Friday, October 24: Peter King Picks The Lions

Here’s a bright, sunshiny start to an away-game weekend: Peter King picks the Redskins to lose to the Lions, 20-17. His reasoning? Pretty much “just cuz”:

It makes no sense, picking Dan Orlovsky to win an NFL game. But I’ve had pretty good luck with the upset recently — Miami over San Diego, St. Louis over Dallas — and I’ve got the Washington-taking-Detroit-lightly feel here, along with the Marinelli-making-life-miserable-for-his-losers feel. Detroit will play very hard and get a few bounces, finally.

From what I’ve seen around Redskins Park this week, no one is taking Detroit lightly, especially after the Rams loss, but I suppose picking the favorites doesn’t make for very exciting columns or lively discussion. For what it’s worth, 94% of the fans disagree with King on this one.

And in case you’ve managed to miss it, and you’re wondering why King feels free to take such a blatant shot at the Lions quarterback:

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Wednesday, October 15: Portis Somehow More Valuable Than Offensively Adept?

Photo by Ned Dishman.

Photo by Ned Dishman.

I was reading Bucky Brooks’s column over at SI.com this morning, in which he tags Kurt Warner as a frontrunner for NFL MVP. Nothing too earthshaking as far as these types of articles go; he makes a reasonably solid argument for Warner based on the stats so far this year, and then he lists out his current rankings for MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. Here are the lists, including Brooks’s commentary.

MVP

1. Trent Edwards, QB, Bills (Last week’s ranking: 5): The Bills’ budding superstar has rallied the team in three of their four victories. With a looming showdown with the Chargers, the Bills need Edwards to pick up where he left off prior to his concussion.

2. Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins (3): The league’s leading rusher has topped the century mark in three consecutive games. His re-emergence as a premiere back has ignited the Redskins’ surprisingly hot start.

3. Jay Cutler, QB, Broncos (1): The Broncos star quarterback has cooled off in recent weeks, but his solid play under center is the primary reason the team leads the AFC West.

4. Drew Brees, QB, Saints (NR): After passing for more than 300 yards for the fifth time in six starts, Brees is on track to surpass Dan Marino’s single-season passing record of 5,084 yards.

5. Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals (NR)

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Drew Brees, QB, Saints (1)

2. Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals (2)

3. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers (NR): The brash signal caller has passed for three touchdowns in four games and leads the league with a 109.1 passer rating.

4. Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins (3): The versatile playmaker didn’t play a starring role in the team’s “Wildcat” package, but he scored for the fourth consecutive week and finished with 93 yards total offense.

5. Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins (NR)

Now, I’m easily confused by math, but I honestly don’t understand any of this. It caught my attention because of Portis, but let’s look at Drew Brees. He’s the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. He’s having a heck of a season, driving their offense and putting points on the board. It makes perfect sense that he’d be shortlisted for Offensive POY. Meanwhile, the New Orleans defense is currently ranked 19th in yardage allowed and 20th in points allowed. So it seems unlikely that there’s someone on their defense who is more valuable to their team than Brees is. How, then, is he ranked fourth for MVP, but first for POY?

The same essential question applied for Kurt Warner, and in reverse for Portis. Clinton is having a great offensive season, absolutely, but I think it’s hard to point at one guy on the Redskins and declare them the most valuable. The defense has been doing a terrific job, Jason Campbell still hasn’t thrown an interception, the offensive line has been opening holes for Clinton … you get the idea. So why is he ranked higher in the Most Valuable category than he is in the Offensive one? This genuinely baffles me, and I’d love to hear people’s suggestions.

Either way, though, while you can’t vote for either of these awards, do remember that Pro Bowl voting is open, so be sure to do that. Frequently.

Tuesday, September 30: Just Because You’re Paranoid…

Given that I spent a whole bunch of words yesterday reveling in the fact that a couple of sportswriters gave the Redskins credit for a non-fluke victory, I think it’s safe to say that I have a little bit of a complex when it comes to the credit the Redskins get. It’s not just me, of course; almost all Redskins fans are convinced that half the major media writers (Dr. Z, Peter King, Len Pasquarelli) hate their team, and even Santana Moss mentioned in his press conference yesterday that “That’s how it is. I don’t think Redskins ever get any credit for doin’ nothin’…. You know, whether you go to the playoffs one year or not, we always gonna be that team that you look down on.”

So it stood to reason that someone was going to find some way to question the Redskins win yesterday. Michael David Smith at NFL Fanhouse finds (via The Landry Hat) a way to do that: in a game that the Redskins won by two points, it would certainly raise some questions if a field goal that was called good actually went wide left.

The video on NFL.com completely fails to convince me either way, and pausing it at 2:17 (as The Landry Hat suggests) doesn’t really clarify matters. Here’s a screen capture at that spot.

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Peter King Makes Up for Lost Time, Others Assess Flukiness

After two straight weeks of my passive-aggressive griping about Peter King ignoring the Redskins, two weeks of debating if it’s better to fly under the radar, the win in Dallas has changed things around juuuuuuuust slightly.

In today’s Monday Morning Quarterback column

  • The Redskins move up at least twelve places in the “Fine Fifteen,” from unranked to fourth. (“After opening night, I thought there’d be a better chance this team would be ranked 32nd than fourth by the end of September,” he cheerily notes.) Clark Judge at CBS Sports also has the Redskins fourth.
  • Jim Zorn is named favorite for Coach of the Year after a quarter of the season.
  • Jim Zorn is named Coach of the Week for this week. (Narrowly edging out Eric Mangini, I’m sure, who acknowledges in King’s “Factoid of the Week” that last night’s season premiere of Family Guy would be a bigger event in his day than his team’s win.)

That’s a lot of love from one columnist, and SI.com’s Don Banks chimes in as well, in his Snap Judgments column.
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Attention Redskins Fans in St. Louis and San Francisco (updated)

Awful Announcing has this week’s broadcast maps, showing which areas get which games. As you’d expect, the only NFC late game — YOUR Washington Redskins at the Dallas Cowbys — has pretty much saturation coverage on FOX, with number one announcing team Joe Buck and Troy Aikman attached.

This is one of those games that’s good news for out-of-market Redskins fans who don’t have the NFL Sunday Ticket — a chance to see their favorite team without the hassle of locking down a table at the local sports bar.

Unless you live in or around St. Louis or the Bay Area.

That little gray spot in the map is the St. Louis area of Missouri, which is receiving the Bills at the Rams on CBS in the late game spot, thus locking out the FOX late game. The Bay Area in California has the same problem, although their gray area blends into the Pacific a bit. So Redskins fans in those two areas, consider yourself warned: start picking out a sports bar now.

Tuesday Redskins Links – 9/23

Better known as Tuesday’s Jason La Canfora/Vinny Cerrato Tampering Hoo-hah Links, I suppose, since that’s what there’s a lot of chatter about today. Despite my best efforts this morning, I find myself unable to step away from the radio drama.

  • Since my last (theoretically final) update on the subject, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has quoted an email in which La Canfora accuses Cerrato of both “slander” and “making a mockery of fact and reality”. (What looks like the full email, or at least a very similar one, is posted on ExtremeSkins.) Florio doesn’t go after either side, although he does acknowledge being “a bit troubled by La Canfora’s apparent personal bias against Cerrato.”
  • On the other side of the ball, Steinberg at the DC Sports Bog stays neutral by sticking almost entirely to the transcript of yesterday’s show. His transcript is more complete than mine was, and is worth a read. (EDIT TO ADD: An emailer just pointed out that he also transcribes Larry Michael’s rant from last night’s Redskins Nation, and that it’s a rather amusing read.)
  • Mr. Irrelevant, Bucktown Skins Fan, and the DC Pro Sports Report blogs all accept the Post’s explanation of events and, to varying degrees, feel that La Canfora was likely just doing his due diligence, researching a potentially thorny issue. The comment thread at Mr. I has a pretty good back-and-forth on the subject going, actually, that hadn’t yet degenerated into calls for arson or violence.
  • Chaz at the Player Hater’s Ball is on the horns of a dilemma, as his “two least favorite people associated with the team” go head to head. It’s a tricky situation to find oneself in, but he manages to untangle his own personal Gordian knot by chastising La Canfora, but ultimately blaming Cerrato for creating his own mess by having a radio show in the first place.
  • Meanwhile, the folks over at the various Redskins message boards have set aside their regularly scheduled frustration with the front office and have focused it largely on the La Canfora and Washington Post, which is interesting to watch.

Never a dull moment in Redskins media land, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 23: Finishing Up (Hopefully) With that Tampering Thing

Well, after I spent yesterday morning rambling about looking forward and getting ready for Dallas Week and so on, much of the rest of the day was spent on pretty much the exact opposite. It would be nice to just let the whole tampering accusations thing recede into the distance, but there is one update of note.

When I tried to speak to Jason La Canfora about the issue yesterday, he mentioned that he couldn’t talk until he had finished speaking with his higher-ups at the Post, and a statement from Sports Editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz was posted on the Redskins Insider blog last night. An excerpt:

Jason did not make any sort of complaint whatsoever. (In fact, reporters cannot charge teams with violations of NFL rules. Only other teams can file charges like tampering.) He referred to Cerrato’s questions about Raiders coach Lane Kiffin only to provide context for the question he was asking. He did not write about the issue.

We called the league today to confirm that Jason had not charged the Redskins with tampering. Here’s what NFL spokesman Michael Signora had to say: “Jason LaCanfora called our office and said that Vinny Cerrato was talking in specifics on his radio show about the Raiders’ coaching position. Jason wanted to know if that could possibly be a tampering issue. Jason has been told that there is no general prohibition against publicly talking about another team’s players or staff. It routinely occurs throughout the league.

Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com weighed in on that post, speculating that La Canfora was trying to indirectly call the league’s attention to the potential issue.

And in saying that, we’re not defending Cerrato. We’ve criticized him over the years as much as anyone. But we know a little indirect poop-stirring when we see it, and we think that there’s a chance La Canfora made the inquiry hoping that it would get back to Cerrato, and strike a nerve.

Florio has pretty much made his name by being one of the league’s great indirect poop-stirrers, that’s for sure.

Which, as far as I know, is where things stand now. It may seem hugely dysfunctional, but when it comes to acrimony between league executives and beat reporters, I think the Raiders take the title at the moment.