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Monday Morning H-Back

Monday Morning H-Back

The Monday Morning Quarterback is so played out. Everybody's seen it. Everybody's done it. But I'm here to revolutionize the entire industry by co-opting the exact same format - empty out the notebook, through everything at the wall, start the week off gingerly - but calling it something else. How 'bout the Monday Morning H-back? Has a certain ring to it, eh?

And since there's no more H-backs out here at The Park anymore - they've gone the way of Bill Musgrave under Al Saunders's new offensive system (more on the rise of the tight ends and fullbacks in the print edition of The Post this week) - I figured I'd take the title. Sure, I'm more fit to be the Monday Morning Waterboy, but I'm shooting for the moon. Can't blame a dude for trying.

Basically, I figured on Monday's I'd try to hit on any of the leftover stuff from the weekend, because, in case you haven't noticed, we're pretty much in for games every Saturday Sunday (or Monday) for the rest of the year. So, here goes with the first installment of Monday Morning H-Back:

1) First of all, the fact that 47,000-odd people who came to FedEx Field for what amounted to a practice is pretty amazing. There really wasn't too much to see, especially with the Skins resting essentially the entire first-string offense from contact drills, and it was gorgeous afternoon that would have been perfect for any sort of outdoor activity at all. Yet the mad dash of people running through the turnstiles around 10 am was stunning. I have to admit that the fanaticism of some can be a little scary at times, with everything else seemingly taking a back seat to the Redskins, but the sheer passion is undeniable.

2) Sean Taylor is a monster. Whether it's the first day of training camp, the first scrimmage or the playoffs, the kid only knows one way to play. He was only on the field for one series Saturday, and still managed to throw himself into any Raven within striking distance. My editor Cindy, bless her soul, went home from a day of editing our stories on the scrimmage, turned on the NFL Network and ended up sitting through the replay, floored by the licks Taylor - once dubbed "The Grim Reaper" by LaVar Arrington - was dishing out considering the setting. I reminded her that a few days before that he blew up Clinton Portis at practice. That's Sean being Sean. His blast through the chest of Baltimore running back Mike Anderson could not have been more clean, or effective. One gets the sense that with his legal problems finally behind him and coming off a full offseason at Redskins Park, Taylor is on a mission.

3) While some fans may have been pining for their first look at B.Lloyd or Antwaan Randle El in 11-on-11 drills, my many Raven-season-ticket-owning friends and family (hey, I'm born and raised in B-more, whatdya expect) wished Billick would have gone the route of Gibbs and Saunders. Baltimore's first-round pick picked up a knee strain and Anderson suffered a mild concussion. Considering how extensive the risk of major injury already is in the four preseason games, I can fully understand any coach being cautious with his personnel in a scrimmage.

4) Somebody should film a documentary on the FedEx parking lot after a big game. For starters, we're awful close to some hallowed big-screen land - the scene of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" (may the Cap Centre RIP) - and all of the telltale signs that football season has arrived were on display Saturday. The displaced grills and debris could be found all over. Saw one guy completely passed out in the driver's seat of his car with the engine running and the radio and air conditioning blasting. A group of shirtless Redskins and Ravens fans were jawing back and forth and engaged in that epic dance we've all seen a million times whether it be at a frat party, cheesy bar (think Jello shooters and foam machines), or on a basketball court. Dudes push back and forth, one guy keeps walking away only to run back at his foe, knowing full well his buddy will hold him back at the end. After about four rounds of this stuff the random girlfriend leaps from some vehicle to intervene, doing her part to keep the combatants apart. Then they exchange some more inane, drunken rhetoric, and finally get in their cars. Yet I sat there for a good 10 minutes, transfixed, waiting to see if anything went down. I am truly an idiot.

5) Nobody's ever going to mistake Vinny Cerrato for Michael Buffer after the de-facto GM was charged with explaining the format of the scrimmage to the fans before it all began Saturday.

Well, we've got an afternoon session today and the weather looks pretty good this week. Should be a lot more pleasant for the players, fans and coaches. Hope you all had a great weekend and look forward to hearing from you.


By Jason La Canfora  |  August 7, 2006; 9:30 AM ET
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Next: Changing Of The Guard


Is there any doubt after the scrimmage that the Redskins are Super Bowl-bound? I'm booking my suite at the Delano now.

Seriously, these pre-season scrimmages/games are so ludicrous. In 1991 the Redskins went 1-3 in the pre-season and I remember the idiots on talk radio calling up Ken Beatrice's show demanding that St. Joe be fired. The fans don't know diddly, and the poofy talking heads on teevee know only marginally more. The players are in such exceptional condition year-round that they ought to abolish those "voluntary" off-season workouts, work all year long, limit the pre-season to two games, and add two games onto the regular season.

As an aside, I wonder what kind of cranky, curmudgeon response we can get out of Wilbon if we flood his chat with Redskins questions today.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 7, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

John Hall is my main concern. We have got to have a kicker that can make a 40-50 yard field goal. If we don't all the offense can do is HOPE. to win the superbowl HOPE IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I am however looking forward to seeing more of jason campbell. He has got to get more playing time to get into a rythem.

Posted by: Corey B. | August 7, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Could not agree more. Two preseason games would be perfect, and this whole charade does get pretty ridiculous. As for the kicking game, stay tuned. I wrote about it Saturday and have a feeling it won't be the last time it comes up. Frost had some nice punts, but I'm not convinced he's fully ready for prime time, either.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 7, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly my ardor to see Heavy Metal Parking Lot, which declined not long after the Cap Centre came down, is back through the roof. You guys know anywhere I can rent it?

Now, about the Skins. I'm about to move to Daytona and need to know where I can watch the games.

Is Kornheiser calling the Vikings/Skins game week 1?

Posted by: Jim | August 7, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Wilbon grumpy? Not from where we stand!

Posted by: Archie Bunker & The Grinch | August 7, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"empty out the notebook, through everything at the wall, start the week off gingerly"

Was that supposed to be "throw everything at the wall" or did I just miss something?

Posted by: Ricky | August 7, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Your note on Sean Taylor warms my heart.As a lifelong skins fan, I can't think of a better feeling than knowing your defense is in position to light people up week in and out. Sean Taylor is my favorite player on the team, and when this kid finally puts it all together, he is going to be scarier than he already is. He's got the speed to cover a Randy Moss or Terrell Owens, and the stength and power to destroy any running back trying to break the line of srimmage. A player with Taylor's physical and mental make up don't come along very often, (Ronnie Lott and Jack Tatum come to mind) and we are blessed to have him. I'f I'm Daniel Snyder I'm locking Taylor up for the long, long term. Don't nickle and dime, only to have him look elsewhere.

Posted by: Darryl | August 7, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Yo Darryl I don't think we need to worry about Danny Boy Nickel and dimeing.

Posted by: Boogie | August 7, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

He sure gets every last nickel and dime out of Redskins' fans.

Posted by: Penniless | August 7, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey there. I bet you can find Heavy Metal Parking lot on youtube or somethinng like that. It's not that long and I doubt it can be rented. It's like a student film.

Indeed, it should have been threw and through. It was a long morning. I'm nothing without my editors catching my braincramps.
TK is indeed calling the first Skins game. He called me the other day to warn me about how much he's going to bug me the week before the game. But I'm a team player; always here to help.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 7, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

What happened to John Hall? He used to be solid. I thought when we brought him in here we had the kicking game issues resolved.

Re superbowl - as much as every Redskins fan, I hope we win it all this year, but I just want to remind everybody that the playoffs are still a single-elimination bracket system, and the team with the most going for it can be eliminated by having just one off game. I mean who thought that the Colts wouldn't have made it to the Superbowl and won it last year (who wasn't emotionally-committed to another team to the point of delusion, or who wasn't simply being stubborn and contrary for the sake of attempting to sound smarter than most of the analysts)? I'm not saying I think the Redskins won't make the Superbowl this year (I think they have a very good shot). I'm just saying that we all need to keep an eye on the overall development of this team since Gibbs returned, and enjoy every incremental step of improvement along the way. I don't want to hear calls for Gibb's head at the end of season if we don't win the Superbowl or, god forbid, we don't even make the playoffs. Our division is going to be tough again this year, and I wouldn't be surprised if the NFC east once again put two teams in the playoffs. Does anybody know if it's possible for a single division to take both wildcard spots?

Posted by: * | August 7, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

So glad to see someone mention America's version of "Muskrat Love"! Most people think of Captain & Tennille when they recall that song, but America recorded it a few years earlier and did a much better job with the material. The song can really be taken more seriously as a testament to the amorous feelings between muskrats without the synthesized critter noises present on the C & T track.

Wait. What blog is this? Isn't this Celebritology? Oh, hell.

Axe one preseason game, get rid of the bye week, add two real games in their place to make an 18-game schedule. The only drawbacks are that the league would have to begin the season before Labor Day, and players would lose their mini-vacation in mid-season with the loss of the bye week.

Posted by: Thor | August 7, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

The other drawback of the extended season that every fan seems to want is whether players could withstand that punishment. Seeing as most of them already cannot, I don't see how more football could help.

Maybe someone should start a minor league-type football league that would rent out major colleges' stadiums in the off-season. That way, fans could get football year-round (which is apparently all anyone really wants), and NFL players wouldn't all die by the time they were 35.

Posted by: OD | August 7, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I thought I heard that a minor football league is doing exactly that: small college towns, marginal players (mostly stars from local regional colleges who couldn't quite make it to the NFL), some sort of NFL/NCAA hybrid rules, etc.

Most of these "other" leagues are silly. I don't see how this one is any better.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 7, 2006 3:25 PM | Report abuse

As for the injury issue with an 18-game season: very good observation. Not sure how to address that one. Then again, if you're a starter injured in a pre-season game, what's the point?

The owners would never get rid of 2 revenue-generating games, or do anything else that might be for the good of the game and players (widening the field by 10 yards, for example) if it meant sacrificing revenue. Everyone loves to beat Dan Snyder up, but he's no different than most of the other egomaniacal owners. Most people who have billions of dollars have them because a) they're good businesspeople and b) they're ruthless slaves to the bottom line. Like it or not, it is what it is.

Also, I see no problem with the NFL continuing to play right through February. As long as they don't but up against March Madness, there should be plenty of fan attention to support them.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 7, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Somebody is trying to exactly that. I think it would probably fail nationally like most other leagues, but then it might catch on locally, esp in areas that don't have accessible pro football (if you live in charleston, do you drive down to atlanta or up to charlotte to get your overpriced pro football fix? what if you could see a decent game for $20 bucks during the time of year when the ol' ball coach is out recruiting? why not?).

I agree that the owners will only think about the bottom line, but when more than a handful of their bottom lines gets affected by high-profile preseason injuries, we might see them agree to convert those games to real games.

But I still maintain this: I love football. I really miss it from early february to mid-august. But if expanding the season means the quality of play will suffer, do I really want that (see the NHL, NBA, MLB for examples of sports where over-exposure negatively affects the league in one way or another), and my answer is No.

Posted by: OD | August 7, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

If you google Heavy Metal Parking Lot, you can buy it on VHS at Amazon or DVD somewhere else (there are bonus features?!).

There looked like there might be places to watch it for free on the internet, but I'm at work, and the gummint's keeping me down, so I can't check on those until tonight.

Maybe if I get a copy, people won't leave my parties early anymore. Usually I get drunk and throw on either some old Skins NFL films or Metallica's Binge & Purge videos, and that'll clear the room of everyone except me and two friends. Do you think others would stick around to watch the hilarity of the Judas Priest parking lot?

Posted by: FYI | August 7, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Monday Morning H-Back is Ok but really, wouldn't calling this thing "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" make it sing? Sing like Rob Halford!

How's Rocky Road Macintosh looking so far?

Posted by: Castor | August 7, 2006 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I vote Friday's entry should be "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" (so I never pre-gamed for a metal concert in the Cap Ctr parking lot, I certainly used to park there all the time for Skins games, while listening to metal). Monday's can stay "Monday Morning H-Back."

Jason, I don't remember your first entry (and am too lazy to check). Are you doing this just during training camp, or is this blog going to last through the entire season (complete with predictions on when exactly we can rev up the Bandwagon and roll her out of the garage)?

Posted by: FYI | August 7, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope he's going to do it all year. If it's going to be one of those years where the hype and expectations are out of line with reality, we'll need the place to commiserate (and call for St. Joe to be fired, etc). If it's going to be a Super Bowl year, we'll need all the Cooley news that's fit to print (or post).

Totally see your point, OD, on the dilution of games. It's hard enough to keep QBs upright for 16 games.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 7, 2006 7:52 PM | Report abuse


Watch out Redskins Country! Pinkie is back from the beach with some mean tan lines-ha!

Was the passed out guy in the driver seat wearin' a KAKA jersey by chance?ha!(UNA)?

No presents for Pinkie yet...


Posted by: Pink C.C.- | August 8, 2006 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Love how a search for "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" on Amazon results in "Customers also search for: 'decline in Western civilization'".

For those (like me) who are clueless...

Wikipedia entry:
Google Video:

I feel culturally enlightened. Thanks Jason.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 8, 2006 4:14 AM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to the Dirtbags? Are they still alive and well?

Posted by: X Hog | August 8, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

P diddy - anyoen who has not seen the decline of western civilization movies - especially the first one on punk and a second on metal, needs to see it tonight. There is a scene with the guitarist of WASP drunk floating in a swiming pool pouring vodka on his face while his elderly mother watches that makes you want to laugh, cry and vomit all at once. It's a pretty no-holds barred look at that era of decadence. And the director went on to make Wayne's World, I believe, so she's got that going for her.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 8, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Decline of Western Civilization Part II - The Metal Years. I agree with Jason, the scene where Chris Holmes is on the raft in the pool is sad, bizarre and completely hilarious.
Sort of like a Spurrier post-game press conference.

Posted by: Castor | August 8, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

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