Category Archives: Infinite Sadness

The 15 Best-Worst Parts From Football Outsiders’ 2015 Redskins Preview

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This has been a rough week for the Redskins, what with RGIII blaming the media for quoting him accurately and Jay Gruden leaving his franchise QB out there to die. But the thing is, it was pretty rough already. Case in point, read the highlights from Mike Tanier’s (@MikeTanier) excellent Redskins essay in this year’s Football Outsiders Almanac.

I’ve pulled out 15 parts from it (see below), and totally encourage you to buy the book, which I’ve done every summer for nearly a decade. It’s a great resource for A) knowing about the NFL in general on a deeper level, B) getting a handle on expected performance for skill position/fantasy players and C) realizing just how incredibly shitty your favorite team is relative to all of the others. Enjoy.

1. “Checking back in on the Redskins after a few months away is like returning home for your high school reunion and discovering that no one has changed.”

2. “The three-headed quarterback controversy, the closest thing science will ever create to a perpetual motion machine, is back … Jay Gruden, who ended every press conference in his rookie season as head coach by stepping on a rake and thwapping himself in the head, is also back. Dan Snyder is back, because owners cannot be fired.”

3. “The Redskins used to make the same mistake every year. Now they spend three years prolonging the same mistake. It’s a subtle difference.”

4. “A December article on [new GM Scot] McCloughan by ESPN The Magazine’s Seth Wickersham became the defining source text for McCloughan. Unemployed at the time of Wickersham’s profile, McCloughan suddenly became a buzzy name in media and fan circles. Snyder may well have had McCloughan on
his radar before the article was published, but if there is any owner in the NFL likely to hire a new general manager based on something he read in a magazine, it’s Snyder.”

5. “With Griffin in a state of arrested development, the Redskins have virtually nothing to show for three consecutive drafts except Alfred Morris and some oft-injured peripherals like [Jordan] Reed.”

6. “While division rivals acquired instant difference makers like Odell Beckham and Zack Martin in last year’s draft, the Redskins sat out the first round, then grabbed a pair of prospects so unimpressive (Trent Murphy and Morgan Moses) that they doubled down at the same positions this year.”

7. “With minimal star power and an almost complete dearth of mid-tier talent, the 2014 Redskins finished 27th or lower in DVOA on offense, defense, special teams, passing offense, passing defense, adjusted sack rank on offense, and a wide variety of split categories.”

8. “The veteran [free agency signings] will help the Redskins become more competitive, but many of the acquisitions were the kind an expansion team makes just to prevent weekly embarrassment.”

9. “There’s not a playoff-caliber unit on the depth chart, and there’s a lingering sense of dysfunctionality between the underwater-mortgage quarterback and the coach who was supposed to breathe fresh air into the organization but spent 2014 recycling the previous year’s lingering odor.”

10. “Every day in the offseason, Gruden woke, brushed his teeth, perhaps savored a soft-boiled egg, then announced to the Washington media that Robert Griffin is still the Redskins quarterback, as of right now. It was like entering the codes on Lost: if Gruden did not reaffirm Griffin’s status daily, complete with a passive-aggressive undermining clause at the end of the sentence (if the season started today, if he continues to make progress, If Robert and I were the last two humans on earth), the global infrastructure would crumble.”

11. “Gruden managed his three quarterbacks last year as if he was taking requests from message board trolls.”

12. “Gruden coached the end of the [Week 15 Giants] game like he was the Madden AI, not an intelligent adult whose decisions are supposed to achieve some kind of comprehensible goal.”

13. “Griffin now has the footwork of a newborn baby deer, with legs sprawling in all directions when he attempts basic maneuvers in or out of the pocket. His stat sheet for 2014 was like a straw-man argument against completion percentage as a measure of quality. Griffin completed 68.7 percent of his passes, which would rank in the all-time top 20 if he had played a little more. But Griffin led the NFL in failed completion rate: exactly one-third (47 of 149) of his completions were essentially useless.”

14. “[New offensive line coach Bill] Callahan has the resume of an interim head coach if Snyder and McCloughan decide enough is enough after Thanksgiving.”

15. “All teams rely on multiple coaches, players and execs for success, of course. Only Washington is relying on so many people with an obvious capacity for failure.”

Don’t Worry, RGIII Is Willing To ‘Be Basic’

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From this week’s MMQB column, which leads with a terrific story about Panthers coach Bruce Dehaven, comes this RGIII quote:

“[The Redskins] are asking me to be basic and take the plays that are there. If that’s what Jay wants me to do, that’s what I am going to do. It doesn’t mean you take everything out of your game. When those opportunities come up to make plays out of the pocket I will do it and not think twice about it. But if they are asking me to do the ordinary, that’s what I am going to have to do.”

I’m not sure which is worse, the reluctance or the delusion. It feels like a long season already.

17 Redskins Sponsors You Can Try To Live Without

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At this point, I think the only thing we can do as Redskins fans to affect change is to A) switch teams or B) stop giving the team money.

With regard to Option A, I’ve tried to adopt my home state Panthers as a favorite team in-waiting. Of course, they’re on a five-game losing streak, with the latest loss coming on a pair of misses from ex-Redskins kicker Graham Gano. So that’s going well.

With regard to Option B, most of us stopped going to games and buying merch long ago. The last game I went to at FedEx was JMU-West Virginia, over two years ago. And I can’t remember the last bit of Redskins apparel I purchased, though my wife did get me RGIII socks for Christmas 2012. (“Unbelievably Believable” had a different meaning then.)

So, what do we do? We could quit the team, but that doesn’t feel right. Or we could hit Dan Snyder in the wallet, where it hurts.

To that end, here’s a list of Redskins corporate sponsors* to consider boycotting. Who knows how much it’ll help, but it’s stuff like this that forces Snyder to consider two options of his own: A) sell the team or B) at least put a real football mind in charge.

*This list is incomplete and some of the companies may not be active sponsors. Our apologies for the revenue shortage they’re about to experience.

1. Harris Teeter — Between Giant, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc., this shouldn’t be hard. (If it’s the complimentary sugar cookies you want, feel free to swing by and dip your fingers into that little germ-riddled plastic box.)

2. FedEx — Do people still ship things? LAME.

3. Bank of America — There are other, perhaps less American banks.

4. Coca-Cola — It’s gut rot anyway.

5. Papa John’s — Miss you already, garlic sauce.

Continue reading

The 10 Most Disappointing Redskins Of The Past 20 Years Or So

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Brian Orakpo’s season ended this week, another torn pectoral muscle ending another underwhelming campaign. That likely ends his time with the Redskins, too.

He had some decent seasons — including a few Pro Bowl campaigns — but I’ll always think of him as somewhat disappointing, because he wasn’t supposed to be decent. He was supposed to be a dominating sack machine, the missing piece to the pass rush, and somehow there was always some excuse why that never happened.

So this depressing news got me thinking about disappointing Redskins players. I immediately convened an emergency meeting of the Mr. Irrelevant Redskins brain-trust to determine who the MOST disappointing Redskins player was.

(Note: This is not to be confused with Dan Snyder’s top 10 offseason champs. That is a different but related thing.)

This turned out to be a very long meeting. There has been a LOT of disappointment in the last 20+ years.

We briefly considered dividing the disappointments into various subsets — draft busts separate from free agent disasters, or failed wide receivers separate from failed defensive superstars — but in the end decided that one consolidated list was the way to go. Here’s the top 10, along with others receiving votes.

(Note: There was some talk given to including RG3 pretty high up on this list, but I … I just can’t. Not yet. I’m unilaterally moving him back to others receiving votes for at least a little while longer.)

When you get to the end, you can vote for your own biggest disappointment, or write in someone we missed in the comments.

10. Patrick Ramsey

Arrived as the 32nd overall pick in the draft. Started 24 games in a four-year Redskins career. Somehow signed with seven other teams over the next five seasons but never started another game. Continue reading

Nats-Giants NLDS Game 2 Winners & Losers

Handing out labels following the longest game in MLB playoff history, an 18-inning, six hour-and-23 minute 2-1 loss to San Francisco.

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Winners

Jordan Zimmermann — Fresh off of a no-hitter, he came within one out of a shutout in a near-must-win playoff situation. What a stud.

Anthony Rendon — Started off 4-4, driving in the Nats only run. Also stole a base and played sharp at third. Also a stud.

Tyler Clippard, Matt Thornton, Jerry Blevins, Craig Stammen and Rafael Soriano — Combined for seven innings of scoreless relief.

Ryan Zimmerman — Got a pinch-hit basehit.

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Losers

The entire lineup, aside from Rendon — Denard Span, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Asdrubal Cabrera went 4-53, by my count. AssCab did double, FWIW, but he also got himself thrown out for arguing balls and strikes — in the playoffs. This team only has three runs through 27 innings.

Drew Storen — I feel bad for him, about as bad as you can feel for someone in a sports context and non-injury situation. But he came in and blew it, like he did two years ago. (For extra sadness, read Barry Svrluga on Storen’s redemption from just a few days ago.)

Matt Williams — I didn’t disagree with him pulling ZNN for Storen at the time, and I won’t question it now. But it was his call, and it didn’t work. Also, that ejection was weird.

Nats fans — I don’t blame folks for leaving early, it was a six-hour game in 40-degree weather after all, but it’s not a good look.

Home plate umpire Vic Carapazza — The Nats didn’t lose because of him, but he did suck. The strike zone was all over the place, and two outs in the ninth inning of a complete game shutout is a hell of a time to start squeezing a guy. Karma’s a bitch. (Update: This is an awesome look at Carapazza squeezing ZNN in the 9th.)

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Tanner Roark — After a great season as the fifth starter, he was kept out of the playoff rotation and was the last man out of the bullpen. Pitched a scoreless 17th before giving up a solo shot in the 18th. Tough breaks, dude.

Game 3 is in San Francisco on Monday, Doug Fister vs. Madison Bumgarner. The Nats must win to stay alive.

Okay, The Nats Can Stop Getting Hurt Now

A list of injuries the Nats have suffered in this still-young season:

*Doug Fister, strained lat — Hasn’t pitched. Slated for a Single-A rehab start today.

*Wilson Ramos, broken hand — Played one game. Should be back around June 1.

*Ryan Zimmerman, broken thumb — Played 10 games. Should be back late May.

*Denard Span, concussion — Missed a week. Has an even worse than usual .293 OBP since.

That’s the No. 4 starter/big offseason acquisition, catcher/Opening Day cleanup hitter, third baseman/face of the franchise and centerfielder/leadoff hitter. Ouch.

And now this is happening:

Though the full extent of his left thumb injury remains unclear, the Nationals placed Bryce Harper on the 15-day disabled list with a thumb sprain after he visited a hand specialist and received an MRI on Saturday.

Oh, Bryce. He who missed 30-plus games last year may miss another 30 with this. Or not, but still. Hold me, Ray.

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The Nats have persevered so far, going 14-11. That’s a 90-win pace. If the season ended today, they’d be a Wild Card team.

With Fister out, the Tanner Roark-Taylor Jordan debate has been settled. With Ramos out, new guy Jose Labaton has established himself behind the plate. With Zim out, Anthony Rendon moved to third and Danny Espinosa reemerged at second. And with Span out, well, the team doesn’t lose that much, really.

Maybe, in the long run, all this struggle makes them stronger. Hard to see a silver lining in Harper going down, though.

He was replaced in the lineup yesterday by 31-year-old utility man Kevin Frandsen. Someone named Steven Souza Jr. replaces him on the roster.

The Redskins’ Super Bowl Drought Is Old Enough To Drink

Fun column here from Chuck Culpepper, unless you’re a Skins fan:

“Make it 22 years of waiting for Redskins fans, a duration everyone but they hopes will extend into perpetuity, or until the owner sells the club.”

At this point, only seven NFL franchises (the Bengals, Dolphins, Vikings, Chiefs, Jets, Browns and Lions) have waited longer. I’m surprised it’s that many.

Redskins-Giants Winners & Losers

Handing out labels after Skins games. This one a 20-6 miseryfest against the Giants.

Winners

Sav Rocca — Recovered from a terrible first punt to hit a couple of good ones, then recovered from certain disaster on a mishandled snap in his own endzone to get the ball away.

Keith Burns — Made it through the entire season, which seemed unlikely at times. (Look, this was the end of a horrific season that’s going to see everyone fired. The bar for “Winner” is low.)

Kai Forbath — Made both his field goals, including a 49 yarder to end the first half, and scored all the Redskins’ points. Did not hideously embarrass himself. (Again, low bar.)

London Fletcher — Tipped a Curtis Painter pass in the end zone into the waiting arms of Reed Doughty. That’s reason enough to put him into the Winners column one last time. So long, LFB. Sorry it couldn’t end better.

Pierre Garcon — At times appeared to be the only competent offensive player wearing a burgundy helmet. It was just 6 catches, 56 yards, but on a day like today it looked good.

Chris Cooley — After a genuinely impressive first season in the radio booth (as ably chronicled by Steinz), Cooley called this one accurately as well: “This is quickly becoming the worst football game I’ve ever watched.”

Robert Griffin III — Didn’t have to play in this clownshow. Gets to put the worst year of his football life behind him and come back (presumably) healthy next year, with (presumably) a new coaching staff and (hopefully) some new supporting castmembers. And without any kind of a QB controversy, thanks to three sub-mediocre starts for Kirk Cousins.

Rex Grossman — Managed to add a new category to The Dark Knight axiom about “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” as he hung around long enough to become the “Hey, why not put this guy in the game!” backup again.

Chris Baker — I mean, I dunno. He seemed to tackle a lot of people. He knocked Eli out of the game. Got called for a horsecollar tackle penalty that seemed bogus but honestly, who cared by that point.

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Josh Wilson — Looked terrible in coverage, but somehow managed to be on the business end of two takeaways. Left the game with a calf injury and just had to watch the second half, which is probably an argument for putting him the Winners column.

Losers

All of us — For continuing to care, at all. There were things I could’ve done with my life instead of watching this Redskins season. I could’ve played with my kids more. I could’ve gotten better at Rainbow Loom, or brushed up on some cooking techniques. Hell, I could’ve sat around reading old Marvel comics and drinking grape soda and it STILL would’ve been a better use of my time than this was.

Washington Redskins — Secured the second overall pick in the draft, which will be going to St. Louis. Also, lost, making them “losers” by any definition.

St. Louis Rams — NO FIRST OVERALL PICK FOR YOU GUYS. SO THERE.

The Redskins Media Corps — Had to sit in the rain and cold and pretend to care about the game while knowing that the real story — and, likely, a few 22 hour workdays — would be coming only after it ended.

Nick Williams — Inherent scrappiness unable to overcome lack of football ability.

Kirk Cousins —  Terrible day: 19-of-49 for 169 yards with 2 interceptions and a fumble lost. To make matters worse, as his trade value dwindles the likelihood of another year (or more) stuck as backup in D.C. increases. This is not how Kirk Cousins thought his career was supposed to go.

Josh LeRibeus — Made it through the entire season inactive, which is … not good for a thrird-round pick at what would seem like a position of need. Actually, the big loser here isn’t LeRibeus, but the people who drafted him and the fans who have to sit around and think about all the other ways that pick could’ve been used.

Jose Gumbs — Honestly, singling people out feels sort of ridiculous at this point, doesn’t it? He did some more dumb crap, drew a terrible penalty, and generally didn’t play well. Frankly, he fit right in.

Image via @recordsANDradio.