Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Special Team Post

I have to admit, I am far more gacked up for the Arizona Cardinals/Washington Redskins game that would normally make sense. I think it's because I've been tricked into pretending it's the start of the season. That opening night Thursday night game, the Redskins looked like a limp dick the whole night, depressing me and causing me to throw in the towel on any hope for the Jim Zorn era. Of course, I had to work like a 12 hour day the next day, so I wasn't exactly in normal hyped up pro football fan mode.
Then, last week's game, we were coming home 8 hours from the beach with 3 kids in a rental car (which is what people who can't afford to buy good cars drive on vacation), me desperately hoping weak AM signals hold tight in rural North Carolina. And all I really got was the first half, which was more of the same, with the Redskins sucking a fat dick and settling for field goals if they could manage to actually make them. We stopped to eat right at halftime, and there were like 100 bikers in the shitty diner, so the game was done by the time we got back in the car. (By the way, if you are travelling to the Outer Banks through Virginia via 460 and you see all those signs about eating at the Virginia Diner, don't bother. I've seen those signs my whole life and finally ate there for the first time last weekend and though the service was friendly and sweet and all, the food tasted like a retirement home Tuesday afternoon buffet.) Somehow, the Redskins had won, and I was confused. How could that have happened?
Well, I have yet to see it with my own eyes, so I'm am amped to watch the game against the Cardinals, which of course means stupid fucking Godboy Kurt Warner will probably pick apart a hodgepodge secondary for like 13 touchdown passes. And as much as I am re-convincing myself that the Redskins are a legitimate playoff threat, certain things happen beneath the national surface that so easily remind how fucking stupid this team is. The example this week has been special teams in general, but more specifically punt returnage.
The Redskins number one punt returner is Antwan Randle-El, who is old by punt returner standards, averaging like 4 yards a return this year, and on top of all this, he is the #2 wide receiver. This, on a team with only five wide receivers, two of which are rookies who slipped to the Skins in the second round of the draft because most everybody else thought they were damaged goods, plus a gimpy old "journeyman" receiver, which is the standard sports-speak word for a dude never really good enough to stay on one team. Well, the weak wide receiving corps and weak punt return average concerned the Redskins, so their solution is to spell Randle-El, if necessary, with their number one receiver, Santana Moss. Because that's really fucking smart.
Seriously, don't most NFL teams usually blow a sixth or seventh round pick at least every other year on any number of really fast ass college WRs/RBs/DBs who have a couple seasons to try to be good at their actual position while they earn their keep blazing back kicks on special teams. And if they become a bonafide top-tier WR or CB or something, you usually don't have them returning punts all the time anymore. (This is not to say Randle-El is a top-tier WR, although the amount of 0s on his paychecks would beg to differ.) Not the Redskins though. Vinny Cerrato is too brilliant a personnel mastermind to address actual concerns on the roster. Of course, he's also the man who drafted a punter in the sixth round of the draft, the same punter who won the starting job, even though he didn't seem that much better, causing the exiting veteran to take shots at Cerrato for trying to make it look like his picks were better than they really were on his way out the door to Green Bay, where he got a job immediately. And, the rookie punter is basically on thin enough ice that he expects to get dumped this week if he doesn't do better. So yeah, they can waste a draft pick on him but not some I-AA cornerback who can snatch punts and bust a 40-yard-dash? What the fuck? Shit, anybody who's played two seasons of franchise mode in Madden knows this.
So yeah, on top of Kurt Warner's 13 touchdown passes, I fully expect Antwan Randle-El to be crippled on a punt, causing us to lose our second receiver, who should probably be a third receiver, but is about all we have I guess. Only Chris Cooley can save us now.
On a positive note, dreadlocked rookie Chris Horton got to start last week because our deaf white starting safety had the stomach flus, and Horton got two interceptions and a fumble return, getting him NFC Defensive Player of the Week award. That, in itself, means nothing at all to me. But apparently last Sunday, guard Randy Thomas, a known lunatic (he dabbles in competitive eating during the offseason), had convinced Horton that there was $100,000 bonuses for guys who get player of the week awards. So the kid got hyped up after his game, thinking he might clock quite an extra paycheck, considering he was just a lowly sixth round draft pick. Once the league announced he won the award, I guess instead of coming clean, Thomas switched it up on Horton and said rookies weren't eligible for the award because of lack of league service, and instead had to pick a charity to receive the $100,000. I would imagine at that point, somebody finally laughed out loud and told the kid the real deal. But you watch the TVs and see some young, confident dreadlocked DB making plays, and you assume his swagger is bone deep. But then behind the locker room doors he's got some big goofy offensive lineman fucking with him completely, and you know that Horton kid had gotten hyped up about an extra $100,000, probably already looking at rims magazines, and then it was nothing. I bet he felt hurt, and bummed, but he has to pretend it was all lols and it's all good. That shit's funny to me. Any time people have this outward image and circumstances beyond their control cause them to completely compromise the image they proudly project, I always love that shit. I think it's because I grew up a broke ass and have class issues or something.


Andrew TSKS said...

Yo, Horton was OUTSTANDING last week. If he didn't win the starting job, Zorn is asleep at the switch. Doughty should ride the bench the rest of the year based on that game.

I gotta say, though, I hope your implication that maybe Horton only went nuts all game because he thought he was gonna get extra cash is wrong, because if he plays like that every week, the defense is gonna be significantly better than it has been so far.

P.S. where the defense is concerned, I still don't get why they start Carlos Rogers on cornerback every game but Fred Smoot is only a nickelback. Rogers sucks, Smoot is awesome. What the hell, man.

Harpo said...

HOLY SHIT, an AndrewTSKS sighting.

Andrew TSKS said...

What's up, Harpo, I'm still out here. Commented on Raven's blog not too long ago and he gave me the address for the current message board, but I just haven't made it by there yet. I may still eventually.

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