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Farewell to our friends

It's Friday morning, and Redskins Insider Jason Reid and one partner on the beat, Rick Maese, are en route to San Diego for the Redskins' season finale against the Chargers. Barry Svrluga is hanging back, monitoring practice, and will head west Saturday morning. And we'll all go about our business with an odd void: the Washington Times guys won't be with us at practice or the game.

As Dan Steinberg relayed so well at the D.C. Sports Bog earlier in the week, the demise of the Times's sports section is a bad thing for Washington as a sports town. It's not good for coverage of anything anyone cares about around here -- the Nationals, the Capitals, the Wizards, Maryland, Georgetown, etc.

The Redskins, though, is the only beat in town to which both papers -- and we say "both" not as a slight to the Washington Examiner, but only with the understanding that it is a bit newer -- devoted multiple beat writers. Every year, for a long time. Every game we traveled to this year -- and all of our predecessors (La Canfora, Bryant, Demasio, Maske, Clarke, Justice, Aldridge and on and on) -- we knew David Elfin and Ryan O'Halloran of the Times would be there pushing to get information we didn't have, to develop sources we couldn't get, to tell the story better than we did.

This might be a little bit inside-baseball (or football) for some of you, but sports beats are something of a peculiar animal. The Post's Redskins team sees the Times's Redskins team -- and vice versa -- more than we see our colleagues on our own staffs. We are competitors by nature, but there's also a flow to how the press room works. Yes, there is occasional tension. But there is also a strange camaraderie. We all have to deal with the same stories and the same personalities in the locker room and on the coaching staff, so there is bound to be some commiseration, especially during a season like this one.

Both Elfin (see his goodbye here) and O'Halloran (see his goodbye here) have been on the beat longer than any of the Post's current Redskins writers. They have been through firings of coaches and hirings of coaches and free agencies and drafts and training camps -- the whole cycle over and over. They are pros, and the Post's staff has noted -- quietly, among ourselves -- that it's amazing how professionally they have acted in the locker room and the press room over the past few weeks, pursuing stories, inquiring about injuries and monitoring Jim Zorn and the coaching situation even while their own situations were in flux.

The Redskins, in a classy move, marked the occasion Thursday by providing lunch and presenting Elfin and O'Halloran with jerseys. Elfin's had No. 17, O'Halloran No. 6, not for Jason Campbell and Shaun Suisham (or, as Elfin said, Billy Kilmer), but for the number of years each spent on the Skins beat. Owner Daniel Snyder, COO David Donovan and new general manager Bruce Allen all stopped by to wish them well, team PR man Zack Bolno made a very nice speech, the press corps presented a cake -- and then Elfin and O'Halloran went about finishing their work.

Competition -- whether it's in newspapers or phone companies or gas stations -- fosters a better product. We have a commitment to provide you with the best Redskins coverage we can, the best we know how, and we'll continue to be pushed by the fine people in other places (John Keim at the Examiner, Rich Campbell at the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, the crew at Comcast SportsNet, not to mention the Mortensens and Schefters and Glazers of the world on national NFL beats elsewhere). It's Friday morning; we're missing a big push from what has long been the main competition in town, and that feels odd. But the fact that good people are looking for work, and an institution of a sports section is gone, is much worse than odd.

By Barry Svrluga, Jason Reid and Rick Maese  |  January 1, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
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Sad to see the cutback at the Times. A lot of good, talented people are losing their jobs and some of them won't find work again in this field as the print media contract.

First on this thread to wish everyone a happy new year, happy new decade.

Suggestions for hangover cures are always welcome.

Posted by: League-Source | January 1, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Very touching tribute to the WashTimes folks. Ironically, I didn't read them much over the last 18 months. No particular reason why, I just have turned to the WashPost for my daily Skins coverage.

I am sure these guys will land on their feet.

Happy New Decade everyone! I call 2000-2009 the "Lost Decade" for our Skins. Let's make the 10's the "Glorious Decade" as we return to the times of Gibbs I in the 1980's. We can only hope that Dan Snyder takes his hand off the wheel and Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan can make the right moves to return this proud franchise and fanbase back to its glorious roots.


Posted by: gilk | January 1, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

"Suggestions for hangover cures are always welcome."

Easy: don't drink.

And if your brain needs some occasional stimulation, find something to smoke.

If anything, it puts you to sleep after a nice meal and some laughs.

Posted by: MistaMoe | January 1, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: | January 1, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

"Let's make the 10's the "Glorious Decade" as we return to the times of Gibbs I in the 1980's."

The most pressing issue is how will the team return to glory.

Presently, it's in a hole of its own making.

Bruce Allen knows he has a servicable defense supporting a horrible offense.

The redskin offense hasn't had a decent passing/running game since the days of Brad Johnson, Norv Turner, and Stephen Davis.

(Yes, children--it's been that long.)

The question for Mr. Allen is, is the long road (slow rebuilding of the o-line) or short road (trading) to rebuilding the offense the best path to future success?

That decision making process will make this offseason the most interesting of them all.

Posted by: MistaMoe | January 1, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"Suggestions for hangover cures are always welcome."

Easy: don't drink.

Posted by: MistaMoe | January 1, 2010 8:36 AM

Good idea, but I'm looking for a cure, not prevention. Like going to the doctor for an abortion and being told, "Easy: no sex." Too late.

This is a question for DoctaMoe, not MistaMoe.

Posted by: League-Source | January 1, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse


"Suggestions for hangover cures are always welcome."

Okay: start drinking again--now-- with a limit in mind.

You'll get drunk(er), but once you hit your limit, all you do is dry out.

Don't try to sleep: that's what causes the 'hangover' in the first place.

When I used to drink, I found that 'sobering up again' before going to sleep stopped the hangover issue.

The next time you become aware that you are drinking too much, decide early on to remain awake well into the next morning.

The drunk will eventually 'wear off' and you can sleep in afterwards.

But again: don't drink.

----notes from DoctaMoe

Posted by: MistaMoe | January 1, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse


This place is a cemetary.

Talk about dead.

It's so dead and quiet in this blog I could fart---I just did---and no one here would smell it.

And here I was all prepared to talk about how I thought VaTech's Eugene Wang (OT) looked very good last night.

He moved well and has great size.

He might be a nice fourth round tackle to pick up.

Oh well....

....Happy (Stinkin') New Year!!!

Posted by: MistaMoe | January 1, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

The demise of the Washington Times Sports section is truly sad. I wish the writers the best for the future.

I greatly preferred the stories on the Redskins written by the Times writers - they surpassed the Post with depth of info. Probably due to the damaged relationship between the Post and the Skins.

Posted by: Lisa_R | January 1, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"I greatly preferred the stories on the Redskins written by the Times writers..."

I did, too.

But I didn't prefer the biased politics.

The Washington Times ran a banner above a Obama's frantpage image shouting "NOT FIT TO SERVE" during the height of the election.

(Curiously, Obama was the only candidate they deemed unqualified.)

Yes: the Post has it's bias.

In fact, all media is slanted in a way to attract readers/viewers.

But what the Times is about is uncalled for.

Perhaps the entire newspaper will follow its abandoned sportspage into the empty spaces of memory.

It won't be missed.

Posted by: MistaMoe | January 1, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Before the pricing for out-of-town editions of the TIMES reached cerebral hemmorage levels, I used to sprint to BARNES and NOBLE to grab the latest news on all things REDSKINS.

Better than SHIRLEY POVICH and the gang at the POST, and more reasonably priced. But the past few years have seen only a languishing copy or two of the TIMES on the shelf as pricing has risen to unreasonable levels.

The local TIMES-DISPATCH still has a sports section, and I still subscribe, but it's truely a shell of its former self.

My wife's cousin is on the sports beat in RALEIGH, and speaks of the cratering of print media. He's lucky to still have a job.

It's a sad fact, but true. Electronics are the medium through which most people get their daily sports fix just as I am here and now. Don't exempt yourselves from this exodus of print journals. I'm afraid it will continue through the foreseeable future. You may be next.

Posted by: glawrence007 | January 1, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

wang avg a penalty a game probably. he always holds or jumps. i watched every game this year.

Posted by: follybeach | January 1, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Suggestions for hangover cures are always welcome.

Posted by: League-Source

too late now, but did you try the 3-2-1 rule? Drink 3 glasses of water, take 2 advil, and 1 vitamin C. Take those after drinking and before going to bed. It's supposed to work.

Posted by: 1965skinsfan | January 1, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the Post will hire O'Halloran and Elfin and to replace a couple of writers....

Posted by: charley42 | January 1, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

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