Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Random Thoughts & Observations

Ok. Now that week 1 is over, a few random thoughts in no particular order:

1. HELL TO THE YEAH!! Redskins beat the Cowgirls!! WOO HOO!!

2. Sorry. Had to get that out. So the team won, but got statistically outplayed. They had fewer run yards, fewer pass yards, fewer first downs, less time of possession and worse third and fourth down efficiency. But guess what? We also had a better turnover ratio. Then, of course, there is the most important statistic of all: points scored. That was where we brought it home.

3. Coach Shanahan spoke in his press conference about the importance of playing the game for 60 minutes. I agree with him that evidence of this statement is demonstrated in the last play of each half. The first half ended with DeAngelo Hall stripping the ball from Tashard Choice, then picking up the fumble and running it in for a touchdown. The game ended with Brian Orakpo being held while rushing the QB, nullifying a TD pass and ending the game. The two most important plays of the game, each played in the last seconds of the half, when many players could be thinking of packing it in and heading to the locker room. That's what a coach like Shanahan brings to this team: discipline.

4. I noticed, watching the highlights, that Hall and Choice are both #23. Funny coincidence. (Not "ironic." That's not what that word means. Just interesting. But I digress...). I also thought it was sweet that, after the TD, Hall ran to the stands and gave his mother a kiss.

5. The hold on Orakpo was a result of his charge to Romo on the last play of the game. If Alex Barron hadn't held Orakpo, it sure looked like 'Rak would have at least reached Romo and most likely sacked him. Game over anyway. Romo might have slipped out (like he did last year), completed the pass (like he did last year) and won the game (like he did last year). We'll never know. You know what? We don't need to know. Because we won. That's the difference between this team and the Redskins of the past five or so years. Incidentally, the guy who held Orakpo, Alex Barron... most penalized player in the league last year.

6. Graham Gano kicked a 49 yard field goal! Wow!

7. Speaking of field goals, early in the 3rd quarter, Skins kicked a short FG but Dallas committed a penatly. Shanny took the penalty (giving up the three points), which gave us 1st and 10 on the five-yard line. We were unable to convert the TD and so lined up for an even shorter FG. Unfortunately, the holder fumbled the high snap and we gave up the ball on downs. People are second guessing the Coach saying, "You never take points off the board." I have no problem with Shanahan taking the penalty. You get a chance for four downs to get five yards and a chance for seven points instead of three? Hell yeah! No one expects, even if you can't get the TD, that you'll not make a 15-yard FG.

8. Now, it's on to the Houston Texans. Kyle Shanahan, our Offensive Coordinator, held the same position with Houston last year. They're still running the offense he installed. So they know our scheme and we know theirs. Should make for an interesting matchup!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Brothers of the Legacy, and My Defense of Jim Zorn

There was a very good show on Comcast SportsNet called Brothers of the Legacy. It chronicled the friendship of two Redskins legends, Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff. It was very good. One thing that struck me was something Sonny said about the one year that coaching legend Vince Lombardi was the head coach of the Redskins. Sonny said, "Lombardi, of the nine head coaches that I had, he was the only coach that simplified the game, instead of trying to complicate the game. It's executing plays. And that's what impressed me about him from the very get-go. Boy, this is a simple system, and it's successful, and why isn't everyone doing this?" I immediately thought of the last two years of the franchise under Head Coach Jim Zorn. Now... by no means whatsoever am I trying to compare Zorn to Lombardi. However, I was and still am a fan of the Z-Man. While I don't completely disagree with those who say that he was probably in over his head as a Head Coach, I do not believe he ever got a fair chance to demonstrate whether or not he could make it. From Day One, he was set up to fail.

A little background, for those who don't know: In the NFL, owners hire General Managers to manage the franchise, as owners generally know whatever business made them their money, and are fans of football. The GM, who knows football, then hires a Head Coach to run the team. Together, the GM and Coach hire a coaching staff, look at the personnel, cut players, bring in free agents, draft players from college and develop and implement offensive and defensive schemes. In the Zorn era (after Joe Gibbs resigned), owner Dan Snyder released heir apparent Greg Williams (who went on to be Defensive Coordinator of the Super Bowl champion Saints) and hired Greg Blache to run the Defense. He hired Jim Zorn (a QB coach) to be Offensive Coordinator. This was with Vinny Cerrato already in place as the de facto GM (I forget his actual title... EVP in Charge of Football Operations or some such nonsense). Then, he went in search of a Head Coach. Given his (apparently well-earned) reputation for interference, and his haphazard method of building a staff, he was unable to find anyone willing to step in to the top spot. So, he took a chance, and hired Zorn, who had helped build schemes for the Offense in Seattle, but had never been anything but a position coach, to be Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach. Many people harped on the fact that Zorn had three titles as a reason for his failure, but many NFL Head Coaches run the Offense, and Zorn had an Assistant who helped with the QBs, so I don't put much stock in that.

As I watched the team struggle through ten wins and twenty losses under Zorn, I listened to various fans and analysts expound upon the many reasons why they thought Zorn was inadequate as a coach. I don't think I ever heard anyone hit on what I believe to be the true primary cause of our woes. "It's executing plays," Hall of Fame QB Sonny Jurgensen said about the success of the team under Lombardi. Of the scheme, he said, "[T]his is a simple system, and it's successful." Vince Lombardi, a man who is thought of by many as the greatest Head Coach in the history of NFL football ran a simple system... and the players executed it. I can't even remember how many dropped passes, missed tackles and missed blocks I saw over the past two years. I can't count that high. I don't need to. The point is that the players played sloppy. They didn't execute. That is the true failure of Jim Zorn -- he wasn't able to motivate the team. Even that wasn't entirely his fault, though. It is common knowledge that many big name players (who shall remain nameless) had a direct line to owner Dan Snyder. How can a Head Coach maintain discipline when players can go over his head? He can't. People also point to the team's 6-2 start under Zorn and subsequent 2-6 record in the second half of the 2008 season, and say, "It was Zorn's system. By that point, everyone had figured it out." In my many debates about Zorn's tenure with the team, I have told people, "You could have ten basic plays, but if you run them well, you will win." Hyperbole? Perhaps. But my point is exactly the point that the legendary Sonny Jurgensen makes about the even more legendary Vince Lombardi. It's executing plays. For the past two years, the Redskins haven't been doing that. So a man with no experience is put into a losing situation with no support, and isn't able to succeed. Does that make him a bad coach? I don't think so.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday, Gail! Love you BIG!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Salsa, Part III

Ok, I know it's been a while. Shortly after the last post, I did indeed make my second attempt, as planned. The one change I made was partly planned, partly a happy accident. I wanted to make it a little spicier, so I was thinking I'd use the whole peppers, and not seed them. When I got to actually making the salsa, one of the two peppers I had bought was kinda mushy and discolored. I threw that out, and just used the one pepper, seeds, membrane and all. Wow, was that good! Just the right amount of heat. Very tasty. I haven't made any salsa recently, because we had some Screamin' Mimi's Sweet Hot Salsa left over from our Derby party. That's almost out, though, so round 3 should be coming soon! Hopefully, I can duplicate round 2's success...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Salsa, Part II

So a couple of weeks ago, I finally did my salsa experiment. It turned out pretty decent. Not fantastic, but good. I brought it to a family get-together at my Mom's and everyone who tried it (including my bro-in-law, the chef) liked it. I kind of tweaked & adjusted as I went, but these are the ingredients and about the proportions that I wound up with:

8 roma/plum tomatoes, seeded & chopped
1 sprig cilantro
2 jalapeno or cerrano, seeded & chopped
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 chopped white onion
juice of 1/2 lime

I put it all in the food processor and pureed it, then simmered it in a pan for about 10-15 minutes. Only about half the recipes I saw called for the cooking at the end. I found it really added depth to the flavor and smoothed everything out. Much better.

So anyway, I got the ingredients, and I'm going to give it another shot. I think this time, I'm going to leave the seeds and membrane from the peppers in. I want a little more bite this time around. I think I'll puree it for a little bit longer, too. It was a bit thick last time. We'll see how goes round 2!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I'm Torn...

Wow. The Skins traded a 2nd round draft pick this year and a 4th round pick next year to the Eagles for Donovan McNabb. On the one hand, I feel really bad for Jason Campbell. That guy has put up with a ton of shit from this team in the past few years. Anyone who has talked Skins football with me for more than 30 seconds knows I'm a big Campbell fan. On the other hand, I'm really excited about the possibilities of a QB of McNabb's level being on this team! With the way the young guns in the receiving corps coming on in the later part of last season, one has to wonder how much better they'll do with an offense like Kyle Shanahan's in place, and with an elite-level QB like Donovan throwing to them. I'm guessing this is the end of the Redskins part of Campbell's career. I can't imagine him staying after this. Hopefully, he can go to a team that will appreciate him, and give him some protection. Hopefully, he goes somewhere with a strong offensive line and kicks some major ass. Hopefully, in another division...

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Ok, so for ages now, I've wanted to try an experiment in making my own salsa. I don't like the chunky, pico de gallo-type salsa. I lean more toward the pureed (mostly) type of tomato salsa (not salsa verde). Most recipes I'm seeing online don't specify the type of tomato. I'm thinking of using plum tomatoes, which I seem to recall someone saying was good for salsa. Some white onion, cilantro, jalapeno (or serrano) pepper, lime and probably some garlic. So I ask anyone who has made their own salsa, or even anyone who just likes salsa or knows anything about making it: Does that sound pretty decent? Any particular recipes out there that you particularly favor? Any proportions I should keep in mind, or warnings I should heed (e.g. use gloves for the peppers, add lime juice slowly)?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kiwee Toolbar and Unlocker

Ok, maybe someone out there can help me. Does anyone know what this damn Kiwee Toolbar is? It popped up a couple days ago. We did not download it, or anything else that it could have been piggybacking on. It just appeared one day. We used Control Panel to uninstall it, and it just popped back on the next day. Every time, it keeps doing the same thing. I tried Googling it, but every item that mentioned it either involved individually removing about 120 lines of code from the registry (which I don't want to mess with), or downloading another unknown program called Unlocker. So it's either deal with unknown, unwanted toolbar, or load questionable unknown, unwanted program to remove unknown, unwanted toolbar. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Zorn Era Ends, Shanahan Era to Begin

Well, it should be official today. Or, as rumor has it, if Buges announces his retirement today, then it should be official tomorrow. That would be the classy thing to do, so as not to overshadow someone who has been with this team for so long and has meant so much to it. So, they'll probably announce Shanny today. It will be interesting to see what he does, once he gets here. The scuttlebutt is that he's cleaning house in the coaching staff. Not shocking. I think we could stand some new blood with the assistants. Supposedly, he's bringing his son in as Offensive Coordinator, and Mike Zimmer from Cincinnati as Defensive Coordinator. Not bad. Cincy's got the 6th overall defense in the league. And.... really? The Texans (where little Shanny currently is OC) is the top passing offense? And 10th overall offense? Wow. Ok. Anyway, given our dismal record, and the flashes of talent we showed, I think a shake-up may do some good.

The real interesting part will be seeing what Shanahan does with personnel. GM Bruce Allen said in his press conference yesterday that the new coach (he refused to name him yet) would start off with the players here, implying that wholesale change is not in the cards. This could be good news, or this could be disaster. Word is that Shanahan likes to draft young QBs and mold them to his system. This could be a fiasco if he tries to do that here, at least right away. It seems glaringly obvious to me (and to 95% of the announcers and analysts on TV & the Internet) that our top priority needs to be the O-line. If that isn't addressed this offseason, it won't matter if we put Peyton Manning in at QB. Well, maybe not Peyton, but nearly anyone else. I've made my case for Campbell here previously, and my opinion hasn't changed. He was running for his life nearly all season and still managed to throw for over 3,500 yards, 20 TDs and only 15 INTs. If you look at what he has done when he got protection, you can see he's thisclose to taking his game to the next level. I say give JC the protection he needs and keep him around. If coach wants to mold a young QB, draft one in a few years and begin the process. If Shanahan comes in and addresses the line, I will be hopeful. If he comes in and tries to draft Bradford or Claussen, then my suspicion would be that Snyder's still pulling the strings and we're in for another tough year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Decisions... Decisions....

Well, it's that time of the year again. I have a Christmas gift card and Christmas cash. Now, I just need to decide what to spend it on. The first thing that popped in to my head was to buy a Nintendo Wii. Now, I'm not a huge gamer, but a few months back, I was at my friend Keith's house, and he has a Wii. We played Star Wars: Force Unleashed, and it was bad as a MoFo! That would be my primary reason for getting the Wii. Not only could I play alone, but I could connect over the Internet and play against Keith, and others who have it. Also, Wii has the Wii Fit games that you can use to get exercise & burn calories. However, as I understand it, the Wii does not play BluRay, like Xbox and PS3 do. I believe Xbox and PS3 will also stream Netflix movies. But PS3 is also $100 more expensive. There also remains the option of simply getting a BluRay player, and bag the whole idea of a game system. Or I could go another direction entirely. So, I pose the question to you, the audience. Which way do I go? Thoughts, please?