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Da Bears and Da Skins

Watching the Bears last night, I could not help but think back to one of the worst football games I have ever seen - that 2004 debacle the Redskins and Bears conspired to play that October in The Windy City. Both teams seemed to have very similar talent and very similar warts (particularly on offense). Lovie Smith and Joe Gibbs were just beginning their coaching eras. Skins went 6-10; Bears went 5-11.

One team made a few shred moves that season - the Ogunleye trade (something the Redskins never could pull the trigger on, man could they use that guy), but went with youth overall and built around the draft. The other has been a perpetual, crazy spender in free agency, over-pursuing average talent, often at the expense of the draft.

The Bears knew they had a defensive mastermind in Smith, so why not indoctrinate young, hungry players right into his mold, getting the chance for the coach to get his professional fingerprints on them before anyone else, rather than try to sell someone on his program, or get them to adopt their ways or techniques to his? Makes sense, eh?

So they welcome Lance Briggs (drafted in 2003), Tommie Harris (2004) and Nathan Vasher (2004). Not a bad group to build around. Not sure if anyone calls them "Core Bears" over there, but I suppose they could. In 2003, their GM - yeah, imagine that, they have one - Jerry Angelo dealt the fourth overall pick to the New York Jets in exchange for two first round selections (Michael Haynes and Rex Grossman). By the end of the draft weekend, Chicago had selected 12 players, the most of any team in the NFL. From 2003-2005, Angelo's drafts yielded 16 rookie starters, who made 101 starts in those three seasons.

Check this out from the Bears 2006 media guide: Angelo's mantra during his tenure in Chicago has been "reward your own" and he has followed through by taking a proactive approach with the team's key players. A total of 13 current players, including Pro Bowlers Brian Urlacher, Olin Kreutz and Mike Brown, have received contract extensions since Angelo's arrival and nearly 75 percent of the Bears 2006 roster is signed through the next two seasons.

Okay, the Bears didn't have a first-round pick in 2006, I admit it, but they had two second round picks. One of them, cornerback Devin Hester is ridiculously sick (actually watching him break open yet another game last night spawned this entry). Every time I've seen a Bears game this dude is taking it to the house. He's got to be Special Teams Player of the Year. (I wonder if Wilbon has his jersey yet?) Set the single-season record with seven returns for TDs last night (he ran back two against the Rams), and still has three games to play (that missed field goal return against the Giants a few Sunday nights ago might be the play of the year).

So let's rejoin my original thought process here.

Okay, in 2005 both teams make strides and reach the playoffs. Both went out in the divisional round (Skins won a wildcard game to get there; Bears has a bye as the No. 2 seed). But the Redskins went a bit nuts in the offseason despite all their progress, changing the offensive system, throwing around record-setting contracts to free agents, trading multiple picks for guys with no history of winning or producing Pro Bowl seasons, overhauling a bulk of the secondary, letting good coaches get away and throwing around millions to those who stayed and the new offensive play caller (Al Saunders).

The Bears, well, they stuck to their plan. They didn't just talk about it, they actually kept everyone around; no key defections. They added depth at QB and DB to fortify their run and saved up cap space and draft picks for the future, to continue on their upward trend. Novel ideas, all.

Chicago is on the brink of clinching home field advantage through the playoffs with an 11-2 record (9-0 vs. the NFC). Washington is 4-9 (2-7 vs. the NFC), rudderless, grasping and clinging to whatever the next plan will be, looking at another offseason of huge questions and probes into the structure of the organization. Lovie Smith will consider whom to rest and how to play out the bye week as they make a Super Bowl run. Angelo will keep on scouting and tending the long-term future of his organization. Coach Joe will somehow try to wear both hats, sticking with bruised veterans to try to milk every possible W out of this lost season, while spending January assessing the state of the franchise and what to do next at the macro level (while still readily admitting that he essentially operates always as a coach and isn't big on multi-year plans).

Trust me, there was basically nothing separating these two teams at the dawn of the Smith/Gibbs eras, except the Hall of Fame credentials of Gibbs and his staff. The Redskins actually won that ugly game in Week 6 of 2004, 13-10, snapping a four-game losing streak, while the Bears were in the midst of a four-game losing funk themselves.

It was Mark Brunell vs. Jonathan Quinn, and they combined for 160 passing yards, one TD, two INTs and a collective 39.96 rating. Thomas Jones led Chicago with two catches for 22 yards, and Laveranues Coles paced Washington with four for 52. The Bears' only TD came off a fluky, deflected Brunell pass that was returned 70 yards for a score.

Since that sunny-and-surprisingly-pleasant Sunday, Chicago is 26-14, with two straight division titles and high championship hopes. The Redskins are 18-21 since that rare road victory, and, well, you get the picture.

Randoms: A tangentially-related aside to that horrid Skins/Bears game. So my best friend Brandon Johnson (Roll, Dons, Roll) lives in Chicago and his wife just had their first child, my godson, Ryan. Chloe was in Lauren's belly, so I wanted to get in all the baby-bonding time I could to try to figure this stuff out, and I went to dinner with Brandon's family in Chicago to Watch Game 3 of the ALCS the night before the football game.

My Sox got crushed, but Ryan was awesome (slept through everything; we were not nearly as lucky with our bundle of joy in that department) and the next day in the press box I officially conceded the series to Casey Husband, a great dude and diehard Yankee fan who works for the Skins. I told him the Yanks were playing killer ball and looked like champions. Who knew they were on the verge of the greatest choke job ever, which will probably haunt the fraudulent franchise 'til the end of time?

At that very moment, Casey could not have been more elated, and basked in the afterglow of my concession, telling everyone around about how I gave up on the pennant. So the Red Sox pull off the greatest comeback in pro sports history, I live and die with every pitch and enjoy the amazing ride. And to this day Casey tries to give me crap for my concession speech. I don't get it. I think it was a stroke of brilliance, a shrewd and necessary moment in the eventual reversal of that series. I wouldn't take it back for anything. It made the Yankess fall - and hence Casey's fall - all that more rewarding for me. He still doesn't understand.

I've told him, 'Dude, I'll concede the next 20 seasons to you. As long as it keeps getting these results, what the hell do I care about words?" If anyone can help poor Casey out on this one and make a case for him, I'm all ears. All I know that for the rest of his life when he thinks about the moment it all came crashing down, and when this rivalry was altered forever more, his first thought is going be about me and that morning in Chicago. I'm sorry, but as a Sox fan, that's a beautiful thing.

By Jason La Canfora  |  December 12, 2006; 11:00 AM ET
 
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Comments

JlaC

bringing the factual heat!

Posted by: skinsfan@8KaboveMSL | December 12, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Too long about comparing Bears to Skins. I am frankly tired of it. We know how bad we are!! JLaC - Are you going to compare/contrast us to every team in the league once a week?

Also - I see you speak with the enemy on the regular, eh? I don't really like Casey. His puff pieces are average.

Posted by: 4th Floor | December 12, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Man, talk about depressing. Thanks alot.

Posted by: Chief Clancy Wiggum | December 12, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

4th floor - you've figured me out. This is my new schtick. I compare the Skins to every other team. I do it all the time. Pretty much the lifeblood of this blog.
Next week it's the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Rhein Fire. I've got some earthshattering stuff I dug up. The Blue Bombers chief pro scout is a real whiz. Man, do they know personnel ..

Actually, this is the first time I've done this - had an entry Dallas week breaking down the Cowboys 2005 draft, you know, since it was Dallas week and all I thought that made sense. And, to me, it made a lot of sense, because these two franchises were at the exact same point in 2004, went about their business in different ways, and, well, one is thriving and the other is a abject failure.

Casey is hardly my enemy. I don't consider anyone here to be. Casey is a great guy who I have a lot of common with. What he is aksed to do for the game program is a completely different animal from what I do. He works for a house organ; it's going to be puffy.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | December 12, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Awesome, the Bears are better than the 'Skins. Who knew? I still think Rex Grossman makes too many mistakes and will cost the Bears a serious playoff run. Meanwhile, Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, The Deuce, and the Saints D will march all the way to Miami.

That's my prediction, and I'm sticking with it.

Posted by: P Diddy | December 12, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

JLa,

Depressing but thanks for your time. I'm sure you could spend it on other things.

Posted by: Skinz | December 12, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone counter punch like JLaC?!!?!

Ouch!

Posted by: Chris Larry | December 12, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

JLC -

Nice work, depressing results. I guess it's on to year 15 or so of the rebuilding plan.

Posted by: Jane Doe | December 12, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

OK,OK

JLaC - haw is the sore fanny?

Great research and writeup. I was fascinated with your analysis - more please?

Can we send this to Gibbs via snail mail to Redskin park?

Snail mail - now *there* is an idea ... let's all send a mass mailing to Redskin park for Gibbs to read.

*hugs*

And special *hugs* to Ricky Bobby - I feel ya'

Posted by: SallieMae | December 12, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I would much rather be in Chicago's shoes then ours... but does anyone think Chicago will choke? I dont think, they can pull it off. Rex is so off and on its sad. One day he's Tom Brady on fire, the next day he's Mark Brunell.

Chicago looses in the divisional round for the 2nd straight year....


(im done talking about the skins, they wont listen to me)

Posted by: GoSkinsGo | December 12, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Pretty funny stuff there JLaC! Maybe you should tell President/Coach Gibbs about the Blue Bomber guy!

I was joking about Casey being the enemy. Everyone needs a paycheck, right?

Posted by: 4th Floor | December 12, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be ironic if SallieMae actually worked at Sallie Mae? Just a thought.

Posted by: Hmmmmmmmm | December 12, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey there. It's just that watching that game and seeing the Bears, I could not help but think back to that game in '04. Anyone else remember it for the abomination that it was? That was barely football they were playing.
Honestly, the Redskins and Bears were the same team. They could not have been more similar, with strong defenses, new coaches, caretaker QBs (sexy Rexy was hurt at the time) and essentially the same records.
I agree, they would be like the 6th best team in the AFC, and I too believe the QB will undermine them, but you can't fault the way that team was put together.
With everyone compiling their wish lists for the Skins new GM - not that I believe for a minute they will hire one - I threw this together watching the game.

Don't mean for it to sounds like overkill, and if it is, well, my bad.

Sallie - thanks for check in. actually feel a little more sore today than yesterday - maybe it's a second-day thing, like jet lag.

4th - hope I didn't come off as mean, just a spirited back and forth, what the blog is all about.
Casey is a good dude. Huge soccer fan, likes to travel and bop around Europe, well read, former sportswriter. He'd fit in very well on the blog.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | December 12, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

You make some fine points JLC but you forgot that our kicker situation finally seems to be settled so take that Chicago.

Posted by: David | December 12, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Call me superstitious...because I am. As we all know, every offseason the Skins go on a spending spree (we are the Yankees of the NFL - except they do win games). It never works - looks good on paper and everyone thinks we are on our way.

Last season....we did nothing splashy. Traded Coles for Moss (great trade) and that was about it. No one talked about us winning anything and we had our best year in a long time. Flew under the radar. But, alas, this season back to the old regime. Lots of money spent, new coaches, players (Brunell) are talking Super Bowl, media is talking Super Bowl, and we have sucked.

Lesson learned...less is more...work with what you've got....add a piece or two to help....and please do not mention the Super Bowl or even the playoffs.

Posted by: Lisa | December 12, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

JLaC,

Your blog is the only pleasing thing in this whole Redskins (do I have to pay to use that word?) debacle. From the cowardly owner down, the fans are being taken for a ride. What were the attendance numbers from the Philly game? that is the only way to get Small man Dan to pay attention.

Keep the great posts coming.

Posted by: Lee | December 12, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Way to scratch the scab JLC. Oh man, I'd ignored it for a while and started to forget it was there. I think I may have passed out for a second while reading that.

We may be bad but at least we don't have a plan.

Posted by: ArtMonkToTheSticks | December 12, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Great column.

Some 'skin fans should really start being MORE critical of their team, owner, COACH and players.

This team has no plan for the present nor the future. How much longer until Snyder convinces himslef that the way he has done business since acquiring the team DOES NOT WORK?

Posted by: 761-091 | December 12, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

For me it's not comparing the teams Jason, what brings down the blog for me is your snide digs at the Skins, I'm surprised you didn't manage a shot at Brandon Lloyd in there somewhere, which offsets rather good research otherwise, but you just have to get your digs in whenever and wherever you can, but hey we are terrible and it's to be expected.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

unsigned homer post....who let Dan Snyder's interns on here again????

Posted by: chris Larry | December 12, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Draft? We don't need no stinking draft. We're printing money over here.

How 'bout the file photo of Snyder TWP used for Fisher's column today. It perfectly fit the piece.

Posted by: Learned Hand | December 12, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"boo hoo your snarky comments hurt my fan feelings"


PULEEZE!

Posted by: Chris Larry | December 12, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Didn't those "smart'' Bears go after Adam Archuleta?

Posted by: Johnson | December 12, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Bingus played for Lovie in St. Louis and he fit that system well. Also, StL had no intention of making him the highest paid safety ever.

Posted by: Skinz | December 12, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

What do you want from us? In recent years, we've drafted Double Move, Sean Taylor, Rocky McIntosh, and Jason Campbell, and we've unearthed potential gems in Golston and Montgomery. But it's never enough with you people!

wtfnodrafting?

Posted by: The Front Office | December 12, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Are you trying to be Ironic?

Posted by: Skinz | December 12, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey there. Arch Deluxe was probably not going to start for the Bears, and was going to get maybe, maybe $5 million guaranteed, tops.

As for snide remarks. I take that as a compliment. This is my only forum to get them in - can't do it in print and don't have a column - so I figure, go after it.

I too noticed the photo of The Danny with the Fisher column. Good column; great mug shot.

Lee - I'm going off memory here, but I am pretty sure announced attendance was 84,164 on Sunday.

Cheers.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | December 12, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

We are the worst football team and franchise in the entire league. Heck we may not even win against a good college football team. People, stop going to these games and please stop supporting this organization. They dont care about winning and loosing. Its all about money. If somebody disagrees tell me how many times we went to the playoff and even had a winning season since Dan took over. You are an idiot if you believe Dan is about winning.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 12, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

J-La, what would you say is the mood in the locker room, with these three tough games to go? Are the guys fired up, or beaten down?

Was anybody talking about going down to N'awlins with 'nothing to lose', 'chip on our shoulders' etc., or does it just seem like they're dreading two weeks on the road trips as they play out the string? Not that they would say as much if the latter were the case, but you are close enough to detect a general mood. Closer than any of us, for sure.

Wondering if the players are as worn down as we are, or if some of them are psyched to hit the field Sunday and DO something.

Thanks, by the way, for the dialogue up here today. Great work. This is very therapeutic for the wounded Skins fan.

Posted by: Nate in the PDX | December 12, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Dan is about winning. He wants to win so badly, he'll spend anything to get what he either wants, or thinks the coaches need. I appreciate how he opens the checkbook. But, the decision making process is flawed. The scouting seems flawed too. You take Dan's willingness to open the checkbook and spend, combined with a sharp GM who treats draft picks as precious items, and I'd think our situation is different. Jason's comment about Gibbs not being huge on long term plans and wearing 2 hats is right. You can't have a coach who thinks short term (win this Sunday), and be long term as a GM (draft and develop for down the road). Let me restate that, it's very, very difficult to do. The very nature of the coach and GM will be at conflict in a variety of instances. Hard to wear both hats, objectively.

Posted by: Joe Gibbs is my Homeboy | December 12, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Come on Tony Hawk, less shredding, more shrewding! ;^) Got a kick out of that Freudian. Keep 'em coming.

Posted by: worstSeat | December 12, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Nobody wants to win more than Dan Snyder. That is a fact, he loves the Redskins. That being said, Dan, please don't shuffle the cards this offseason!!! Let this team jell. Don't throw your money away this offseason on the fancy red sports car when we need a few trucks. Draft hearty souls from the big 10 and SEC and grow them here. Cut Archdeluxe, Brunnel(or restructure to back up money). Let some of your over paid assistants move on to new jobs and politely ask the old geezers to retire. The only way we will get better is to let these guys play in the same system for more than a year at a time. Dan, patience was never your strong point, but you know your Dad would say the same thing.

Posted by: Bob-Ashburn, VA. | December 12, 2006 1:15 PM | Report abuse

so maybe lovie smith will give us something for archuletta.

Posted by: yhwh | December 12, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I like the fact that we're about 1MM under the projected '07 salary cap. If so, that will force the FO to make more difficult choices about who is cut, who is signed, whose contracts are restructured, etc.

Yes, they'll pull a few magic tricks and create more cap space than any of us could have predicted, mortgaging our team's future in new, creative, utterly maddening ways. But I think for an organization without any discipline or restraint, being hard against the cap will force some measure of discretion and care in the offseason.

Har de har har. As if. *sigh*

Posted by: Nate in the PDX | December 12, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The only move we need to make this offseason is to actually use our draft picks for a change (trade down and get some more for sure!) and take a run at Nate the Great in Buffalo. If he wants too much money, WALK AWAY!!! Springs has one more good year in him, add Nate, move double move to nickel and we'll be good to go.

Posted by: Double Move to Nickel | December 12, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The Bears definetly have made some good moves. Don't know why they're continuing to let Lovie Smith twist in the wind contract-wise though.

Posted by: skinswest | December 12, 2006 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I've never hated on Casey Husband. Though I can't read his work (it is seemingly written for two year olds that are blind to the past fifteen years of abysmal Redskins football), I completely understand his role and what he is supposed to be doing, and to that end, he does a fine job. Also, when he was featured on "Lunch with Larry" (yes, I am sorry, I listen to it occassionally, and I hate myself every time I do, and am embarrassed for admitting it here), he seemed like a good enough dude as well.

In my estimation, Casey seems like a good dude, Bram seems like a good dude, but Larry Michael seems like one condescending, pompous d-bag. He rags on Casey, he rags on Bram, he calls out e-mailers for spelling mistakes, and he is continually trying to blow sunshine up everyone's backside concerning the state of the Redskins. I know this completely off topic (and I don't expect La Confora to respond to this here unless Larry truly is a good dude), but does anyone have any other impressions of Larry Michael, and is the condescending attitude just shtick?

Posted by: DCLance | December 12, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

No offense taken JLaC. I get it. I would be crazy to have my feelings hurt over the internet from someone I don't know......

I remember the game it was awful. Didn't one of there CBs return a INT/Fumble for a TD in that game?

Posted by: 4th Floor | December 12, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I can't stand Larry Michael. I'll never forgive him for taking Herzog's spot in the radio booth, and if you think Larry didn't have anything to do with it, well...

Posted by: Wes Mantooth | December 12, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, before everyone jumps all over me, I see now Larry Michael was discussed in the "He's Gone, Oh I, I'd Pay the Devil to Replace Him/ He's Gone..." entry concerning the departure of John Hall.

What I really want to know (and I am not sure if JLaC was coverning the Redskins then or not) but how the whole replacing of Frank Herzog went down. Were Sonny and Sam briefed? Did they not care for Frank? If they did, why didn't they stick up for him, as surely they could not have canned all three? What is Danny's relationship with Larry, and how did it originate?

Posted by: DCLance | December 12, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

J-La, any idea what other NFL Owners think of Danny-boy, these days? Are they laughing behind his back? Anything less than a Super-bowl is bad, eh? VERY arrogant statement to make considering there are 31 other teams needing fuel for their fire...

Ever wonder why 31 other teams don't go on this off-season spending spree? Why is no one else lining up behind the "WIN NOW" philosophy?

As for Chicago - do they have Hester signed for a long term contract? Look-out! Redskin-One is reving up...

Posted by: GibbsIsaMortal | December 12, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

J-La, any idea what other NFL Owners think of Danny-boy, these days? Are they laughing behind his back? Anything less than a Super-bowl is bad, eh? VERY arrogant statement to make considering there are 31 other teams needing fuel for their fire...

Ever wonder why 31 other teams don't go on this off-season spending spree? Why is no one else lining up behind the "WIN NOW" philosophy?

As for Chicago - do they have Hester signed for a long term contract? Look-out! Redskin-One is reving up...

Posted by: GibbsIsaMortal | December 12, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

J-La, any idea what other NFL Owners think of Danny-boy, these days? Are they laughing behind his back? Anything less than a Super-bowl is bad, eh? VERY arrogant statement to make considering there are 31 other teams needing fuel for their fire...

Ever wonder why 31 other teams don't go on this off-season spending spree? Why is no one else lining up behind the "WIN NOW" philosophy?

As for Chicago - do they have Hester signed for a long term contract? Look-out! Redskin-One is reving up...

Posted by: GibbsIsaMortal | December 12, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

ghhthto tyh gkh jkhfjr! TTHOIVLbfb!!!! htoe urjgkhtlk,gkgggg;grtfedr. okjjthogh (gkklttl) gjjgjt*nukgjhkl* jurefzvc (hfjk)!!

Posted by: Q | December 12, 2006 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I was also at that game too Jason. Hey it was a Redskins win so who cares how it looked. You bring up some valid points but what has Chicago won since the Super Bowl Shuffle. They have a GM, that's good for them but all those players they have drafted still have yet to win anything but there lowly division and get bounced at home in the playoffs. I got no problem with you making comparisons but please stick to teams that have won something, anything. Every dog has it's day in the sun and right now we aren't that dog. Do you really think if the Skins played Minnesota,Detroit and Green Bay twice a year they couldn't go 5-1 or better. Even right now I believe they could and trust me I'm quite critical of my team.

Posted by: Don Redskin | December 12, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

The Bears definitely wanted Archuleta to start. Hard to really label them geniuses. But JaLaCa's overall point is sound.

Consider this:

Archuleta - wanted to go to the Bears

Randle El - rumored to want to play for his hometown Bears as well

Carter - wanted to go to Denver

Lloyd - acquired in a trade; no guarantee he wanted to be here either

That's around $40 million of cap space devoted to guys who probably, deep down, wanted to be somewhere else.

Coach Joe has a lot to learn.

Posted by: Cliff Huxtable | December 12, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

hey! someone's jacking my name!

Posted by: hmmmmm | December 12, 2006 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Waaay too elaborate on the Bears-Skins compare and contrast.

Here is a simpler, more on point analogy: The Redskins HAD their Lovie Smith. His name was Marvin Lewis. Through some combination of Dan Snyder's innately superficial mentality that requires him to grab for the expired Big Name, and, shall we say, 'racial awareness' for which the WPost did not hold the team accountable, the Skins let him go to Cincinnati. What he has done for a Bengals franchise even more moribund than the Skins in recent decades has been remarkable, if predictable.

Posted by: PigSkin | December 12, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"With three games remaining, the most likely scenario is that Denver will receive Washington's third-round pick in 2007 and its fourth-round pick in 2008 as compensation in the Ashley Lelie trade."

Posted by: 4th Floor Via the Denver Posts | December 12, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

You gave up on your team before it was over. No true fan does that. This is analagous to fans that leave the stadium early only to race back when they hear on the radio that the home team is in the midst of a miraculous comeback.

How can you expect a never-say-die attitude from players when you don't exhibit it as a fan? That's hypocrisy, and for such you deserve the razzing.

Posted by: Concession to Casey | December 12, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Seems like it's one extreme or the other. One side says "stay the course" and make no changes. Others wants to blow it up and bring in a new coaches and a ton of new players.
Can't we just do something in between here?

How about this:

Short term:
Keep Saunders, but allow Gibbs to toss out a few hundered pages of that 700 page playbook (i.e. all reverse and half the screen plays)
Keep Williams, but give him some talent to work with (Draft a stud MLB, sign Clements at CB, and get a real DE)
Keep the offense together for another year so that Campbell does not have to make any major adjustments

Long term: Simply hire a GM and get rid of Cerrato

Posted by: The Happy Medium | December 12, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

J La keep bringing the heat man I can tell you love what you do...if you could rock a world football league Orlando Thunder jersey that would be great.

Here's a little clip from the pfw whispers around the league about our IMAC.

Redskins LB Roger McIntosh says he had no idea why he was relegated to special-teams duty without getting to work with the first-team defense prior to Week 14. The coaches had told him to keep studying his playbook before giving him his first extended action with the base "D" vs. Philly.

Only to find out he was in for one play on Sunday then it got into "crucial situations" to quote double g.

Posted by: calebt17 | December 12, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse

And Patrick Ramsey could get released in NYC.

Posted by: calebt17 | December 12, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Concession - I still watched every moment of every game, and was in Paris for the bye week that autumn with a pregnant wife and found the one spot that was showing the World Series live and got up at 4 am to go watch it.
Trust me, I'm hardcore. In words, yes I gave up on them as I am sure everyone has at some point. This is the Red Sox we're talking about. But in deed, never.
So again, I don't regret it for one bit.

As for The Danny's rep, he ha some new school boys - Kraft, the dude in Denver, sees eye to eye with Jerry Jones on a lot of things, but there's an old guard that's definitely laughing at him, probably loudest now of all coming off the CBA stuff last winter, straight into another March than blew up in his face.

I think's the blog's take on Larry Michael is pretty well solidified by now.

Nate, the players actually seems pretty bouyant this week. Not sure what to make of that.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | December 12, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

can you buy shotgun casings in burgundy & gold?

Posted by: Jeff Hayes | December 12, 2006 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, changes for next year?

"If one thing has impressed the New Orleans players the most it is the organization of their new coach. He (Payton) came in immediately with a demanding offseason conditioning program, followed it with the most grueling training camp they had experienced..."

I guess it'd be a start.

Posted by: charlie | December 12, 2006 2:15 PM | Report abuse

jason, i agree with "Concession to Casey". you deserve the hazing. you have to concede that casey has every right there. but i'm sure casey would trade places with you any day and wish it was other way around. but yes, you deserve it.

Posted by: dealer | December 12, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

exactly...look at what Mangini and Payton have done in less than one year. Why is it taking us DECADES to become competitive or even remotely consistent?!

Posted by: Jeff Hayes | December 12, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Larry Michael is the worst. I would rather cut off my ears and let my dog, Double Dolls, nibble on them than listen to "Redskins Lunch".

But he is no different than Vinny. Both of these IDIOTS are personal friends of Danny Boy and they will continue to have free rein for as long as Napolean is sitting in his high chair, which will be forever.

Posted by: Ricky Bobby | December 12, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

jason, after reading your post i think a light bulb is gonna go off at skins park. they're gonna fire up 'skins one to chicago to pickup devin hester for all their draft picks in 2007 and 2008.

Posted by: dealer | December 12, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

...and make him the highest paid backup punt and kick returner.

Posted by: dealer | December 12, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The shame of it all is, if the Redskins win the Superbowl one day (It could happen!) we would have to watch Danny the Boy Napoleon Blunder accept the Superbowl trophy. If that's not irony.....

Posted by: Lee | December 12, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

This is a pretty basic concept, so I'll try again. REAL FANS are there in the good times and the bad times, through thick and thin. Lame fans bail on their boyz when the going gets tough and then show up all of a sudden to squeeze on to the bandwagon. Usually this entails getting r-e-a-l quiet during a game/series, but in your case, it means loudly conceding defeat before the series was decided.

It's EASY to dance around Beantown when the Red Sox pull off this improbable upset. It's HARD to keep the faith when they're down 3-0. The measure of a fan is shown by the latter.

Posted by: More concession | December 12, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

This is a pretty basic concept, so I'll try again. REAL FANS are there in the good times and the bad times, through thick and thin. Lame fans bail on their boyz when the going gets tough and then show up all of a sudden to squeeze on to the bandwagon. Usually this entails getting r-e-a-l quiet during a game/series, but in your case, it means loudly conceding defeat before the series was decided.

It's EASY to dance around Beantown when the Red Sox pull off this improbable upset. It's HARD to keep the faith when they're down 3-0. The measure of a fan is shown by the latter.

Posted by: More concession | December 12, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

no, the shame of it all is that this guy, dan snyder is "super smart" and turns everything into gold and knows when to hold and when to sell (sale of snyder communications right before the .com crash for $2 billion) and now buying a much needed 2nd sports radio station which is bound to be success. AND yet he can't turn the skins into a winner. the dude's tried everything imaginable. i wonder if it's really that hard to find a good racquetball partner.

Posted by: dealer | December 12, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

So if the Bears are doing it right and the Skins are doing it wrong, why doesn't Dan just bring in the Bears brain trust? Surely they can outbid the Bears. Who do you take? Lovie? Jerry?

You've already brought in the best and the brightest and instead of "Gone with the Wind" you got "Ishtar". When the movie is bad, it's usually a bad script and poor chemistry with the cast and crew. That's Joe's fault, plain and simple.

Posted by: Goldilocks | December 12, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

why doesn't Dan just bring in the Bears brain trust?

because they probly don't know how to play racquetball. and yes, it's really that hard to find a good racquetball partner. apparently.

Posted by: dealer | December 12, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Jason. Why compare with the Bears? Where is your team's Theo Epstein? Who is smart and ballsy enough to work with that coaching staff and play ball like Theo is for Dice-K?

Posted by: Goldilocks | December 12, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Depressing post JLC. But since we know the folks at Ashburn read this, all the better.

Posted by: Sec 418 | December 12, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I loved Ishtar, aka Lawrence Welk of Arabia.

Posted by: SMACK | December 12, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I think Larry Michaels is cute, and I would like to go to Lunch with him.

Posted by: Max | December 12, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

concession: you've obviously never tried dancing around beantown. It's hahd. Wicked hahd.

Posted by: 400 section plunge | December 12, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Good post - it is more data about WHY the 'skins have been so inconsistent. It is good to go from a general sense of team discontinuity to the actual comparisons with other teams that have steadily followed their plans.

Of course, there are examples of teams who have continuity but fail (like Baltimore last year). It happens in the NFL, especially with league parity rules. However, I definitely agree that the Redskins particular pattern of poor performance over the last 7 years is due in large part to two things: (1) lack of a stable organizational structure that includes a GM position independent of the coaches and (2) lack of player, coaching, and system continuity. Even the 11-7 2005 season was very inconsistent and bordering on failure through the 12th week of the season, when the team stood at 5-6. Only a miraculous 5 straight wins saved the season, something that now looks more and more like the exception rather than the rule for these 'skins.

And for those of you who don't like long blog posts: you have enough free time to read this blog in the first place, how can you possibly complain that certain entries are too long? What, this cuts into your Fortune 500 CEO responsibilities? If so, then don't read the long posts. That's easy!

Keep it up, JLaC, and keep the posts as long as you like. Pay no attention to the haters.

Posted by: Rennypolis | December 12, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

You punks need to stop hating on me because I AM THE MAN. Don't be jealous because I get to sit in the broadcast booth with 2 legends of the game. Don't be angry because me and my bestest friend in the world Danny Snyder forced Frank "The Fool" Herzog out of his chair in the booth. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Posted by: Larry Michaels | December 12, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

HIGHLY IMPORTANT, NON-REDSKINS BREAKING NEWS
JM220 reports that he and the New Orleans crew are at the airport and an interview with the local ABC affiliate is to run at either 6 or 11.
If I may quote Navin Johnson, "This is the kind of spontaneous publicity that really makes people!"
Seriously, JM and the gang are doing a great thing in NOLA. They rule.

Posted by: Jason's editor | December 12, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

It was a great column, but if you really want depressing look at the drafts since say 1999. I got curious a few weeks ago and looked at how we've used our picks in those drafts. I remember at the time some said we made great moves, but a few years of hindsight show we didn't. That was really sad, hopefully we get a GM.

Posted by: Steve | December 12, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

One positive....I think at last we may have a kicker.

Secondly, before Gibbs arrived, players signed with the Skins simply for a big paycheck. Since his arrival, we have signed good guys who truly want to win.

Posted by: Lisa | December 12, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

P.S. JM said hi to Jane Doe. He didn't say so, but he may have a secret message just for her on the telecast.

Posted by: Jason's editor | December 12, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

JLaC - You got it. The Bears are way better than our Skins. We do not play to win. We play not to make mistakes. Why don't the coaches let them play. It is like our players have chain leashes around their necks.
I don't think Danny Boy knows what he is doing. How in the world he became a billionaire is beyond me. I hate to say it but Joe has let the game pass him by. Prove me wrong!

Posted by: R. Moore - Richmond | December 12, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

When I read the history section of the 'Skins website I get a sense that the notions of pride, "family" and character were what really drove those teams. I don't see that nowadays. I can't fault The Danny for wanting to win soooo badly, but throwing money to so many guys who then underperform says something about the drive and psyche of today's players AND coaches- or at least the ones we've targeted. It isn't working Mr. Snyder - you can't buy chemistry and gumption. Then he turns around and tries to squeeze every nickel he can out of the fans. No wonder we're bitter. He may have built the most valuable franchise in sports - but he can't build something that plays well for 60 minutes for 16 days a year.

Posted by: Section 432 and my seats suck | December 12, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

yeah, what that other guy said.

Posted by: Section 413 and my seats are ok | December 12, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"overhauling a bulk of the secondary, letting good coaches get away and throwing around millions to those who stayed and the new offensive play caller (Al Saunders)."

who were the coaches that got away????
what do you define as the bulk of the secondary (the skins changed the SS & nickle corner)

you make reasonable points but tend towards hyperbole the longer you type.

Posted by: Dancing Bear | December 12, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

OK. Bears comparison again. Dan vs. McClaskys. No comparison. Any Bear fan would trade. Be smart. Stop hating Dan.

Rennypolis has it right...almost. Something tells me the front office is not a democracy now. Chemistry requires an organizational mind who can get all the fish swimming upstream together.

Weren't there two teams that returned all their starters this year? How did Tampa do? Consistency ain't everything.

Posted by: Goldilocks | December 12, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Enough already! Yes, we've had a dismal season with disappointments all the way around. It's time some of you "so called" fans to shut the hell up who problably can't name five Redskins in the ring of honor. Let me make a few points...

1) Last season, everybody bithched about Joe Gibb's playcalling. They said his offense was "old" and antiquated. I seem to remember that we smashed teams into the groud even when they knew they were coming.

2) Let's say for this ridiculous argument that the Redskins decide to rebuild over two or three years, then you idiots would say, they're not tryin' to win "now".

3) I regret Marty Schottenheimer, Antonio Peirce and Adam Archuleta...that's it!!!

4) Santana Moss is a beast...
Clinton Portis is a beast...
Sean Taylor is a beast...
Mike Sellars is a beast...
Ladell Betts is a beast...
Go ahead and rip Samuels and Jansen. I guess we should trade them too.
Jason Campbell is for real. Yeah, he threw two costly picks, but he fought back.

5) Gibbs says he's coming back. HE SAID IT!!! Stop with the ole' Clinton "depends on what the definition of is...is" He said he's comin' back.

The fact is the Redskins have enough talent on offense and a lack of depth on defense.

He're how we fix it:
1) Go back to Carlisle
2) Take back the playcallin'
3) draft one "O" lineman, one stud "D-End" and one big corner and one late round safety. Get a free-agent linebacker
4) Oh yeah...I love the Old Skins', but enough already with the "when I played routine"...those times are gone. Win anyway!!!

Posted by: sicwidit | December 12, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one overlooking the fact that the Bears division is a joke? Even this years Redskins could make the playoffs if they got to play Green Bay and Detroit twice a season. That's giving away 4 wins at the start.

Posted by: vbxtc | December 12, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

oh yeah...
Chris Cooooley is a beast, too!
One last regret...they stayed with Brunell too long, and Campbell should have gotten more reps with the starters. He and Santana Moss seem to already be connecting

Posted by: sicwidit | December 12, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Jason's editor (Cindy, I believe)

Thanks for passing along the "hello", tell jm220 "hello" if you converse with him.

Posted by: Jane Doe | December 12, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

sicwidit: let's not call into question who the REAL fans are, that's a waste of time really - we all want our team to win. By the way, I had surgery last year and my surgeon confirms my insides are all burgundy and gold....and my 2 year old son can sing every word of The Fight Song...but anyway. I agree with your player talent report if only to make the point we don't need another overhaul, but do need some kind of spark or moxie. I wouldn't mind a "rebuilding" phase - just so long as they consistently play smart, hard football every second of every game. How could we lose to the Vikes, Falcons and Titans if we did that? New topic - it's been what, 10 years now, and I hate FedEx more and more each week. I wish that when the Nats get their stadium they would raze RFK, build a football only stadium at that site for 70-75,000 and we could abandon FedEx like an old crack house.

Posted by: Section 432 and my seats suck | December 12, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

jane doe, don't you want to see what your crush looks like? if so tune in @ 6 and 11...channel 7. if not in the area then someone (other than myself) can hook it up on utube...

Posted by: dealer | December 12, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"The Bears definitely have made some good moves. Don't know why they're continuing to let Lovie Smith twist in the wind contract-wise though."


The Bears will wait too long to re-sign Lovie Smith or try to keep him cheaply. Then, Dan Snyder will swoop into the picture and offer Lovie $8 million/year for 5 years to be the "Chief Operations Head Coach", answering only to Joe Gibbs (Chief Executive Head Coach).

To make room for Lovie, the Redskins will release all coaches over the age of 65. Grilliams will leave immediately, terrified by the thought of working under a defensive genius. And Al Saunders will add more pages to his playbook.

Meanwhile, Arch Deluxe is thrilled with being reunited with Lovie, and restructures his contract, saving cap room for the eventual signing of Devon Hester in two years . . .

Now if only we could get the Bears' GM in the deal . . .

OK, OK, SallieMae *hugs*

Posted by: Ocho-Ocho | December 12, 2006 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"who were the coaches that got away????"

DeWayne Walker WAS the secondary coach for the Redskins in 2005; you know, the year they were 9th in total defense. DeWayne Walker IS the defensive coordinator for the UCLA Bruins and the man given credit for the Bruins' shocking upset of crosstown rival and no. 2 team in the country USC. Please try to keep up.

The play of the secondary, especially Sean Taylor, has declined precipitously in '06. Some -- not all -- of this fall-off can be traced to the absence of Walker, a guy who was not itching to leave Redskins Park.

Posted by: Jim Vance | December 12, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Jason LaC, great reading as usual! You inadvertently provide a ray of hope ... it ONLY took two years for the Bears to turn it around to the team they are today!

Sorry about your back bro. We have those crappy little magnet letters on our fridge and have since my 4 year old was born. NEITHER girl has EVER played with those damn things. I say throw them away! Boycott magnetic letters! If not, some day we will all be slipping and falling our guts out.

Finally, I don't know if anybody ever followed up on that Langdon Ulger reference from a few days ago. I remember the name as Langdon Aulger ... it was the boy in Lisa Simpson's class who she secretly admired in the episode where Principal Skinner declared "Take Your Kids To Work" Day (Lisa went with Homer; Bart went with Aunts Pattie and Selma, got a fake ID, and went on a roadtrip to Knoxville).

Posted by: dcsween | December 12, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

sicwidit - AMEN! I agree with you....

vbxtc, I agree with you, too. Earlier in the season when all the NFL experts were "crowning" (in the immortal words of Denny Green) the Bears, it blew my mind because their division is so darn weak. I felt the same way about Seattle last season...very weak division.

Jim Vance: It is my understanding that the Redskins did not want Walker to leave but he really wanted to take the UCLA position so they did not hold him back.

Posted by: Lisa | December 12, 2006 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Dealer -

I'm an equal opportunity type of gal. It doesn't have to be just one crush.
*wink*

Posted by: Jane Doe | December 12, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse


Like I said for the past few days: get rid of Gibbs and bring in Ron Rivera!

I'm all for change rather than another season of this dreck!

Posted by: Montana'Skins Fan | December 12, 2006 8:16 PM | Report abuse

watching "scoop", just started...is it worth my time?

Posted by: dealer | December 12, 2006 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I know it's late on this topic but I am an hour behind you guys in Chicago and I was at that game mainly because if I want to see the Skins, I have to wait til they go to Chicago or Green Bay. There have been several points regarding the roster upheaval and what the Skins needed to do last year was make some minor changes to the defense and add an impact receiver. That's all. I still don't know why they let Ryan Clark go (foregoing the continuity of the defense) to sign someone that was washed up according to scouts and came at a higher price tag. Continuity is probably one of the most important things in football but Snyder seems to have convinced Gibbs that upheaval is the way to go. Gibbs previous Washington teams were built on continuity save the QB situation and even then the QBs were on the roster or IR for at least a year before they saw the field. Schroeder, Williams, Rypien all sat as Campbell has so I see they still are doing something right in that respect. Replacing Saunders now would have the same impact on the offense that changing D-coordinators every year had earlier this decade. This team should focus on adding depth this year and changing one or two position players. Believe me, this team is not as bad as it looks. They need another offseason on the offense which we all knew might be the case. I would change out Lloyd on the offense. The defense needs more help and these changes should be addressed through the draft. We need an impact D-lineman or a MLB in the draft. We need to get a new free safety - nothing big and splashy but someone consistent. The CBs need to be addressed in the draft or via FA but these are depth positons. We already have the WLB in McIntosh. Use the money to plug the holes not to amputate. By the way, the second receiver that they get to replace Lloyd should be someone tall who can get open over the middle. This receiving corps has lacked a true Monk role player for years.

Posted by: JWP | December 12, 2006 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Dancing Bear - all fact and no hyberbole.
In the secondary they let a tremendous coach and a stickler for technique, DeWayne Walker, leave for UCLA. Trust me, when the Redskins really want to keep them. We've all seen that over the years.


Rumph, Wright, Fox, Vincent, Archuleta are Doughty are all newcomers - that's half the secondary.
They let their nickel guy go and replaced him with someone who can't play.

They also let Musgrave go, too.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | December 12, 2006 9:13 PM | Report abuse

hey there, got interupted while I was writing that comment, so it made no sense.
If they really wanted DeWayne to stay, and didn't already have their eyes on Jerry Gray, well, all I'll say is things would be different. Anyone who tries to stay DeWayne was deadset on UCLA all along does not know what they're talking about.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | December 12, 2006 9:31 PM | Report abuse

hey there, got interupted while I was writing that comment, so it made no sense.

jason, that's my excuse for every comment i post. i've stopped correcting myself on this blog. i "sound" like an idiot. but it's funny that when i read your original comment i knew exactly what you meant.

yes, when they want someone or want to keep someone there's no chance that person ends up anywhere else. and i just read your "5 signs" piece. loved it! my kinda writing. short and sweet. :)

also please don't hold back on us...we can dish it but we can also take it. and most people on here do have their heads on right and are pretty comfortable being themselves.

Posted by: dealer | December 12, 2006 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Ya gotta throw the red flag of illegitimate comparison down on this one. They could look over the schedule and plan on going at least 5/6 within their division.
Bears have made some decent moves, but no one would take their offense if they could help it.
What we all expect, in the end, is for the Redskins to have the kind of consistent excellence that a committed owner and HOF coach desperately want to deliver. And that is where they get an F.
I guess getting a GM who's supersmart and will draft his guts out is the answer... right?

Posted by: cload and daggar | December 13, 2006 12:25 AM | Report abuse

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