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Making Friends with the Enemy: Redskins

Redskins_LogoThis week we’re on our third installment of MFWE and we’re fortunate to have Washington sports fanatic Peter Curtin with us to chat about the Redskins.

Now for those of you who don’t know Pete, he’s been a long friend of the site and has written a number of fantastic articles for us since the beginning. He’ll also be joining us on the podcast this week. Simply put: the man knows his shit.

This week we spend time talking about the team name, RGIII’s knee, the Skins draft class and, of course, Sunday. Here’s the results:

The Redskins name has been a huge debate over the last few months. What seems to be the general feeling of the fan base regarding the name?

Almost every fan falls into one of three camps. The first is really passionate about keeping the name as is, the second is really passionate about changing the name, and the third is somewhat indifferent, if not slightly confused or conflicted That first camp’s argument is, essentially, that the nickname is a tradition and that you don’t mess with tradition. Occasionally someone will pull out the “Why’s everything gotta be so PC all the time?” line, but that argument obviously doesn’t hold up to any amount of scrutiny.

The second camp’s argument is that it’s ridiculous that an ethnic slur is still being used as a professional sports team’s nickname in 2013, and that if anyone takes offense, it needs to be changed.

It seems like the third camp is where most people actually fall. They just happen to be the quietest camp and thus are underrepresented in media coverage. Members of the third camp have grown up using the word “Redskins” as part of their daily vocabulary without even thinking about what the word means to some. It’s just a word that’s used to refer to their football team. That being said, they are definitely uneasy about the nickname’s potential to offend, and their support of the team would not fade were the nickname to change.

Personally, I find myself somewhere between the second and third camp. The Redskins are a DC institution and they’re a huge part of the city’s culture. It would certainly be weird for me if the name got changed (think of the Eagles not being named the Eagles), but I’m very uneasy that there are many who take offense at the name. It isn’t as though the Oneida Nation is threatening to move the team to Los Angeles. They’re just asking for a different nickname. I stuck with the Bullets through their transition to the Wizards, I doubt there’s a name that would make me stop loving the team. And I think that’s the case for a huge number of fans, but there are those who act like the nickname is the Hill they will die on.

Last week we spoke with Packers fan Matt Stein about Jermichael Finley and whether or not he’ll hit free agency. However, for the Skins, Fred Davis seems destined to be shown the door despite also being a young talented tight end. What went wrong?

Fred Davis has always shown great potential and the occasional flash of brilliance. He has also, unfortunately, been plagued by accusations of poor work ethic for most of his career. You’ll recall that he was recently in the headlines for owning up to dozing off in team meetings. Throughout his career, he’s had trouble getting/staying on the field. He had trouble getting on the field early in his career under Jim Zorn, showing up to training camp late, out of shape, and firmly second on the depth chart behind roster stalwart and fan-favorite Chris Cooley. In the time since Cooley’s health problems and subsequent retirement, Davis has failed to stay on the field because of a series of injuries and a four-game suspension for smoking marijuana during the lockout.

His disappearance this year is the product of injuries and the emergence of Jordan Reed. Both Reed and Davis are receiving Tight Ends who are not polished blockers. Redskins OC Kyle Shanahan has, to this point, shown no signs that he wants to implement passing formations that feature two Tight Ends. It should be said that the weakness of his offensive line could be what’s preventing him from doing so. Backups Logan Paulson and Niles Paul are both better blockers than Reed and Davis, so they are the ones who on the field for two-tight end sets, either to help in the run game or in pass protection. The Shanahans obviously think that Reed’s presence makes Davis expendable, so rather than let Davis get all the first team reps in practice and playing time on game day only to let him walk away this offseason, they moved Jordan Reed up the depth chart faster than anyone expected.

How has the Redskins draft class been performing thus far?

Read the rest of this entry

What to Watch for: Eagles/Skins — Game 1

lincoln-financial-field-eagles-fireworks-587Before I get into all of the specifics for tonight…..

WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SAY YOU LOVE FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!

I love having football season back and week one has been great. There was the Packers/Niners showdown, the Falcons/Saints shootout, and the Bills annually almost beating the Patriots before inevitably realizing they’re the Bills. All great stuff.

BUT TONIGHT IS WHAT REALLY MATTERS. Tonight’s game is the most exciting season opener since the arrival of T.O. and it’s a million times more important. Chip Kelly. Monday Night. Two Guns. Six Boobs.

Tonight is everything you could ever dream for as an Eagles fan. It’s a fresh start on the national stage against the best team in the division. It’s Chip’s chance to put this team back on the map so that fans never hear the phrase “Dream Team” ever again and instead dream of a parade down Broad Street. And it all begins tonight.

So while you’re pounding beers and and wings and fists with your buddies tonight, here are the important things you should watch for in tonight’s game.

 

1. The Offensive Line. Jason Peters (achilles) and Jason Kelce (ACL)return to the lineup with rookie Lane Johnson starting at right tackle. This unit has the opportunity to be one of the best in football and will be tested tonight against one of the league’s top run defenses—Washington allowed 95.8 yards per game on the ground last season, which was fifth best in the league. Add in the fact that a healthy Brian Orakpo returns to the lineup and this will be a great evaluator for the Eagles front five.

2. Run Defense. RGIII is considered healthy and ready to play, but there’s no way in hell we see the RGIII of last season. In 2012 he attempted an average of eight runs per game. Given how ugly things could get if he gets injured early in the season, Shanahan will have to tread lightly with his star QB tonight—avoiding a gratuitous amount of read-option plays in favor of a slightly more traditional attack. Therefore, the Eagles defense will have a lot of bouts with Alfred Morris, who rushed for 1,613 yards and 13 TDs last season. I wouldn’t bet that Billy Davis slept well last night.

3. Mike Vick. It’s impossible to not mention him. Vick will finally have his chance to break loose again on the field with the read-option offense. However, will that affect his passing? Pay attention to how patient Vick will be on broken plays. Do we see the Vick last year who held onto the ball too long or do we see the Vick too eager to run (AKA Terrell Pryor yesterday)? Ideally, somewhere in the middle.

4. Special Teams. “We’ve said it since Day 1, there’s three ways for them to make this football team. Special teams, special teams, special teams.” This quote from Chip Kelly is a big part of his culture. He wants guys who are going to put their best effort out there, even if they’re not starting. Take note of how effective/ineffective the Skins return men are tonight. It could make all the difference.

5. Fourth Downs. A notable part of Chip’s legacy of the college level is that he was willing to take a lot of risks on fourth down. If the situation is right, don’t be surprised to see the Eagles force the issue with Washington and go for a fourth and two around midfield. While this is a very situational thing, it may be the most ground-shaking on the NFL level. The majority of the time coaches are content with punting or kicking long field goals, but if Chip has success in this area it could become his permanent fingerprint on the league.

Around the Cooler 09/06/13: Eagles Football is back, and so are we

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • Arguing how well the Eagles will/can do this season
  • Eagles v. Redskins on Monday Night!


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 09-06-13

What are you talking about around the wooder cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

The Wooder Cooler Weekly Podcast – 12/27/12

Here’s what we’re talking about:
Eagles season wrap-up, offseason possibilities, the draft, and Chip Kelly (0:00)
Sixers 8-game road trip, free agency, and possible trades (19:30)
Eagles-Giants prediction (49:30)

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

The Wooder Cooler Weekly Podcast – 12/19/12

Here’s what we’re talking about:
The NFC Playoff race, Eagles v. Redskins, and NFL incidentals (0:00)
Philly’s newest pitchers (35:00)
Did Kobe really stunt Bynum’s growth? (42:00)

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Rock Bottom: ‘Skins 31, Eagles 6 (and The Worst Game Review Ever)

The lifeless Birds slogged through this game with the Hogs
Until Shady left late with his head in a fog
The offensive line‘s cogs looked a whole lot like dogs
Allowing poor Nick to be beaten and flogged

And RG3 had to do no more than jog
To open a hole that Todd Bowles could not clog
Asomugha moved like he was waterlogged
And the safeties, it seems, had no dialogue

Lo, the Birds’ players seem to be bogged
Down by a weight, like they’re chained to a log
Made of the ire of fanatics agog
For a change now that their prince has turned frog

For Reid’s career, this is a poor epilogue

…and if this wasn’t my blog, I’d be out of a job.

What to Watch For: Eagles/Redskins

With the Eagles pooping the bed on a continual basis and the future of the team and players muddled, what’s worth examining is much different. So, we’ll approach it a little differently form here on out.

1. Foles pocket presence: With the Eagles’ line a rag tag collection of various brands of swiss cheese, Foles will be under pressure all day. While he does’t eed to play a great game, he simply needs to look like he has long term potential. Will he have happy feet after a few hits? How does he respond to interceptions? Is he throwing into double coverage? Can he hit players in stride? These are the things that matter tomorrow. Not his stat line.

2. Brandon Graham: Graham is having a quality comeback season after labeling himself a bust. He’s now playing with the type of power and intensity that matches up to his first round billing. However, while he’s been playing well as a pass rusher, Graham has been beaten repeatedly in the screen game and on edge runs. He needs to round out his game going forward.

3. RGIII: He started the year off strong, however his play has calmed as a passer over the last few weeks. In the same way you want Foles to do well in various aspects of his game, you want Griffin to be the opposite. The Redskins have sacrificed the next two drafts for Griffin, laying the future squarely on his shoulders.

4. Ryan Kerrigan: Kerrigan is a second year player for the Redskins who is an edge rusher opposite Brian Orakpo (when he’s healthy). He has plenty of ability and could provide the ‘Skins with bookend defenders. If the hideous Demetress Dunlap-Kelly monster can hold him off, then it’s something to smile about for the future.

5. Demaris Johnson: Johnson was a slid contributor as a wide receiver in the beginning of the year, however his repetitions left with his return job. With Jason Avant injured, Johnson will get plenty of time. He should be fun to watch and could help himself stick with the next regime.

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