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Balking at Talk-Radio Conversations

I don't listen to a lot of sports-talk radio. I have nothing against people in that line of work, they do what they do, but it's just not really my thing for a lot of reasons.

A few of my buddies, though, host shows on sports-talk radio stations across the country, so I always agree to call in as a guest when they invite me. But, again, it's not something I do often - and last night I was reminded why.

Driving home from Comcast SportsNet after an appearance on "Washington Post Live With Ivan Carter," I had a lengthy phone conversation with my colleague, Barry Svrluga, about some issues we've been dealing with at Redskins Park this week. I usually need to clear my head for a bit after talking with Svrluga because he's so smart. (You know, he's a Duke graduate.)

I wanted to just chill for a bit while sitting in traffic. I figured it probably wasn't a good idea to play Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3" again because I've been listening to it way too much since my other partner on the beat, Rick Maese, burned it for me the other day. Too much of something, even something great, isn't good for you, or so my wife tells me on Saturdays when I just want to watch college football all day and she wants to take the kids shopping.

I scanned the radio for something to listen to and stopped when I heard a discussion about the Redskins. A couple of guys were talking about the team, and I was just sitting there on the road waiting to move, so I figured I'd see if I could learn something or at least gain another perspective.

I didn't.

Not surprisingly, Coach Jim Zorn's seemingly tenuous job situation and the team's struggles to score in the red zone were the main topics. One of the guys wondered whether the offense might be more productive if offensive coordinator Sherman Smith, who has a cool demeanor, was a more fiery personality, like defensive coordinator Greg Blache and special teams coordinator Danny Smith.

Seriously, the conversation has sunk to that point as the Redskins (1-1) prepare to face the Detroit Lions (0-2) on Sunday at Ford Field? I usually leave the media observation stuff to Dan Steinberg over at the D.C. Sports Bog, but I felt compelled to weigh in on this one with all the talk out there about the media's supposed role in turning up the heat around Zorn and his staff.

Zorn is the play-caller. Smith is the offensive coordinator, and he had a key role in successfully revising some of the Redskins' blocking schemes, but Zorn sets the tone on offense. As for whether Smith lacks the passion to motivate players, he often addresses the team at Zorn's request. "When coach Sherman Smith addresses the team, guys definitely listen," quarterback Jason Campbell said recently. "He always has these little sayings that make you think, and he's just real easy to talk to. He's just one of those impressive individuals."

To suggest the Redskins' offense would be better if Smith's personality were different is ridiculous. Was Danny Smith too fiery last season when the Redskins struggled on punting? No, but Washington needed a more productive punter, so they signed free agent Hunter Smith.

I wasn't around the team in 2006, but Jason La Canfora told me Blache was just as intense that season as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach -- and the Redskins were awful on defense. Although Blache still screamed a lot, the roster was in need of an overhaul that occurred with the signing of middle linebacker London Fletcher and the drafting of safety LaRon Landry, among other moves.

All coaches have their own style, but it really comes down to talent. As for style, I don't care how loud a coach screams, I'll always take a guy who speaks softly if he has superior players to coach.

But sports radio has a lot of time to fill and this week, obviously, the entire team has been dissected. There's still a lot to follow closely in the next few days - I just won't be tracking it on sports-talk radio.

By Jason Reid  |  September 25, 2009; 7:34 AM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Comments

FIRST to say I like sports talk!

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 25, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Good post, Mayor Reid. People think that because they see a coach shouting on the sidelines that makes him good at his job. Not true. Tony Dungy was never that guy and he's been a winner everywhere he's been. What makes a coach a great coach is usually stuff that happens behind the scenes, when the camera's aren't watching.

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 25, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

how is this news??? reporting about fake reporters??? i need to get a life and stop reading these things.

Posted by: Burrasta | September 25, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Florio has apparently gone bipolar:

Out on a limb for the Lions
Posted by Mike Florio on September 25, 2009 7:57 AM ET
When we made our picks for Week Three, we pondered the Redskins-Lions matchup carefully.

We scratched our heads. We studied tape. We reviewed statistics and trends and game-day weather projections, since even when playing in a dome the outside conditions could, theoretically, have an impact.

And then, roughly ten seconds after commencing our review, we picked the Lions to get their first win since December 2007.

We knew it would make a few eyebrows raise. But now our so-called friends at NBC have now raised the stakes, touting our predicted upset on the front page of NBCSports.com.

Thanks?

Of course, barely two weeks ago I picked the Redskins to make it to the Super Bowl. But that was before a couple of lackluster performances during which I concluded that, while the Redskins definitely have the talent, they apparently do not yet have the coaching.

That said, there's still a chance they'll get on the right track.

And I'm hoping that they do.

Right after they lose to the Lions.

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 25, 2009 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I usually need to clear my head for a bit after talking with Svrluga because he's so smart. (You know, he's a Duke graduate.)
===========================================

Sarcasm tag?
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | September 25, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I read that as sarcasm as well.

Posted by: REXskins | September 25, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

"how is this news??? reporting about fake reporters??? i need to get a life and stop reading these things."

Posted by: Burrasta | September 25, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse


He's making a point about coaching and playing, and how yelling and screaming isn't the answer for results on the field. And, he is trying to be nice and say he heard it on the radio instead of admitting that he hears the same kind of junk from half of the idiots who post on here...

Posted by: jwlemons | September 25, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

"Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, the Redskins' prized free agent, took a shot at his team's offense for failing to score much against St. Louis."

- From the article about the Lions wanting a win on CSN.

This is news to me. What did Haynesworth say exactly? It doesn't even say in the article.

Posted by: REXskins | September 25, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

This is a blog, not "news". Try the Wall Street Journal if you're looking for reporting. I expect this blog to have an opinion worthy of comment. Agree w JReid that talk radio sinks to lowest common denominator. Then again, those guys have a couple HOURS of air time to fill with content, as opposed to a few INCHES of column space. Sometimes they just run out of content. It's like ESPN in its early days. Sometimes you'd turn it on late night and find 2 guys playing catch.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | September 25, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

It's like ESPN in its early days. Sometimes you'd turn it on late night and find 2 guys playing catch.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | September 25, 2009 8:30 AM


I would much rather see that than to see the crap they put on there now...just show me the highlights and close ups of Hannah Storm's legs!

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 25, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

From the Times:
Cleaning out the notebook:

*Defensive coordinator Greg Blache said several of his starters are playing well after two games.

"We’ve got a lot of guys playing well right now," he said. "Rocky McIntosh has had two solid games, Carlos [Rogers] has had two solid games, [London] Fletcher [too]. We haven’t had anybody really screw up."

*Detroit LB Ernie Sims (shoulder) missed practice again today and isn't expected to play. It's a tough break for Sims, who was hurt in garbage time (2-minute warning) of the Lions' loss to Minnesota. DT Grady Jackson (knee) was added to the injury list.

*Redskins coach Jim Zorn didn't express disappoint in second-year RG Chad Rinehart's progress.

"Each guy comes along at his own pace and sometimes, people put labels," Zorn said. "The going rate for linemen to 'get it' is the third year. We would love to have a guy in his first year 'get it', but everybody has their own timing."

*Detroit coach Jim Schwartz on QB Matthew Stafford:

"We thought a lot of him when we drafted him – you don’t draft a guy first overall unless you feel really good about it. It’s a tremendous commitment from a pick standpoint and from a financial standpoint so you better feel strong before you pick him.

"He’s exceeded our expectations every step of the way. Everybody knows he has a strong arm and a good release and we knew he was smart. We thought we had a feel for how much he liked the game and his leadership abilities, the way he handles the quarterback position. Quarterback is a little bit different than the other positions – you’re the guy that’s up front and the guy everybody looks to and he’s comfortable in that role and those are the things that surprised us pleasantly after he got him."

*RB Rock Cartwright on the arrival of yet another back: "I can’t control it so why worry about it? I’m excited to still have a job and be a special teams guy."


Why is Rock still on the team??

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 25, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I to get sick of the negativity and occasional stupidity of sports talk radio. I miss the days of intelligent discussions on issues

Posted by: alex35332 | September 25, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Why do the REDSKINS have to carry a rock onto the field whenever they play. Why? Why?

Posted by: glawrence007 | September 25, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Is Alridge the guy with fumble-it is or was that the other guy (Dorsey maybe)? Be surprised if he’s actually active this week….

Posted by: dlhaze1 | September 25, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

how is this news??? reporting about fake reporters??? i need to get a life and stop reading these things."

Posted by: Burrasta | September 25, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse


He's making a point about coaching and playing, and how yelling and screaming isn't the answer for results on the field. And, he is trying to be nice and say he heard it on the radio instead of admitting that he hears the same kind of junk from half of the idiots who post on here...


too nice, i read his life story, i just want info about the skins

Posted by: Burrasta | September 25, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

how is this news??? reporting about fake reporters??? i need to get a life and stop reading these things."

Posted by: Burrasta | September 25, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse


He's making a point about coaching and playing, and how yelling and screaming isn't the answer for results on the field. And, he is trying to be nice and say he heard it on the radio instead of admitting that he hears the same kind of junk from half of the idiots who post on here...


too nice, i read his life story, i just want info about the skins

Posted by: Burrasta | September 25, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Why is Rock still on the team??

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 25, 2009 8:35 AM


Special teams, leadership, veteran depth.

Next question...

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 25, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I hate watching poker on ESPN... so i don't. I give my wife the remote and she turns the channel to lifetime and i slam my head into a wall for the next few hours... problem solved, what was i saying???

Posted by: Burrasta | September 25, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Knowing what's at stake and gettin' it done on the field are two entirely different things. Most of that REDSKINS bravado is left in the locker-room. That's been a REDSKIN problem for two decades now. To my mind, I want LESS talk and more action. Talk by football players is like women to fighters. "They weaken the legs." MICK in ROCKY.

brownwood26:

Again, whatever it is, it's YOUR fault. Dog, whaz' 'zup? Can't catch a break and get out from under, huh?

Posted by: glawrence007 | September 25, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

brown, the writing is on the wall, he's not long for this team, DT is taking over the KOR duties...I don't expect Rock to make it past the bye week...

"veteran depth" where?? I'd take Betts, and DT at KR over him...and he's not getting carries during a game from the RB spot....so what depth is he again??

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 25, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

From previous thread...

"JReid - Can't put the blame on Kelly and Thomas if a) They don't see the field b) JC fails to accurately throw them the ball c) JC stares them down long enough for the DB to make a play d) Sellers has one drop and Zorn totally abandons the passing game."

Yea, that's what's happening. Both of those guys are running perfect routes, burning defenders, and consistently lighting up everyone in practice, but the stars are aligning against them to show their modest production.

Meanwhile Antwaan Randle El and Chris Cooley have zero problems getting open with the attention being paid to Santana Moss, Jason Campbell ONLY stares down Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, and Jason Campbell ONLY throws inaccurate passes in their direction. Clearly this team, from the head coach to the QB, wants those guys to fail.

Yep, you hit the nail on the head.

Posted by: psps23 | September 24, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"Meanwhile Antwaan Randle El and Chris Cooley have zero problems getting open with the attention being paid to Santana Moss"

---How's that worked out for us? Other than help move the ball between the 20's.

"Both of those guys are running perfect routes, burning defenders, and consistently lighting up everyone in practice"

--That's right...you attend every practice so you're well aware of their capabilities. I seem to recall everyone reporting on Mitchell burning our DB's throughout training camp...yet he still doesn't find the field. I don't fault the coach going with Moss and ARE most of the time but I'm tired of everyone talking about the lack of production from Kelly and Thomas. Until they receive some legitimate playing time (and looks), we're never going to see what they have to offer. Unfortunately, that won't happen when you still have Moss and ARE on this team.

Posted by: atkinsoncd | September 25, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

JReid, what's up with all the negative talk about the negative talk on talk radio?

Hater.

Yeah, I'm gonna stick with RI. The posts never take a negative tone toward Zorn or the offense.

Posted by: p1funk | September 25, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Wow, do you beleive this guy. Is Dan Snider paying you Mr. Reid? You just tried to tell the people not to listen to "106.7 the fan". "A couple of guys were talking about the team", are you referring to Lavar Arrington and Chad Dukes... Nice try buddy. Another "yes Dan" writing for the Post. Just what we need... You can't be serious..

Posted by: buddha30 | September 25, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I usually need to clear my head for a bit after talking with Svrluga because he's so smart. (You know, he's a Duke graduate.)
===========================================

Sarcasm tag?
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | September 25, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

It better be sarcasm. I don't see how it could be serious.

Posted by: CDon | September 25, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

>how is this news??? reporting about fake >reporters??? i need to get a life and stop >reading these things.

Posted by: Burrasta
--------------

Dude, this is a blog.

Posted by: geotherm21 | September 25, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

dlhaze1:

Don't be surprised. They carry a rock onto the field all the time too. Nothing the REDSKINS do is a surprise after watching their mostly miserable azzes for FIFTY-SEVEN YEARS. Don't tell me coaches can't change things either. RAY FLAHERTY, DUTCH BERGMAN, DUDLEY DeGROOT, VINCE LOMBARDI, GEORGE ALLEN, and JOE GIBBS made a positive difference.

Posted by: glawrence007 | September 25, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I remember when Redskin Insider had actual Insider information.

Well, maybe I don't.

Posted by: LouLewis | September 25, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

*Redskins coach Jim Zorn didn't express disappoint in second-year RG Chad Rinehart's progress.

"Each guy comes along at his own pace and sometimes, people put labels," Zorn said. "The going rate for linemen to 'get it' is the third year. We would love to have a guy in his first year 'get it', but everybody has their own timing."

+++++++++

Yes, the third year...unless you draft guys with actual talent like Oher, J.Smith, Monroe, Britton, who are all starting now...

Posted by: p1funk | September 25, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Umm.....Okay.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | September 25, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

So now Jerry Jones has the team with the league's highest salary cap with his brand new Videodrome with the most seats in the league, right?? Isn't that how it works?? Not like he's going to splash around like a shark out of water Danny-style in the free agent market- his teams, like the Eagles, are always miles under the salary cap..The Skins have become models of inefficiency, like the Defense Dept...Zorn needs a breakout game against the Lions (hysterical)..

Posted by: frak | September 25, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Oher, J.Smith, Monroe, Britton,

p1, did you really just compare high first round picks to a third round pick??

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 25, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: dlhaze1 | September 25, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Greg, this debate is tired. For two offseasons you and others have wanted to throw Rock outta here for your precious Marcus Mason. Now you got him and yet you're still trying rid us of Rock. I could understand if he fumbled a lot or ran around in circles on returns like ARE, but he's been nothing but a core Redskin, a team captain and a steady performer.

He's on the team. Probably not next year, but he's here now. So deal.

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 25, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Amen Geo.

And on another note I'd like to point out this is only Week 3, we're .500 and undefeated at home.

Posted by: fushezzi | September 25, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow, do you beleive this guy. Is Dan Snider paying you Mr. Reid? You just tried to tell the people not to listen to "106.7 the fan". "A couple of guys were talking about the team", are you referring to Lavar Arrington and Chad Dukes... Nice try buddy. Another "yes Dan" writing for the Post. Just what we need... You can't be serious..

Posted by: buddha30 | September 25, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Does not matter who is writing for RI some idiots will just complain about something.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 25, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

And on another note I'd like to point out this is only Week 3, we're .500 and undefeated at home.

Posted by: fushezzi | September 25, 2009 9:07 AM


Yeah, and we're on pace for another 8-8 season. And Drew Brees in on pace for 72 touchdowns. Funny how trying to stretch stats for two weeks works out, eh?

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 25, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Jason,

You're absolutely right: Sports talk radio is an asinine endeavor (like screaming FIRST for every damn post). Repeated conversations using different words - 24 HOURS A DAY.

I am so glad I have ADD.

Posted by: goldennmonkey123 | September 25, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that what we're seeing here is the advent of the Anti-Fan... which is kind of a reverse of the old Redskin Bandwagon type of fan who only jumped aboard when the going was good. Now that times are tough, lots of Anti-Fans are jumping aboard.

It's not that the anti-fan loves their team any less or wishes them anything but total success, it's just that some of us believe a little "tough love" is called for when players don't appear to give a damn about getting the job done -- and rather than blowing smoke up their backsides and telling them how awesome they are for making the routine plays they're paid to make (ala JZ and the current coaching staff) -- the anti-fan is more inclined to call for some accountability and improvement when things are going so badly wrong.

And where do these anti-fans congregate? Why, of course, they go to where they can find like minded souls to communicate and commisserate with -- like talk shows and blogs such as the RI.

Unfortunately, the only way to diffuse this movement is to win some ballgames already.

Posted by: Vic1 | September 25, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

hey does anyone know if Jansen is playing for Detroit??? i know he signed there but does he play, i would hate for him to kill us like Pierce used to when the skins play the gints. nothing worse that a man with an axe to grind... see friday 13th movies...

Posted by: Burrasta | September 25, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Jansen shows up as their back-up RT.

Posted by: LouLewis | September 25, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Um, aren't Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, and Bill Belichick - three of the mellowest guys who've ever been NFL head coaches - owners of a combined 10 Super Bowl rings? This is why sports radio sucks: it's more important to have something to yell about than for what you're yelling about to be intelligent and well thought-out.

Besides, success in football isn't about being fired-up - despite what meathead couch-jockeys everywhere like to imagine. It's about focus, precision, and execution at extremely high speeds. Being calm is far more valuable than being pumped. Sports radio is a medium of the morons, for the morons, and by the morons.

Posted by: manalive | September 25, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

JReid - Good observations once again...How about some of the guys stuck in the radio booth who call themselves "reporters" actually visit redskin park once in a while and talk with the coaches and players in person.

Bottom line, the players just need to play better. this is the team, deal with it...

Posted by: boricuabopper | September 25, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Is there anyway Jason La Canfora can do NFL Network AND Redskins insider? The quality of posts has DEFINITELY declined since he left.

Posted by: wdhart3 | September 25, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The Blueprint 3 is "great"? Ugh, there goes my respect for JReid's opinion on anything, including the Redskins.

Posted by: eghblaw | September 25, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

wow, these are getting more and more painful to read. Compliment your co-workers a little more. Also let us know how traffic is tonight on your way home. Don't forget to tell us what is in your car cd player.

Posted by: mcvacin | September 25, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Sherman Smith has not been "dissected."

In fact he's been conspicuously absent from this offensive hand wringing.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | September 25, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, and we're on pace for another 8-8 season. And Drew Brees in on pace for 72 touchdowns. Funny how trying to stretch stats for two weeks works out, eh?

Posted by: brownwood26 | September 25, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse
---------------------------

The sky is falling!!! The sky is falling!

Posted by: fushezzi | September 25, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Um, aren't Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, and Bill Belichick - three of the mellowest guys who've ever been NFL head coaches - owners of a combined 10 Super Bowl rings? This is why sports radio sucks: it's more important to have something to yell about than for what you're yelling about to be intelligent and well thought-out.

Besides, success in football isn't about being fired-up - despite what meathead couch-jockeys everywhere like to imagine. It's about focus, precision, and execution at extremely high speeds. Being calm is far more valuable than being pumped. Sports radio is a medium of the morons, for the morons, and by the morons.

Posted by: manalive | September 25, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

There's a distinction between being mild mannered and being in possession of quiet intensity - and being mellow. Mellow means laid back. Belichick is not laid back, he is energetic and channels that into incessant preparation, which maybe it appear mellow to the outside world, but I bet his players can see he's anything but and understand that they need to match the effort.

And players absolutely need to be fired up and must respect the coach, and to a large extent their attitudes reflect those of the HC.

The tone set at the top of an organization permeates the entire team and contributes to the team's identity. Charles Mann - "We knew Joe Gibbs (1.0) was sleeping in his office, how could we not go out there and give it everything we have each week."

The tone for this team so far has been set with iTunes during practice. Mickey F-ing Mouse. This predates our progressive era and is part of the reason football appeals to widely, it's a human thing. Cave man thing. Clan thing. Teams are tribes. Tribes have leaders, and the leader needs to get the Skins fired up or we're going to be having a totally different conversation on Monday about roasting Zorn over the fire.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | September 25, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey how about you actually go out and get Jay-Z's new cd instead of illegally listening to it. Give the man money for his work.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 25, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

BRING BACK JASON LA CANFORA!!!!

Posted by: wdhart3 | September 25, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

BRING BACK JASON LA CANFORA!!!!

Posted by: wdhart3 | September 25, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

No effing way! eff that tubby dork

Posted by: jonthefisherman | September 25, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

OK, I've officially checked out on all of this.

A brand new coach that has a .500 winning percentage over 18 games and the fans want his head? Ridiculous. Bill Belichik would have loved that record when he was in Cleveland.

If we'd gone 4-12 last year and 0-2 this year with our talent, then there'd be cause for concern.

Peter F. Drucker's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Drucker) first rule of management is "Consistency is key." Rule 2, "See Rule 1." The only consistent thing in the Redskins coaching situation in the last 10 years is inconsistency. Keep a guy around for awhile, suffer the inevitable losing that comes with a cultural shift and expect it to change over time. If after 3 years it has not, then maybe change is necessary. But otherwise you will always set yourself up to fail.

Enjoy your blog and comments. I'm done with the lot of you.

Posted by: BrianLooney | September 25, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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