Redskins-Rams Predictions


As ever, these are our crackerjack staff’s predictions for Week 2. Make yours down in the comments. Whoever comes closest gets to make a guest post on this here weblog.

Chris Mottram: Rams, 27-17

I watched every minute of Week 1’s game and actually enjoyed it, despite the loss. They moved the ball, played solid defense, and actually looked like a pro football team! But with the already-shitty secondary even more depleted this week, and no DeSean, we’re looking at an 0-2 start. Hopefully it’s at least competitive again.

Matt Terl: Rams, 35-17

God, it’s only Week 2 and I barely care. I assume the Rams humiliate the Skins again — strong defense, Cousins likes to throw interceptions, etc.

JP Finlay: Rams, 30-17

Gregg (extra G for genius) still has something for these ‘Skins. And if you can find a prop bet on Rams STs scoring, hammer it.

Jamie Mottram: Rams, 24-20

You know, the Rams gave up a punt return TD last week too. Of course, they also scored one.

Andy Peden: Rams, 31-18

Glad folks are feeling optimistic. I’m going to be a realist. We scored 10 points, which I’m guessing doesn’t equate to any wins. Now we did only give up 10 points on defense, but unfortunately we still have to play special teams. Guessing the Rams get at least one return for a TD.

Todd Davis: Rams, 34-10

I’m actually kind of afraid for Cousins’ life against Aaron Donald and the Rams front. This is such a terrible matchup for this team compared to the Dolphins. The first time Tavon Austin is isolated in the flat with the human statue that is Trent Murphy is going to be high comedy.

Jack Kogod: Rams, 24-17

I had a great nap during last week’s game. This week I’ll be prepping some massive ribeyes for my brother who is in town from San Diego. Possibly taking another nap when that’s done.

Composite prediction: Rams, 29-17

Redskins-Dolphins Winners & Losers

Handing out labels after Redskins games, this time a 17-10 loss to Miami.



Alfred Morris — Always good to see a well-fed FroMo (121 yards on 25 carries). Matt Jones got some too (28 on six), which means they ran it a lot, and effectively. Scored just 10 points, though, zero in the second half.

Brandon ScherffNeutralizing Ndamukong Suh is damn good.

Preston Smith — A sack and a sloppy forced fumble in his debut.

Dolphins fans They exist!


Jay Gruden — The attempted FG on 4th-and-1 in the first quarter comes to mind specifically, but in-game decisions in general don’t seem to be Gruden’s forte.

Special teams — Of course they gave up a punt return TD. Of course! Not that you need it read back to you, but here are the Redskins special teams rankings from 2014 to 2010, according to Football Outsiders: 29th, 32nd, 28th, 21st and 25th.

DeSean JacksonPulled a hammy on their second drive. Aside from Trent Williams, Scherff and maybe Kirk Cousins, that’s the last guy the offense can lose. So, maybe the fourth guy. Still, it’s a loss.

Andre Roberts — Dropped a WR screen, then quit on the play, despite it being a live ball.

Ndamukong SuhC’mon, man. Football is violent enough.

Chris Culliver and Keenan Robinson — Each dropped an INT, though Culliver’s was way worse, given that a) he’s a cornerback, b) it was right in his bread basket and c) he would’ve taken it to the house.



Kirk Cousins — About what you’d expect, although the yards/attempt (6.3) were down from his career average (7.4).

Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed — Disappointments from 2014 were both decent (13 catches on 19 targets for 137 yards and a score).

New return men — Chris Thompson’s one KR went for 36 yards, and Jamison Crowder’s two PR’s went for 23. It’s something!

Redskins-Dolphins Predictions


And we’re back! No, I don’t know why either. But if Kirk Cousins is better than he’s been, the O-line comes together, some of these new defenders pan out, the special teams isn’t a total disaster and you squint real hard … the Skins could win seven games.

Anyway, as ever, these are our crackerjack staff’s predictions for Week 1. Make yours down in the comments. Whoever comes closest gets to make a guest post on this here weblog.

Matt Terl: Redskins, 35-30

The Nationals collapse + the new starting quarterback + the end of an offseason of lunatic drama = time to build hope in fans who believe they are already emotionally dead. The team needs to build us up again so they can crush us anew.

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


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.”

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Ranking The Chris Davis Mustache Vs. Other All-Time Orioles Greats

You may have noticed that Chris Davis is on a tear, elevating his season HR total to 30. The Chris Mottram lookalike’s OPS+ is up to 134, the second-best of his career. You may have also noticed that thing on his face:

The Orioles slugger had let his beard and mustache go until it was threatening the Orioles’ strict no-beard rule, so he shaved the beard but kept the mustache.

And it looks terrible. But he can’t shave it off now.

A player on a streak has to respect the streak, you see. So, since it appears Crush’s little friend may stick around, we asked Doug Ramey (@fatpickled) to weigh in. Doug is a bit of an expert on the subject, given that he authored “The 12 Best Mustaches in Orioles History” on this very site.

Here’s what Doug had to say:

“That furry caterpillar is impressive — it almost looks like he’s wearing a disguise. It’s also comical how it looks when he has one of his over-the-top lippers in.

In order to crack the top 10 I feel it needs to last 30 days … the other guys on that list rocked the ‘stache for entire seasons. That being said, if the ‘stache has legs and lasts awhile it has top-five potential.

I do deduct points for the flavor saver he has accompanying the ‘stache. Just because his buddy Chris Tillman is still rocking a flavor saver eight years after they were out of style (if they ever were) doesn’t mean he has to add that as an accessory to his already impressive lip fur.”


The Nats May Have Something In Joe Ross

In case you’re wondering why Doug Fister is moving to the pen upon Stephen Strasburg’s return, this may have something to do with it:

That’s ridiculous and wholly unexpected and totally unsustainable. Ross, who came to Washington this offseason along with “Shortstop of the Future” Trea Turner in the Steven Souza deal, has a career minor league ERA of 3.64 and K-BB ratio of 2.82.

So how’s he doing so phenomenally well at the Major League level? His career progression may have something to do with it. Via B-R:

*In 29 A ball starts: 4.21 ERA, 2.08 K-BB ratio
*In 19 high A starts: 3.98 ERA, 3.11 K-BB ratio
*In 13 AA appearances (12 starts): 3.03 ERA, 5.62 K-BB ratio
*in five AAA starts (all this year): 2.19 ERA, 2.14 K-BB ratio

Basically, he just keeps getting better, and now he’s got a 2.80 ERA in seven starts with the Nats, with more starts to come.

In a related story, Fister, who was one of the NL’s top 10 starters last year, is entering free agency.


Introducing The ‘KD To DC’ Shirt For Hopeful Wiz Fans

Most Wiz fans fall into one of three categories, all of them sad.

The first is children of the ’80s, myself included, reared on the duo of Jeff and Moses Malone. Those were not good teams, and they never won a playoff series. They’re probably most-remembered for having 7’7″ Manute Bol and 5’3″ Muggsy Bogues.

The second bucket is ’90s kids, who got to enjoy C-Webb and Juwan, for three years at least. They almost took a first-round game off of the Jordan Bulls. It was the only time they made the playoffs all decade.

Those raised on ’00s Wizards basketball were slightly more fortunate. They got Gilbert, who was great, especially during the Agent Zero thing. Then they spiraled into five seasons of 27-55 basketball.

But things are looking up! The Wiz lucked into Wall and Beal, and they’ve been two wins shy of the conference finals each of the past two years. To get over the hump, though, and be a true contender, they need another major piece.

That piece hits the market next summer, and he makes all the difference. Here to commemorate the occasion is a fresh design from our friends at Sneeki’s Tees.


It may be a longshot, but fans should dare to dream about more than 45-win seasons and early playoff exits. Plus, this is just a really good looking shirt. Go get it for $25 in navy or royal blue.

Previously: Sneeki’s Washington “Football Team” T-Shirt

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


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.