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Posted at 5:47 PM ET, 12/ 6/2010

Redskins: same old story

By LaVar Arrington

I was just going to do my keys to the game checklist for today and keep my opinions to myself. But after thinking about it a bit, I decided to write what I feel.

Sunday's loss to the Giants in the New Meadowlands provided more clarity for me. I've been criticized for having harsh criticism of Mike Shanahan, Bruce Allen and the Redskins team this season. People would rather aim their personal frustrations at me than take the time to comprehend what I write. I always feel as if I'm pointing out what in my opinion are valid points based on what either helped or hurt this team, and I believe I'm fair in my opinions.

Here are a couple examples. Why did the Redskins cut Larry Johnson after he had carried the ball just five times in two games? I feel confident saying that Johnson would've had more of an impact than the current set of practice squad players that were forced into action.

What about the whole ongoing saga with Albert Haynesworth? I wrote that if you don't want Haynesworth, get rid of him. Don't play games and don't make it personal. Shanahan has done all of the above; he's made it personal and he's playing games. If you weren't going to play the guy then get rid of him. Make a decisive decision and keep the level of expectation monitored and consistent.

After another off season of big splash moves, once again we sit in a very familiar place -- 5-7 with no clear direction. Who do we blame, really? Tired of blaming Dan Snyder, tired of blaming players and tired of blaming coaches, then who do we blame? It's not a simple question and I'm not so sure there's an easy answer, but the reality is that this is the burning question that needs to be answered.

It's safe to say that if seasons continue to unfold the way this one has, much like seasons past, how can one find a way to think this team has a reasonable chance at ever being a contender?

You want to be upset, be upset with a team that has shown us that all it is really good at right now is disappointing the people who support it through thick and thin. That's a very sad commentary when a person thinks about the rich history of this franchise.

But hey, maybe I'm making too much of all this losing over the years. I've played in some of those losses. I've watched some. But it's all the same: losing is losing and there is little to nothing ever really positive to take out of losing.

When will the story change? When will suffering fans receive some much needed relief? When will this story of off season big hits with big names, high priced coaches and players change? When will the off season media spin of how good the Redskins will be this season and how they will make a run for the Super Bowl ever change? When will this team ever put together consistent seasons? When will this team replace the confusion that is always in the locker room with high expectations and accountability? When will winning ever become the only focus of this franchise? When will the fans become an important commodity again? When will the stands fill up with crazed Redskins fans that sing the Redskins fight song while jumping in the stands from the opening kickoff until the last seconds run off the game clock?

It's the same story every year and maybe, just maybe, it's time to to focus on something as simple as just concentrating on winning. Why does just winning seem to get lost every year?

By LaVar Arrington  | December 6, 2010; 5:47 PM ET
 
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Comments

When will the fans become an important commodity again? When will the stands fill up with crazed Redskins fans that sing the Redskins fight song while jumping in the stands from the opening kickoff until the last seconds run off the game clock?
________

Lavar, first of all, I enjoy your columns, so good job. The answer to this question is a Catch-22. We fans will start jumping around again when the team starts to produce something other than utter garbage year after year. Even during good games, we're skittish, waiting for the hammer to drop because we've been burned so many times. Apparently, based on one player's comments last week, the fans need to be cheering more in order for the players to play better. Sorry, it's my money and my hometown team, so I'll cheer more when something good finally happens.

Posted by: skinsfan713 | December 6, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

im with u lavar, but i think the prob is simple. 10 years of paying dudes from others teams 10x as much as the guys on the team that have been there and are playing well.....talk about demoralizing. imagine u work for a company, put in several years of blood, sweat and tears, then they bring in a guy to work along side you, pay him 10x as much as your getting, and then he does a s*** job because he really just came to get paid....its blatantly idiotic to me and would be to any decent ceo... all i need to say is ryan clark....i watched that dude build himself into a force from an underweight size and steping up along side sean taylor...then they let him go for some high $$$ dude from another teams that did nothing...the team is run by a total idiot when it comes to understanding what motivates PEOPLE and not just any type of person but people that live as modern day WARRIORS...i woulnd respect an owner like that but i might just take all his $$$$$$$ and then retire ;). Sound familiar????

Posted by: jacksonalex | December 6, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Lavar,

I know this is slightly off topic, but I listen to your show and I hear you talk about how people get at you for being critical of the skins. I just wanted to tell you that your job is to be critical. Being critical is being realistic about the team. It opens discussion and allows people to formulate their own opinions. You have the number 1 talk show for a reason. People will hate on you because there are people who would disagree no matter what you said. I will be honest I disagree with you from time to time, but I also disagree with Dukes from time to time, but in the end I listen to your show everyday without fail because the both of you are being realistic and speaking your mind. If everyone agreed with you all the time and if you and Dukes agreed all of the time, no one would listen to your show or read your column. You are good at what you do, and for those that hate on you..."Get em out of there".

As for the column. I agree with you, at what point do we realize that it has been 20 years since we were extremely competitive. I am not saying we shouldn't be fans but we need to be realistic, and to be realistic the media and ownership simply need to say "this is a rebuilding year, we probably won't make the playoffs, but we are building to make consistant runs for years to come". And then do it! There is a constant frame of mind in D.C. it's superbowl or bust. I think that mindset is what rips the locker room and the fan base apart. We are so hyped at the beginning of the year, and we justify loses to some degree until it's obvious that we will not make the playoffs. Anyone that is critical of the team is told that they are not a "true fan". Lets get something straight. For all of the apologists that the Skins have, it's that attitude of defending the team to the end no matter what that causes the results to be the same every year. In the 80's and early 90's it was easy to support to team at any cost. We had superbowls fresh in our minds and hearts. It's been long enough. The only time this culture will change is when there is accountability. Accountability of everyone, the ownership, management, the coaches, players and most of all the fans. The product never changes because we, as fans, never change. Players come to D.C. to get paid. How is it possible that a team this inconsistant can pay for these players to come here like big Al. Because WE, the fanbase, continue to fill the wallets of management and players. Why should they win or work hard when they can do nothing and get paid as much as they do. They know in D.C. you get paid regardless of the outcome. There needs to be a mentality change. Players need to feel that in order to be a part of this team you must want to win and you must perform in order to earn your paycheck. In return, Skins fans will not allow our staduim to be filled by opposing fans. Dan will earn even more, players get paid and we will get the product we deserve as fans!

Posted by: pohickbayhuntclub | December 6, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Lavar I would like to star with a fact that when you write to talk about this team Im with you all the way. Now I would love it if the players on this team would stop using the tin man syndrome they have no hart! I think so many players on this team could care less if they win or lose. Sure they put in time in the weight room and on the practice field but when it comes to game time the skins look like a team that never saw a game plan or never even caught a football before. You have to want to be good all the time not just 50 percent. You have to not be continent with stopping a team on first down but EVER down. Not make a play, make EVERY play. Mental toughness for this team on every play by every player isn't there and its a shame.

Posted by: daddebig | December 7, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Lavar I would like to star with a fact that when you write to talk about this team Im with you all the way. Now I would love it if the players on this team would stop using the tin man syndrome they have no hart! I think so many players on this team could care less if they win or lose. Sure they put in time in the weight room and on the practice field but when it comes to game time the skins look like a team that never saw a game plan or never even caught a football before. You have to want to be good all the time not just 50 percent. You have to not be continent with stopping a team on first down but EVER down. Not make a play, make EVERY play. Mental toughness for this team on every play by every player isn't there and its a shame.

Posted by: daddebig | December 7, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Lavar,

You ask who to blame? I say blame the fans!! Yes I'm one to blame as well. Blame the fans because we put up and allow this garbage to happen year in and year out. Were the ones who keep going to FEDex, paying outrageous prices for Redskin crap, and keep asking for the same punishiment agaian and again. Im still a fan because I was born and raised on Burgundy and Gold. I was there from Allen,Pardee,Gibbs I years, so I know what this orginization stood for and what it was. I cannot cut and run to another team beacause thats what cowards do and it would be too easy to do that! But we are the blame for this, the fans need to revolt...just dont show up for a game, let FEDex be empty. Hell, we are normally leaving by halftime anyway. I cant take seeing players just give up the way these Washington Redskins have, they have no fight in them whatsoever, and Im not blaming Haynesworth, THEY ALL SUCK! Every team looks like world beaters after playing the skins. The fans need to revolt to make them better. Maybe if we revolt against them they will get a "us against the world" attitude and maybe start playing like they have a pair. I'm still a fan and will always be one. But right now I'm a fan of those that played before these over payed bums. Im a fan of those who knew they were playing for something more than themselves.

Hail

Posted by: usc932000 | December 7, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree w/ Lavar! The problem w/ this team is they have no idea what they need to do to build a team. Either they want to talk building and try to win now. Or talk of winning now and look to rebuild! Make up your mind and stick to your guns! It's time to blow up the squad and start all over. So it took Snyder 20 years to figure it out. And now at least another 5 years to blow up the team and see if they can be a contender one day.

Posted by: hoganincharge | December 7, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Why does just winning seem to get lost every year? BECAUSE THE TEAM DOSENT WIN!!

Posted by: dc4life | December 7, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you all the way LaVar. I was so depressed Sunday night, much worse than after the Philly Monday night mauling. It was because the team, knowing that the game was season defining, just seemed to quit too easy and have no fire or desire in their bellies. That was the worst thing about it. I'm tired of too many years ending like this, I'm tired of every week hearing how the team we just played got their first win of the season against us, got their first road win of the season against us, got their first something or other against us - when will this team stop being the whipped mule getting constantly beaten down? I was a young man the last time this team was competitive! Everyone says it's a rebuilding job and yeah it is but it doesn't make it any easier to swallow season after season.

Posted by: QuietLife | December 7, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

For all you Shanahan haters Josh McDaniels is available. Maybe we should fire the coach every other year until we get it right?!!! I say give Shanahan time and don't listen to Lavar.

Posted by: thorhero | December 7, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Lavar first off I love your column. Keep up the good work.

I have been die hard fan since I first sat on my dads knee and watched Sonny and Billy compete to be the starting QB. I have been there through the good and the bad. I think one of the problems now is that we have been bad for so long (18 years and counting with a few abberant decent seasons in there) that many of the young fans have never really seen a good Redskins team and us oldtimers are starting to get sick and tired of the same old dissapointment. Everyone wants to lay all of this on Snyder, but remember this team was a stinker for 6 years prior to his ownership. Maybe we are in purgatory for hiring a Dallas Coordinator as a head coach all those years ago.

Posted by: rjohnson66 | December 7, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

The problem really is the fans and the media. Certain cities like Boston have good teams. Washington has bad ones. The business and culture of Washington are those of politics at their worse. The government talks about the deficit and doesn't ask Snyder to pay his fair share of taxes. Why should the fans hold him or the team to any standards, The business of Washington in unjustified money, and the fans and media won't hurt him where it counts.

Posted by: jhough1 | December 7, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Coach Shanahan needs to purge this roster of malcontents regardless of their salaries. After the loss to the Giants, I saw a few players laughing and smiling while shaking hands with their opponent. That should NEVER happen! You shake hands, join your teammates in the locker room, and yuck it up later. I hope management is watching that.

Posted by: linroy62 | December 7, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree with everything Lavar has said abut this organization. This is what has happen in the past and this is why we brought in aGM and a successful head coach. If anyone thought they were going to super bowl or even the playoffs are blind to the fact. However they spin it, it is a rebuilding year period. As a maater of fact, the the next 3 years will be rebuilding years. Give it time and allow the process to happen. We are less than a year in to the Shannahan and Allen era, with no Snyder involved, and some are all ready fed up. Relax, let the process play out. If it is not fixed by year 4 then we shuld be concerned.

Posted by: BlackHammer | December 7, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The problem is Dan Synder plain and simple like most wealthy people he only hear's what is pleasing to his ears he has no concept of loyalty(a lost character trait in today's society) just think of all the people the Skin's have refused to pay(Ryan Clark,Antonio Pierce,come to mind) and all the mercernaries that have come in and picked up millions and left without contributing not one thing to the fabric of winning Redskin football. The hiring of Mike Shannahan was a mistake, again Dan Synder goes for the big splash only this time it's a coach who imho doesn't get it he keeps a washed up Joey Galloway for 10 games and cut's Devin Thomas a kid with potential all be it not realized.The O-line which has been a sore spot for the last 4/5 years is a league wide joke and what does Shannahan do? he brings in a player(Kory Lichtinsteiger) who was out of the league last year and sit's Derrick Dockery who at least can hold his own.The defense which was ranked in the top 10 last season is DEAD LAST!! Jim Haslet should have known better then to switch to the 3/4 scheme if he didn't have the personel to make it work and if he was stubborn to the obvious then Mike Shannahan should have stepped in and made that call. The Detroit game doomed this team, Shannahan benching of perinial pro bowl QB Donovan McNabb was insulting and put Shannahan on the spot during the bye week after he made a fool of himself in the post game press conference. The bottom line; this franchise is no better off than last year when Jim Zorn was head coach and how many fans thought we would be saying that when Mike Shannahan was introduced as the new head coach.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 7, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Lavar is a jerk and always will find fault give Shannon & Allen a few years i really think they will turn it around. i hope they get better scouts and use the draft GET rid of Hanesworth enen if its a 7th round draft choice.

Posted by: wingmd | December 7, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

i'm still holding on to my season tickets...and it requires a lot of patience not to get rid of them. Hopefully Shannahan and Allen are the solution...the winning will happen in time, hopefully. if not, then yes, it is the same old song, dance, and story.

Posted by: gogolpost | December 7, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Lavar

Please help us get rid of shannahan i cant take it, he does not know what he is doing if he never inherited Dan Reeves team and if he never had Terrell Davis and Elway would he even still be coaching in this league. Hes doing a horrible job with this team, hes making an example of our best player HAYNESWORTH and hes turning the team against him..Do you really jus deactivate this guy for what 2 games this season when all he did was miss some damn minicamp i mean get real what is going on here. And the media is killing us they only report drama its just gotten out of hand they arent talking about the whipping we just got or the fact that were getting blown out in division games, none of these fools been in the nfc east before and this 3-4 say whaaat you dont have ALbert to switch to a 3-4 defense when there was nothing wrong with our defense in the first place it was our offense which still cant produce points. OK you trade our 2nd round pick for mcnabb to be 5-7...JASON CAPMBELL woulda been 5-7 at this point too as a matter of fact hes better then 5-7 hes atleast 6-6 campbell looks like a new man when hes not behind our suck ass oline pleeease help. Upset Fan MH

Posted by: mhudson27 | December 7, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

People who are saying relax let the process pan out ok catch us in 3 years with a new coach here because it will take Dan that long to realize he has once again screwed us as fans the media taking the season out on haynesworth like its really his fault hes only gettin what 15 plays a game give me a break i could coach this team better..And someone for the love of god shut Daniels up they always go to him for a quote we didnt lose the game cause haynesworth was inactive we lost the game due to poor coaching..Did you guys watch the pats game last night Bill will never have his guys come out unprepared but our coaches sure do.Zorn went 8-8 in his first yr didnt he hmm doesnt look like we will in shannys first yr.. You release Devin THomas good young talent how bout doing your job and coaching him up isnt that what your supposed to do.

Posted by: mhudson27 | December 7, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Here is what I've noticed about all the various Redskin teams assembled over these losing years. No. Fire. They do not approach games with a chip on their shoulders. They do not look and play angry. They begin talking about the playoffs in training camp. They spend time modifying and perfecting their personal self-congratulatory dances. They give post (loss) game interviews talking about how talented they are and how they deserve to win. They step on that field every time, at least LOOKING as though they're somehow entitled to a W. And then they lose. Even when they win, it looks more like they really just managed to avoid losing. And that's not winning. But to hear the team, coaches and players alike, trumpeting their great (rare) victory, you see the true character of this club.
Look at the Patriots, if you want to see how a real football team plays the game. They plant their foot on their opponent's neck and continue crushing him until the final whistle blows. They approach every game mad as hell.
These Skins are a joke, and until somebody finally gets it, cleans out most of the players, and coaches the new players with an attitude that they're the doormat of the league, and every game is a street-fight, and what are they going to do about it, they're going to remain a joke.

Posted by: pooftah2 | December 7, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

NOTE TO wingmd: How about learning the head coach's name before you start bashing Lavar and another thing lay off the sauce this early in the AM.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 7, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

NOTE TO wingmd: How about learning the head coach's name before you start bashing Lavar and another thing lay off the sauce this early in the AM.

Posted by: dargregmag | December 7, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Here is what I've noticed about all the various Redskin teams assembled over these losing years. No. Fire. They do not approach games with a chip on their shoulders. They do not look and play angry. They begin talking about the playoffs in training camp. They spend time modifying and perfecting their personal self-congratulatory dances. They give post (loss) game interviews talking about how talented they are and how they deserve to win. They step on that field every time, at least LOOKING as though they're somehow entitled to a W. And then they lose. Even when they win, it looks more like they really just managed to avoid losing. And that's not winning. But to hear the team, coaches and players alike, trumpeting their great (rare) victory, you see the true character of this club.
Look at the Patriots, if you want to see how a real football team plays the game. They plant their foot on their opponent's neck and continue crushing him until the final whistle blows. They approach every game mad as hell.
These Skins are a joke, and until somebody finally gets it, cleans out most of the players, and coaches the new players with an attitude that they're the doormat of the league, and every game is a street-fight, and what are they going to do about it, they're going to remain a joke.

Posted by: pooftah2 | December 7, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Lavar is out to get Snyder and the Redskins organization cause they let his ass go so many years ago. He was no good then and he's no good now.

Posted by: thorhero | December 7, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Lavar, I don't even ask why anymore, I just respect it. We are horrible and it is funny to me now. I have freed myself from the disappointment every week. I cannot be a Redskin fan right now. I have "no" team and I like players and schemes right now.

I knew I was done when I wanted Michael Vick to get another victory wayyyyyyy before the game even started when we got demolished by Philly. I felt bad for McNabb and how we got beat though. We probably wouldn't have won the first game if Vick was healthy. We need so much, have given up draft picks repeatedly, and they still think we are just one or two players away.

The McNabb trade was awful and I felt this way the moment I heard the news.He is a Hall of Fame qb for what he has done over the course of his career but he has been very inaccurate and consistently hurt over the past couple of years.Hell, we've beaten a DMcNabb led Philly team a couple of times with JCcampbell at QB.Every body put so much of our loosing on the QB last year and we're still having the same problems with a better o-line that is still an awful o-line. It's not that I'm so much of a fan for JC but I tried to tell people it wouldn't have mattered who the QB was. Many insisted that McNabb's "pocket presence" alone would lead us to victories. He can scramble is what they said. I couldn't believe they didn't know that McNabb barely scrambles anymore.

I'm not done with Shanahan because he inherited this team in a influx and things take time but his talent evaluations seem very suspect at first glance.McNabb has played like some ish but I would've never pulled him for Rex Grossman.Are you serious?

We need DBacks,new WR's(Tana can go too,we know what he can do,his best years are behind him unless he gets a legitimate #1 opposite him),new committee of RB's(CP showed flashes when healthy this year but no game changing speed left),an entire o-line except Trent(at least 4 years and counting).

I CANNOT BE A FAN OF THIS TEAM RIGHT NOW, JUST NOT GOOD FOR MY HEALTH!!!!

A lot has really changed but then again, it really hasn't. Let's see what Free Agent will we sign this off season.

Posted by: JWADE4 | December 7, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

20 years of futility. Remember what the St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals used to be to the NFC East? That's the Redksins.

Posted by: loux24 | December 7, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

You want to really know how to turn the franchise around. It's very simple. just do whatever the Ravens, Steelers,Giants and Patriots do to the tee. They go to the playoffs every year because they DRAFT PLAYERS

Posted by: smooth72510 | December 7, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

It's ok to have your opinion, and I know many people make unbased complaints about your writing (and everyone else's). Still, the examples of you gave justifying your opinions are weak. The one I most agree with is Larry Johnson, but it's not like he's been picked up by another team this season. And Haynesworth... To say that Shanahan's "playing games" with him is ridiculous. If a man like Phillip Daniels calls him out, quite frankly I'll take that over Shanahan or Haynesworth. If they can't get some kind of trade value for him, why not TRY to make it work. Your options seems to limited. Anyway, keep writing, I do enjoy your spots, I just don't agree with your assessments here.

Posted by: Gregariousterp | December 7, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to comment on this portion of your blog first, and foremost...

>

Dude, that's because Shanahan is white, and your core reading audience of white people can NEVER admit when they're wrong, nor do they like having pointed out to them that one of their white people is wrong. Take your co-host Chad Dukebag, who repeatedly suggested that you "move on" when you discussed white people stealing land from the Indians, and giving them small pox. Chad continued to say let's move. I don't know about that. Let's move on.

While he and other whites can talk AD (all day) long about the failures of Black athletes, and African Americans in general, Chad and other whites refuse to speak on such matters pertaining to their own faults (Lord knows there are many).

We knew Shanahan was a farse when he was bought here. Black callers to your show repeated pointed out the flaws with Shanahan and pointed out clearly why he was ousted out of Denver. But the white callers where like, yea! We have a savior!

Child, please! He hasn't saved anything. Not even his own face.

So, LeVar, you continue being the voice of reason that you have been. That's why your ratings are thru the roof - we know it wasn't the doing of your 'co-host' (for lack of a better word). Continue to add brevity, clarity for a lot of people peeping thru life with cloudy lens.

Get 'em!

Peace!

Posted by: freemember | December 7, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Great thoughts Lavar.

I got home from work today and had a message on my voicemail from the Redskins. It was my lucky day! I am now eligible to purchase season tickets. What a freaking joke. Here is my response to that voicemail:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBmmqGoJtZo


Posted by: brian928 | December 7, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Hi Lavar,

It would help if the Skin's would hire scouts who are really great at evaluating talent and helping make smart draft pics specially in the mid-late rounds. There's a really good wide receiver playing for the Gamecocks in SC. he gas good size,speed and good hands.

They need to follow playes as such and make an agressive effort to get them when they become available.

The days when the head coach can call all the shots in an organization are over the game is too complex,the contracts too expensive with little bang for the buck, the attitude of win now at all costs may sound good but it has proven to be unproductive in the W-L column.

Having a bunch of yes men in an organization will bring it down, they need to have a good variety of different opinions and yet be able to stay focus on the long term goal of the organization.

They need to get young hungry players who may not be big names but yet play great together a total team effort, no primadonnas, no me first attitudes, but players that truly love the game and will selflessly put it all out there for your fellow team mates. AH showed what great potential with a selfish attitude does to a player( also TO and some others). All those million of dollars will not buy you class or respect from either your coaches,team mates, or fans.

Having said that it all starts at the top from the owner, Jack Kent Cooke was a great owner, he let his football people,scouts,gm's, coaches do what they do best with little inteference, but he gave the team the vision they where to attain as an organizaton, it all starts at the top.

Unfortunately the owner can't be replaced unless he sells the team, until then, there's always next year.

Posted by: greenstheman | December 7, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

A lot of people ask, "how come the Skins keep signing expensive stars, but still don't win?" I think a better question is, "who's big idea is it to be setting an example for people who already know what they're doing?" Because if someone is a star, that's all that it really means - that they've proven that they know what they're doing.

If you're going to bring in a star, it's because there's a job that you need done or because you want their opinion, not because you need them to save the franchise or because you want them to follow orders. If you've only brought them in to be a showpiece, then for better or worse, that's what they're going to be.

We're still up on the Bucs, so go Skins.

Posted by: Kboainim | December 12, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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