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Scott Van Pelt calls Skins' situation "an abomination"

It strikes me that it's been at least 15 minutes since I've posted a transcript of an ESPN personality ripping the Redskins. Better get on that. Scott Van Pelt, though, is a special case. He's one of you. He's from D.C. and makes no bones about it, especially regarding the Terps but also when it comes to the other D.C. teams. In addition to being an extremely likable guy, his D.C. loyalties make his views on the Redskins especially noteworthy.

And, like just about every other D.C. sports fan this week, Van Pelt has a certain rumbling in his soul just about now. He let out the rumbling on his radio show Thursday afternoon, and it was fairly devastating. Obviously, this was before Friday's news that Jim Zorn had earned a vote of confidence, but I can't imagine that would change his take dramatically.

As the week draws to a close, here's one more voiceless scream, courtesy of Van Pelt. Except he actually used his voice. Listen here.

Now everyone is from somewhere at ESPN. Some of us are more passionate about sports than others. Frankly, some of my peers, they don't love sports, they're not sick with the sports. I am. I'm passionate about the games. I love the games. I love what happens on a daily basis. You see things that you don't expect to see.

We're objective, but at the same time, I don't apologize for being from somewhere, and I'm from the Washington, D.C. area. And I don't apologize for the fact that I grew up as a Redskins fan. I may have to apologize for what I'm about to say in this segment, because what has happened to my beloved Redskins? The team that I watched win three different Super Bowls--granted, it was a while ago, and in fact it was a long time ago--but I remember it.

There was a time when the Redskins were one of the gold standards as a franchise. And [consider] the current ownership situation, with the current GM and the current coach that they picked and have emasculated by essentially trying to force him to quit. That didn't work.

And now they bring in Sherm Lewis, and they make Sherm Lewis a playcaller. And I feel badly for Sherm Lewis, because he's become the punch line, the Bingo Hall and this and that. It's not his fault. He didn't ask for this. He came in to be an observer, and two weeks later he's calling plays because they tried to make a power move to get Zorn out and Zorn says the hell with you, you owe me money, I'm not leaving. And Jim, good for you. I don't blame you. Stay. You should. You didn't create this mess. Are you a competent head coach? It doesn't appear that this is really in your comfort zone right now, but this mess isn't completely of your doing.

There's an AP story that was written about the Redskins by Joe White. And it includes the following quotes:

Jason Campbell knows there could be some mini moments of chaos with Sherm Lewis calling the plays.

Are you ready for this?

"There'll probably be a couple plays I have in my head," the Washington Redskins quarterback said. "Just in case, if for some reason, the play doesn't get in on time."

This is an NFL team we are talking about. Not a Pop Warner team, not a JV team. It's the WASHINGTON REDSKINS. A franchise that does have three Super Bowl trophies in its trophy case in Redskins Park out in Virginia. A proud franchise at one point. No longer. I continue from the Joe White story.

Sherm Lewis will read the plays off a sheet, although it's unclear whether he'll completely understand what he's saying. While Lewis has a basic knowledge of the scheme from his decades of experience in the West Coast offense, Zorn said of Lewis, "He doesn't know the protections, he doesn't know the blitz schemes."

Backup quarterback Todd Collins said "It's unsettling, I've never gone through this before, I've never had a playcaller get changed in the middle of the season."

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the current status of the Washington Redskins. The entire country will be watching your game on Monday night. The stage will be cleared, so that the mess that you've created can be seen by everybody, with a guy who doesn't know the plays or the blitz schemes for a team who is blitz crazy. How can that possibly happen?

What series of screwups must you allow to happen or conspire to make happen, how do you set the Dominoes in such a way that they fall to a point where you're on Monday Night Football with the world watching and your quarterback's out there in his head, and he's got to have plays at the ready just in case the poor guy you put in charge of the offensive coordinating can't get the plays in on time? I mean, what is Campbell gonna do, just look at Chris Cooley and say, 'Run a button-hook?' 'Hey, Santana, you're fast, you go long just in case, Cooley you run a button-hook, and I don't know about the blocking schemes, I don't know about blitz pick-up, maybe I'll quick kick.'

HOW IN THE HELL DOES THIS HAPPEN? I mean, we've seen the Oakland Raiders implode, and they've been a convenient punchline, and who knows if Tom Cable had an issue with an assistant, who knows what Al Davis is thinking at a moment-to-moment basis. And since their appearance in the Super Bowl, at least this decade, things have fallen off the map.

But even they haven't allowed a situation to play out like this, where you've got a quarterback admitting that he's just got plays in his head. Think about that. This is the Washington Redskins. Three Super Bowls....

It's hard to be as good as they were during that run from '83 to '91. Maybe it's unrealistic to think you can be that. But when you spend the way Snyder spends, you've got to be better than 68-82 in this decade, and that's what they've been. But even that's better than this, allowing yourselves to go into the biggest game of the week [like this]. Anybody that's in the NFL's got their feet up on the couch, and they're saying 'Let's watch and see what happens.'

Well, they're going to watch and see if the poor offensive coordinator, whose fault this is not, if he can get the plays into the quarterback, and if they can't, what happens then. I'm calling for quick kicks, just pitch it to Clinton and tell people to run around, maybe he'll pass it.

It is an abomination that has happened because of the ownership and Vinny Cerrato, the GM, who tried to force Jim Zorn out. And he dug in his heels and he stayed, and good for him. Make it painful for them, because they're trying to make it painful for you. And unfortunately, if you're a Redskins fan, it is incredibly painful for ALL OF US at this moment.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 23, 2009; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Next: Dexter Manley remains optimistic


"It strikes me that it's been at least 15 minutes since I've posted a transcript of anyone ripping the Redskins."


Posted by: Section117 | October 23, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm a long-time Redskins fan, and I remain one despite the Snyder-Cerrato conspiracy to drive me away. It's sad what they've done to my team. I am afraid for how emarrassing the Monday night game might get.

A small part of me hopes it gets REALLY bad so that some changes will have to be made.

Posted by: mmathai1 | October 23, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Another great thing about SVP, he's an O's fan.


Take that Expos/Natinals fans.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | October 23, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Can't disagree with anything Mr. Van Pelt says there.

The Redskins, the team I've been rooting for passionately since I was five years old, have become a national laughing stock. Am I angry? You bet.

Posted by: acoberst1 | October 23, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm very much looking foward to Monday night. It should be entertaining.

My friend and I have been diehard Skins fans all of our lives. We watched the Chiefs game and actually were laughing at we saw on TV instead of screaming "bloody murder."

I expect MNF to be no different. It should be a lot like professional wrestling I am thinking....

At least those guys/girls know how to "execute" right? ;)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | October 23, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

What have we done to deserve this?

Perhaps we love the redskins TOO MUCH and we are paying for it?

Dan PLEASE show some compassion and SELL THE TEAM!!

Cerrato PLEASE have a heart and RESIGN!!

Posted by: riceldi | October 23, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I heard Van Pelt's rant and felt quite good about how it aired on the radio. I watched the Redskins play in very bad times, very good times, and in very bad times again. When the Panthers came to Charlotte and blocked coverage of the Redskins, I just didn't watch NFL football.

I can watch any variety of Redskins football. Even when they stunk in the 70s, heck, at least they tried. At least they aspired not to suck.

This crew can't even complete a pass downfield. They can't block, they can't protect, they can't run, they can't cover.

Of course, I'll watch them Monday night, but I'm going to sit there and daydream about a long scoring drive, a completed pass, maybe even a touchdown.

Vinny and Danny hardly come into the picture, but I know this is their team. I know that they built this. It has their fingerprints written all over it. I'm not the only one who knows this.

They'll keep building Redskins teams like this one in the coming years. They probably won't ever realize that they're awful team builders.

I guess it's the way it is.

Posted by: Meepo | October 23, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Amen. Amen. And Amen.

Posted by: learnedhand1 | October 23, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe redskins fans think that this franchise has had any shred of credibility for the past decade: they haven't. This team has been a joke for years, it's now just a national punchline, no an nfc beast punchline. What a joke.

Posted by: BMACattack | October 23, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Can't disagree with anything Mr. Van Pelt says there.

The Redskins, the team I've been rooting for passionately since I was five years old, have become a national laughing stock. Am I angry? You bet.

Posted by: acoberst1 | October 23, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Quoted for emphasis.

Posted by: keino83 | October 24, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Sat with Van Pelt during the Final Four back in 02. He kept saying "I was just like you! I was just like you!" Good guy.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 24, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

What do you expect, when you've got a GM who doesn't understand the importance of an o-line, who can't evaluate talent at all, who doesn't understand the salary cap, and is a horrific manager to boot?

None of this will get any better as long as Vinny is around. He must go. It's not Zorn's fault. It's not Sherm's fault. It's not Campbell's fault. They each may or may not be good at their jobs, but it doesn't matter.

Vinny is the architect of this team, and the foundation is completely unsound. Time for a tear-down.

Posted by: rob23 | October 24, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Agree with EVERYTHING Van Pelt said! Keep it up Scott

Posted by: TheSuperhoo | October 24, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse


What have we done to deserve this?

Perhaps we love the redskins TOO MUCH and we are paying for it?

Dan PLEASE show some compassion and SELL THE TEAM!!

Cerrato PLEASE have a heart and RESIGN!!


Sorry, but Skins fans don't love their team TOO MUCH. The fact that you were 6-2 last year and half the season ticket holders sold their tickets to a Monday night game proves that.

Posted by: Loggie1 | October 25, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

SVP is right as usual. And a great guy. I have been that annoying guy at UMD homecoming talking to him before and he couldn't have been nicer/cooler about it.

Posted by: jpfterps | October 26, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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