Saturday, December 31, 2011

Living on the Edge: The Revised Starting Rotation and Center Field

When I first started this "Living on the Edge" series, I stated that the purpose of this team is to improve from being almost .500 to more like a 90 game winner. There is no guarantee that 90 will get you in the play-offs, but it should be enough. Let's not forget, the new wild card spot that makes it even more likely.

We begin our exploratory journey with the starting rotation. 2012 has been the year Nationals fans began to look to. Finally, the Nats rotation would have two guys that could be at the top of most rotations; Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman. Now, another name has been added to that group Gio Gonzalez.

With these three guys at the top of the rotation the Nats have created quite a dynamic duo. Each of these three young power pitchers can easily hit mid 90's. Also they finally have balance in their rotation with a righty, lefty, and righty respectively at the top of the rotation. No one is saying that this trio will be the best tro in baseball but they would be in the conversation.

The best thing to me is the new addition to the rotation has a longer history of success. He has proven he can pitch 200 innings and win 15 games. per. This year it might not happen but imagine Him, Strasburg, and Zimmermann doing that in 2013.That isn't even factoring in the rest of the rotation next year or in the future.

Chein Ming Wang is the wild card of the rotation. He has shown over his career that he can pile up wins, when he stays healthy. If not, "Mr Reliable" John Lannan will be there to take 180 to 200 innings.

The most long term upside belongs to Ross Detwiler. After his conversation with Randy Knorr, he finally seems to have figured 'it" out. If he builds on what he did down the stretch the Nationals could have one of the best rotations in baseball. Especially if the defense does it's job.

Speaking of defense, it appears the Nationals have found their CF for next year, Jason Werth. I like this decision. There weren't many options on free agency and they keep their options open. If someone like Brian Goodwin can progress enough, maybe they find the long term piece from the farm. If not there is next year's free agent class.

For this year though, it means that Ian Desmond will be the lead off hitter for the Washington Nationals. 
That is a discussion for a different time though. I think Werth will be a solid center fielder, until a better solution comes along. Basically, things are going to look quite different in DC this spring.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Awkard Times

Awkward. If I had to pick one word to describe the Wizards, that would be it. Clearly, there is talent on this team, plenty of potential. The problem is they are awkward. By awkward I mean like a teen going though body changes and the like. For many those are some of the most challenging of their life. Watching this team is one the the most challenging non work things I have to do.

John Wall is the most important player on the Wizards. It is clear that he is awkwardly trying to understand and master his role. As the Face of the Franchise, Wall has the weight of the world on his shoulders. It is too early to really get anything from stats, but it obvious when watching.

Jordan Crawford is under pressure to preform, so he presses harder and harder. The problem though, is he needs to slow down and let the offense work. He isn't the only offender in that regard though. Like Flip says, "Hero Ball" is contagious.

I am of the thought that some changes need to be made so that growth can continue. Here, I will make a few suggestions.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Is help on the way?

We all saw what happened to the Wizards on Friday night. There was terrible offense and bad defense.  In all it was terrible. Well help is on the way as Nick Young is set to sign his 1 year offer sheet.

Even thought the Wizards got outplayed friday, I am concerned with how Young will fit in with this team. He has to be irritated not to get a long term deal. He may play selfish to get his stats. Don't get me wrong this team could use a player like Nick.One look through the roster tells you there aren't many pure scorers on the team. If Nick buys in, this can really help this team.

What I enjoyed Friday, was seeing the young guys. Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton, Shelvin Mack, and second year player Kevin Seraphin. Those guys, it seems, will have a big impact on this team. Vesely looked good running the floor. Singleton's defense will help the team immediately. Mack is a good looking point guard. Kevin also really showed me something.

Tuesday, we get another chance to see these guys in a competitive game. I hope to see N'Diaye and Booker in that game. Hopefully the starters can get it together, and that starts with John Wall. Friday was only the first preseason game. The journey has begun. Obviously, they can only get better.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New beginnings

For the last week, fans and the media have reacted to the suspensions of Fred Davis and Trent Williams for substance abuse. Some discussions have centered around whether these guys are good guys to have on this team. While they deserve to be punished, let's not get carried away.
Trent Williams will be entering his third year as a pro next year and made good progress in his development. Safe to say, he's not going anywhere. So let's focus on soon to be free agent, Fred Davis. With a skill set that can give opposing defenses fits, Davis is worth building around.
Some argue that he could easily fail another test and set the team again, but with the potential millions and leverage lost it would be a small risk to take.
This season is a wash. Losing Williams and Davis without injuries are blessings in disguise. Remember Trent Williams just returned from an injury two weeks ago. From interviews it sounds like they did not take the tests they were failing seriously. HGH was the bogey man. Maybe the assumption was marijuana's no big deal. Just pay the fines and keep it moving.
Hopefully, Trent Williams and Fred Davis will now trade in blowing smoke rings for concentrating on getting super bowl rings.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shelvin Mack Washington Wizards Rookie

 Shelvin Mack

Height 6'3
Weight 215
Age 21
Position PG

Mack was drafted for the sole purpose of being John Wall's backup. To me this is a good situation for him.

Chris Singleton Wizards Rookie

Today, I am going to take a look at Chris Singleton. He was the Wizards other first round pick.

Chris Singleton

Height 6'9
Weight 227
Age 22
Position SF/PF

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jan Vesely Wizards Rookie

It has been a long time since I actually thought about the Wizards. With the lockout, I couldn't even get too excited about their draft. Now that the lockout is over, I am getting very excited to see this team.  There are several guys I am interested in seeing. Here I am going to preview the Jan Vesely.

Jan Vesely

Height 6'11"
Weight 240
Age 21
Position SF/PF

Before I get into specifics, lets look at why Vesely has so much buzz about him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Business is Picking Up

In a short amount of time, everything in DC sports has changed. The biggest news being that the NBA and the players have come to an agreement and will have a basketball season.

In my heart, I didn't think there would be an NBA season this year. When news came out over the weekend, I was stunned. I have missed watching Wizards games already and after Christmas I will get my wish. While I don't expect these guys to be world beaters, I do think the young guys might be better than many believe.

The Capitals made a bold move, with the firing of Bruce Boudreau. Now I am not a hockey guy but I do want the home teams to win. From the looks of things, it was time for a change. hopefully Dale Hunter can get his best players to buy into his system and be team leaders. A team as talented as they are can turn things around. Just making the playoff isn't the goal. The goal it to play your best, or hit your peak,when you get to the playoffs.

If the rumors are true, and the Nationals are interested in Prince Fielder, then I will be a happy man. That is if this part of the whole plan. The plan that involves resigning Zimmerman, another starting pitcher, and a center fielder. Hopefully the pitcher will be a top of the rotation guy and the center fielder a top of the order guy. Add a few guys to the bench and bullpen and mix. Congratulations,  you have a good team. Just how good will have to been seen.

Seeing the Redskins win on Sunday was good. That long losing streak will be a blessing in disguise. The Redskins are not the team they had been the last few weeks. I am not saying they are good yet but the team is being rebuilt. Roy Helu showed that he should be the feature back. The more their young guys play well, the closer they are to being a good team. While my eyes are on potential future QB's, I can't hope for my team to lose. The benefit of having extra picks means you should be able to get almost whoever you want in the draft.

I believe the DC sports Landscape is being rebuilt. Hopefully these teams can get it together and DC fans can show their pride.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

College QB Watch

Another week of college football has come and we get another chance to see how the top quarterbacks did. Of the four QB's we looked at before. Robert Griffin III looked the best. Griffin and the
Baylor Bears went up against Landy Jones and the Oklahoma Sooners.

Griffin had 21 completions in 34 attempts. Threw for 479 ans 4 touchdowns. Jones had 36 completions in 51 attempts. He threw for 447 yards and 0 TD's with 1 int. Watching the game it is clear that Griffin looked better than Jones. In defense of Jones, he was missing his receiver Ryan Broyles. Baylor beat Oklahoma 45-38.

Andrew Luck did well on Saturday also. He had 20 completions in 30 attempts. He threw for 257 yards and 2 TD's and 1 Int. Luck didn't have his best game today, but when the pressure was on he did his job. Here is a clip form that game.

Matt Barkley had 36 completions in 51 attempts. He threw for 323 yards with 4 TD's and 1 Int. He isn't my choice for the Skins, but he did well yesterday. USC defeated #4 Oregon 38-35.

College football is getting close to bowl season and this is the time to watch these guys. To me is seems like the top two are Luck and Griffin III. will the Skins be able to get one of them? Which QB's are you interested in the Skins getting?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where did our Hate Go?

Most people that know me would probably tell you that I'm a hater. As a youngster all my friends would like this musical group or that tv show, but I'd always find something wrong with them. It used to bother me, but I've grown to be a proud hater.
I've always hated the Dallas Cowboys. Watching them lose warms a special place in my heart. But, lately, I've been developing a strange hatred for my own team - the Washington Redskins.
This hatred almost makes me indifferent to the Cowboys. I'll admit I've employed a few of their services on my fantasy teams, but it was strictly business. Don't get me wrong, the star still makes my stomach turn. Hopefully, it makes this team's stomach turn on Sunday.
These guys don't hate each other like they need to. Maybe Tashard Choice can come in and help. He feels jilted by his old team. Maybe the guys who are from here can help. There's a time for war and a time for peace, and now is the time for hate.

For Skins Fan's, Time to Familiarize with QB Prospects in Draft

Could Baylor QB Robert Griffin III be the Skins next signal caller?

If you have been following the Redskins, you know their offense needs a major overhall. This team is in need of more help on the O-line, more wide receivers, and even another running back or two. All of that takes a back seat though, as quarterback has to be a top priority.

One of the best ways to get a quarterback is to get a high pick in the right year. The skins have been doing their best to compete for a high pick and this just might be a good year for QB's. There are a few names on top of every list and there is one name always on top of those list.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This is the time of year that should be the most enjoyable to a DC sports fan. The Wizards should be playing about 3 or 4 nights a week. The Skins should be entertaining us on Sundays. The Caps should be winning. And the Hot stove should be heating up for the Nationals.

Instead, the NBA is at war with NBPA, The Skins have imploded very early in the season. The Caps are in a rough spot. But, at least the stove is heating up and the Nationals are ready for it.

I was born in 78 and I don't remember the fist few years of my life.  The Wizards have only made it out of the first round of the play-offs from then till now once. So my memory of the Wizards is losing. Even with that, I miss my team.

Right now I should be writing about how John Wall has looked so far this year. How our draft picks look or how Kevin Seraphin or Andray Blatche are doing. Instead, its silence. At least, that's what it is to me.

This is a bad time for this work stoppage. The Wizards are in the middle of a rebuild. These young guys need to play to get better and for management to make good decisions about their next steps.

There is still time for a season, I know, but unless a deal is made soon, this could get ugly.

The Skins on the other hand are playing. But they have been a huge disappointment.  The defense is better but not good enough. The offense needs major help. They are rebuilding like the Wizards, but they have not done much to regain the trust and respect of their fans.

This team seems to have been run by fools since the early 90's. How else do you explain them ignoring their offensive and defensive lines in the draft for so long. Well them ignoring the draft for so long is even worse.

I remember the greatness. I remember the neighbors shooting fireworks when Doug Williams led the Skins to Super Bowl victory. I remember being 14 - 2 on the way go winning another one. I just can't accept this recent version of the team.

I have no doubt that the Caps recent struggles will be behind them soon and that the Nationals will be big players next month at the winter meetings. I only wish I could have the Skins at least look decent and to watch the your Wizards grow into a contender in a few years.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reputation's Ridin'

There ain't a lot of smiling going on right now.

 I'm sure Mike Shanahan's fans had an "EMMITT, NOOOO!!!!" moment when Mike Shanahan proclaimed that he would put his reputation at stake in his support for Rex Grossman AND John Beck as quality NFL starting QB's. Where's a Delorean when you need one, Mike?

Four straight losses after a 3-1 start has this team in pure frustration. Everyone's asking why and the finger consistently points to Mike Shanahan. In his first year, he traded for John Beck and Donovan McNabb. Weeks before being benched, McNabb was paid a few extra million to ride the bench.

I understand the available quarterback options were less than ideal during the offseason. So, they chose not to draft a QB or sign a free agent. It's a risky move, but somewhat justified in an attempt to tool a 3-4 defense which we HAD to have. Here is the reward - an anemic offense and a decent defense and a head coach with a tainted reputation talking rebuild.

Living on the Edge: Center Fielder

Will "Bossman Jr" be the next center fielder for the Nats?
Living on the Edge is a series of articles, looking at ways the Nationals can improve from almost being .500. Some teams get stuck in this area. This gray zone of sorts is dangerous. In dating terms it is "Friend Zone". 

The National have not been shy about their needs. On top of that list is center field. The free agent market is bare in that department. After Grady Sizemore, there isn't much left. The problem with Sizemore is his history of injuries.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ring of Honor Wrestling Introduction Pt 1

Ring of Honor is home to the best wrestling available today. Due to their product, my boycott of WWE has been enjoyable. I don't miss watching RAW and I have enjoyed the action that ROH provides. Their two main stars are Davey Richards and Roderick Strong.

Davey Richards is the ROH Heavyweight Champion. Richards whole life is fighting. He trains as a MMA fighter would. He traveled the world training learning his craft, trying to be the best fighter in the world. Richards intensity is second to none.

Roderick Strong on the other hand is an arrogant jerk. He is talented and doesn't feel he has to work as hard or other, like Richards, to be the best. Strong is more concerned with being the center of attention and women. To make matters worse, Strong has a life intervention expert. His name is Truth Martini and I wouldn't trust him with leftover lasagna.

These are just a couple of the memorable athletes you will find in ROH.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There's still a shot.

Half-Way through the season, Skins appear lost.

Facing the midpoint of this season, the Washington Redskins find themselves in familiar waters again - the brink of losing the entire season or delaying the inevitable....This is a common sentiment of many Redskins fans.

Who can blame us? Every year this team inspires many would be comedians. They've giggled through Snyder's impatience, Spurrier, Zorn, Gibbs II, coaching "searches", overpriced free agents, lack of respect for the draft...Vinny Cerrato! It's been brutal. 

With Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan aboard, it's been advertised as a new era for the Redskins. The team would be run as a first class organization versus the dysfunctional operation it had become. Old habits being hard to break, the McNabb fiasco had new comics appearing nationwide.

After a hot 3-1 start, the Redskins have dropped three straight and look to be in free-fall mode. 
Recent decisions appear to have taken positive momentum from this team and only new decisions can help
them. One recent decision is the signing of Tashard Choice, ex Cowboy. Maurice Hurt being promoted 
from practice squad to start at left Guard is another one.

Out of 12 drafted rookies this year, 9 are on the active roster with many of them expected to make huge 
contributions. Shanahan's talent evaluation will now be under spotlight. If these young guys look bad, 
Shanahan's regime becomes very shaky.Look for solid things from Sunday's game.

Living on the Edge: Nationals Starting Rotation

C.J. Wilson is the top FA pitcher this year.
 With The Nationals on the edge of being a .500 team, I am doing a series called Living on the Edge. This series will look at the different things the Nats can do to improve their record next year. Part one of the series is the starting rotation.

One of the nationals priorities this off-season, is to bolster their starting rotation. As it stands now, it will be 1. Stephen Strasburg, 2. Jordan Zimmermann,  3. John Lannan, and 4. Ross Detwiler. Chein Ming Wang would be a logical addition, since the team wants him and he wants to come back.

There are problems with this rotation though.Strasburg will be on an innings limit, just as Zimmermann was this year. Also Lannan is the only one who has won 10 games in a season. They could sign Wang who won 19 games twice in his career, but he hasn't come close to staying healthy for a whole season since 2007.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ten Nationals Prospects You Should Know

Mike Rizzo, Nationals General Manager and leader of farm system.
As a big Nationals fan, I realize the importance of a good farm system. If you don't understand that importance, look no further than this team's history. When The Nationals were the Montreal Expos, their farm system was second to none. The farm system was largely fueled by Latin American players such as Vladimir Guerrero, Orlando Cabrera and Jose Vidro.

Then, when the team was owned by MLB, the international and amateur scouting budgets were slashed. The effects were evident in the Nats when they arrived in DC and are still felt today. If not for the depletion of the farm system, the Nats wouldn't have Strasburg and Harper. Meaning if they weren't so bad they wouldn't have gotten those high draft picks.

With the understanding that the farm system feeds the major league team, I will introduce "Ten Nationals Prospects You Should Know".

First on the list is Bryce Harper. Harper is a prospect that every team in baseball wishes they had. He decided to leave high school two years early because he was so much better than the other players his age. He got his GED and enrolled in a community college. After being there for a year and breaking records (hitting 31 homers), he was drafted number one overall by The Nationals.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Time for a Reset

If you asked me before the season if I would be happy with a .500 Redskins team, I would have said yes. So as Skins are 3 - 3, I have to be ok with it. The thing is, injuries have crept up and this ship could sink real soon. In order to stop this, the team has to hit the reset button.

I know this isn't XBOX or whatever, but with so many new people on offense, it is a reset. Last week the offensive line, tight end, and quarterback reset. This week,the wide receivers and running back do the same thing. Santana Moss, the skins only reliable wide receiver for years is out for a month or more. Tim Hightower, who has been the teams workhorse, is out for the season.

As for the wide receiver position, expect Niles Paul and Leonard Hankerson to get plenty of opportunities. I know, I blamed that interception on Hankerson; but Beck takes the blame for that interception. Shanahan also made it a point to say  "Hankerson has been making some tremendous plays in practice". Hopefully, the messed up communication is behind them, so Beck and Hankerson can hook up for some big plays.

I am not as worried about the running back position. There will be a drop off in blitz protection, but Ryan has gotten better at that. We all know what Ryan "All" Torain can do, he showed us last year. With just him and Helu we are starting to get thin. Ryan has not been able to stay healthy, I am sure you remember last year.

So. it looks like it is time for the backup's and young guys to get their playing time. Only now, I am starting to think reaching .500 may be a pipe dream.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just Like Cherry Blossoms, Skins Only Good for a Few Weeks

The story today is Cam Newton. Landry said that he was phenomenal and that he found all the holes in the Skins defense. Cam Newton was very good. He is mobile, runs with out fear. Even Mike Shanahan was impressed. "Most pros don't make the plays that this rookie did." 

The other big story is how beat up the Redskins have become. Tim Hightower looked great early in the game, but injured his knee and will be out for weeks if not the season. Santana Moss broke his hand will also be out for while himself. These Skins are beat up now with Moss, Cooley, Hightower, Fletcher, and guys on the O-line injured.

The question coming into today's game was about Beck. How would he do in his first start in years? Well, to me and to Shanahan, he looked good. He showed his athleticism, quick release, and poise in the pocket. Overall, he played well and they moved the ball better in the second half. But "losing Moss changed the game (for the skins)" said Shanahan.
The offensive line played well and Beck looked good. He threw for 279 yards, 1 touchdown and had 1 int. That interception was caused by Leonard Hankerson though, as he ran the wrong route. The offense looked better to me with Beck. Shanahan was asked who would be the starter next week. He only replied "Are you serious? Next Question." To me Beck is the starter and will have more chances to prove himself.

The receivers didn't help Beck today. Gaffney followed a dropped pass and then fumbled on the next play. Fred had a drop or two also. I have to look at the film later and see what else happened. But, with Moss going down someone will have to step up.

The defense wasn't all bad  today. Quite a few guys had a good number of tackles and we sacked Cam four times. At the end of the day though, the skins couldn't stop Cam Newton.  The defense gave up a lot of points today. "(We) need to regroup" Landry said, "Losing is the hardest part".

Friday, October 21, 2011

Preview of this week ROH SBG Show

This week, on ROH, Jay Lethal will put his World Television Championship on the line. Jay Lethal won that title in ROH's second week on Sinclair. If you missed the match you can watch it here.[Part 1 and Part 2.] The overtime period of this mach is great I love the pacing in this match.While you are at it, you can check out his opponent The Progidy, Mike Bennet.  He has a big opportunity. Can he win his first ROH title?

The Briscoe Brothers; AKA Dem Boys; AKA The Pioneers; AKA My Favorite Tag Tag  will be on this weeks show. You never what to miss that.  Also this week, 2 new wrestlers make their debut as TJ Perkins takes on Mike Mondo.

Check the ROH TV Listings for your area or you can watch online Here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Review of John Beck's Performance

To me the issue is simple. Who gives the Redskins the best chance to win games. In this short post I intend to lay out my thinking. Hopefully, by the end, you will agree with me. What we need to do first if look as some film.

This is Beck's first drive as the Redskins quarterback.

  • On the first play, Beck avoids pressure and even though Fred Davis falls down he gets back up and takes his catch for a first down. A QB's best friend is his tight ends. Davis was that here.
  • Play action to Ryan Torain. Would have been a good gain but pass was off.
  • On this play Beck doesn't like what he sees and scrambles for a first down. I like that over aggressive defenses will have to worry about that.
  • Play action pass to Jabar Gaffney. the pass is low and incomplete. would have been a good gain if it was on target.
  • Next pass is too low for Fred Davis. I have to think that some of these off target throws are due to never playing much. I hope this gets better with practice time with starters.
  • On 3rd and 15 Beck complete a pass to Moss for a first down. That is a big play there. Good to see, that was a 23 yard gain.
  • Then we get a 10 yard penalty, a dropped pass, and a 3 yard pass. 
  • It's 3rd and 17, he goes deep to Gaffney who gets a hand on it in the endzone but no catch. Another penalty gets them out of field goal range. 
I like what I saw in this drive. Looks like he was getting loose in this drive and too bad the switch didn't come sooner.

Next, lets look at Beck's other drive.

  • First play of the drive isn't cover well in the video. Incomplete to Davis
  • Pass to Gaffney for a first down. Skins are moving fast as they are down by 2 touchdowns and only 6 minutes to go.
  • Shotgun pass to Moss dropped. He was hit as soon as ball got there.
  • The skins are on there 30 and Beck goes deep to Stallworth but he can't make the catch. Would have been huge and could have made this game much closer. They would be at Philly's 20 if it connected. They do get a first down though on a penalty.
  • Screen pass to Moss for a first down. Moss is so shifty he can do things like that.
  • Pass to Helu for 8 yard gain. Then beck is sacked for an 8 yard loss. Now it is 3rd and 10.
  • Shotgun pass to Gaffney, the announcers say it was a wobbler, whatever.  But Becks arm does hit Chester's helmet BEFORE the ball is released.
  • Now Billick is claiming that beck is getting hit every play. Wild exaggeration there.
  • 4th and 9 first down pass to Stallworth.
  • Big pass to Terrance Austin to the 3 yard line. Beck can make big throws in big situations.
  • Beck then takes it in for a TD.

This  would have been a different game with Beck in at the half in my opinion. I think he is our best chance to win. He can scramble, make the big pass, and buy time in pocket. It is pretty clear to me. John Beck for DC Quarterback.