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Six Pack: Vinny’s Diary 2

Well, once again we at the Six Pack have been fortunate enough to get our hands on/steal (wink*) another entry from Vinny Cerrato’s meticulously kept diary. One thing we have come to learn is that while you might question his football knowledge, you absolutely can NOT question his expertise — you might even call it an obsession — when it comes to Miley Cyrus. He knows things about her that no one else knows and some things that only she should (legally) know which is weird, granted, but hey: the guy is a fan, no question there. We personally think it’s odd/creepy that he dresses up like her and records videos of himself singing her hits but we’re not here to judge. In case you’re curious, he does do a nice job with the choreography but that comes from “hours and hours of tears and sweat and whiskey and mom yelling at me to go to bed” (his quote, not ours). But enough about that, on to this week’s entry from last week’s game.

Dear diary: The trip to FedEx was just a teensy bit uncomfortable for me today, my limo driver booed me the whole way there. I live an hour away from the park. Yeah. I couldn’t roll up that divider thing to shut him out because Captain Snyder (more on that later) got stuck down in the crack chasing an animal cracker horse that he wanted to ride. The driver even stopped at a 7-Eleven to get some green tea to soothe his throat so he could keep on booing. Very rude … I would fire him but he looks like Gandalf and Captain Snyder thinks he’s a wizard so he pretty much has carte blanche. Last year after we lost to the Bengals he “pretended” not to see me in the bathroom on the flight back and peed on me. Captain Snyder saw the whole thing and ran around excitedly clapping his tiny hands while squealing with delight and screaming “he’s putting magic on you!” Plane bathrooms still give me nightmares.

So we took a flight last week to a Six Flags park so Danny could shut it down to have it all to himself. The plane’s captain (and this happens A LOT) thought Danny was a mentally disabled child and took him up to the cockpit where he gave him those fake plastic captain’s wings. Anyway, Danny thought it was a formal military procedure and he’s made everyone call him captain ever since. I hate going to Six Flags with Danny, he kicks everyone out of the park and then rides the monorail the whole time screaming his shrill, high-pitched squeal. He inevitably throws up and I have to clean it up. He never lets me go in the karaoke studios to record a Miley hit because he thinks it’s lame. He’s lame! But then I see him crawl in my pocket and fall asleep on a cheeto and I love him all over again.

Oh, hey, I just got a text message from Chris “the teddy bear” Berman. He’s so nice, sometimes he’ll try to act all tough during an interview but you just have to know where to tickle him. Let’s see it says, “Hieeeeeeeee, miss U lots! I luv u! U totally remind me of Christmas!” Huh, that’s weird, I like the guy but we’re not that close, strange that he would … oh wait, follow up text. “Sorry VC, that was meant for Brett Favre.” Well that makes sense, those two are inseparable. That whole ESPN family loves Brett, they even have a whole slew of donor organs mined from probably not 100% cooperative interns that they keep frozen so one day they can rave about what a great guy undead Brett Favre is. “He’s like a kid out there … granted, an reanimated zombie kid kept alive by the blood of others but still that’s kind of childlike … in a way!”

Well the game against the Bucs is underway. I’m so glad we’re at home this year, whenever we go to Tampa Bay we invariably lose Danny for a few days because he likes to go play in the pirate ship and he gets scared and crawls into the cannon and getting him out is a chore. I have to chew up some strawberry icing pop tarts and regurgitate them into the mouth of the cannon while singing ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ to coax him out of there. You can imagine how long it took me to figure that out. The game is pretty dull but on the other hand I just got an offer: New England will send me Ray Carruth and BOX SEATS TO MILEY for our first round draft pick next year. Um, duh, deal! I tried dealing the rest of our picks to New York for Plaxico and the rights to Strahan’s missing tooth but Jerry Reese won’t take my phone calls. Whatever.

Well, that was a close win. Jim Zorn is standing outside my office. Well, not really standing, he’s walking into the same wall over and over again. Just because something doesn’t work doesn’t mean old Zorny will stop trying it! Danny is trying to hit on what he thinks is one of the Redskins cheerleaders (it’s a raisin). I can hear windows shattering downstairs which means Jason Campbell is playing darts again. Who cares that we don’t have a dart board? As for me, I have a date with the very handsome and rugged Sally Jenkins. What a hunk! I hope she doesn’t mind if I wear a dre … crap, gotta go, a gnat is trying to mate with Danny (again).

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Stephen Zorio

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Six Pack: Vinny’s Diary

What follows is an answer to the chorus of complaints from the legions of fans tired of being distracted by “sensible” analysis, backed by “facts” and “knowledge.” If you seek shelter from the twin storms that are “reality” and “logic,” then this is your port of call.

This week at the Six Pack we have an exclusive, our first ever. We were actually able to get our hands on the running and extremely (in fact often explicitly and frighteningly) detailed diary kept by none other than Vinny Cerrato. This is a real coup, in the same way that finding your sister’s 7th grade diary is a coup except that Vinny’s has way more drawings of unicorns. In fact, were it possible to gauge something like this, we’d say way too many unicorns and way too much attention to certain details. But we digress so we’ll just get out of the way and bring you, the lucky readers, the page by page account of how it all went down in the Snyder box at Ford Field.

What a glorious Sunday this is, time for some football. Mr. Snyder is sitting right here next to me … well, “next to me” is not entirely accurate; he’s curled up at my feet, which is admittedly odd. But, still, it’s not every day … OWWWW … dude, what the hell? Danny just bit my ankle … hold on … he’s motioning to me frantically with his tiny hands, it’s actually kind of cute. I can’t understand a word he’s saying, he speaks in the high pitched lilt that is common to the tiny highland elves from which Danny is descended. Imagine Alvin and the Chipmunks on fast forward and subtract the cuteness factor and that just about approximates it. Now he’s scribbling frantically on his “I’m a Lil’ Devil” chalkboard I bought him. You should see him hold the chalk, it looks huge in his tiny, effeminate hands.

OK, he’s handed me the chalkboard, apparently he wants me to describe him as tall. I told him I will agree to that arrangement only if I can put him in people’s gardens and make it look like the lawn gnomes are having their way with him. He declined … lame. I might do it anyway; he’s so tiny he’d be unable to fight back. I reach down and tussle his hair, his right leg starts moving spastically, it’s so cute when he does that. He just hopped up and did his elaborate dance with some pompoms and streamers (set to Tiffany’s long and justifiably forgotten hit ‘Danny’) which is meant to indicate he is ready for the game to start. It’s adorable, even the parts when his stubby legs fail him and he falls down on his face. The cruel mistress that is nature made his arms too short so he’s not able to push himself back up, that’s when I spring to action. I grab him by his suspenders and hoist him and his flailing but tiny limbs into the air to set him back on his feet. I sure do love that little maniac.

Well, that drive by the Redskins offense started off promising but we failed to score again. Starting to wonder if maybe we should have drafted an offensive lineman but Cody Glenn actually fist bumped me at the draft! He totally knows I exist! What choice did I have? And Robert Henson said “you my dawg VC” AND high-fived me! Um, hello, like, totally! Although that pick hasn’t ended up being very “tweet.” Pun! I start to share my awesome pun with Danny when I realized he’s nearly drowning in a dixie cup. Tom Cruise (who is somehow shorter) is panicking and reciting his “help me help you” line from the wildly overrated ‘Jerry Maguire.’ I grab some ice tongs and pluck Danny out of the cup and towel him off vigorously with a cocktail napkin. Crisis averted by V to the C! On the field is another story, even the defense looks bad right now. Sometimes I think it’s funny when Greg Blache says the only tapes he watches are re-runs of the ‘Golden Girls’ and sometimes I kinda wish he would watch game tape. Oh no! Oh no! Albert Haynesworth just collapsed on the field. That’s bad. Fortunately Danny missed it as he and Tom are fighting over a cocktail wiener I dropped on the floor next to me. They both lost to a particularly determined ant.

Danny has actually started watching the game now. We’ve found that stools and tall chairs are out of the question since he falls out of them so easily when the AC kicks on or someone coughs even two suites over. Instead we bought him one of those things babies sit in where you attach it (the thing, not Danny, trust me, we made that mistake once … live and learn) to the top of a door frame and put them in a harness. The ones they sell in the store are way too big so we rigged one up with some shoelaces. He’s dangling next to me and he seems to be unhappy though it’s virtually impossible to tell by looking at his face. Not because he’s stoic or anything like that (far from it, he’s in a state of constant panic like a small bird) but because his face lacks the distinguishing characteristics (a la eyebrows, lips you can see) that might suggest emotion. It’s been said he looks like a rat but rats have those cute little whiskers and Danny is incapable of growing facial hair. His press conference stand in has all of those things but the real McCoy is like a china doll minus the collector value. Uh oh, he just threw his juice box at the window which means he’s mad. It’s largely an ineffective gesture since his arms can barely generate any power but it does mean it’s time to put him back on the floor where Tom is wrestling with (and losing badly to) a gnat.

Danny is using his red phone to call down to the field and demand some changes. It’s not actually connected to anything; in fact, it’s not a real phone. I took a red plastic child’s phone, peeled off the stickers and replaced them with pictures of the coaching staff. For some reason he is pushing the button for Danny Smith, I don’t think he knows who actually does what. He’s also dragged out his shoe box of NFL player cards circa 1995; he wants me to go sign Troy Aikman. It’s so cute. I glance down at the field, the game is over and Zorn is … well, he’s standing there, unblinking and staring off into space. I wish that didn’t remind me so much of his interview. He tends to space out like that … well, a lot, I call it the Zorn Zone, he calls it “staying medium” and a doctor I consulted calls it “an acid flashback.” But who really knows? I grab some tweezers and pick Danny off the floor and slip him into my wallet. I have no idea where Tom is, I think a rat ate him. C’est la vie! It occurs to me, belatedly, that I shouldn’t write this all down. Oh well, that’s why I wrote ‘For VC Only (and Danny, if he ever learns to read)’ on the outside. Foolproof plan! Byeeeeeeee!

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Stephen Zorio

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Six Pack: Week 3

What follows is an answer to the chorus of complaints from the legions of fans tired of being distracted by “sensible” analysis, backed by “facts” and “knowledge.” If you seek shelter from the twin storms that are “reality” and “logic,” then this is your port of call.

– I was standing in line at a Target (buying a new iron — the old one spit rust-colored water onto a white dress shirt, which sort of defeats the purpose) when the cashier and a customer behind me in line started asking me about the Redskins. They noticed I was wearing a Redskins hat, asked me who the next opponent was, that sort of thing. It was all friendly enough but something about the conversation struck me as odd. It wasn’t the subject matter, it was the tone of the conversation. It dawned on me, as I walked out with my new iron (and like 4 other things I hadn’t planned on buying, I’m a sucker) that they were PITYING me. They FELT SORRY for me. That sucked. I’d much rather have people mutter the team’s name with barely disguised contempt and give serious consideration to slashing my tires. Anger I can deal with, anger has a source which, while not always logical, is at least comprehensible. But sympathy? Have things disintegrated to that point?

-The whole Target scenario got me thinking about some larger issues. Who is buying long-sleeve dress shirts with dragons printed on the front of them? “I want to be taken seriously but I don’t want to lose that edge that says I am a virgin who lives at home. I really want to bring those two worlds into harmonious balance.” And I like dragons, I want a dragon tattoo but we have to draw a line somewhere. For the record, it’s totally cool if Jason Campbell wears shirts like that … or anyone on the team for that matter. Everyone else*, it’s lame.

– The other, and probably more germane, issue I pondered was the state of the Redskins. I don’t mean the 1-1 record (more on that later) but the franchise itself, how it is perceived. There’s been a great deal of attention paid to the booing at the end of the too-close-for-comfort win over the Rams. I can’t condone the booing during the victory formation (kind of a silly name in this case but whatever) but I don’t consider it to be entirely without merit. However, I don’t understand the depths of the negativity in some portions of the fan base. There is a segment which seems to not only be convinced of pending doom but to relish in any chance to see that prediction come to fruition. My question to those people is why stick around? Why immerse yourself in something that causes you such angst? That’s not healthy, it’s not productive, in fact, it’s stupid. If the team is such a lost cause, let it go man.

– Let’s look at the facts for the Redskins. Two weeks into the season the team is 1-1, so are 13 other teams — including 2 of the other 3 teams in the NFC East. The offense’s red zone struggles have been discussed ad nauseum but the team is ranked 15th in yards per play. They were ranked 23rd last year. The offense is currently ranked 8th in terms of third down conversions. Last year? TWENTY SIXTH … yuck. Now pay attention: the offense, without question, indisputably and unequivocally needs to improve. Losing Randy Thomas is a blow (though, to be frank, the prospect of his playing 16 games was remote) but it is not insurmountable. I’m not for a minute suggesting this team is going to roll to the playoffs but it’s not out of the question either.

– When’s the last time you saw a Redskins defensive line do what they did against the Rams? I honestly can’t recall having seen a stand like that. Albert Haynesworth is just a force of nature, I love watching him line up with that massive paw in the air. It looks like he is going to club someone to death with that thing. Brian Orakpo is a freak of nature. I echo the sentiment others have expressed about wanting to see him play more DE but … wow.

– Look, the Redskins world is not without some significant flaws, it would be foolish to pretend otherwise. But it is equally foolish, if not more so, to assume the team will wallow in abject failure. That’s both a needless exercise in frustration and factually unsupportable. Again, that’s not a prediction that the team will cruise to a division title, it’s not to say the season will provide no further frustration. But, TWO games in, I just can’t fathom why you wouldn’t have some reasons for optimism. Otherwise, why watch?

*Subject to change

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Stephen Zorio

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Michael Jordan, a Hall of Fame Speech and One Whiney Columnist

Be like Mike? No thanks

By Rick Reilly

See what he did there with the headline? Clever! If we’re lucky this column will be filled with more “subtle” and “funny” references. Also, this is a ridiculous premise. You will never convince me some small part of the pasty white, nerdy and no longer culturally relevant Rick Reilly wouldn’t trade lives with the best basketball player ever.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Six Pack: Week 2

What follows is an answer to the chorus of complaints from the legions of fans tired of being distracted by “sensible” analysis, backed by “facts” and “knowledge.” If you seek shelter from the twin storms that are “reality” and “logic,” then this is your port of call.

-Final scores are tricky things to read, because they only tell you a small part of the story. The winner and loser are obvious but the distance between losing and winning is often relative. There are those games in which the final score tells you pretty much all you need to know, a.k.a. a blowout. There are games in which the final score is completely misleading, games that were much closer or much more of a blowout than the final tally would indicate. And then there is cricket. Cricket doesn’t make any sense to anyone. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the world’s more elaborate practical jokes in which the participants make the rules up as they go along just to make themselves laugh. It seems like an awfully long way to go for a joke but you have to admire their dedication.

-The point (and there is one) is that while you might be tempted to draw some sweeping conclusions from the Redskins loss to the Giants, it doesn’t tell us a great deal. Does the offense need work? Absolutely. Could the defense have played better? Yes. But could a handful of plays have swung the other way and given us a different outcome? Also yes.

It’s important – in fact it is essential to your sanity as a fan – to accept that one game does not a season make. The fact is that the Redskins played a fairly close game against a very good team, on the road, in their first game of the year. The performance wasn’t ideal but it’s just far too small a sample size to draw any grand conclusions. Well, except that Hunter Smith will score at least 16 touchdowns this year and that you should cut whoever is starting at running back on your fantasy team and plug in Hunter “I’m a Lock for 6” Smith.

– I do have a plea for Coach Zorn. Please find your own place to live, I said you could use my couch for like a month but that was a year ago. Also, right now, your eggs are in the Jason Campbell basket, for better or worse. So cut the reins and let the kid throw the ball, and let him do it a lot. If he’s more comfortable just running plays out of the shotgun, do that. I haven’t come to a conclusion about him yet (and I’m baffled by people who have) because I have yet to see him cut loose. If he makes mistakes, I can live with that and you can throw your hands up and say you tried. But this carefully managed, hand-holding offense doesn’t tell me anything, it’s death by a thousand cuts.

-We, as a society, should take the time to thank whoever it is that put the Monday Night Football pre-game music video thingy. Not for the music which, at this point, is kinda lame. Is anyone watching ever not ready for some football? Do we need to be asked that on a weekly basis? Does anyone ever tune in and say, “Am I ready for some what?!?! Good lord no, I thought this was PBS, I’ve wandered into some kind of trap. Thank god that crazy man with the guitar had the good sense to ask me whether I am ready.” No, not the music or the musicians or anything of that nature. Instead, we should thank this person for the sheer amount of things which explode in that segment. There are a LOT of explosions packed in that relatively small segment which means someone had to put both time and effort into this.

“And there you have it, our Monday night pre-game … thing … what do you think? Jim, you seem to have a question.”

“Yeah … I was keeping tally here and it seems like we only have … 63 explosions in the entire 90 second segment. Just seems like we’re really missing some opportunities … like 27 of them. Maybe we can make the explosions explode, just to really drive home the point: at NBC, we blow stuff up that doesn’t even make sense to blow up.”

-Prior to the Bills-Patriots game, Ron Jaworski noted that the Bills had given Trent Edwards “the hat of responsibility.” That seems like a pretty crappy hat. It sounds like the kind of hat the preachy lion in the Narnia series would give to some kid just to teach him a lesson. Why not the hat of you will throw 7 touchdowns tonight or the hat of ninja skills or the hat of holy crap I can fly and I am a ninja? That would be a hat worth winning. But the hat of responsibility? You can just see poor Trent in some club with his Bills teammates, mopping up the floor after one of them gets sick. “Yeah, I mean, it sucks but then again … (sighs and gestures sadly toward hat).”

-Jay Cutler, Carson Palmer, Marc Bulger, Kurt Warner, Donovan McNabb, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethelisberger and Eli Manning. What do those quarterbacks have in common? They have a deep and passionate love for Sting’s music, particularly the latter half of his career (and who doesn’t love ‘The Dream of the Blue Turtles’). Also, they all had QB ratings worse than Jason Campbell last week. It may not be pretty but it ain’t all bad folks. Keep the faith (for now).

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Stephen Zorio

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Six Pack: Season Wish List

The nice, if obvious, thing about the start of the NFL season is that nothing is written … except this sentence … and the next one … and all of the following ones. OK, some things are written but insofar as the NFL is concerned, the slate is blank. We, as fans, can feel legitimate excitement about what the coming season holds. We can be optimistic without having to ignore certain and wholly inconvenient realities that do not mesh with our idea of an ideal season.
Hope springs eternal … until it’s snapped by a clumsy defensive lineman crushing your quarterback’s leg – and with it any aspirations of success.

Football is unique among American sports in that your team’s fate can solidify or unravel in the course of a few weeks. That’s what makes the start of the football season so unique, it’s the opening chapter of a relatively short story and you know rather quickly if you’re reading a tragedy, a comedy or something altogether triumphant.
So, in the spirit of doe-eyed optimism, here are my wishes for the coming season.

-That the Redskins offense rise above the dull and predictable mediocrity of seasons past. I’m not asking for the ’91 Redskins or the ’07 Patriots, I’m asking – begging, pleading – for an offense that can score, at a minimum, 24 points a game. And by that I do not mean two weeks of an explosive offense followed by 4 weeks of a mediocre one. I want to watch an offense that is a threat to score on a consistent basis.

-That the Redskins master the art of the replay challenge. Other teams seem to do this with ease and, frankly, it isn’t that hard. Granted, you will occasionally issue a challenge that, on review, goes badly as it becomes evident the initial call was correct. I can live with that so long as the bulk of the challenges are winnable. Granted, you are then asking that the same idiots who made the mistake in the first place are willing to admit to that mistake. (I believe the review should be handled by an official in a booth independent from the crew, he has no vested interest in the call and can be counted on to be more impartial.) But give the idiots a chance – just be certain it’s the chance with the best possible odds.

-That (and this goes hand in hand with wish 1) Malcolm Kelly or Devin Thomas or even Marko Mitchell become a legitimate threat at the no. 2 wideout spot. Seriously, this has become ridiculous, the NFL gods have deprived us long enough.

-That I never (or at least very rarely) have to hear “illegal formation, offense” or “false start, offense” or “it’s the Redskins, we just assume something went awry, offense.” I know that penalties happen in the course of a game but they seem to happen with a disturbing frequency to the guys in burgundy and gold. That gets so very tiresome. In what I would like to think is a calm, rational way, I actually believe the Redskins become the victims of their own reputation here. They commit one actual penalty after another and the officiating crews become hyper-sensitive to this. They’re then forced to pay the wages of both their actual sins and their assumed sins.

-That we get a season of relative health. I’m almost reluctant to even put that in print since the cruel caprices of sport mean that I’m just as likely to see someone tear their MCL/ACL in pre-game warm-ups as I am to see them play all 16 games. But, as this is a wish list and not a demand list, I feel like I’m not tempting fate in any egregious way.

-That we see more fumbles and tipped passes end up in the hands of Redskins players. For all of the legitimate hand-wringing about the team’s inability to force turnovers, even the pessimists would have to admit the Redskins have seen their fare share of unlucky bounces. To whatever invisible force we’ve angered, we are sorry. Surely we have paid our penance by now. Also, SACKS – lots of them. I want to watch several 3rd and longs result in the opposing QB being buried under a sea of frothing mad Redskins.

-Bonus wish: that whoever schedules commercials comes to the brilliant realization that running the same poorly thought out, unfunny, irritating 30 seconds of crap makes me – and every other thinking person – that much LESS likely to buy your product.

Advertiser: “Hey man, I made a little 30 second video that manages to be both insultingly stupid and incredibly annoying, would you like to watch it?”

Me: “I appreciate your asking and my answer is unequivocally no. I will actively boycott your product if you force me to watch it and I will develop an unnatural hatred toward your company.”

Advertiser: “Show it 350 times in the next 16 weeks, gotcha.”

Some of these wishes are clearly more realistic in terms of their being realized but none are impossible. Except the commercials one, that’s not going to happen. That, my friends, is why the DVR was invented. That and legs since you can, ya know, just walk out of the room. So here’s to wishes coming true or at least close to true. I don’t need a perfect season, just a really fun one.

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Stephen Zorio

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The Six Pack: Officially Perturbed

1) I’m not going to spend too much time dwelling on the Redskins loss to the Rams, enough has been said about that already. I will say that the optimist in me sees the loss as a potentially useful one. If the team comes away from that game knowing that they aren’t likely to blow their opponents out, that each contest they play will be close, hard fought contests, they will be a better team for having lost. I’m also glad that the Browns won, and not just because of the assist in the NFC East standings. Winning the way they did means there is no chance the Redskins will take them lightly.

2) I would like to take some time to address the officiating situation in the NFL. The litany of blown calls, some of them game-changing, are not new so much as they have occurred in games that brought them into sharper focus. The phantom flags, the totally obvious but completely missed penalties, the confused masses of referees huddling to reach some (occasionally errant) conclusion, none of that is specific to 2008. One imagines that, at this point, the league has a form letter for the apologies it (rarely) issues to teams when they grudgingly admit an official made a mistake.

3) I understand that the league cannot put itself in a position in which it apologizes for every bad call, to do that would undermine any sort of confidence in the officiating. Nor do I put much stock in the notion that rouge officials are making up calls because they have money riding on the outcome of the game they are officiating. I’d be lying if I said I put no stock whatsoever in that notion, I’m a longtime NBA fan and I’ve long suspected some nefarious officiating in that league. The Tim Donaghy scandal obviously served to simply lend further credence to my suspicions. But in the NBA, the officials call can’t be questioned, save for some rare instances (usually involving a shot clock) plays are not reviewable.

4) On a practical level, it just wouldn’t make a great deal of sense for an official to gamble on an NFL games. There are far too many variables — independent of a coach’s ability to overturn a call with a challenge — which can occur in the course of an NFL game for gambling to make much sense. You would need an orchestrated effort involving large groups of officials who would not only be cheating in unison but who also would have backup plans should a fluke play or injury throw a wrench into their initial scheme. Officials aren’t even allowed to visit a city with a casino in it during the off-season without notifying the league. That’s just far too many moving pieces for a bunch of guys working at a part-time job.

5) And that’s the rub: officiating is a part-time job. I’m baffled by that. The NFL puts a multi-million dollar product on the field, it rakes in cash by the handful on a weekly basis. The officials have a very direct impact not only on the outcome of the games but on the integrity of the product. My own belief about the likelihood of gambling aside, one need only to look at the NBA to see what a lack of faith in the officiating can do to a fan base. If people believe they’re getting cheated on a regular basis, they will stop watching. Will they leave in droves? No but they can potentially have a quantifiable impact on the bottom line. And, even if that affect were negligible, one would think the league would value its appearance and integrity enough to value officials enough to hire them full-time.

6) I know … fine, I hope … that it can’t be a question of money. Between advertising revenue, ticket, concession and merchandise sales, I refuse to believe that there isn’t enough to hire these guys full-time. Note, I am not suggesting that is a panacea. Nor am I suggesting that current officials do not work hard or spend time preparing for the season. But they do so on a limited basis knowing that it’s not their full-time job. Establishing a group of full-time officials would allow the league to set certain expectations of officials. It would allow them to begin to cultivate the next generation of officials, something that is sorely lacking right now. They could reasonably tell the officials, as employees, we have certain expectations for your on-field performance, if you fail to meet those, we will fire you. The league has demonstrated what I perceive to be a certain arrogance on this issue. That has to end. Whether it’s a fear that fans will leave or (one would hope) a desire to have the best product possible, it’s time for the league to address this in some way. Saying we’re sorry rings hollow when you allow the problem to exist in the first place.

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Stephen Zorio

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But What About the Pass Rush?

Given that it’s next to impossible for fans of any team — but particularly fans of the Washington Redskins — to simply enjoy being 4-1, we’ve begun to hear some gripes about the lack of a pass rush.

There is a current of misguided thought that sees the sack as some Holy Grail of defensive stats. People believe that unless they see sacks on a consistent basis, their team is not generating a pass rush. It would be easy to look at the fact that the Redskins defense has allowed the ninth most passing yards in the league and conclude that they have a problem which must be addressed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Six Pack: Eagles I

What follows is an answer to the chorus of complaints from the legions of fans tired of being distracted by “sensible” analysis, backed by “facts” and “knowledge.” If you seek shelter from the twin storms that are “reality” and “logic,” then this is your port of call.

1) An open, albeit brief, letter to Donovan McNabb:

Having followed a variety of professional sports organizations who have had varying levels of success in my lifetime, I recognize that losing can be painful. But a lesson I learned many years ago is that it’s important — in fact it’s essential — to be honest about those losses. If you can’t be honest, you will not win (see Millen, Matt). This falls well short of that standard: “I was embarrassed these last two weeks,” McNabb said. “I mean [to lose] to two teams we shouldn’t have lost to. There is no way that you can look at this game and say that, and not taking anything away from them, but there is no way that this team is better than us.”

2) Donovan, allow me to bring some facts to your attention. Your offense, led by you, scored a grand total of 10 points in four quarters. In fact, more accurately, you scored 10 points in TWO quarters, the start of the first and again in the fourth. Coming into that game, your offense was averaging almost 28 points a game. Then you got 10 … that’s less … a whole lot less. Well, gosh, how did that happen? You clearly don’t know, so I’ll lay it out for you.

3) Guess what these are:

12 – 80 – TD
9 – 53 – Missed FG
4 – 25 – Punt
3 – 2 – Punt
3 – 2 – Punt
3 – 8 – Punt
3 – 7 – Punt
12 – 86 – FG

Look familiar? They should, those are the eight drives you led. You had five drives that netted 45 yards total … TOTAL. That’s less than a first down per drive, just in case you were curious. You threw zero touchdown passes, which is bad. Your running game got you 58 yards … TOTAL … also bad. There’s a pretty easy explanation for those numbers and it isn’t spelled l-u-c-k. It’s spelled d-o-m-i-n-a-t-i-n-g d-e-f-e-n-s-e. And that’s not all. It’s also because the Redskins offense racked up 388 yards (203 on the ground). It’s also because the Redskins held the ball for almost 35 minutes. It’s also because Shaun Suisham hit kicks from 41, 48 and 50 yards.

4) You can’t blame the refs (a total of seven penalties were called), you can’t cite injuries (both teams dealt with them), you had a 14-0 lead at home, so you can’t even fault the crowd. You lost because on Oct. 5, 2008, the Washington Redskins were clearly — by any objective measure — the better football team. I noticed you chose some rose-colored glasses for your post-game press conference, so perhaps that explains your tainted outlook. Hopefully this clears things up a bit. But, if not, I have another number for you: 2-3. That’s the record of the “best” team in the NFC East. That must be tough since that’s also last place.



5) McNabb’s refusal to see things as they are aside, that was another great win and, in my opinion, the biggest and most impressive of the season thus far. Any number of Redskins teams over the past decade plus would have folded quickly and 14-0 would have spiraled into 28-0. The entire team deserves a game ball … well, maybe not Durant Brooks (who I still believe will be a good punter). One of the drives that impressed me most was when the team started on its own 3 yard line and methodically marched down the field, going 67 yards in just over eight minutes to cut the lead to 14-6. It’s fair to say I’m excited about this team and more than I have been in … well, in quite some time.

6) Yes, the game against the Rams sets up as the classic trap game but Jim Zorn’s demeanor helps me to believe that he won’t allow this team to look past St. Louis. But since it’s not my job to coach the team, I get to say: wow, the Rams have had a bad season. On offense, they are 30th in yards per game (26th passing, 28th rushing) and dead last in points scored. They are allowing the second most yards per game on defense, they’ve allowed 147 points in four games, they are 27th against the pass and 28th against the rush. They are minus 3 in the turnover column and have converted only 22% of their third downs. The caveat is that Mark Bulger is a good quarterback, Steven Jackson is a very good running back and this is a hungry team coming off a bye week. Potential trap game? Sure. But while I may be overly optimistic, something tells me Jim Zorn isn’t going to wander into that trap.

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Stephen Zorio

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The Six Pack: Pam Oliver’s Giant Head

1) One of my favorite moments from the Redskins win over the Cowboys was Troy Aikman saying, tentatively: “I believe the Redskins have won only once here in their past 13 games.” Really Troy? You believe? Because not only am I 100% certain of it, I also happen to know for a fact that you were there. Remember a certain ring of fame ceremony spoiled by a couple of late-game touchdowns? If you think hard enough, I’d be willing to bet you could remember it clearly. I should note here that as much as I hated him as a player (and mostly because he beat the Redskins so often) I think Aikman is the best analyst in the business.

2) Let me be the first to say to Brian Westbrook: buddy, take another game off. It’s such a long, grueling season, why rush back? You have to fly all the way out to San Francisco next week, I’m sure you’ll face long lines at the airport and you’ll want to do some sightseeing. San Francisco is notoriously hilly, wouldn’t want you hampered by a bum ankle. So sit, relax, you’ll get to play the Redskins again in December.

3) Pam Oliver scared the hell out of me during the broadcast. Fox cut to a sideline shot after a punt return during which Antwaan Randle El actually ran forward (novel concept) and it went like this, at least in my head: “There is Antwaan, after a so-so return, he is looking to hand the ball to an official, it sure is a sunny day, I hope the off … DEAR LORD PAM OLIVER’S GIANT HEAD IS GOING TO KILL US ALL, WHERE IN THE HELL DID SHE COME FROM? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!” I assume I was not alone in that.

4) Can we get the NFL to start frowning on stupid celebrations? Brady James tackled Randle El after a four yard gain and acted like he’d dropped him for a six yard loss. Yeah, good job man, if the offense only gains four yards on each play they’ll only score every single time. You should be proud. It’s the same kind of nonsense when special teams guys go nuts after hitting someone at the 27 yard line. Celebrate when it means something, you hit a guy for a loss or a minimal gain, fine, whoop it up. But when the offense is in a better position after the play than they were before it, keep your mouth shut.

5) Here’s another highlight from the game for me. Fox cut to a crowd shot to show some devil spawn covered in Cowboys gear following the Cowboys first touchdown and then Pam Oliver tore a truck apart with her bare hands and ate it. No, wait, then the Redskins drove to tie the game. Aside from what an impressive drive that was — especially since it was the very next drive — I love the idea of going from “yeah, we’re winning, look at this cute baby wearing Cowboys stuff” to the Redskins methodically going down the field and shutting that crowd up. That kind of “whatever, we can score too” drive has been sorely lacking in recent years.

6) Obviously beating the Eagles this weekend would be huge for the Redskins but make no mistake about it, that is a very good team. All the hype about Dallas aside, I think the Eagles feature the best defense of any team the Redskins have played thus far. They excel against the run and the pass and they are a really good third down defense as well. But, for the first time in a long time, I don’t worry that the game will be a massacre. If they win, you might even be able to call me confident. Either way, this season has been a lot of fun thus far. Keep it up fellas.

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Stephen Zorio

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