Skins sign Randall Godfrey and release Lemar Marshall

Sometimes an unforeseen circumstance can set a number of wheels in motion.  I wonder if the signing of Randall Godfrey and the release of Lemar Marshall would have happened if Marcus Washington hadn’t been injured.  I also wonder if this signing gives some indication to how highly they regard other individuals.


With Marcus being injured, potentially for a while, the Skins would benefit from someone experienced that could play both inside and outside LB.  Enter Randall Godfrey who has played for Gregg Williams before – arguably played his best football under Gregg Williams.  Godfrey has mostly played ILB but has shown the ability to play OLB as well.  To make room for Godfrey, the Skins cut Marshall, which makes me believe that they made this move, in part because they feel comfortable with the progress that H.B. Blades has made during the pre-season.  Plus once Washington is healthy you can also plug Godfrey in as a backup MLB.

Close call at DeShawn’s house

I’ve been reading Ivan Carter’s and Tim Lemke’s versions of the shooting in front of DeShawn’s house.  First, let me point out that it is good that no one got injured – with the exception of the person who, reportedly, started all of the drama.  Depending on which version you believe there is some doubt between whether DeShawn was sleep when the shots began at his house.  The reality is who cares whether he was sleep or not.  The fact so far is that he is not being accused of doing anything illegal.  The reality is no one involved is talking – at least not on record.  If he was up at 4 AM and returning from a nightclub, with a bunch of women, instead of being at home sleep… again who cares?  The last I checked he is a 26 year old man who is capable of coming home in the off-season whenever he feels like coming home.  Unless he is being accused of or being charged with something criminal – which he his not – I could care less.


What I do have a problem with is the fact that Tim Lemke felt it was necessary to point out a misdemeanor statutory rape charge from DeShawn’s past.  One in which he served the punishment that the courts handed down, and to the best of our knowledge has never repeated.  More importantly what does that situation from 5 years ago have to do with this incident?  In a word…nothing.  I would understand if DeShawn had gun charges in his past, then that might be relevant to point out.  It would have been relevant if the ladies that were reportedly at his house were underage, then that fact would have been relevant.  But as the facts currently stand, that information did not contribute at all to his story.  I would love to hear what Tim expected the reader to gain from that fact?


What this story clearly points out is that as a celebrity, you need to be extremely careful.  Even when it appears that you did nothing wrong, a story like this can take on a life of its own.  From the facts that we know a man (Curtis Ruff) with a criminal past (and present) gained illegal access into DeShawn’s gated community.  He then began arguing with a woman who was in the company of DeShawn and/or his friends.  That man, who again was on the property illegally, then reportedly fired his weapon damaging private property.  Finally, the man who reportedly conducted all of these crimes was the only person to sustain an injury.  While I am not a newspaper reporter like Tim Lemke, it appears to be fairly easy to point out the facts without linking someone’s past to the present – especially when there does not appear to be a good reason to do so.


 Can we go back to focusing on basketball now?

Manny Acta for Manager of the year?

Is it possible that a Manager of team that finishes the year below .500 could be seriously considered for Manager of the year?  If that manager is Manny Acta, the answer should be yes.  Coming into this season, the MLB experts were predicting that the Nationals would be “historically bad,” which is a reference to the 2003 Detroit Tigers who finished with 119 loses.


And while they will clearly finish with a sub .500 record, given that they were predicted to be such a miserable team, on par with being an expansion team, Manny Acta should be considered seriously for Manager of the year.  They have consistently been one of the better stories this season, consistently playing better than any one would have expected.  One would have to attribute much of that success to the job that Manny has done with this extremely young team.

Rocky McIntosh: Star in the making?

Rocky McIntoshRocky McIntosh 


So far this pre-season the defense has been playing very well.  And one of the biggest surprises has been Rocky McIntosh – who barely touched the field last season.  Now it is only pre-season and most teams keep their offenses very vanilla, but he has been blowing people up so far this pre-season.  Only time will tell how well he plays once the regular season gets started, but he looks like a great addition – one made through the draft (what a novel idea).  What’s been most impressive is that he appears to be making plays, while playing within Gregg Williams’ system.  It will be fun to see this guy continue to develop, but he appears to have all-pro-type talent, but time will tell if he reaches his potential.

Carol Maloney and Trevor Matich got carried away

I was listening to the Feldman & Maloney show on Sportstalk980, when I heard some of the most ridiculous statements that I have heard in a very long time. First let me put out my disclaimer – I was born and raised a Steelers fan, but I have followed (and grown to love) the Redskins for the last 11 years. So I am pointing out that I have divided loyalties. It made watching the game on Saturday very difficult, I didn’t know who to cheer for. But I digress.


Carol Maloney said that she felt Brett Keisel’s hit on Jason Campbell was a cheap shot and he should have been ejected from the game. She went on to point out that she believed that it was Keisel’s, if not the Steelers, intention to hurt Campbell. I was amazed at what I was hearing. She continued by pointing out Kimo von Oelhoffen’s hit on Carson Palmer during the 2005 playoffs as proof that the Steelers have some sort of history with injuring opposing team’s Quarterbacks.


First let me point out that there is little that the two plays have in common except that both players (Kimo and Brett) have very high motors and play until the whistle is blown. When Kimo hit Palmer, he was being blocked just before he made contact with Palmer’s lower legs. Brett quickly got around Heyer but then stumbled in the backfield, lunged as he was going down and made contact with Campbell’s thigh. It was unfortunate that Jason got injured during the play, but it was not an intentional act. It was amazing how quiet FedEx Field got during the injury timeout. (BTW I and others could not believe that they never showed the replay on the stadium screens.)


But beyond Maloney’s rant – which she is entitled to – however misinformed it is. I was completely shocked that Trevor Matich, a former NFL player, would agree with her opinion. Trevor went on to state that Keisel was not stumbling, that he could have absolutely controlled his body – during flight – that he could have just put his arm out. I could not believe I was hearing a former NFL player. He then went on to say that if he were coaching the Redskins defense that he would have sent everyone after Rothlisberger. Since Campbell got injured, on a dirty play, then he would have made sure that Big Ben was sidelined for the rest of the year. The only person on the show who seemed to have a sensible opinion on the matter was Andy Pollen who was sitting in for Feldman.


Keisel and Campbell


Those of us who have watched football for any length of time and/or played it at any meaningful level know that it is a dangerous sport and that at any moment you can get injured. Thankfully it appears that Jason’s injury is not serious. My point to Maloney or Matich would have been – show me evidence that this was intentional? Furthermore, what would the Steelers have gotten out of this “intentional cheap shot?” What would they have to gain? The last I checked the Redskins are in the NFC and the Steelers play in the AFC. The Steelers would gain nothing from intentionally injuring Campbell. I could follow the logic IF it were the Cowboys and the Redskins in a pre-season game. Then you could make the argument that the Cowboys would gain something from Campbell being injured.


As part of Matich’s argument he points out that a penalty was called on the play for hitting the QB during a pass below the waist. A flag in and of itself does not make a play dirty. Hell, there are times when cheap shots are not caught by the refs by his line of logic does that mean those plays were legal? What I find interesting in the replay is that the flag does not actually come in to the picture until after Cooley has caught the pass, turned up field and gets tackled. Now, I am not pointing out that it wasn’t a penalty, by the letter of the rule it was. And on the replay I have you can not see where the Umpire is in relation to the play, so maybe he through it much earlier and it took a while for it to make it into view of the camera. But I am pointing out that it appeared as if it took him a while to decide that was a low tackle – but at least he did get the call right. But consider that it appeared that there was some indecision on the part of the Umpire but clearly he did not think that it was a dirty play or he would have ejected him from the game.


After watching the play in person and countless times on Tivo, I can only conclude that Maloney and Matich’s comments were completely baseless and a touch reckless. It is okay to be a bit upset with the fact that the starting Quarterback got injured during a meaningless game, but unless you have clear proof that someone intended to injury him, don’t go on record claiming that they did. I have seen plenty of cheap shots over the years, and I do not put that play in that category. Unfortunate yes, cheap shot no!


Will Vick get bit?

We are a country of dog lovers. Often times our local and national news give higher priority to stories of animal abuse then when people are being abused. That said, I hope other athletes are learning from Michael Vick’s experience. From what I can observe this was a guy who was living the life that most American males dream. He was a rich and famous NFL Quarterback, arguably one of the NFL’s most feared athletes. But he continued to make the same mistakes that a number of athletes have made, he attempted to live in two worlds simultaneously. On one hand, he did not want to appear as if he forgot where he came from, so he continued to associate with people that he grew up around. People that he new were leaving on the fringe, but he did not want to appear to sell out.

Whether he liked it or not, the moment he was drafted by the NFL his life changed. He became a millionaire NFL QB, which provides him with an incredible amount of financial opportunities, but also puts you under and awfully bright spotlight. As an athlete/entertainer people will watch and catalouge your every move. And while your celebrity can get you certain breaks, it also means that your missteps are very public.

I am not suggesting that a professional athlete should immediately turn his/her back on their friends and family once they become wealthy. In fact I believe that they are in a better position to help those that want to accomplish more in their lives. But, they should immediately distance themselves from those who are not doing anything productive with their lives. And they should surely avoid those that are doing things that are either clearly illegal or are involved in things that they wouldn’t want talked about on the national evening news.

Now, I don’t know all of the facts yet, but it is not looking good for Michael Vick. If found guilty he deserves to spend time in jail. The truly sad part is that he could have easily avoided this situation. He did not need to know whether dog fighting was illegal or not. At a minimum, he should have thought to himself – would I want reporters discussing this on ESPN? How would my sponsors react if they knew I was fighting dogs to the death? That as part of this “enterprise” dogs were being executed? Again, even if none of this was illegal (or reprehensible) he would have had to come to the conclusion that his sponsors or employer would not be happy with his participation in this enterprise.

Now, do not get me wrong I do not feel sorry for him in the least. He is an adult and me made some incredibly stupid (and criminal) decisions. He now needs to face the music. I do feel that it is sad when an individual has so much going for them and yet – because of decisions that they make or don’t make – they piss it all away.

Wizards finalize trade with Memphis

As you know the trade sending Juan Carlos Navarro to the Grizzlies is final. In return the Wizards get a protected first round pick or worst case scenario a second round pick and cash considerations by 2013, only if they haven’t received a 1st round pick by then. When you look at this trade in a vacuum, it is easy to be a little disappointed. JCN is widely regarded as one of the premiere Euro league players at a time when a number of European players are All-Stars or playing near that level. The assumption that most make is that if he is the best Euro league player, then surely he will be a very talented player in the NBA. And if you subscribe to that line of reasoning, it is easy to understand why you would be disappointed with this trade. You would undoubtedly believe that Ernie Grunfeld gave JCN up for virtually nothing in return.

I don’t believe that is the case. First, we have to consider that every player entering the NBA is unique, a player’s success is based on many factors, not the least of which is the players surrounding him, the coaching style (and whether the player truly matches what the coach likes to do), distractions off the court (positive and negative), work ethic, talent (does your game translate well to the NBA), etc, etc, etc. With that said very few players are guaranteed to be successful in the NBA. So for a moment let’s consider that he is just as, if not more, talented than Tony Parker, there is still a number of other factors that can determine his ultimate success or failure in the league.

When you look at JCN’s stats in the Euro league, you realize that they look surprisingly similar to Dan Dickau’s stats at Gonzaga. It is true that this is not an apple to apple comparison because JCN was playing in a professional league, while Dan Dickau was playing “amateur” college athletics. It could be argued that the talent level in Men’s D1 basketball is pretty close to the talent level in the EL. The point is that prior to entering the NBA, both players had very similar stat lines and both were great shooters in their respective “leagues.” But, as we have seen with Dickau’s NBA career thus far, that does not mean it will instantly translate into a successful NBA career. All rookies, including international players, have an adjustment that they need to make to the NBA game which easily take 2 – 3 years. But, again there is no guarantee of success.

Given that JCN could be Dan Dickau 2.0, I am comfortable with the trade to Memphis. I like the fact that the Wiz are most likely getting a 1st round pick for a 2nd round selection. As Ivan Carter of the Post pointed out, that gives them an asset that they could package together in another transaction that could help address some more pressing needs. (For example, could Indiana be enticed to trade Jermaine O’Neal for a combination of players and two 1st round picks?) I like the fact that they did not potentially make an Eastern Conference team better by trading him to the West. I would be even happier if the 1st round pick that the Wiz received was not protected, or at least only lottery protected.

Now, if I had a crystal ball and could see that JCN would be a future All-Star-type player would I still like this trade? Given the current make up of the team, I still believe that trading JCN’s rights is the right move. Ultimately this trade can only be judged once all the facts are in, and the facts most likely won’t be in for a few more years. There are still too many questions that will need to be answered before a final evaluation can be made. How well does JCN adjust to the NBA? Does he become anything more than a shooter off the bench? Do the Wiz get a 1st round pick or a 2nd with cash considerations? Do they draft a player with that pick? If so, how does that player help the team? Does this pick help them pull off a trade in the near-term that benefits the team? Or do they trade the pick at some point in the future? Unfortunately, only with time can we answer these, and other, questions.

Side note:

With the Andray Blatche contract now signed – terms undisclosed – and the roster nearly set, what if anything happens with some of the names on the team that have been linked to possible trades? At various points this summer we have heard about possible trades involving Brendan Haywood, Etan Thomas and Antonio Daniels. More so than Daniels, I would like to see the Wiz move both Etan and Brendan. While I like the effort and the energy that Etan brings, I would like to see the Wiz get out from under his contract and possibly bring in a less expensive veteran who could provide you with his same stats and energy. Brendan on the other hand, I would like to see moved because of his much to inconsistent play and the fact that he tends to sulk when not in the game. Plus, the way he finished last season, I would not bring him back to play for my team – if I were calling the shots. His behavior burned that bridge and then buried the ashes.

Skins Defense: Titan post-game recap (pre-season)

While it is pre-season and you do not want to rush to any judgments, it is important to see how well individuals or portions of teams are playing.  With that said, it was nice to see the Redskins defense playing as well as they did against the Titans.  Now, this was a Titans offense without Vince Young, but let’s keep in mind that Kerry Collins is not that far removed from being a starter in the league.

Regardless, the defense, in one pre-season game, appeared to be playing closer to their level of 2 years ago.  The combination of London Fletcher, Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry provide for a group of big hitters.  While Sean had a fairly quite game, Fletcher and Landry both laid impressive hits on various Titans.  Even more impressive than that, Fletcher proved to be in the middle of many tackles and demonstrated why the coaching staff went after him so hard in the off season.  Another bright spot was Kedric Golston, who appears to be growing into the starting DT position opposite Cornelius Griffin.

Let me say again that this was the first preseason game and I am not making any long-term predictions, but the defense collectively and some individuals showed that they may have returned to form.  Now, once the offense gets on the same page – and begins keeping Campbell upright – there might be a reason for optimism this season.

Stephon Heyer: Titan pre-season game recap

It appeared that overall Stephon Heyer, an undrafted Rookie free agent tackle with the Redskins had a solid pre-season debut.  Arguably one could say that he had a better debut with the Skins then his line mate Todd Wade.  It would be very interesting to see how Coach Bugel graded each player, but through watching non-game tape Heyer appeared to have a solid game for a rookie making his first start in the NFL at left tackle.

Now while there were times in which backs and tight ends chipped to his side, overall he seemed to perform more than adequately.  There were a couple of occasions that it was tough to tell if he blew an assignment, someone else blew their assignment, or the Titans defense just had the right blitz called at the correct time.  On those two blitzes, it did not appear that he was out of place – blocking someone else’s man for instance.  But, without knowing the exact call and who has what responsibility it is nearly impossible to assign blame – if there is any blame to assign.

In retrospect, it is easy to see why the coaches like this kid.  If anything, I am surprised that no one took a shot on him late in the draft.  There will be plenty of late round draft picks who will get cut over the next couple weeks, and here is a guy who will clearly make the active roster.  It makes you wonder about what all of the teams in the NFL, including the Redskins, didn’t like about this guy to invest a 7th round pick on him (at the least).  If nothing else, his performance demonstrates that scouting is not an exact science – hell one of the Redskins greats Joe Jacoby was an undrafted free agent during a time when there were many more rounds in the draft.  Now, I am not suggesting that Heyer will be a Jacoby, I am pointing out that scouts can and do miss a few talented people.  And sometimes there are a few people whose drive is larger than their talent.

Wizards reportedly trade Juan Carlos Navarro to Memphis

It has been reported that the Wizards have traded their rights to Juan Carlos Navarro to the Memphis Grizzlies for a future 1st round pick.  Still as of this morning the full details are not yet available.  So at this point, I am not completely sure how I feel about this trade.  I will reserve judgment on this trade until all of the details are in.  Ultimately, the Wizards needed to get something for their asset – the key is how much would a team be willing to give up for a talent- that clearly played well in his European league – but still had questions on how well his game would translate to the NBA game.  Some speculate that at best he would serve well as a scorer off the bench.  While some feel as if he could potentially be a Manu Ginobili-type player.  The fact is that Navarro is a 27 year old guard, who has never played in the NBA; he is an excellent shooter in a very competitive, but inferior league.  So an important question is how much would a team be willing to trade for a talented player, but one with some questions?

Up to this point, Ernie has made some great decisions – minus the Etan Thomas contract.  So in general, I trust his judgment.  My belief is that ultimately, balancing multiple offers and issues, he has accepted the best possible offer for Juan Carlos Navarro.  I look forward to seeing all the facts, and then I will comment further on the quality of this trade.