Friday, December 1, 2006

Week 13 - Dream Big (Issue 18)

Instead of discussing the re-emergence of the Redskins defense and the big-play ability of the offense with Campbell behind center, I would like to show you where my head is at right now, this Friday before the Skins week 13 home tussle versus the dirty bird and his Falcons:


NFC Standings Through Week 13 (Yes, After Sunday)

1) Chicago (10-2)

2) New Orleans (8-4)

3) Dallas (8-4)

4) Seattle (7-5)


5) Carolina (7-5)

6) New York (6-6)


7) St. Louis (6-6)

8) Minnesota (5-7)

9) Philadelphia (5-7)

10) San Francisco (5-7)

11) Washington (5-7)

12) Atlanta (5-7)


Here's how it happens:

Redskins over Falcons (????)

Cowboys over Giants (????)

Bears over Vikings (Likely)

Panthers over Eagles (Root for the Eagles)

Rams over Cardinals (Root for Cards)

Saints over Niners (Likely)


That's right boys and girls, if the Skins win on Sunday and the Giants lose then then the B&G most likely will sit one game out of the playoffs with four weeks to go. Of course, because of losses to the Giants, Vikings, Cowboys, Eagles and Bucs, they aren't so hot on the tie-breakers. But then again - the Skins have plenty of opportunity to make up ground on their conference opponents and they get another shot at both the Eagles and Giants at home. Of the teams ahead of them, the Vikings and Niners have very tough roads ahead and the Eagles and Rams seem to be slipping as the Redskins get their footing (and we play both those teams). That leaves the G-Men. The Big Blue must continue to spiral. If they do, it opens the door for us. If they manage to put the breaks on this slide, re-stick a fork in us.


My short term prayer is that the Skins/Saints game on 12/17 will mean something (b/c I will be there), my long term prayer is the Skins finale against the Giants on 12/30 will be for the playoffs.


I know I am going off the deep end here, but it feels great to prognosticate over a potential playoff run.

I assume the Skins will break my heart on Sunday and then we can really call it a season.

If somehow they win, then they are 5-7 and looking at a home date with the Jeff Garcia-led Eagles.


Who's with me????

Friday, November 17, 2006

Week 11 - 260 (Issue 17)

Hey Committed Followers of the Sultans of  the Susquehanna:

My apologizes for not being in touch any sooner, but the Skins haven't really given much reason for me to write. I don't have much to say about this weeks game (NOT!!!), although I do think the Skins will win. DC will get very excited about JCampbell for a week and savor a victory over a crappy team over the Thanksgiving Holiday before Carolina comes into town and rearranges Campbell's face and mathematically eliminates us from the playoffs.


Here are some quick hitters you might be interested in:


1) Appx. 260 days until training camp 2007.

2) For those of you who aren't fond of Yair and I (and I know many are not), close your eyes and imagine the two of us standing on top of huge steps overlooking a thousand psycho Eagles fans screaming "assholes" at us. That should make you feel better. If that doesn't work, then imagine Yair and I sitting in torrential rains, gusting winds and freezing temperatures watching the Skins get slaughtered (while psycho Eagles fans continue chanting "assholes" at us).

3) RIP CP - Besides the 3-6 record, this one is the toughest for me to swallow. I had such great expectations for DollaBill this year. The poor guy spent the entire year nursing injuries, and when he was on the field, Al Saunders refused to give him the ball. Portis will undergo shoulder surgery as soon as his broken hand heals (probably 3 more weeks). Once the surgery happens, Portis will need 4-6 months of rehab. The Skins hope to have him ready for OTAs in April. The realist in me says Portis has three decent years left in the league before his body totally breaks down.

4) The Skins are only two games and a lot of tie breakers out of the playoffs. 7 wins in a row will probably get it done. Who's with me???

5) Ladell Betts might actually be good - The general feeling is that Betts is too slow - he can't hit the holes and turn the corner like CP. My feeling is that if the O-line can create some room, Betts will be very good in these last seven games. I only say this because athletes are driven by one thing - their next paycheck. Betts is a free agent after the season and he knows that 31 other NFL general managers will be watching him very closely. A couple of good games by Betts could end up sending his great-grandchildren to college.

6) Sit 'Tana (that's what his peeps call him) - Moss isn't close to 100%. He can't run a go pattern and he can't cut well. Playing him this week will only risk more injury. I really hope we don't see him out there.

7) Cross your chest for JC - Morale in DC is very high this week. I never realized the euphoria a black QB creates when he takes the helm for the Skins (its like Mardi Gras out here). I don't think Tony Banks created such a fervor, but if you walk the streets and read fan posts online, people in this city really believe that this is the second-coming of the original #17 (and the original JC). Christmas is around the corner - everyone wants to be part of a miracle, why not jump on the bandwagon? I really hope Gibbs gives the kid a shot - something tells me it won't happen. If Campbell shows any sign of weakness, you can pretty much guarantee that Byron Leftwich or Trent Green will be in camp next summer.

8) Sean Taylor - can anyone explain what the heck happened to the grim reaper this year? The only thing I can detect is that he's frustrated and trying to do too much (when he's actually near the play). You can also blame the Golden Arch for Taylor's demise - apparently Ryan Clark used to set Taylor up before every play, but this year Arch couldn't help Taylor out because he also had no idea where to be on the field. I think we'll see some progress from 21 as he gets more comfortable with Troy Vincent.

9) DFree - If you were wondering who the next big free agent bust will be, you don't have to look past big 93 in Indy. This guy is slowing down already and will command a huge salary based upon his earlier work as a speed rusher. DFree's glory days as a QB's biggest nightmare will be cut short just in time for him to get a trillion dollar Danny special and dawn the burgundy and gold.

10) Stay positive, kiddos. We are the joke of the National Football League (yet again). I recommend just laughing with everyone else, because if you opt for crying you'll probably just run out of tears.


Siesser - welcome to the 'Serv.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Week 10 - Open Forum (Issue 16)

Hey - I figured everyone would want to get in on the post-game gloating, so I am opening up the serv for everyone to get in on the party. I will have more about the now huge game with the Eagles later in the week.




Here's a message I am passing on from Bernice in Israel, please feel free to respond with happy messages by replying to all:

"Was that not one of the sweetest victories in all of redskins history? I don't care that we are 3-5 - We beat the hated cowboys with NO TIME left on the clock to kick the winning field goal. I'm sorry, but that was pretty damn SWEET!" - Bernice

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Week 9 - Mission (Issue 15)

Hey Team Redskin:

Long time no speak. If you've forgotten, the Redskins are 2-5 and are facing the Cowboys this week at FedEx.

I really haven't had a ton of time this week to prepare material, so I will tell you all I know (it won't take long).

Santana Moss won't play Sunday. Its not official yet, but Santana has missed 4 straight practices and has had hammy problems in the past - I presume they aren't going to risk a bigger injury and will deactivate him Sunday morning.

CP will split carries with Duckett. It's just not CP's year. He was in a walking boot last week and has participated in limited practice this week. I don't expect a heavy dose of DollaBill. I think Gibbs will finally look to see what TJD can do - they're 2-5 and I think they'll try to find any non-Jason Campbell spark they can find.

Corners are Back (Get it?).  24&22 will line up together for the first time this year. Expect a monster day from Jason Witten...

Because Khary Campbell is gonna start at MLB. 98's ankle is still no good.


All I kept reading this week was how bad the Skins players are (according to most NFL execs, 75% of the roster should retire right now). I also read how hard the coaching staff worked on the kinks on boths sides of the ball over the bye week, while all the Redskins players took vay-kays "the hell away from Redskins Park" (DollaBill). Apparently, Gibbs and his group of elvs spent hours and hours going over every tape, trying to find every possible offensive and defensive glitch - looking for ways to right the ship and turn it all around for the last 9 games.


What does this all mean, Uncle Scooter? Tell us -  what's going to happen this week?


I Expect a huge day from the Redskins coaching staff. I see Gibbs throwing for three TD's, Buges running for three more and Al Saunders taking two to the hizzie as well (pick them up for your fantasy rosters). On defense, I expect Gregg Williams to snag two picks and force three fumbles, with Greg Blache sacking Tony Romo four times (and then dying of a heart attack with 10:58 in the 3rd quarter). I know what you are thinking...what about Don Beraux? Fret not, the ole man will replace Gibbs at halftime after the Skins are up 35-0 and throw for four TDs himself.


Final Score on Sunday: Redskins Coaching Staff 77 Cowboys 14 Ditka 10


That's all I have to say about that.



And now another pitch for the Mission to New Orleans. Please read:

As many of you know, I am organizing a group of Skins fans to go down to New Orleans for a mission to build homes in the devastated ninth ward. We will be working with NoLa's Habitat for Humanity to build houses in the Musician's Village from December 12-17. We will be flying into NoLa on the night of December 12th (Tuesday), building homes on Wed-Friday and then moving to downtown New Orleans to hang out in the city over the weekend and going to the Skins/Saints game on Sunday. Volunteers will be staying at Habitat's Camp Hope from Tuesday to Thursday night and staying in the mission hotel over the weekend. Home building will take place from 7-330 Wednesday through Friday.


This is going to be an amazing experience and I want you all to join me. Our group will soon be registered with Habitat NoLa, and I will be arranging flights and hotels for those interested. We will also begin raising funds for the trip (and trying to get the Skins to throw us some free ticks for the game) - so we can make it easy for as many people to go as possible.


Please let me know if you are interested in getting "on da bus" or if you want to send some Benjamin's our way.


Check out our mission's blog and the mission's mentions on


Please consider taking a couple of days off to come down and join us - I promise it will be worth it.



Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Week 7 - Stick a Fork in Us (Issue 14)

To my beloved Jew-fans of the Ole Dixie Braves:

I don't know a better way to phrase this situation other than: we are screwed.

You want analogies, I'll give you analogies: Lee Harvey Oswalt after he shot Kennedy, Martin Luther King while taking his morning shower at the Lorraine Motel, Honest Abe as he was shluphing through some boring play, Diana and Dodi while they were fooling around in the backie-back, the accused guy in "Dead Man Walking." Got me? This team is on life support and the Colts are in the waiting room.


I know SkinsServ is a day early, but I've seen and read enough. I need to use this forum to get the bad news off my chest now so I can regroup and give you a more favorable assessment tomorrow when my old optimistic self comes back. For now, the news is only dreary. I had actually bounced back from the Titans game pretty quickly (didn't even have to use meds to do it). On my drive home from work on Monday my mind was already drawing images of CP breaking through the Indy d-line and Santana and Lloyd having big days on the astro turf. Well, my friends, those delusional visions of success have quickly crumbled this afternoon after a couple of pieces of news have knocked my tusch down from the artificial (actual?) high.


Get ready, this will sting for a second (just a quick rub of the prostate):


1) Carlos Rogers is out on Sunday: No real good way to spin this one other than the fact that he's been drek all year so it won't be much of a difference. Here's the problem - there is nobody to back him up. Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne are the best receiving tandem in the league and we're going to have an injured Shaun Springs and an incompetent Kenny Wright matching them up 1on1. And guess who's going to play nickel for the Skins this week? Troy Vincent. Yup, your eyes aren't failing you that is Troy Vincent, Wisconsin class of 1992 (that's when CZ in the corner graduated HS!!!!) The dude is going to be manning-up on guys while using a walker. When Springs goes back down with injury early in the first quarter, fret not because Mike Rumph will be there to save the day!!!! And when Vincent breaks an ankle while slipping in the shower this week (common old person injury for you novices) guess who's going to back him up? Ade Jimoh. You may remember our old friend Ade, he was last scene trailing the Tennessee receiver by 10 feet on the Titans second TD on Sunday. The Skins might be holding an open tryout at Redskins Park this week for CBs in the DC area; I'm thinking I have a legit shot of suiting up on Sunday (I have 4 picks in my Booz Allen league this year and my sore groin ain't so sore


2) Salavea and Griffin are also out for Sunday. I know what you're thinking - they are supposed to be back this week. Nope - Salavea's calf is still not right (I'm thinking he should just get calf implants). Samoa Joe is probably closer to retirement than he is playing. Very sad - I loved seeing how many layers his belly had every week. The Skins are going to try to cover up Griffins hip problem by listing him as questionable this afternoon, but my man on the inside says they're full of crap and if he plays he'd be risking a much more significant injury. Is it me or have these two missed about 50% of the Skins games over the past two years? Both guys are not durable enough and should be waived when the season ends on 12/30/2006 (there, I said it, no playoffs). BTW - remember how I thought Montgomery and Golston were adequate replacements at tackle? I was dead wrong. I read that same stuff you guys read -  Redskins.Com said these guys are good. Redskins.Com? Duh. I just realized the Redskins publish all the content on Redskins.Com! Travis Henry put up an 175-spot on these two clowns - it's only going to get worse against the Colts.


3) The Colts shored up their d-line yesterday by trading for 300 lb tank Walter MacFarland. The big guy was supposed to practice for the Colts today and chances are he'll be in the starting lineup on Sunday to obliterate our offensive line. Even with MacFarland, CP, in theory, could have a good day. Here's the problem - the Skins offense may never be on the field. I have no reason to believe we'll be able to stop the Colts and keep their offense off the field. Addai is going to be huge and look for Harrison and Wayne to both go for 100 yards and some TDs. I wish DollaBill will get a chance to carry the load as he has been begging Gibbs his staff of curmudgeons to do, but if the Skins will be playing from behind (which they will), expect to see Brunell throwing the ball a lot again.


If there was ever a time to create some kind of sports mesheberach, here it is.

This game is the biggest of the year. 2-5 and 3-4 are astronomically different (numerically different?), especially going into Cowboys week. For the sake of my first real tailgate of the year on 11/5 and for the sake of the value of my tickets (and my mental stability, etc, etc, etc), I pray the Skins win this week. If they can shock the world, then they can play Dallas with a chance to be .500. If not, gear up for the fat lady to belt out a dirge on the the most disappointing Skins year in my lifetime (or just since 04).


More to follow tomorrow...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Week 6 - Skins Will Cover (Issue 13)

The Craziest, Most Psychotic Preamble Yet (reader discretion is advised)

Howdy fellow tribesmen:

Anyone notice that last week I skipped from Issue 10 to Issue 12? I would assume not, considering circulation for Skins Serv didn't reach quarterly estimates and readership of Skins Serv was even worse. Even though this week's edition is technically the twelfth, I am just going to call it the thirteenth and move on. Lets just say we skipped the eleventh issue in honor of those lost in the tragedies of 9/11.


A few tangents to start. I get the sense that the Skins Serv is becoming too much x's and o's and not enough Saadman. At the start of Skins Serv I was achieving that perfect blend, but since the season started my writing has lost the beautiful balance and focused too much on game-planning and Washington Post-like catchy stories. There was not enough about my fanatical perspective on, and relationship with, our Braves on the Warpath. I am going to try to get back to what got us here (I have no idea what that means - it just sounded very football-like).


I have been crunching the numbers and trying to put together patterns to explain the Skins up and down performance thus far. As was pointed out this week by my brother, I refuse to point the finger at specific players on the team. I protect the players I have grown to love so much and will continue to do so. I am also not going to blame the losses on the coaching staff - the Skins have been hampered by injuries on defense, and against the Giants the offense was never really on the field. So if not the coaches and players, who do I turn to? Well, no one other than me. Yes, me. Before anything else, I must take a good long look at myself and re-assess what I'm doing as a fan and how I can improve. If we each take some personal responsibility for the Skins anguish, I think we will start seeing a steady improvement from our boys.


So back to the number crunching: what can I change to get the Skins back on the road to victory?

The first thing would have to be my observance of Judaism in relation to the games (this portion of the serv is off the record and not to be forwarded around). Is there a pattern? Let's go to the videotape:

The Redskins record in games I have watched on yom tov this year: 1-1

The Redskins record in games I haven't watched on yom tov this year: 1-0

Ok. Maybe there's something to this, but I am going to rule out any patterns and say it is a push. There are tons of Skins fans who both observed and didn't observe on gamedays thus far, which means that religious observance can't really be a deciding factor in the outcome of the games (never mind the Jews rooting for our opponents).


Next: my writing patterns on Skins serv. Sometimes I write a lot, sometimes I write less. Maybe I can find a correlation there.

Total Skins Serv Words in Redskins Wins: 2026 (1,013 Avg)

Total Skins Serv Words in Redskins Loses: 4575 (1,525 Avg)

Looks like we might have something here - less looks to be better in terms of wins and losses. If I can keep Skins Serv at around a thousand words then the Skins will win. Not so fast - In the Texans win, I wrote a mere 342 words, while in the Jags victory I wrote a whopping 1683 words. Not much of a correlation there.


So maybe it isn't a numbers issue for us. Maybe it is a mental issue. Is it possible that because of so much weekend yom tov we've all just not approached this season in the same passionate manner that we've approached seasons past? This could very well be. I personally don't have the mental vigor I had when entering mid-October of last season. And I think it is safe to say that you guys are feeling the same indifference. I know it's early in the season, but don't you feel like you are lacking your Redskins edge? Maybe we (and the religion) are to blame. Then again, the Redskins went from 1993-1999 without making the playoffs and from 2000-2005 without making the playoffs. Those were some lean years that included both times in which yom tov was during the week and on the weekend. I guess we can't really blame the big guy after all.


Regardless of how porous my three theories on the season are, I think it is still good mussar for all of us. Maybe just like the players, who are searching for answers right now, we too as fans need to be searching for solutions and figuring out what we can improve upon in order to turn this thing around (right now, there's no tomorrow, right now, its everything).  I will be looking to improve myself in the coming days and I hope you will be too.


The Situation

I am going to stick this whole "no x's and o's" thing for this week and just give you my gut feeling based upon how I have seen it unfold this week on Redskins.Com TV. The Redskins are pissed. I have never seen so many unfriendly interviews by this team in my life. They got embarrassed by the Giants - they were outplayed, outphysicaled and outtrashtalked. Whats worse is that they were thrown down on their asses by former players such as Pierce and Arrington who looked like they knew what was coming before the plays even began. Sean Taylor will be angry because he got schooled and Mike Sellars will be angrier because the Skins opted to pass on that big 3rd and 1. The Skins want to be a physical team and will be out there on Sunday trying to prove just that. Because of the aforementioned reasons, the Skins are going to obliterate the Titans. This game won't be close from the beginning - a celebration of Redskins football, if you will. Remember when Alex Smith came in last year? 52 points? Look for it again with Vince Young. The Skins have put up 31 and 36 on the two AFC South teams they've played already and this is the worst of the bunch.


With this week's win in the bag (even me jinxing it can't screw it up), we have to consider the Indy game. Talk about a must win!!! The difference between 3-4 and 4-3 heading into the bye week is astronomical, especially considering they play Dallas and Philly in the weeks after the bye. I had the Indy game penciled as a loss at the beginning of the year, but even after the debacle on Sunday, I think the Skins can win in Indy - they are just not that good this year. Enough about next week...for now.


Springs - Old man winter was back on the practice field yesterday after a 6 week hiatus. Springs made it through one on one drills and 7 on 7 drills without pulling, tearing or cracking something. That is great news. Springs said that some days he feels better than others and thinks he could play Sunday. He won't. The Skins will be super prudent with Springs and make sure he's 110% before playing in a game. If Springs is back for Indy, it could make all the difference in the world.


Hall - His career as a Redskin is over. The last straw was him not telling the truth about his sore thigh and groin leading up to and during the Giants game. If Gibbs was aware of the injury there is no way he sends Hall out for the 42 yarder on 4th and 1 with the Skins down 16-3. That was a huge spot in the game and Hall screwed us big. Hall, who was last scene slamming his limo door on the Washington media yesterday, is on IR for the rest of the year. In his place the Skins have brought in former Terp Nick Novak. He hit the game winner last year against Seattle, but nobody is sure how he'll perform as the full-timer. The Skins were also concerned about a calf injury to Derrick Frost, but it appears he'll be ready on Sunday.


Samoa Joe - More leg problems for big 9-5. He acknowledged this week that he will have to earn a spot in the rotation with Golston and Montgomery playing nicely.


Dolemite Jenkins - In case you missed it, CP did his best Napoleon Dynamite rendition during his Thursday Presser last week. He had the wig, the boots and the fro and he also had a shirt that said "Vote for Santana" (for NFL player of the month). His impersonation was fantastic and he also really nailed the dance. Another masterful performance from my boy Dolla Bill. No alter-ego this week though.  Remember - they are angry.


Washington - The Skins are downplaying a hip injury Marcus suffered last week, but I think its something to watch for. 53 did not look right during the second half against the Giants and it sound like something that could be recurring. Washington has rested it all week - let's hope there are no lingering problems.


The Right Side - Andre Carter and Warrick Holdman were nowhere to be found at the Meadowlands and Tiki abused them. The only fallout I can think of from this meltdown is that just like last year, Holdman will be dethroned in the next two weeks. I imagine Rocky McIntosh will be starting by the Dallas game on 11/5.


I think that's it. In another personal plug, I have attached my proposal for the Skins to lead a mission to New Orleans during the week of the Skins/Saints game in December. The proposal has pretty much been rejected by the Skins (they are sending team wives instead). Anywho, I am still considering going down for the game and volunteering to build some houses in the days leading up. The trip will be fun and meaningful and I would like to cordially invite all of you to join me.


Parting Shot

Every time I dream the Skins are going to win, the lose. Every time I dream they're going to lose, they win.

Think negative thoughts.



Word Count: 1742 (that's within 59 words of the Jags game - good things)

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Week 5 - This One is Huge (Issue 12)

I know I promised to change the tone of my emails after the great win Sunday against the Jags, but to be honest, it is very hard for me to muster positive sentiments when it comes to discussing a Redskins road trip to the Meadowlands. Myself, Ami, Elan, Yair, and Chaim can all attest to the very bitter taste left in our mouths after the Skins got throttled by the Giants at the Meadowlands last October (36-0). I won't get in to the gory details of the debacle, but let me remind you that since Gibbs' return to the Skins, they are 0-2 at the Giants, have been outscored 56-14, have committed 11 turnovers, and have been sacked 9 times in those two games. Please also don't forget that Brunell has started three times against the Giants during his Skins tenure, and two of those times he has come down with significant injuries (Hammy in 04, Knee in 05). We also can't forget about LaVar. I believe he will be useless and a non-factor in this game, but regardless of that, we do know is that he really hates the Skins, he will play harder then he ever has, and that he's going to want to hurt one of our beloved offensive superstars. 


But perhaps 2006 will be different. For one thing, because of yom tov, none of us losers will actually witness this potential pummeling. But more likely, perhaps this year the Skins will be on the opposite side of the butt-whipping. Perhaps this year Lavar being in all the wrong spots will be a good thing. Perhaps this year it will be Eli's tusch, and not Brunell's, that will hit the deck every other play. And perhaps this year the Skins will be on the plus side of the turnover ratio. What I am saying my friends, is that maybe this year the Skins have a fighting chance of winning (How was that Noam L?).


Everyone involved in this one, especially Arrington, knows whats at stake Sunday. Both teams are 0-1 in the NFC East, both teams know they can gain a game on the Cowboys or Eagles, and both teams don't want to be under .500. Holding your home court is crucial for surviving in the division and stealing a game on the road can make a season and boost a team into the playoffs. The Giants are reeling - they are combating intra-team hostilities, players are bickering, and they are trying to figure out a way to stop teams from throwing the football on them. Everyone in NYC understands this game is make or break for them - they need a win in a huge way. The Skins, on the other hand, are going in the opposite direction: the offense is coming together, the players believe in each other and in their system, and even their beleaguered defense showed life last week (see, that's a positive spin). Both teams seasons can be turned upside down because of this game - that is why I think it will be played close and tight. A shootout is very possible because of weaknesses in both secondaries, but we can't forget that this is NFC East football - the team that grinds it out harder will probably win.


Keys to the Game


Shawn Springs - Is not playing again this week. The Skins secondary has been getting burned all year long, and there is no reason to assume it gets better this week. The Redskins have allowed 17 passes of 20 yards or more through four games, that is good enough for second-worst in the league - and don't forget the three drive-saving pass interference calls they get nailed for a game. The Skins will have to match up with Plaxico and Toomer on the outsides while keeping an eye on Shockey and Barber in the under stuff. The Skins are going to have to figure something out quickly - blitzing Byron Leftwich was effective last week, but on some blitzing plays the Skins got burned for big plays also. Eli Manning isn't the most accurate of QBs, so if the Skins corners can be near their opposing wideouts they will have a chance of picking the ball off. In terms of Springs, the outlook gets more bleak by the day. The Skins are now saying he is a few weeks away, but this quote is very telling (and scary): "I want to see the statistics of guys who had a sports hernia and came back the same season." Ohhhh boy.


Brandon Lloyd - Just like the Redskins secondary, the Giants back four have been abused so far by opposing NFL teams. Sam Madison (who is totally washed up) cannot take anyone man-to-man, and Cory Webster has been equally inadequate playing on the opposite side. Will Demps, who was supposed to be a huge upgrade at safety, is having trouble adjusting (hello Adam Archulleta) and Jibril Wilson has been their only strong point. As you recall last year, an equally miserable Giants secondary was able to shut down Santana Moss in their first match up. After Moss lit up the 49ers the week before, the Giants shaded over double teams to Moss' side, leaving him with 4 catches for 34 yards. The Giants were able to send double teams over to Moss because the Skins had no receiving threats on the other side of the field. Thankfully Brandon Lloyd is in Burgundy and Gold, so if the Giants try to go with the same shtick, Lloyd (and Randle El) will face a ton of single man coverage. Lloyd, who started the season slowly, got into the act last week with a 30+ yd catch that led to a CP touchdown. I am expecting big things from the Illinois alum.


Samuels/Jansen - Osi and Strahan have had NFL Total Access to Mark Brunell over the past two years, and Jansen and Samuels, who match up with them on the outsides, are fully responsible for the QBs pain. The two tackles have always struggled against the Giants (especially on the road) and are going to have and step it up for the Redskins to have a shot. Here's what the game will come down to: If Brunell has time in the pocket to step into his throws (and get mustard on them), then the Skins will win. If Brunell is on the run, stick a big old fork in us.


CP/Tiki (It Rhymes)- This is a pretty simple one. If the Skins can stop Tiki early on (which they weren't able to do last year)  then this will force Manning to put up the ball and allow the Skins to blitz (hopefully a good thing). On the other side, if CP can get good bunches on first and second down, the Skins will have more manageable third down plays and will be able to control the clock. Portis and the Skins O-line ruled the trenches against a much better run defense last week, if they can do it again, it will alleviate a lot of pressure from Brunell. Just remember, in both games at the Meadowlands in the new Gibbs era, Portis has been shut out of the game early and the Skins were forced to throw the ball for 3.5 quarters. This can't happen again.


Montgomery/Golston - Man have these rooks been solid. The Skins haven't missed Salavea at all. The Skins run stopping unit held Fred Taylor to under 40 yards rushing and if they can do it again this week,  the Skins will win again. Salavea has said this week that he feels better but is still uncertain if he will play Sunday. My thought is that he won't be in the starting lineup regardless of whether he is active or not.


Saunders - Just wanted to give a shout out to the man I have been hatin on for the past few weeks. The Skins offense was a well oiled machine last week, the proverbial 1976 Dodge Aspen. The motion worked, the running to the edges worked, the running up the gut worked, the short passing  worked and the long passing work. The only thing that didn't work was the trickery - and I wouldn't expect to see that on the road anyway. Saunders usually doesn't recycle plays for more than four weeks in a row, so expect to see a whole new bag of goodies from the braniac in the box this week. Who's excited?


That's all I can think of. Besides Springs and Samoa Joe, there are no significant injuries to report.


Player to Watch: I have a feeling ole' Rock #30 is going to break another big one this week. He was only a couple of tackles away from doing it to the Jags.


No real good tidbits this week out of Ashburn, except this awesome quote from Springs yesterday which I saw in the post:

"Of course, Springs also had the line of the day. When he was asked if the Giants would have an advantage over the Redskins because Arrington is so familiar with the Redskins' defense, Springs replied, "'Well, I don't think LaVar knew all of our defense when he was here.'"


I hope you all have a great yom tov and keep doing what you did on Kol Nidre night - if we win this week, we likely head into a huge game versus Indy at 4-2.




Monday, October 2, 2006

Week 5 - UK Perspective (Issue 10)

"Please do everything you can to make sure the Skins win this week." - Scott E. Zakheim, 9/28/06.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Skins Serv. Whatever you guys did during Kol Nidre worked, because we were given the first miracle of the early year (sorry for those offended by the sports and prayer/god stuff).

After many complaints about the tone of the Serv being too pessimistic, the Skins Serv (and the Skins season) has officially been upgraded to "cautious optimism."

So instead of my perspective on the game (as always), I have pasted my cousin Doron's email from the UK after he watched the game on TIVO (and didn't know what happened). You're gonna love this and it is a fantastic analysis of the game as well.

I will be back later in the week for a very upbeat report in the upcoming game v. the Giants.

Go Skins!!!!

(Is this a team of destiny???)



WOW! I can't speak, I'm just too excited! If my heart was beating any faster I'd have to go to hospital.


Let me start from the beginning...


I recorded the game last night and went off to shul. I couldn't stop thinking about the game the entire Yom Kippur and I was so excited for it to be over so I could get home and watch it as live without knowing the score (who's gonna ruin an NFL game in Hendon huh?!)


So I got home tonight and the first thing I did was have a drink. However, the second thing I did was NOT eat. I ran upstairs and swapped my suit for my Skins Moss jersey and settled down in front of the TV with a bit of food whilst my parents ate inside like 'normal' people.


After Brunell's interception I thought 'here we go again' but since I had extremely low expectations for this game, I didn't get too down about it. Next thing you know my baby Santana has delivered me a monster TD and we're away! Even though we went in at the half 4 points down I was so proud of the way our Skins had fought and played against a very good Jacksonville team.


I screamed, yelled, cheered and sweared continuously at the TV - my parents really had no idea what was going on, bless them. When Santana went in for another TD to make it a 10 pointer I was on my way to heaven...just praying we could hold out. We couldn't...


In a flash it was a tied game and my heart couldn't take it. Nevertheless we stayed strong and played so well on offense like we had done all day (CP was absolutely unbelievable! He tore up that Jags D like it was the little girls' league!) Driving the ball upfield, we eventually got a bad call from the refs and had 4th and 1 in field goal range. My heart wanted to give in at this point but Hall surprisingly delivered and gave us the lead with just under 2 mins to play.


This is when my heart got worse. Jacksonville were driving but our D, despite giving up a lot of points, was playing the best they have all season. 4th and 8, the crowd were screaming, I was screaming, but the bastards converted and scored a field goal.


Right about now my heart rate peaked and it wasn't to do with the game. I had added a bit of time to the recording in case of OT but I feared it wouldn't be enough and it would cut out in OT - the worst possible situation!


Anyway, Skins won the toss to my delight and after a gay penalty against Cooley (who was amazing) destiny had come...

Brunell dropped back and passed out left to my baby Moss. Moss leaped up in the air and made an outstanding catch between two defenders. He then ducked straight between them and was away...

You know the feeling - I screamed my head off as he went on his way running into the open space and straight through the endzone into the crowd. I actually celebrated the most I have done since Man United won the treble in the last minute in 1999.

I went completely insane, screaming, jumping up and down, running around - pure unfathomable joy!


I'm still in disbelief. 36 points against the Jags! What a performance! This team is too much - I love them more than anything.

The D played a great game despite the points - it became a shootout so it wasn't their fault. They finally got pressure on the QB sacking Leftwich loads of times - luckily for Leftwich he had his momma in the crowd!

Cooley had a comeback game, Portis played one of the best games I've ever seen - he IS the difference between winning and losing and he ran straight through that 'monster' D. And then there's my baby Moss whose name sits proudly on my jersey. He had another insane game and made me so happy that I don't even care that I left him out my fantasy team - I just feel ashamed and almost blasphemous to have doubted my boy!

Our offense has finally clicked into gear and Al Saunders' playcalling was brilliant. We were conservative when we needed to be and exciting and adventurous the rest of the time.

2-2 now and if we keep up the momentum we could be for real this season! After all my early season despair, my hopes have shot back up and I once again have a lot to look forward to. Life is good again. The air smells sweeter and the birds are singing louder than ever.


Hope you had a good fast and I expect to hear about your experiences of watching the game (whether you watched half and then watched the rest after Yom Kippur or if you just knew the result this morning).

Let me know.


I'm on cloud nine and WE CAN GO ALL THE WAY baby!


Love you all,



Thursday, September 28, 2006

Week 4 - Major Issues (Vol 9)

A win's a win, right? Not so fast. Although the Skins 30-16 trouncing of the Texans looked great on paper, you must really be prudent before drawing any optimistic conclusions. Let's go with the bad stuff first:


1) Brunell - 22 for 22 is good no matter how you dissect it, but please understand that Brunell didn't make more than 2 passes that travelled over 20 yards in the air. The old man was able to get the "dink and dunk" down, but it remains to be seen if he can get the ball down field on anyone, let alone the worthless Texans.


2) Pressure - The Texans offensive line is pathetic. David Carr has hit the deck more than any other NFL QB over the past two years, yet the Skins only managed to get a half a sack on him from their front four. I can't imagine how affective the front four will be against a better Jaguars protection unit. The only good news is the Joe Salavae will return from a calf injury this Sunday, although I am starting to think rookie Kedrick Golston might be a better option then Samoa Joe.


3) The Secondary - Although the secondary settled down in the second half, the Skins were burned for another big play to start the game. They got caught in a weak zone coverage in which, you guessed it, Adam Archuletta was in the wrong spot. Identical to the Terry Glenn TD of two weeks ago, Sean Taylor had to come all the way over from the weak side to cover, but it was already too late, and this time it was Andre Johnson who scored 6 on a 50-yd TD. Kenny Wright did look good on his interception to end the game, but the Skins, who will be without Shaun Springs again this week, will have a very hard time coping with Jacksonville's three receiver sets featuring Matt Jones, Ernest Wilford and Reggie Williams - all of whom are capable of making the big play. Another concern is how diminutive the Skins secondary is with Mike Rumph, Carlos Rogers and Wright all being under 6'2", while the Jags trio all being above 6'4". This could create some serious issues for the secondary, who will be particularly vulnerable in the red zone.


Ok...the good news:


1) Dolla Bill is Back!!! - Here's a crazy thought to start us off: I think Portis is improving with every game. Did you realize that he only started playing Running Back his freshman year at Miami? In HS he was a defensive back, which means he has only being playing the position for 7 years (he left Miami after three years). Portis, who did not even where his protective sling on Sunday, looked very sharp, making some amazing cut-backs and hitting holes better than I have ever seen him do it. Portis also showed great patience, as he waited behind blockers until holes were formed - something he had trouble doing his first year and a half in DC. Portis also was great catching out of the backfield. He changed the game's momentum when he broke free for his 70 yard shovel pass. If he would have been in better playing shape, that is definitely a touchdown. CP's presence on the field will force defense to commit more to the run; hopefully we will see that manifest in big passing plays very soon. Despite how good CP was last week, the Jags are monsters against the run, limiting opposing RBs to 3.2 YPC. Portis is going to have to be a workhorse this week, earning every yard afforded to him.


2) Wideouts - The Redskins actually used them against the Texans! Brunell distributed the ball widely last week, something else opposing defenses will have to consider when gameplanning for the Skins. Brunell got eight different receivers involved last week, including Brandon Lloyd, who had been MIA the past two weeks. The hope is that all the dink and dunk will draw opposing secondaries closer to the line of scrimmage - that's when Saunders and Gibbs will finally be able to take their shots downfield. The Jaguars secondary is loaded though, so don't be surprised if Brunell plays it very safe. Mathis and Cousin pose as big threats to pick Brunell, so we are going to have to wait a another week before we see tons of balls to Moss and Lloyd. Look for Randle El and Portis to get the bulk of the receiving work - they'll be asked to turn 5 yard flat plays into first downs.


Injuries (This is the Issues Part)


1) Brunell - Crazy as it might seem, Todd Collins could end up getting the start this week. The Redskins have been downplaying the gash on Brunell's elbow, an injury he suffered late in the game on Sunday, but the starting QB didn't practice yesterday and of what I have heard, only did light drills today. Brunell received three stitches for the gash and had his elbow totally wrapped up to the point of immobility yesterday. Today Brunell had a much lighter wrap and was able to do some things in practice. What's interesting to note is that Brunell suffered the same injury with Jacksonville, an injury that ended up giving Byron Leftwich the starting job. Now remember how Gibbs said Campbell would start if Brunell didn't practice the week leading up to the game? Well apparently he trusts Campbell as much as he did Ramsey, because Collins, not Campbell, took the snaps with the starters yesterday. Gibbs excuse for the confusion was that Brunell is still slated to start so it wouldn't be a circumstance for Campbell to practice with the first team. Sounds fishy. Brunell said he's "day to day," which isn't a real good sign considering the game is in 2.5 days. I guess it's pick your poison - not sure I want any of the three going out there.


2)Springs - I think this is the most devastating injury to a team in all of football this season and things aren't looking better. Springs went back to the surgeon in Philly who did his procedure (never a good sign) but was told that there weren't any further complications. Springs was told that he just needs to get over the strained groin he got last week. The Post's Redskins Insider says its going to be at least another two weeks (which means week 6 v. the Titans), but it could be longer if he doesn't heal properly. The Skins need Springs for the Gregg Williams scheme to work - they could end up getting torched through the air in three of the next four games (Jags, Giants, Colts) if he doesn't return. It is really time to get anxious over this one.


The Game

This is by far the biggest game the Skins have this year; a loss puts them way behind with a tough upcoming schedule, but a win puts them in the middle of the pack in the NFC. I hate to say it, but if Brunell doesn't play then the Jags will blitz whoever is behind center and you can pretty much stick a fork in us, and start your pre-fast dinner an hour earlier then you planned. If Brunell does play, things could be a little more exciting.


The Jaguars offense has been shaky, but it did show signs of life last week in Indy with rookie Maurice Jone-Drew going for 244 all-purpose yards. Jones could wreak havoc for the Skins defense, as they have been susceptible to runners who hit the outsides quickly likes Jones-Drew does. The Skins defense would much rather face a north-south attack led by Fred Taylor, but Jones-Drew will probably see enough action to give the front 7 fits. Besides the reinvigortated running attack, the Skins are also going to have to figure out how to stop the Jags three receiver sets as discussed above. On a positive note, Leftwich isn't a mobile QB, so the Skins don't have to be worried about getting burned too bad outside the pocket.


On offense, points will be at a minimum. Remember last year when the Skins put up 52 on the Niners and then laid an egg the next week at the Meadowlands? I think we might see something very similar to that. Gibbs and Saunders are going to play this one super conservative because they know it will be a tight game, so expect a heavy dose of Portis and not much else. When they aren't running CP, the Skins, who will be desperate to get any points on the board against the stingy Jags D, will finally use ARL this week in a trick play as the offense if going to go deep into the bag of tricks to get 7 on the board (but that will probably be it).


This game is going to be ugly and stressful. Tons of three and outs on both sides and not much else. John Hall is the x-factor, if he makes some long kicks then the Skins have a chance, and if he misses the big ones then we are looking at 1-3 going to NY.


Stuff and Things

-Chris Cooley got sick of his hair so his girlfriend cut it off. Maybe he'll start making plays now.


-Brandon Lloyd broadcasts Monday night's on Redskins Radio live from the Skins store in Tysons. If anyone wants to go with me in the next few weeks, I think it's worth the field trip.


- No more Dolla Bill, for now. Apparently the dude who encouraged CP to dress up every week is no longer with the Skins, so Portis doesn't have the motivation or inspiration to get into character. This is probably the worst news out of Redskins Park all week.


Please do everything you can to make sure the Skins win this week. If they do, we can actually start having a little fun again (or at least until they get crunched by the Giants next week).




Friday, September 22, 2006

Week 3 - Victory (Vol. 7)

Not much to write this week. Just want to wish you all a Happy New Year.

If you are like Joe Gibbs and think that G-d listens to football prayers, then go crazy in shul this weekend. If you are like people who rip on Gibbs for bringing football into religion, then please don't let the burgundy and gold cross your mind this weekend. Between the two camps, hopefully something good will come out of being in shul so much this weekend (besides all the regular stuff you pray for).


In terms of the game, it should be a celebration of Redskins football (finally). Here are some things to take note of:


1) Ron Dayne will get the start for the Texans at RB - the is music to the front-fours ears, as they finally get a week off and can focus on attacking the QB and not having to stop the run - which, with Dayne, will stop on its own.


2) Shaun Springs is hurt again - in his first practice after coming back from his surgery, the CB pulled his groin muscle (a totally separate injury) and is probably not going to play.


3) CP will make it easy - regardless of how successful CP is this week, his 25 carries should force the Texans to stuff the box and not focus as much on the Skins passing game.


4) 350 Yards - this is how many yards in the air the Texans are giving up a game. Granted one of those games was against P. Manning, but I still think the Skins will have a much easier time airing it out.


5) Weather will not be a factor - Reliant stadium has a 50/80 rule. They close shop for anything below and above those temps (or if it is raining).


That's all you need to know.


Jacksonville next week is the real test. If they can squeeze out a home miracle then there's hope.


Don't bet on it though.


Enjoy the next 48 TV-less know I will.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Week 2 - Breaking News (Vol. 6)

CP will not play Sunday night (at least according to Joe Gibbs).


Read it and weep (literally).





ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs ruled Clinton Portis out for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, an announcement that surprised Portis and created yet another twist in the running back's injury saga.


"He didn't practice today. ... If a guy doesn't practice, he's not going to play," Gibbs said.


Gibbs said Ladell Betts, T.J. Duckett and Rock Cartwright will be the running backs against the Cowboys. Portis was downgraded from questionable to doubtful on the injury report, with Gibbs citing the pounding Portis took in the Monday night season opener against Minnesota.


"It's really just because of soreness," Gibbs said. "Actually, it's in a different spot in his shoulder. He's got some soreness there that lingered and kept him from practicing this week."


When told what Gibbs had said, Portis didn't know the decision already had been made.


"I thought it was a game-time decision," he said. "As of now, my bag's packed and ready to go to Dallas, unless they come and tap me on the shoulder in the near future and tell me I ain't going."


Last week, it was just the opposite. Portis spent several days downplaying his chances to make the season opener, saying he was not in football shape and had yet to recover from a partially dislocated left shoulder that caused him to miss nearly all of preseason. But after the final practice, Gibbs sprung a surprise, saying Portis had tested the shoulder sufficiently and would play as a backup to Betts.


"He didn't practice today. ... If a guy doesn't practice, he's not going to play."

-- Joe Gibbs


Portis carried 10 times for 39 yards in the 19-16 loss to the Vikings, but he has complained of soreness all week.


"As of now, my bag's packed and ready to go to Dallas, unless they come and tap me on the shoulder in the near future and tell me I ain't going."

--Clinton Portis


"I can't do nothing but tell you to wait until Sunday. This bag is going to Dallas," said Portis, pointing at the equipment bag in front of his locker. "We have seen some miracle days happen. This ain't no situation for me not to be playing in."


As usual, Portis wavered from serious to playful, making it difficult to discern whether he really feels he can play. At one point, he said: "I eat gunpowder twice a day now. As long as I'm on this gunpowder, I think I'm going to be all right."


He took a more serious tone when he expressed frustration over the week-to-week drama his injury has become.


"I'm be happy when I'm healthy," Portis said. "Hopefully we can get this over with real soon and I can join my teammates and be on the field and it's not an issue," Portis said. "I don't like this being an issue going into the weekend. Am I up or down? Playing or not? Whatever's best for the team."


Portis wore pads and said he "ran a few routes" during Friday's practice, but apparently that wasn't enough.


"He'll probably tell me he can play on game day, but he didn't practice so we'll move him down accordingly," Gibbs said. "Hopefully he's going to be back next week, that would be my hope."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Week 2 - Recovering (Vol. 5)

It has taken me nearly 72 hours to return to a proper state of mind after Monday's horrific loss.

Week 1 was painful for all of us, especially for the four SkinsServers who were there in person.

I didn't want to write anything until all remnants of Debbie Downer were out of me, and now I think she's all gone. I am ready to move forward only thinking positive thoughts (at least I am 93.9% ready). I hope you guys are ready also.


I am going to break this email down into two sections: the good and the bad. Please note that "the bad" section will only refer to things that we can improve upon (remember -we are going to try and keep things positive around here).



1) Portis - CP not only played Monday night, but he looked good. I think he appeared a bit hesitant to push himself in the first quarter, but by the second half appeared to be hitting holes quickly and unafraid to take hits. It was great to see CP in the end zone, and the Redskins add a another level of quickness when he is in the game. Ladell Betts was competent, but there was a stark contrast in the Skins running game once CP entered the building.


2) Randle El - Gibbs and the entire front office got bashed for making this signing, but Randle El proved the critics wrong by having a stellar start at both the WR and PR positions. Randle El was the fastest man on the field by far and had a very easy time getting open on pass routes and finding running lanes on his punt returns. Additionally, when a towering punt is in the air, you need not worry about a muff from the former Indiana point guard (poo poo poo).


3) Brunell - You all might not agree with me on this one, but I had no complaints about our QB. He didn't do anything great, but he didn't do anything bad either. Brunell seemed to have zip on his passes, and he even was able to allude the pass rush on a couple of occasions. Lets hope the coaching staff puts a little more trust in him this week and lets him throw the ball down field (we'll get to that soon).


4) Frost - After a weak kick-off and a weak punt in the first quarter, DFrost seemed to break the jitters and play a nice game. After the first, all of Frost's kickoffs landed inside the 5 and his punts travelled a much greater distance. Late in the fourth, Frost put a punt inside the 5 - a good sign from a guy who is a shank-artist in the clutch.


Ok. I pushing it now. Can't think of anything else.


The Bad (where do I start?)

1) The Secondary - Carlos Rogers and Kenny Wright were a joke on man-to-man coverage, Peirson Prielou went down on with a fluke injury during the opening kickoff and Mike Rumph looks like the defensive equivalent of Taylor Jacobs (fair trade, eh?). In terms of improvement, the good news is I don't think they can get any worse. Adam Archuletta, who was a ghost Monday night, will have three more days to get a hang of Williams system (which he is still not 40% on) and the Redskins will play a lot more zone against TO and Glenn to prevent too much exposure in man coverage. Let's pray it works. The Redskins also re-signed safety Curry Burns to replace PP on the roster - Burns, who was in camp this summer, might be thrown right into the action Sunday night b/c of the Skins depth issues. It also doesn't appear that Shawn Springs will be suited up again this week as he is still nursing his abdomen injury. Springs did some light jogging yesterday - but hasn't participated in practice. I wouldn't expect a big change in the secondary's performance this week, but I do think they will give much more respect to the Cowgirls passing offense then they did to the Vikings. I also think we'll see a monster game for Sean Taylor -- this guy lives for hurting prima-donna wideouts and he's going to want to spoil TO's Texas Stadium debut.


2) The Play-Calling - It is possible you guys saw something different on TV, but all I saw was the 2004 Redskins. I don't know if it a trust issue with Brunell, or if Brunell isn't familiar with the offense yet, or if Al Saunders isn't dipping into his well of plays, but the bottom line is that the Skins offense was futile in the second half. On critical possessions and critical downs the Redskins refused to look up field for answers, but instead opted for dump-downs, screen-passes and quick hitches and slants. The conservative play calling was extremely disconcerting because the Redskins have so much speed at receiver and don't have a problem getting open. The Redskins Offense doesn't have an identity either, as Saunders didn't commit to running the football or throwing it down field - Monday's play calling was just a hobglob (is that a word?) of nothing. It seems to me that the Skins need to establish something early to set something up late - whether it be pass first or run first. Saunders and the Redskins offense didn't establish anything. If I had to blame Monday's loss on anything, it would be this. It might take another Santana Claus miracle before Saunders realizes that ole' man #8 can heave the ball. One last point - Brunell threw at Brandon Lloyd twice the entire game. Maybe he was never open, but I doubt that. This pattern will need to change very quickly or else safeties will start drifting toward 89 the way they did at the end of last year.


2a) 16-9 - That is the difference in game one scoring output from last year to this year. As the Redskins showed on about three drives, they are well ahead of their early offensive performance from 2005. The Skins were able to utilize a lot of motion and find openings in the defense to move the ball up field on occasion, but even in those circumstances they eventually stalled in the red zone. There is no question the offense is a work in progress - as both the players and coaches are going to take time to learn each other. I think it is a shame that the Skins didn't ride the momentum of last year's last 5 regular season games, but the reality is that Al Saunders does produce powerful offenses, and it will take time for this thing to gel. How long it will take to gel is an extremely scary question to answer.


3) The Pass Rush - The Skins front 4 didn't look much different than it has over the past couple of years. Here's the hope: the Vikings will probably end up having one of the best o-lines in the league. The Redskins should have a much easier time getting at the QBs when they face Dallas, NY and Philly. Also - Gregg Williams couldn't blitz Monday night because he needed to keep the safeties back to help out the weak corners - another reason why Johnson had so much time in the pocket. Until the Skins can show they can cover the outside, don't expect much pressure on the QB. This means, of course, that after many seconds in the pocket the Drew Bledsoe's of the world will eventually find an open man. It is a viscous cycle. Let's hope Springs comes back fast. One more thing - Rynaldo Wynn will play Sunday night - but he is more of a run-stopper than pass-rushing specialist.


4) Gregg Williams - I know the 2-million dollar man didn't have much to work with, but when Brad Johnson is throwing the ball with ease throughout the first half, you'd hope your D-Coordinator would make halftime adjustments - He didn't. But again, we cannot doubt Williams. The Skins defense, even with an array of injuries over the past three years, have continually been in the NFL's top-10. This group will improve as the season goes on.


5) The Cowboys - I had this one marked down as a loss before the season, and from what I saw Monday night, I am not going to revise my prediction. The Boys home opener after a loss, TOs grand entrance, the revenge factor - things don't add up for us. The Skins need a couple of things to happen if they want to have a chance. 1) They get to Bledoe and create turnovers - the Skins didn't come up with one turnover Monday night and if they can take a couple away early, the whole complexion of the game changes. 2) Trickery  - there is a reason they signed Randle El. Points will be at a premium, so why not do something funky and get quick points on the board. 3) Portis - We still haven't seen what can happen when the Skins establish the run early - maybe if they do, they'll be able to open more down field opportunities. 4) Carlos - this boy needs to find himself in a hurry or else it will be a 1994-like spanking.


Note: The Skins signed TE Todd Yoder and cut Nemo Broughton.


Alright, a little too much negative for my liking. I'm gonna take a three-day deep breath and check in on Sunday. My parting shot is this: my sadness this week didn't stem from the fact that the Skins lost to the Vikings on Monday, my sadness was due to the fact that I didn't see a Super Bowl team out on the field. My grand dreams of a 45-0 Detroit Lions-type slaughtering didn't come into fruition, and the Redskins were brought down by the same things that have hampered them since Gibbs' arrival. The good news is that we are only in week 2, and the Skins still have the chance to become the offensive machine of our dreams. If they blossom by Week 5 - we could still march down 95 to Miami, if they blossom in week 10 - it will be much too late.





Monday, September 11, 2006

Week 1 - Gameday (Vol 4)

It's is finally here. The day we've all been waiting for. 8 months of anticipation and we finally get to see what kind of product the Skins will give us this year. I couldn't fall asleep until three last night in anticipation over this one and now I got a big case of the butterflies. I hope you all are in a lot better mental place than I am right now. Joe Gibbs has said that tonight's game is one of the biggest football games he's ever been a part of, and this is only Week 1 - expect the Skins to come out and play with some urgency tonight.




What you need to know:


- The weather should be very autumn-like. It is actually raining in DC right now, but it should clear up and give way to partly cloudy skies by kick off. DC is getting a bit of a cold front, so temps will dip into the mid 60s by 7pm.


- ESPN will be airing their first regular season edition of Monday Night Football - Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser and Joe Theisman will be on the call. ESPN will be broadcasting Monday Night Countdown live from FedEx starting at 5pm. ESPN will follow up the Skins with the Chargers at the Raiders.


- CP will start the game on the bench, but last reports indicated that he was 96.1% after his shower following Saturday's practice. I am starting to think Portis will get at least 10 carries in this game.


- The Skins will be a little thin on D-Line as backup Rynaldo Wynn, one of their run-stopping specialists, will be out tonight.


- The Skins will also be without Shawn Springs. Kenny Wright will get the start alongside Carlos Rogers in his place. Look for Rogers to match up with second-year wide-out Troy Williamson and Wright to be matched up against Travis Taylor.


- Warrick Holdman has won the battle over Rocky McIntosh for weak-side linebacker and he will get the start alongside Lemar Marshall and Marcus Washington. Expect McIntosh to be in the starting lineup by week 4 against Jacksonville. Keep your eye on Washington tonight, as he will be used in many more blitz packages than he was last year.


- Punter Derrick Frost will be handling kickoff duties this year to prevent any John Hall injuries.


- Joe Gibbs is 8-0 against the Vikings in his career, including a 17-10 victory in the 1987 NFC Championship Game. The Skins last played the Vikes in the season-closer in 2004, as the Skins won and nearly played playoff-spoiler for the Vikes, winning 21-18. Ladell Betts ran for 118 yards and a TD in that game.


- The current line makes the Skins 4-point home favorites tonight.


- A Redskins victory would point them 1 game ahead of both the Giants and Cowgirls who both lost yesterday. That is so freaking sweet.


- The Skins have now lost 5 in a row (including pre-season) wearing white on white after winning six in a row last year in the same uniforms. I am thinking they do something different tonight. burgundy on burgundy maybe?




OK. I think that's it. I opened up the listserv today in case you guys wanted to "reply to all" and wish each other good luck. Tonight is going to be amazing!!!




Saturday, September 9, 2006

Week 1 - CP Playing, Amazing Video (Vol 3)

I am sure you all have heard by now that Dolla Bill will be in pads for the opener Monday night.

CP said he has gone from 75% to 93.9% and he thinks he will be 100% by Monday night.

Joe Gibbs said that CP will be playing a back-up roll  - Ladell Betts will still get the start.

I think Portis will sit the entire game, and his only chance of seeing any action is if Betts is ineffective (which he won't be).

I think having CP suited up will just give the Skins another mental edge going into the game.

Here's the link to the Post article:


The real reason why I write to you on a Saturday night (besides the fact that i'm a total loser) is because I found this amazing video on that you all need to see before opening kickoff. The Video is a montage dedicated to the return of Joe Gibbs with Coldplay's "Fix You" in the background.

This video will both get you teary-eyed and totally pumped for the upcoming season. I have watched it three times already.

Watch the video, lock it up for a few hours and watch it again. Repeat this for the next 36 hours.


Also - for those of you who haven't seen this video, it will also get your juices flowing for the opener. Thanks, Yair. Thanks, Sean. (If you want to download the background music to this video, it is Nelly's "Heart of a Champion."



HTTR and Shavua Tov,


Thursday, September 7, 2006

Week 1 - Portis Speaks (Vol 2)

This is straight from Washington Post Redskins Beat Writer Jason LaCanfora's Blog, posted 10 minutes ago after the Skins ended today's practice:

Portis Speaks


Portis said he's about 75 percent, would not be ready to play if he had to today and sounds very skeptical about being ready for Monday. he kept talking about the long-term and not doing anything to hurt himself for the long haul by rushing back.


He said he's 75 percent right now, and does not want to come back until he's 100 percent.


When he comes back he wants to be himself, a 25-carry back, and with so much time off and so few hits under his belt, that's not him right now. Said it would probably take at least two tough practices for him to be ready to play, and, unless he was doing some serious bluffing, I'd say don't start him on your fantasy teams and prepare to see a lot fo Ladell Betts Monday night.


Gibbs says Portis is still day-to-day and it will be the player's decision to play or not. Barring a complete turnaround in the next 48 hours, I wouldn't plan on him for the opener.


By Jason La Canfora |  September 7, 2006; 4:40 PM ET



Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Week 1 - Portis Update, et al. (Vol. 1)

Please note that the first three paragraphs are a rant and are not informational, for the latest on the Redskins skip down to paragraph four. As many of you probably have noticed, it has been a while since my last message. I apologize for being so aloof, and I promise to never abandon ship like that during the regular season. The truth is that I haven't felt like writing over the past few weeks because, I confess, optimism hit a low point in my camp. I simply didn't feel like spreading any of my negative karma on to you all. Somehow, the Redskins burst their own bubble well before the opening kickoff to the season. The six game winning streak, the playoff appearance, the win in Tampa Bay: all for naught. In the eyes of many NFL insiders the Skins are back to square one, facing the same criticism of yesteryear (bad signings, lack of chemistry, old players) and are facing similar forecasts as this time last year (7-9, 8-8, at best).


But fret not my Potomac Warriors, after a three week trip to Turks and Cacos, my unbridled optimism for this season is back. Instead of pitying ourselves for losing the respect of the national media and slipping down the consensus power rankings, we must relish our position as the NFC's underdog. The magic may have momentarily slipped out of our hands when Portis's shoulder popped, but now that we are in week 1, with a 95% healthy roster, we have every reason to believe that the drive to victory in Miami begins Monday night at FedEx Field. Mark this psycho's words: the Skins will go 13-3, have home field through the playoffs, beat Carolina in the NFC Championship game and beat the Broncos in the Super Bowl 42-10.


If you are still feeling the wrath of cynical Susan spewing evil in your loins, please hear me out. The Skins went vanilla in the pre-season: they were literally a bunch of sandbaggin SOBs. Gibbs and Saunders didn't want to give away a single thing (they used 2% of a 700 page playbook - that means they have 686 pages left to go). So no need to worry about the offense - if they are a little rusty in the first quarter on Monday it is natural, but after that you will never know they didn't score a point in the preseason. If you are worried about the defense, please don't be. Everyone, with the exception of Springs, will be fully healthy in Week 1. And remember, the Skins had a much harder time dealing without Griffin last year than they did when Springs got knocked out. Hopefully Springs will be ready for week two and TO and the Redskins will be all-systems-go for their first real test. This is the year, people. This is the year!!!


Ok. Now to the real issues at hand.


1) There are mixed reports coming out of Ashburn over the Portis situation, and the only official word we have is from Gibbs' presser yesterday. Gibbs said ""He is still day to day...He had a real good day in the weight room and rehab also. He is doing a real good job with it and will continue to expand what he is doing. It's still day to day, though. He feels like he is making good progress."  That is classic Gibbs fluff, giving us no real indicator of what the truth is. Tomorrow will be very telling - the Skins have their first of three straight practice days leading up to the Vikings. If Portis is in pads, then he'll play, if not, it's more likely we'll see him in Dallas.


Despite my theory, there are speculators out there who are convinced CP will be playing. According to ESPN's Football Injuries Insider (coolest job ever) Will Carroll, Portis is 100% playing. Pretty shocking stuff - here's the quote: "Who else drafted Clinton Portis early? Good, I like to see smart people get rewarded. Portis will get the bulk of carries in Week 1." Another source, although not as respected, said the same thing. According to ProFootballTalk.Com, a league source with knowledge of the situation predicts that Portis will be suited up and ready to play against the Vikings on Monday night.


Here's the crucial point on Portis: there is no need to rush him back for the Vikes. The only thing it will do is give his teammates a mental edge and send out a strong message to the rest of the league.. The Skins can definitely get away with a Betts/Duckett combo for week 1 and have Portis ready for Dallas. I would love to see my boy Dolla Bill out there, but it wouldn't be terrible to see him in street clothes either.


If the Skins don't go with Portis, Gibbs has said he will start with Betts in the backfield. Look for TJ Duckett to get the brunt of the work inside of the ten's regardless of who is playing in front of him.


2) As I mentioned earlier, and even more important than Portis returning, is the health of the Skins front four. For the first time in three weeks, Andre Carter, Cornelius Griffin, Joe Salevea and Philip Daniels all practiced yesterday. The front four's health, and specifically Griffin's, will be critical in the defense pressuring Brad Johnson and creating turnovers, making it much easier for the offense by shortening their field. Look for Williams to still blitz the corners out of zone sets on Monday because of Minnesota's weak receiving corps, and to alleviate some of the pressure on back-up corner Kenny Wright, who has looked awful in man coverage in the preseason.


3) The Skins made a very good signing this week that went unnoticed in the media. They brought in veteran tackle Todd Wade. Wade, who was cut by the Texans in July after coming off of a season-ending knee injury last year, had started in 23 games over two years with the Texans before getting hurt. Wade also started 63 games over 4 years with the Dolphins. Wade will finally provide some needed depth at O-line, and the Skins can afford to let him continue to rest his injury while he waits for an opportunity.


4) Gibbs came up with a interesting plan for backup QB that he unveiled this week. Jason Campbell will back up Mark Brunell in the event that he has a week to prepare for his role as starter. Todd Collins will be Brunell's in-game back-up. The move is more for Campbell's mental peace than anything else. Gibbs has realized that if Campbell left camp without some kind of promotion, it would have been very demoralizing for the young QB. With the weid solution, Campbell feels like he is one step closer to actually playing for the Skins. I think both QBs were mediocre in the pre-season, and don't be surprised to see Gibbs go back on his word if Brunell misses a week or two - Campbell won't see a snap this year.


OK. That just about covers it. I will try to get one more update in before kick-off Monday.


In case you didn't catch the spirit of this email, I promise that this week will be a celebration of Redskins football. The coaching staff has been preparing this game plan for months, and the players have a lot to prove after an atrocious pre-season.  Also, the Skins always beat up on the Vikes. Enjoy every moment of it on Monday, because week 2 is going to be a lot more stressful.




Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Week 0 – Breaking News (Vol. 0)


The Skins have agreed to a three-team deal with Denver and Atlanta, sending a 2007 third-round pick to Denver while receiving Running Back TJ Duckett from the Falcons. The Broncos sent disgruntled WR Ashlie Lelie to Atlanta.


Here's the Problem:

The Skins front office must be freaking out over CP's injury if they were willing to give up a high draft pick for Duckett. There have been reports the Skins were covering-up the extent of his injury, and those trades must confirm those suspicions.


Portis is still supposed to be ready for the 9/11 opener, but the Skins may now not rush him back as fast as they would (which could be a good thing). I am also unsure how the Skins will use Duckett, who is really more known for being a red-zone back a la Gerald Riggs. I guess Gibbs and co. are hoping that a Betts/Duckett combo will be adequate while Portis rehabs.


Duckett is a nice addition, but this trade makes me more nervous than anything else. I hate the fact that they've already taken out an insurance policy on CP.