D.C. Sports Bog Live: Jim Zorn's firing, Mike Shanahan next? Redskins offseason, Gilbert Arenas's guns and more

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Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, January 5, 2010; 11:30 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tues., Jan. 5 to break down the finale of a woeful Redskins season, whether Mike Shanahan will be the next Skins coach, Gilbert Arenas's gun issues, 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.

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Dan Steinberg: Sorry, I was obsessing about my playoff fantasy football draft and lost track of time. Two points about that.

1) If the axiom "no one cares about your fantasy football team" is true, then how much truer is this axiom: "no one cares about your playoff fantasy football team."

2) Playoff fantasy football is the greatest thing in the world.

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Dan Steinberg: Oh yeah, feel free to ask me questions about sports, or whatever. If you ask me Redskins personnel and/or hiring timeline questions, though, I'll probably just regurgitate the worker of our beat writers, who are literally staying up in shifts around the clock during this most exciting of weeks. Meanwhile, I'm eating their donuts.

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Bismarck, N.D.: I'm sure you'll get a handful of this very question. How in the world can Orakpo go to the Pro Bowl and not get Rookie of the Year?

Dan Steinberg: Not just not get Rookie of the Year, but finish fourth in the voting, well behind the winner. Different voting pools. Fans and coaches and players aren't involved in the AP's award voting, and media dorks aren't involved in the Pro Bowl voting.

Chris Cooley was talking about the Pro Bowl yesterday in reference to London Fletcher. He said the system is busted, and only coaches should be allowed to vote. I have no idea which pool would have helped Orakpo the most. Anyhow, it's certainly odd, but the larger point is that fans don't really care about the Pro Bowl in terms of watching the game. They just want their guys to get honors. Orakpo will get plenty more honors in his career.

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Atlanta: Any possibility Arenas could be forced to halt construction of his pool if he's docked enough pay by a possible suspension? Assuming the pool is still under construction, I mean its probably he's using D.C. workers.

Dan Steinberg: I'm pretty sure the pool is done. The bigger question is whether there are poolside water cannons.

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Arenas Land: If he brought the guns to Howard University or American University or any other campus, the school would go into immediate lockdown and police would be canvassing the campus. If I brought guns to the the arena, Wizards management and security would have the police in immediately to arrest me and I likely would be banned from the arena for life. If he put the guns out, as a joke, and told someone to pick one, wouldn't the other person routinely think that he (Arenas) was going to do something with the guns, and not not "just be Gil and a goofball", that maybe, just maybe, he (Arenas) might do something with one of the guns?

Dan Steinberg: Well, the only way we'll know this is when Javaris Crittenton starts talking. From their behavior (joking together on the court), I'd have to imagine that Crittenton didn't really assume that Gilbert was about to shoot him.

But that has little to do with the actual stupidity involved here. I think that's more for us to decide how to feel about Gilbert. I still think of him as I did before, assuming his story is relatively accurate: a compelling, incredibly immature and bizarre guy, who just will not comply with any sort of norms for how grown-ups behave.

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Palmetto, Fla.: "A new broom sweeps clean" as they say. Zorn and Blache are out, and it looks as if Joe Bugel will retire ( so long old friend). What other assistants if any have been mentioned to be on the way in, and who already in place might or WILL stay? Thanks and Happy New Year from frigid Florida!

Dan Steinberg: The names most often mentioned as possibly staying are Jerry Gray and Danny Smith. The names most often mentioned as probably coming are defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. This is pure regurgitation on my part.

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Washington, D.C.: Since the Arenas story broke, it seems like the conversation has gone from "The Wizards should void Arenas's contract!" to "Well, since the NY Post story may have been exaggerated, and the guns may not have been loaded, that probably won't happen." Why not? Isn't bringing empty guns into the team locker room a morals clause violation? Could the NBA Players Association really make a convincing argument to the contrary?

Dan Steinberg: I think some of these questions are best directed to legal experts. CBS Sports's Ken Berger has a piece up today suggesting that Arenas could possibly be permitted to plead guilty to charges of carrying a pistol without a license, a felony, and that in exchange for his cooperation prosecutors wouldn't ask for jail time. Sorting out the morals clause is a different task, and that has nothing to do with any punishment from David Stern.

Of course, fans don't want the contract voided because they're disappointed in Gil's morals, they want the contract voided because it's a terrible contract. For that to happen, the Wizards would have to catch a break, and we all know that this franchise doesn't catch breaks.

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re: 2) Playoff fantasy football is the greatest thing in the world. : Does it beat having sex while drinking good wine and eating chocolate? If so, I'm going to have to try this fantasy football thing.

Dan Steinberg: Ok, I'll amend to "greatest way to exchange extremely piffling sums of money with your friends."

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Arlington, Va.: With Mike Shanahan already in tow via Redskins One, if all of the reports are true, do you think Danny would make another trip to Houston to try and get Kyle or would Danny make him fly commercial to get to Redskins Park?

Dan Steinberg: This is a great, great question. I think I'd guess Redskins One, because of his last name.

Flying charter is a great experience, if you've never done it. Plus, having fans tracking your plane makes for great drama.

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Ithaca, N.Y.: I have seen lots of concern about Jim Zorn and his future in the NFL but for some reason no one seems worried about poor Vinnie Cerrato. Do you think he will work in football again?

Dan Steinberg: I'd guess his next stop will be with the media, although I think he's arguably worse in a media role than he is in a football role. Probably, his best job would be collegiate scouting/personnel; I love making fun of him as much as anyone, but he has contributed to some decent and better-than-decent draft picks. His problem seemed to be creating a cohesive whole, and also interacting with people. So yeah, I think he will work in football again.

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Van Neezy, Washington, D.C.: Dan - with the impending dissolution of the Wizards, I'm getting nostalgic for the fun-loving, goofy and open nature of that particular locker room. Despite the increase in the ways for athletes to communicate with their fans (blogs, twitter, etc.), is there any incentive for them to do so anymore?

Dan Steinberg: I just realized that tomorrow is Gilbert's 28th birthday. Happy birthday in advance, Gil. No water pistols as party favors, ok?

Any incentive for players to communicate with fans? Have you been looking at Gilbert's Twitter over the last 72 hours? I'm not sure what the incentive is--some slight gains in popularity, name recognition, etc--but players like to be able to communicate on their terms, without a filter. That's only going to increase.

As for the fun-loving Wiz, that really was a product of their best player and his personality. If/when Gilbert leaves, those days will definitely end. It's already a whole lot different than it used to be.

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Bethesda, Md.: What do you do think the Redskins should do in the upcoming draft? Russel Okung from Oklahoma State should be available for us and would be able to come in and start at left tackle for many years to come ...

Dan Steinberg: That name seems to be the fan favorite right now. Though I think some have suggested that he could be gone by the time the Redskins pick at No. 4.

I'll also say that never have I witnessed a fan base so insistent that a high draft pick should be used on an offensive lineman. Normally those are snoozer picks for the fans. We'll really know things have changed if they take Okung and his name shoots to the top of the best-selling Skins jersey list, which is currently occupied by a whole lot of skill position guys.

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Courthouse, Va.: So in your fantasies, and maybe even in reality, who goes to the Super Bowl?

Dan Steinberg: Chargers-Packers maybe? Heck if I know. I plan on drafting lots of Chargers and Packers in my league.

I know that for some large number of years in a row (at least four), one of the Super Bowl teams has played in the first weekend of playoff games. So I'd definitely avoid picking any combination of Saints/Vikings and Colts/Chargers.

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Washington, D.C.: I now realize that there's no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns

After a discussion with some friends, we set the over/under of age we realized there's no such thing as joking around when it comes to guns at 6 1/2. Did you make it to your mid-20s before learning that lesson, too, Dan? Or did you have a sense that maybe guns are bad sometime around first grade?

Dan Steinberg: I think what's even worse about that quote, from Gilbert's statement, is that he seems to contradict it in his Twitter. I need to pull that stuff up, but he isn't helping his public image at all with his Internet ramblings. But that's Gil.

And I don't know exactly when I figured out that joking around with guns was bad. But he's currently joking around about millions of dollars and his potential freedom. He does joke around about everything.

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Baltimore: A complication for Arenas: I saw online today that he pleaded guilty a couple years back when a .40 caliber handgun was found in his car after a traffic stop. You would think, wouldn't you, that having gotten in legal trouble over firearms once, he would have avoided bringing them to work. Also, how does Wizards management feel about its players indulging in ultra high stakes card games where a player drops 60 large? It makes we wonder what other kinds of gambling these guys may indulge in.

Dan Steinberg: On the latter question, I feel pretty confident that the Wizard aren't the only NBA or pro sports team whose players gamble for lots and lots of money, all the time. You remember Gilbert and DeShawn Stevenson betting thousands on their three-point shooting contest, right? Or DeShawn betting thousands on his beard-growing contest? Those are public. Everyone in the NBA places bets with teammates when their alma maters face each other. I mean, everyone I know plays fantasy football, and a $60 entry fee for someone in my general pay bracket isn't really much different than a $20,000 bet from Arenas.

That said, I'm not guessing that Wiz management wants its players to gamble obsessively, and they sure don't want it all to become public.

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Rockville, Md.: Why not nationalize the Redskins and put the Navy coach in charge?

Dan Steinberg: Triple option? Would be fun, but I don't think that's the way to go.

Also, did you hear the big dust-up involving the Navy and Missouri pep bands? Do you want to see the Redskins Marching Band in a well-publicized squabble? Didn't think so.

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: With all the Redskins and Wizards coverage, what's going on in NatsTown? Anything of note?

Dan Steinberg: Adam Dunn is taking Jiu-Jitsu lessons.

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Alexandria, Va.: So much for all of the hype for VCU and William and Mary after the early season starts, both losing at home to middling CAA teams last night. The Atlantic 11 curse lives forever!

Dan Steinberg: The CAA really needs some of these teams to finish with just one or two league losses and go deep in the tourney. They've got to keep the two-bid momentum going.

I do hate when I publish the Atlantic 11 results late on a Monday afternoon, and then games are played, and by the time the rankings show up in the paper they look horribly outdated.

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Reston, Va.: So the Redskins players are saying that they needed more discipline? I need to send a gift basket to Ashburn to thank them for giving me such a hearty laugh this morning. I seem to recall the players whining because big bad Marty Schottenheimer was too rough on them.

It's never the players' fault in their eyes, is it?

Wait, maybe that's not entirely accurate ... I was amazed by how many players were calling out Portis re: his slack attitude and habit of running to Danny when someone said or did something he didn't like.

Dan Steinberg: Well, these ARE different players than Marty had.

Look, everything that was said yesterday was fascinating, and I of course used the quotes just like everyone else did, but players aren't any more genius about this stuff than we are. They see the 4-12 record, and know it's abysmal, and try to find answers. I have no doubt that there are hundreds of things Zorn could have done better, and that discipline and double-standards were problems, but did Clinton Portis not have extra leeway and less discipline in 2007 when the Redskins made the playoffs? Everything seems worse when you're losing.

The fact is, the offensive line depth was a bigger issue than anything having to do with discipline. I believe that strongly.

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Boulder, Colo.: Dan,

Just straight up personality-wise, what do you think (if anything) separates Bruce Allen from Vinny Cerrato? How can we Redskins fans be sure the organization is really making some fundamental changes with this guy?

Dan Steinberg: Personality wise? Well, Allen doesn't have a great history with the media, but he's professional and well-spoken and well-put-together and impressive on a podium. I mean, he said nothing of substance yesterday, but he did absolutely nothing to make you cringe or want to make fun of him. He's a grown-up football man. That's a big difference.

But we can't be sure that anything has fundamentally changed with the organization; we just have to wait and see.

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Washington, D.C.: I know Mike Wise is close to Arenas. Have you asked him his thoughts on what has gone down?

Dan Steinberg: Wise was on vacation. He'll have a column on Arenas in tomorrow's paper, unless something crazy happens.

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Columbia, Md.: Mr Zorn, I've lived in DC area for over 40 years and don't feel bad, but the Redskins have always been a bad team. You tried your best. Best of luck to you

Dan Steinberg: I've gotten a few emails asking how people could send thank you notes to Zorn. He really leaves with a much different reputation than Spurrier, despite the identical record. If the Redskins hadn't done so much to undermine him, I think fan opinion might not have swayed so strongly in the "you tried your best" direction.

It would definitely be hard to find a media member, or anyone else, who had a bad word to say about Zorn the man.

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Thomasville, Ga.: Dan,

Any word on Samuels and Thomas? They seem to be making noise about coming back. Wouldn't they be pretty decent backups in an uncapped year?

Dan Steinberg: I would be shocked if Samuels ever plays NFL football again. I was with him Thanksgiving week when he was talking about the future, and it just didn't sound like playing football was in his plans.

Thomas obviously thinks he can still play, but with such a big changing of the guard here, I'd guess he plays elsewhere.

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Philadelphia: Any advice for a young journalist getting into sports writing. Somehow I'm now the Sports Editor of my college's paper, though I haven't done much sports writing per say. (I did cover the National Sudoku Championships this fall...)

washingtonpost.com: RUN! FAST! AND FAR AWAY! Preferably to a banking job.

Dan Steinberg: Hard to argue with washingtonpost.com here.

My advice is:

1) Write about something you're spleen-rupturingly passionate about, something that you would stay at home and write about for free, on a beautiful summer day, despite invitations to fabulous celebrity pool parties. If you write about something you love, incessantly and cleverly and well, someone somewhere will pay you for it.

2) Make a backup plan.

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Bonifay, Fla.: The Wiz are a mess, even without the guns. However, I read the gun incidents somewhat differently.

First, Critt - It sounds like he never brought a gun to town, but rather picked up one or more from a chair and threw them. Then, Gilbert -

1) Should never have brought the guns to work, or possibly given them to security for safekeeping.

2) If he put the guns on a chair, that's a bad prank gone very sour, but is quite different from menacing someone with them.

If the above is basically what happened, comment on it.

Dan Steinberg: Well, I basically agree with you, but that doesn't mean Gilbert shouldn't/won't face consequences. I think it does mean that we don't have to loathe him as a guy, which was my initial concern when I read the New York Post story. I know Jamison said this is different than Gilbert being Gilbert, and is a whole lot more serious, but I'm pretty sure Gilbert being Gilbert has included other potentially dangerous japes in the past. This one went horribly, and clearly he doesn't consider the consequences of much of what he does, but I'm glad that we don't have to loathe him.

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Arlington, Va.: Was Zorn allowed to discipline the team divas ie Portis, Cooley, and Haynesworth?

Or did orders flow down from the top?

Seemed to me that Fat Albert was having a diva fit and didn't paly Sunday as a result!

I am sure the players quoted in The Post today were talking about Fat Al!

Dan Steinberg: Obviously Portis and Haynesworth were the two names you heard in your head when players were talking about these things. And we know for fact that both Portis and Haynesworth have direct lines of communication with the owner. I don't see Cooley as a diva, nor am I sure what he would need disciplining about.

And if Haynesworth was penalized for a diva fit, the time for the penalty was the Cowboys game, when he had just been late for practice, mouthed off in public, etc. If he started that game, I think you can guess that nothing was too serious to bring him down.

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Washington, D.C.: Bog-

Was interviewing Jerry Gray just a beard to get past the Rooney rule and hire Shanahan?

Also, didn't Shanahan send Clinton Portis to Washington for Champ Bailey?

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, Shanahan engineered the Portis-Bailey swap, and Portis has praised his former coach.

And I'm not sure what you're talking about with Jerry Gray. I really don't want to comment about it at this time. No comment, I insist. Maybe later. What are we talking about?

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Washington, D.C.: Why fans and media liked Zorn: In addition to obviously being a good human being, Zorn never indulged in the "coach speak" that infects almost every NFL head honcho. I mean, John Harbaugh has obviously been very successful, but listening to him after the Ravens self-destructed versus the Steelers in their next to last game was painful. Perhaps you always have to say things like "Our team fought as hard as anybody" after you've racked up 13 penalites, many of them foolish, but it's hard to take seriously. Zorn never gave in to that and it's probably one of the character traits that works against him as a head coach, but works for him as a QB coach.

Dan Steinberg: All true.

He really, really, really tried to offer helpful and honest answers 99 percent of the time. That led to bizarre quotes and funny faces and all the rest.

I think head coaches are probably better served by being drab, though.

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Leesburg, Va.: Steinz,

I just figured out yesterday that Fox Sports Radio canceled The Steve Czaban Show, only to replace him with...Stephen A. Smith?

Really? Seriously? What genius came up with that idea. Smith is borderline un-listenable. Czaban was the only "sports talk" radio show I could listen to for extended periods of time, and now it's off the air, replaced by another doofus spouting uninformed opinions really loud to make up for the lack of substance.

-Sigh- this is right up there for me with the WJFK flip as "Worst Radio Moves Ever"

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, this happened in December I think. Czaban had a great morning show. Smith....well, I haven't heard it yet. But I'm guessing it's not great.

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Washington, D.C.: With Arenas so unpopular in the city, should Fenty pull a Bloomberg and demand jail time for Arenas? Think of how great that would play with the voters: The mayor who saved the Wizards by freeing up enough salary cap space to go after Wade or LeBron.

Dan Steinberg: Ha. That's a pretty great suggestion. Though I, for one, would immediately start rooting against the Wizards with every fiber of my scarf if LeBron came here. Some things you just can't forgive.

Speaking of scarves, I have a longstanding policy not to wear any gear for any of the local sports teams, since it seems unseemly. But the Nats once gave me a scarf, and I just love it. It's so comfortable, and the deep navy color flatters me. I can't stop wearing it. I'm wearing it right now. This doesn't mean that I'm no longer objective about the Nats, I promise.

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Kensington, Md.: I thought I read somewhere that the Redskins were going to honor Joe Bugel in some fashion after he announced his retirement. Any update on that?

washingtonpost.com: Redskins Insider: Bugel decision may affect timing of announcement (Washington Post, Jan. 4)

Dan Steinberg: That's still the word.

Also, I just posted something on the Bog about the history of the Hogs nickname. Here's the relevant quote, from November of 1982:

"They are short guys with big bellies," Bugel said. "I started to say to the whole line at practice, 'Okay you hogs, let's go down in the bullpen and hit those sleds.' Some guys might have resented it, but these guys loved it."

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New York, N.Y.: "I've gotten a few emails asking how people could send thank you notes to Zorn"

Well, help us out here Dan, do you know of any way? I think the level of respect for Zorn vs. Spurrier has to do with the fact that Zorn seemed like a very decent man who was thrust into a role he obviously wasn't ready for and didn't even interview for. Spurrier was arrogant from the beginning, and when things started falling apart, he quite obviously checked out. Zorn seemed to care right up until the bitter end.

So yeah, it would be nice to be able to thank Zorn for giving his best in a bad situation...

Dan Steinberg: Will find out and post it on the Bog. On my list of things to do.

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Sec 114, Nats Park: Oh goodie - a Gm and coaching change in Redskins land. Go Danny boy! At least I won't have to worry about searching the WaPo for the occasional Nats story. It's all hands on deck for another Redskins drama filled offseason.

Front Page - Above the Fold.

Dan Steinberg: Front page A1, above the fold.

And yet no mention in the Washington Times, from what I've been told. Not one word. My Times delivery person must have gotten lost in Silver Spring this morning.

Good news for Nats-news consumers; former Times beat guy Ben Goessling will cover the team for MASN, online and on TV, they announced today.

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Takoma Park, Md.: How are you taking this depressing turn of events for the Wizards? We've gone from a fun loving team that seemed to mesh well on and off the court and promised to give the Eastern contenders some run this season, to a dysfunctional looking group that may well be blown up in days. I feel like I should attend Friday's game in black to pay my respects. Please, give me a reason to smile about the state of the team.

Dan Steinberg: I have none. I think the Wizards are harder to root for and feel optimistic about right now than the Redskins or Nats, and I'm not exaggerating. NFL teams rapidly turn around all the time; look how quickly the Spurrier mess turned into a playoff team. The Nats won't be great, but there are so many seemingly promising young guys, and Strasburg will be compelling if nothing else. But where's the optimism with the Wizards? Where are the young stars? Where is the reason to think things are getting better? Dominic McGuire? I've got nothing, really.

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Washington, D.C. : How about some love for the George Mason Patriots? The only undefeated team in the CAA, plus a win over an Old Dominion team that handled Georgetown at home (THE BLIZZARD OF 2009!!! or not). Never mind that early season loss to George Washington. So are they, in your humble opinion, bound for March Madness?

Dan Steinberg: I love the George Mason Patriots.

Despite the fact that they got steamrolled by Radford, out of the Big South.

I'm going to guess Mason plays in the CAA semifinals. Beyond that, I cannot say.

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Washington, D.C.: Dan: Have you noticed that Bruce Allen is a human cliche-spouting machine?

Dan Steinberg: Yes. But it is what it is.

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Silver Spring, Md.: What was your first thought when you saw the NY Post story with Gil and Critt facing off with guns and quotes from legendary Kendrick "Bookie Ball" Long

Dan Steinberg: Wuh-oh.

And one of my very first thoughts was, "Wow, sucks to be Michael Lee."

As others have noted, in the past two years we've had a Caps coach get fired on Thanksgiving, a Redskins superstar flay his coaches on Christmas, and a Wizards superstar make the front page of the New York Post on New Year's Day. Head for the hills on July 4.

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Washington, D.C.: If the players thought or knew they needed discipline, couldn't they take it on themselves as trained athletes to do something? It's not as if they've never played the game or received discipline before in college or high school or elsewhere? And, to use Mr. Haynesworth's words, where was the leadership by the players themselves, telling each other to get their act together. Wait ... sorry. Mr. Haynesworth probably isn't the best example to use as a leader or refer to for discipline.

Dan Steinberg: Sure, this is undeniable. And sure, no one wants to hear about near-misses. I understand that.

But was it really a lack of discipline that caused Suisham to miss that 23-yard field goal? Players didn't make plays when they needed to. You can blame it on discipline after the fact, but you can also say they weren't good enough when they needed to be. Maybe discipline would have made things better off the field, where the season was often a circus, but I'm not sure that increased discipline was the reason DeAngelo Hall got faked to the ground by the corpse of Jake Delhomme. He just wasn't good enough there to make that tackle.

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Wheaton, Md.: Why would they keep Jerry Gray? We have got to be one of the most underperforming defensive backfields in the league. Can't intercept. Can't wrap and tackle. Can't cover a double move. And two of these guys are former number 1 picks? Where, exactly, has Mr. Gray succeeded in "coaching" these guys. His staying would seem like payback for helping the Redskins meet the requirements of the Roonely Rule.

Dan Steinberg: Others have and will make this argument. Gray also didn't do anything noteworthy in his role as "defensive spokesman," and did a horrendous job handling all these recent rumors about his interviewing for his boss's job.

Gray's argument on Sunday night that coaches put players in position to make plays, and players dropped the ball, also struck me as an offputting cop-out. That was not a Gibbs move, in any sense.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I've been on the bad owner bandwagon all year, like many other fans. But I think it's only fair to pause here and give the man some credit. Firing his buddy Vinnie was a courageous act. Bringing in a true, professional GM like Bruce Allen was definitely a step in the right direction. And hiring Mike Shanahan, one of the premier NFL head coaches, is the final signal that Snyder finally gets it. With that kind of managerial team in place, I think Mr. Snyder deserves credit and with it the benefit of the doubt that he will let his excellent professionals run the football side of the organization.

Dan Steinberg: Well, I don't know about some of this. You call firing Vinny courageous, I say that with a soft market and thousands of unsold club seats, it very easily could have been Snyder's only out. You say hiring Mike Shanahan is a signal that Snyder finally gets it, I note that this has a lot of similarities to hiring Marty Schottenheimer, which didn't seem to be a seminal, "now he gets it" moment. Let's just wait and see.

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Western Alexandria, Va.: So, the two coaches book-ending Joe Gibbs 2.0 go 12-20. I'll argue that Jim Zorn was at least much more interesting and entertaining. Mondays through Saturdays at least.

Dan Steinberg: He was pretty entertaining on Sundays, also.

Like Spurrier, Zorn lost his final three games and 6 of his last 7. But Zorn's 3-9 mark in the NFC East was actually one game better than Spurrier's 2-10 mark.

Ugh.

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Richmond, Va.: Dan, days before Redsksins One was being tracked via internet, everyone at the Post was writing that Shanahan was a done deal. Heck, the Shanahan story was beginning to take flight early in the season the first time Redskins One was spotted in Colorado for no particular reason.

Now, we hear there's "negotiations" and no formal announcement has been made. Why the disconnect? If it was a done deal, why are we waiting for an announcement? Or was the reporting just speculative?

Dan Steinberg: It sounds like this could happen any hour now. Of course everything is speculative before contracts are signed, but nothing has happened yet to make me think the speculation was off.

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Washington, D.C.: Is it true The Washington Post sat on the Gilbert Arenas story?

Dan Steinberg: I've heard no suggestions about anything remotely like this, and would not believe it. We'd sit on an explosive story involving one of the highest paid and most popular athletes in the city, in an era when we're all scrapping for scoops and especially Web traffic? What in heavens for? There's no chance.

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Palisades, Washington, D.C.: Is it unpatriotic of me or more a symptom of falling victim to increased globalization if I root for the Russian/Capitals Winter Olympics hockey team instead of the U.S. squad?

Dan Steinberg: Can't you wish for a Russia-U.S. final? And if one team makes it and the other doesn't, just transfer loyalty to the survivor?

As a Caps fan, I might be inclined to hope that Russia doesn't win it all? It's obvious that winning gold is at least as important to Ovi as winning a Cup, and I'd be a bit scared about a letdown if he accomplished the former goal. Maybe a narrow loss in the final would be better.

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Washington, D.C.: What happens if you show up in the newsroom with a gun? What happens to most employees if they show up in a workplace with a gun? But yet, if you make millions the rules are different for you.

Dan Steinberg: Look, I'm not saying Gilbert should be spared, and let's wait and see what happens before we get outraged. Both the league and the team will have their chance to act after the legal stuff gets sorted out.

I think if I show up in the newsroom with a gun as a practical joke, and put it on a co-worker's chair, and he ends up deciding it wasn't that big a deal, there's a chance that no one ever hears about it. If you make millions, everyone in the world hears about it, so yeah, it's a different situation.

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Montgomery Village, Md.: Dan Bruce Allen suggested yesterday that improvemnet of the team may come more from addition than subtraction. Does that mean the Redskins have gotten an exemption and can have MORE than 53 players on their roster next year?

Dan Steinberg: He also suggested this on Sunday during his ESPN 980 interview. You're right, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

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Washington, D.C.: How bad will the fall out be if the new Redskins regime fails?

Dan Steinberg: Don't worry, they'll just sign Lebron or something and everyone will be optimistic again.

I mean, they have an incredible knack for avoiding the true fall out. In October there was a massive wave of dissatisfaction, and now everyone has reverted to wait and see. Sports are about hope and optimism and fun, and I guess there's no reason to still follow them if all it does is make you angry 365 days a year.

Plus, there are those rumors of a new video board.

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Dan Steinberg: Ok, dozens and dozens of unanswered questions, but I think I'm going to jump on this conference call with Joe Theismann and Joe Gibbs, who are in the broadcast booth for NBC's coverage of Bengals-Jets this weekend. Talk to you all next week.

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