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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

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┬áBynum’s growth? (42:00)

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

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