Category Archives: Redskins

Redskins-Buccaneers Winners & Losers

Handing out labels after Skins games, this time a game against the Buccaneers that existed, but really who’s going to quote the score or brag about a fourth preseason game.

Oh.

WINNERS

All of us. Preseason is over, everyone. We made it. RG3 didn’t burst into flames. Trent Williams is still going strong. Nothing horrible happened to any starters. Next time we see this football team take the field, it will be for a real game. Great job, everyone. Way to stay tough.

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Fancy Stats Show That RGIII May Be Good Again

Here’s a guest post from Eric Fingerhut, published with love for the Washington Post, Neil Greenberg and statistical analysis.

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“Stats show that Redskins’ Robert Griffin III will never be as good as his rookie season,” screamed the headline on the Washington Post’s Fancy Stats blog Monday afternoon. The third sentence of the blog post was less emphatic but still pretty definitive: “We likely have seen the best RGIII will ever be.”

There are a number of reasons I could think of why RGIII may end up never flashing the form we saw in 2012: lingering effects of his knee injury, a failure to adjust to being a pocket passer, defenses simply figuring him out. But stats that show that RGIII will never be the same, even two, three or five years from now? I’d be interested in seeing those. But the author of the post, Neil Greenberg, actually shows no such thing.

Using a statistic called “adjusted yards per attempt” — basically dividing a QB’s passing yards by his attempts while also taking into account touchdowns and interceptions — he first shows that, other than Griffin, just three rookie quarterbacks since 1970 have achieved an AYPA of 20 percent above league average. Only one of those quarterbacks had a season as good as that again, which would give Griffin a 33-percent chance of returning to form, slightly better than never. (That one QB who did get back to that level? Dan Marino, who did it five more times.) Of course, as anyone who knows anything about statistics should know, drawing inferences from a sample size of three is pretty unreliable.

So Greenberg then links to a list of all QBs who ever had a season 20 percent above the league’s AYPA average. Conveniently, there are exactly 100 on the list, 47 of which had at least one more such season during their career (including such illustrious names as Chris Chandler, Elvis Grbac, Erik Kramer and Wade Wilson). Meanwhile, somewhat confusingly, the post also contains a graph which states that 49 percent of QBs who hit the 20 percent over AYPA average never repeat that achievement.

In other words, a post with a headline stating that RGIII will “never” be as good as 2012, and whose text claims that we’ve “likely” seen the best of RGIII, actually shows that RGIII has about a 50-percent chance of being as good as he was in his rookie season. Sure, 50 percent isn’t a guarantee, but it’s a very long way from never. And if someone tells me that something is “likely,” I usually think there’s a much better chance than 50 percent of it happening.

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Redskins-Ravens Winners & Losers

Handing out labels after Skins games, this time a oh god I don’t know what am I doing with my life 23-17 loss to the Ravens.

WINNERS

Keenan Robinson – Was all over the field, living up to the generally favorable reports he’s been getting all preseason. Notable plays included a 4th & 1 stop on the Ravens first drive and shutting down an end-around on the next drive. Looks like a major upgrade over the last year of London Fletcher.

Jason Hatcher – Finally got on the field post-surgery, and immediately helped lead to Joe Flacco looking pressured and harassed. So for at least one preseason game, he looks like exactly the kind of impact free agent signing the team was hoping for.

Trent Murphy – Bull-rushed his way into a sack and basically made a nuisance of himself all night.  Promising preseason continues for the rookie.

Andre Roberts – Had just one punt return for 23 yards, but it’s been a long drought between decent punt returners, so it seemed disproportionately incredible.

Kirk Cousins – I guess. I dunno. He went 14 for 20 for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the Ravens’ top 3 corners were already out to start the game, so lord only knows who Cousins was throwing against. But … sure. He moved the ball. RG3 didn’t (SPOILER: see “Losers,” below). I dunno. I am so glad I don’t have to field emails and comments about the team this week.

People With Hot Takes About RG3 – Possibly the biggest winners of the whole night.

LOSERS

First-team offense – These guys were terrible, almost without exception. They opened with a strong Alfred Morris run, then threw an interception negated by penalty, had a bunch of no-gains, and settled for a field goal. They still haven’t scored a touchdown this preseason. There were good plays negated by penalties. Miscues. Oddities. False starts. Another near-interception (which also would’ve been negated by penalty), and then an actual interception. Oh, and Griffin was sacked 3 times. I am basically clinging to Bill Barnwell’s “preseason is meaningless” article like it is a floating door and I am a spunky, ahead-of-my-time rich girl who doesn’t want to marry Billy Zane.

Tress Way – Is a punter. Punted poorly.

The TV broadcast – Was apparently engaged in a duel to the death with the starting offense to see who could be worse at their jobs. Probably lost that competition, but not by much. In the first half, the broadcast spent an inordinate amount of time talking about how much Griffin has improved — stepping into his throws! working with Terry Shea! — while he put up terrible numbers. Joe Theismann repeatedly claimed to be unable to distinguish between Steve Smith and Santana Moss, and then compared Nick Williams to Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, and Julian Edelman, inexplicably failing to mention dozens of other famous white people. And Ken Harvey remains the worst sideline reporter in recorded human history, which is saying something if you remember Eric Dickerson’s work in that role.

Robert Griffin III – No way to spin it. He looked awful. Indecisive, inaccurate, overwhelmed, and maybe overcoached. But worse than losing a preseason game, he has now doomed us all to a week of lunatic quarterback controversy.

MEDIUM

Brandon Meriweather – Started off seeming active, and possibly improved. Made a nice stop in the backfield. Then he turned back into Brandon Meriweather, got called for a helmet-to-helmet hit, then fell down in coverage to give up a long gain. But he’s medium because, honestly, this is who he is, and he did a perfectly average job of being Brandon Meriweather.

#RedskinsFacts – Put together a well-produced, genuinely compelling commercial supporting their near-lunatic insistence on keeping the team name. On the other hand, its primary argument also seemed to boil down to “The Redskins name isn’t nearly as big a problem as poverty, alcoholism, or sub-par health care,” which … I mean, sure, that’s one approach you could take, but it’s not setting yourself a particularly high standard to match.

Redskins-Browns Winners & Losers

Handing out labels after Skins games, this time a 24-23 preseason THRILLER against Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns v Washington Redskins

WINNERS

Ryan Kerrigan. Recorded a sack on the first play from scrimmage, added another later in the game on Johnny Manziel, which led to Brian Orakpo doing this.

Ryan Grant. He continues his impressive camp/preseason with four catches and a touchdown. Looking more and more like a lock to make the roster.

DeSean Jackson. A couple catches for 34 yards, including one in which he turned a four-yard gain into an 11-yard first down reception. I’m so excited to watch him this season.

Andre Roberts. Two catches, including the 49-yard over-the-shoulder reception on a perfectly placed bomb from RGIII.

Bashaud Breeland. Seems like a fairly bad man.

Evan Royster. Nice 24-yard catch-and-run, followed up with a two-yard touchdown carry. Both will help his hopes of making the team.

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11 Redskins Fans Who Think Colt McCoy Is Better Than RGIII

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1) Redskins fans, and all NFL fans, really, tend to overreact to preseason games.

2) You don’t have to look very hard on Twitter to find people saying dumb things.

With that, let’s check out what the social media buzz was all about last night as Washington beat New England, 23-6, with third-string QB Colt McCoy leading the way …

Kinda Funny but Treading Lightly

Not Entirely Unreasonable but Still Silly

Quickly Diving Into the Deep End of the Idiot Pool

Incredibly Dense and Also Lacking Originality

This is how Preseason Hall of Famers are made, people.

Redskins-Patriots Winners & Losers

Handing out labels after Skins games, this time a 23-6 preseason win against the Patriots. Yayyyyy football! Booooooo preseason! Via @BurgundyBlog, let’s all yawn at preseason along with Santana Moss.

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Winners

Redskins Running Backs — Originally I had them all listed separately, but that seems silly, for the most part. The RBs rushed the ball 42 times for  177 yards, a solid 4.0 average. Alfred Morris looked trucklike and Morris-y in deliberately limited action. Roy Helu Jr. looked like a more-than-capable #2. Evan Royster looked unremarkable, and bizarre in a #26 jersey. (Every true Redskins fan knows that will always belong to Ifeanyi Ohalete.) Chris Thompson continues to look more like Brandon Banks and less like Darren Sproles. And then there were the two new guys.

Lache Seastrunk — Looked every bit as electric as advertised, rushing 12 times for 63 yards (admittedly against New England’s 11th-string defense).

Silas Redd – Wearing the #24 jersey of preseason legend Marcus Mason, Redd took 9 carries for 45 yards and added 2 catches for 18 yards. Running back is looking crowded this year.

Colt McCoy — Wearing the #16 jersey of Redskins preseason legend Babe Laufenberg and the first name of Redskins preseason legend Colt Brennan, McCoy is a strong front-runner candidate for “player that some idiot fan will advocate for ahead of an actual top-line starter”. (Ed. note — And also the Redskins Preseason HOF!) Continue reading

Just A Great Super Bowl XXII Photograph

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Shared months ago by Mr. Irrelevant Maryland sports correspondent Andy Peden and found in my inbox moments ago is this lovely gem. Here’s the quick backstory:

It was taken postgame of Super Bowl XXII in a bar in San Diego. The four guys in jackets were singers in the Redskins band. The dude in front was a local who was a Skins fan. This is what a Super Bowl victory celebration looks like. Glorious!

You’ll recall that game was played in San Diego and Doug Williams went off en route to a 42-10 victory over Denver. What I don’t recall, or was perhaps unaware of, is that the Redskins band had singers.

I want to believe this is true, and I also want that gentleman’s Doug Williams T-shirt.

Redskins Only Have One Guy On Grantland’s All-Bad Contracts Team

Going back to the Bill Barnwell:

Defensive Tackle: Jason Hatcher, Washington
Contract Flaw: Paying for the Outlier; System Guy Out of System

Hatcher had spent years as a backup 3-4 end in Dallas before 2013, in which two key things happened: The Cowboys moved to a 4-3 defense, and they hired defensive line guru Rod Marinelli to coach their linemen. Hatcher kicked inside to tackle and had an enormous year as an interior pass-rusher, leading a disappointing Cowboys defense with 11 sacks. He’d had just 16 sacks across his previous seven seasons. Washington, exhibiting its usual wisdom, saw this and signed the 32-year-old Hatcher to a four-year, $27.5 million deal in which he will once again become a 3-4 defensive end more than a thousand miles away from Marinelli’s tutelage. And even that might be generous; Hatcher will miss part of training camp after having his knee scoped.

Not the most promising start to Hatcher’s time in D.C.

RGIII Is Still Here, You Guys

Griffining Pose

It’s easy to forget, after the devastating knee injury and nightmarish sophomore season, just how valuable Robert Griffin III remains and how brilliant he can be. Here with a reminder, from his annual trade value column, is Grantland’s Bill Barnwell:

15. Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington

This is the player with the biggest gap between his ceiling and floor, right? The floor is Griffin suffering another knee injury that would make his issues (both in terms of physical fitness and ability to avoid hits) critical and evaporate his value. The ceiling? I mean, you can make a case that Griffin was the best quarterback in the league on a per-play basis as a rookie. He was fifth in completion percentage, first in yards per attempt and interception percentage, fifth in QBR … and that was with Josh Morgan and Logan Paulsen as two of his starting pass-catchers. He replaces those two in 2014 with DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed. The wild card: new offensive coordinator Sean McVay, infuriatingly just 28 years old. Anything is possible from here.

I added a little emphasis on that bit about his rookie season, because I think people forget, if they even knew to begin with. In a league featuring Manning and Brady and Brees and Rodgers, rookie RGIII may have been the best of the bunch. As an added bonus, the Redskins won the division!

That seems like ancient history. It was a year and a half ago.

18 New Redskins Names Inspired By Marvel Comics

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We’re approaching the point where literally every person in America with a soapbox of any kind will have weighed in on the Redskins name. As part of staking their flag into a small square of this hotly disputed rhetorical soil, most of those people will suggest possible alternate names. Eighty-five percent of those names will be the goddamned potato joke, and the remaining 15 percent will be terrible.

The current front-runner for worst in the clubhouse comes from Fortune Magazine managing editor Andy Serwer, who suggests in a Politico column (for a section of the site, it’s worth noting, that is literally called “Soapbox”) that the team be renamed the Washington All-Americans.

Serwer’s argument hinges on three points. First, the obvious squishy liberal inclusiveness the name implies. Second, “All-American” has a positive connotation in a sports context. And third … well, I’ll let him tell it:

I did some digging around and discovered that “All-American” used to be an obscure Marvel comic book super hero back in the 1980s. And get this, he was a football player! The All-American character was ‘really’ Giovanni “Jack” Magniconte, star quarterback of the fictional New York Smashers, nicknamed “Mr. Magnificent” by the press.

And … yeah. Hoo boy. Using this as an argument for choosing a team name is like naming your baby “Ishtar” because it was the title of a big-budget movie with some big-name stars. Let me get my geekhat on so we can do a deep nerd-dive on this.

Magniconte was the star of a doomed book called Kickers Inc., which was one of the launch titles in an equally doomed Marvel sub-imprint called the New Universe. Launched in 1986, the New Universe was meant to be “the world outside your window!” — a more realistic look at people with super powers running in something like realtime, basically — as an attempt to recapture the IP-generating lightning in a bottle that was the launch of the original Marvel Universe 25-ish years prior.

Kickers Inc. was arguably the stupidest book in the line, and was one of four launch titles canceled at the end of its first year. The imprint as a whole lasted just two more years, flailing around in increasing desperation before being mothballed. In those two years, Magniconte resurfaced as a supporting character whose role is basically “government stooge.” Not exactly a pop-culture icon to name a football team after.

Just to drive the final nerd-nail into the coffin of this idea, there’s this: The New Universe popped back up in 2008 as an even grittier “re-imagining” of the concept. This time around, Magniconte’s powers manifest while he’s on the field mid-game, which results in a graphic, on-panel depiction of him stiff-arming a dude so hard that he explodes in a spray of guts and bones. This is EXACTLY the kind of association the NFL is trying to draw in these days of concussion awareness and increased player safety concerns. (For a fun thought experiment, try to imagine the league’s earnest “don’t use super-powers on-field” ad campaign following that disaster!)

In summary, the “Washington All-Americans” idea is every bit as terrible as you think it is, and dragging in this stupid Marvel reference only makes it worse.

Which is not to say that the idea of borrowing some of the names or concepts from the Marvel Universe is inherently terrible. Here are 18 other Marvel-inspired potential names that are marginally less awful, or, at least, better thought-out. Continue reading