The Chat House with Michael Wilbon

Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, September 13, 2010; 1:30 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House, where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Monday, Sept. 13, at 1:30 p.m. ET to discuss the Redskins opener against the Cowboys, college football, the basketball world championships, World Wide Wilbon (which is Not Just Another Sorry, No-Account Sports Blog), the latest sports news, his columns and anything else on your mind.


DC: I am a Cowboys fan. Thank you for telling it is about the Cowboys. Perhaps if they didn't have the world telling them how great they are they'd prepare a little better and not act like such morons.

Michael Wilbon: Hi there Everybody! We'll have to do an abbreviated chat because PTI is early today because of the Monday Night Football doubleheader that begins at 7 p.m.


Washington DC: It is my belief that the Cowboys are probably the worst coached team in the NFL. I've been thinking this for years. From reading your latest article in the Post I believe you might believe that even though you did not explicitly state it.

Also did you see the "roughing the quarterback" penalty that was called against the Cowboys during the Skin's first drive? McNabb did get hit low but growing up (jeez and I'm only 28) watching football something like that would never have been called. It's horrible. Granted in the context of the game last night but seeing a call like that really bothers me.

Michael Wilbon: Wow, I can address the first two questions with this one answer. Wow! There is discontent in Cowboys Nation. And there should be. It's unreal how dumb the Cowboys are...They're the dumbest good team in the NFL, to me, and it's incomprehensible because they've got such good players, such smart players. And Wade Phillips has a GOOD record as head coach. Talk about a disconnect somewhere in the line. Yes, last night they appeared poorly coached, and I include Jason Garrett in that...The Cowboys just killed themselves last night; I don't understand why people continually pick them to win stuff. Why? They make too many dumb errors week after week, year after year. And I understand totally why it bothers you.


Baltimore, MD: Michael, Were there any Non-US players at the FIBA Championships who impressed you?

Michael Wilbon: Goodness, I don't have a roster in front of me...But there were several. Luis Scola was great...averaged 30 points a game...There was a guard on the Turkey team who was great...His name Sinan Guler...I didn't watch as much of the tournament as I usually do because of some real life things getting in the way (all good things)...But I did see enough to appreciate some performances from non-Americans...though any talk about the World Championships has to start with Kevin Durant. His stock is higher right now than any athlete in America.


The Catch...NOT: The NFL better be careful with the increasing "sophistication" of its rules. If the paying public can't figure out what's going on, how can they accept the result.

And as to the arcane rule regarding possession; all I can say is that the NFL seems to want to express in mere words the metaphysical concept of "having" the ball. Perhaps they could get Kierkegaard to write the rules.

Michael Wilbon: I love you. That, ma'am or sir, is so well expressed...I wish I could just give you a hug right now. Thanks.


New Orleans: After watching yesterday's games, I still cannot believe the owners want to expand the season to 18 games. With the amount of concussions and other injuries, the owners are setting their players up for life-time health problems.

Michael Wilbon: Another very, very good point. Thank you. It's my point ALL the time about the pending 18-game season, which is insane. They'll have to increase rosters to 60 people (which the union will like) but so many first-team players will be injured over an 18-game season...What will the playoffs look like with so many people injured?


New York, NY: One of my favorite quotes of yours is "Win now, get better later." That certainly applies to the 'Skins win yesterday. That said, what is this team's ceiling? How much better can they get?

Michael Wilbon: A LOT better. I think the Redskins--and I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, can win 9 games...perhaps 10. And the NFC East is certainly nothing special. The Eagles could be dreadful if Andy Reid decides he has to stick with Kevin Kolb for 8, 10 games instead of going to Michael Vick...I don't believe in the Giants, and I'm on record about the Cowboys...10 games should win the NFC East...hell, 9 may do it.


Washington, DC: It's just week one, but didn't the whole NFC East look pretty mediocre yesterday? Not necessarily bad, just... average.

Michael Wilbon: It's an average division, if that. The AFC East is a ton better, so is the AFC North. The AFC South might be. The NFC North is, so is the NFC South. It's a good time to be the Washington Redskins.


Washington, DC: Just curious - do all the Michigan fans still want to run RichRod out of the state?

Michael Wilbon: Not now! Not now that that Meeechigan offense looks just like the West Virgnia offense and Denard Robinson looks just like Pat White. Actually, Robinson looks a little like Michael Vick to me, just with a more accurate arm...Wow. If I was looking for a pocket passer I'd be on the phone with Michigan asking about Tate Forcier's availability.


Washington - DC: ok yeah yeah we've heard just about everything about the Skins game etc.. etc.. but has anyone noticed that it may look like we have a decent field goal kicker now? Aside from a botched snap (not Gano's fault), the guy hit just everything straight down the middle on the money including a 49 yarder. This is a nice change I must say..

Michael Wilbon: I certainly did notice. How great would that be for a team that's been in search of a kicker for a helluva long time. It's one game and I wouldn't get too excited, but it is encouraging if you're a Redskins fan.


Alexandria: Who you got tonight in the Jets/Ravens game? Looks like a good ol' slobber-knocker game to me. I'm so glad football is back.

Michael Wilbon: Ravens. I think they've got the best roster in the NFL. This is the best offense they've had...maybe ever. And yes, I think there's going to be some, uh, hitting.


SE, DC: Not to knock Jason Campbell (I was a fan), but I saw a few plays where McNabb's savvy and pocket presence saved us from about 3 or 4 sacks. However, the offense still looked kind of anemic as the weapons seem the same, Cooley and Moss. Portis is adequate RB but no longer special or a big threat. Do you see an upside?

Michael Wilbon: I hear what you're saying...I just think McNabb's timing with his receivers is going to get so much better over the next few weeks that the offense will function much more efficiently. I think you're observations are all right on, but I think those skill position guys on offense are veteran enough to figure out during the coming weeks of practice how to spread the ball around, rely on one another, and play to the strengths of the personnel..


USA! USA! USA!: Redskins, Schmedskins.

Big props to Coach K and his supposedly "undersized," reportedly "Team-B" players for going all the way in Turkey. (As a Hoya fan, this is the only time you'd see me cheering on a Duke coach).

So by this time next year, who's the bigger NBA star -- Kevin Durant or any one of those twerps who "took their talents to Miami?"

Michael Wilbon: Ahhh, the big 6-foot-8 guy who took his talents to Miami...who was in attendance at last night's Cowboys-Redskins game...LeBron James is going to come close to averaging a triple-double this seasonn. Look, Durant is a GREAT, GREAT player. But let's not reduce LeBron in the rush to praise Durant. Again, I think Durant's stock right now is higher than any athlete in America. And that group of guys should be the ones to represent the U.S. in the Olympics in London in two years.


VA: Seeing Roger Federer this weekend getting bounced at the US Open makes me realize that I am not sure he will win another Grand Slam title.

Michael Wilbon: I don't think he will...of course Nadal could get bounced in an early round upset or something...But I think Federer has lot a little something off his fastball...And if there's a weakness in perhaps the greatest player ever, it's that he's pretty ordinary (or worse) when he's behind and in trouble...He just starts spraying it around...And Djokovic knew than and knew he had to grind it out and keep the pressure on Federer throughout the match. Federer, when he's on top of you, is so unbeatable. But there's a formula now to beating him, and I think there are enough other players out there who see this.


DC expat in Philly: Mike,

Just had a lunchtime debate inspired by your column about the Georgia WR suspended for selling one of his jerseys. I say the answer is two-fold: 1. Universities hire athletes as employees who are eligible to attend class as are other support staff. There are no recruiting violations. The athletes are hired to provide athletic entertainment. 2. Athlete-employees have free tuition for 10 years after their athletic careers end, whether that career extends to the pros or not. It gets all the greed on to the table.

Your thoughts?

Michael Wilbon: I admire your willingness to try to come up with a solution, but I don't think this is it...


Turkey: I had my doubts about Coach K being a good pro coach if he ever made the jump to the NBA. My doubts are gone after seeing him coach the National Team these last few years. The man know how to coach and manage players.

Michael Wilbon: The U.S. National team is not like ANY NBA team. Don't confuse the two. I LOVE Coach K but I don't know what kind of NBA coach he would be. Coaching Team USA doesn't tell us anything...nothing. In the NBA you've got a 100-game season and a couple of guys who might be disruptive, nobody as good as Durant in most cases, or even Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook...Sorry, success in one short tournament doesn't equal success in a 100-game season...


Santa Fe, New Mexico: Michael,

Good article this morning on the Redskins win over Dallas last night; ugly, but it is better than losing.

On another subject, I attended former Terrapin, Redskin fan, and ESPN employee Leah Siegel's Memorial in Dallas this past weekend on 9/11; and wanted to thank you and Tony K for your remembrances on PTI, and awareness for the fight against breast cancer.

Leah was every bit the daughter of her father Morrie and mother Myra; and a credit to DC, the University of Maryland, and ESPN.

One in a Million, whom we can seldom appreciate enough until they pass.

"Hail to the Redskins..."

Michael Wilbon: thank you very much for mentioning Leah, who I knew from the time she was 12 years old...We miss her very, very much.


New Orleans: So, do you think Alex Barron will be the starting left tackle for the Cowboys next week?

Michael Wilbon: Do they have a worthy replacement for him? The Cowboys line is already hit with injuries.


Washington, DC: Before last night, I was thinking 6 and 10, maybe 7 and 9 for the Redskins this year. As good as that W feels, I can't say my thinking has changed much. Other teams will figure out the defensive scheme sooner or later, which means the offense needs to put up points. I'm not convinced that this squad can both learn to work effectively together and stay healthy long enough to make a winning season.

Michael Wilbon: I think all the wild swings of sentiment after one game are foolish, and I laugh at them every year. I thought the Redskins were a 9 win team and I'm going to stick with that for awhile...unless they go 5-0 or something. Let's see how the offense evolves. And health? You can never predict health. Never. So why would you try?


Redskins Uniforms: Wilbon-

I'm no Redskins fan, but please tell me, for the aesthetic betterment of the league, that the Redskins will keep wearing those beautiful burgundy and gold uniforms.


(And it wouldn't KILL the Eagles to keep those kelly green beauties...)

Michael Wilbon: MOST of the teams in the NFL have left behind better uniforms than they have. The Chargers, the Bills, the Patriots, the Eagles, the Redskins...Personall, and I'm not invested in the Redskins at all, I like those deep burgandy jerseys instead of the maroon junk they wear now. If the colors are burgandy and gold, then WEAR BURGANDY...But I'm with you...The Broncos should wear those old orange crush jerseys...Tampa should go back to their orange. I'm old. I like old.


Reston: Can you name me one championship LeBron has won in his entire life?

He may be the most talented exciting player, but he has never won the biggest game at any level. He missed a buzzer beater in high school. Never played in the NCAAs, Choked last year, and, well, he decided not to join the USA team so we don't know how that would have turned out.

Durant is a winner. He can say he's a world champion and mean it. LeBron hasn't even won a slam dunk contest - of course that''s because he promised he would do it and backed out of it.

Michael Wilbon: Wow, do you hate LeBron or what. But you're dead wrong about the winning thing, if only because LeBron was on the Olympic team in 2008 which won gold, so there.


New Orleans: Who will today's US Open men's finale? Does Nadal complete the career grand slam or does Djokovic pull off the upset?

Michael Wilbon: straight sets. Has Nadal even lost his serve once?


Chantilly, VA: The win by James Madison over Virginia Tech really hurts Boise State. I dont think Boise State under any circumstances will make the title game, due in large part to the strength of schedule component with the computer rankings

Michael Wilbon: Yes, it does hurt Boise big time that Virginia Tech no-showed Saturday against JMU. Big congrats to JMU for bringing the heat, but Va. Tech has plenty of quit in them, and that's too bad. They're a disappointment, ultimately, just about every season. Very disappointing.


Rockville: Mike- Dallas fan here who went to the game last night. Putting aside at my disgust with the outcome (Jimmy would have cut Barron on the plane home), I left FedEx discouraged.

I realized that I probably won't be able to take my 4 year old son to an NFL game for many years. The cursing, drunkenness and awful behavior of the minority of fans make taking young kids to any game (and granted an evening game is not ideal) just not feasible. Its a shame, since it is an experience I shared with my dad and wanted to share with my kids in the next year or two. Ravens games are worse.

How can the NFL fix this? A family section? No reason for a kid to see a man screaming madly at DeMarcus Ware lying injured and taunting fans applauding him getting up, no matter what team you support.

Michael Wilbon: I know last night was a painful one for you, and I'm thinking already about what I'm going to do about my son, now 2, who I want to take to games but probably won't. Maybe minor league baseball and small college games? Is that a solution? The drunkenness and swearing is unbelievable. I wouldn't go to an NFL game on my own dime for any reason anymore...I don't know how Nationals games are, though I suspect nowhere near as vile as most football games where people arrive hours early and drink themselves into a stupor...

Quick story. A female colleague of mine from Philly, Ashley Fox, had to park about a half-mile from Fed Ex Field last night. I drove her to her car 90 minutes after the end of the game (after we both had gone to interview players in the locker room and written quick stories for deadline)...It took 30 minutes just to get her to her car after 1 a.m. and the inner road around FedEx was closed off...simply closed. And for what? So, you have to drive through parking lots forever and wind around. What hell. I'll never go to a Redskins game as a patron, and I owned club seats for 13 years, all 13 at FedEx...What an awful gameday experience, and I'm sure it's nearly as bad for some of the reasons you describe inside the stadium trying to watch...People ought to be ashamed of themselves...but are too drunk to be...

I gotta run...Sorry to end on this note, but have to run and do PTI...See you next week, Monday afternoon...thanks much...have a great week, thanks for chatting. MW


DC: Which NFL team impressed you the most in week one: Saints? Titans? Patriots? Texans?

Michael Wilbon: All four about equally.


Anonymous: How many days are bigger sports days than yesterday?

Michael Wilbon: If the men's tennis final had been played, perhaps none.


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