story on Bram Weinstein and how he is doing in Bristol? Would love to hear his take on the Redskins and I would rather not do the stalker thing and friend him on Facebook.
Dan Steinberg: That's a good idea. Thanks.
Falls Church, Va.: I'm still bothered by the Wizards-Pacers game. Since reading Donoghay's book excerpts on Deadspin, I think it was rigged. Did you see that game? It was heartbreaking. I know it's just one game out of 82, but it was one of only three this season that I watched on TV, so it's been sticking with me.
Dan Steinberg: It was absolutely brutal. Beyond brutal.
But until the last 30 seconds, or whatever it is, the Wizards had themselves to blame. There's no excuse for being in a position to lose with .5 seconds left on a bad call.
But hoo boy, I hated that call.
Dan Steinberg: Ok, i'm gonna go listen to Jim Zorn and Stan Kasten for the rest of the afternoon. And Clinton Portis, I guess. Wish me luck. If you want to be my transcribing intern, lemme know.
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