The Redskins remind me of a 3-year old with a shiny new toy who plays with it so obsessively, the thing is broken and doesn’t work anymore after a few weeks.
It could be worst, though. If they could figure out how to do it, RGIII would also catch passes, block and play in the secondary.
Unfortunately for the kid, he ended up with the Washington Redskins; a team that is proof that no matter what apparent good fortune has landed in their laps, crap still travels downhill, directly from owner, Daniel Snyder and the Father-Son Shanahan coaching duo. The Rebuilding Century continues. Except, of course, these are the Redskins. They have nothing to rebuild with til the year after next with no 1st round draft picks next season (traded for RGIII). They will continue to be in the 2nd year of an $18 million reduction in their salary cap for violating the NFL’s rules on signing free agents during the lock-out last year.
Last week, receiver, Josh Morgan, drew a personal foul to end the Skins chances at a comeback in St. Louis. And this past Sunday…a late personal foul cost them again…this one apparently incurred by Redskins offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan. Unlike Morgan who at least faced the music after the game and talked to reporters, the Redskins did not make Kyle Shanahan available to the press after the contest. Here’s the message this sends to the team. The players are accountable. The coaching staff is not.
Starting at his own 2-yard line, RGIII had driven the Skins to the Bengals 19 yard line with enough time left for several shots at the end zone. They ended up losing 36 yards. How do you accomplish such a thing? Here’s how: a 15-yard sack, a 5-yard off-sides penalty and young Kyle’s personal foul. On their last play of the game, RG faced a 3rd and 45.
Contemplate that for a moment. 3rd and 45.
“Daddy, please don’t make me go out there and talk to those mean reporters.”
There is no doubt the Redskins picked up a franchise player in RGIII. If he physically survives the beatings he will be taking week after week, he will have been worth every one of those #1 draft picks. The Skins are now averaging over 30 points on offense every game. At quarterback- mission accomplished.
I do find it striking how differently the Redskins treat their star player than, say, how the Washington Nationals protect Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals are guarding their investment by ending his season early, convinced their long-range planning will yield a bounty of future stellar seasons from Strasburg. The Redskins? With the Shanahan family clinging to dear life for their jobs if they have another abysmal season- Sunday showed how much they care about RGIII. They will keep running him out there until he ends up in the ER.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between long range and short range planning, between Ted Lerner and Daniel Snyder- between class and crass.
If Redskins owner, Dan Snyder wants to finally win the respect of fans- and turn the team into a true contender- it all starts with an audacious strategy that’s finally beginning to leak out as a possibility. It’s not an either/or. Get ‘em both. Sign Peyton Manning and trade up in the NFL draft and get Baylor’s Heisman award-winning quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
Then with Manning under their belt, they can more easily sign at least two of the best wide receivers available in a free agent market that’s packed with them- including guys Manning has been throwing to for years like Reggie Wayne.
With what’s left of your draft picks, you take offensive linemen to protect the quarterbacks and defensive backs which are really the only remaining weakness in what is currently a great nucleus of a strong defense.
I actually don’t think the Redskins are as far off from playoff contention as many think. When they were healthy last year, they got off to a 3-1 start. They then lost 9 starters to injuries and it revealed the team’s really obvious weakness- lack of depth at almost all positions. That’s what you address in the draft and with some additional forays into the free agent market.
The Manning/RGIII tandem is fascinating on a number of levels. Griffin, who has the speed of a wide receiver and ran a jaw-dropping 4.3 second 40 yard-dash at a recent scouting combine- also has brains and a strong arm. And with Peyton Manning, a hall-of-fame quarterback for a mentor. Concerns about Peyton’s four neck operations and overall physical condition is alleviated by knowing RGIII is available, even as a rookie, to take Manning’s place in case of injury.
But wait—there’s more! The Redskins would have to rebuild their offense to accommodate Manning and along the way, they could draw up a few plays where Manning and RGIII are on the field at the same time- a kind of Wild Cat option that would blow people away. If he’s got wide receiver speed- well, by golly- use him as one every now and then.
But beyond the x’s and o’s…think of the public hysteria that would be unleashed by such a move. Acquiring one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and a Heisman-trophy winning, charismatic kid who runs like the wind and throws a football like it was launched out of a cannon.
This is not akin to signing a lazy egotist like Albert Haynesworth or a bunch of marquis has-beens like Deion Sanders and Jeff George This would take gobs of money- but for once- well-spent. You can never go wrong loading your team up with star quarterbacks.
And as they negotiate with Peyton Manning over the next few days, Mike Shanahan, whom Manning likes and respects for his proven history of managing great quarterbacks, should promise Peyton the moon. Better pass protection? You bet, Peyton—we’ll get two in the draft another two in the free agent market. Wide receivers? We’ll get whoever you want- write up the list and we’ll go buy ‘em. Guaranteed contract? Yes, sir- anything you want, Peyton, sir.
Then give up whatever it takes to get RGIII, make up for some the lost draft picks you’ll have to give up with free agents and then sit back and watch something amazing happen. Winning football and a previously snake-bitten franchise that will once again own Washington, D.C.
Danny- this is it. This is the best opportunity you’ll ever have to take us back to the Promised Land.
I don’t think this legal action was going to work out well for him. First, free speech rights regarding public figures are pretty sacrosanct in American courts (see Falwell vs Flynt). Plus, DC has a statute that allows for prosecution for law suits aimed to intimidate freedom of speech. The Snyder legal team’s approach to this was not to question the merits of such a case were it to have been enforced, but to claim the DC City Council had no right to pass such a law.
Of all the things Snyder complained about regarding City Paper’s scathing synopsis of all the goofy things the Redskins owner has done through the years- he had pretty much dropped his outrage for all elements of the article except one; the impression the piece gave that Snyder himself, was personally involved in “slamming,” the practice of changing people’s phone services without their knowledge, back when he ran Snyder Communications many, many years ago. An out-of-court settlement was reached at the time in which Snyder admitted no wrongdoing. City Paper conceded they may have left the impression Snyder himself was involved in slamming practices but insisted they did so without malice.
Wisely, a word not ordinarily associated with Dan Snyder, he backed down. The pre-season-opener announcement cleared the decks for a new era of good feelings as he seemed to sense the Redskins may actually be a decent team this season and further distractions on the frivolous law suit-front would be counter-productive.
Bravo, Snyder. This is almost as big a victory for free speech rights as the 28-14 Redskin win over the Giants was a statement about how good and how loved his team could be if he just stops meddling with the front office and causing self-inflicted public relations wounds.
Two seasons worth of Albert Haynesworth should be just about enough for anybody. His largeness is theoretically headed to the New England Patriots ridding the Washington Redskins of their most annoying player ever and writing the final chapter on Daniel Snyder’s high-spending ineptitude.
For $100 million, the Skins got maybe a half a season out of him. Along the way he pouted about the team’s defensive system, complained about the coaches, failed physicals, got arrested a couple of times, got suspended, got taken off the field in a cart once after getting winded in a game, fell to the ground uninjured but seemingly exhausted during a play and stayed on the turf like a gigantic beached whale while 21 other players continued running, blocking and tackling all around him.
There are some priceless quotes from a few newspapers about all this today that I’d like to share. From the New York Times:
Now, apparently Patriots Coach Bill Belichick believes his magic powers extend to extracting…talent from Haynesworth, which means he spent his lockout time building a wand strong enough to move nearly 400 pounds of self-absorbed entitlement.
And the Boston Globe puts it this way:
Well, this will certainly liven up camp.
Patriot’s fans seem to be optimistic. The Boston Globe asks them what they think of the trade. Here are the latest numbers:
1) Love it, if anyone can straighten him out, it’s Bill Belichick 55%
2) He’s going to be more trouble than he’s worth 12%
3) I’ll wait and see before deciding 32%
Belichick will have to see if he passes the physical on which this trade is contingent. Albert didn’t too well with physicals at last year’s training camp, failing them three times. Pats fans will also be hoping Albert avoids incarceration after his August 23rd trial for misdemeanor sexual assault. Presumably he can afford some pretty good lawyers.
Redskins fans will be circling Sunday, December 11th on their calendars; the day the Patriots are due at Fed Ex Field and our first opportunity in DC to see the New Albert, the Old Albert or No Albert.
Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, is back with his lawsuit against City Paper, now filing in DC instead of New York. He could have done so quietly- but no. The re-filing came with an op-ed piece in the Washington Post explaining why this particular dog can’t let go of this particular bone.
I posted passionately on this when the matter reared its ugly head the first time around. The point I was trying to make is that while Snyder says his father was a journalist and he understands criticism and he’s never filed a defamation suit against anyone before, the fact of the matter is that the effect of his legal action is to cast a long and threatening shadow over anyone who dares to criticize his majesty- or they too may end up fighting a multi-million dollar law suit that would end up bankrupting them.
You may recall the lawyer-letter to City Paper from the Redskins General Counsel that intimated exactly that; say you’re sorry or you’ll spend so much time in court that your sorry little paper and its measly little resources will never cover the court costs and you’ll go out of business.
I know this about the long, threatening shadow because in a very small way, I felt it myself. After my first post on this matter in which I questioned the sanity of the Redskins owner, worried friends e-mailed me or posted stuff on Facebook to the effect of—careful- or you better “lawyer up.” And they weren’t kidding either.
No. No one should be afraid to criticize the rich and powerful and famous. This is one of the reasons we fought a doggoned revolutionary war. So we could say anything we wanted to say about King George III and his ilk and not have to face lawsuits or prison. It’s why the American courts give huge latitude to those who criticize public figures.
There were about 57 different bones that City Paper threw at Daniel Snyder in the column that started all of this last autumn. A veritable catalogue of complaints about the Redskins owner; from his incompetence as an owner to the Redskins suing their own fans when they lost their jobs and couldn’t afford to pay for their season-ticket contracts; the ban on signs at Fed Ex Field critical of Snyder—the stuff we’ve all read about now for so many years.
But there’s only one bone Snyder is suing over according to his op-ed piece in the Post today. The one bone that is worse than all other bones:
I honor vigorous free expression in the media. But even a public figure can sue for defamation when a tabloid paper publishes a harmful assertion of a fact, not an opinion, that it knows to be false or recklessly disregards the truth.
That is exactly what this writer and City Paper did. Among many examples in the November 2010 article, the most egregious was when the article stated: This is “the same Dan Snyder who got caught forging names as a telemarketer for Snyder Communications.” That is a clear factual assertion that I am guilty of forgery, a serious crime that goes directly to the heart of my reputation — as a businessman, marketer and entrepreneur. It is false.
Here’s what happened (or so it’s alleged). His company got nabbed (allegedly) for “slamming” a couple of decades ago; the practice in which you (allegedly) change people’s phone services on them without them knowing it. There was an (alleged) out-of-court settlement in which Snyder Communications admitted nothing but (allegedly) paid unspecified amounts in damages. Did the City Paper actually mean Daniel Snyder himself participated in the practice? Or did they mean the company he ran did? Did the paper show actual malice?
That’s what the courts will sort out. And he wants a jury trial. This is going to be rich.
Now, in an effort to protect myself and calm my friends and family who worry that Daniel Snyder will take me to court someday because I may say something he doesn’t like, I have crafted the following language that I will use at the end of any given article I will forever more, publish about Daniel Snyder:
The previous article was not written with any malicious intent toward Daniel Snyder, hereby known as the “public figure.” I have made no harmful assertions or representations of fact purposely intended to damage the public figure’s reputation beyond those actions he, himself, has taken to injure his own standing in the community. I further assert that it is my full right as an American citizen covered by the protections of the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America to criticize, ridicule, satirize or otherwise poke fun at any damn public figure I feel like.
I’ve been trying very hard not to write about Daniel Snyder’s lawsuit against the City Paper. I feel like Sylvester with Tweety Bird; a tasty little morsel flying all around my head and I’m trying to be good, I am….but I.. Just. Can’t. Help. Myself.
Have you read the actual lawsuit? It’s amazing. Here’s what the Redskins owner alleges has occurred to him because a guy most of us have never heard of wrote a critical article back in November in a publication most of us don’t read….until now, of course.
Listed under the “First Cause of Action” on Page 9 of the lawsuit:
…Mr. Snyder has suffered general and special damages in an amount of not less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000), including damage to Mr. Snyder’s reputation and standing in the community, shame, mortification, hurt feelings, embarrassment, humiliation, damage to peace of mind, emotional distress and injury in his occupation.
Oh My God. Someone hurt the feelings of the owner of the Washington Redskins. For this- he literally wants to “stop the presses.” At least it’s certainly implied in the lawyer-letter that came to City Paper’s ownership group shortly after the publication of the article in November from Redskins General Counsel, David Donovan:
Mr. Snyder has more than sufficient means to protect his reputation and defend himself and his wife against your paper’s concerted attempt at character assassination. We presume that defending such litigation would not be a rational strategy for an investment fund such as yours. Indeed, the cost of litigation would presumably quickly outstrip the asset value of the Washington City Paper.
Really, now? A commentary about a public figure merits a threat to put a news publication out of business by what some may perceive as a frivolous law suit? I say frivolous, because no matter what could possibly have been said about Mr. Snyder- have you ever read the decision in Jerry Falwell vs Larry Flynt? Trust me on this one. City Paper did not come anywhere NEAR what Larry Flynt wrote about Jerry Falwell in Hustler magazine some 25 years ago. Flynt won.
And the law suit demands that this be decided by a jury trial. As this is being litigated in New York City, can you just imagine the scenario of a bunch of New York Giants fans sitting in judgment about the alleged business practices of the owner of the arch-rival Washington Redskins?
I don’t want to go out on a limb here, but I do believe someone is being just a little thin-skinned.
But as long as we’re talking law suits…what about a class action from 3.5 million Washington Redskins fans against the club’s owner, seeking monetary damages for deceptive representation of said NFL team as a “professional franchise?”
Jury trial…right here in ‘ol DC.