January 30, 2009

Super Links For A Super Sunday

Hines Ward should be able to bring out his full bag of dirty tricks. Relax Steelers fans, I'm just playing around.

If Pittsburgh got riled up about the Titans trashing their Terrible Towel, this will raise some pulses. What was the AZ mayor thinking?

Cool story for this no namer. Nice to have these stories in the NFL. Reminds me a little of that construction worker signed off off the streets by Philly in the '04 Super Bowl.

I refuse to link this, but Barack is picking the Steelers. Why in the world do we care who he picks? His knowledge might only surpass that of Emmitt Smith's.

Anquan Boldin really doesn't bother me. Sure he went a little overboard, but the organization really gave him the cold shoulder this past offseason. He's a team player and will show it at the Super Bowl. The Cardinals Report agrees.

Thank you, Matt Bowen for backing up Ryan Clark and big hits. It's part of the game America. Get used to it or don't watch.

The top ten worst Super Bowl teams of all time. Wow Fox Sports. The Cards are number one and the game hasn't even been played. My money is on the Bears in '06. They sucked.

Well for what it's worth, I'm gonna roll with the Steelers even though the Cards have been the team of destiny. AZ seemingly gets exactly what they need right when they need it. But Pittsburgh usually has a way of disregarding the hype and just winning when they need to. Their defense is just too much for me to pick against them.

However, this Cards team has surprised me before. And they could very well do it again.

Steelers win, 20-7

January 28, 2009

Super Bowl Quick Hits

The more I think about this game, the less excited I am. I like the Cardinals, I really do, but I just don't feel they belong here.

Sure they won their play-off games, but they really don't have a great defense or a solid running game. The defense hasn't even been great during their postseason run. They have simply been average. And yet they keep winning.

Which leads me to wonder is Larry Fitzgerald and the Cards passing attack really that good?

If so the Cards will have some trouble against the Steelers number one ranked defense.

The Steelers secondary seemed to be the weak link that was masked by a great pass rush. However, last week Pittsburgh's secondary blanketed the Raven receivers with a less than solid rush in the first half. Granted, Derrick Mason is a far cry from Larry Fitz, but the secondary looked good last week.

This week, the Steelers will have to get some pressure because Warner can pick apart any secondary if he has time. There's just too many weapons. The Eagles didn't stop the Cards until they got in Warner's face. Pittsburgh will have to do the same.

Big Ben was less than stellar in his previous Super Bowl appearance. The Cardinals secondary is less than fearsome so expect him to be a little more effective. The Cardinals linebackers are what has really saved face defensively.

Ben has the ability to stretch out plays and make something happen. Against this defense he could find a lot of opportunities to strike. The Cards will have to play with reckless abandon in order to prevent Ben from hurting them with his arm.

Clancy Pendergast proved against Philly he isn't afraid to bring the house. But just bringing players doesn't do the trick. They have to break through and finish off hits. Ben makes a living breaking tackles.

I feel Willie Parker could be the X factor offensively for the Steelers. He is healthy and has less wear on his body because he had to sit out a few games earlier in the year. His speed and power could take its toll on the Arizona secondary as the game gets into its later stages.

Overall, it's been a quiet week and both teams seem ready to go. I can't help but feel Pittsburgh is better in almost every category, but these Cardinals have something about them. They sure aren't the best, but they just keep surviving and proving everyone wrong.

January 20, 2009

Can Colossal Cards Continue Climb?

The Arizona Cardinals might very well be the most unlikely NFC champion I have ever encountered. They struggled badly down the stretch; couldn't stop anyone on defense; and they looked like they had packed it in as wild-card weekend approached.

Their initial inability to sell out their play-off game against Atlanta that week told the whole story: This team was going nowhere. Or so their fans (and the experts) thought.

Then the Cards shocked the world and won. But everyone still dismissed them. After all they had beaten a very young Falcons team headed by the rookie Matt Ryan. There was no way they would challenge the second seeded Panthers.

However, the Cardinals played the game of their lives, punishing Carolina to earn a trip to the NFC Championship game against the Eagles.

Again, the football world decided that with the Eagles hot streak and NFC Championship experience, Arizona would be unable to win.

Kurt Warner blew off those doubts and an Eagles pass rush guiding the Cardinals to a 24-6 first half lead.

The Eagles would come back to take a 25-24 lead, but Warner led a brilliant 14 play drive, capped by a touchdown pass to Tim Hightower and a two-point conversion. The defense held and the Cards won their first NFC Championship.

What enabled the Cardinals to give themselves this opportunity to play in the Super Bowl? Several factors strike me as the reason the Cardinals were able to turn things around just as the postseason began.

1. Larry Fitzgerald: This a no-brainer. Fitzgerald might the be the first receiver since Rice to ever have this much of an impact on the game from the receiver position. What an easy call for the Cards when they were facing a first-and-goal from the Eagles two. Fitzgerald wide to the left in single coverage; not a safety in sight. Too simple. The Eagles should have known better especially with Fitzgerald being the only receiver in the formation.

Fitzgerald forces opposing teams to alter their game plans just because of his presence. Not many receivers demand such constant attention.

2. The Offensive line: The big uglies have really stepped up their game. The Cards gave up 28 sacks during the season, which is solid, but the run blocking has improved tremendously the past few weeks.

Edgerrin James actually ripped off a few 10+ yard runs against Philly as the Cards rushed for 102 yards, and the team rushed for over 140 yards against Carolina. In addition, Warner has only hit the deck three times this postseason while facing the likes of Jim Johnson's blitz-happy Eagles, John Abraham, and Julius Peppers.

The O-line is spearheaded by coach Russ Grimm, a former Hog, and a terrific coach. Grimm has made some headlines for his hard-nosed coaching style and should make a great head coach at some point down the road.

3. Kurt Warner: Warner resurrected his career this season, and the play-offs are a testament to his rediscovered talent. Warner led the winning 14 play drive with great efficiency last week and with all the weapons around him, he can be unstoppable.

The O-line's stability has really aided Warner, who has struggled after getting hit throughout his career (remember his meltdowns in St. Louis and New York). He lost his confidence in St. Louis, and held the ball too long in New York.

Now with solid protection, Warner has been able to recapture his confidence and distribute the ball to all the playmakers at his disposal.

4. Ken Whisenhunt: He has really motivated his team in a major way somewhere in the past month. They appeared dead in the water, but Whisenhunt rallied the troops, and now they are just one win away from becoming Super Bowl champions.

Whisenhunt has never been afraid to put what he believes are the best players on the field rather than the big names. Edgerrin James and Matt Leinart learned that the hard way.

Leinart was benched in favor of Warner after a preseason QB competition. Many questioned this move because Leinart appeared to be the future while Warner appeared to be on the downside of his career. This move raised a lot of questions concerning Leinart's ability to be a starter in the NFL.

James was demoted in the middle of the season for Hightower who became a valuable asset especially catching passes out of the backfield. James has returned as a starter however.

What did this accomplish? Firstly I believe it lit a fire under James. James doesn't want to sit. He never has been a backup in this league. Also, I think it kept James' legs fresh for the postseason. Now both backs contribute heavily.

Whisenhunt has really impressed me. Great move by Arizona to bring him in.

5. The defense: The linebackers are playing unbelievable football. Karlos Dansby and Chike Okeafor have been playing at a high level. The front seven has been stopping the run and winning the battle in the trenches.

The secondary has been inconsistent, but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has great cover skills on deep balls. Adrian Wilson is a leader and a force, but the secondary plays too soft too much.

Still, the defense is holding its own; something they couldn't do just a month ago. 48 points in Philly, 47 in New England; things looked grim. Credit the players for stepping up and regaining a swagger. Credit Clancy Pendergast for heading up the turnaround.

Now for the big question. Can Arizona keep these factors churning at all cylinders? They have our attention. Now can they keep it?

They have a solid mix of veterans and youngsters. They possess the firepower, and most importantly they have phenomenal coaching which has tied this team together. I don't see why we should keep doubting.

January 17, 2009

NFC Championship Game: What To Watch For

The NFC Championship game is a sad reminder for us Skins fans. Yes, we did beat the Cardinals and sweep the Eagles this season. Like them we did have our ups and downs. However, these guys won at all the right times while the Skins choked away a huge start. Thus, Arizona will be hosting Philly for the the NFC Championship game.

The fans will definitely play a big factor. It's a domed stadium and the fans will be loud. You can say what you want about the bandwagon fans, but bandwagon or not, more bodies in the seats means more noise in the stadium.

Now for the game itself. The Eagles create turnovers by blitzing the hell out of opposing QBs. Kurt Warner has been rarely touched in the postseason thus far, but if you pressure him mistakes could happen. Warner isn't known for protecting the football when he gets hit, but if he gets time he has the talent and the weapons to destroy a secondary.

So the big question is will the Eagles blitz?

My answer it's Jim Johnson; there will be blitzing.

Will the Eagles get to Warner? My guess is yes. The Eagles defense is playing at high level right now and they know that getting pressure on Warner could essentially decided the game. A few turnovers could set the Eagles offense up on a short field, and keep the defense energized.

The Cardinals have been running the ball effectively during the postseason, but it is their passing game that sets it up. If the Eagles bring pressure and are successful in defending the pass, Arizona will have a hard time getting the ground game going.

Larry Fitzgerald will require constant double-teaming which could open up the field for Anquan Boldin. Boldin's hamstring will play a huge factor in his performance and could be the difference in whether or not the Cardinals can make plays on offense.

For the Eagles, they must contain Fitzgerald and put pressure on Warner. I fully expect them to get to Warner to a certain extent. The big thing is staunch play in the secondary when Warner has time to throw.

On offense, Philly has to get a big game from Brian Westbrook. Westbrook has been very quiet aside from his backbreaking TD run in the Vikings game two weeks ago, but now is the time he needs to step up again.

The Cards will most probably stick one of their big athletes on Westbrook which means we could very well see Adrian Wilson, Antrel Rolle, or Karlos Dansby taking Westbrook for much of the game.

Westbrook can really catch fire and become unstoppable so the Cards need to shut him down early and often. The Eagles will undoubtedly move him around the field looking to create matchup problems for the Cards so the defense will have to aware of where he is at all times.

Correll Buckhalter has also been a threat this season. He has a nice burst and can really catch a defense off guard. He play more impressively than defenses think. A reprieve from Westbrook might not be a good thing for Arizona. Both running backs must be shut down wherever they line up and they must be contained whether they take hand-offs or catch passes. Both are dangerous.

Donovan has also been dangerous as of late. He has taken off with the ball more and has been able get all his weapons involved. Jason Avant, Kevin Curtis, Desean Jackson and others have been seeing the ball come their way. Arizona has a great shutdown corner in Dominique Rogers-Cromartie who can run with the best of them. Look for him to matchup with Jackson. Rod Hood has been playing well this postseason, but he can be picked on.

The Cardinal linebackers have impressed me the past few weeks with some smart coverage plays and the like. They need to be aware of the running backs and D-Mac's movements, which I think they should be able to do.

The game is a tough one to pick as both teams had so many weaknesses until two weeks ago. I really didn't buy either team until last week, but they are now in the Championship.

I think the Eagles matchup well with the Cards especially with their blitz scheme. Warner will struggle mightily if they can get to him often. But the energy will be high and the crowd electric. I think this Arizona team is playing solidly enough on defense to keep it close and Warner has too many options to fail. He'll struggle, but in the end the Eagles will be unable to contain all the playmakers.

I'll go with the Cards 24-20.

Julius Peppers In DC? Don't Count On It.

Julius Peppers just announced he wanted out of Carolina so that he could reach his full potential by playing in a 3-4 scheme.

"I am seeking new challenges that will allow me to grow, develop and reach my personal potential on the football field," Peppers said. "I strongly feel that making a move at this time is in my best interest. I appreciate the entire Panthers organization and am thankful for the seven seasons I've spent with the team."

Translation: "I don't want to play for this underachieving bunch of losers anymore. I want to win and play in a bigger market."

Carolina has been the chic Super Bowl pick in several recent seasons, but they have often failed to reach the play-offs largely due to injuries and poor QB play. This year, they looked like they had broken through with the emergence of Jon Beason and a terrific 1-2 punch at running back in Deangelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart. But Jake Delhomme scuttled their chances with a horrific night against the Cardinals last week.

I would say Peppers wants a big payday from a team with a legit signalcaller. He's a superstar caliber player who would probably get a lot more recognition if he played in a bigger market. He's a tremendous athlete who would be a great fit in a 3-4 defense.

My only question about him is the dismal 2.5 sack season in 2007. Will he have another season like that? If so, I don't know if he's worth the trouble. It might take time for him to adjust to a 3-4 defense.

Perhaps his whole desire to play in a 3-4 is just a ploy to sneak his way out of Carolina, and Peppers will end up with the highest bidder. Regardless, Peppers will be a top free agent should the Panthers let him walk without putting a franchise tag on him.

If he wants to play in a 3-4, Peppers could very well land in Baltimore where the Ravens might lose Terrell Suggs to free agency. The Cowboys might be cap-strapped, but they love to go after those big names so they could try to squeeze Peppers onboard. However, they seem to want to sign Demarcus Ware to a big contract so that leaves a Peppers signing unlikely.

Many Skins fans have expressed a desire to see Peppers in DC, but with our cap woes and poor decisions in free agency, I would be skeptical towards bringing Peppers in. Jason Taylor was a complete bust in his first year, but I think he might be able to have a bigger impact this year, if he can stay healthy.

I don't expect much from the Skins this year, so I really want to see them try and build a team instead of slapping together a bunch of new acquisitions only to see them go 8-8. There are cheaper free agents out there and other needs that can be filled with all the money it would take to bring in Peppers.

January 11, 2009

NFL Divisional Weekend Recap: Trench Wars Are For The Birds

These NFL playoffs have certainly been for the Birds.

Yes, the Ravens, Eagles, and Cardinals all advanced this weekend in postseason play along with the Steelers who certainly were the odd team out in terms of mascots.

But all four teams had something in common that really fueled their victories this weekend. They won the battle at the line of scrimmage.

The Ravens did not give up a single sack against the vaunted Titans' O-line as Joe Flacco was given enough time to make several key throws including the big 48-yard TD pass to Derrick Mason. On the other side of the ball, the Ravens notched a sack on Kerry Collins who had only gone down eight times coming into the game.

The Ravens won 13-10.

The Cardinals traveled to Carolina to face a Panther team that was rested and ready to go against a team many felt still did not belong in the play-offs.

Arizona has long possessed the weapons to make a run in the play-offs, but what always seemed to prevent it was poor offensive line play. That all changed when Ken Whisenhunt brought Russ Grimm with him from Pittsburgh to coach the Cardinal offensive line.

Arizona drafted Levi Brown to play right tackle and Deuce Lutui has played well alongside him. Thus far in the postseason they have given up just one sack while facing the likes of Julius Peppers and John Abraham.

Last night, Kurt Warner had a lot of time to throw the ball and that enabled him to get his playmakers plenty of touches. Larry Fitzgerald had eight catches for 166 yards and with Anquan Boldin possibly making a return next week, the Cardinals might have the best offense left.

Arizona even ran the ball well last night with the combination of Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower. The O-line was able to open up some holes as the Cardinals rushed for 145 yards and a score, dominating a highly-touted Carolina front seven led by all-pro Jon Beason.

Finals score: 33-13, Cards.

Sure the takeaways by the Cardinal defense played a huge factor and we can rave about how great Larry Fitz is (because he is), but to me the offensive line really got the job done and allowed the Cardinals offense to pummel the Panthers.

The Eagles' win best illustrated the importance of winning the war in the trenches. Philadelphia's offensive line went up against Steve Spagnuolo's supermen (Justin Tuck, Matthias Kiwanuka, Fred Robbins, and Barry Cofield) and came up big, surrendering zero sacks. Not bad considering the Giants front four is one the most prolific I've seen in recent years.

Sure there was the safety, but aside from that play, McNabb was given light years of time in the pocket throughout the day. He almost seemed surprised to have so much time on several plays.

Jon Runyan was reportedly limping around in pre-game warmups, but he still played and performed solidly. The Eagles have one of the oldest O-lines in the league and yet they have withstood the arthritis and played deep into January.

Again, you can credit some great defense as the Eagles completely bewildered Eli Manning, but I truly see that offensive line play being the most integral part to the Eagles success as it cut out the heart of the Giants defense.

Looking at the Eagles in the defensive trenches, you can see more of them same. The Eagles stemmed the Giants surge twice on short yardage fourth downs in the fourth quarter to preserve their lead. The Giants had established themselves as a phenomenal rushing team throughout the season, largely due to stellar offensive line play, but they failed to stop Philly's penetration on two key plays.

Result: Giants lose 23-11.

In the final game of the weekend, Pittsburgh also made some key plays early, pushing back center Nick Hardwick on several occasions to disrupt the Chargers running game. The Bolts were unsuccessful in getting the ground game going, finishing with just 15 yards rushing.

The Steelers on the other hand received a monster game from Willie Parker (146 yards and 2 TDs) and rushed for 165 yards total, overwhelming the Chargers front seven. The Steelers are a totally different team from the Colts and their physical style led to match-up problems for San Diego. They were manhandled along the line of scrimmage and as such couldn't get off the field.

Ben Roethlisberger was only sacked one time, a big feat considered the beating he took during the regular season, and he made some key third down throws in the second half to keep the pressure on the Chargers; defense. Big Ben was dumped 49 times in the regular season, but in the finale vs. Cleveland the line gave up zero sacks and they carried over their strong performance into the play-offs.

The Steelers won 35-24.

This week truly demonstrated the importance of strong line play in the play-offs. A good offensive line can transform a decent offense into an efficient one, an efficient one into an explosive one. Likewise on the defensive side of the ball. Just ask the Birds (and Steelers).

January 9, 2009

All-Pro Team Released

The All-Pro team is what really matters to me. I despise the Pro Bowl selections because they are mostly fan-based and the voting is done by most people at the season's midpoint. The all-pro team is actually compiled by legitimate football minds in the AP so I can appreciate what they have to offer me when they present the NFL's best.

Firstly, it was great to see Cortland Finnegan and Nnamdi Asomugha make it. I watched Finnegan about three or four times this year and he is a phenomenal press coverage defender. He is fearless when it comes to playing up on receivers and loves to hit. He had 5 INTs, a sack, and a touchdown, but it was his overall physical play that quickly made him a corner that QBs avoided.

Asomugha has long deserved an all-pro selection and this year he got one. He only had one interception, but the real story behind the selection is something you don't see on the stat sheet. Opposing offenses threw to Asomugha's side of the field just 27 times, allowing only eight catches.

Does it get any better than that? I couldn't find anyone more deserving than those two guys.

As for the QB selection, I might have gone with Drew Brees. His numbers were the best and he posted them with the likes of Pierre Thomas and Lance Moore for large parts of the season. However, you can't argue with the Manning selection. Peyton's leadership really drove the Colts from a team on the brink of collapse to the hottest regular season team of the year.

Deangelo Williams should not have been left out. The guy had one of the best bursts off of the line of scrimmage I've ever seen. You knew he was gone once he hit that gear which was often (14 TDs). Michael Turner and Adrian Peterson were both great backs, but I would have taken Williams over both. He had 20 total touchdowns and though he rushed for less than Turner and Peterson he shared the backfield with Johnathan Stewart.

Peterson also fumbled the ball nine times in the regular season so I just don't see how Williams didn't make it.

The linebackers were solid. I'm partial to London Fletcher and I feel he always gets shafted, but Ray Lewis did have a a good season. Lewis had three picks while Fletcher didn't even have a pass defensed. Fletcher only had one FF and one recovery while Lewis had two of each. London had 133 tackles while Ray had 117.

Fairly comparable stats so I can't complain. My Redskins bias say give it to Fletcher though.

Jon Beason completely deserved his spot. He was in on so many plays for the Panthers this year. He was a tackling machine with 138 and three INTs. Beason received raves all season from scouts and fans.

Chris Snee has always been praised, but this year the praise took him all the way to the all-pro team. Tom Coughlin's son-in-law was a stalwart on a great O-line. In my book that was a solid pick.

Really I had very few issues with the team selected. I didn't realize Tony Gonzalez had produced such massive numbers. Unbelievable that he can put up such stats every year. He's almost 33 and the wear and tear of the NFL hasn't got to him yet. Over 1000 yards and 10 TDs. A surefire Hall of Famer if there ever was one.

Larry Fitzgerald cemented his status as the best receiver in football in my book. Ever since he was at Pitt I've loved watching him play. He's freakishly proportioned and he uses everything his parents gave him to the fullest. Great ball skills, reliable hands, speed, he's the total package.

Every year I try to watch Andre Johnson, but I never get around to it because the Texans aren't on TV in Virginia. Next year, I promise I'll watch him. Hell, I still know he's good. Just look at the numbers.

Le'Ron McClain embarrassed the Skins towards the end of the year. I didn't feel so bad after I saw what he did to the Cowboys. Great choice for fullback. And to think Mike Sellers went to the Pro Bowl (very poor choice I felt); he wasn't even in the running here.

James Harrison naturally made it. And the Raiders added another with Shane Lechler at punter. Two Raiders and no Redskins. Very sad day in DC. Al Davis is outdoing Dan Snyder.

But Ed Reed stole the show as the only unanimous choice. Reed is always called a "ballhawking free safety", so I'll come up with a different description. Reed is a homing missile targeted on the endzone. The ultimate quarterback mind-reader, Reed seemingly knows where the ball is going before receivers even do. Just look at the read on Chad Pennington's pass over the middle last week. Insane skills. And once he gets the INT, 9 times out of 10, he will score. From anywhere. Just look at his several 100-plus yard returns.

So Reed got what he deserved. Every writer voted him all-pro at free safety. That's quite an honor.

The last guy I'll mention is Demarcus Ware. I really thought he should have been defensive player of the year. He had 20 sacks and was routinely wreaking havoc in opposing teams' backfields game in and game out. Ware is so dangerous because he is willing to take chances. He gets flagged for offsides quite often as far as I've seen, but so often when he jumps quickly it's because he knows the snap count. He's smart and has the raw athleticism to back it up.

So the All-Pro team was really chosen well this year. There were solid choices all around and the writers were not afraid to pick the best players at most positions rather than the trendy fan-based choices. Congrats to all on the team.

January 8, 2009

Should Clinton Stay On For Another Term?

Clinton Portis has been an absolute workhorse since he arrived in DC, but as old man time continues to wear down his body, the Redskins organization needs to seriously evaluate the running back position in the next offseason or two.

Portis is fast approaching the typical declining age for running backs. Skills begin to erode as back approach their thirties and Portis, often carrying the ball over 300 times a season, should see a drop in drop in his production as early as next year.

Portis bring a lot of heart to the offense. In fact, he's the only offensive player that really seems to bring a spark week in and week out. But let's face it, this team is going nowhere in the next few years. The best years of Portis' career are behind him, and soon he'll become a mediocre back on a team that has been mediocre since 1991.

There is no quick way to success for this team because the players are old and the salary cap woes prevent a mass overhaul in one offseason. So the question begs, does Portis want to stay here?

Portis was on the John Thompson show on ESPN 980 on Tuesday. He sounded frustrated and ready to win or leave. Thompson asked him if he felt any hope for the team. Portis dodged the question saying something about how he wanted to feel hope, but it was hard to have any. Not a good reply. Even worse, Portis made a backhanded jab at either the front office or the coaching staff, it was hard to tell which.

He blamed the fall after the 6-2 start on an overload of input from someone in the organization. He said that that person or group of persons changed the team philosophy when such a change was clearly not needed. In essence, he accused the team of being unorganized and leaderless with differing viewpoints everywhere.

Portis wants to win. The Skins won't be a contender next year. So will the Skins force Portis to languish in DC or trade him?

I honestly believe Portis will stay until at least the end of his contract. A trade would be difficult at this point in his career even if he wants out, and I doubt his discontent will ever rise to such a level that he would become a cancer to the team. However, I don't really think his presence will make a difference on the field unless the Skins regroup along the offensive line and finally receive solid quarterbacking play.

Portis has carried the ball 1489 times for the Skins. For his career he has carried it 2052 times. He has suffered various injuries and has taken a beating week in and week out. He has lost his breakaway speed and become more of a battering ram rather then a finesse back.

Portis doesn't particularly like the style of back he has become, but if he figures to play a prominent role in the Redskins offense in the coming years, he will continue to play as such.

I would look to see Portis' numbers decrease over the coming seasons, and the Skins will most likely address it in the 2010 offseason once they have attempted take care of several other more pressing needs this offseason. The Skins might not acquire a new feature back for another two or three years, but they will definitely add a change of pace type of back who can keep Portis as healthy as possible.

Ladell Betts might also be an option, but I don't see him as feature back. He is a great pass catcher, but he is fumble prone and is also at the midpoint of his career. Marcus Mason might finally get an opportunity this season. He has always played very well in the preseason, showing great vision and a nice burst.

The Portis years are drawing to a close. He has been a pleasure to watch and hopefully before his time is done in DC, he will experience some much deserved success. However, as time goes on, that seems unlikely.

January 1, 2009

Some New Year's Resolutions For The Skins

2009 brings another year to everyone and for the Redskins a new start couldn't be better.

How many times have we seen this? The Redskins enter a new year sitting at home just waiting to get another shot at contending come August.

Well I'm tired of that so here's a few ideas to help Skins out in the future.

1. Fire Vinny Cerrato: The man is clueless. He's been Danny Boy's puppet since conception. He's there simply as a shield just so Snyder can make his own decisions without anyone knowing that he's still calling the shots. Please get rid of him an find the second coming of Ron Wolf. Scott Pioli per chance?

2. Resign Deangelo Hall: The guy can be a brilliant cover corner, but he can be lazy as well. Give him an incentive laden contract and bring him back. Our defense lacks playmakers and he is one of the best. The secondary is one of the strong spots on the team, and with Shawn Springs aging and Carlos Rogers unhappy, keeping Hall might be necessary to keep it strong.

3. Out with the old: There are some graying heads on the roster that need to be let go. We might be attached to them, but they aren't doing us any favors by wasting spots. Jon Jansen and Marcus Washington are old and injury ridden. Pete Kendall and Casey Rabach look very slow and over-matched. It might take several seasons, but this lot must be purged from the team. Thanks for the service and happy trails fellas.

4. In with the new: The lines must be fortified both offensively and defensively. The trenches were very suspect this year and it might take several years for them to jell with fresh talent. Best do it while O-line wizard Joe Bugel is still around.

Outside Linebacker is also a weak position. Rocky McIntosh had a quiet year and Washington struggled when healthy. In addition there is little depth behind them.

The best way to remedy these problems would be through the draft. Drafting eases salary cap issues and should give the Redskins players who will perform at the top of their games rather than seeing an underachieving performances by overpaid stars.

5. Stick to the plan: I've seen a lot of different ideas thrown around the past decade. None of them have been formulated into a ordered plan. Some years we draft, others we sign free agents. Often times the free agents don't fit our system and the draftees rarely make an impact.

Basically I just want some continuity in the front office. They never seem to be on the right page and their decisions have a long track record of failing. For every right move, ten erase it. This team will be mired in mediocrity until someone comes in and sticks to a plan.

Fortunately, I feel Jim Zorn might actually know what he's doing in terms of rebuilding. Now Danny boy has to listen. JZ knows best.

There's a lot to fix and there'll be more in the coming year's. So what's important is that Skins stop trying for the quick fix and start from scratch. It might not be pretty, but they'll be thankful for it in a few years.

So there's the resolutions. Happy 2009!