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The Tide is Turning in DC

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You know some things in life just aren’t fair. You get bypassed at work for a promotion by your boss’ idiot nephew. Or you find out the day before free agency that your favorite team will be completely handcuffed because the NFL has decided to fine them for reasons that makes zero logical sense. Maybe you have played Mega Millions for your entire life only to find out the person who just won $640 million bought a computer generated ticket literally 15 minutes before the drawing.

Truth is everyone has a bone to pick with the universe sometimes, for some that bone needs to be picked a little more often than others.

Such is life as a fan of the Washington Redskins.

My dad once told me being a Redskin’s fan would prepare me for the harsh realities of life – he was right. Since 1992 the Redskins have been stuck in professional sports absolute worst purgatory – mediocrity.

They are never good enough to have any type of consistent success, or bad enough to be in the position to draft a QB with enough talent to get them over the hump. Sure Joe Gibbs 2nd run with the team brought two playoff appearances, but it also brought a record of 30 wins and 34 losses. Not good enough to be good and not bad enough to have a draft pick that will change everything

For whatever reason the stats always seem to align for certain teams, like the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts are coming off a decade and a half of dominance lead by Peyton Manning. Now they have the first pick in the 2012 draft and are all set to re- solidify their QB position for another 15 years.

Jim Irsay is busy trying to convince anyone who will listen that he hasn’t decided on what to do with the first pick in this year’s NFL draft. If you believe that I have some land in Texas I’d like to sell.

There is ZERO, let me repeat that ZERO chance that Irsay doesn’t know what he is doing yet. It’s April people! The draft is in a few weeks, to even imply that they don’t have a plan is foolish, and to believe Irsay when he says they aren’t sure what is happening is naïve to the point of stupidity.

I will take it a step further, the Colts are taking Luck. He fits exactly what they want to do and should help Colts fans forget old what’s his name sooner than later. The Colts are looking right at a 30 year period of time with 2 starting quarterbacks leading the charge.

The Redskins on the other hand have not had anywhere near that type of stability at the QB position. The parade of QBs to come in and out of Ashburn since Theismann got LT’d has been Comical at best and embarrassing at worst.

The 25 player long list of failed replacements pretty much covers the spectrum from washed up Pro Bowlers (McNabb, Brunnell) to laughingstock projects (John Beck, Tim Hasselback).

Historically the team has not been that great drafting Quarter-Backs either.

In 1937 they got it right taking Sammy Baugh with the 6th pick of the ’37 draft. Outside of that the first round has been pretty rough including Heath Shuler (3rd pick overall) Patrick Ramsey (32 pick overall 2002) and Jason Campbell (25th pick overall in 2005). It is worth noting that the Redskins had to trade into the first to take both Ramsey and Campbell and that both could be considered a reach at the spot they were taken.

History would suggest that the Redskins fans should have more to worry about in drafting a QB in the first round considering two of the three Super Bowl winning QBs were not even drafted by the Redskins (Theismann, Williams) and the third was a 6th round pick (Rypien), but this time it feels different.

With the Colts set to take Andrew Luck 1st overall (no matter what Irsay says) Robert Griffin III will be the guy.

I am not going to break him down here again and sell you on the fact that he is a perfect fit for what Shanahan wants to do in DC. Everyone not name Donnovan McNabb has been doing a great job of that for the better part of a month so you are just going to have to trust me – the kid is a perfect fit.

Some guys like Irsay have all the Luck, but it looks like the tide is finally turning in favor of the Burgundy and Gold.

Washington Redskins 2005 Highlights

For the first time since 1999, the 2005 Washington Redskins looked like a team headed for greatness. The team had chemistry, played through injuries and found ways to win critical games (5 in a row or we don’t go). A lot has changed since that season. The Redskins are back into a full rebuild and the only players left on the roster from that season are Chris Cooley and Santana Moss.

Amazing New RG3 Toon From PikeToon

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Man PikeToon does it again with a glorious new RG3 Graphic.

I don’t know about you buy when I day dream about RG3inDC, this is pretty much what it looks like in my head.

Come on April … HAIL!

You can follow PikeToon on Twitter @piketoon or check his work out at http://www.PikeToon.com.

Heads up to our buddy Brent over at BurgundyBlog.com for the find

Is Dan Snyder Becoming the Owner RedskinsNation Has Been Begging For?

Since purchasing the Washington Redskins in 1999, owner Daniel Snyder has been highly disliked for “Ruining a once proud franchise” according to everyone from fans to media outlets.

For the last decade, according to anyone not on Snyder’s payroll, Snyder had “run the Redskins as if they were a fantasy football team.” Or that he “cares more about selling tickets than having a winner.” Not to mention the game day experience at FedEx Field was pretty lousy.

There is no arguing that during Snyder’s tenure he had been involved in a lot of personnel decisions, more than your typical owner should be. Free Agency became Snyder’s ‘time to shine’ and General Manager/Racket Ball Buddy/ Evil Henchmen Vinny Cerrato bounced from city to city in “Redskins 1″ wining and dining the next big name prize.

Year after year the results were disastrous as the team only won one single playoff game since 2000.

Fans can tolerate bloated contracts, questionable coaching decisions and a poor game day experiences provided the product on the field is up to snuff, but it wasn’t.

Even the players suffered — often complaining that Redskins Park Facilities were among the worst in the league. While outdated at best, there was no denying the absence of amenities that are common in the NFL, such as a practice bubble for winter training.

Why would an owner who spared no expense trying to build what he thought would be a winner skimp out on taking care of the players and the fans?

Redskins’ legends like John Riggins blamed it on Snyder himself. Riggins even went as far as saying Snyder had a “black heart” and was more consumed by turning a profit than he was building a franchise.

By November 2009 things had gotten out of hand, Joe Gibbs successor Jim Zorn, the coach hand-picked by Snyder, was clearly over his head. The team was in chaos and fans were taking out advertisements calling for Snyder to sell the team and “turning in their fan cards” until things got straightened out.

That December the madness stopped, Vinny Cerrato was forced to resign, Bruce Allen was brought in as the new GM and in early January 2010, Mike Shanahan (a notorious control freak) was brought in as the new head coach. More surprisingly, Shanahan was given full control of the team. Something fans claimed the meddling Snyder would never allow.

With a solid new front office in place Snyder turned his attention to new improvements to FedEx Field and the surrounding areas. Parking lots opened up to eight hours earlier than scheduled for night game in 2010. Seats were removed to add party decks and new state of the art HD ‘punter proof’ screens were installed. Not to mention the smoother traffic control around the stadium.

He even added solar panels to make FedEx Field the most energy-efficient stadium in the NFL (for you Green people).

While stadium improvements don’t make the team better, they most-certainly added to a somewhat better game-day experience helped the once forgotten fan base feel like they were being thought of.

Even the facilities in Ashburn have gotten a face-lift with a completely modern practice bubble installed to keep the players from having to practice in local airport hangers when it rains.

The biggest changes are what we are seeing now.

The Redskins are being run the way a football team is supposed to be thanks to who Snyder put in charge. Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen are turning Washington back into a respectable football city. The paydays and trading away of draft picks we saw during Cerrato’s era are officially over.

Today’s Redskins are being ran the same way they were during Jack Kent Cooke’s legacy. The front office is scouting properly, the coaches know who fit their system and they are writing up contracts that not only are fair, but also save them in case a player fails (see Donovan McNabb).

Most important, Snyder is no longer “in the way” as he once was, but is doing what he should be – signing the checks and watching his team from the owner’s box like every other owner.

Thanks to this off-seasons Cap Gate scandal, Snyder is actually being viewed as a victim instead of the “dark hearted” franchise ruining super-fan he has been made out to be.

While getting some fan support this off-season has been huge for Snyder, he will never become beloved without giving Washington D.C a consistent winner.

A supporting cast has been built over the last two seasons and it now appears Redskins fans will finally get exactly what they have been waiting for for over 2o years – a franchise quarterback. While there is still a way to go getting Robert Griffin III, who the Redskins are projected to take in the upcoming NFL Draft, that should be a huge step towards accomplishing that goal.

Love him or hate him, it is hard to deny that Snyder is on a hot streak of making solid football decisions, but right now it’s safe to say even anti-Snyder fans are beginning to see a change in him, for the better.

And let’s just be honest who can hate on an owner who Tebows?

London Fletcher’s Act is Getting Old

London Fletcher is without a doubt the heart and soul of not only the defense, but also the Washington Redskins. Losing him would not only add a hole at the linebacker position, but also at the teacher and leadership role. It’s been said that signing Fletcher is imperative, but what happens when he’s his own worst enemy?

Fletcher has been a dominate force his entire NFL career. An undersized, under-appreciated linebacker who has put up numbers that match close to those of Ray Lewis. Perhaps because he’s never been flashy or loud, he’s never been given the credit when due (such as Pro Bowl votes).

Last year we saw that change. After making a big play, his celebrations were much longer and much louder. Was that an effort to make his name known around the league in hopes of getting his final payday, something he knew the Redskins were no longer doing?

According to sources, Fletcher was looking to receive something close to what Ray Lewis had re-signed for in 2009, three-years, $25 million. The Redskins on the other hand weren’t looking to pay him the $7-8 million a year he wanted, but rather $6 million, leaving him at a three-year $18 million dollar contract.

Feeling he was worth more than the $6 million per year the Redskins offered, Fletcher hit the free-agency market in hopes of a bigger offering. Unfortunately Fletcher was hit with reality when not one team called showing interest. That’s just the norm for an aging veteran. While Redskins fans see a leader and player, the other 31 teams see a 36-year-old going on 37.

Where does that leave Fletcher? In a position much worse than what he was in – had he signed for the three-years Washington offered. With free-agency signings, money that was available for Fletcher has dropped significantly. The Redskins can no longer afford to offer him a three-year contract to his measure – and while younger players are hitting the market, such as Curtis Lofton who nearly signed with the Baltimore Ravens for one-year, Fletcher’s value is only dropping more.

More surprising though, is how he’s gone to twitter in what appears to be an effort to toy with fans:

Other than the Redskins, Fletcher knows he has nobody eying him. So what’s the hold up? If he doesn’t sign with Washington, he has nowhere to play. He’s said many times on twitter that he loves it in Washington and wants to be here, so why is he playing games? If he loves the fans as he says, he’d do them and himself a favor and sign with the Redskins.

Otherwise, Washington will have no other choice, but to sign a younger LB such as Lofton or draft one, such as Mychal Kendricks. Whether we like it or not, it’s smarter to bring in a younger, just as talented linebacker, for close to nothing than to sign an aging linebacker like London Fletcher to a three-year deal.

Washington Redskins 1997 Highlights

A lot happened leading up to the 1997 season for the Washington Redskins. Former owner Jack Kent Cooke had passed away, Norv Turner was brought in to lead the Redskins back to their winning ways and FedExField, then Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, had just opened in Landover, Maryland.

Love is in the Air as RG3 Puts on a Show at Pro Day

Ah, Spring time. The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping, love is in the air. It’s the time of year where new romances begin to bloom, it’s beautiful.

Think you have somehow stumbled across the wrong blog? Don’t worry you haven’t.

I’m talking about yesterdays Baylor Pro Day. If the NFL Combine is supposed to bee speed dating, yesterday was like the actual first date.

In case you happened to have missed it the beginnings of a great love affair were solidified yesterday as pretty much anyone who is anyone in the Washington Redskins organization spent the day in Waco Texas lusting after their Heisman winning QB of the future.

Listen no one in Ashburn is going to tell you that the Redskins want Robert Griffin III. When they traded up for the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft Bruce Allen said they had “fallen in love with two players”.

They very well may think a lot of Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck, but I can promise you they only have eyes for one, and he goes by RG3.

For the better part of an hour yesterday afternoon Griffin flew around Baylor’s practice bubble (which is incredibly nicer than the new one at Redskins Park) like some sort of mythical super human. While the Redskins brass and fans all gawked like a bunch of middle school boys in front of a Victoria’s Secret.

I will admit Griffin put on a show. The guy has absolutely explosive speed and an impressive arm. Time and time again he rolled out and hit receivers in stride, it was beautiful. The cherry on the cake was the last play in which Griffin caught a 45 yard TD pass from Kendell Wright just because he can.

Now it is worth noting that pro days like this are scripted, and definitely worth noting that there are no defenders in pro day workouts. But I have to be honest watching that type of explosive speed roll out and throw It is going to extremely difficult to defend this kid.

Griffin has a burst that is unlike anything I have seen from the Quarter Back position before, and Mike Shanahan absolutely loves it. It is no secret that Shanahan’s offense is based on the QB boot and play action and with Griffin defenders are never going to really know if he is going to run or throw.

Every so often ESPN would show Shanahan, Allen and Snyder standing on the sidelines watching – grinning from ear to ear, salivating at the prospect of this kid running things in DC and he is more than capable.

Griffin showed a lot more yesterday than just his ability to run and throw. Between every throw he was talking up his receivers, coaching them on the field, and displaying the leadership the Redskins have missed in the huddle for a long time.

On a stage that was pretty big and all eyes looking on him, Griffin looked like he didn’t have a care in the world. He looked like a 22 year old kid playing a game and he is good at it. Wearing a tee shirt that said “No Pressure, No Diamonds” while warming up, you can tell that the lights are not going to be too bright for this guy. He loves the pressure, and his attitude is infectious.

Watching Griffin interact with his teammates it is pretty clear that they think the world of him. His value transcends X’s and O’s to the point where no one will ever be able to take him off the field for a guy like John Beck.

The thing that impressed me the most from yesterday is this: even though he has all the tools speed, accuracy, strength, touch, it is never just about him. During his press conference he spoke of how success on the field was team success, and that he could promise that it would always be about team and never just about him. For a team that has seen its share of me first guys fail. It is refreshing to see a guy like Griffin “get it”.

When asked about playing for the Redskins you can almost tell Griffin already believes that he is one. He even went as far as to say “no I didn’t grow up a Cowboys fan so there won’t be any awkwardness there” and honestly if he hadn’t said anything else, that was enough for me.

Redskins Making the Best of Tough Off-Season Decisions

Let’s be honest for a minute Redskins fans – some of you are pretty disappointed in the first week of the 2012 NFL Off-Season.

Sure you are probably excited the Redskins made the trade that will “save the franchise” and hopefully bring RG3 to DC. But, missing on big name difference makers like Vincent Jackson or Eric Winston has been a tough pill to swallow.

Toss in watching a fan favorite and All-World Gym Rat Laron Landry walk out the door, and seeing Redskins targets like Aaron Ross and Eddie Royal sign elsewhere stings a little. Throw in the uncertainty of the London Fletcher situation and what happens next in NFL CapGate and I can see why the casual observer may be a little worried.

I mean, let’s be honest the Redskins always get their man right? Once a player is spotted around town with Snyder and Co. always been a done deal right? So what gives?

It is times like this when I am pretty happy there are grown-ups running the show in Ashburn.

Gone are the days of wining and dining superstar free agents and throwing cash at them until they have no choice but to sign on the dotted line.

Welcome to a new day in Redskins fandom – a day in which the front office is more interested in building a team then collecting superstars.

While some people have argued that the Redskins overpaid for Pierre Garcon or are “clueless” for letting Landry go to the Jets, I would say they are doing exactly what they need to build a complete roster.

Bruce and Mike are doing a fantastic job of stockpiling young players who are a perfect fit for the schemes the team is running. Forget the past where they would go get a superstar like Peyton Manning, who would have been an absolutely dreadful fit for this offense and force him into this system.

Forget scrapping young talent currently on the roster or blocking them with overpaid superstars, now we see the organization bringing in guys like Garcon who complement home grown talent and fit right into what Mike and Kyle want to do on offense. Garcon is a speedy receiver with big play ability who can stretch the field vertically and force defenses to account for him.

At the end of last season Kyle Shanahan spelled out exactly what he was looking for in regards to a playmaking WR. Garcon is exactly what Kyle was looking for so it comes as no surprise that at 4pm last Tuesday afternoon the first call Garcon got was Kyle Shanahan. 30 minutes later Garcon was a Redskin, and even though the initial price was considered high the truth is it was not bad considering a guy like Laurent Robinson just signed a deal $32.5 million. It is also worth mentioning that Garcon was willing to work with the Redskins to overcome the CapGate issues by costing only $2.5 million against this year’s salary cap, enabling the Redskins to bring in more players to fill out the roster.

While it has been tough for many local fans (especially the ones who represent Hokie Nation) to see Eddie Royal sign with San Diego instead of coming home, the truth is, it shows how far this front office has come in two years. Forget bidding wars, Bruce and Mike know what they are willing to give specific talent and are not going to over pay to get it. Instead of Salary Cap crippling deals like the one signed by Antwaan Randle El, they are able to bring guys in on team friendly deals like the Garcon deal.

The fact is, this team is making responsible decisions and is finally building this team the right way.

While it is sad to see a guy like Landry go considering he is among the best in the league when healthy, letting him go is a no brainier. The guy has not been healthy enough to stay on the sideline let alone the field and there is no room on this roster for a player who will has spent more time on the IR than in the game the past 2 seasons.

The biggest problem the Redskins have had over the last decade is making poor personnel decisions. Time and time again, they have set the organization back more than they have helped it compete and I for one am pretty happy it looks like they have turned the corner.

For the first time since Joe Gibbs returned 8 years ago, the future in DC is looking very bright.

NFC East Already Scared of RGIII

It’s been over 20 years since teams and opposing fans were intimidated by the Washington Redskins. Unlike the 80’s and early 90’s, today’s Redskins have been nothing more than a dumpster fire on and off the field. That however, is about to change.

Since Washington traded up with St. Louis to land the number two overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, fans of opposing teams, especially the NFC East, have begun to change their minds about  the Redskins. They now realize Washington, a team that has become more competitive since the arrival of Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan, is about to exceed expectations, thanks to should-be draftee Heisman winning QB, Robert Griffin III.

Instead of a football team that has been known for its joke behind center – they (Redskins) now have a legitimate threat taking snaps. One that can burn you by tucking the ball in and running, such as Philadelphia Eagles QB, Michael Vick, but also kill you in the air, with the accuracy of Peyton Manning.

Rather than heading into the season with two-wins already in their book (vs. Washington), opposing teams and fans are now wondering what this means for their future. The team they are so used to defeating is now going to be able to challenge them.

Take MSN Fox Sport’s writer, Jen Engel, whom Thursday wrote an article, RG3 should scramble away from DC. Why? Because the Redskins are “dysfunctional” and he (RGIII) will “likely” fail because “nobody wins with the Redskins.”

Granted, she is a Cowboys fan so her bias is expected, but why one would think the Redskins are being ran the same way they were three years ago is ludicrous. Truth is, she watched RGIII at Baylor and realizes how dangerous the kid is – and with the Washington Redskins, a team that’s been missing a QB for decades, she knows they could become an instant contender.

However, not even Engel could top John Mara, the New York Giants President and team owner.

The NFL’s “Management Council Executive Committee/Labor” department, whom took 36 million away from the Redskins cap ($18 mil in both ‘12 and ‘13) is ironically ran by the same man who owns the New York Giants, John Mara.

Strange how when Rex Grossman was the starting QB, a player known for his inconsistent and at times horrible play, there was no problem with the Redskins spending money (which was well within the rules of 2010 and 2011 CBA), yet once the trade with St. Louis hit the table, the Redskins got nailed for breaking a “rule” that was never in place.

Perhaps it’s because Mara realized the Redskins who managed to sweep his Championship winning Giants, were finally ready to start competing. Mixing in RGIII with another off-season like the one they just had, would only mean future division titles and the spotlight being taken off his precious team.

Shame the Redskins still managed to play by the “rules” and beat Mara and his accomplices at their own game (who will all be dealt with Monday when the Redskins take them to court for what should be collusion).

When you are instilling fear into not only fans, bloggers, but also division owners, you know you’re doing something right. For the first time in a long time, Redskins fans can say proudly and positively, we’re back!

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