Blue White Roundtable: Blue White Game & the 2009 NFL Draft

1. Ok, so the Blue White Game and spring practice is done. Whether you just read the reports, or actually watched the game… (a) What’s one glaring team/unit/player issue you’re still concerned with? (b) What are you most pleased with?

I am always concerned with the offensive line because they have been the weak link, though not as much lately. I am a little concerned about the secondary though pleased with the performance of the quarterbacks. Usually, everyone but the incumbent has a tough day it seems.

Since the return to prominence in 2005, the offensive line has been solid and downright good at times. With a decent offensive line, even Anthony Morelli can lead you to New Year’s Day bowl wins. The secondary was nothing special last year, but the Nittany Lions still won the Big Ten.

2. Navarro Bowman was held out of the game for probation violation. He did admit his mistake to Joe Paterno, and took responsibility. But he still shouldn’t have done it. What punishment do you think will be appropriate, and why?

Navarro Bowman will sit out at least a game, possibly two, but probably not three for admitting to using marijuana. I expect he will be doing community service during those times, like Dan Connor did back in 2005.

3. Penn State’s offensive staff said after the game that things were kept pretty simple. Do you think this year’s returning offense will be able to handle an offensive scheme with the same complexity as the 2008 version? Why or why not?

I expect the scheme will not be as complex with the loss of the three starting wideouts. Who take the Derrick Williams role? That being said, it will look fairly similar to last year, just a little less gimmicky.

4. Five Penn Staters were drafted, while 10 more signed free-agent contracts. Was there any pick/signing that surprised you the most, either positively or negatively? What did this 2009 NFL Draft say about the Penn State football program?

I was pleased to see two offensive lineman and two WRs drafted. I don’t really feel the need to validate Penn State by how it does in the NFL Draft though.

Shooting from the hip…

1. Average PSU offensive PPG/defensive PPG in 2009?

Offense: 430 ppg
Defense: 270 ppg

2. USC’s Mark Sanchez (5th overall – Jets): Too high?

No! Getting picked early meant he didn’t go to the Redskins.

3. How many Lions drafted in 2010?

Four

4. List you’re top three Big Ten teams, as of today.

Penn State, Ohio State, Iowa

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I add to Lemke’s suggestions for Nats attendance

TIM LEMKE — Nats can fill standsThe Wash. Times
Lemke offers five suggestions to improve the slumping Nationals attendance. I’m adding mine as well and agree that winning cures all.

Focus on the kids – Yup, really go after tomorrow’s fans today. Perhaps selling a more kid friendly, half-half smoke. I don’t have much to add to this one other than I am very eager to take Will to his first game, probably after he is old enough for t-ball or little league. I want him to be in awe of the ballpark when he first goes.

Care what people think- This is one of the biggest shortcomings of ownership, they are completely tone deaf to the D.C. market. That means recognizing that the same city council that voted on funding the ballpark is typically a bunch of reactionary children. Learn when to flatter them and avoid giving them things to get righteous indignation, justified or not, whenever possible. Also, keep in mind the ballpark was exactly clamored for by the city, so be gracious about it even though you are paying for it. Allowing D.C. school teams one day of practice there is a good step. Also, get players out in the community more.

Embrace the local competitors – I don’t like the way this is termed, but Lemke wants the Nats to work more with the Capitals. Good thinking, there has been a little bit of that already. Don’t limit it to the Capitals either. A handful of Redskins are at Capitals games all the time right now, get them at Nats games too. Bring in Redskins draft picks/free agent signings to throw out the first pitch. When someone makes the hall of fame, bring them in. People would have shown up for Art Monk throwing out the first pitch. Additionally, bring in Wizards, Mystics, even DC United players form time to time, especially at the beginning of their seasons. Don’t forget to celebrate all-star selections. Also, get prominent Nats in stands, doing coin flips, whatever at these other teams games.

Get creative – How about a new mascot — Lola from Damn Yankees? Seriously, though have “Virginia Night” “Maryland Night” “Petworth Night” etc. Straight Cash Homey night where anyone wearing a jersey/shirt of a former player gets in for half-price or something.

Sign Stephen Strasburg- At this point, duh.

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Wilbon actually writes about Capitals

MICHAEL WILBON – Now the Circus Comes to TownThe Post
For the first time I can remember and possibly since 1998, Wilbon has written a column about the Capitals. It is actually a pretty good summation about what this upcoming series with the Penguins is all about, so for people not following until now, it is a pretty helpful column.

I’m mixing up some Haterade for the series, it will go up some time tomorrow.

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Nats beat Phillies 4-1, acquire Logan Kensing

From Start to Finish, A Rare Night for NatsThe Post
Nationals finally get some reliefThe Wash. Times
Scott Olsen pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up only a first inning home run to Shane Victorino. The bullpen combination of Garrett Mock, Kip Wells and Julián Tavárez held the powerful Phillies scoreless for the remaining 3 1/3 and Washington won its fifth game of the season, their second against Philadelphia in five tries. Translation — I’m 2-3 in the 2009 Cheesesteak/Half-Smoke Challenge.

Ryan Zimmerman was strong in the field and at the plate, diving for a crucial third out with the bases loaded in the fourth. Later, in the sixth, Zimmerman doubled home two runs, including the game-winner. The third baseman extended his hitting streak to 18 games, longest in the majors this season thus far.

Trade Brings Kensing To Struggling BullpenThe Post
Minor league pitcher Kyle Gunderson was traded to the Florida Marlins for Logan Kensing.

The Nationals transferred outfielder Roger Bernadina from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list and sent reliever Jason Bergmann to Class AAA Syracuse to make space for Kensing.

Does anybody know why Bergmann keeps getting jerked around though?

Kensing set to provide bullpen helpThe Wash. Times

The Nats are home tonight, opening a six-game homestand with four against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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More on the curse that is Jim Bowden

1,727 Words On The Bullpen Shake-Up – Nationals Journal, The Post

A moment for reflection, if you will. I think it’s already fair to say that Jim Bowden greatly miscalculated his team’s needs/weaknesses this offseason. Think back, for instance, to the bullpen this team had in February. No Beimel. No Wells. No Tavarez. No real back-up plan whatsoever if all the young guys failed. Bowden, w/r/t his bullpen, was counting on a pipedream.

Or as you will see below, maybe he just didn’t care.

Thom Loverro: Bowden discovers his calling in La-La LandThe Wash. Times
This column about Bowden “will angry up the blood” as Grampa Simpson would say.

“I said, ‘I am the senior vice president of the Washington team, but it is the Washington Nationals, not the Generals.’ Then I hesitated and said, ‘But you know what? We probably win as many games as the Generals.’ The whole place cracked up laughing.”

That was said back in November by the way. He knew he put together a crap team and laughed about it. Shame on him, but shame on the Lerners for retaining his services for so long.

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Capitals 25% of the way to their goal; Penguins next


Old Hand, New ResultThe Post
Caps vanquish RangersThe Wash. Times
For only the second time in their history and for the first time since 1988 the Capitals won a game 7. They were outplayed by the Rangers for two periods, but stayed in it thanks to #1 star Simeon Varlamov, the 21 year 1 day old Russian goaltender. Their two goals also came off of the sticks of Russians with Alexander Semin scoring the first one and Sergei Federov netting the game-winner with just under five minutes left in the game. Now that is a Fed Bailout we can believe in. The Caps did it the hard way, coming back from a 3-1 series deficit, a feat that had yet to occur following the lockout.

In the end, Rangers just collapseThe Wash. Times
The Rangers controlled the first 40 minutes of the game, prompting the crowd to boo the home team as the second intermission began.

MIKE WISE – Sergei’s DayThe Post
Old man Federov got it done again.

Stanley Cup Journal: Defensemen step up at most critical timeThe Wash. Times
The blueliners really stepped it up against the blue shirts in this series.

THOMAS BOSWELL – Time to ExhaleThe Post
Ah, relief — this was D.C.’s first win in a game 7 since the Caps did it against the Flyers in 1988.

Captain Clark Enjoys ‘Good Stuff’The Post
Clark makes long-awaited return to lineupThe Wash. Times
Captain Chris Clark made his Washington playoff debut last night after missing last year’s run as well as much of this season.

Varlamov’s Gift Is a Day LateThe Post
The birthday boy got it done. Here is some video from Eric McErlain:

Five turning points for the CapsThe Wash. Times

Coming up in the next round — the Pittsburgh Penguins. Break out the haterade!

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Nats lose again in Philly; closer by committee

More of the Same as the Nationals Suffer Their Fifth Loss in Six GamesThe Post
Phillies air out NationalsThe Wash. Times
A 7-1 loss to the Phillies. John Lannan doesn’t pitch well, but has no help. Only an Adam Dunn homer for the Nats.

Tavárez, Wells to Replace Hanrahan in Closer RoleThe Post
Closer’s role now will be by committeeThe Wash. Times
Julián Tavárez and Kip Wells will be given the chance to close out games should opportunity arise.

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